I've had this thought in my head for a while, as I'm developing my game, but this question really sparked me into posing the question.

In the game I'm developing, peoples normal stats/attributes aren't just static numbers but they give an idea of personality as well. The ones I have so far are:


  • Brute - Someone with high brute favours strength and power in their actions over finesse (effectively Str&Con). They can take hits physically and give them back.
  • Finesse - Someone with high finesse favours agility and speed in their actions over using brute force (effectively dex). They can move and deliver attacks quickly, as well as avoid them.


  • Heart - Someone with heart is better at resolving social conflict, diplomatically where compromise is important (An aspect of Charisma)
  • Charm - Someone with charm is better at using cunning and guile to twist social situations into their favour (an aspect of charisma)


  • Will - Someone with strong will, has great strength of mind and intelligence and uses this to solve their problems.
  • Wit - Someone with strong wit, uses intuition over knowledge, and is right about things because they favour their instincts. This is how they solve their problems

These aspects are meant to cover abilities, but due to that ability sway the characters preference.

Do these aspects cover all the bases that Str, Con, Dex....etc do? Do they cover the bases that the WoD statline covers? Is a character with these as stats missing some functionality I can't think of?

N.B these stats will come with 'broad skills', such as talk, which give unique outcomes in combination, e.g. Talk + Brute gives intimidation. Charm + Conceal would give a 'bluff' against someone trying to manipulate you.

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    \$\begingroup\$ These sound like three axes rather than six stats. Is that what you were aiming for? Assuming they are supposed to be six stats, what would it mean for someone to have both high Brute and high Finesse if the wording talks about favouring one style over the other? \$\endgroup\$ – Aether Jan 9 '12 at 11:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ They can do both: Lightning Bruiser \$\endgroup\$ – Pureferret Jan 9 '12 at 11:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do like the sound of these. (If only there were a one-syllable word that carried the same meaning as "finesse," it would be perfect.) \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Jan 9 '12 at 12:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jadasc Not quite the same meaning, but in a "raw power" against "style" kind of thing, "Flair" might work. \$\endgroup\$ – Aether Jan 9 '12 at 16:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Aether Flair is a very good word for it. \$\endgroup\$ – Pureferret Jan 9 '12 at 16:53

Short answer: Yes, No and Yes.

"Do these aspects cover all the bases that Str, Con, Dex....etc do?"

I am answering this question as if it were "Do these attributes cover all the attributes that Dungeons and Dragons includes?"

They do, if you replace what the character prefers to do with what they can do. Using the sample attributes you have posted here, someone with high Charm would prefer to convince people to share his/hers point of view and/or distract them from the real point of a conversation. In Dungeons and Dragons however, someone with low Charisma is incapable of (or really rather bad at) convincing or verbally manipulating another. In the system you have posted it is clear that a character with high Charm prefers manipulating people, but it is unclear whether they are capable of (and how effective they are at) verbal manipulation. (I am assuming you originally wanted the system to represent skill over preference, and just worded your question in a different/wrong way, as preference is completely binary, while skill has a curve.)

The same goes for other attributes as well, I just used Charm as an example.

"Do they cover the bases that the WoD statline covers?"

I feel the only attributes in oWoD that are not reflected by yours are Appearance and Endurance. In your system, Charm and Heart reflect preferences on social approaching, while Appearance is, well, how beautiful your character is. Don't worry though, I always thought that Appearance was the most stupid attribute in the history of pen and paper RPG's ever, so don't include anything similar, I'd say.

Also, someone with high Brute seems to prefer direct, brute force approaches that might resolve a situation quicker, and that someone with high Finesse prefers a slow, but more delicate and careful resolution, but there is no attribute to reflect how long a character can keep trying to do physically taxing tasks (running, jumping, climbing, etc.)

Apart from these two oWoD attributes, I'd say all the rest are reflected well.

"Is a character with these as stats missing some functionality I can't think of?"

Apart from oWoD Endurance/ D&D Constitution, You have covered the majority of the ground that most popular pen and paper RPG's cover, as far as attributes go. However, as humans are very complex beings, there will always be aspects of the human mind, more so than the body, that play a vital role in social interaction and mental challenges and that will elude most people, or that are being passed off as too trivial by others. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Expression: Does Sam know what gestures to use when conversing to further his point? Can he control his microexpressions consciously while conversing? How good is he at using body language to get a point across?

    High Expression: Sam knows that when Lord Downey asks him if he has any children, he should not blink when he says "no", otherwise Lord Downey might know he is lying and seek leverage by endagering his son.

    Low Expression: Sam thinks that shaking his head vividly left and right when he says "no" in reply to Lord Downey asking him if he has children, will convince him that he hasn't.

  • Empathy: How good is Sam at noticing people's stances and gestures or microexpressions while conversing? How good is he at 'reading between the lines', meaning, how good is he at examining what people say and how they say it, to be able to uncover what they are truly thinking and feeling by what words they choose and how they say them?

    High Empathy: Sam knows that Lord Downey is feeling righteous about trying to frame him with the packet of arsenic because the Lord answers with questions that try to make Sam admit he has often acted with the belief that his opinions are over the laws of the city.

    Low Empathy: Sam isn't sure whether Lord Downey is feeling remorseful or righteous.

  • Critical Thought: How good is Sam at judging how he should deal with a situation to provide him with the result he will be most satisfied with?

    High C.T.: Sam knows he will get more answers out of Lord Downey if he respects him as an enemy and if he threatens his position of power within the Assassins Guild.

    Low C.T.: Sam thinks trying to appeal to Lord Downey's morals will bring out the good in him, making him confess.

Samuel Vimes Lord Downey

   Captain Sir Samuel Vimes                 Lord Downey

Notes to consider/Afterthoughts/Suggestions:

  • Make your attributes represent competence, more than preference.

  • Think about how much detail you want your system attributes to go into, before deciding what to include (example, does Charm include how good a character is at getting his point across and how good he is at sensing what the other people's motives and feelings are, or do you want the two to be separate attributes?)

  • Discern between knowledge , education and intelligence; The three are completely different. Knowledge is gained through education, but also from experience and perception. Intelligence is inherent from the minute someone is born, and cannot change through natural means. Perception is altogether different, but can be raised through training.

Good luck with your system and feel free to ask any other questions you may have! Have fun!

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd say endurance is covered by brute. Heart might be better replaced by Empathy. I'm struggling to find words that convey competence and preference which are two things I want to be entwined in my system. \$\endgroup\$ – Pureferret Jan 9 '12 at 12:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @OddCore As Pureferret said, endurance was rather specifically covered by 'Brute'. And if we assume resistance is wrapped up into the 'power' stats, based on that, then he covered everything from nWoD. \$\endgroup\$ – Wesley Obenshain Jan 10 '12 at 17:34

I'm noticing that you've basically divided yourself into Physical, Mental, and Social with Power and Finesse sub-stats. Many 'generic' games seem to do pretty well when dividing themselves into those three categories. But whether they cover "enough" of a person's ability, the question really becomes, "What parts of a person's abilities are you looking to explore?". You're question doesn't tell us much about your intent, so I'll put this here for you to help judge for yourself. (Note that this commentary is meant to regard all 'stats' including things like skills, feats, and other bits on a character sheet with a mechanical benefit.)

Situations Where Stat X Works Well

  1. The stat's primary usage is called on often.
  2. The stat has an effect in a variety of situations.
  3. The stat isn't used often but has a significant effect when used.
  4. The stat has a high relevance to the setting.

Situations Where Stat X Does Not Work

  1. The stat does not have a clear use case.
  2. The stat is precluded by another stat except in very specific cases.
  3. The stat acts as a 'super-stat' allowing one to do any of the things that the other stats could do (usually at some cost).

I think that your names do not reflect what the stats model. Will could be renamed to Education or Knowledge. Charm could be renamed to Manipulation or Cunning. Heart could be renamed to Empathy. Brute could be renamed to Strength. I would dispute the "Soul" name and rename it to "Social".

What about sanity, metal fortitude, and willpower?

What about body types, constitution, and endurance?

What are you trying to model? A generic game? A specific setting? A specific story? ...

  • \$\begingroup\$ My premise with this is to combine preference and competence. Someone who listens to their body more is better able to use it, someone who prefers cerebral solutions is naturally better at it. Brute covers strength and constitution, though if that isn't conveyed by the word brut I'll have to change it. Sanity, Mental fortitude and willpower are covered by a combination of stats with the Endure skill. And I'm trying to model a Fabel like setting. \$\endgroup\$ – Pureferret Jan 9 '12 at 12:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ Brawn instead of Brute, perhaps? \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Hutton Jan 10 '12 at 19:56

The attributes you choose for your system should be based in (or possibly be the base of) the mechanics of the RPG. Some systems get by with four (GURPS has four primary attributes and a whole slew of derived attributes; Amber DPRG has four attributes), I don't know any that gets by with three. [correction: Apparently BESM, TriStat and the Sailor Moon RPG get by with three, and I am now aware of this ]

For one game I designed, I ended up with (from memory) five attributes, one of which was called "Skill" (the other four were "Fleet", "Brawn", "Wise" and "Smooth talker", for "rogue", "fighter", "mage" and "con artist"). This tied in well with the mechanics and what I was trying to make the game good for.

I see nothing wrong with the six attributes you've proposed, but it is a bit hard to say if they're the right ones without more information about the rest of the mechanics.

How do they interact with various skills / combat / conflict resolution? How do they inform character resilience? Are there "social interaction hit points" for resolving debates / arguments / negotiations?

Would a "high-Brute" character fare well against a "high-Finesse" in combat (there's certainly a trope of having a super-skilled fleet-footed character dancing around a slow muscle-bound brawny character, poking them with a slim and quick blade, until the latter collapses from the sheer number of small wounds they've been given)?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Tristat only has 3 attributes(as does the sailor moon rpg which is based on that rpg sytem and big eyes small mouth) \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas E. Aug 2 '16 at 19:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasE. Ah, cool. Let me quickly edit... \$\endgroup\$ – Vatine Aug 3 '16 at 7:40

I might be completely and utterly wrong, but it sounds to me that in your system the player is supposed to "choose" one good stat and one bad stat in each category. This might restrict the roleplaying aspect of your game significantly, as even if you have good "stats" overall, the preference/personality aspect forces the player to make quite one-sided characters. Some examples include the Brute/Heart/Wit character: the strong, kindhearted hero with a great instinct for survival. We also have the Finesse/Charm/Will character: the dashing rogue whose cleverness lets him escape almost any situation his good looks and speed won't save him from. See my point? Although a character might be very strong and very quick, his "preference" keeps him from being able to become a Bruce Lee type character for instance(exceptional strength and agility).

I also have some issues with some of the individual sub-categories.

Will, for instance, encompasses both determination and fortitude as well as intellect. In my opinion this is too broad. I find the idea of dividing the categories in two interesting, but even the concept of "intelligence" could(and possibly should) be divided into several smaller categories(memory, spatial intelligence and verbal understanding, just to name a few). To stick to your quite simplistic system, you should at least separate "intelligence" from mental fortitude or determination, as these are (in my subjective opinion) the two aspects of the mind that are the furthest apart. Having a genius-level IQ does not automatically give you the determination to do something with it, nor does it guarantee you exceptional mental fortitude. It is true that some of the world's greatest minds also show signs of great patience and grit, but this is not (at least entirely) a direct product of their high intelligence.

When it comes to the social stats, the Charm sub-category sounds to me more like manipulation. The description of "Heart" makes me think of the "Convince"-skill from ASOIAFRPG, a skill that is more about objective diplomacy, than the compassion "Heart" would indicate. Another point regarding the social aspect is Wit. Wit is (as far as I know) generally more associated with intelligent humour in conversations (clever banter, etc). As far as I know, wit has little to do with intuition and knowledge. Would it be possible to perhaps integrate it into the Charm sub-category? Perhaps it would be possible to have one "subtle" social group (manipulation, tact, subterfuge) , and one "obvious" social group (diplomacy, coercion, possibly trade/bartering?).

Despite all my criticism, I am really quite impressed by your system, and I very much hope to be able to play it one day! :)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I realise that it is much more complicated, but I admit that I was wrong in writing my answer in a way that portrayed the issue as too simple compared to what it is. Allow me to apologise, Hey I Can Chan. \$\endgroup\$ – Arizan Aug 3 '16 at 11:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ O, and welcome to the site! I didn't realize you were new! Take the tour, and I apologize if I came off as abrupt. Thanks for helping strangers and have fun. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 3 '16 at 11:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! No need to apologise, it was my fault. \$\endgroup\$ – Arizan Aug 3 '16 at 11:43

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