Attributes/Ability Scores

Blankbeard's picture
July 7, 2013 - 7:58am
These are some of my notes.  Thoughts appreciated.


Depending on campaign power level and preference, attributes can be randomly generated or bought using points.


  • Physical strength, coordination, and endurance.  Corresponds to Str/Sta with a bit of Dex.
  • Fitness is the only purely physical attribute but I don't plan on making much of the physical/mental distinction.
  • Fitness is shared with "A New Pie" and is the only original Star Frontiers pairing I kept.  If you've ever played Mass Effect, Fitness is the same there.   
  • Physical and mental quickness as well as the ability to grasp situations intuitively.  Corresponds to Int/RS
  • Acuity and Moxie both share parts of Reaction Speed and a bit of Dexterity.  Acuity is more instinctive reaction as well as pure mental speed.
  • Mental endurance, pain tolerance, ability to project an air of command or competence.  Corresponds to Sta/Ldr
  • Resolve is spirit and toughness.  Resolve makes you a cool and calm thinker under pressure.
  • Audacity, charm, unpredictability.  Moving, reacting, or behaving spontaneously.  Corresponds to Per/RS
  • Moxie is the ability to react to or do the unexpected combined with charm and likeability.
  • Ability to do detail work and logically work out situations. Having steady hands or movements. Corresponds to Dex/Log
  • Precision is the methodical attribute and is shared with "A New Pie."  It's not actual intelligence but rather the ability to apply what you know.  

Why not the D&D six?  
  • They're unbalanced.  Strength is the most important attribute unless ranged combat is deadly, then Dexterity is.  Mental scores don't matter unless you have spellcasting or another system that uses them.  Even then, poor Charisma.  
  • Nobody wants to play the dummy.  Players will endlessly try to justify why the Int 7 bruiser is no less intelligent than the Int 18 wizard.
  • Single attribute Dependency.  This is more a function of the classes than attributes but it plays into the way players see attributes.  Classes that need multiple attributes are weaker than those that need one.  D&D 4E goes ahead and makes everyone dependent on two attributes.  Personally, I think that depending on most or all attributes for different things makes for a better game.
  • Player expectations.  While it's good that players know what each of the D&D six are, they have 40 years of assumptions about how they work.  New attributes can more easily work in new ways.

Why not the Star Frontiers eight?
  • Because they're the D&D six with Dexterity and Charisma sort of split in two.  I think the pairings are interesting though and I've shaken them up for my attributes.
Why not "A New Pie" attributes from the Crafty games boards?
  • While they're both original and well balanced, they also haven't had a license attached to them.  Two of mine are the same (Fitness and Precision) because there simply isn't a good alternative to either of the names that isn't ambiguous or too long.