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Battle of the Attributes

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An option, based I think in the Conan RPG, would be to have a bonus to all skills in a category based on how many dice of skills you have in that category. So, the more strength based skills you have, the higher bonus to all strength based skills.

 

I like that idea. I'm cleaning up my Age of Enlightenment rules and then I'll turn my attention to fleshing out a steam fantasy world I have sitting sitting around on various bits of paper. The magic system will only have a couple skills per domain, but this may still work.

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Going with the Base 2D to build upon idea, how about for the core talent pool adding one pip for every 1D in the total talent pool? So with a 2D base, a character with 5D in one area would have an additional 1D+2, for a total of 3D+2 in the base?

 

I was thinking with the lower amounts of dice allocated it might make the core pool a bit meatier - if the original 18D for attributes in a game utilizing them where added to the typical 7D for skills, we'd have 25D to distribute amongst the character skills, and skills not selected would be rolled at the base talent pool default...

 

So, to use Conan as an example, they had six pools:

 

Prowess - covering Strength, Movement, Swimming, Climbing, etc.

Fighting - covering Weapons Proficiency, Wrestling, Brawling, etc.

Endurance - covering Stamina, Damage Endurance, Poison Endurance, etc.

Knowledge - covering Spells, Engineering, Reading, Writing, Languages, etc.

Perception - covering Shadowing, Pickpocketing, Animal Training, etc.

Insight - covering Natural Magic, Poetry, Telepathy, etc.

 

Having a total of 10D allocated to the Fighting Pool would give a base fighting of 5D+1 - Base 2D +10 pips (= 3D+1).

 

Possibly using the pips route it might not be necessary to provide a base 2D; I'd been considering it because of other similar games where a baseline default is provided, such as Starship Troopers or A Song of Ice and Fire, but it might make the talent pool base too strong (i.e. stronger than some of the skills within it.)

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I like that idea. I'm cleaning up my Age of Enlightenment rules and then I'll turn my attention to fleshing out a steam fantasy world I have sitting sitting around on various bits of paper. The magic system will only have a couple skills per domain, but this may still work.

 

Wow! Glad to have you here! :D I really enjoyed your Age of Enlightenment rules - looking forward to seeing where you're heading next!

Edited by Lee Torres
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Wow! Glad to have you here! :D I really enjoyed your Age of Enlightenment rules - looking forward to seeing where you're heading next!

 

Aw shucks. My head is swelling now. :D

 

Anyhoo, I'm still planning on going the combined skills route, so I'll start everything off at 0D. Though at this point it's looking like it will be a combined skill + subskill subsystem. (Melee plus your choice of 1H Sword style, 2H Sword, Sword + Shield, Two Weapon, etc.)

 

I'm looking at the skill group bonuses we've just been talking about, but perhaps something exponential. New characters can get a +2 or +3 in a couple of their groups while advanced characters hopefully wouldn't have more than +3D. I don't know what level of granularity my skill groups should have yet (e.g Reflexes - Combat Skills - Melee Combat). I may just leave that up to the player and GM. With a bonus system that scales exponentially a narrower group of skills will see a more immediate benefit but with a lower potential bonus. So it should balance out. (Hmm... On second thought that my not be true. Back to the spreadsheet again.)

 

As I'm thinking about it while I write this, I think I'll put a cap on the skill bonuses and let the people playing the game group their skills as they see fit.

Edited by Jurgun

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I don't know whether anybody is interested on my thoughts on this matter, but for a homebrew space opera campaign setting that I am currently working on I decided to increase the number of basic attributes from seven to ten. I felt that the game could benefit from a little more granularity. I also felt that it was a good idea to break up a couple of attributes that PCs often dump most of their points into. This is obviously a matter of taste - some folks prefer fewer attributes while others prefer more of them.

 

I attempted to keep the new attributes generic in order to make it easy to transfer them from one genre to another. And I deliberately selected names for the new attributes that bring them into line with the naming conventions used by other RPGs. IMHO, this makes it easier to convert material from other games to the D6 system.

 

Obviously, these changes have had a number of effects elsewhere in the game system. For example, I needed to modify the character creation rules slightly to accommodate the increased number of attributes. I also needed to change the attribute associated with certain skills.

 

Anyway, for what it is worth, my rules for attributes are provided below:

 

Attributes

Each character has ten attributes that measure basic physical and mental capabilities common to all living creatures, no matter what universe they exist in.

 

In addition, characters may possess one or more optional paranormal attributes that represent extraordinary gifts such as the ability to wield magic or psionics.

 

Each of the ten basic attributes is described below:

 

Strength: This attribute measures muscle-power and physical might. It provides a rough indication of the character’s overall physique. This attribute can be used to perform feats of prowess such as lifting heavy objects or breaking through locked doors. This attribute is important in combat because it determines the amount of damage the character inflicts when armed with muscle-powered weapons such as swords, spears, or axes.

 

Constitution: This attribute measures stamina, endurance, health, and general physical fitness. It is used to resist the effects of fatigue, disease, poison, starvation, torture, and physical injury. This attribute is important because it influences the character’s ability to survive adverse environmental conditions and physical harm. A character with a low endurance is more vulnerable to the effects of injuries.

 

Agility: This attribute measures balance, reflexes, reaction speed, and full-body motor abilities. It provides an indication of the character's overall gracefulness and nimbleness. This attribute is important because it influences the character’s ability to react quickly to dangerous situations and evade physical attacks. A character with a low Agility attribute will find it difficult to dodge in combat.

 

Dexterity: This attribute measures hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. It is used to manipulate small objects, utilize tools, and perform other actions where manual deftness is a significant factor. This attribute is important in combat because it influences the character’s accuracy with weapons.

 

Intellect: This attribute measures clarity of thought and ability to perform structured logical reasoning. It indicates ability to learn new concepts, comprehend ideas, use deductive logic, construct rational arguments, and engage in reasoned debate. It can be used as a rough indicator of overall intellectual prowess. This attribute is important because it is the basis of many mental skills.

 

Knowledge: This attribute measures level of education and general knowledge. A character with a high knowledge attribute will possess an encyclopedic knowledge of many subjects. This attribute is important because it is also the basis of many mental skills.

 

Technical: This attribute measures aptitude with technology. It determines a character's ability to operate, manipulate, modify, and repair technological devices. A character with a high Technical attribute will seem to possess an innate knack for technology. This attribute is important because it is the basis of technical skills, including the ability to operate sensors, computers, communication devices, and force fields.

 

Acumen: This attribute measures your characters alertness and attentiveness. It include elements of common sense, intuition, wisdom, and attention to detail. A character with a high Acumen attribute will be insightful and will have a sound judgment in practical matters. This attribute is important because it is the basis of skills such as Perception and Search. A character with a low Acumen will rarely notice subtle clues and may be more susceptible to traps or ambush.

 

Determination: This attribute measures the character’s self-discipline, conviction, courage, and willpower. provides an indication of the character's overall mental and emotional stability. This attribute is used to resist the effects of fear, stress, and temptation. It is also used to resist psionic powers that have mental effects. And it can be used to resist the gradual dehumanization often associated with cybernetic enhancement. (In horror-based campaigns, perhaps it might also used to resist the sanity-blasting effects of certain eldritch artifacts and entities??).

 

Presence: This attribute measures charisma, personal magnetism, leadership ability, and force of personality. It may include a component of physical attractiveness, although this is not always the case. This attribute is important because it influences the character’s ability to interact effectively with NPCs. It is also the basis of most social skills.

 

 

Paranormal Attributes

Paranormal attributes are optional attributes used to measure the extent of a character’s natural talent with extraordinary abilities such as magic, psionics, or chi powers. Each paranormal ability is associated with a separate attribute. Most characters begin with a score of 0D in these attributes, since people with such abilities are extremely rare. Characters who wish to possess a paranormal talent must spend some of their precious attribute points to purchase a positive die code in the relevant attribute. Characters should not be permitted to purchase more than a single Paranormal attribute under normal circumstances.

 

 

Attribute Die Codes

No Human character may have less than 1D or more than 5D in any other attribute. Other species have other minimums and maximums, which are either listed with the species description or specified by the GM.

 

Exception: A Human character may have no dice in the various optional Paranormal attributes; there is no maximum that a Human character may have in these attributes.

 

For human characters, following guidelines should be used to assess the meaning of the die codes assigned to each attribute:

 

1D - Below Average

2D - Average

3D - Above Average

4D - Exceptional

5D - Outstanding

6D+ - Superhuman

 

Purchasing Attributes

If using the 'Defined Limits' system of character creation, simply distribute 25 dice among the 10 attributes. The minimum is 1D and the maximum is 5D in all attributes except Paranormal attributes. Paranormal attributes have no minimum and no maximum.

 

If using the 'Creation Point Pool' system of character creation, increase the number of creation points that characters receive to distribute among the options various options to 85 but otherwise use the system as it is written.

 

 

Final Notes

I should note that this is still a work in progress and nothing is set in stone at the moment. For example, I have been debating whether to roll the Technical attribute into the Knowledge attribute to keep the list as genre-neutral as possible. Feedback will be gratefully accepted!

 

If anybody is interested, I will upload my preliminary skill list as well.

Edited by Prime Evil

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Intellect: This attribute measures clarity of thought and ability to perform structured logical reasoning. It indicates ability to learn new concepts, comprehend ideas, use deductive logic, construct rational arguments, and engage in reasoned debate. It can be used as a rough indicator of overall intellectual prowess. This attribute is important because it is the basis of many mental skills.

 

Knowledge: This attribute measures level of education and general knowledge. A character with a high knowledge attribute will possess an encyclopedic knowledge of many subjects. This attribute is important because it is also the basis of many mental skills.

 

Technical: This attribute measures aptitude with technology. It determines a character's ability to operate, manipulate, modify, and repair technological devices. A character with a high Technical attribute will seem to possess an innate knack for technology. This attribute is important because it is the basis of technical skills, including the ability to operate sensors, computers, communication devices, and force fields.

 

Wow! Quite an introductory post! :D

 

I think you might consider folding Technical into Knowledge, as you said, for a more all-encompassing list - out of curiosity, though, what do you see as the difference between Intellect and Knowledge? Is one the capability of your brain to reason and the other how you are actually using it? Sort of like Traveller having Intelligence and Education?

 

I'd be interested in seeing your skill list - but you might consider starting a new thread over in Projects - you can use it to post your ideas and get feedback without the attributes issue getting in the way! I've got my thread for Firefly D6 over there, and there's a number of others, like Judge Dredd D6 for instance...

Edited by Lee Torres

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Thanks for the kind words!

 

The more I think about it, the more I agree that Technical should be folded into Knowledge.

 

The distinction that I have made between Intellect and Knowledge is very much influenced by the distinction between Intelligence and Education in Traveller. However, it also serves a couple of other purposes. From a roleplaying perspective it allows the creation of characters who are smart but have little formal education - as well as highly-educated idiots. And from a design perspective, it ensures that all of the mental skills are not hanging off a single attribute. I'm trying to ensure that each attribute is important in some way so that the trade-offs made during character creation are meaningful.

 

FYI, this is the also reason for the distinction between Agility and Dexterity (which has a precedent in the distinction between Agility and Coordination in a a couple of published D6 games). I feel that the Reflexes attribute is problematic - basing so many key skiils (such as dodge, marksmanship, etc) on a single attribute makes it more important in play than the other attributes, encouraging players to max it out at the expense of other choices.

 

The distinction that I make between between Strength and Constitution is a matter of personal taste, but it follows the pattern set by other RPGs. Also, the Physique attribute in most D6 games determines both Strength Damage and Body Points (assuming that this rule is used) - dividing this attribute into Strength and Constitution makes it possible to base each of these important secondary characteristics on different attributes.

 

Incidentally, the Determination attribute is something I introduced to provide a mental equivalent to the Constitution attribute....something that indicates mental fortitude and willpower. It also provides an easy way of handling morale for NPCs. And if you want to run a Cthulhu-meets-Indiana-Jones style game, you could introduce a Sanity Points mechanic using this attribute and a calculation similar to that used for Body Points. In other words, each character would start off with a number of Sanity Points equal to 20 + the result of a roll against the Determination attribute. I haven't thought this through in detail, but it's an idea that I have filed away for future experimentation...

 

I'm not entirely happy with the Acumen attribute, but I haven't come up with a better name for it - I'm thinking of making Perception into a skill based upon this attribute and allowing characters to specialize in vision, hearing, scent, etc as required. If I follow the example of other RPG's, I would call it Wisdom or Intuition - but neither of these names hit the right note in my opinion.

 

Thanks for mentioning the Projects forum - I might make up a new thread over there to toss some ideas around for my homebrew game and see if I can get some community feedback.

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I've always felt that Attributes were one of the best ways to distinguish the type of setting in which you are playing as well as add the desired level of complexity or simplicity to your game.

 

I haven't started in on my own project just yet, but some of the key questions for anything that I produce will be whether or not the Attribute: 1. fits with the setting 2. simplifies the setting or confuses it 3. has enough skills under it to qualify as a separate Attribute.

 

For example, in the D6 Fantasy book I didn't always see enough of a distinction between Agility and Coordination. I don't think the distinction hurt the book at all, and I would have gladly used the template provided for the ease of running a cohesive campaign/setting using that rulebook. For my purposes I may find it easier to combine the two, but I tend to be role player that leans to minimalism in rules and maximized role play.

 

Either way, D6 remains in my mind one of the premier systems for going rules heavy or light, and Attributes can accommodate both directions.

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I've always felt that Attributes were one of the best ways to distinguish the type of setting in which you are playing as well as add the desired level of complexity or simplicity to your game.

 

I think that you are raising a very important point here. Most 'universal' systems (GURPS, Hero, etc) assume that you will use a single set of attributes for every genre. I suppose the rationale is that this makes it easy to transfer characters from one genre to another or from one campaign to another. But it is not evident that this is the best approach in all cases - how much campaign-hopping goes on in the real world? And do you lose a certain amount of flavour by dictating a single definitive set of attributes for all settings?

 

I suppose that it is a bit of an unresolved question whether OpenD6 should be a one-size-fits-all universal system or a loose framework or rules that individual game designers can customize to their own needs.

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Based on what I've heard from Eric Gibson over the past year or two, it's the loose framework model. There are a few different designers and fans working on GURPS-like D6 Cores, though, for whomever would want to use them. I can see value in both, so I'm glad that both will be out there.

 

I've run a dimension-hopping fantasy before, inspired by the Amber novels and the comic series Grimjack, in which the PCs fought across Middle Earth, Hyboria, the Young Kingdoms, and a bunch of other fantasy settings, so a uniform set was good there. If I wanted to run a Transhuman post-scarcity culture science fiction, though, I doubt those same attributes would cover all the bases I wanted covered.

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The loose framework approach is an interesting one because no publisher has tried to pull it off before now. To date, the universal systems out there tend to assume a consistent set of core rules that can be used across multiple genres. Personally, I think that the loose framework approach is a good choice as it clearly distinguishes the D6 system from its competitors. It might make it difficult to build up traction with third-party publishers though.

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The loose framework approach is an interesting one because no publisher has tried to pull it off before now. To date, the universal systems out there tend to assume a consistent set of core rules that can be used across multiple genres. Personally, I think that the loose framework approach is a good choice as it clearly distinguishes the D6 system from its competitors. It might make it difficult to build up traction with third-party publishers though.

 

Ah, but there is one shining exception to the rule - FUDGE, from Grey Ghost Games - which has recently spawned FATE from Evil Hat. FUDGE has whatever attributes and skills the author wants to put in, silly to serious and everything in between.

 

So I'm hopeful that OpenD6 can work. I know a lot of people don't like FUDGE because of the special dice, but D6 doesn't have any of that - just the trusty old regular cubes from the Yahtzee set!

Edited by Lee Torres

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Should I assume that no consensus on unifying the three genre's attributes has been reached yet?

 

Yes, you should assume that. I sincerely doubt the D6 community will ever agree. And in the spirit of Open D6, they never have to. I think it's so cool that so many people propose their alternate systems and we can all discuss them.

 

I've always liked the customizability of D6 and feel the system is better if it is fine tuned to each specific genre, instead of a supposedly universal system of attributes and skills. But I do see the value in a universal system for multi-genre games, such as dimension-hoppers or even a D6 version of TORG.

 

A multi-genre, universal or general D6 system may be appropriate for a time travel game I dreamed up, if I can ever completely work out the premise in conjunction with the time travel logic that I subscribe to.

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I too like the idea that creators can change the base attributes (even adding or subtracting) to give setting specific flavor to the system in their games, but the generic version of the rules really need a common base. Personally, my vote's for a D&D style Strength/Dexerity/Constitution/Intelligence/Wisdom/Charisma attribute list. Personally, I think it's the most intuitive, and the paradigm most gamers (both tabletop and video) are going to be familiar with, since so many games have followed D&D's lead on this.

 

On a similar note, the Agility/Coordination split in Adventure(?) D6 always felt weird to me - why have two very specific physical attributes on one hand, while Strength is a very broad physical attribute. It seems inelegant.

 

So maybe a six attribute list, something along the lines of Strength, Agility, Endurance, Intelligence, Awareness, Presence. Close enough to follow the standard pattern, but name-tweaked enough to not be boring. I really liked Asmkm22's suggestion that Endurance cover both physical and mental fortitude. Seems elegant.

 

Another option would be accepting less than six base attributes, and maybe making more skills. I know Unknown Armies only has four attributes, doesn't GURPS as well?

 

Someone should throw together a "Universal Base Attributes" poll at some point :D

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Oh, and because I forgot, here's an interesting way of doing attributes: Cadwallon.

 

In Cadwallon, all characters have six basic "Attitudes" instead of standard attributes. These are Pugnacity, Sleight, Style, Opportunism, Subtlety, and Discipline. Skills are distributed across these six, linked with the attitudes they're most commonly used under. Bash, for example, falls under Pugnacity, while Sabotage falls under Opportunism. However, the rules allow for you to use a skill with different Attitude if the situations calls for it - trying to Sabotage a machine with a sledgehammer, for example, would be more Pugnacity than Opportunism, I'd think :D

 

Also, you "declare" the Attitude your character is in at the start of a game session (and can change it at any time), and if you use a skill while "in" that Attitude, you get a bonus - eg. anybody can Bash, but if you're in a Pugnacious mood, you bash all the better; if you're in a Disciplined mood, you Command better, etc.

 

The specifics aren't always intuitive (kinda like the rest of the rules for Cadwallon), but I think it's a neat concept. I was playing around with a possible conversion for D6, and it seems to map over pretty well.

 

Figured I'd throw this out there as another way to think about Attributes and how they function.

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IOn a similar note, the Agility/Coordination split in Adventure(?) D6 always felt weird to me - why have two very specific physical attributes on one hand, while Strength is a very broad physical attribute. It seems inelegant.

 

Maybe I'm cynical, but I think that the split between Agility and Coordination may have been introduced to ensure that ranged weapon skills don't run off the same attribute as Dodge. This ensures that players don't dump as many points as possible in a single stat that ensures high combat effectiveness.

 

I believe that there is a similar case for splitting Physique into Strength (which determines melee damage) and Constitution or Endurance (which determines resistance to injury and disease).

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Let me throw my hat in the ring for an skill only game. Back in my old Star Wars game I played with some seriously math challenged players so rolling 6 or 7 d6 slowed down game play significantly. So I decided to revamp everything to skills only and gave everyone 3 points per die plus the pips (i.e. 6D+2 = 20) and used a single d10 as a randomizer.

 

What I liked was it really cleaned up the game play. Again, my players kept trying to add everything together (I have 2D in Agility and 5D+2 in Blaster, so I roll 7D right?) so it sped up game play quite a bit.

 

If I had it to do over again, I'd keep a tighter reign on the skill list, but it really worked well.

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Maybe I'm cynical, but I think that the split between Agility and Coordination may have been introduced to ensure that ranged weapon skills don't run off the same attribute as Dodge. This ensures that players don't dump as many points as possible in a single stat that ensures high combat effectiveness.

 

I believe that there is a similar case for splitting Physique into Strength (which determines melee damage) and Constitution or Endurance (which determines resistance to injury and disease).

 

I believe the Cookbook did that, and honestly, I'd have prefered if Adventures and Fantasy did too; automatically lumping those two together doesn't seem a good thing to me.

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Why were they adding skill and attribute dice together? that should have already been set on the sheet to show exactly what they roll (barring modifiers like MAP).

 

As for being math challenged, teach players the group by 10 method of adding.

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It was already done. Maybe they were trying to milk the system, but they sure tried.

 

And ever hear of teaching old dogs, new tricks? Yeah, that describes my old group.

 

Still, math aside, I rather liked the game that only had skills. Honestly, it worked well.

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