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Author Topic: Attributes and Duality  (Read 2947 times)
Michiel R
Member

Posts: 13


« on: November 29, 2011, 11:32:07 AM »

I have found in game play that attributes not always live in the imagination of the player. Some attributes are problematic to roleplay.
At least I have often forgot for instance an attribute such as low charisma or intelligence.

I'm quite new here so probably there are lots of topics and ideas adressing this issue. (I would like to hear from them)

I myself have an idea and would like to know what you fine lot of people think of it.

The idea is based on differation of skills. A kind of duality like mind and body. I think this duality is also present in both body and mind themselves.
So is a very strong body (builder), less agile.
And are persons who are very intelligent, frequently a bit less social.

Of course someone can be balanced in all, but not shining in one area or the other. Also one can be both strong and agile, but not that strong in thinking and social skills.

I think of first dividing points amongst body and mind. E.g. 12 points, body 10 and mind 2.
Then these points can be distibuted amongst two dual attributes.
For body: strengt and agility. E.g. body 10: strenght 8 agility 2
And mind: cognitive and social. E.g. mind 2: cognitive 0 social 2
Total points can be calculated by adding the main and dual individual attributes. Thus for body: strength 18 (10+8) and agility 12 (10+2) and mind: cognitive 2 (2+0) and social 4 (2+2)

The result is a simple system of body and mind. And a system to differentiate between specialities.
One can also think of two axes (like in math). One body and one mind.

Like to hear comments. (Sorry if this is not the right place to post this)
 
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Glenn Vandre
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2011, 11:25:58 AM »

Hey Michiel,

I think I understand what you are getting at, and I believe some games have addressed this issue in their character mechanics to varying degrees. 

Many many lifetimes ago when I played D&D (or even Warhammr Fantasy Role-Play), attributes were basically just randomly rolled with no link really existing between them.  They were arbitrary.  Many newer games have a limited number of attribute points that the player assigns to a character's attributes.  So a game like Cyber-Punk (and I haven't played in years so I'm paraphrasing through years of clouded memory), a character has say 20 attribute points to spend amongst 9 attributes (with a range of like 1 to 10 with 10 being awesome and 1 being crappy).  So if the player spread the attribute points sort of evenly, each attribute would have a score of around 2 (with 2 attributes being 3).  This would be a sort of lack luster character.  As such, players don't assign points evenly accross the board.  Instead, they put more points in those attributes they want or think they will need and less in those that they don't.  Because the player doesn't have enough points to be awesome at everything, they have to make choices.  Often it comes down to smart but physically weak or strong but not too bright or agile but socially inept or any mix therof. 

In your concept of duality, do you mean complementary attributes, somewhat related attributes, or diametrically opposed attributes?

Example:  Strength and toughness (resilience, constitution) may be seen as complimentary.  Your example of strength and agility (or charisma) may be somewhat related.  Attributes like strength and intelligence may be seen as opposed.  So your question:  Is a very strong body builder less agile?  I would say yes to a degree.  It comes down to what attributes you choose to use and in what ways you have them being related to each other.

Ars Magica couples attributes and a player has to divide whatever attribute points between each coupling group within a range of -5 to +5 with zero denoting average.  For instance, the coupling of Strength and Stamina is in the game.  The player has 4 points to allocate to these coupled (dual?) attributes and places 2 in Str and 2 in Sta (which equals 4).  However, the player could have declared his character's STR at +5, which would have relegated his STA as -1 (which still equals 4- the number of points or total score between the two linked attributes that he was allowed).   I don't particularly like how Ars Magica has coupled or created a duality among their attributes because things that should be in relation to each other seem to be put at odds with each other, especially if you want to excel at something.  My own logic would say that if you are strong (or fit), then your stamina is also good (related). 

I would agree with your body vs. mind example.  If you spend all your time in the gym, you probably aren't the sharpest sword in the armory.  If you spend all your time in the library, you aren't the best physical specimen.  But overall, it comes down to what attributes you use and how you define their relationships between each other, as well as if they make sense.  A lot of this is stereotyping human traits, which is fine, but make sure your dualities can be justified.  Playing devil's advocate: Why can't I be strong and agile?  Just because I'm smart, you're saying I'm socially inept?  However, I think what your doing is good and will work just fine.  I actually like it and think it's fairly innovative.  The only pitful might be because of the duality, you are forcing characters to either be average across the board or pay a hefty price for being good at something, and is that right or fair? 

There is no clear answer.  In my own opinion, giving characters a set number of points (a purposely low and unsatisfying amount) and letting them assign them how they like often works better in the sense that what they do is their choice.  The duality, though it makes sense, does inhibit their choices to a degree because to be good at something requires them to be bad at something else. 

My two cents. 

Glenn

 

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stefoid
Member

Posts: 657


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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2011, 03:11:39 PM »

Its an intersting question - why have 'points' at all?  The answer is of course to stop players from being 'the best' in every stat available, which would be boring.  But some people ARE the best at everything - (the bastards), so it seems 'unrealistic' to have mechanics that preclude that possibility.

I think the answer to the 'unrealistic' quibble is - so what?  We arent playing those perfect characters, because they are boringly perfect.  We are playing non-perfect, interesting characters.

As for Strong/Agile, Intelligent/social - it makes a certain kind of sense.  I think its much more important to concentrate on when/how the stats will be used in your game.  for instance, when and how is Intelligence used?
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Michiel R
Member

Posts: 13


« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2011, 02:16:21 AM »

Thanks for your tips and advice. Ars magica
Often it comes down to smart but physically weak or strong but not too bright or agile but socially inept or any mix therof. 

In your concept of duality, do you mean complementary attributes, somewhat related attributes, or diametrically opposed attributes?


First are opposed attributes body and mind. (you could balance these)
Second is divide these attributes in two somewhat related groups. They are kind of related, because now I add the points with the above. For instance mind 8 and social 6 gives a total of 14 in social skills.
I am thinking of making body and mind the resilience.
Body a kind of hitpoints and mind a kind of mental health.
Maybe making them a kind of pool.

The ars magica negative points could be usefull here. Thanks!
 
Of course how you put use to attributes (or skills) is very important. And probably the one thing to really make your character live.

People who are both strong and agile exist. And you can make them, with this divide of duality, but the body has more and therefore you have less of mind points.

I am not sure why but I really like the duality principle. (Although the two can very well be complimentary in real life. A bit of sport and healthy body can also stimulate the mind.)
I also agree that characters with some low values are nicer to play. They can grow, you can identify with them, and you have to cope (roleplay) with their inabillities.
That's not the real point here. I think I like it, because it makes things a bit easier. Two things, mind and body. Are you strong in one or the other, or both a bit. And a balance in those two. One look at the attributes and you know who you are (who to play at least). That's what I'm getting at.
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Michiel R
Member

Posts: 13


« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2011, 02:41:41 PM »

well trying to get at, at least.
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Aisha Bennett
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2011, 02:22:34 AM »

Hey Michiel

This is very true. Some times the presumed attributes are very different from reality. We can make a generalize statement saying that nothing is perfect in every sphere. While you focus on many attributes, few will still lacking.
Thanks for this wonderful post.
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Michiel R
Member

Posts: 13


« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2011, 01:26:23 PM »

Thanks Aisha, but I'm not sure if this is really a wonderful post. It does'nt give that much answers.

I like the aproach of "in a wicked age", where -as I understand it- the attributes steer the kind of reaction. So here is a direct connection to behavior and attributes.
Next to this I also like the Fudge approach which emphasises the skills in stead of attributes.

As to not be perfect. I think this is the nicest thing about roleplay. Things such as gambling problem, being chased by someone, falling for the wrong kind of people, wanting to help everyone (easy to fool), etc. 
Probably these disadvantages could be coupled to the attributes in some way.

I'm not sure if balancing two sides is the answer to a 'realistic' systeem of  attributes. Like has been said: why not distribute a set of points to attributes the way people like to?
Though now I think of it, setting disadvantage to low scores, can make even low scores interesting or more important.
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thedroid
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2012, 08:25:12 PM »

I have found in game play that attributes not always live in the imagination of the player. Some attributes are problematic to roleplay.
At least I have often forgot for instance an attribute such as low charisma or intelligence.

I'm quite new here so probably there are lots of topics and ideas adressing this issue. (I would like to hear from them)

I myself have an idea and would like to know what you fine lot of people think of it.

The idea is based on differation of skills. A kind of duality like mind and body. I think this duality is also present in both body and mind themselves.
So is a very strong body (builder), less agile.
And are persons who are very intelligent, frequently a bit less social.

Of course someone can be balanced in all, but not shining in one area or the other. Also one can be both strong and agile, but not that strong in thinking and social skills.

I think of first dividing points amongst body and mind. E.g. 12 points, body 10 and mind 2.
Then these points can be distibuted amongst two dual attributes.
For body: strengt and agility. E.g. body 10: strenght 8 agility 2
And mind: cognitive and social. E.g. mind 2: cognitive 0 social 2
Total points can be calculated by adding the main and dual individual attributes. Thus for body: strength 18 (10+8) and agility 12 (10+2) and mind: cognitive 2 (2+0) and social 4 (2+2)

The result is a simple system of body and mind. And a system to differentiate between specialities.
One can also think of two axes (like in math). One body and one mind.

Like to hear comments. (Sorry if this is not the right place to post this)
 

I played around with this in one game idea where the opposed atributes were more like opposite ways of solving a problem. Like Combat and Diplomacy. Or Stealth and Perception. Or Resources and Survival (figuring that someone with few resources would have be good at surviving). It's appealing, but sort of too balanced, if you know what I mean.

I also tried subdividing attributes into different, though not exactly opposite, approaches to allow players to tweak them by shifting the point balance. Say you've got 6 Stealth. Within Stealth there's Hiding -- avoiding being seen or heard -- and Deception -- tricks that distract the viewer. You could decide to specialize in one at the detriment of the other. Say you want 8 Hiding and 4 Deception instead of an overall 6 in both. I kind of like this system better, because it allowed for some specialization right off the bat, before earned skills came into the picture.
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