Slime Story’s rules just keep on evolving, and the whole thing with Awesome and Suck Points has led me to make some significant changes to how Talents work, and also to make them less derivative of D&D4e. Some talents are Passive and just give an automatic bonus to something, but “active” talents can have Costs (in Awesome or HP) and/or Usage Limitations (once per scene, only on a triggering event, etc.), but are meant to be more or less equal in overall utility (which makes the advancement stuff much easier to work out).
I’ve basically dumped the “At-Will/Scene/Episode” thing for Talents, though there will be some with “1/Scene” among their properties. Arianrhod and Meikyuu Kingdom have both provided a lot of inspiration for how to go about setting up Talents. Arianrhod’s talents remind me a lot of 16-bit era Final Fantasy (and FF4 and 6 are two of my all-time favorite video games ever BTW), while Meikyuu Kingdom just does all kinds of crazy stuff, especially since it has Skills relating to different aspects of kingdom-building. I seem to have given myself tools that will let me rewrite the Talents I’ve already created with relative ease, though I need to keep working at it and come up with more and more creative abilities to put into the game.
The question of how many Talents characters get and of what kinds is pretty straightforward for Slime Story (two Base Talents each from clique and class, one Elective Talent each to start, and one new Talent per level). With classes, races, and backgrounds coming into play, Slime Quest is a little more complicated. In that game classes have Base and Elective talents much like in Slime Story, but characters also get a Racial Talent, a Background Talent, and they have the option to pick up Common Talents. Racial Talents are kind of analogous to the various racial abilities in 4e, except you’re not required to take any particular one, so you can go with whichever from the race’s selection best fits your character. Common Talents are ones that any character can potentially get (which makes them the closest to Feats in D&D), and each Background has a list of possible Common Talents that you can pick from.
I also have a handle on how I want to do Quests in Slime Story. These are very much like the quests you see in MMOs. I’d originally been planning to make them an optional rule, but now I’m inclined to have them be core, and potentially pretty central to the game experience.
“Quests” are a slang term for when people hire monster hunters to do stuff for them. People post up offers on the “Quest Board” at the local Monster Mart, or online (in the Slime Story setting Craigslist has an entire category for it), or wherever. They often offer cash rewards, but trades or favors can be in the offing too (especially if the client is an alchemist). A typical quest is MMO type stuff–kill 10 salamanders, bring me 8 slime cores, find my pet dog who wandered out where there are lots of monsters, etc.–but in Slime Story the NPCs who assign quests are often regular characters in the game (secondary characters). Thus, the quests provide an excuse to interact and develop relationships between characters who might otherwise be a challenge to really fit into the game properly.
In my Slime Story novel I totally want to add a part where Kelly’s mom, a card-carrying member of PETM, very reluctantly hires Doug and company to clear out monsters that are wreaking havoc at her workplace. There are just a ton of different things you could do with quests in terms of developing the story type stuff, but then in MMOs it seems like that’s one of the primary ways in which the developers put story in.