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Homebrew: Are physical stats stressed too often?

   
Are physical stats stressed too often?

Physical stats are typically demanded of in most RPGs for most everything physical.

In real life, however, pretty much everything is mental and conveys just how much concentration or whatever belongs in the task.

Instead I propose a system that requires every competent character to have decent mental stats in some area. Even manual labor in the real world requires some level of intuitiveness or intelligence or awareness.

By doing this, the mental stats could be split up a bit more.

In this way, this new system won't have a highly generic 'intelligence' stat.
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Here's the stats I've come up with. This is for basically any new system you guys may want to come up with. It follows the attributes of the brain outlined in 'Lumosity' - which is a website devoted to brain training games. The names have been re-named.

Alacrity (speed): Quickness of thought. Helps in situations where a character must think fast. One scenario could be reflex saves, initiative, reading the movement of another, or casting a spell more quickly than normal.

Awareness (attention): Awareness is the ability to take in a whole bunch of detail at once and process each and every piece of it. If a lot is happening at once, a character may not be able to focus on much unless they have a higher awareness score or whatever. This is also used for 'perception' based rolls, but only when something would get caught in plain view. Also helps a character multi-task - so a character can perform simultaneous actions if they have a high enough score or each tasks are well rehearsed enough.

Memory: More closely related to intelligence at its fundamental. If you have a high enough memory, you could take some abilities like 'photographic memory', or cast more spells per day, or cast from a scroll without having read the scroll for a while, etc.

Analysis (Problem Solving): Also closely related to intelligence at its fundamental. Good analysis means they're better at general Int checks or learning more complicated abilities (at the expense of requiring more concentration or whatever). An analytical mind is also more enduring.

Diversity (flexibility): The 'creativity' stat. A person with good diversity will be able to spot things that are hidden, and notice things that most people don't pay attention to. They also might be able to come up with new ideas due to their ability to think 'outside the box'. This might also be the charisma stat - a diverse mind can convince others of things like the fact they themselves are smart (usually by drawing upon a bunch of unique topics in just a short interval) or are able to put themselves in the other person's shoes.

You do still need at least three basic physical attributes. At the very least, Strength, Constitution, and Dexterity (re-name as you choose). Dexterity can easily be split as just because you are capable of fine manipulation does not mean you have good reflexes.

Missing a few, imo.

Emotional intelligence: The ability to understand feelings, both yours and others. This understanding allows you to manipulate people and solve social problems. Replace the oft-maligned 'charisma' score.
Mental Grit: The constitution of the mind, the mind's ability to come under heavy stress without bending or breaking.

Physical stats are stressed more in games than in real life because games feature violent conflict--a situation where one's physical capabilities matter--far more often than real life. When's the last time you battled a tribe of goblins?

Trying to make a game that modeled all the mental characteristics of a person would quickly get cumbersome, especially if you're aiming for tabletop. Some form of condensing and representation of mental abilities is necessary simply for the purpose of usability. The system you propose would probably be a more granular and perhaps accurate way to portray mental characteristics, but each stat is more a person has to keep up with. At some point, any fun one might have is drowned out by all bookkeeping.

In general, trying too hard to simulate real life in a game is a bad idea--after all, don't we get enough real life in real life?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Proven Paradox View Post
Physical stats are stressed more in games than in real life because games feature violent conflict--a situation where one's physical capabilities--far more often than real life. When's the last time you battled a tribe of goblins?
There was this time when middle schoolers were touring my college and taking up all the seats in the cafeteria...

Quote:
Emotional intelligence: The ability to understand feelings, both yours and others. This understanding allows you to manipulate people and solve social problems. Replace the oft-maligned 'charisma' score.
Mental Grit: The constitution of the mind, the mind's ability to come under heavy stress without bending or breaking.
As it stands, diversity doesn't really do much. 'Creativity' is usually up to the player. Emotional intelligence would be better functioned as a skill or specific ability, not an entire stat of its own.

As for mental grit - I'm thinking just 'grit'. It'd cover physical 'fortitude' and will power.

Quote:
Physical stats are stressed more in games than in real life because games feature violent conflict--a situation where one's physical capabilities matter--far more often than real life. When's the last time you battled a tribe of goblins?
Yeah, but even in combat, the guy with the muscles doesn't really get everything done - he just does the heavy lifting. He isn't really efficient. He isn't good at aiming a gun. He isn't even good at swinging a sword - that requires skill. Just because the guy is strong and can swing it quickly doesn't mean he isn't easy to avoid.

The big, un-skilled guy wins because the smaller guys aren't trained to deal with a mightier foe. If they are trained to deal with it, the mighty foe is almost immediately invalidated - basically, might works, but a guy who wants to stay effective in combat has to start investing skill and/or having some mental perks from the five avenues.

In martial arts too, people typically learn how to fight off larger, stronger foes. Pretty much every military trains its soldiers in a hand-to-hand martial art of some kind. You also have to consider that most people aren't naturally strong - typically, to become really strong, you have to take steroids or hit the gym very often.

If your an adventurer, it's usually gotta be the former, because you aren't going to find too many gyms on the battlefield or in a dungeon (also the feeling of muscle deterioration sucks). Adventurers do keep up their mental endurance, stress coping and cardio though - that's a natural facet of their day-to-day lives.

In other words, maybe the D&D fighter DOES take steroids or the orc naturally produces more testerone that leads to greater strength, even when they don't hit the gym.

For my system, I'm thinking strength would cover encumbrance, raw might checks, exertion (basically just strength circumstance), and speed (lower body strength). That's about it though.

Also, you can make grit checks to do extraordinary physical things - usually as a result of adrenaline, but there's also the 'pushing physical limits' sorta thing.

Smashing somebody to a pulp in melee is a raw might check - if you're skilled enough to grab onto them (or they don't know how to avoid you in the first place), you can crush them between your muscles like ah-nold.

I think that, rather than making up whole reams of new statistics to take up space on a character sheet, you were more on target with your initial observation:

Quote:
Originally Posted by impfireball View Post
Physical stats are typically demanded of in most RPGs for most everything physical.

In real life, however, pretty much everything is mental and conveys just how much concentration or whatever belongs in the task.

Instead I propose a system that requires every competent character to have decent mental stats in some area. Even manual labor in the real world requires some level of intuitiveness or intelligence or awareness.
I don't think you need more stats, or new stats to heal the arbitrary divide between the mental and the physical. If you're trying to convey that a wholeness, a totality of the human encompassing both body and mind in one...well, you need mechanics to represent that. It could be as simple as requiring a will save (or a roll against Will if you speak GURPS) if a character wishes to exert physical strength for a prolonged period of time. Weak-willed or weak-minded characters, then, need the support or direction of other PCs in order to succeed in their adventures - and that can be interesting to roleplay.

I think if you add more stats, it's only going to mean more min/maxing. Fighters will only take the kind of intelligence they need to survive, and they'll dump the rest. If you make everyone dependent upon all of your different attributes, you'll end up enforcing character stat blocks that look a lot the same, or worse it will be like playing a character in D&D with severe MAD and you'll be boned without magic items and a whole lot of point-buy.

I do enjoy the idea of a roleplaying system that reflects the fantastic diversity of human intelligence, but let's be fair: most systems aren't that simulationist about the physical stats, either! D&D doesn't even differentiate Agility from Dexterity, nor does Strength allow for a character with lower-body strength and a relatively weak upper body. It's a convenient abstraction: if you want a character with a particular bent of intelligence, I think that you can accomplish through roleplaying witout a particular need for new mechanics.

I wouldn't say physical stats so much as physical stat -- there are way too many games out there where Dexterity, by whatever name, is THE stat. (Hello, Exalted!) Personally, I'd rather play games where the high-strength and high-dexterity guys are on a more or less even footing.

I would with an observation like this decide to remove mental stats entirely.

I rarely have characters with loads of active mental or social stats, prefering the defensive and physical stats.
Why?
I'm not a Master Mind, and I'm not Mr Charisma.

If the mental stats of a character are so complete, couldn't you completely automate the characters, and have no need for players?
I say this because all those years ago when I started trying to make my first game, that's where it was heading.
Players need to have enough input to feel like they're part of the game, and for some players, a lot of that input isn't exactly of INT 18 standard.


"I come up with a sneaky plan to get the magic item, but make it look like it was someone else who took it.
I rolled a 23."
"That is one sneaky plan your character just thought of."

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShakeyBox View Post
I would with an observation like this decide to remove mental stats entirely.

I rarely have characters with loads of active mental or social stats, prefering the defensive and physical stats.
Why?
I'm not a Master Mind, and I'm not Mr Charisma.

If the mental stats of a character are so complete, couldn't you completely automate the characters, and have no need for players?
I say this because all those years ago when I started trying to make my first game, that's where it was heading.
Players need to have enough input to feel like they're part of the game, and for some players, a lot of that input isn't exactly of INT 18 standard.


"I come up with a sneaky plan to get the magic item, but make it look like it was someone else who took it.
I rolled a 23."
"That is one sneaky plan your character just thought of."
That's why you talk to the other players. You may not have 18 Int each by yourself, but put together, you can probably come up with a plan, or a story convincing enough, to be brought by a character with 18 in the relevant score.




 

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