I want to play TDE again after more than 15 years. I need some help gauging things plausibly. TDE 4.1 has a rule for how much you can increase an ability. I believe it is

highest involved attribute + 3

Personally, I tend to be far away from this threshold. I also take care to stay below 15, as the game says that 15 is master level.

That being said, I wonder what thresholds to apply. I will give you a short background story.

I am generating an albino magician with fear of light who was abandoned by his mother - a Zahori courtesan - in Elenvina. He was found by a Travia priest and given to an old couple that raised him, not knowing of his magical potential. He would often help in the garden or gather herbs in the comfortably dark forest. His foster mother would then sell them to an alchemist.

When very pressed he would unknowingly perform healing (balsam) to counteract the constant damage in sunlight and horriphobus to scare the other children that were beating him.

One day, when his foster mother was ill, he found a valuable plant (Alraune) and wanted to exchange it for a cure at the alchemist's. But the alchemist cursed him and kept the plant. He tried to steal an elixir and was caught by the very stern white magician Ruane of Elenvina, who happened to be shopping. She scared him so much that he unconciously performed horriphobus, uncovering his potential. White magicians are required by the rules to make sure such children are educated. Given the boy's non existant means , she could not send him elsewhere. So he was admitted to the Academy in Elenvina.

Because of his story I gave the boy a special talent for balsam and horriphobus. I also want him to be very skilled in these. How far can I raise his horriphobus skill, considering that horriphobus is a house spell (Hauszauber) in Elenvina and all adepts there have a strong horriphobus (+6) by default? All adepts also have special skill in the branch (Merkmal) "influence" of this spell.

How far could I raise balsam? He practices it a lot to replenish LeP from albinism, but it is not an Elenvina speciality (+2 by default) and Healing is not an Elenvina speciality either.

What about spells like Ignifaxius that don't have the appropriate characteristic "influence" and are taught strongly by default in Elenvina (+4), but which he does not use too frequently?

What about completely random, but known spells like dublicatus?

I will play him very defensively, but like anyone who has been other people's punching bag long enough, he could also value fighting (staves, ignifaxius) more than noble born colleagues. How much may I raise staves?

EDIT: an other point is that horriphobus only tests my excellent abilities. Practically it will make little difference if I set it to 10 or 13. But lore-wise it would be nice. If I don't put the points into horriphobus I have limited options. Herbalist skills and things a magician can learn. Probably my character would end up stronger rather than weaker. I already invested quite a bit in languages. I can make it work nicely lorewise. He is curious about his tulamidic origins and invested quite a bit into tulamidic and ancient tulamidic.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Is your question about the values from a roleplaying-perspective ("What would seem fitting for such a character") or from the perspective of the rules? \$\endgroup\$
    – Patta
    Jun 10, 2015 at 8:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Roleplaying perspective! \$\endgroup\$
    – Ludi
    Jun 10, 2015 at 14:34

2 Answers 2


its me again! Your Characterconcept sounds quite nice to me, you have a good, fleshed out backstory, and whatnot.

You also seem to have a good knack for finding the parts of the ruleset that are not particularly well done :P

In general, the maximum value of your talents is something that each group handles differently. Some stick to the 15=master rule, some dont put any caps on the talents, some only allow you to raise skills that you actively used X times... So, you will have to talk with your GM about that. In general, however, the scale (from which master=15 is taken) is terrible for anything but basic profane talents.

However, here is - once again - my 2 cents, which in implementation of course depend on the amount of AP that you are able to spend:

In DSA, the talents are very, very different in terms of what you get for your AP. A good example for that can be seen in the two special talents of your charakter! Balsam is a spell that does not need many levels in it to be effective. If you are not trying to regrow limbs, close terrible wounds, or steal souls of Borons doorstep (or in other words: modify / use variations), it doesnt matter at all! All that matters is that you manage to cast the spell. Thus, a lot of mages leave it at 6-7, which is usually enough to get it through with decent attributes, and they only use it to replenish LeP, leaving wounds and such to the normal, nonmagical healing skills. You can level it higher, of course - but its far from necessary. Horriphobus, on the other hand, is (like most Herrschaft and Einfluss spells) incredibly reliant on your ZfW. First, you are always going to fight through a penalty akin to the opponents MR (which can be anywhere from 0 to ~10 or so for most enemies) AND the effects are based on how many points you have left over after that. In fact, I personally wouldnt even bother with it if i could not raise it AT LEAST until 15 at some point. Sure, by using more AsP and casting longer, you can fight through these penalties - but a mages power lies in his ability to modify spells, and you are never going to be able to do that with values below 15 if you want to actually have a noticable effect.

Another good example is combat talents. Most people will tell you that its not worth using any maneuvres in combat if you roll on any value less than 15 AFTER applying their penalty. Thus, for a simple Niederwerfen you are going to need an AT of 19, for a Hammerschlag already one of 23. Due to the way the talents skill level is split into AT and PA, nobody except masters is ever going to reach that if you follow the mastery=15 rule. Thus, for combat talents (which tend to be used a lot after all) its very common for groups to allow much higher values than the ones their experience level would allow according to the rules. On the other hand, if you look at the common, profane talents, you are probably not going to need them that high. For example - a "riding" skill of 5-7 is probably going to enough for everyone who is not a soldier on horse, a cooking skill of 7 is already higher than most characters, and so on.

So, what does that mean "unterm Strich"? Apart from talking about it with your gm, i recommend you simply play around a bit with http://www.zerael.de/dsaproben.php - it lets you calculate your chance of success with your attributes and skill level. Get those few skills that build your core concept to levels that represent what your character should be able to do in your opinion. Then, if you have AP leftover, level those skills that make the fluff part of your character - dancing, prancing, whatever. And then, if you feel that those are well represented too, then start over with the primary ones again - until you have spent it all ^_^

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. I don't have a GM yet. I will settle down here at the beginning of July. Just started looking for a GM. And I have started to write almost like a small novel for the character. If you speak German I can upload it somewhere for you. In English I can't make it sound like Aventurien :) I shall not be satisfied before I feel it more or less fits together. I have been away for so long. I don't want to disappoint the group. I have been wanting to play such a character. I hope I find a good GM that pressures him, but doesn't kill him immediately :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Ludi
    Jun 10, 2015 at 14:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Of course the GM will rule about everything, but I am happy I have your support, because if you come to a GM with a totally crappy concept... \$\endgroup\$
    – Ludi
    Jun 10, 2015 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure, if you send me your Backstory ill go over it and comment it for you, german is fine. \$\endgroup\$
    – Aeolitus
    Jun 11, 2015 at 1:25

It really boils down to:

  • Find a good reason if you plan for some of your skills to have a value which is very developed, i.e. a lot higher than their basic race/class/profession starting value (which you did with your background story)
  • Convince your GM of that reason.
  • Figure out (together with your GM) how high you might go on the individual skills.

Personally I feel a starting skill value of 10 in anything is already very high and should be reserved for cases where you have a really good reason for already being an expert at this skill.

In any case you should not be near any of the official rule max values when creating a fresh character unless there is some serious min-maxing involved (which TDA/DSA is quite good at incidentally).


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