Curgoth (curgoth) wrote,

GameNerd: Diceless Design part 3

Design Decisions; Applying Components

So, I have Attributes, Powers and Accessories, a list of goals, and two settings.


Originally a D&D campaign world, I tossed the D&Disms out when I started writing microfic in it.

It's high fantasy, so there's magic, swords, knights, elves and the sort of tropes one expects there. I want character generation flexible, so no classes, and while a character has to pick a species, that will mostly affect the powers zie ends up with.


We have warriors, wizards, thugs, nobles, peasants, etc. What can these people all do that's interesting to compare?

Firstly, I want to borrow from Amber again; I'm going to have Attributes include associated skill; the higher the Attribute, the more associated knowledge you have to go with it.

Influence controls social status, ability to manipulate NPCs, find allies, etc. Nobles and Royalty often have high influence, but even a poor farmer's son can be a charming trickster. This is sort of like "Charisma", but it's much broader. A high Influence character might simply be a Princess, whom people listen to because she's royalty. An Influence conflict might include spreading rumours about someone, finding a group of people to back you up, or charming your way past someone. If you rank low in Influence, you have little effect on people socially.

I just like the idea of having a Social Stat (and have for some time; see that link for a longer exploration of the idea).

How do I want to handle things like sword fighting and archery? I want to be able to simulate the big dangerous brute and the lithe swordsman. I could do a simple warfare stat like Amber does, but I think that would oversimplify things, and to a certain extent bend the idea of having Attributes as something everyone has; not everyone has combat training, but everyone has strength and agility.

I'll go with Strength and Agility as attributes here. For most people, combat comes down to using one of them. The brute uses Strength while the nimble acrobat uses Agility. For those characters with specific training in a particular mode of combat, a power comes into play (more on that later). There are some areas where they don't overlap; you can't aim acrossbow with Strength, and you can't toss a caber with Agility. High Agility characters will be assumed to have skills like tight-rope walking, tumbling and will be naturals at things like dancing. High Strength characters more about heavy lifting and brawling than others do.

How about toughness? How can I tell how much of a beating a character can take, how long she can run or who she can outdrink? I think that's important enough to have it's own Attribute too, at least in a fantasy setting.

What about magic? What drives your strength with the powers you have? How does a normal guy resist magic? I'm looting Amber yet again and snagging Psyche. I could just have easily called it "spirit" or "soul", but I'll leave it at Psyche for the moment.

What about intelligence? I don't expect education and science to play a big role in the game, so I'm going to leave it out.

Perception? It depends, I think, on what you're percieving. Psyche will cover a fair bit of it, but in some cases, the other Attributes will come into play. It doesn't need it's own Attribute either.

That gives us Influence, Agility, Strength, Toughness and Psyche as our attributes for this setting.


Some of the "powers" in Caecern will be actual magic abilities, some will be racial features, and some will be the result of special training.

I think I'm going to go the route of having powers as pools; any amount of points can be spent, but there will be milestones that buy certain abilities/subpowers.

Example magic powers:

  • High Wizardry

  • Elven Greensong

  • Nereni Witchcraft (must pick a specialty)

  • Kitharim Shapeshifting

  • Gethlyn Mindspeak

Example racial abilities:

  • Dwarven poison immunity

  • Troll hypersentive sense of smell

  • Claws

  • Nightvision

Example skills based powers:

  • Trained swordsman: points in this skill get added in with a multiplier to the narrow category applied

  • Woodcraft (tracking, herb lore etc.)

  • Blacksmithing

  • Thief (or just "pick pocket")


Swords, magic pets, cloaks and the like.
Tags: game design, gamenerd, gns, nano-victorian_future, neren, rpg, wtf?

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