September 15, 2020

How Do Your Character’s Talents Work?

There are numerous different systems & sets of rules used to play tabletop stories. And virtually all of them have unique ways to approach how we define a character.

StoryTogether’s StoryNite framework, among others, has a character’s talents front and center for how players can customize their role & play-style. So today’s Newbie Tuesday post is a high-level perspective on just how new players can mix and match character talents to determine both your role in the party – as well as your play-style for the character.

Your Role & Play-Style

Talents are traits, strengths, passions, and areas of excellence for your character. They add situational bonuses that can help throughout the course of the story. When you’re a new player first starting to create your character, ask yourself: what it is you want your character to be good at doing? If you have a role within the group of players, what would those strengths allow your character to do well?

Continuing to use our StoryNite system as an example, let’s say you and your fellow players are playing a Science Fiction story. And your party has come across a futuristic alien computer of some kind – and, being the sleuth you are, you’ve determined that you’d like to access its information. You have your character look a bit closer and they see that the user interface is, unsurprisingly, not in a language you understand.

From a skill perspective, you could potentially use Electronics, to access the interface and maybe change the language settings. Or you could use History, to see if you know how others have accessed such computers before; Intuition to see if the user interface is intuitive enough to navigate without knowing its language, or even Craft to see if you can’t develop your own interface for the machine’s database.

Applying Your Talents

But your character also possesses Talents in addition to Skills. Take the “Hacker,” “Technologist,” “Detail Oriented,” and “Polyglot” talents as examples. Hacker would allow your character to gain direct access to a foreign computer system more quickly. Technologist would allow you to leverage your experience across myriad systems to help you extract information from this new system. Detail Oriented would allow you to detect patterns in the user interface to navigate around without knowing the words/symbols. And Polyglot would allow you to learn languages more easily on the fly to allow you to pilot the alien user interface.

The beauty of talents, and their depth of character customization, is that they empower the player to creatively solve the dilemmas they face while providing a foundation for a greater connection between the player and their character. So when you’re creating your character, take a few minutes to think how you’d like your character to approach solving dilemmas. You definitely don’t need to have all the answers up front. But think: what’s going to be a lot of fun? How can my character help the party succeed? And pick your talents accordingly!