A few weeks back I decided to work on a new homebrew RPG to replace my Shadowrun game. The first post set forth my goals.
In this post I want to focus on attributes. I want attributes to be the basis for character creation and advancement.
- Attributes are the most descriptive terminology for a character. While we tend to concentrate of vocation in the modern day, if someone stands out as strong, smart, or agile that is the first thing that we think of them. Meanwhile if someone is exceptionally skilled at something, it does not always leap to mind when we thing of that person.
- For a relatively simple system it is easier to center the mechanics of play around a handful of attributes rather than a comprehensive skill list.
I have been toying with the idea of a triumvirate of active attributes based around how the player approaches a problem.
- POWER: The attribute for direct action. Power represents strength, will, and presence. Emphasizes brute effect.
- FINESSE: The attribute for subtle, circular action action. Finesse represents agility, unconventional intellect, and charm. Emphasizes critical.
- CUNNING: The attribute for trickery. Cunning that represents deception, cheating, exploitation, and manipulation. Emphasizes side effects.
With these active attribute the player can choose how to approach a specific problem. Let us take a melee attack as an example. A character can use POWER to batter their way through an opponent’s defences with brute strength and unrelenting aggression, FINESSE to make a swift, graceful attack that slips through the targets defences, or CUNNING to trick the opponent into reacting with a feint and then hitting them.
So what’s the point? If the player can choose what attribute to choose in any situation, what is to stop them from going top-heavy into a single stat and focusing on that? The idea is that different stats are opposed by different defences/difficulties which allows a versatile player to tune their actions. My goal here is to give players tool to approach problems in the game from different angles, rewarding versatile characters without punishing specialists.