Abilities scores for an universtal system.

Saelorn

Adventurer
But since we're already having trouble with the line between "abilities," "attributes," and "skills," would you save "stats" for a different thread?
If we're going to say that skills are distinct from attributes, then it becomes much more difficult to come up with a list of nine attributes that are both distinct and easy to apply. You have to start down the path of separating manual dexterity away from bodily agility, and that creates issues.

Although, I did once create a system that had nine attributes, each of which controlled three or so skills. More than half of the stats were just affinity for different types of magic, though; and the individual skills under those stats were just spells.
 

Anoth

Adventurer
toughness as in Clint Eastwood or balls of steel. Not tough like my mother’s chicken.

Education more for starting skill points or something like that. I like how it works in call of Cthulhu.

grace as in “saved by grace” sort of divine favor. God really likes you.

honor I Could see going up and down

faith for me would be for whatever religious system you follow. Atheist have zero. Alternatively I like an older definition of faith that only used belief indirectly. It wasn’t belief as much as it was the ability to act on your religious beliefs.

the reason I went for no physical stats is because I got tired of every fighter in d&d having a 20 strength or 20 dexterity to be effective. I think tough guys do more damage And can take more damage. So you Can have a tough guy that people fear without being built like Lou Ferigno.

deliberately avoided wisdom and intellect And charisma ecause I think these attributes are easier to roleplay.
If we're going to say that skills are distinct from attributes, then it becomes much more difficult to come up with a list of nine attributes that are both distinct and easy to apply. You have to start down the path of separating manual dexterity away from bodily agility, and that creates issues.

Although, I did once create a system that had nine attributes, each of which controlled three or so skills. More than half of the stats were just affinity for different types of magic, though; and the individual skills under those stats were just spells.

DC MEGS was an interesting game with 9 attributes. And their functions was pretty well defined

dexterity, intelligence, and Influence were acting values

strength, will, and aura were effective values

body, mind, and spirit were resistant values

dexterity, strength, and body were physical attributes

intelligence will and mind were mental attributes

Influence, aura and spirit I think were spiritual attributes

too bad it uses a chart. People hate those😉
 

pemerton

Legend
To follow on from @steenan's post, and also @Blue's reference to Cortex, for a fully universal system you might be better of deciding about how many different stats/attributes your mechanical framework can and should support, and then offering advice on how to particularise them for any given genre/theme.

HeroQuest revised is one example of something like this approach. To make the system work, it also has good advice on how (as a GM) to handle generality or specificity of attributes across PCs. (Roughly speaking, when a PC with a more broadlyly-characterised attribute attempts something that falls within the scope of another PC's more narrowly-characterised attribute, the check for the first PC suffers a penalty.)
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
DC MEGS was an interesting game with 9 attributes. And their functions was pretty well defined
Okay, but how do you play a character with very high Intelligence and very low Mind, or very high Aura and very low Spirit? What do those stats actually mean, conceptually?
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
Somebody would rather a little number of attributes and this is right for board games or TTRPGs for +7 children, but here I would rather something between 9 and 12, and using names by d20 system because they are most known or popular. In d20 the "magic" as atributte is according to the class (Int for Wizards, Wis for Clerics, Cha for sorcerers).

Now my list is the six cow: Str, Con, Dex, Cha, Int and Wis, and adding Courage, Acuity (astuteness + perception and Spirit (faith/karma and moral determination). I had thought about Dex beind divided into Agility and Technique (precision, accusary, talent, coordination for prelearnt no-brief actions as playing music, dance, craftwork, repairing machines, disarming traps, aim, complex maneuvers of martial acts), but I have chosen some traits are only substats, working as bonus feat. I have still a open door for Technique as 10th attribute, maybe like an optional trait got with some special feat or racial bonus, and to avoid Dex became too important.

Studies and Knownledge, but also Focus, would be within Wisdom. Wisdom would be for self-control checks for mind-affecting effects not linked with the fear. And my house rule is player can choose between Spirit or other attribute to save check against an attack of supernatural origin.

The concept of size (body mass) from Call of Chulthu is interesting for me. More body mass could helps against poisons.
 
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Lucas Yew

Explorer
One thing I'm extremely sure of is, that I will split the fine motor stat and the general quickness stat ASAP. No more hideous God Dexterity/Agility in my vicinity...

Anyway, my take on my "ideal" six would be Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Agility, Intellect, and Presence.
 

Anoth

Adventurer
Okay, but how do you play a character with very high Intelligence and very low Mind, or very high Aura and very low Spirit? What do those stats actually mean, conceptually?
Like i said

intelligence would be the acting value. Mind was resistance value. Those are the mechanics. rp is up to the player.

each ability scores was for acting value, effective value, resistance value. Basically to hit, damage, and resist.
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
Not sure of the OP's hopes or attitudes toward the final game design. But, IMO, any universal system would need to take into account the variety of scales and whatnot that any physical-simulationist character traits would have....and that leads you to Champions or any number of other super-complicated systems.

At least, for having a rule set that is comprehensive AND comprehendibly small, you're far better off stepping outside SIM and heading into narrativist or story-reflective mechanics. In a similar vein, there's a thread in the D&D forum where folks are growling about ability scores and MAD. You can skip that whole train of design-conflict, too.

Personally, I think two tacks are most profitable:
1) Go the route of Fate Accelerated. Use "modes" instead of ability scores. (Forceful, Clever, Quick, Sneaky, Flashy, Careful or pick another set of descriptors.) Which is also used in some Cortex+ implementations. This may seem like an odd direction, but it really does open up things like the Clever Fighter. In a similar vein, you can do this with something like "party" roles, a la the 5 man band trope: Leader, Lancer, Smart Guy, Big Guy, Heart. Either way, you this lets you mostly skip the skill-attribute overlap. Bonus: you can use this alongside a traditional rpg core/engine.

2) Go the route of Cortex+ drama and use things like relationships and drives/values as stats for the rolls. This is a little farther along the "Narrativist" route, but seems like its applicable to almost any genre (exception below).

Exception: It all depends on the feel of the game not the genre. I mean, look, if you want some kind of tactical X's and O's game, then just re-flavor Savage Worlds or any number of other universal systems. There's nothing sacred about any of them, and what a given modifier means or doesn't mean is merely a matter of trappings.

Anyway, just my $.02
 

Tonguez

Adventurer
Talking about Cortext, I always found the Smallville system to be interesting for its ‘Action Soap Opera’ approach. Character Lifepaths determine Character Relationships (Lois & Clark), Values (Duty, Glory, Love, Truth, Justice, Power) and Assets and it is these in turn which are used to resolve conflicts ie Clark Loves Lois so rolls his Lois die and Love die and is more likely to succeed saving her than he would saving random dude in Nairombi (where he just roles his Duty dice).

Then theres the Stress treks Insecure, Afraid, Angry, Exhausted, and Injured so characters get stressed out of a scene rather than outright beaten to death
 
I'm a big fan of three major groupings - Physical, Mental, Social - and two or three statistics in each group - Raw Power, Skill/Precision, maybe Resistance.

For example, the six stats used by the FFG Star Wars games.
Brawn - your physical strength, agility, health, flexibility, toughness, etc.
Agility - how good you are at affecting the world around you in physical ways.
Intellect - your mental strength, agility, memory, reasoning, etc.
Cunning - how good you are at affecting the world around you in mental ways.
Willpower - your social strength, centredness, sense of self, ability to resist peer pressure and coercion, etc.
Presence - how good you are at affecting the world around you in social ways (your people skills).
 

pemerton

Legend
Somebody would rather a little number of attributes and this is right for board games or TTRPGs for +7 children
I don't think this is the best attitude for game design. It implies that complexity is per se a virtue in an adult game.

But there are adult-oriented RPGs that have simple attribute arrangements. PCs in Cthulhu Dark have a profession (free descriptor) and Insanity. That's the sum total of its PC build system.

PCs in Wuthering Heights have Rage, Despair and Age/Decrepitude (it's called "Oldness" by the author, whose first language is French)

Prince Valiant supports adult as much as (maybe better than) juvenile play. PCs have Brawn and Presence as their two attributes, and then skills chosen from a list of about 30.

If you're going to have a complex PC build system in a RPG, I think you want a clearer sense of your design goals than "not for children".

Go the route of Fate Accelerated. Use "modes" instead of ability scores. (Forceful, Clever, Quick, Sneaky, Flashy, Careful or pick another set of descriptors.) Which is also used in some Cortex+ implementations. This may seem like an odd direction, but it really does open up things like the Clever Fighter.
In A Wicked Age use 6 attributes: Covertly, Directly, For Others, For Myself, With Love, With Violence. When we played it the zombie's highest attribute was With Love - the walking corpse was driven by a longing to find it's forgotten lover.

Choosing the right set of descriptors goes right back to the question what is the design goal?
 
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DMMike

Game Masticator
In A Wicked Age use 6 attributes: Covertly, Directly, For Others, For Myself, With Love, With Violence. When we played it the zombie's highest attribute was With Love - the walking corpse was driven by a longing to find it's forgotten lover.

Choosing the right set of descriptors goes right back to the question what is the design goal?
I guess it would be this:
If you were hired to create a open licence TTRPG for all genres, but east to be adapted from other system, what attributes or abilities scores would use? The list would be 9-12, not lesser 6.

My goal is something like a d20 Modern 2.0. with some little changes in the abilities scores, adding more, so that all 3rd Party Publishers would want to use it for their no-medieval fantasy titles.
But the interesting thing is that D&D has 6 "abilities," which are suited for the general medieval fantasy genre. I would think that increasing that number would make a game more specific, versus more general. So if all third party publishers are going to use this system for all genres, shouldn't it have fewer abilities than 6? That was my assumption when I was writing a game, anyway.

For example, GURPS has four "basic attributes." But we know that it doesn't stop there...

Also, In A Wicked Age calls those attributes "forms" because they're not really attributes. The point, that attributes should reflect design goals, is valid. But again, I'm hoping this thread stays on a clear path before we start calling longswords or careers "attributes."
 

uzirath

Adventurer
Now my list is the six cow: Str, Con, Dex, Cha, Int and Wis, and adding Courage, Acuity (astuteness + perception and Spirit (faith/karma and moral determination).
I worry that adding it would be hard for most players to distinguish intelligence, wisdom, and acuity. This is where categories of traits can help. Maybe there is a "Mind" stat that has sub-components. By default the components equal the master stat, but they could be adjusted to fine-tune for a particular vision (i.e., creating a book-smart person who is has poor perception).
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
My goal is something like a d20 Modern 2.0, enough flexible for all genres(space opera, superheroes, ivestigation against Lovecraftian cults, gothic-punk urban fantasy). Easy to do adaptations from other systems, where new players used to the six sacred cows could feel comfortable. A system the rest of 3rd party publishers would feel confortable to use.

D&D is perfect for dungeon-crawling, but not so good for other games with more investigation or social interactions.

Other idea is some attributes are modular, optional, this means you are free if you want to use them in your game or not. Maybe in a sci-fi game only one PC has Techniche attribute because she is a techy who repairs/fixes machines, or a cofrater (member of a brotherhood, a jedi knight ersatz) with martial maneuvers of light saber. Maybe a DM would rather to use Technique because she wants (munchkin) players to choose between better Agility for Reflex saves or better technique for stealth or to disarm traps, martial maneuvers or drawing runes.

* My own point of view see the differences between Inteligent, Wisdow and Acuity, but maybe others can't. Int is the nerd who goes to the university thanks a scolarship or the chess game champion. Wisdow is the little-grasshopper or master Yoda (or a good psycologist) givin good advices, and acuity is the gansta who knows the scammers' tricks, or the private eye who notices when somebody is lying. .

* To avoid some abuse by munchkins I have thought about two pools of creation points, one for the main abilities scores, and the other for the attributes no-so-useful.
 
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Tonguez

Adventurer
* My own point of view see the differences between Inteligent, Wisdow and Acuity, but maybe others can't. Int is the nerd who goes to the university thanks a scolarship or the chess game champion. Wisdow is the little-grasshopper or master Yoda (or a good psycologist) givin good advices, and acuity is the gansta who knows the scammers' tricks, or the private eye who notices when somebody is lying. .

* To avoid some abuse by munchkins I have thought about two pools of creation points, one for the main abilities scores, and the other for the attributes no-so-useful.
So in you example what would Wisdom be used for? Grasshopper being all zen and giving out advice isnt a useful in-game shtick, unless its a chance to get hint from or influence the GM. In DnD Wisdom Is Acuity/Perception + Willpower, so what is Wisdom in your schema?

As to modern,I still think Fate Accelerated works well, indeed D20 Modern went down that line of definining classes by core Attribute too
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
Wisdow would be psychological maturity, self-control (but for fear checks), temperance, focus, concentration, inner peace, serenity, intrapersonal inteligence, being the person who give good advices, thinking about long-term consequences, hearing voice by Reason before Passions. Almost willpower. The wise notices when a demagoge is using emotional manipulation instead true reasoning.
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
In A Wicked Age use 6 attributes: Covertly, Directly, For Others, For Myself, With Love, With Violence. When we played it the zombie's highest attribute was With Love - the walking corpse was driven by a longing to find it's forgotten lover.
Not a bad set.

Choosing the right set of descriptors goes right back to the question what is the design goal?
To some extent, I agree. However, I think switching....dramatic frameworks(?) Is easier than switching genres. That is, if a character's physical simulation stat/mechanics are less detailed or complicated. Translating basic stats between dramatic frameworks seems much less complicated to me. I suspect that translating a Fate Accelerated or Cortex + Drama character between different modes/values+relationships is a matter of knowing the story and character...not really having to know things like a Strength X means you can lift f(X) pounds or whatever. That would give the game the opportunity (if it needs one) to flit between frameworks rather than try to be all things to everyone all at once. You don't have to re-invent f each time.
 

pemerton

Legend
I think switching....dramatic frameworks(?) Is easier than switching genres.
I didn't get this, even after reading your example. Could you explain again/further?

Thinking about this under my own understanding, I think that switching genres isn't necessarily hard if the basic resolution methods are known. For instance, I use Prince Valiant (Brawn, Presence and skills) for relatively thematically light mediaeval romance. I think it could also be used to do Conan (maybe tweak the skill set a little bit) and light-hearted thievery and probably pirates.

But if someone wanted tactical resolution, or gritty injury and healing, then Prince Valiant won't help whatever the genre. For fantasy/mediaeval, at least, switch to Burning Wheel!
 

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