This article explains the taking of talent tests, the influences working on them and their game mechanical basics. It is especially targeted towards players who are unfamiliar with the TDE pen and paper rules.
In general these basic rules also apply to Arcane Tests (spell tests). There are some small differences there, but the basics are the same for spells as well. TDE is actually a pen-and-paper system, which means, a group of people sitting together around a table and playing together, keeping track of their situation with a pen on a piece of paper. To determine whether certain actions are successful or a failure, dice are used for the factor of chance. In Drakensang the mechanism of rolling these dice is simulated by the computer.
The TDE rules set uses two kinds of dice: six-sided dice, for things like weapon damage and twenty-sided dice for tests. In Drakensang the same shortcuts for these kinds of dice are used that are also common in P&P: a six-sided die is referred to as "D6" or simply "D", and a twenty-sided die is called "D20". So, for example, if the game tells you that a certain sword causes D+5 damage, this means that the computer "rolls" with a normal six-sided die and adds an additional 5 to the result. If the weapon tooltip would state "W6+6", that also means that the same six-sided die is used for determining the damage. Rolling two six-sided dice would be represented by "2D6".
The test in generalEdit
There are three kinds of tests: The Attribute and the Talent Test (including the similarly working Arcane Tests), and the "Combat Test".
For easier explanation we will use an example character, who (for traditional reasons) will be called "Elric". Elric starts the game as a character with the talent Plant Lore. Based on this talent we will first give a general explanation, and later on some concrete examples, about how the Talent Test works.
A talent test is composed of the following elements:
2) The Attributes that are displayed, when you hold the mouse pointer over the talent, display which attributes are tested during the test.
3) The "Modifier" for the talent test is displayed as a positive or negative number. You can view the test by clicking on the small question mark in the bottom left of the screen. This will open the so-called Console, in which the test is displayed.
This defines the basic variables influencing a Talent Test. Now Elric would like to pick a plant. He recognizes the plant, because his Plant Lore talent is activated. This means: the talent does not have two bars in the location where the Talent value is usually displayed, but an actual number that is zero (0) or larger. Activating a talent, by the way, can be done with the help of a Trainer, if the talent was not already active after character creation. This, however, incurs a cost of a certain amount of Ducats and Experience Points every time.
The test in practiceEdit
Elric picks a plant for which he knows he has a use. He locates a Oneberry bush and starts to harvest its berries. Because of this the computer will now roll the test to determine, whether he destroys the plant or really receives some berries. The talent Plant Lore is taken on the following Attributes: CL/IN/DE. Therefore every Talent Test is in fact a series of tests on individual Attribute values, which are combines to one "bundle" by the rules. The computer will first roll an Attribute Test on the Cleverness value, then on Intuition and finally another one on Dexterity. These tests are taken with a D20, as the Attribute value can have any value over 6.
Fundamentally, the following applies: if a test is taken, it is considered successful, if you roll the exact Attribute value or below it. However, to determine the ending of the test, there is more than just the roll on these three Attributes (CL/IN/DE). The changes of success are also influenced by the following two factors: The Talent Prowess and the Modifier. Here the (generally positive) Modifier is subtracted from the Talent Prowess. If the Modifier is lower than the Talent value, some Talent points will be left, which can be used to compensate for single Attribute tests which were not immediately successful. If the Modifier is higher than the Talent value, it means that it will be more difficult for Elric to pick the plant (ie. to succeed at the test).
In TDE a Modifier of +5 always means, that the difficulty of the test is increased by 5 points. And the other way around, if the Modifier is -5, it means that the difficulty of the test is decreased by 5 points. Once the Modifier is calculated into the Talent Prowess, the Talent Test is rolled, meaning a series of 3 Attribute Tests. The computer checks if the numbers on the D20 are over the corresponding Attribute value that is tested, or if they are lower than or equal to that Attribute value. If the pip count on all three rolled W20's is below the tested Attribute value, then the test was passed. If one of the Attribute Tests was not passed, then the Talent Prowess is used, to try and "bend" the test into a success. If each of the three throws is successfully completed, then Elric can pick the plant and get some berries from the bush. If, however, one of the Attribute tests can not be turned into a success (because the pool of Talent Prowess points is empty), then the text "Failure" is displayed, to indicate that Elric did not pass the test.
If Elric has successfully completed his test on Plant Lore, he will receive berries. The question is, how many berries he should receive. One method to determine this, which is most likely used in Drakensang as well, is to check how well the test was done. TP* is the amount of Talent Prowess that Elric did not have to spend to compensate for either a Difficulty Increase (in other words a test result) or a bad throw, in other words the remaining Talent Prowess points after all the parts of the test are done. So in our case, the rule could for example state that Elric will receive one additional berry for every three (3) TP*.
In all these examples Elric has the following Attributes:
- CL(everness): 15
- IN(tuition): 12
- DE(xterity): 13
- Plant Lore: 5 (in the first three examples)
Because oneberries are sensitive plants and the berries can easily be squashed, great care is required when harvesting. So there is a Modifier of +3 (meaning a Difficulty Increase of 3 points).
Result: Elric receives some berries.
Calculation: The Modifier of three (3) is deducted from the Talent value for Plant Lore, leaving a Talent Prowess of two (2) for this test. The computer rolls: 15/11/3. Elric has rolled exactly his Cleverness value and therefore passed that test. The rolls for Intuition and Dexterity remain beneath his character's attribute values, so he also passes these tests. So the total test is successfully completed. After the test he still has 2 TP* left.
Result: Elric does not receive any berries.
Calculation: The Difficulty Increase is deducted from the Talent value, so Elric's Talent Prowess in Plant Lore for this test is 2. The computer rolls: 13/13/16. Elric passes the Cleverness test without any problems. The Intuition test would be a failure, but Elric still has 2 Talent points to spend. He uses one of those to compensate for the result of the Intuition test and turn that into a success as well. However, the result of the Dexterity test is also bad: he rolls a 16 thus is three (3) points over his DE value. He only has 1 TP point left to spend to improve that result, so he could turn the 16 into a 15, but even with a result of 15, he is still over his Attribute value for DE. So he does not pass this test.
We change the initial situation a little: Elric does not want to harvest a Oneberry bush, but a considerably more sensitive plant. The Modifier for this plant is not three (3), but six (6).
Result: Elric receives some berries.
Calculation: Talent Prowess - Modifier = -1. So for this test Elric has a negative Talent Prowess. This does not automatically mean that the test is failed, but it does make it more difficult to successfully complete this test. Elric does not have any Talent points left to compensate for a possible failed throw on one of the individual attributes; plus we have to subtract one from each Attribute value. This means that the test (this particular test!) is not rolled against 15/12/13, but effectively against 14/11/12. The computer rolls: 10/6/8. In all these rolls Elric stays below his decreased Attribute values, so he has no problem harvesting the plant. By convention he will still get a TP* of 1, because for successful tests the remaining TP* is always at least 1, regardless of whether the actual Talent Prowess was 0 or lower.
Here we use another Talent value. In this example Elric has a Talent Prowess of 15.
Result: Elric does not receive any berries.
Calculation: as previously mentioned, the Difficulty Increase of 3 is subtracted from the Talent Prowess. So Elric effectively has a Talent Prowess of 12 for this test. The computer rolls: 20/11/20. For the first attribute the computer rolls the worst possible number, 20. A total of five points has to be used, to save the result. Still the test on CL succeeded. The Intuition Test goes as desired; Elric does not have to spend any Talent points and the computer rolls for the last test on DE. Once again a 20 is rolled. Even though Elric still has 7 Talent points left, according to the P&P rules the test still was unsuccessful. The reason: if in a talent test two "20s" are rolled, the test is automatically considered a failure, no matter how high the Talent Prowess is. On the other hand, if Elric would roll two times a one, the test is automatically a success. So in this case, even though he could compensate for the final roll, he is not successful.
In general Arcane Tests work in the same way as Talent Tests. Every spell consists of a series of attribute tests, for which the difficulty can be increased or decreased by means of an advantage or disadvantage. However, contrary to talent tests, the effect of a spell can rely heavily on the SP* (the remaining Spell Prowess, the magical equivalent to TP*).For example for Thunderbolt it is important, how many SP* are left after the test. The higher the SP*, the more damage is being dealt. In the case of damage spells the SP* can increase the amount of damage done. In addition, for many spells the spell caster is able to add a modifier himself, thus making the spell harder, in order to obtain the desired effect. But the basic mechanism for Arcane Tests is as described above.
- In Drakensang, every time the character successfully completes a Talent Test in a dialog, he receives 5 AP.
Translated from the German Drakensang Wiki.