What are Stats?
Stats are dynamic statistics that represent the round by round influences of a PC’s condition upon their physical and mental faculties. The Primary Stats are what the player manages, like resources in a RTS the player will expend (or in the case of pain, receive) them resulting from the discissions they make. A good example being that a player never wants to loose all their Sanity but may need to sacrifice some to perform a psychic feat, it’s classic risk vs reward; the player could rely heavily on psychic feats but by doing so runs the risk of going insane or being vulnerable to enemy psychics. If for example a PC was low on Sanity and Health then its derived Clarity would also be low, so if an enemy was to use an illusion on the PC to which one’s resistance is determined by their clarity then it’s highly likely the illusion will be successful.
Primary Stats Pain: There are many causes of pain, from the obvious like being wounded, the less obvious like being psychically tortured and the downright unexpected sources such as indigestion and heartache. Regardless of the source all forms of pain have more or less the same effect, they inhibit one’s ability to perform; although I have been thinking of a “kinky torture” dynamic whereby carefully measured pain could be used to produce positive effects… but lets cross that bridge when we come to it. Fatigue: From a purely scientific perspective one’s Fatigue would be a measure of their blood oxygen levels, but in a world with robots, cyborgs and psychics that isn’t quite a sufficient description; although it does explain why Fatigue is used to measure how far someone is from asphyxiation while they’re holding their breath. The best description for Fatigue would be energy available for expenditure, the combination of how much is stored and how easily it can be used. This description accounts for the effect of psychic attacks intended to Fatigue the target; it also makes the difference between metabolized blood sugars of living flesh and the stored pressurized steam used to drive hydraulics, meaningless. Sanity: This represents the overall capacity for one’s mind to function, but not how effective that functioning actually is though, after all even a madman can have a stroke of brilliance. I make this distinction because although players are expected to role-play their level of sanity they are by no means expected to dumb down their discissions; frankly in my opinion any game that introduces a dynamic that acts to inhibit the player’s ability to actually play has evidently been made by an idiot. Health: Well obviously it would be impractical to map out bodily damage the by area it’s affecting, the damage type and then proceed with calculating all the derived effects… though that would be a very accurate system. Instead lets just use the old standard of hit points and rely upon the Derived Stats to determine the effects of this damage, sure it’s not a perfect simulation but it works well enough for the purpose of an RPG; better still it’s simple enough to work in this on-forum format. Of course I intend to introduce Wounds and Haemorrhaging systems at some stage… although the latter will likely be renamed Bleeding, despite that name being technically incorrect.
Am I going to need to explain all of these or are they pretty self evident?
Only the GM will be actively using them to calculate failure/success probabilities… actually I have an idea about that; it’s how multiple GMs could be used to share work but without actually needing to directly co-operate, a perfect system for INTPs really. Clarity (Health/Sanity) Wakefulness (Fatigue/Sanity) Focus (Pain/Sanity) Condition (Health/Fatigue) Control (Health/Pain) Vigour (Pain/Fatigue)
Here’s an example,
The player is attempting to shoot an enemy with a clockwork musket, now targeting with this weapon (as we know from it’s weapon bio) is influenced by an average derived from several of the six above with better weapons being influenced by more derived stats than crappy ones; this not only requires more calculation on behalf of the GM (a motivation to make the game harder if there ever was one) but also means it’s harder for an enemy to selectively disable the skills the player is using to operate it. So lets assume the clockwork musket requires Focus, Control and Clarity (three derived stats based upon three primary stats, so it’s a pretty good gun) with the respective values of 13, 23, and 11 (just made that up) from which we get 12.3 by finding the average.
Now 8.13 is used to calculate the hit probability… or something, I haven’t done a combat system yet so this process may be changed at a latter date, for now I’m just demonstrating the use of Derived Stats.
Here and now I take my stance against the use of Stats in levelling.