Initial Thoughts on Talents


Ultimate Intrigue Playtest General Discussion

The Exchange

Just reading through the playtest document and figured I'd give my impressions on all the talents. Before that though, why isn't Intimidate just a class skill, only the Warlock doesn't have it, seems a bit mean. Oh, and also the capstone ability.

Vengeance Strike:
Seems fun, my only gripe is the line "or treat his die roll as if it were 2 higher for the purpose of determining if the attack hit or if it threatens a critical hit(maximum 20)."

Avenger Talents:

Armor Silence + Armor Skin: Does this really require 2 talents? At most they're negating a penalty of -5, stealth is a pretty great one to get the penalty removed but acrobatics and escape artist will probably rank down so low its ignored completely. Armor Silence is only barely equal to some silent moves armor after all.
Close the Gap: Wha... all this does is let you sneak around to the other side of an enemy without an AoO or charge without the -2 AC. Given the 20ft range the charge isn't that great(can't double move!) and since you already don't get AoO by simply moving to an adjacent square with an enemy this is a way to reposition for flanking and begin every attack with a charge. Maybe it needs a different name?
Combat Skill: No limit on times picked, nice! 1/2 level as a fighter is always so limiting; can we raise that fraction up? Not having access to that great level 8 feat until level 16 is pretty bad after all.
Environment Weapon: This is about 1/3rd of Improvised Weapon Mastery but with a favored terrain requirement instead of feat/bab prerequisites. You can also pick them up as a swift action, so I suppose that's something, right?
Favored Maneuver: Combat Skill with a bonus! Nice! This is where the hero names their move.
Fist of the Avenger: Well, a monk you aren't... but it could be worse. Another Combat Feat with a little boost, so pretty good.
Heavy Training: Hmm, this talent makes the Armor Silence/Skin talents a bit better. I guess I hadn't realized armor proficiency wasn't a combat feat.
Living Shield: Awesome! Probably hard to use as a Lawful Good Vigilante.
Mad Rush: Pounce with a steep penalty. -4 to AC on top of the usual -2 for charging is pretty steep. Best let your friends charge in first to soften em up before you use this.
Nothing Can Stop Me: Is this a problem people face? Most objects are either too tough to break in a single blow(hardness!) or too small to obstruct the way. Probably fun at really high levels when you can actually cleave tables in half with one blow.
Shield of Fury: Awesome, two feats in one!
Signature Weapon: Weapon specialization! At least we can pick up one of those fighter feats easier, and its two feats for 1 talent. Always good.
Suckerpunch: Non-lethal damage... well, it's certainly something. I wouldn't want to spend a talent on it, but maybe there's a non-lethal weapon specialist out there.
Unexpected Strike: Hmm... I guess if you get attacked in your social persona a lot, this could be useful. It's a combat feat with a bonus, so that's decent.
Unkillable: Skip a feat prereq for Diehard and later on get a bonus too. Good stuff!
Vital Punishment: Ooo, now this is something cool. Vital Strike is one of those feat trees that it takes a specialist to make use of, but with this feat that's no longer the case! That said, certainly works better if you can threaten a large area.

Stalker Talents:

Another Day: Feign Death. Pretty cool.
Case the Joint: This makes sense flavor wise, seems stalkers are all going to be engineers. Well, if they're going to break in somewhere at least. Probably comes in handy if you're a catburglar robin-hood.
Expose Weakness: This is a good one. It's always a pain to try and remember/figure out/prepare for every monster's weakness as a player, now your character is smarter than you!
Foe Collision: Well, it fits the name... not sure if it'd ever be useful. Maybe you need to murder a bodyguard and knock him into an old man and knock him unconscious at the same time? Well, at least it works on flanking Hidden Strikes.
Hide in Plain Sight: This is always good stuff.
Leave an Opening: This one is sort of tricky; 'threatens the foe' probably means the foe is still in your 'threatened area' but since you just hit them and this is a vigilante it could be confused with hurling verbal threats. Otherwise, seems somewhat entertaining... that bit about multiple attacks is going to make some vigilantes figure out how to make full attacks to start battles.
Mighty Ambush: Save vs Knockout! Not bad, 1d4 rounds is pretty short, a bad roll and you can't even tie them up, so that's a pain.
Mockingbird: A combination of a few spells with unlimited use and not even a magic aura to give it away. Badass!
Perfect Fall: Take that slow falling monk. This is good stuff. I wonder if you can get some of those whip talents and let the whip range count as 'within reach'.
Perfect Vulnerability: Ooo, this is nice. Lets you get at least 1 hidden strike off per combat and hits touch AC as well. Once per foe, per day, so this is basically a hex! Awesome.
Pull into the Shadows: This is pretty cool, but the 'drag' maneuver is pretty horrible so even with that extra movement possible and +4 bonus it's pretty underwhelming. I mean, wow you moved the enemy. It's not like their suddenly silenced or knocked out... you just wasted a sneak attack to make somebody move a bit. This should let you precise strike as well or something.
Rogue Talent: Talents from another class. Always good. Opens up a big range of sneak attack talents. That's great!
Rooftop Infiltrator: Climb speed. Always fun. Hmm, now I want to get that rope equipment trick and use it as a rope/whip along with that perfect fall.
Shadow's Sight: Ooo, darkvision for the mundane races without spending all your money.
Silent Dispatch: Super specialized and hard to make happen, then it doesn't even negate the whole noise penalty. Probably fun if you can get a whole party of stealth users together.
Sniper: What! Awesome! Rogues should also have this talent. Now if only there was better ways to get ranged precision attacks to trigger.
Strike the Unseen: Another good one. Eventually this is three feats and you can precise strike enemies with total concealment!
Surprise Strike: Eww. This is like weapon focus that only triggers once per fight, but it increases a bit higher eventually. Probably wouldn't ever take this till at least 8th level.
Throat Jab: Now that is some wordy explaining. I can see the need, but yikes. As for the effect, pretty cool. An alternative for Mighty Ambush, giving you 2 attacks to take a foe down instead of a save and a race to restrain them in 1d4 rounds.
Twisting Fear: Fear that can knock people out! Could be useful if you get really good at intimidating and can affect a group. Otherwise doing a few points of non-lethal to one creature isn't that spectacular.
Up Close and Personal: A good reason to try and trigger some AoO's! Could be interesting with the right feats.

Warlock :

Hmm... an int caster with a spellbook preparing them into spells known slots to use like a sorcerer. Pretty cool setup just like the Arcanist.

Arcane Training 1-6: Okay, this is weird. You have to spend 6 talents to get medium casting? That's nearly half the talents you'll get up through level 20 simply to get casting abilities. You better make good use of those spells.
Arcane Striker: Pretty good. Almost a full class feature.
Bombs: Like an alchemist without an int bonus to damage. Pretty good! Too bad you can't take the Stalker Vigilante's Expose Weakness. You'd be a Witcher! You can also take bomb upgrades, though at this point why aren't you just an alchemist? Spells instead of infusions I suppose?
Bond of Blood: The temporary hit points and blood armor have some nice synergy... but this really isn't many temp hit points. This is sort of like DR that you have to keep rebuilding, but at least it works against energy attacks.
Caster's Defense: This could have been cool, then it only applied if you were threatened while casting and made the defensive casting roll. I mean come on... it's not like the DR is high.
Concealed Casting: Now this is cool. Not ignoring verbal and somatic components like the metamagic feats, but letting them go unnoticed. You get to use the stealthy bits without having to pay spell levels so you can also use it while restrained/gagged.
Educated Defense: Wow, spell negating. This is normally only in magic items. Pretty good!
Elemental Battle Armor: The name for this talent is way cooler than what it does. Cool, but pretty tame. Maybe make this a prerequisite talent for an even more awesome one(that obviously adds damage to wielded weapons, but also more!).
Familiar: At least its at full level. Familiars can be great fun, but probably wouldn't be taking one till way later given you have to spend half your talents on spells!
Living Shadow: This could be pretty cool. I say could because that is one obscure book for the spell. Either way this is probably a pretty high level spell you can use pretty early, albeit with a limited duration, so it could be pretty useful.
Mystic Bolt: Here we go! Like the old Warlock class shooting out magic bolts! You can't give them an enhancement bonus, but good news! It's a touch attack that gets bonus damage based on level rather than stats. Pretty decent.
Nonlethal Spellcasting: By the name I figured, "Not again, another nonlethal annoyance". I was pleasantly surprised as this is something you might actually knock people out with. Too bad it doesn't work with bombs and mystic bolts.
Shadow Jump: Always a great power! Don't let the -6 levels thing sadden you. You'd need to be 5th level before even taking Shadowdancer so you're actually only 1 level behind in progression for this ability. You get the full 320ft by 16th level.
Signature Spell: Sort of underwhelming. Save DC bonus is always good, and at least you can change it every level.
Social Simulacrum: Get around those pesky folks sniffing out your secret identity! Pretty cool, but may not be necessary unless you really use that social identity a lot.
Tattoo Chamber: Ooo, this one is super cool! Use wands without looking like a dork. Trigger wondrous items by laying on hands. Simulate uncontrollable power and put a rod of wonder in there, go wild with it!

Zealot Talents:

Channel Energy: Eh. Backup healing. Probably won't be great unless you dump feats on it.
Discern Lies: Pretty cool. Wish you got more use out of it per day.
Divine Bastion: Doesn't give much of a bonus till high levels. At least it affects your adjacent allies. Too bad it doesn't last long.
Diving Training: Like the Warlock, wastes half the talents. Cha caster using the inquisitor list so that's something.
Domain: Self explanatory. Good stuff.
Empower Symbol: Great flavor. Consecration is a fun spell, if not that powerful, so getting it without having to waste spell slots is great.
Life Bond: Not bad, though I hope you're staying away from the front line or have that con pumped up. Healing Magic isn't very optimal after all. That said, seems pretty badass for saving people from the KO.
Penance Gaze: Interesting. Not sure how useful this one is, definitely something worth playtesting. I'm worried the round limit is too harsh. After all, it only works once per day on any one creature.
Revivifying Touch: Hmm. I guess there's no life restoring spells on the inquisitor list? If so, could be good to have if there's no full divine caster in the party.
Stalwart: Evasion for fort and will saves. Good stuff. Doesn't do anything on those all or nothing saves, but still amazing.
Stern Gaze: This is like a weak class ability, which is enough to be a good talent.
Track: Another like Stern Gaze. Solid talent, but nothing special.

Whew, there's a lot of them! Well, I've gotta say I'm pretty impressed. The base class abilities weren't anything to write home about but more than once I got a great build idea just reading talents. Some are a bit wonky but overall stronger than other classes talents. Makes sense given that sidebar about there being no extra talents feat for vigilante. The avenger seems like the least interesting, so they could definitely use some sprucing up... but then again I've always been bored by DnD fighters.

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