Stats vs Skills

So I’m trying to decide the way I want to do stats in my game. Right now I have it set with regular stats you’d see in most games whether CoG or a MMO. While I don’t mind this setup part of me wants to go a different direction.

I’m thinking about making the choices set skills rather then stats. Such as you take Kendo club so later down the story you can fight with a sword. Or you took German so later you have the chance to use that skill. Some would have long lasting effects and others would wholly depend on the branches of the story.

I know I could use a combination of both, but as of now being new and all, I feel it might be to much. So overall what do everyone enjoy most of all?

Id set a poll but I sadly don’t know how lol.

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Based on what you have described, I believe that stats make a bit more sense. Stats imply something about the characters themselves while skills are just things that they can do. A person can be charismatic, but they can also speak German. One is a trait that is truly a part of them, and the other is something that they can do.

But the skill choice seems a bit more limiting. From the example you gave, I can use a sword if I take Kendo. Does that mean if I choose a different club, all choices related to swords are blocked off? Or can I use a sword with far less skill than someone who chose to take Kendo. Setting tasks behind skills forces you into specific actions. Stats allow a bit more freedom, or at least the illusion of freedom and choice in comparison to the stat checks you described.

At least, that’s my opinion.


I think the skill idea could be interesting, I believe Choice of Vampire had something like that where you could deticate time to learning a new skill (how to play an instrument, a new language, ect.) but I think @SimplyUnknown makes a good good point that it could be limiting to use only skills and no stats.

I think a combination of both were stats are used for the majority and skills could be used for some flavor or role play would be what’s best but it would probably also be a lot of work…

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Very good points makes stats seem more open. What about skills that have part stat value?

Such as:
MC was a bodybuilder. So you set physical or strong as a skill, but give it a value to affect certain actions. Such as with the kendo example. You dont know kendo, but with the physical skill at set value you are able to fight just not as well as said kendo skill would allow.

This might defeat ths purpose of calling it skills instead of stats I guess. Justing looking at all the options and learning the gives and takes of each.

Thanks for the feedback, sorry if my typing sucks right now…hate phone typing lol.

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i have no strong opinion about it, so i’ll just tell you how to make a poll :sweat_smile:
1option icon
build poll


Both systems are viable. At the end of the day it comes down to how well-organized you are and how much work you are willing to put in for potentially little gain.

What am I talking about? Well, my understanding is that your definition of skills is like a binary switch. Either you can do something or you can’t. Without getting too technical, in the code you’d have to set up that switch and then include events that turn it on or off. Then, when it comes time to make a decision in the story, you have to consider all possible switches that could come into play in the resolution of the scene.

Depending on how you structure your game that could be a lot. Let’s say you have weapons skills. One for swords, one for clubs, one for staves, one for spears etc. During the course of a conflict you decide the MC can pick up a pool cue and use it as a weapon. You’d then need to consider all weapons skill switches that might apply and have the game check against them.

It might not be more work per se (I wouldn’t rightly know) but it’s definitely more bookkeeping. And as has been said, stats are more open and thereby vague which can cause less miscommunication where a player thinks he should be able to do something they can’t, or where a player makes a choice without understanding the cause and effect.


It depends on how often the stat/skill in question is used.

For instance, if a situation where it’s useful to speak a certain language only comes up once or twice, your skill in it should be binary: you either speak it, or you don’t.

If, however, your proficiency in that language is important throughout the game (you’re playing as an interpreter, for instance), it should be a stat, as to add more nuance to the outcomes you get when using it.

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Stat as you described here seem to be more general, which would be better if you planned to have a rather wide range of situations where a specific skill wouldn’t cut it. For example, knowing a martial art probably wouldn’t help in carrying a heavy crate, where strength would help you quite a lot.

Skills would help make the game feel more personalized since the skills are usually more specific than stats. For example, setting martial arts as a skill instead of giving a stat boost to strength would give the player a specific option to use it instead of relying on brute force.

Skills, however, take much longer to plan than stats. For a skill to be useful, it probably has to be used more than once throughout the game, and if used often, it might be better to provide a mixture of the two mechanics where you get better at a particular skill.

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Personally I lean more towards skills as you describe them rather than stats… but I’m also very much biased as I just don’t like working with stats when writing, and will essentially find any way I possibly can to avoid using them and come up with a new mechanic in their stead.

However I don’t think that skills would be good if it’s an automatic “you learn this and now every time you do this you’ll succeed” kind of thing. After all, we fail even when doing things we know. (I mean, I certainly know how to walk but that doesn’t mean I don’t trip… more than I should, honestly.) So you’d have to implement them in-tandem with something else- be it a randomization factor, a more strategic, puzzle-based system, a skill-level system, some combination of mechanics, or something else entirely.

Granted there could be some exceptions. Such as your German example- that could simply mean that anytime anyone speaks German in the game the MC would actually understand what they’re saying which would give them an extra clue or hint on how to tackle the situation at hand.

But, yeah, generally I have a preference for skills over stats.


Couldn’t find a bad answer from any of you. Everything you said made sense and now I’m more unsure which direction id like to go in. I think I’m goning to try to skill system with minor stats affecting other areas of the game.

I agree we lose some freedom with skills but I also feel after reading everyone’s input that it builds character better. Still in the early stages of developing my method anyway so now I have feedback to guide my decision.

Thanks everyone!

Didn’t want to start a brand new thread. So ill post it here as its related to stats and skills.

For describing stats and skills with text, do you all like a serious explanation, or more creative or funny way of description. Example below.

*set insight_text “You know nothing Jon Snow…I mean $!{Name}.”

*set insight_text “You might not know everything, but by paying attention you have developed a basic understanding of the Animus.”

That would depend on the tone of your game.

I don’t know what you’re writing so I’m not certain how well this can be applied, but in general having funny or quirky text would create dissonance in an otherwise more serious piece, so I would suggest sticking to whatever tone you’re going for in-game so that it creates a more immersive atmosphere for the player.

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