Friday, October 24, 2014

Pissing on Ability Scores

Normally I'm a Gygax man when it comes to D&D attributes: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma as Xagyg intended (even he thought Comeliness was a bad idea).

Then in my moments of fancy I think about additional or secondary attributes, perhaps as a result of that time I read Top Secret on cold medicine.  Since I'm apparently unable to maintain any semblance of a posting schedule I'd put down what I recall as they come to mind.

  • Perception:  I mixed thoughts on this from the usual old school player agency angle, but there are plenty of areas (sleeping characters, tracking, this passive perception junk from 5E).  But it's certainly better than a skill point tax, using Wisdom as a pseudo perception score, and more reasons from that Dragon Magazine in issue #133. It will certainly make surprise easier to deal with.
  • Agility: Targeting skill and dodging ability combined is a little two convenient and the first change I'd make.  Break this off from Dexterity, and suddenly not every fat sniper has ninja style.
  • Memory vs Reasoning vs Intelligence:  A few games have broken these out.  I don't know if it's worthwhile, as Intelligence isn't terribly worthwhile outside of AD&D style spell learning. It feels right, but I don't have the purpose for Reasoning yet. Unless...
  • We ditch wisdom.  In D&D terms, it's willpower plus cleric power.  Being "wise" itself isn't significant.  Other games use Spirit, Power, Psyche, etc.  The Mythus breakdown of Metaphysical and Psychic is vague, but useful.  A wizard could have potent talent, but not be a genius, or some font of knowledge with an eidetic memory.  Somehow getting willpower out of the mix does explain weak-willed cultists and the like. 
  • Physical attributes: I'm content to leave Strength and Constitution as-is. Stamina, health, etc are mostly thesaurus workarounds for the traditional D&D stat.  Size and Speed do little for me, as they're tied more to race than anything with a large enough variance to matter.  Maybe in a Super Advanced version, I could tie race, size, and constitution together to reflect starting hit points, the fit of armor, tallfellow halflings that are close to the height of elves.