Wednesday, June 1, 2011

PA - Stats

If the basic resolution is Stat and Skill based, I suppose we really need Stats, huh?

(I'm tired today, so this is going to be more streamy and less organized.)

First, a little theory. I like D&D's stats, but maybe only because I grew up with them. The only one that never worked was Wisdom. It was too nebulous, and didn't seem to connect to actual system pieces well. At least, not until 3.0, when it became a strange catch-all, but at least was actually worthwhile.

I also really love WoD's 3x3 matrix. The power/finesse/resistance split makes a lot of sense to me (even if I still have trouble understanding the difference between mental and social resistance). But, I think 9 stats is too many.

I think I'm going to go with 6 Stats. This may change, but it feels right so far. Oh, and I'm pretty sure this disagrees with part 1 from a few days ago.

Build is the big physical stat. As I look at the setting, raw strength isn't that important. And, I've always felt a little gypped that Endurance stats don't do much. So, I'm combining them into one stat that should be pretty useful. It adds to your melee damage, determines how much pain you can suck down, and modifies a whole bunch of physical skills. (But what about those long-distance runners that can go for freaking ever but look like they have trouble pulling up their pants? Bah. A myth. Or, at best, an aberration. Most people aren't built that way. If you really want to get crazy with cutting it that fine, I might include a way to split your stats. It will only be under certain circumstances, though, like with certain races that don't fit the normal human spread.)

Agility is next. I'll talk about splitting it into manual dexterity and gross motor function further down, like with strength vs. endurance. I'm not sure I agree with that split in general. Most of the people I know who have excellent fine motor skills are quite dextrous in other ways as well, and vice versa. Regardless, this pretty much does what it says on the label. Bonus to attack, bonus to defense, bonus to a bunch of physical skill, the usual. One common thing it does not do is determine how many actions you have.

Brains covers both how much you know, and how good you are at analyzing information. I figure that there aren't going to be a lot of middling-smart people. If you're a fighter, it's a dump stat. If you're a techie, scholar, or mage, you'll max it out. I'm toying with ideas to penalize dumb fighters, but I'm not sure yet what I want it to do.

Sense is a measure of your general awareness. It covers how well you see, hear, etc. But, it also covers your intuition and common sense. As such, it's also a basic defense against social manipulation.

Moxie is the social equivalent of Build. It is both the power of your presence (do you own the room when you walk in?) and your willpower. Along with Sense, it is used to resist manipulation, but in much more of a stubborn way of refusing to admit you're wrong than in a clever way of proving that they're wrong. Of course, it's also you're basic way of starting manipulation of others. Finally, it helps resist stress damage and magical enchantments.

We keep talking about this manipulation stuff, so we ought to tell you how to do it. Wiles is the answer. On one side, it is the subtle art of talking someone around to your point of view, without them ever realizing that you disagreed. On the other, it is the sort of low cunning that makes sure you have a zip-gun up your sleeve just in case they find the backup pistol in your boot. And, most importantly, it is your Wiles that determine how often you get to act in a round. There's a reason that you can't spell "tactics" without "tact"!

Each Stat gets rated from 1 to 10. If any Stat gets reduced to zero by ability damage, you are effectively incapacitated. If you have a 1, you are pretty feeble, effectively handicapped. Human average is between 3 and 4. 6 is world-class, and 7 brings you lasting fame. Humans can't get above 7 without artificial or magical help.

So, I was talking about splitting stats. You'll notice that each stat does basically two things, one active and one passive (well, sort of). I am thinking of allowing each stat to be split into two sub-stats under certain circumstances. You would need a racial ability to pull it off in most cases. Some gear might add to one side or the other. Maybe allow a trick to do it. But, in those cases, the rules would just be explicit about which half of the stat is affected, and generally only with a simple bonus or penalty of 1.

I might also allow characters to just modify the sub-stats as they wish. However, to discourage it in general, you would need to accept a 2-point penalty to one side to gain a 1-point bonus to the other. Net loss, but possibly good for a specific concept. I'm not sold on that idea yet, though.

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