Tuesday, January 10, 2012


This will probably be brief and potentially rambling. My focus is all over the place right now, so I'm not completely happy with anything. When my mind turns like this, I start thinking about things I want in a game, but can't seem to find. At least not all together in one game.

One of the things I'm mulling over is the fact that once you establish any sort of list in a game, even if it is included as an example of what can be done, it creates a mutual exclusion. I think part of that is human nature ("I don't have the First Aid skill, I can't possibly wrap a bandage around your arm"), and part is systemic. If stats are weighted toward the high end (characters are exceptional paradigm), then the non-skill penalties are generally prohibitive to keep high-bonus characters from taking over.

Obviously, that thought applies to skills, and also to talents/feats/whatever. What is on my beady little mind this dreary afternoon, though, is stats. Why even mention them if they're average (no bonus, in other words)? Also, if your character is exceptional in some physical/mental/spiritual capacity beyond the Big Six, how do you represent that? There is no "stat" for mnemonic memory, it is subsumed into Intelligence in most systems. But what if my guy isn't a super-genius, just an ordinary guy with a phenomenal memory?

I'm not sure how to implement this sort of thing. Obviously, it would need to be completely open, no "example" lists. Also there would have to be some sort of guidelines for the breadth of the Attribute, balanced against either its cost to attain/improve, or the degree of its usefulness. Like, if you want a character with Mnemonic Memory and I want one that has Superior Intellect. Obviously, SI would be useful for remembering things, so it could provide its bonus to such activities. However, would it provide less of a bonus than the more focused Mnemonic Memory? Or, would there be a disparity in costs based on the fact that MM is more specialised? You could buy it higher, faster, and the trade-off would be that it may not come up too much.

I know there are games that have tackled this concept, FUDGE, FATE, PDQ, and something else that slips my mind (guess I should have put some points into Mnemonic Memory). I'm not sold on those wholesale, though, and thus we return to the relevant conundrum. Dizzying, right? Welcome to my world, enjoy your stay . . .

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