Thursday, June 4, 2009
A constant in Role Playing Games is the use of attributes. An attribute is a common skill that all characters have. It is recorded differently than other skills, it is written in a range of 0 (basically dead or useless) to 10 (average or normal) and on upward to infinity. The typical range for normal games is 0 to 20, super hero comic book type games might be up to 40 for some attributes.
Attributes are the basis for skills or provide a bonus to the effect of some skills. A normal attribute provides no bonus but also no penalty. A low attribute penalizes the character per point below 10, so a 9 would be a -1 penalty and a 5 would be a -5 penalty. A high attribute gives a bonus per point above 10, so 12 gives a +2 and 20 gives a +10.
The attributes for this game are modular and can be swapped or changed depending on the game world. In a typical game world (such as fantasy, modern or even wild west) the characters have attributes for their body and mind (more on that later). But in a high fantasy world were everyone could perform magic there might be additional attributes for a character's magical abilities. Or a high science fiction world were everyone used computers in a virtual world, there might be attributes associated with that virtual world.
While it is possible to arrange attributes in different and perhaps more concise ways, the attributes for this game (in a normal, realistic game setting) is as follows:
Body Power (BP): Aka Strength. Gives a bonus to damage by manual attacks as well as distance of thrown objects and weight to lift and carry.
Body Skill (BS): Aka Dexterity. This is the basis for most physical skills and therefore rates the natural ability to perform physical tasks. A character with high BS might do well at physical skills despite lack of training.
Body Endurance (BE): Aka Constitution. This is the basis for a character's ability to heal their body as well as endure physical stresses.
Body Influence (BI): Aka Beauty. This is the character's physical appearance and how it might influence others. This is not just to the opposite gender, many leaders have been chosen by their looks in the past as well as ugly people are often not trusted or considered inferior.
Mental Power (MP): Aka Wisdom. Mental Power is the raw ability to memorize facts. MP might be used from time to time when a character needs to recall something from memory.
Mental Skill (MS): Aka Intelligence. Mental Skill is how well the character can think to approach a problem. MS is used in planning as well as to determine if small details are noticed (including the ability to hear, see or smell).
Mental Endurance (ME): Aka Temper. Mental Endurance is the character's ability to withstand mental stress. ME is used when a character is trying to maintain their temper, resist mental stress (torture and questioning) and healing from mental injury.
Mental Influence (MI): Aka Charisma. Mental Influence is the character's ability to influence others through persuasion, speaking or direct coercion.
This might seem like a lot of attributes, but the system is built for modularity and to have a universal approach to attributes. Any attribute is assumed to be 10, less than 10 awards the character points to be used elsewhere, more than 10 costs points from elsewhere. If a game requires a quickly generated "average" person, then the person has attributes of all 10s. Further, if a character from one game world is played in another world where there are additional attributes, the new attributes can be assumed to be all 10s.
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