Personality stats vs Attribute stats

What’s the community’s opinion on personality stats vs attribute stats?
I’ve seen posts about previous games and how you are asked a few questions about the personality of your character before starting the game. I haven’t played any of these games yet and only just started getting into the scripting part of Choice… but I think I would prefer to use attribute stats along with different choices for each situation the reader is put into. That way the player is given the option to act however they see fit in each moment. :sweat_smile:


I feel like personality should dictate how a character acts, I’ve been in many situations where the MC has felt bad about something I wouldn’t care about or acted away I haven’t made them act before. This is only for more control and flexibility I don’t mind too much but it is frustrating.

Attributes should affect how well I perform an action. I love the random feature for situations such as these here’s why:
If I try to charm someone irl and I have little to no charm I maybe lucky and end up actually succeeding or maybe my natural awkwardeness kicks in and I fail.

But this depends on the player.


Personality stats >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> attribute stats.

EDIT: Actually, I want to add that relationship stats trump both of these. Relationships with other characters are, in my experience writing and reading WIPs, a lot more important than both personality and attribute stats. I’ve spieled enough about why on this forum, but in essence, they creat better interactions with less fallbacks.

Of course, this all depends on the type of game you’re making and what types of players you want to attract. Everyone’s different. But from what I’ve observed, character relationships are incredibly important in CoG/HG games.


I’d just rather not get mixed up in personality stats, because I’ve seen people post about how it feels like sometimes it adds restrictions. Like choosing a person with a reckless personality and then being forced into choices you don’t like where it’s important to not be reckless for example. That’s just how I see it… but I realize it’s all really just about opinion. Personality stats I plan on having.


I’m partial to personality stats myself, but basic attribute stats are always welcome. They should dictate most of how the MC acts, with more than a little flavor based on what sort of personality they’re supposed to have, but I think it honestly depends on how you present the stats that dictate their effectiveness.

For example, I’m pretty sure a lot of forum-goers dislike opposed stats, but they can work well with values like honesty/deceit, moral/amoral, etc… There’s also the issue of having way too many, however, but that really depends on if you use them within the game and how important they are.

I heavily agree with this. Relationship stats are super important, more so if you’re building a game with a heavy focus on characters. Or anything dealing with romance.


You can honestly make an entire game without personality stats. Most games won’t need a single one.


I don’t see the issue with personality stats. However, they probably shouldn’t be used to restrict players access to choices. (Stats that work well for restricted actions, in my opinion, are attributes—e.g. power or reputation—and stats that can be represented by booleans—e.g. classes or backgrounds.

Personality stats shine when they influence the narrative and…give flavor to the MC’s personality. If there’s a daring choice but the MC is cautious, rather than grey out the choice—let them do it but have the way it’s executed change. Maybe it’s not successful if they’re not daring enough, maybe they’re afraid the entire time they’re doing it, etc. If there’s a choice that is particularly selfless but the MC is ruthless, have the narrative address that and offer an explanation as to why a trigger-happy character is saving civilians, or whatever.


For personality stats, I usually have them hidden because I usually want a player to choose what choices genuinely reflect them or their character instead of choosing something because it probably bumps up that one stat that sounds cool on the stats screen.

I utilize personality stats to dictate what the player can choose, so they are used in *selectable_if choices. For example, if I have a character who is practical, then the option to kill an enemy would be availbale, while a moral character has the option to spare them.

As for attribute stats, they are the visible ones since they are often utilized (at least by me) in dictating the effectiveness of an option, and to be honest, the player has every right to see it. They also affect selectable options but not as much as personality stats for me.

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I used personality stats only in my game because I felt skills stats felt artificial and less ‘real life’. (For example I’d describe myself as selfish, but not that I have 80 points in strength IRL)
I also wanted to create the character freedom mentioned above, and prevent someone of one personality type from being straightjacketed into only playing one type of personality choice

It was interesting that beta feedback suggested this was making it harder to see that choices mattered. Readers could see cumulative stat changes occurring, but couldn’t see them limiting your ability to do things, so choices didn’t seem to matter.

So I’d say you need to make it blindingly obvious how choices matter if you go this route.

I’ve learned - no one can see where the other paths go, most only have one reading experience unless you’re so fantastically talented that they read again.

Don’t make the mistake I did, of assuming that for the sake of “realism” that you can get away with some of your big choices ‘happening to’ the reader (the mc in mine is a child swept away by politics). Don’t make decision outcomes hard to guess - I assumed with some choices you realistically wouldn’t know the outcome (in mine the mc gets apprenticed in 3 different professions to embed the reader in the world they find themselves in - but as the professions are world-based a new reader has no idea what they are getting themselves into)

So IMO make choices and consequences blindingly obvious, or make your stats checks and win/fails blindingly obvious - else your reader will feel they don’t have agency.

I should have my demo back up in a few weeks so you can test this out for yourself then (to be honest I’m having too much selfish fun writing the second book to rush to do it - so apologies if you have to wait till April when I think Saga is due for release). In the second book I’m working to improve my personality stats, and I’m considering a hybrid personality/skills system to make it obvious how the stats, and therefore all your choices, matter


So you would ask the reader what type of character they would like to be and then let your story reflect that decision through narrative while still keeping other optional choices available?

Personally I’m find personality stats quite frustrating when they limit my options or are used in success/failure checks. Especially when there’s an opposed pair and the check is for something like >70 / < 30, forcing you to min/max all the way instead of roleplay.

The fact is the author’s interpretation of personality will always be a little different from the readers.

Take the honesty/deceitful opposed pair. In one context, I might tell the truth because I’m trying to protect someone, or because it gives me an advantage, or because I specifically want to influence whoever I’m speaking to. In another, I might lie for the exact same reasons. Motivations are complicated and can’t really be accurately captured/predicted with a few bars. Just because I lied in previous situations doesn’t mean that I will do so in all situations, or that I am incapable of telling the truth. I’d greatly prefer an attribute stat to determine my capability of deceit, and to let me decide whether to use it in each specific situation.

However they can add immersion if the stats do match up with the motivations. One work that does this really well is the Fallen Hero series. The text of its choices include not just what the MC will do, but why they’re doing it, so the player’s interpretation of the MC’s personality matches up well with the personality stats.

TL:DR: Personality stats are fine only if they don’t try to make my decisions for me.




There’s already been several threads talking about this topic, or related to this topic. I’ll link them below for reference.

Best of luck.

Opinions about Stats (Skills, Relationships and Personality)
Stats-Based Games VS Non-Stats-Based Game
Distributing Personality Stats
Narrative Changing based on stats
Balancing narrative “Try/Fail” “Yes/But” “No/And” scenes with choices
Relativity/absoluteness of relationship stats
Stats vs Skills
Best Use of Personality Stats?


My thoughts exactly, and better articulated, too.

Fallen Hero even handles its (very few) personality-gated choices well. Off the top of my head, for example, in Rebirth you can’t name your villain persona Anathema or Sidestep unless your arrogance is high enough. Which just makes sense and feels very organic with how Malin handles personality in the narrative. If you have a MC who’s arrogant enough to name themself Sidestep, you probably made enough arrogance-boosting choices to pass the stat check. It works as it doesn’t lock you out of ways to play based upon how you built your character in the stat-setting portion, and isn’t abused.

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I won’t directly ask them “What would you like to be?” They get to choose who they want to be through the options they are given in the different situations they will be in.

Yes, the personality variables will affect what the story and the character will say.

And yes, certain options will be blocked due to a player’s stats, but not so much in minor decisions. I use personality stats to dictate what (major) actions a player can do, while the attribute stats will dictate how effective that decision will be.

I find personality stats to be annoying sometimes, in some games you are forced to act like your stat, and you are punished for acting differently. In addition these stats are often oppositte and it’s not beneficial to have it at around 50% so you are forced to act in ways you don’t want.

This isn’t really realistic because humans always change and you don’t always act the same.
For example you can have a very kind person who suddenly snaps after someone hurt their loved ones, and becomes very ruthless.

Attributes make more sense, for example if a character has never learnt history you don’t expect them to suddenly know rare historical facts.

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Both sides of the argument made in this thread have good points. It’s really made me take a step back and analyze my stats txt. I felt like I had too many skill stats, so I narrowed those down and it looks sorta like this:

*if knight
	${title}: ${name}
	Path: ${path}
	Gender: ${gender}
		percent Combat
		percent Wisdom
		percent Diplomacy
		opposed_pair Hero
		percent company Company Morale
		percent citizen Citizen Morale
		text Health
		text Stamina

I am thinking of narrowing it down even further by taking out Health and Stamina and replacing it with something else that doesn’t require being monitored as much as the other things. The Hero/Villain meter will be influenced by what the character does in the story at major situations that will affect the ending given. For example:

The king is having a feast for himself and the rest of the higher ups while your soldiers and the rest of the town are starving due to famine.
    #Eat. You're not complaining!  "+ x amount of Villain points"
    #Don't eat, and ridicule the king for his selfishness.  "+ x amount of Hero points"

This is not straight from any of my txt documents and is just an example. It’s the general idea of what I was thinking of doing though. The meter could also be affected by how you treat others in certain situations. It wouldn’t be something like being rude or sarcastic that increases/decreases the meter, but the outcomes of situations. People will start to think differently of either you or the king depending on the outcome of your choice. And let’s be honest here, it’d be a dick move to gorge yourself on food you didn’t know you had which could be rationed out. I think I would make it to where the hero meter gets larger if you protest the feast, and if you pass a speech check to convince the king that it is wrong and he should be feeding everyone then you will get additional points towards the hero meter.
gasps for air

I personally love personality stats. I like looking at how my choices have shaped my MC lol. What I do not like is if one stat is high and it blocks off options. I think players should always have the option to pick a choice that will effect their stat. If I’m playing a nice character and the narrative in my head says something in the story has effected my MC in such a way that they make a “mean” choice, I should have the freedom to do so.

I personally think stat checks should be used for bits of dialogue to engrosse the reader. Ex: if I’m playing a charming character, it should reflect in how they interact with other characters by saying “funny” things instead of neutral or aloof things

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What Frogs said has good merit. Taking that into consideration, it is also possible that these ‘personality stats’ can be used as a reflection of how the world perceives the main character.

Maybe they’re fundamentally good at heart with a sensitive level of consideration toward others normally, but have had to make several consecutive choices that would be seen by everyone else as ruthless. The mc/reader can agree that they were being more harsh than they’d like, or disagree based on a less emotional, and more pragmatic take on their decisions.

Of course, the problem with making these QoL acknowledgements for the reader is that there would be many instances where they are choosing the reasons along with the choice itself, effectively doubling the amount of choices the player can pick from on the page. Although the resultant flavor text doesn’t necessarily have to be four big paragraphs long to cover this, it does end up making a more complex web of checks, and flags in the background that will have an impact on the climax, and ending.