Upbringing, a talent variant for new characters in TFT

“Everything depends on upbringing. ”

― Leo Tolstoy


A lot of players when creating new characters for TFT will diligently balance and maximize their attributes and talents to get the most benefits for every one of their choices. But very often you simply end up with “Swordo the Swordsmen — master of swords’, which might not be the most interesting figure to role-play.

On the other hand, its not always easy to spend points on secondary talents that make a character more interesting and fleshed-out rather than an important combat skill or extra spell.

Inspired by the Secondary Skills [popup_anything id=”792″] in the old AD&D Player’s Handbook, we built a quick low-cost system to give characters background flavor and capabilities. We call it ‘upbringing’ and it reflects how the character was raised, and they environment they grew up around. Upbringing can either be chosen or rolled randomly, and cost one IQ point at character creation. Alternatively, they could be given out as a free benefit to all PCs when they are made, or used in combination with minor drawbacks.

Simply, upbringing gives a narrative backdrop to the PCs youth, and gives them familiarity in two talents related to that upbringing. Familiarity is less thorough than any talent, and only gives smattering of knowledge and experience on the subject. Tests with familiarity must be rolled with one extra die, and automatic affects require a 3-die roll. For example, a figure with the Entertainer upbringing who wants to improve their Reaction roll would have to succeed at a 3/IQ test. The listings below are a sampling of common upbringings, and GMs and players should feel free to expand this list with their own creations.

To randomly pick a figure’s upbringing, roll one die twice. The first die is the broad category of the figure’s history, and second die would a more specific aspect of that category. Note that highly specialized histories — like prince of the realm or mysterious foundling — are not part of this these tables and would have to recreated uniquely by the player.

Roll 1d for the upbringing category
1. Crafter
2. Clerk
3. Hustler
4. Cultivator
5. Trader
6. Traveler
Then roll 1d for the specific upbringing
1. Artist1. Acolyte1. Beggar1. Farmer1. Apothecary1. Bandit
2. Carpenter2. Apprentice2. Burglar2. Fisher2. Entertainer2. Nomad
3. Mason3. Merchant3. Charlatan 3. Forester3. Grocer3. Drover
4. Jeweler4. Retainer4. Courtesan4. Hunter4. Innnkeeper4. Sailor
5. Smith5. Scribe5. Gambler5. Miner5. Tailor5. Soldier
6. Tanner6. Official6. Pickpocket6. Trapper6. Stabler6. Teamster


Crafter upbringings

Crafters were raised around artisans or skilled workers. Whether it was family businesses, or they were apprenticed in their youth, they assisted craftsmen before they chose a life of adventure.

Artists gain familiarity in any one artistic mundane talent like painting, sculpture or calligraphy. The congenial lifestyle of most artistic types and the social nature of their business also gives them familiarity with Carousing.

Carpenters are familiar with the mundane talent of Carpentry, and they know the fundamentals of Architect/builder for wooden buildings.

Masons have familiarity with the mundane talents stonecutting or bricklaying, and they too have an understanding of the basics of Architect/Builder fora stone constructions.

Jewelers are familiar with the mundane talent of jewelry making, as well as familiarity in recognizing the value of jewelry, games or precious metals.

Smiths apprentices would have been given basic familiarity with metalsmithing, and a simple understanding of the armourer talent.

Tanners gain familiarity with mundane leatherworking, was well as the basic chemistry of the process of treating skins.

Clerk upbringings

Clerk upbringings entail growing up around the procedures and paperwork of a professional, or at least non-laborer, environment.

Acolytes are functionaries and unsanctified workers in a temple. They would be given familiarity in Literacy, and the Priestly duties of at least their church.

Apprentices serve the worldly needs of wizards and other magical professionals. They gain familiarity with the workings of [popup_anything id=”788″] , and basic literacy.

Merchants have many assistants and retainers. Those who grew up around them would have the fundamentals of Business Sense, and familiarity with Detecting Lies.

Retainers are the household staff of the nobility, the wealthy and the powerful. The gain familiarity with the mundane Servant talent, and familiarity with the basic of courtly graces.

Scribes serve the paperwork needs of any complex society. This upbringing would provide familiarity with Literacy as well as writing.

Officials execute the will of those in power, other collecting taxes, enforcing laws, or simply announcing judgements. This would give one in this environment familiarity with Literacy and basic diplomacy.

Hustler upbringings

These upbringings are those who live on the fringes of society, making their way by means that are less than socially acceptable. Growing up this way may not always lead to a life of crime, but it would give you a better understanding of those that do.

Beggars survive by generosity of others, and learn many tricks to maximize this generosity. This upbringing give a figure familiarity with streetwise, as well as the basics of either charisma or disguise.

Burglars take what they need, and hope to get away clean. Growing up around them would teach a figure familiarity with detecting traps, as well as recognize value.

Charlatans are con-men, grifters, fortune-tellers or petty frauds. This life would give familiarity with streetwise, and the basics of the charisma it takes to live this way.

Courtesans trade in flesh, and can be experts in manipulating desire. This kind of upbringing would make a figure familiar with sex appeal, along with the customs of carousing.

Gamblers may seem to deal in chance, but truthfully they seek to minimize it. Those brought up around them are familiar with basics of most games of chance and how to cheat at them, and the alertness required to spot cheating in others.

Pickpockets need a light touch and a quick getaway. This would giver one familiarity with the pickpocket talent, and the street-wisdom to always know where the escape routes are.

Cultivator upbringings

The cultivators makes their living off the land, seas, and waterways of the world. Whether they till the4 land or hunt whatever nature provides, their lives are entangled with their environment. And those who grow up that way are shaped by it.

Farmers tame the land and nurture their crops to harvest. Those raised this way ate familiar with the mundane talent of farming, as wall as the basics of naturalist.

Fisherfolk ply the waters in search of they daily catch. They have familiarity with the fishing talent and are comfortable around boats.

Foresters work in logging and the related areas of woodcutting and firewood gathering. This upbringing gives you familiarity with woodcutting and area knowledge of the forest lands.

Hunters chase wild beasts and bring them down. Growing up this way teaches you the basics of naturalists as well as familiarity with tracking beasts in the wild.

Miners pull resources from deep in the earth. Living around these folks would give you familiarity with mundane mining skills and basic understanding of climbing and traveling about underground excavations.

Trappers also hunt wild animals, but they use snares and other methods to capture the beasts. This upbringing would make you comfortable with the area knowledge of your hunting areas, and teach you the basic principles of trap-making and setting, like the mechanician talent.

Trader upbringings

Traders may not be makers or harvesters, but they are lynchpin of society. They connect the producers to those that need their products. They not only need to know about what they are selling, but they need to understand their customers.

Apothecaries provide means to treat ailments and treat injuries. This upbringing would give a figure familiarity with basic chemistry and as well the ability to understand uses of plants in the making of medicines.

Entertainers bring happiness to people through song, stories, dance, or any number of performances. Growing up around them would teach you basic bard skills, along with familiarity with the carousing that usually accompanies performances.

Grocers provide foodstuffs to their customers, whether it is meat, vegetables, bread or even beer. A grocer would gain familiarity with a mundane talent related to their trading specialty, as well as a basic business sense.

Innkeepers provide hospitality to travelers and comfort to locals alike. This environment would teach familiarity with the skills need to manage an inn, as well as understanding of the carousing that goes on in such places.

Tailors provide clothes and costumes for elite. Being brought up around them would give you familiarity with the mundane tailoring talent, and a foundation in courtly graces to deal with such a clientele.

Stablers care for beasts the way innnkeepers care for their customers. They gain familiarity with animal handling and either horseman or driver. In areas where the horse is not the dominant mount, substitute an appropriate handling talent.

Traveler upbringings

Travelers may not always live on the fringes of society, but often between societies. Moving from place to place gives them a unique perspective on wherever they find themselves.

Bandits lurk in the wild spaces, looking to take advantage of those passing through. They gain familiarity with area knowledge of their chosen hunting ground and recognize value for the booty they claim.

Nomads are always on the move, and rely on the land for their survival. Growing up like this gives you the basics of naturalist, as well as any one physical talent (running, swimming, climbing, etc.) related to their base environment.

Drovers tend the herds and drive livestock to their markets. This upbringing would teach you basic animal handling and knowledge of your native grazing areas.

Sailors ply the seas to move cargo or wage war. Growing up aboard ships would give you familiarity with seamanship as well as basic swimming ability.

Soldiers protect their lands or work to take the lands of others, whether as mercenaries or standing armies. Being raised with soldiers would give you familiarity with one weapon, and a basic understanding of tactics.

Teamsters move cargo from place to place to their final destinations. They gain familiarity with the driver talent, along with area knowledge of their routes.

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