A being= 6 numbers?

From: Xavier SPINAT (spinat@poly.polytechnique.fr)
Date: Tue 14 Oct 1997 - 14:51:04 EEST


I like the "thinking about the nature of the universe and life" part in the
recent discussion about magic system and new characteristics.
But I don't think we'll ever come up with a good system.
Allright, the spiritual/physical balance is necessary.
But why should DEX both be the physical litheness and the quickness to
react? And it would also be more logical to separate Dexterity and Agility.
I guess that you need some active/passive characteristics (call it
flux/static if you want).
But then you got the sensorial-relational issue... That's two more
characteristics: one for your relation to the physical world and one for
the spiritual.

So it allready makes something like 10 characteristics:
Physical agility , Physical dexterity, Physical perception, Physical
strength, Physical resistance (CON or SIZ), Spiritual agility (Intuition?
Adaptation?), Spiritual dexterity (maybe Intellect, as the ability to
handle complex ideas?), Spiritual perception (something like Empathy I
think), Spiritual strength, Spiritual resistance, . (Those two last are
POW, let's call one Presence and the other Concentration... just to avoid
mentions of Will or Power again).
Sounds like a good beginning to me.

But what about "transitionnal" characteristics? (which, IMO, are not
needed, but since some like them, why not add them...)
And there's no Apparence. Nothing to reflect the Glibness of a character.
Or the ability to play with words. To learn foreign languages... or another
to do mathematics. It also lacks some luck-attribute.
Whatever.

The problem is when you mean to sum up a being in characteristics and
skills (which is what is planned, I guess), you want to distinguish what
the being is from what it does.
For some fields, it sounds easy: you have a fighting skill and
characteristics like STR-DEX, hit points,... The distinction is clear.
But often, it's harder: are you born a smooth-talker? Is it a natural
ability (which would make it a characteristic) or something you learn
(then, it's a skill!)?

I guess the innate vs acquired debate is not that important since you can
allow characteristics to evolve.
Defining what you want a characteristic to be (in opposition to a skill) is
probably the main point.
The characteristics must be few. They must be balanced. Fine... that's only
a model and you have to accept it will be far from perfect.
It's game mechanics after all and I do think that being accurate and
realistic is less important that being easy to handle and nice for making
"good" characters (ie enabling characters to be different without being
unfair)

Now, less generalities, I really dislike the idea of VITality. Summing up
"the energies" of one being in one number seems extremly unfair. Everything
you do requires energy in one way or one other. Sounds very much like a
hidden "ADD-level" characteristic to me. And, Sergio, if your VIT is
energy, why do you take Strength with Size and Dex (which seems awfully
strange to me...)?

What is clear is that the system you choose to use models the world you're
playing in, so, Glorantha being what it is, I think it is now impossible to
make THE glorantha-system without displeasing half the gloranthophiles. I
guess you're lucky to have YOUR glorantha-system. I also guess that some
think Glorantha doesn't need a system anyway. In which case I'm sorry to
bother you with those rules considerations.

Xavier
spinat@poly.polytechnique.fr

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