30 November, 2018

Do we really need attributes?

I look at games like Risus, or like the work I've just done with The Fen, or even looking back at earlier work I've tinkered with (Catacomb Quest comes to mind). There are plenty of other games that also don't use attributes at all, so it seems a bit odd to simply be including attributes because it's tradition to do so.

I've been looking over the work for The Fen, and one of the first things that came to mind was applying a system of races, cultures and occupations to it. Then I thought I should apply an attribute system... and that's when it hit me. Do we really need atttributes?

The ideas that led to this were an attempt to tie the basic system to the Other Strangeness project that I abandoned a while ago.

I initially thought that I needed the stereotypical races... human, elf, dwarf... because these make an easy point of entry for players who are used to the standard fantasy paradigm, but humans tend to be the vanilla, which gets flavoured more strongly by the occupations available. Then I thought, how about no humans... or make the characters closest to human simply be those who are mixed races of the other identified groups. Which then led to "Screw it! I did a bit of work on that Other Strangeness project a while back... why not just plug things from here into there??"

Under this theory, I'll apply a bunch of traits that different animal characters can pick. But not give the different animal-types attribute modifiers... because there won't be any attributes. In a few cases there might be traits like "strong", "fast", or "cunning", but these are more simplistic and chunky in their effects... either a character has got them or they don't.

It's not so nuanced, but in this particular case it doesn't need to be. Characterisation and character development comes from other sources.

We'll see where this goes, I foresee a new pocketmod coming.
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