Do you play your friends or real people? My fundamental problem is that this dehumanizes people because real people are not characters. We do not have ability scores. Our health and abilities are far more complex than what the D&D ability scores can't even scratch the surface of representing. I personally find it dehumanizing to reduce people to fantasy game ability scores. This is why I kindly requested that you refrain from that because I find it harmful, demeaning, and dehumanizing.Ability scores represent the people we play and we can imagine them to be as real as we want. It is very condescending to tell me I must do otherwise.
Game abstractions that for some reason some gamers take even more seriously than the farcical MBTI, Enneagram, or Astrological Sign as if any of these things were somehow a meaningful metric of a person or character's abilities.As I said, if not, what do they represent to you?
I don't have to convince myself of anything here. I can make a chain-smoking, alcoholic, morbidly obese character with a 20 Constitution in D&D. Who knows? Maybe the reason why they may still be able to remain alive is precisely because they have a 20 Constitution. The game doesn't care. If Constitution was truly about health, then it seems silly that good health would be linked with the ability to endure sleeplessness or engaging in vast quantities of alcoholic drinking. Basically, when we see what Constitution represents for a check, a good Constitution is not necessarily linked with healthy tendencies and vitality but often with unhealthy bodily self-destructive tendencies. I don't really think that the ability scores are written in a wholly consistent manner in terms of what they actually represent and I don't think that we should pretend that they are.The quote about CON was right from the PHB: "health, stamina, vital force." It represents, in game terms, exactly what I said it does.
You can convince yourself that maybe a character's vital force is SO incredibly and awesomely amazing that their CON is 20 even though they weight 400 lbs, smoke all day long, eat nothing but candy, only walk to the kitchen and bathroom for their daily exercise, and so on. I'll stick with what the core 6 and the concept of ability scores actually mean according to the game, thanks.
Pretty much this. I agree. One reason, however, why I would consider reworking ability scores apart from the Six when making another game other D&D would entail how intuitive the ability scores are for new players. IME, despite the ubiquity of D&D's six ability scores, I have found that they are not as intuitive for new players to learn as some of us may feel. A lot of people come from video games. Some games may use Constitution to represent stats, but others will use terms like Vitality, Stamina, Toughness, which are typically more intuitive for people than "Constitution."Ultimately, the decision to add or remove ability scores from a system has less to do with whether a system works, than it is a reflection about what the designer really cares about in terms of verisimilitude and character conception.
I think that it is also worth considering whether your presumption is true that the granularity lost must be displaced to elsewhere in the system. I get the point you are driving at that sometimes they are replaced with skills and the like, but I hardly think that is a universal. Because it seems to reinforce the idea that it's not worth any effort to deviate from the Six because what is lost MUST exist elsewhere in the system. IME with other systems that's not necessarily the case.
To be clear, I am primarily speaking from a position of cynicism about the ability to effect drastic change on a fairly conservative system rather than any personal preference.I value tradition. I consider traditions to be human experiments that survive the test of time. The ability to survive often includes accidentally accounting for factors that might still remain unknown or unrecognized.
At the same time, in the big picture, traditions tend to follow a bell curve, their initial innovation prospers because of some inherent benefit. But then as new needs or situations emerge, the tradition tends to decline