in the Shadow of Greatness


February 3, 2004

Splitting Attributes and Attribute Skills

Attributes and Attribute Skills

The Amber DRPG has only 4 stats Psyche, Strength, Endurance, and Warfare. It has long been recognised that these are too broad and various attempts have been made to define combined skills.*

—unnamed website

No particular emphasis made—as I disagree with the premise. I've not named the actual website because this isn't about any one person's opinion—-it's about the ruleset as presented to us in the baseline ADRPG. The rules might need clarity, that doesn't mean 'tearing it down' to fix them.

And it's about making a clear distinction between Attributes.

I've seen everything from a pair of "subset attributes" that make up the niches for each major Attribute, to a set of ten qualities to each major Attribute that distill the story factors you want.

I think there is also a simpler method to empowering niches—but let's go down the four Attributes again. From easily defined to less so:

Endurance :: it rules conflicts of effort beyond—gives you extra effort in everything else you do. It is your resistance beyond your talents and skills—and gives you nifty perceptions of your self. The Attribute of last resort.

So the 'dividing line' between this Attribute and the others is "the Character Burning Bright".

Psyche :: it rules conflicts of metaphysics—gives you nifty perceptions of intangible things and is your talent for learning new things in that sphere. The Attribute of mastering the energies.

So the 'dividing line' between this Attribute and the others is "the Character touching the Untouchable".

Strength :: it rules conflicts of physics and matter—gives you nifty perceptions of physical things. The Attribute of mastering the physical.

So the 'dividing line' between this Attribute and the others is "the Character touching the World".

Warfare :: it rules conflicts of tools and planning—gives you nifty perceptions of solutions, inventions and weapons. The Attribute of mastering application of tools.

So the 'dividing line' between this Attribute and the others is "the Character forging the World".

So now giving a Character niches within the above is asking for a backstory or element of the Character that is special. For instance, the classic for Warfare is chess player or troop morale or enemy prediction. Psyche might be spot being watched or danger dodge or perfect memory. Endurance could be holding breath or torture-proof or light sleeper. And Strength could be sense material flaws or double-jointed or tantric master.

Those niches would be 'one point powers' for the Character and would also belong only to them. Just naming them would give the PC a "shift up" in their ability within that Attribute. What's more, they are part of the PCs story and cannot belong to anyone else in the campaign.

There is only one fast draw swordsman. Even if they are not as 'good' as Benedict in Warfare.

So a younger might beat Bleys at chess.

* website :: Attribute home rules set

Filed under : Amber at 03.02.2004