WFRP: There’s No Such Thing As Talent

#WARHAMMERWEDNESDAY

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If you’ve heard someone say, ‘you’re so talented!’, you’ve probably also heard the following reply: there’s no such thing as talent. That is to say, what many people call ‘talent’ is just the end result of a lot of hard work and patience. Similarly, what we call ‘Talents’ in WFRP are earned just like any Skill: through a lot of hard work and XP.

Most Talents are bought with XP from a Career, and represent a specialised ability that goes above and beyond the normal rules. But, just like in the real world, Talents in WFRP are surrounded by misconceptions, so today I thought I’d have a quick review of Talents and even offer a few Optional Rules to consider.

‘If you can’t do, teach. If you can’t teach, preach the good word of Verena… Folks won’t ask questions, then.’

Taking a Talent Multiple Times

There are two aspects of taking a Talent multiple times that get mixed up all the time: how they relate to linked Tests, and when they can be taken.

Talents and Tests

Whilst each Talent comes with special rules, many also come with an associated Test. This might be easy to overlook, but in my opinion, the Tests line of each Talent is perhaps one of the most important. Each time you have a Talent — including, obviously, the first — it grants +1 SL on associated successful Skill Tests.

‘How many times do you think a literal alley cat has taken the Alley Cat Talent?’

This means that with each time a Talent is taken, the degree a Character succeeds (if in fact they do succeed on their Test) is stepped up a notch. Their chance of failure hasn’t changed, but the outcome of a success is far greater.

When Can You Take A Talent?

The Talents available to a Character from a Career Level are always available whilst pursuing that Career Level. This means that, even if a Giant Slayer has purchased the Hardy Talent, the Talent may be purchased again whilst the Slayer remains in the same Career Level. 

Naturally, as with all Character advancements, taking a Talent multiple times should be reflected in the actions that Character takes. For a Giant Slayer, it should be obvious: the more beat up they get, the more them purchasing the Hardy Talent makes sense.

For some Careers, learning a Talent is more a matter of walking the walk — doing one’s job, day in, day out. After all, sometimes there’s just no quick road to success. If you’re interested in an optional rule to reflect the difficulty in specialising in just one Talent, try one of the the following.

Options: Staggered Advancement

For every instance after the first that you wish to purchase a Talent from your Career, you must first advance all of their Career Characteristics by +5.

Options: Learning on the Job

For every instance after the first that you wish to purchase a Talent from your Career, you must perform an Income Endeavour.

Talents and Career Levels

This brings me to an important point: you can only purchase Talents from your current Career Level (as stated on Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay page 48). The only exception to this is the Unusual Learning Endeavour. 

But, why is this?

That’s right, the fiction!

Being shot by Else aside, the point stands. The fictional state of a Career encompasses not just what is available to your Character mechanically, but also how they are expected to comport themselves in the Old World, and the opportunities that are available to them. In some cases, this fiction is obvious: a Soldier can take Etiquette (Soldier) because they are constantly rubbing shoulders with their comrades, whilst an Officer is several steps above, and no longer in a position to fraternise as freely, or be accepted as, ‘one of the troops’.

In other instances, it requires a little more creative thinking… But the answers you come up with are important. The choices that aren’t available to you are just as important as the ones that are. And transgressing those boundaries — those social norms and expectations — is where good stories can take form! Keep that in mind when you’re undertaking those Unusual Learning Endeavours! Or if you decide to return to a Career Level you have already completed to gain access to a Talent found there. After all, if an ‘Officer’ (Soldier Level 4), decides to re-enter the ‘Soldier’ Career (Soldier Level 2) to gain access to the ‘Shieldsman’ Talent, clearly something has happened in the game. What caused this demotion? The same should be considered for any change in Career Level: what has caused the change?

Andy Edit: To clarify, there is nothing in the rules outside GM intervention to stop you entering a Career Level you have already completed to gain access to different Talents, or reset optional Skills like Lore (Any) or Melee (Any). If you have questions about this, head over to our social media channels and ask, and one of us will explain what this means.

Tricks and Talents

Talents offer a wide variety of new tricks for your Characters, and often they’re where each Career really shines as a unique part of the Old World. It’s worth spending more time thinking about your Talent options, and planning ahead for which Talents might be worth building towards!

‘Who knows, maybe you’ll become so impressive they make a statue of you. And if you’re lucky, it might not even be your tombstone!’

If you have a favourite Talent, let us know on our social media channels. And before anyone asks for mine, I’ll tell you right now: nothing beats Stone Soup.

Until next time, folks!

Ben Scerri

WFRP Assistant Producer

Art by Sam Manley.

Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.© Games Workshop 2019