Opinions on simplifying skills/abilities/stats/etc


#1

Hello all. Been trying to get my act together and get a choicescript story off the ground, but I find that I keep getting hung up on choosing the right stats for any given project. Today, in a bid to stop over complicating things, since in the end all I want to do is tell a dynamic story, I’ve decided to try and boil as many stats, abilities, knowledges, and skills down to simplified and broad categories. This is for a fantasy setting. So far, I have the following:

Physical
-Strength
-Stamina
-Agility
-Dexterity
Mental
-Intellect
-Wit
-Perception
-Wisdom
-Literacy
-Willpower
Social
-Charisma
-Barter
-Leadership
-Intimidation
-Interrogation
-Persuasion
-Politics
Arcane
-Magical Powers
-Magical Lore
Criminal
-Pickpocketing
-Murder
-Shoplifting
-Lockpicking
Combat
-Melee
-Ranged
-Defensive Techniques
-Tactics/Strategy

The tabbed items are things that are included in the main entries and won’t exist as separate skills/etc, so for example, the player will have a ‘Combat Skill’ value, but not a distinct ‘Melee Combat’ value.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, just what I could think of off hand, but there were a few skills/etc that I wasn’t sure where to categorize, and I’d like your opinion on them, as well as anything in the above list you disagree with. The items are:

-Medicine/First Aid
-Smithing/Crafting
-Stealth
-Religion/Theology
-Survival

For stealth, I initially had it categorized as a ‘Criminal’ skill, but one can be stealthy and not a criminal. Should it instead be under ‘Physical’?

Also, am I missing a skill category?

Thanks for your time and consideration!


#2

I think it’ll depend on how you intend to use them. It will be very exhaustive to code and write a game that uses all of those skills extensively; and if you aren’t actually planning on using all of the skills extensively in the game, then the lack of substance can really detract from its value. Is every single skill as important as the next? If not, can you combine some skills to reduce the burden on the player? A general rule of thumb is that if a skill is used once or twice in the entire game and never checked again, it’s probably not worthy of its own category.


#3

@hahaha01357 he says he’s going to combine each skill which is hyphenated into the category it comes under.


#4

Under most natural circumstances one does not sneak around an office building if they are meant to be there, however if one is there to kill someone staying late…one would use stealth to slay them… Random note.

if your thinking more mentally that you must survive or the need and such then obviously mental but if the mc is using actions and such to survive then physical

For time and effort sake region can be simplified to mental just to keep things simple and not on a whole new category

Personal thoughts and references to other games…

Stealth-criminal
Survival physical
religion/theology mental
medical physical
smithing/crafting physical


#5

It depends on the situation, as you mentioned before when referencing stealth. I would do one of three things. I would either assign them to a stat based on the situations the player will encounter in the story or I would assign them to one stat category completely and if that doesn’t make complete sense assign them to be a mixture of two stats.

For example, survival could fit under combat or physical depending on the situation. I would scrap the restricting thought process that all survival based stat checks fall under this broader stat and assign it based on what makes sense in the situation or I would likely assign it to physical completely. The other idea is to weight the stat on a 25/75 basis, with the heavier weight being towards physical.


#6

Thanks for the replies, all!

@hahaha01357:
Exactly as gkkiller said. I’m trying to simplify so I don’t get bogged down and/or have things lose meaning.

@Arcania and @GameOver:
of course reading both your replies immediately makes me want to kick myself for not seeing it earlier. I think the best approach is to, as GameOver said, “scrap the restricting thought process” and just take each event as it comes, checking for the appropriate value as needed. Example, back to stealth, if you’re creeping up on some prey to survive out in the woods, you’d be relying more on your physical stealth abilities then your criminal ones.


#7

choosing the right stats for any given project

@stainedofmind, I don’t believe there is a “catch all” list of statistics for a game. In fact, the stats themselves should drive the theme. You would not expect the piloting skills of “Mecha Ace” to show up in the criminal period piece of “NOLA is Burning”, and vice versa.

To make such a generic list is to rob yourself of flavor.


#8

@Redditz:
I’m not trying to make a generic list of stats for all my projects, but rather just for a single one. What I meant by the line you quoted was that I was getting hung up at the same point in all my projects is all, that point being deciding on the right stats.


#9

It sounds like you are trying to make a decision that you don’t yet have the necessary data to decide intelligently.

I think you would be better off to outline your story, not worrying about exactly what the stats are. Once you do that you may discover that you had no need for smithing/crafting in your story, or perhaps that there weren’t very many opportunities for Mental and Arcane use, so it makes more sense to combine them, rather than have two underused stats. Or you might discover that “combat” is the answer to too many problem, and decide to make more than one stat out of it.

In short, i think you should derive your stats from your high level outline.

Anyway, that’s how i’m approaching my first project.


#10

Glad I could help, I guess. Sometimes our minds are too absorbed in a project to see best solutions. Of course, I say that because I have way too much experience in that area.

I’m a fan of outlines, to some degree. I am a bigger proponent of creating a premise and then allowing an outline to come from that. That works best for me although I have not come even close to releasing a game book.