Sunday, October 7, 2007

Time to tweak the Attributes

I wrote the current six attributes before I wrote the mechanisms that make use of them. While they worked respectably well in playtest, I think there's lots of room for improvement.

The ones that are working well are Daring, Alertness, and Size. I wouldn't mind looking for a different word for Alertness, but I'm otherwise happy with it's uses.

The ones that aren't working as well as I like are Fleetness, Wits, and Charisma.

Fleetness is the worst of the bunch. It's near completely useless. I had had this idea in mind about how some monsters or NPCs would be running from a fight and the PCs might want to catch them. But AP clued me in that Daring was a more fun attribute to use in the rare chases that might occur. After all, a chase across rooftops is way more kewl than a chase through an open field. And Daring implies the danger of the rooftops. Fleetness is out. It's gone.

Wits is not supposed to be a combat attribute. As a designer I don't want it getting mixed up in the combat sequences. However, as a player I want to use it to show how my quick-thinking characters can out-maneuver the big & dumb characters. And I'm not the only player that feels that way. I think the solution here is to replace Wits with an attribute that implies non-combat conflicts only. Wits is out. It's gone.

Charisma is totally useful and did everything I expected to do. Except add the flavor I was looking for. Charisma is kinda the catchall attribute for "When I'm trying to be friendly to people." Which is ok for some games. Not so much for this one. I mean, it works and all, but it's just not exactly what I'm looking for. Charisma is out. It's gone.

What I would like for my replacement attributes to do is to imply ways to manipulate and coerce NPCs without implying any bloody violence. Sexy violence maybe. But not bloody violence.

These are the three I'm considering using as replacements:

Hotness, Eloquence, & Stubbornness

I think they'll do what I want them to. Still letting them simmer in my brain though.



Mark Causey said...

But, what about outwitting your foes? What will that be - Daring?

Eric Provost said...

That's part of the beauty of this change. You don't outwit your opponents. You seduce them, out-talk them, or out-stubborn them.

If you use Daring, then you're out-dangering them.

It's a flavor change, to be sure. But I think that it's a lean in the direction of the flavor I was looking for in the first place.

Mark Causey said...

But still nothing inside of combat, right?

Chris Gardiner said...

"That's part of the beauty of this change. You don't outwit your opponents. You seduce them, out-talk them, or out-stubborn them."

I really like this, and the split between 3 combat and 3 non-combat stats has a nice elegance to it.

But by using the name "Hotness"! you're missing a fine chance to resurrect Comeliness from its mouldering grave.

A *fine* chance.

Andy said...

Hmmm, interesting, but honestly I wouldn't worry too much about the 3-and-3 effect. 4-and-2 is ok, or even some crossover. Leave holes to be filled when those situations arise, is what I'm thinking.

IOW, I like the original attributes as-is (although I agree Fleetness was pretty weak).


Eric Provost said...


Right. No use for those three outside of combat.


If it weren't for my desire to avoid pre-chewed attributes, bringing back Comliness would rock.


I'm less worried about a 3/3 split, and more worried about attributes that are either lame (like Fleetness) or which imply rules that I don't want to write (like Wits).

Come to think of it, I don't even see a 3/3 split here. It's more like a 3/6 split. Three attributes with specific rules to govern combat, which are part of a group of six attributes whos uses outside of combat are immediately apparent to the players and which provide a lean in the direction of the flavor I'm looking for.

Hotness + Eloquence will have a considerably different effect on the game than Charisma did. Don't you think?

Antoine said...


I just wanted to say that your hack seems realy fun and that I hope you are still playing and writing it.

I will maybe give it a try this saturday with my wife and a friend. But as I don't understand what you want to do with stubborness I think I will keep fleetness and use it outside of combats for acrobatics and stealth.

For inspiration I already rolled some oracles from Vincent Baker's Cheap and Cheesy game. And I ordered a vintage "Wilderlands of High Fantasy"...

Keep the good things coming !

Antoine Fournier