Distributing Personality Stats

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a happy new year.
I’m not sure if a topic like this has been made before but I apologize if it has.

So basically in my own story I’ve decided to ditch skill stats to better focus on personality stats. I don’t want readers to feel like they have to make certain choices to have a good outcome. I do want personality stats to really add nice variation to each playthrough. Like the MC reacting differently to a given situation and having a different dynamic with other characters depending on those stats. For that to work though I really need to create choices that correspond to chosen stats that would raise and lower them appropriately. I know that in my case I’ve read some stories where when checking my stats I just didn’t know why they were leaning towards something that didn’t really fit with the choices I made or the MC I was going for. My question is, how do you handle that? Do you have a specific thinking process before choosing to create stats/ choices? Do you write the whole story/ a good chunk and then decide which stats would make sense? Do you just go with the flow? Idk lol I’m just really interested in the different ways people deal with this.

Anyway, I hope this all make sense. Thank you for anyone taking the time to read this and respond!


I’m gonna start off by saying I have never actually made one using this format, but I have played plenty of them and write plenty of stories.
A question you might want to start off with is how big does personality play into this?
From my experience as a writer, you might want to at least get some basic idea of what you are trying to accomplish.
Example: say I’m writing a story about a powerful wizard. If I’m doing what you’re trying to accomplish, allow the reader’s personality to affect how powerful their magic is and what type of magic they can do.
If the reader wishes to be menacing/evil, you can have reactions from other characters where they show fear or malice towards them. If the reader wishes to be kind, then character reactions can lead to friendly or greedy interactions.
If you don’t mind, would you share what the plot of your story is? At least the basics so I can fully understand?


I’ve read a lot of WIPs where the choices seem rather shallow but when you open up the stat screen there are literally more than a dozen opposed pairs for really intricate personality traits like “melancholia versus cholera” or whatever, 11/12 of which are still sitting at 50/50.

I’m not a big fan of that at all.

Most of the time they barely reflect your choices, or the story, at all.


@will,I know exactly what you’re referring to. I don’t remember which game it was but there was literally 14 stats and they made no sense. I just don’t think they planned on it being specifically about personality though.

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I will say, from personal experience, that personality is one of the most annoying ways to code the game. It makes for a much more interesting game, but you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it.

You’ll have to write a full different version of every scene based solely upon your character’s personality - if you’re doing it the way I’m assuming, anyway.

It can be confusing enough just to write flavor text, much less totally different scenes. Character will react to the MC differently, your MC will have different outlooks on things, etc. etc.

In a lot of ways, just using stats is far easier.

I’m, personally, guilty of creating stats screens with a lot of stats, but I also am writing/coding 3 games that have a trajectory of well over 900k words each (I may even split them up into shorter, more tolerable novels).

It all depends on how lofty your goals are. I think that it could turn out amazing, and I would love to see a game that truly feels different based upon your MC’s personality choices, but it’s going to be hard and stressful and possibly add months or even years to your overall writing period.

ETA: and I just realized I didn’t fully respond to your comment.

Mmm, I go in with a lot of world building. For my two Ilyaaren games (both of which are on hiatus on the forums but are well into production off-forum. Explosion is in testing with over 50k words playable, Citadel stands at 37k), I spent over 15 hours building the world and history of the world before I even realized that I wanted to write interactive fiction for it, rather than just a standalone novel or use it for a D&D campaign.

I’ve noticed, though, that it gets difficult to write with just a vague idea of what you’re going for. You need to have more than 3 major plot points in mind (for me, I always have the beginning, the climax, and the “real” ending in mind. Everything else is filler mush that I have to plow through to get to the scenes in my mind). For a long time, I tried to use online flow charts or Scrivener/Inklewriter (which has been discontinued) or Chronicler.

I’ve since found that a traditional outline, like I was taught in English class in middle school, is the best way.


I. Startup - introduce character
 A. choose gender/name
 B. interesting interaction with companion character
 C. do you do the thing with side character or go off on your own? 
    1. do thing with side character. 
       a. it goes well (+ relationship)
       b. it goes poorly (- relationship)
    2. go off on my own
       a. i get lost (-skill)
       b. i find a magical artifact! (+ skill, gain artifact)
 D. Important event that character goes through to get to chapter 2.
II. Chapter 2 - the story actually begins

Etc. There are smaller choices in there that may change flavor text, stats, etc., but this gives me a much better idea of where I want to go with the story. When I create my stats, I think of the kind of challenges I expect my character to go through. I take a lot of inspiration from the Daria series (LoW, LoM, LH1/2/3). I like the idea that the MC can create their own path through life, while still following my preset general idea of how things go. In addition, I like the branching style of gameplay that the original Choice of Vampires offers, and I try to implement little bits of that in.

I think stats give the player a good idea of where they stand within the game. I try to keep my games from limiting playthroughs based on stats, though - I don’t want it to be an auto-fail or you miss out on a huge portion of the story simply because you were 1% too low in dexterity to pass the skill check. There are levels :slight_smile:

In my case, I actually came up with the general idea of the stories I was writing, then I came up with stats I felt would fit, before writing. It gave me an idea of what kind of “failure” and “success” flavor text/scenes I could put in, as well as what type of branches I could write (for instance, there are entire characters in Explosion that you can miss due to, for instance, choosing not to go to the forest and instead go to a neighboring village).


I agree with the others that using personality as stats and centering your story on it is trippy, if worth it at all.

I feel like you have to pick your own battle, here. There’re so many personalities known in the world, and trying to incorporate each of them is a massive work. In my own story I’m still working on, I choose 4 preset-[personality] that the player can pick at the start of the game. Their character will act consistently with the picked personality, with some choices here and there that allows action that deviates from their personality.

For further reading

My preset personalities: Jerk, Easy-going, Meek, and Serious. Jerk is sarcastic, annoying, and caters to self-amusement. Easy-going is friendly, cheerful, and confident. Meek is shy, staying away from the spotlight, and reluctant. Serious is cold, bluntly to-the-point, and rarely cares to emotion or others’ feelings.

In general, interactions in the story will reflect the chosen personality. However, some select events allow you to deviate from it. Say, though you picked a jerk, at the event of someone’s loss, you’re allowed to shut the hell up or stay a jerk as you are, or even go 180° and shows your golden heart.

Now, you should be able to see where I’m going with this system in place. Granted, I’m yet to reach the point that warrants this system in action, though.


For my WIP, I created the stats first. I think setting down those to begin with helped create the foundation and overall mood of the story. I did choose traits that are more general or have more than one meaning, though, that way I have some leeway for choices that do impact personality.

At the same time I limited how many personality traits there are. Sometimes that makes creating options so they somehow correspond to a certain trait difficult, but I feel like that limit is also a guideline. I won’t get lost in the stats or creating choices – and the player won’t get lost in the stats or choosing, either.

I think @Szaal 's four personalities idea is something you should start with, just like how in Japan there’s the idea that the four blood types correspond with your personality. Or how in ancient Greece they believed that personality was based on the four bodily humors. Besides, there’s nothing stopping you from adding more as you write! :relaxed:


Hi everyone and thanks for the input!

@Memo yeah that’s basically how I want to go about it, make some scenes variable in function of those stats.

@will agreed with that! I’ll be cautious not to add too many stats as that would kinda defeat the point.

@ashestoashes018 thanks for all the advice! Well, it might take me longer but I think I’ll do it because I’m stupid ambitious haha.

@Szaal choosing to make preset personalities would really lessen the workload I guess but also make the story feel less personal so I don’t think I’ll do that. Thank you for the answer though!

@expectedoperator what you did for your WIP is probably what I’ll end up doing/ what makes most sense with what I want to accomplish I think.

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I created my stats first as well, using those stats as a way to kind of create the mood and tone of any upcoming choices that I create in the future, (something on the same line as @expectedoperator’s stats. However, I did overshoot my stats (create more) on purpose, then proceeded to create my WiP, if I found that stats were heavily underused or didn’t have potential for future choices, I immediately threw them out of the game (e.g. I threw away a proud stat because I really couldn’t see it making any difference in the future).

Now I seperate my personality traits into two categories, character-defining and reaction-defining, mainly because I plan in my WiP to have characters both react to your personalities in general. Character defining stats are used to of course, define your character, e.g. the flirty stat in my WiP is used to demonstrate the flirtiness of your character, aka, much more self-explanatory skills. Reaction defining stats are ones that will alter other’s character’s perception of you, e.g. if you’re not trustworthy, some dialogue may shift to be more suspicious of your character. Note that stats can be both personality and character defining. (Also note: you don’t need to follow this, this is just how I personally do so.)

However, I do find that @Szaal’s four personalities is a great start to building your stats, it clearly establishes the more general personality traits and allows you to build on from that system (i.e. create more stats).

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I personally don’t use skill stats or personality stats in my game. I usually just stick to relationship stats. Many of the WIPs I play don’t really utilize their personality stats that well, and I’m a very interaction-oriented writer, so I tend to avoid using those kinds altogether unless a story absolutely calls for them. I can see the desire to quantify story elements using track-able stats, but for me it just adds extra work when the goals for me are usually the same.


@Foxboi oh that’s a good way of doing things I think. You’re really organized haha. Thanks for the advice!

@trevers17 yeah I’m also on the orientation-focused/ character driven stories boat. It undeniably does add more work but I think when well done, it’s rlly gratifying. Though I wouldn’t want to have it in there if it didn’t add anything interesting so I’ll see if I can make it work or not.

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I don’t really have anything to add here but in my game I don’t really have personality stats but I do have political stats since it a political game so I don’t know if that counts

but truth be told I always read this title as disturbing personality stats

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There’s definitely something to be said about not using personality stats. Ultimately stats are just a tool, and their use or absence can reveal a lot about a story – if, like you suggested, they’re used well. Otherwise they can bog the game down or make it seem unpolished.

I’d say it counts! Like Aristotle said: “Man is a political animal.” :man_judge:

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