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Rough Quests


by Sergio Mascarenhas
Sep 30,2005



I said that Rough Quests is not going to have secondary traits, only primary ones, yet there's scope to toy with these in order to provide a finer modeling of different game situations. There will be occasions when two traits seem to be equally applicable. What to do? Well, we can have combined traits.

Combined Attributes

Adroitness - DEX and AGI. It was discussed before, enough said.

Craftiness - DEX and INT. This is mainly used to deal with objects on a technical basis. It underscores crafts, the handling of mechanisms (like traps) and similar activities.

Seduction - DEX and COM. It represents the ability to influence others with a combination of dexterous movements and communication. It is relevant for 'magic' tricks, pickpocketing, gambling, massaging (huu, huu), etc.

Maneuvering - AGI and INT. It is about a clever handling of positioning, the ability to be at the right place at the right time. It influences tactical movement, dodge, stealth, etc.

Grace - AGI and COM. We are talking about the aesthetics of body language, elegance, sensuality. It is relevant for performing arts, dance, courtship, etc. (Notice that GRA is not to be confused with beauty. There are highly graceful people that are far from being beautiful.)

Persuasion - INT and COM. What's at stake is the ability to achieve results in social life through the usage of the intellect. PER allows the character to talk things out through debate, diplomacy and the like.

Combined Characteristics

Power - VIT and SIZ. This represents the power of a physical action. How strong is your blow? How far can you jump? How much can you lift?

Aura - VIT and CHA. It corresponds both to vital power, the energy that fuels magic, and to the resistance to magical interferences with the character's vitality.

Endurance - VIT and DET. It determines the ability to endure sickness and deprivation (of food, water, etc.).

Presence - SIZ and CHA. Who are the individuals you notice when looking at a crowd? Most likely the biggest individuals but also the ones with the strongest character.

Resistance - SIZ and DET. Resistance to damage and poisoning.

Leadership - CHA and DET. It represents the ability of the character to drive others to do as he wants.

On the overall we have twelve combined traits, six attributes and six characteristics.

Good. No, not that good...

Eight primary traits plus twelve combined stats, that's a lot of things to keep in mind. I suppose this is a classical example of overdone design. It's time for some refitting. (Don't know what I mean with these terms? Just check the game design cycle I proposed in one of my old Ruleslawyer for Free columns (http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/columns/ruleslaw28jun01.html]). I see two ways in which I can simplify the list of stats:

First, drop the combined traits. I can just drop the combined traits by subsuming these into the primary stats. For instance I can subsume Adroitness and Maneuvering under Agility; include Seduction, Grace and Persuasion with Communication; drive Craftiness into Dexterity. I can also factor Power and Resistance into Size; Aura and Endurance into Vitality; Presence into either Size or Charisma; Leadership to Charisma.

Second, reduce the number of primary traits, thus reducing the number of combined ones. Why not going back to the classical combination of Agility and Dexterity into a single Adroitness stat? And why not fuze Charisma and Determination? If I do this I will have only three Attributes and three Characteristics based on which I can derive three combined Attributes and three combined Characteristics, thus lowering the total number of traits to a more manageable total of twelve. The combined traits would be:

Combined attributes: Dexterity (ADD plus INT), Grace (ADD plus COM) and Persuasion (still INT plus COM). Maneuvering would be covered by Agility, Craftiness by Dexterity and Seduction by Grace.

Combined characteristics: Power (VIT plus SIZ), Aura (VIT plus CHA) and Presence (SIZ plus CHA). Endurance would be subsumed into VIT while Resistance would be intoSIZ.

Where do I stand?

Some columns ago I stated that I like tidy systems where symmetry is paramount. I moved forward and back, and ended with a proposal where I'll drop the ball on that account. On the other hand, something like 20 core traits, either primary or combined, is just out of question. In other words, which of the two approaches above should I retain in Rough Quests?

Personally I consider the last proposal to be the best (or the less bad). Twelve traits is a manageable number and I really think that subsuming some combinations into one or the other of the primary traits is hard to explain when we consider the interactions at hand. Yes, this means that I end with a fairly standard list of traits, specially the physical ones. But at least I know why I do have these stats and no others. That's the hearth of the matter.

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What do you think?

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