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[d20 System] Expanding Ability Scores

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Roudi:
A fellow on ENWorld asked if any OGL supplements offered expansions to the current ability scores.  His major beef was that each of the six scores covered areas that didn't necessarily correlate.  His post inspired me, and I concocted something fast and dirty to pitch to him.  I thought I'd post it here to see what you folks thought.

Take the six core abilities.  Each now has two subabilities.  

Strength: muscle, power.

Dexterity: agility, co-ordination.

Constitution: toughness, stamina.

Intelligence: logic, memory.

Wisdom: willpower, perception.

Charisma: looks, personality.

The ability score modifier for the ability is divided between these two subabilities.  For example, a character with an INT of 18 might have a +3 logic modifier and a +1 memory modifier.  If her CON was 15, she might have a +2 toughness modifier and a +2 stamina modifier.  I could forsee allowing subabilities to have penalties so long as the two subability modifiers added up to the ability modifier (for example, a WIS 11 could have a -1 willpower and +1 perception); however, such a thing would have to be carefully restricted to prevent ridiculous min/maxing.

Skills, saves, and combat rolls would have to be reassigned to subability modifiers.  Knowledge skills would be functions of memory, ranged attacks would be a function of co-ordination, etc.  One thing I would consider is allowing some checks to use more than one subability modifier at a time.  For example, Intimidate is equally a function of a character's personality, toughness, and power.  Jump is a combination of agility and power (sometimes requiring co-ordination, too).  Melee attacks are a combination of co-ordination and power.  So, while all modifiers might seem like they are getting lower by splitting them between subabilities, they are actually gaining further potential through logical combinations.

CleanCutRogue:
Not all of these sub-categories make sense to me.  Strength, for example, is pretty much Strength.  Constitution likewise.

I agree that Wisdom combines Perception and Willpower in an odd manner (and calls it something completely unrelated to both - I mean... Wisdom??).  And Charisma seems to gather into its domain the subabilities of Appeal, Charm, and Presence (all of which seem different to me).  However, it's my opinion this was done on purpose, and defines an antiquated method of role-playing game understanding/design.

For example: Strength is very narrow in its application, but also extremely helpful to the character (in the form of combat, carrying capacity, etc.)  In order to prevent the existence of a dozen less-oft-used abilities, the wise old creators of the game categorized lesser-used abilities into what we now have.  However, a lot can be said for the fact that the game began as a tactical wargame.  In such a wargame, separating Appearance from Charm from Presence seemed unnecessary.  Today that's not so.

The problem with separating out subabilities is that they will no longer carry the same weight they previously carried within the scope of the rules.  In addition, if you start getting too specific, then I start to wonder where you stop in specificity.  Perception as a sub-ability or new ability?  Is it different from Instinct, Insight or magical Awareness?  What about the fact that Perception actually has several subabilities relating to individual senses?  Is Appeal its own subability?  What about the fact that active use of Appeal is quite different than just being appealing?  Should that break down into Seductiveness and Attractiveness?  Likewise Dexterity logically breaks down into Agility and Coordination (gross motor skills versus fine motor skills - sounds good to me), but how do I know about a character's general Grace?  Flexibility? Balance?

I don't know.  Despite the fact that the game balance was designed around a flawed concept, I think the system works fine.  The generality of the attributes (other than the ones whose roles are very specific, such as Strength, and Constitution) is intentionally intrinsic to the very delicate game balance that is D&D.  I say let it be.

Maddman:
They did this in S|
Personally, you could probably give everyone an extra 4 ability points and get the same end result.

Cyclotron:

--- Quote from: Roudi ---A fellow on ENWorld asked if any OGL supplements offered expansions to the current ability scores. His major beef was that each of the six scores covered areas that didn't necessarily correlate. His post inspired me, and I concocted something fast and dirty to pitch to him. I thought I'd post it here to see what you folks thought.

Take the six core abilities.  Each now has two subabilities.  

Strength: muscle, power.

Dexterity: agility, co-ordination.

Constitution: toughness, stamina.

Intelligence: logic, memory.

Wisdom: willpower, perception.

Charisma: looks, personality.
--- End quote ---

I always wanted to try a 9 ability matrix that looked something like this...


--- Code: ---           PHYSICAL   MENTAL        SOCIAL  
POWER      Strength   Intelligence  Esteem
FINESSE    Dexterity  Wits          Guile
ENDURANCE  Stamina    Willpower     Composure

    PHY MEN SOC
POW Str Int Est
FIN Dex Wit Gui
END Sta Wil Com
--- End code ---

...but never quite got around to it.

Roudi:
That 9-ability matrix looks mighty nifty.

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