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RPG Statistics Idea

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I have been reading through the Design Forum to look for ideas for a combat system when I had an idea and would like some feedback to see if it would seem feasible. O.K. most RPG's have the player with some basic stats that get improved through the game, which are either predetermined or randomly generated as in the D&D format. What if at the onset of the game you would actually test the player to determine these stats? For example: Strength (get the hard one out of the way): For this you could not tell the person you were testing for their stats at all, but could ask some general questions. Age, sex, height, weight, and find a system to scale accordingly, without having the outcome being to unbalanced from high to low. Dexterity: How about typing or some simple 'point and click' game in the begining like those 'Wack the whatever' things like they have at the shore or carnivals. This could also be used for something as accuracy. Things from above (i.e. hight, weight, etc.) would also effect this as size increases so does strength but Dex would go down. Intelligence: A small IQ test of sorts. This would need to have many questions in the program as to produce only a random few each time or you would get the person to just memorize all the answers and go back and redo it. Also age would effect this stat. Constitution: Also calculated by the Strength answers. Or you could ask questions like "How many hits with a bat would it take to knock you down?" Charisma: Another test, but this one would be like one of those personality tests found on the net. Wisdom: O.K. now for some reason this trait is linked to Diety and Religon type of things. O.K. so test their Religious knowledge. Now you would have to account for many forms of Religon, and have considerations for Athists and agnostics. Difficult, but nothing is impossible. These traits are those typically seen, and of course you would be able to increase them in the game via items or training. Trianing: Intelligence: Have tests in the game about the game. Strength & Constitution: These may be based on how well you have done in combat and would also deal with underlying stats not revealed to the player that are more based on luck. Dexterity: More accuracy type tests in the game. Etc..... Well please offer some feedback on this. I know it would be wxtremely difficult to impliment, but would it be a goo idea? I know one of the aspects of the story is 'I'm a kid and I get to be this all powerful whatever', but if the character started out more like the player, it may bring the player into the game more and they can see their character going from what they really are now to this all powerfull whatever. Also if you have any other ideas on how one would test for these attributes please add them.

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It's very interesting, though generally people play silly games so they can pretend to be someone they're not.

One thing you might want to look at is a game called puzzle pirates. Instead of using the little minigames for stat creation, it uses little minigames as the determining factor when using skills. Thus as the player gets better at the little puzzles, the effective skill level of the character rises.

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Well, I'm not entirely opposed to generating the stats from a start sequence, but I am opposed to generating them through most of these means. An RPG is a chance to play someone they're not.

The character's starting actions could be the source of their stats though. If the character gets to make choices early on, these could subtly influence the weighting of their stats.

I say "weighting", because it's probably unfair to give players an advantage or disadvantage through this method. Instead, give them bonuses in favoured areas, and penalties to unpopular ones, but make it all add up to the same balance.

EDIT: and thinking about it, don't link Wisdom to real religious knowledge. The system of religion is very different to that in real life, and you will offend a lot of people if you do.

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Some games(like ADOM) have used questions at the beginning as a meaning of modifying the stats, like:

You are on your way to training and you see a somewhat good looking chick looking at you. Would you A) go to training or B) go talk with the chick?

Choosing A means +1 streght for your character and B would be +1 in charisma.

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As I mentioned in another post, I think you're stepping away fro the concept of roleplaying if you try to actually gauge gameplay abilities based on the player himself. Part of the appeal of playing roleplaying games is to be someone different than yourself.

The problem with most quantifier aspects of games is that they are not logically consistent. For example, take the ubiquitous concept of strength. Well, what is strength really? In your game do you simply define it as how much a character can lift? Well, what about martial artists or gymnasts who may not be able to lift as much, but who are in most aspects functionally stronger (able to act on their own bodyweight) than bodybuilders and who can generate more power (work/time). So really, there are two aspects to strength, power and work. Bodybuilders and powerlifters can generate much more force, but not as rapidly as can martial artists or gymnasts. The latter group however can generate more power. If you define strength simply as lifting capacity, then your system can't create smaller but more wiry characters.

And how does height, weight, and fitness affect physical stats? Afterall, if you are shorther, you theoretically have a more advantageous ability to lift things (the strongest people in the world, pound for pound, tend to be smaller, because their smaller limbs have better torque generation....to imagine this, imagine holding out a yardstick with a brick attached at the end, and trying to rotate it by grasping the free end with your hand, and rotating your wrist...now imagine doing the same with a stick only 2 feet long).

More importantly are the ideas of skills for the character. On one extreme, you have class creation systems that basically pidgeonhole your character into having a certain set of skills. On the other end is the "purchase what you want" method where the player chooses whatever skills fits the character conception. Both systems are flawed however. In the first category, even if two characters have the same profession, they may have had different social, economic and perhaps even educational backgrounds. For example, I'm a CS major now, but I have enough credits to have a minor in psychology. I've also studied as a hobby in my spare time off and on through the years several different martial arts. But someone else my age and who's also a a software engineer or prgrammer may have a very different set of skills than me. In the "purchase whatever you want" method, you can get some very illogical combinations of skills. What if for example, your character had a "Heavy Weapons" skill, and yet he was never in the military. Where'd he learn how to fire wire guided AT missles then...the local terrorist group?

For attributes, I would suggest this:
Have two pools of points, one for mental and one for physical stats. Clearly seperate primary attributes which you purchase with points, from derived attributes which are determined solely from the primary attributes (you can't raise them by spending points, except possibly through perks or advantages). How you determine the amount in each pool is up to you, but I'm beginning to see the advantages of a random method.

For skills, I would suggest this:
Create a lifepath system that goes from the character's teen years and possibly though adulthood. Their social, cultural and economic levels should either be paid for with points in a seperate "Class pool" (the amount can either be a flat number or determined randomly). The social, economic and cultural levels will determine what branches the character can take...in essence, mini-classes, that determine the access of skills available. Some of these lifepath classes may have minimum attribute requirements (for example, if you want your character to have gone to a military academy, they will need minimum scores in intelligence and a high enough social class level...or pay extra points). Every lifepath class can take a preset number of years and provide a certain level of skill points. After the years are spent, the character can keep branching through the lifepath options, or he can quit and enter the game. Obviously there's an advantage to staying in a long time, because you gain more skills, so you may want to include some kind of "random encounter" table which could provide further bonuses or penalties, plus after a certain age, physical attributes will decline.

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