Abilities scores for an universtal system.

Ratskinner

Adventurer
In Apocalypse World going aggro is based on Hard, while acting under fire is based on Cool.

Are you envisaging a long list of movews each associated with a particular stat - or are you envisaging changing the state to reflect genres and what is expected to matter in play? The former seems like it might still be genre-limited. The latter seems like we're now setting out a whole design philosphy or approach rather than an actual system. (I would put PbtA - as opposed to any particular PbtA game - in this category.)

This looks like you're describing a meta-system - a basic system structure/framework, with the details to be cashed out based on particular genre.
Either, I was just citing it as an example/extension of what I was talking about. I think for a "universal" version of something like this. I would include only a small set of general action types (as Fate does). For the sake of designer sanity, I would personally not want to write a genre-spanning set of specific moves. I generally agree with your assessment, although I think there's a bit of a gray area between system and meta-system for games like Fate, Strike!, or even Savage Worlds, that provide a relatively strict design framework with flexible trappings attached. PbtA doesn't (AFAIK) have such a "core" as part of its zeitgeist is tying all the mechanics very closely to the material thematically (even if its core is fairly easy to suss out).

I think that there is a relationship between system/mechanics, and the sort of thematic "heaviness"/"seriousness" that a system can produce/support.
I tend to agree, although I see the "heaviness"/"seriousness" dimension as something rather easily tweaked. (perhaps depending on your core mechanics). IME, things like investigative vs heroic action are much more problematic. I think the introductory material in some of the earlier Gumshoe games was pretty spot on about how there are fundamental differences in the nature of designing a scenario.

I'm asserting that neither Prince Valiant nor MHRP can handle really serious genre/theme - eg WWI - because of their approach to consequences. Whereas I think BW and AW can handle more serious stuff.

I'm not sure it's easy to explain why, but here's one thought: in Prince Valiant it is always up to the GM to stipulate the consequences of being dropped to zero in Brawn or Presence as a result of conflict. How would the GM, in good faith, stipulate a consequence of (say) drowining in chlorine gas in a shellhole? In MHRP a player has to stipulate a consequence (a complication, or pushing through Stress to Trauma), to bring it about.

Whereas BW puts it much more into the system to produce harsh consequences. And makes it easier for players to put more on the line in their action declarations.
IME, this is definitely tied to player buy-in. I mean, if I sign up to play in a WWI game I've got to think that's a possibility. If nobody at the table wants to hear or say those things...then why are we playing a serious WWI game? I'm not sure why its any better that the GM say...reads the gas results off of a chart rather than describe them ex tempore.

However, there is definitely a mechanical influence on these things, but I've seen it go a couple of ways. In looser games, once the "improv" juices start flowing....things tend to get progressively sillier. Just human nature with a bunch of clever people, AFAICT. Then again, my experiences tend to go the opposite direction from your example. i.e. A GM is shooting for a grimmer/more serious game, but can't make it happen because...mechanics (I won't mention HP here, I just won't....darn it.)

To cross this back to the previous issue, I thought the recovery/Vice mechanics in Blades in the Dark were/are pretty genius. Without writing an encyclopedic list of such optional subsystems, I don't see a universal system of any kind is to be designed that fits all genre possibilities.. However, with the stipulation that this would be some kind of "standard" heroic rpg, I think I would still lean towards using a "dramatic" framework for the attributes.
 
When we want to play a TTRPG but with a different system one of the main challenges is the list of abilitie scores or atributtes.


The six abilies scores is one of the sacred cows by D&D/d20 system.

Fallout, the famous videogame saga, has got the S.P.E.C.I.A.L system: Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck

The Storytelling System by White Wolf/Onyx Paths has: Intelligence, Strength, Presence, Wits, Dexterity, Manipulation, Resolve, Stamina, and Composure

Call of Culhtu RPG has: Strength (STR), Constitution (CON), Dexterity (DEX), Size (SIZ)(body mass), Intelligence (INT), Power (POW), Appearance (APP) and Education (EDU)

7th Sea has: Brawn (physical might), Finesse (agility), Wits (intelligence and thinking on your feet), Panache (style and charisma), and Resolve (physical endurance).

Legend of the five Rings: Stamina, Willpower, Strength, Perception, Agility, Intelligence, Reflexes, and Awareness

Shadowrun: Body (BOD). Agility (AGI), Reaction (REA), Strength (STR), Willpower (WIL), Logic (LOG), Intuition (INT), Charisma (CHA), Edge (EDG), Essence (ESS) Initiative(INI) and Magic (MAG)

Some players would rather a low number of attributes, but I wish the opposite.

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.

Would you add acuity/perception to search clues, or hidden traps, and anything like luck/karma/fate/divine grace/guardian angel, what attribute for social manipulation, but not charism?

Would you use "substats" as a bonus feat or merit?

* What system would you use for sanity/madness, points pool as call of chulhtu, "flaws/aflictions" as in Storytelling System, or anything as the mental health "pillars" by Unknown Armies (Violence, Reality, Remorse, Helplessness, Isoliation)?

* How would you mix the classic hit-points and a health(/blood points) pool as injuries levels?
I have not yet found a list that improves on that of Mr. Arneson. It's both succinct and yet each ability is clearly distinct.
Still, there are perfectly good reasons to vary it, depending on what the game is about. Even so I don't think long lists of attributes work. Past six they just muddy the water and blend together; is it wits or presence that let me instantly understand and avoid the trap?
You have to ask "what is the function of attributes?" My answer is to make the character unique and define the basic structure of who she is. Too little is insufficient and too much is confusing and complicated.
The classic six are hard to beat.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
Now I am thinking about courage being absorved by Spirit.

Then we would have the six sacred cows, and Spirit, Acuracy and Technique. Tch would be eye-hand coordination, but without agility as neccesary, for disarm traps, or pre-learn actions as dance, playing musical instruments, or martial arts maneuvers.
 

Tonguez

Adventurer
Now I am thinking about courage being absorved by Spirit.

Then we would have the six sacred cows, and Spirit, Acuracy and Technique. Tch would be eye-hand coordination, but without agility as neccesary, for disarm traps, or pre-learn actions as dance, playing musical instruments, or martial arts maneuvers.
Technique (Dexterity sans Agility) is also good for Thief Skills (pickpocket, sleight of hand, lockpick) and Engineering type skills (Use/Disable device, jury-rig, build). I’d use it for ranged weapons too (aim and fire)
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
Yes, also for crafting, and it is better for aim in ranged weapons, and it is a way to avoid Dex too important or powerful.
 

Aldarc

Hero
You may want to look into Fantasy Age by Green Ronin Publishing. It uses Accuracy, Communication, Constitution, Dexterity, Fighting, Intelligence, Perception, Strength, and Willpower.

Accuracy and Fighting are meant to split the combat omni-stat applicability of Dexterity and Strength respectively.
 

pemerton

Legend
You may want to look into Fantasy Age by Green Ronin Publishing. It uses Accuracy, Communication, Constitution, Dexterity, Fighting, Intelligence, Perception, Strength, and Willpower.

Accuracy and Fighting are meant to split the combat omni-stat applicability of Dexterity and Strength respectively.
But should a universal system be resting on the premise that combat is the omni-mode of resolving challenges?
 
Technique (Dexterity sans Agility) is also good for Thief Skills (pickpocket, sleight of hand, lockpick) and Engineering type skills (Use/Disable device, jury-rig, build). I’d use it for ranged weapons too (aim and fire)
I would just allow for specific 'knacks' or other similar 'aspects' to cover certain variations. Frex: a guy who is slow but very steady-handed might have a middling DEX but also another trait to represent his specific strong point. In 5e terms they could be background elements, 4e would use feats, but 4e/5e skills also can be construed this way.
 

J.M

Villager
Late to the party here....
For Elemental, we settled on:

Agility
Toughness
Awareness
Will

There isn’t a “perfect” answer and the argument will never be settled. But we’ve always found these stats to be mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive and well balanced for most settings.
 

Tonguez

Adventurer
But should a universal system be resting on the premise that combat is the omni-mode of resolving challenges?
thats one of the best things I like about Fate Accelerate - Combat is essentially identical to the ‘Overcoming a challenge’ action and the same Stress track is used for physical/mental and social ‘damage’
 

aramis erak

Adventurer
The problem with Wisdom is not how its defined but rather what it does in game. What are the mechanics of rolling a prudence or maturity check? ie When confronted with an in game choice what does prudence actually do for a character? (The same question applies to Courage really).
Can you give any examples of use?
Wisdom, as used in 5E, is used as the base for perception, intuition, and connection to the gods. It would be better served by a rename to "Insight"... except for the potential written/spoken confusion with Int. But that role is largely how I used it, and my players understood it, under D&D Cyclopedia, AD&D2E and D&D 3E.

Wisdom is called that as a "Tradition" (cue fiddler on the roof)... Although, for a while, D&D did have 12 attributes... (Skills and Powers.)
 

messy

Explorer
Power
Wisdom Courage​

Half joking, but I do prefer systems with less stats than some of the suggestions here. I truly think we could move D&D to five stats and it still work well.
completely agree. i've always admired the ultima system: strength, dexterity, intelligence. simple, distinct, functional.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
But I would like a list of abilities scores I could use to adapt other games with different systems.

Adding Acuity and Spirit isn't too complicate. Now I am thinking about Dex being divided into Technique and Agility or these last two as subabilities (working as bonus feats).
 

GrahamWills

Adventurer
I did create an open license TTRPG for multiple genres. I went for:
Strength
Agility
Endurance
Intuition
Logic
Willpower
Charisma
Luck
Magic/Psi/Chi (named by genre)
A nice list of nine which folds quite neatly into three main ones: Body (strength, agility, endurance), Mind (intuition, logic, willpower), and Soul (charisma, luck, magic). They would be my three choices for generic roleplaying, should I want a system that sets attributes. distinguishing between them would be the next #vel of crunch down, and this breakdown works well for me.
 

3catcircus

Adventurer
I prefer something a bit more "realistic" in what the attributes represent. One attribute that represents perception or awareness. One for agility/manual dexterity/coordination, one for physical health and fitness, one for musculature/strength, one representing IQ/intelligence/analytical thinking, a separate one for formal education, one representing personality/charisma/leadership, and one for mental toughness/willpower.

You can then use these to derive any other attributes like initiative, morale, movement rates, carrying capacities and hit point values.

For example - your muscles are more applicable to a combat movement speed, while your fitness is more applicable to an overland movement speed, yet both are important to determining your carrying capacity.

I also think it is important to distinguish formal training and education if applying it to academic skills while the IQ attribute is better applied to interpreting observed information directly. For example, a detective themed campaign might use a perception check to notice something (you see a series of footprints leading from a monastery where everyone disappeared that your local Lord and the church have asked you to investigate), an IQ check to recognize what you are observing (it is adult sized and non-human) and interpret what it may mean (they look like orc prints, it is common knowledge that a tribe of orcs is known to frequent the mountains near here, and there are some that are deeper prints than others indicating that they are carrying a lot of weight), and the education attribute for any formal education that may be applicable to your interpretations (your study of the local history allows you to determine that they are most likely from the Broken Skull Tribe, who are known to take captives, carrying them in sacks on their backs).
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
Who says anything is a useless fragment?

I guess I would rather to add more abilities scores to feel PCs characters by me are different, an elf with +2 Agility isn't like a gnome or a goblin with +2 Technique and then the class building would a different strategy. And my opinion is more attributes should allow more flexibility for adaptations, for example the attribute "luck" could be replaced with "spirit".
 

atanakar

Adventurer
Modern AGE uses 9:
  • Accuracy
  • Communication
  • Constitution
  • Dexterity
  • Fighting
  • Intelligence
  • Perception
  • Strength
  • Willpower

I like the fact that dexterity and accurancy are decoupled. Same for fighting and strength, as well as intelligence and communication. It allows for more character granularity than the classic D&D abilities. For exemple a dextrous character is not necessarily good with range attacks.
 

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