Game System: Attributes

I am not a fan of traditional rpg attributes. I understand their usefulness and naming conventions, after all if an attribute is named Strength, players instantly understand what the attribute is about. However, when attributes are tied to skills there is a disconnect I do not like, typically one attribute for a skill, such as fighting is typically tied to Strength. Ever been in a fight? I have. I can tell you there is a lot of movement and thought happening and more importantly, the strongest person did not always win. With that in mind, I set out to create attributes for my system.

I should mention, I do not like linear names for attributes either…just a warning. 🙂


Concept 1: The core mechanic: Attribute level equals ten-sided dice rolled for a check. For example, an attribute level of 4 means a player rolls 4 ten-sided dice.

Concept 2: Each attribute has more than one function. Primary function, player rolls full amount of dice. Secondary function, player rolls half (rounded down) amount of dice. Secondary functions are examples, not set in stone.

Concept 3: The system is based around Stroud, thus everything is Stroud setting specific (without much effort this system can be applied to other genres/settings)

Sample Attributes

Athletic Endeavors: Physical ability of the character, representation of the character’s physical fitness, appearance, and interests.

Primary functions: physical activity of any kind: such as, climbing, lifting, running, sports, and swimming.

Secondary functions: Hand-to-hand, social interactions based on appearance, and knowledge about physical activities (such as sports trivia)

Bashing: Character’s melee (boxing, martial arts, sword, knife, etc.) fighting skill and ability: a combination of strength, dexterity, reflexes, and quick thinking.

Primary function: Melee combat checks

Secondary functions: Heavy lifting, hand-eye-coordination, strategy, tactics, and knowledge of weapons and fighting styles.

Getting Around: Everyone learns basic vehicle operation and skills, Getting Around is for vehicle operation requiring a check, navigation, and city knowledge.

Primary function: Offensive and defensive driving/flying

Secondary functions: Navigation, knowledge of city landmarks, regions of the city, and general city information

Not Just Words: Communication is more than words.

Primary function: communication in any form: body language, spoken, and written; including forms of manipulation (bribery, intimidation, seduction, etc.)

Secondary functions: Languages and knowledge of languages


A work in progress to be sure, but the direction is more in line with my vision for a simple and intuitive system where players can suggest actions for their characters based on attributes representing more than the concept or definition of one word.


One thought on “Game System: Attributes

  1. Pingback: Game System: Attributes Expanded & Revised – Speaking Out On Life

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