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Mental vs. Physical stats  

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  1. 1. Would you be in favor of the division of stats discussed below?



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I'm tired of playing stick thin mages and dumb as bricks fighters. I know, I know, classes must be differentiated to offer a diverse experience and meaningful choices; and if a character is good at everything it utterly destroys this. I agree. At the same time I feel it's unrealistic that a fighter must utterly lack charisma and intellect (See Alexander the Great) and a mage must have never been outside in their life.

 

I saw an interesting idea from a poster on the something awful forums that may offer a solution. Essentially, it amounted to having two entirely separate stat pools during character creation. So for example, using D&D stats (again, JUST an example), instead of dividing points from a big pool between

 

STR

CON

DEX

INt

WIS

CHA

 

You would have two separate and equal pools (naturally modified by race and class) that looked like this:

 

1. Physical stats

STR

CON

DEX

 

2. Mental stats

INT

WIS

CHA

 

Point taken from one pool have no influence on the other. Now you can have your clever fighter, your buff mage, your charismatic ranger, etc. I'd like for their to be even more mental and physical stats to differentiate this more, but most class differentiation would come in the form of skills and talents. You may have a fastidious wizard that insists on a balanced diet and frequent exercise, so he's actually quite strong and not going to be KO'd by stiff breeze; but compared to the fighter that's been in martial training most of his life, he's still very ineffective in combat due to a lack of technique. Fencing is about far more than strength. Conversely, the fighter may be poor in academic matters, but still possess a shrewd intellect and street smarts.

 

This could differentiate characters even within a class. One wizard may have a very high INT score, and a low WIS. You now have something of a savant. Another might have a low WIS but very high CHA, being an excellent if unorthodox communicator.

 

Thoughts?

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There's an update 7?

 

Just let me add to the quote pyramid of Not Really a True Fan ™ Shame.

 

The update aside, I think that a easier way to 'fix' this issue with attributes was to forbid the player from removing too much of a given stat. Point-buy systems did that.

Edited by Delterius

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I get the feeling that the original structure makes *some* sense, and that's mostly because the problem isn't that people couldn't create smart fighters and strong wizards, but rather that people specialize, and that the game designers want to avoid overpowered characters.

 

I think the system described in update 7 could help a lot towards that though. I'd bet we'd still see weak wizards, but we'd probably now start seeing charismatic fighters. The big issue is whether they conceptualize combat stats in ways that suggest non-combat qualities. So, labels like "wisdom", "intelligence", "cunning" all create some problems.

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Reason why we see dumb as bricks fighters does't lie inside roleplaying system, as much as in the idea of how world percieves these characters. Even D&D3 has fighter-type classes which use dexterity, intelligence and even charisma to up their chances in combat (look up prestige classes in NWN2), and in game like Fallout, high INT is almost mandatory for a good fightning character (more skill points). It just that any decent DM would screw you up at least once if, instead putting few points in swimming, you tweaked your character just a little bit more to that murderbot you've always dreamt of. And try playing Arcanum with intelligence less than 8. Other game which subverted the thing in an interesting way is Age of Decadence, where you had far more chances of survival with smart and charming fighter than a mere brute.

 

As for idea of upping body and mind stats separately, I don't like it. Because it just screams "People who are not into combat do not adventure".

Edited by Shadenuat

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So... basically something like Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines' division between social, mental, and physical stats.

 

I'd be okay with that. It's not necessarily my favorite system and I don't think it would work for every game but since Tim Cain recently said you'd level up combat and non-combat skills separately it seems semi-plausible.


"Understanding is a three-edged blade."

"Vivis sperandum: Where there is life, there is hope."

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I like how Wod handles their attributes. You have 3 groups, and you pick a primary, 2ndary, and tertiary. You get different points per primary, 2ndard and so on to drop into you stats. So you could pick the mental stats as primary, and spread the points around...then pick physical as last...and by dumping all your points into dex still have a good dex score.

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I always found the weak Wizard or the dumb as a brick Fighter came from the people making those characters not putting anything into said statistics, not via the system forcing you into such things. In PnP you can actually find DMs that will see people specialize like that, everything into the 'usual' Fighter stats, for instance, and then punish them for it by throwing things at them outside of that scope. Sort of a way of saying, "Stop that, you're not role-playing you're min-maxing" something CRPGs have never really done well.


"Step away! She has brought truth and you condemn it? The arrogance!

You will not harm her, you will not harm her ever again!"

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I always found the weak Wizard or the dumb as a brick Fighter came from the people making those characters not putting anything into said statistics, not via the system forcing you into such things. In PnP you can actually find DMs that will see people specialize like that, everything into the 'usual' Fighter stats, for instance, and then punish them for it by throwing things at them outside of that scope. Sort of a way of saying, "Stop that, you're not role-playing you're min-maxing" something CRPGs have never really done well.

the games tend to encourage min-maxing. Or as you said, they do very little to punish it.

Edited by ogrezilla

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I know you were just using them as an example, but I think doing away with D&D stats would be a big step in the right direction...

 

and I don't mean just renaming Strength as Might and Constitution as Endurance or some such...

 

but giving character attributes that fit the game mechanics they want to design, not vice-versa.

 

I'm not even going to try and give examples of this - I'll let Obsidian come up with what they will.

 

However, to the finer point you are trying to make...

 

I'm for trade offs, but not necessarily the cliche trade-offs.

 

And your proposed system is something along that line, so in essence, I agree with you.

 

I don't want the ability to make a super-strong, super-fast, super-tough, super-quick, super-smart, super-personality character. Each character should have strengths and weaknesses.

 

But it shouldn't have to be strong equals dumb or smart equals flimsy.

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LOL I thought this thread was going to be about nobles versus peasants and feudal societies...

Yeah I phrased it that way on purpose.

 

Merin: I agree with you. I just used D&D stats for familiarity. For 'Mental' stats I'd like to see more diversity, for example:

 

Int: Speed of comprehension of new information

Perception: Awareness of environment

Charisma: Ability to present ideas to others and engage them

Empathy: Awareness of the feelings and thoughts of others

Logic: The ability to apply information gained from the above

Willpower: The ability to resist immediate satisfaction and peer pressure

 

Might be too complicated, but there's enough stats there that there are definite trade offs for a character of any type.

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So... basically something like Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines' division between social, mental, and physical stats.

 

I'd be okay with that. It's not necessarily my favorite...

 

Why specifically?

 

Does that matter? I mean, I said I think it works fine. I also like purely skill-based systems like Fallout, even though they're not my favorite ruleset (I prefer classes of some sort). It seems like you're contending my answer for no particular reason, since I said dividing the attributes up could work well given what we already know about the game (namely that combat and non-combat skills will be divvied up similarly).

 

If you really want an answer I'll give one, but it seems irrelevant.


"Understanding is a three-edged blade."

"Vivis sperandum: Where there is life, there is hope."

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I don't like dividing the stats the way you suggest, because it forces players to put secondary stats in the opposite pool from their primary stat, so that you could have a smart fighter, but not a charismatic wizard. Perhaps I've misunderstood your suggestion?

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I don't really care how exactly the system works, I just want every class to be able to invest in the non-combat skills with the same effects on combat. Don't make intelligence improve both conversation skills and combat spellcasting. If a warrior has to sacrifice combat effectiveness to improve non-combat stats, every class should have to do the same.

Edited by ogrezilla

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I don't like dividing the stats the way you suggest, because it forces players to put secondary stats in the opposite pool from their primary stat, so that you could have a smart fighter, but not a charismatic wizard. Perhaps I've misunderstood your suggestion?

 

Then just divide the stats into Physical / Mental / Social - with Primary / Secondary / Tertiary picks. (Like the WoD Storyteller system)

 

I'm not opposed to the idea, but it does raise potential balance issues eg. A Mage with a really high Dex/Str, and a specific ability - say one that increases strength, might become unstoppable. Not that it matters a huge amount in a Single-Player game.

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This looks like a pointless restriction on character design with no benefits. Any stat combination you can make without the arbitrary mental/physical divide you can still make without it, but you have ruled out lots of valid combinations for no reason.

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I don't like dividing the stats the way you suggest, because it forces players to put secondary stats in the opposite pool from their primary stat, so that you could have a smart fighter, but not a charismatic wizard. Perhaps I've misunderstood your suggestion?

It depends on balance in terms of number of distributable points and number of stats. I'd hope that you could have a smart, charismatic wizard that was a bit scatterbrained and lacking in wisdom.

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