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Aug. 12th, 2005 @ 01:40 am Rules Call!
Assuming the familiar attribute, skill, trait model that by now even D&D uses where
  • Attributes are values that any character has which change rather slowly and which in some way modify the values you have in your skills,
  • Skills represent the knowledge that a character has in a certain field of expertise, and which change rather quickly,
  • Traits commonly are a generic term for "anything else that considerably changes the character, possibly to the point of modifying the rules".

    how do you think the regeneration of attribute damage (a decrease in an attribute score brought about by for example overexcertion, poisoning, sickness or some form of magic) should be handled? Why? What are the benefits of your solution regarding realism, fun, efficiency and balance?

    Some of the models i am familiar with would be:
    During each period of regeneration every attribute that has not already reached the score the character would have, if he did not suffer from attribute damage, rises by a value
  • which is predetermined (for instance 1D6). To change this value specific traits are necessary.
  • determined by one specific attribute - for instance "Constitution".
  • determined by what score the character currently has in that attribute.
  • determined by the score of the attribute the character would have without suffering from attribute damage.

    My formulation to some extent implies a system where high values are better than low values. Please translate "rise" as "get better" and "decrease" as "get worse". It is just a little bit less readable if formulated correctly.
    Please excuse me for being anal and specifically defining the attribute, skill & trait model - just wanted to make sure we really are talking about the same thing. It happens astonishingly often (at least for me) that this is not the case.
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    icewinddragon:
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    From:efbq
    Date:August 11th, 2005 11:45 pm (UTC)
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    I think that a large part of what determines the rate of healing are the game world, genre, and tone. There are times when combat should be *lethal*, and healing should be hard to come by. Other times, wounds should be little more than 'color text'.

    I think that the mechanics should be consistent and comprehensible, but am not convinced that they are important beyond those concerns addressed above.
    From:icewinddragon
    Date:August 12th, 2005 12:01 am (UTC)
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    I am inclined to agree, but i am currently designing my own rpg-system, so naturally i need some rule as to how the attribute damage should be handled. How high the scores of regeneration are can be made world-specific, but i kind of still believe that there should be some superior way for the modus operandi. All the possibilities mentioned have some advantages and some drawbacks (which i can list if you really are that interested) so i am kind of still trying to figure out which one is best or whether a completely different system would not be a better idea. I have already bugged all players i know with that question, but of course the broader the knowledge-base i can draw upon the higher the chances i actually get it right...
    So, i would appreciate it if you could give me a hint on that one.

    Pax vobiscum

    IcewindDragon
    From:efbq
    Date:August 12th, 2005 11:08 am (UTC)
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    It sounds like we're at the beginning of a 'one true system' debate here (hm... and this community might not be a bad place for one). Let me just start by asserting my own view that there is not, and will not be, one 'perfect' system which satisfies all gamers for every conceivable world.

    Let me assert that the optimum balance of ease of use and detail (for example) will vary depending on the setting, tone, and genre, so if you are designing a specific game-world please share details on that before getting more feedback.

    If you are designing a universal system, obviously the setting, and possibly the genre, are intensely variable. Adding 'optional' rules is sometimes a way to fix that. If it is 'universal' then give us an idea of why you designed the system. How is it 'better' than the other univesal systems out there? Whatever metric you have to make this system 'better' than (say) GURPS, Palladium, Hero, etc., should also be used to measure the superiority of your healing system.
    From:icewinddragon
    Date:August 12th, 2005 01:50 pm (UTC)
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    It sounds like we're at the beginning of a 'one true system' debate here

    You anticipated my next post! I am inclined to agree with you that no real system can ever be perfect - the nature of reality just does not permit a system that is at the same time "realistic", providing accurate values, and simple. I wonder, though, whether there are design guidlines - something like a greatest common divisor of what everyone wants from a gaming system, or whether the inherent differences in group constellation and the expectations of the gamers ultimately require completely different approaches to system design - not only different compromises between what is desireable and what is achievable.
    I also wonder whether you might want to start the "Is there a perfect System, and if so what would it look like?" debate - i am kind of beginning to feel a little bit self-concious about posting too many articles here... but i would like this community to stay alive.


    What i really am after in this thread is mainly how the regeneration of attribute damage should be resolved. I already jotted down some possible solutions in the original entry - but perhaps there is a far better way to handle this that has escaped me so far.


    As for the system i am designing: it is immensly variable - possibly you know FUDGE? It is freely available from the internet. When i found it, i started to consider just dropping what i had done so far and use FUDGE instead - ultimately, though, my love for numbers prevailed. As a storyteller i want fixed numbers which i can shuffle around, and as a player i want to see changes in my character on his sheet every adventure.
    As for the system - i gave a very brief introduction in to what i attempt to achieve and what i have so far (please scroll down - character-limits *growls*). I hope you will excuse me for posting links rather than writing it anew. Currently am redesiging the different magic systems.
    As to why i prefer the system opposed to other universal games i encountered:
    Characters develop (as for instance opposed to BRP). Having such a broad range of values (30 - 110), a potentially broad range of attributes and a very broad range of traits and skills almost ensures that all characters will differ significantly in their specialisation and scores (as long as you manage to keep your traits balanced - pretty much frickn any of our high-powered mages and psions had Eidetic Memory, and i am not guiltless here).
    The fighting system. Really fascinating fights for a change.
    The system supports and encourages creative characters - coming up with something new is more likely to make your character more powerful than unplayable.
    Weak characters still are a lot of fun. We have a 13 year old girl with close to no power at all (compare 0 CP character in GURPS) who is still very detailed - not only from her background story and character but from her traits and skills as well - and saved the entire group on two different occasions already; because the system encourages specialisation.
    There are rules and guidlines for how to deal out the analogon to GURPS CP that will help the storyteller to incline the players to focus on the aspects he wants to emphasise - for instance plot-development or character development - and which will make a character better at skills he was actually using during the adventure (compare D&D Handbook: "High-powered characters will eventually gain new levels slower, because the players begin to focus more on the relations between the characters." Ouch!).
    The system supports those "Really strange events" that we encounter in everyday life every now and then (the guard happening to be a cousin of the thief, a string of the viola of the bard just snapping in two at the 50th performance, Rasputin surviving not only being poisoned by arsenic but also being stabbed, shot and managing to free a hand after being thrown into a river tied up, the thug who is trying to arrest you stumbling and shooting himself in the head...).

    Hope i did not drown you in far more information than you asked for.

    Pax vobiscum
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    From:foxsable
    Date:August 12th, 2005 03:44 am (UTC)
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    A reduction in attributes will result in numerous actions relating to use of those attributes, this goes without saying. Skills are typically tied to an attribute or perhaps several attributes.

    Lets say driving a car is a skill. You typically need Agility (to operate the car), intelligence to know how to read the indicators and use your agility and wisdom/awareness to avoid the dangers of the road and make appropriate choices. If your agility is impaired, you will still know how to work the car and be aware of dangers, but your response time will be lowered. If you simplify the game then driving may be only related to agility and thus your ability to operate would be impaired if you lost agility.

    Now traits should not be impaired, however use of them might. If you have the fly trait, that allows your character to fly, and you take agility damage, you will still be able to fly, but your manueverability might be lessened. If you fly naturally, not as some magical effect, then it would be like walking and thus a reduction in agility would not affect your ability to more around. Other traits would only be circumstantial. If you have the "can turn invisible sometimes" trait, you would still be able to turn invisible sometimes if you lost intelligence, but it would be an entirely role playing thing to realize or not realize you could/should turn invisible sometimes.
    From:icewinddragon
    Date:August 12th, 2005 10:51 am (UTC)
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    Thank you for your input. How do you think the regeneration of attribute damage should be handled?

    Pax vobiscum

    IcewindDragon
    From:devil_panda
    Date:August 12th, 2005 01:23 pm (UTC)
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    I say keep it as simple as possible and don't let it drag out your game. D&D is a good model, because it allows access to all kinds of healing magic at very low level with minimal game mechanics. The lesser restoration and restoration spells usually do the trick in my games. Less mechanics, more action, dig? Most of the time you don't even have to worry about natural healing mechanics because half of the party has access to an instant cure.

    If your running a horror game, or some other genre that prolonged injury lends itself to, I say go with as simple a mechanism as possible... like, a flat point a day rise or something like that. It wouldn't hurt to let a 'Constitution' based attribute modify that flat rate so long as the overall mechanic is simple. 'Injury Play' should have more of a roleplaying emphasis anyways. ^_^

    From:icewinddragon
    Date:August 12th, 2005 02:00 pm (UTC)
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    Thank you for your input. Attribute drain is something that in my system is likely to come about not only by overexcertion but also by using some kinds of magic or psionic powers (or possibly also calling on celestial beings... the rules for that are still in design phase) - so a sufficiently simple system certainly is a good idea.

    So, if i understand correctly you think it would be best to let the score a character regenerates be modified by a "Constitution" based attribute - for physical attributes as well as for mental ones? Would you think it better to use the current "Constitution" attribute score determine the amount of regeneration, or rather the score the character would have if he did not suffer from attribute loss?
    If you have the time would you please explain why exactly you prefer this approach? Do you think it is the most realistic one, or do you believe that it will increase the fairness of the game?

    Pax vobiscum

    IcewindDragon
    From:devil_panda
    Date:August 12th, 2005 02:14 pm (UTC)
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    "If you have the time would you please explain why exactly you prefer this approach? Do you think it is the most realistic one, or do you believe that it will increase the fairness of the game?"

    No problem. I favor this approach because I prefer simple damage mitigation mechanics. If action is the 'meat and potatoes' of most roleplaying games, damage mitigation is just a spice. It should be flavorful but not overpowering.

    I hope that made sense.

    From:icewinddragon
    Date:August 12th, 2005 02:31 pm (UTC)
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    Yep, it does. Thanks.

    So, not wanting to be annoying, but regarding my other questions:
    Would you think it better to use the current "Constitution" attribute score determine the amount of regeneration, or rather the score the character would have if he did not suffer from attribute loss? Is attribute regeneration rather a question of the basic hardyness of a character or rather depending on his current constitution?