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Talent Point System

The Christmas Tree Effect: Once PCs get to a certain level, something gamers tend to call the “Christmas Tree Effect” kicks in. The PCs have so much magic gear, that if someone cast Detect Magic on them, they’d look like a Christmas Tree lit up by the many magic auras for all their items. This primarily is an issue due to how magic items become no longer mystical; they don’t have that “magic”, and are instead just another tool to get the job done. However, the Pathfinder System assumes that PCs will have a certain level of magical item-aid at each character level.

My Problem: I need a system to give my PCs the bonuses, flexibility, and at least the simplicity of magic items, without taking up body slots, yet keeping things balanced. And, most of all, I want them compatible with Magic Items. The points here isn’t to get rid of magic items, after all, simply to make the existing ones more mystical, important, and cared for by the players. Also, as an additional bonus, I’d like for them to be able to be given out even when conventional treasure can’t be: there was a time when my players were fighting a string of monsters, and I couldn’t find anywhere else to place treasure except inside the monsters. They found it quite fun, but it felt a little hokey to me. Why would dumb monsters (not talking about Dragons here…) keep a bunch of gold and items that they can’t use?

Talent Points: Talent Points were my solution. They can give any bonuses or effects that magic items can. They are as flexible as, or possibly even more than, magic items. They’re much simpler than magic items (the barebones system, along with all the basic bonuses/effects, fits on a single page). They don’t take up body slots, and yet they allow room for interesting magic items to take those slots. In addition, they satisfy my last little want: they can be handed out anytime XP is.

Down To The Bones: Here’s the barebones overview: Talent Points, TP, are earned similar to XP. They represent mental learning, growth, or evolution. Each TP is equivalent to approximately 1000gp of magic items, and should be substituted where magic treasure would normally be gained. TP is gained independently for each PC (like XP) and can be spent anytime a PC gets a full night’s rest. Once spent, that TP is gone for good, but the PC gains a permanent bonus, effect, or ability. These are usually (Su), unless otherwise noted, but can be (Sp) or (Ex) as well. Individual bonuses/effects/abilities gained by TP can be targeted individually by Dispel Magic-type effects, and show up as magic items would when viewed by Divination magic. Anything gained by TP has a caster level equal to total hit die. There are spells that extract TP from a willing target’s mind into Talent Crystals, which can be used by other characters to gain that amount of TP. Talent Crystals can also be sold. The market price for a Talent Crystal is 1500gp for each TP stored inside, thus the sell value is 750gp for each TP stored inside. Using a Talent Crystal is a standard action, which provokes attacks of opportunity.

The Menu:

Ability Scores
+2 Enhancement
8 TP
+4 Enhancement
32 TP
+6 Enhancement
72 TP
Per Inherent Increase (Ex)
25 TP

Mighty Fists
+1 Enhancement
10 TP
+2 Enhancement
40 TP
+3 Enhancement
90 TP
+4 Enhancement
160 TP
+5 Enhancement
250 TP

Armor Class
+1 Enhancement
2 TP
+2 Enhancement
8 TP
+3 Enhancement
18 TP
+4 Enhancement
32 TP
+5 Enhancement
50 TP
+1 Deflection
4 TP
+2 Deflection
16 TP
+3 Deflection
36 TP
+4 Deflection
64 TP
+5 Deflection
100 TP
+1 Enhancement To Natural
4 TP
+2 Enhancement To Natural
16 TP
+3 Enhancement To Natural
36 TP
+4 Enhancement To Natural
64 TP
+5 Enhancement To Natural
100 TP
+1 Other
5 TP
+2 Other
20 TP
+3 Other
45 TP
+4 Other
80 TP
+5 Other
125 TP