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View Full Version : Making attributes just as important as skills?

xBlackWolfx
2013-11-20, 05:35 PM
One of the things that has always annoyed me about dungeons and dragons is that your attributes have little impact on your chances of success beyond the first few levels. Once you get to the higher levels, then pretty much the only thing that matters is the attack bonus from your class and your skills, you may as well not even have a bonus of penalty from attributes unless it is close to 3 or 18.

Of course, balancing attributes and skills is tricky, since attributes of course add a bonus to multiple different actions while each skill only affects one action or a small set of actions that fall under that skill. You can make attributes harder to increase than skills, but even then the costs are nigh impossible to balance since one will always be more valuable than the other.

One idea I had to fix this was to multiply the attribute and skill rank to get a new score which is used to determine chances of success. Of course, only issue with this is the result will often be atrociously high, which would make math in the game quite difficult, and that's not even considering the fact that you'd probably need to use a percentile die for rolls unless your attributes and skills were limited to a maximum multiplier of like 2 or 3 or something like that.

I've been pondering how a system like this could work, but no matter what I do, you're going to have to add together huge numbers constantly, and I don't like that.

I was wondering if there was a simpler way to solve this problem, but the only way I've thought up makes my head hurt with all the insane math, I mean you would pretty much have to bring a calculator to a game like this.

Jlerpy
2013-11-20, 07:27 PM
Sounds like another excellent reason to not play at high levels. :)

Some other games have the balance potentially much farther the other way, by having such a diversity of skills that it's much cheaper to have a good attribute than to increase them all. But that can easily be tedious, as you'll discover that you thought you were covered for all basket-weaving possibilities by taking Craft: Basket-Weaving, but then it turns out that Appraise: Basket-Woven Goods is a whole other skill that's unrelated.

Another option would be to some some kind of tier multiplier to your attribute bonus, so that it remained about as significant as your skill ranks and other associated bonuses. Say, for example, that it starts at x1 and goes up by 1 every five levels after that. That's a very rough idea though, as it makes for very chunky breakpoints. You could make something smoother, but that would call for more calculation, like increasing by 0.2 each level. That would operate smoothest of all for characters who started off with a 20 in their primary attribute, as they'd jump a point a level, which is like having an extra skill rank in those skills.

Seerow
2013-11-20, 07:36 PM
I'm not sure I see the need for this. Aren't attributes already far far more valuable than skill points overall?

Making attributes even more valuable in the skill calculation will do nothing but devalue skills further, hurting classes that rely on them most, such as the rogue, and boosting up classes that have little in the way of skill points but tend to have stats tied to valuable skills.

Jlerpy
2013-11-20, 07:40 PM
There is that, yes.

xBlackWolfx
2013-11-20, 08:13 PM
I'm not sure I see the need for this. Aren't attributes already far far more valuable than skill points overall?

Making attributes even more valuable in the skill calculation will do nothing but devalue skills further, hurting classes that rely on them most, such as the rogue, and boosting up classes that have little in the way of skill points but tend to have stats tied to valuable skills.

I wasn't trying to modify or copy DnD. And I don't really see how my idea is so imbalanced towards attributes. Yes, skills are useless without the attribute multiplier, but attributes are also nigh worthless without the skill multiplier (I was intending on having attributes and skills both having range of 0 to 10, or maybe more.) Yeah, attributes do add to other things besides skills (like hit points), but most attributes serve no purpose other than to boost certain skills.

In my mind, attributes are there to represent a character's skill in a variety of tasks that should help each other (like for example, if you're smart enough to figure out how to do magic, you should clearly be better at other intelligence-related tasks than someone who's stupid, even if both of you are the same skill level). That's the thing that annoys me about rpgs without attributes, there are no umbrella stats. Just bc you're good in one stat doesn't mean you're any better than a beginner in other categories. Take skyrim for example (I know, not a tabletop game). My character has maxed out his one-handed skill, but he's never wielded a two-handed weapon in his entire life, as a consequence, if he were to switch to a two-handed weapon, he would be just as skilled in it as if he was still lvl 1, even though he's actually lvl 46. At the very least, he should be able to draw some of his experience from wielding one-handed weapons when using two-handed weapons. And the same can be said for the magic skills. I mean, if I maxed out 6 of them, the last one would get absolutely no bonus to my character's obvious experience with all the other schools of magic. At the very least, it should give me a mild bonus in it, so he doesn't have to start off like it's his first day at magic school.

Jlerpy
2013-11-20, 08:26 PM
I wasn't trying to modify or copy DnD.

You're not? Well, that changes everything.

In my mind, attributes are there to represent a character's skill in a variety of tasks that should help each other (like for example, if you're smart enough to figure out how to do magic, you should clearly be better at other intelligence-related tasks than someone who's stupid, even if both of you are the same skill level). That's the thing that annoys me about rpgs without attributes, there are no umbrella stats. Just bc you're good in one stat doesn't mean you're any better than a beginner in other categories. Take skyrim for example (I know, not a tabletop game). My character has maxed out his one-handed skill, but he's never wielded a two-handed weapon in his entire life, as a consequence, if he were to switch to a two-handed weapon, he would be just as skilled in it as if he was still lvl 1, even though he's actually lvl 46. At the very least, he should be able to draw some of his experience from wielding one-handed weapons when using two-handed weapons. And the same can be said for the magic skills. I mean, if I maxed out 6 of them, the last one would get absolutely no bonus to my character's obvious experience with all the other schools of magic. At the very least, it should give me a mild bonus in it, so he doesn't have to start off like it's his first day at magic school.

Well, taking Skyrim as an example, the main difference will be that you'll probably have chosen a fair few Magicka bumps, so you'll have a much bigger pool to draw on, which is a huge difference from starting.

Glimbur
2013-11-20, 10:19 PM
Legend of the Five Rings, I believe, has a roll and keep mechanic. For example, if you are amazing at dexterity you get to keep many dice. If you have studied the sword for your whole life, you get to roll a lot of dice.

This makes both attributes and skill important. Something to consider.

It sounds like what you want is maybe more like GURPS, where you can default to many skills based on an attribute or another skill. Making up some numbers, Guns (long arm) might default to Dex - 4 or Guns (other) -2.