Stat System or Classes?

Hey everybody!

My friend and I are currently working on our first CoG game and I wanted to get some thoughts/opinions about stat systems versus classes.

Basically the game we are creating is a fantasy adventure RPG which is meant to be a parody of games like Legend of Zelda and Skyrim (there are many others but those are the ones that just popped into my head). It will also having a healthy dose of pop culture references and general geekiness.

The stat system I have currently created is based around 4 stats which are:

Brains - How smart you are, obviously. Half of this stat equals your Magic Points (MP).

Brawn - How strong you are, half of this stat equals your Health Points (HP).

Bravery - Pretty self-explanatory but this stat will allow or disallow certain choices in the game. Think of it like a karma system in other games.

Beauty - Your physical appearance (I know what you’re thinking, but men can be beautiful too!) This is similar to charisma, because as we all know, beauty can get you anything.

The above is in-game text, where after describing the stats the player is asked to choose their your stats in order where the first choice will be given 4 points down to 1 for the last.

As per other CoG games players will be able to increase/decrease stats based on their choices.

Does this seem interesting enough? The alternative I was thinking of is where there will be four classes, two with the main stat of Brains and two for Brawn, then one will be high in Bravery low in Beauty and the other will be the opposite.

I hope this is the right place to post this, I’m really keen to get going with this story wise but I want to ensure that I’m not limiting us gameplay wise.

Thanks for your time!

It sounds like a generic RPG stat system. What purpose do these stats have? How will they effect the story? What are your four classes? Have you read the section on making interesting stats on the website?

Thanks for replying so quickly!

To answer your questions, it is somewhat meant to be a “generic” RPG stat system as it is a parody of other RPG stat systems.

To further expand on my original post about how stats will work, in addition to increasing/decreasing stats, choices will be available or not available based on different stats. Also a choice may fail or go differently if the “wrong” choice is made based on a stat.

An example I thought of is that you are meant to save a princess, however because your Bravery is low you decide to try to sneak through the back door of the tower where she is being kept instead of rushing head first through the front gate.

I have not read the section about making interesting stats on the website. I am reading it now though.

You could have parody stats instead.

I think Courage/Cowardice is a good stat, especially if it’s as an opposed stat, and Cowardice actually aids in running away from things, whereas Courage gives you the bravery to tackle things head on and face your fears. Although maybe that would be Self-Preservation or ‘Survival’ and I’d call Bravery Bullheadedness or Stubborness sometimes. See different names, the same sort of theme.

I remember the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon with the Cavalier who was always rather cowardly, and the Wizard who kept messing up his magic. I think that sort of thing is actually fun. However it’s also rather story dependent.

I’m a fan of less is more in regards to stats. And choices like how to save the princess should be up to the player.

It could even be an Honour stat since Honour is facing things head on, and the opposite is being all sneaky.

I think beauty’s boring, it’s a very passive stat. Better to roll it up with charisma if you must. I’ll admit I’m fond of 7th Sea’s panache though, which is your sense of style and with how much flair you do things. It serves the same purpose statwise but is a lot more fun.

Think on the stats, see if you can find interesting ways to implement them or phrase them.

Yes I remember the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon. That definitely has some material I would like to use. :slight_smile:

I am also a fan of simplification in stats. I think it gets a bit mind-numbing when I play a game that has six different stats that can potentially effect my defence/health.

I’m starting to agree that Beauty is a bit of a passive stat. I’m already finding it hard to think of instances where I would use it. I just wanted to crack some jokes about a male being beautiful.

The articles on the Choice of Games blog are really good.

I loved that old cartoon! I still remember the some of the names: Eric the cavalier, Presto the wizard.

I see nothing wrong with having a beauty stat, although I would probably call it more something like “Charm” so that you can cover more than just physical appearance with it. Or you can call it something like “Elegance” or even “Repose.”

If you must have an instance where you are using a low courage stat to perform an action, then I highly recommend using opposed pairs because if someone sees the game and does not know there’s a benefit to having a low stat (meaning an opposed pair), obviously the first thought that will occur is, “What’s the use of having a low courage?” Another issue with the bravery stat is that just because someone is not being direct does not mean they lack courage. It takes just as much courage to walk into danger hoping to not be seen at all as it does to walk in with the intention of waving your sword menacingly at everyone and challenging them all to open combat. *BEGIN RANT* Have you read The Lord of the Rings? Obviously, that’s always a great reference for many things fantasy, and this is yet another. The movies do not show this nearly as well as the books, of course, but the hobbits as a race as some of the most courageous people in Middle-earth even if they don’t necessarily realize it at first, which is why Gandalf chooses to associate himself with them and to use them for his tasks. They are also naturally gifted at stealth, and Bilbo uses his courage and sneakiness to great effect many times throughout The Hobbit. The same goes for the other hobbits. On the way out of The Shire, they encounter Black Riders a few times and use their natural stealth to hide from them, not because they are scared, although they are, but because they need to protect the Ring. *END RANT* Personally, my favorite names for Honor stats are “Honorable” on one side and “Feckless” on the other. As far as directness of approach, I like to use “Clandestine” and “Reckless.” Of course, you can be a lot more creative than that! I just like to use those because one of the sides of the pairs has rhyming words attached!

Brains, since it is more of a skill than a personality trait (since I like to differentiate between the two, I generally give personality traits opposed pairs and skills just a percent bar that says there’s no good reason to not have it higher), has no other issue than, of course, the sheer drollness of the name. I suggest something more unique such as “Alacrity.”

You could use beauty to factor hidden stats; a combination of the MC’s current brains and beauty for a charisma check when trying to convince someone of something, for example.

Would Glamour be a better way to describe Beauty? I was trying to go for all B words just because I liked the alliteration but if it doesn’t make sense or people don’t like it then I’ll change it.

I’m also considering having it as a hidden stat.

I understand the thoughts about Bravery, the example about sneaking around being the low Bravery choice was probably a poor one.

I have definitely read and loved all The Lord of The Rings books.

I do want the stats to have some drollness to them, sense this is going to be a parody game.

Sounds like a fun concept. I agree that parody stats could be pretty funny - it doesn’t even have to diverge much from what you already have. Even a change in diction could add a nice flair. If you’re sticking with alliteration, “buxom” could by a silly substitute for beauty.

Or you could go all out and add some wacky stuff. Ex: a “cliche” meter, if you want to wink at the fourth wall. I think it’d also be hilarious to have stats that are typically considered “bad” be instead useful. For example, having a high enough “stupidity” (assisinity/fatuity/obtuseness/etc) could render you unaffected by spells or cunning ploys, because your mind’s not developed enough. Or enough physical weakness would make you seem unthreatening to enemies and increase chances of their bypassing you altogether.

While I don’t like the idea of a buxom stat since I tend to assume that’s for women, I do like the idea of the Brains being opposed with a Stupidity stat.

I’d see Brains as creative thinking, a willingness to learn and to think outside the box as well as book learning and being educated. And magic if you must.

Then opposed by a stat which allows for highly entertaining choices that sometimes work through their sheer ridiculousness. Like throwing steaks not stakes at a vampire. But it also allows taking a Gordian solution to some problems like deciding to smash them instead of over-thinking them.

You’re in a library and the whole city has been hit by a flash-freeze. Everyone’s going to die of hypothermia. The Brainy character would read the books and discover a fire-spell, or they’d do something with increasing insulation.

The not-brainy character would burn the books, seeing them as a far more useful fire source than breaking apart the furniture. But this action, something a brainy character would shudder to even consider, since lighting a fire inside the library, which has no ventilation could cause issues. Now burning the books would attract the horror of the wizard who’d sent the blizzard appearing in a puff of sheer rage.

But that’s just one example. But if you go for opposed stats where traditionally negative stats are actually assets make sure they’re funny and they are stats in their own right.

David wouldn’t have been able to challenge Goliath if he had high Brawn. He was underestimated because he was just a shepherd with a sling.

High Beauty also means that people are going to notice you more. Also if it’s a charisma style stat having it low can let you say rude, inappropriate things which trigger people to get annoyed at you. That’s one of the issues though and I suppose an asset to having a beauty stat instead of a charisma stat. A charisma stat could prevent you from choosing the dialogue choices you want to. The beauty stat would let you away with choosing any of them, but if you say the dreadful chatup line you’ll get away with it, whereas with a low beauty people will be throwing drinks in your face.

I’d be pretty diverted by the idea of waltzing a buxom man around the place, evading capture left and right and charming the enemies with his plump buttocks. (Not that that was a serious idea.)

I really like the cliché meter. Maybe if it hits 100% something “spectacular” happens.

Opposing stats is an interesting idea as well.

How about instead of Brains the opposing stats would be Sensible and Senseless? I’m now thinking that the MC can have both “Brains” and “Brawn” so they could be a Strong Sensible Warrior or a Sissy Senseless Wizard.

@kakistocracy: Serious or not, I think that sounds exactly how it’d be used.

I like Beauty as a stat, because of the parody aspect. Charisma is more logical, but logic isn’t the point of this. The point is the power of the almighty Chainmail Bikini.

Well like I said it doesn’t necessarily have to be called Beauty, I thought maybe Glamour is a bit more all encompassing while still sounding “out of place”.

I think Beauty fits for what you’re doing. Use that.

And I do like Brains and Brawn not being opposed. I like the idea of playing a sensible warrior. I think a parody game is one of the few situations where you can get away with having a scale which has negative stats on it, but making those negative stats fun.

I’m all for stats, most games use them anyway. As a gamer though, the problem I have with stats is there is always one or two that ‘stand out’.

Say, you’re doing a parody of RPGs… So, Charisma is usually always a strong stat in single-player RPGs, gaining you persuasion, negotiation bonuses, extra quests, extra information, extra resolutions and so on.

Magic is usually always weak to start, strong to end. Intelligence itself usually links not necessarily to magic (per JRPGs) but conversational options, crafting, ‘insight’ (per WRPGs, see Fallout).

My bugbear in RPGs that are stat based is these things tend to be mutually exclusive. For example, a strong, brave warrior can never be a decent magician and likewise a magician is usually always a glass cannon. One or the other will be better eventually.

Class systems tend to but not always pigeonhole players into a set stat build, but at the same time I don’t think free stat building ever allows a player to ‘deviate’ from a class system in the first place, usually because the stats are linked in some form or another that encourages a player to build in terms of a ‘class’ anyway.

If you’re doing a parody, I reckon the best approach is possibly to make the stats themselves somewhat intangible, not necessarily irrelevant but rather have a low ‘impact’ on the ‘choice’ but a high impact on the action and consequence. For example, having a high magic, low strength user utilising a physical option, you could make note to the player that it’s a completely absurd choice because they’re weak, via of course, enemy interaction but completely lampshade hanging the entire scenario by causing them to be completely baffled and surprised that a ‘mage’ could move so quickly and with such impressive strength. Maybe even highlight what some RPGs fail to do, for example, take into account a mage should surely be able to increase their speed/strength and technical abilities via magic in the first place. What? You thought a mage could only cast fireballs Mr Goblin? >_>

Personally I think that approach would give you a bigger leeway, more creative freedom to implement your own brand of comedy and casual fun-poking at RPG cliches and tropes without necessarily constricting the playing experience or the story based on stats, and ALSO it would prevent your own game from falling into the trap of becoming restricted a la the games you’re nudging and winking at.

If that idea doesn’t interest you though, then the only thing I can suggest is if you go down the stat route, try and cover every single angle. There’s always going to be some weird bugbear out there who’ll do a stat mix that you won’t have thought of which, makes it trickier to cover when you write out the resolutions for choices unless you limit them.

Hope that gives you food for thought.

That’s some great food for thought @RVallant.

I do want to focus more on the results of an action then forcing the player to only choose certain actions based on their stats.

I’m starting to think that maybe the player shouldn’t be a direct magic user, instead their magic is based around equipment. This way the combat choices will not be directly tied to their stats but what weapon they have, however they can still choose a “non-conventional” method with the weapon. For example the player may have a wand but can choose to beat their enemy on the head with it, which is quite effective since they have high Brawn.

Another thought is whether the stats should be percentage based or just numerical?

Like Presto’s magic hat? I think that magic items as opposed to actual magic means you can better control how magic works. The great thing about Prestos ability was it was situation specific and you never knew what would happen.

Magic Wand. Healing potion. Magic Hat. Magic ring. Bag of Wonders. Something like that.

And please let us have a scene where a male character comes across a chainmail bikini, which has absolutely amazing stat bonuses, and they must decide whether they should wear it or not. Similarly an absolutely hideously ugly outfit that is also good. Or one with lots of skulls on it that makes you look evil.

And a commentary on the ethics of looting the dead and stealing their equipment. Also those dull boring fetch quests and the gather 10 paws type thing and somehow you battle 10 animals and rather than having 4 paws each, like you’d expect most of the poor mutated things have no paws. How do they even survive in the wilderness?

It depends, are you going opposed stats (which I’d suggest if you plan to have stats drop as well as rise) or just one stat?

Ignore that post, wrong game… Supposed to be Tin Star.

I think having a beauty parody (I like the name “Glamour”, by the way!) would be great! If I can play a “dashing” adventurer who is so low on the beauty scale that I can charm goblins with my looks, that would be perfect! Similarly, if I am being attacked by bandits, I want the option to charm them with my perfectly round butt and make them turn themselves in to authorities!

And I love the idea of having plays on words such as hitting a vampire with a steak! That could be perfect for one of the smart and stupid choices where the smart character will know that it is supposed to be a stake instead!

The “Cliche” meter could work very well for a parody game, especially if you have a conventional party with you, meaning one that consists of a strong fighter, smart wizard, sneaky thief, and noble cleric. Or whatever you would want the party to be.

Personally, as far as wearing demeaning outfits, I would love for my character to find a dragonscale cooking apron to wear as armor! Perhaps a “+5 French Maid Outfit of Dexterity…” Of course, it couldn’t be a “French” anything since France won’t exist in that world.

Based on your earlier posts, I think you can do quite well with making this game, and I’m really hoping I have the option of jabbing my wand up a king or queen’s nose!