(My thoughts about my game are, I confess, a bit scattershot, but gradually a picture should emerge. Go with me here.)
In a tabletop rpg, character attributes are how your character interacts with the game world, so they need to reflect the sort of story you want to tell. I mean, this you know. So. Stats.
I wanted to make a range of stats that was able to do lots but which was still pretty clean and easy to navigate. No heavy learning curve.
The best way to do that, I felt, was to emulate one of the things that the World of Darkness games did right, and have what amounted to two sets of stats, and you pick one from set A, and one from set B, and what that means is that the number of potential combinations is A multiplied by B.
So in the most recent iterations of the World of Darkness system, your basic character sheet, not counting powers and magic and stuff, has nine attributes and 24 skills, and that makes a possible 216 combinations. You add the two numbers and that is how many dice you roll.
My basic mechanic is not all that different. You add the two numbers and add the number on the card you drew (because I'm using Tarot cards, not dice, which allow for variations I'll talk about in later posts). These are my stats. They're all open ended, but should average between 3 and 5.
At the top of the sheet you have four pools of points. These will go up and down in the course of a game session.
They're named after the suits of the Tarot, so Cups, Pentacles, Wands and Swords. I made two sets of icons for them, a basic set and a slightly fancier one. These are the fancy ones.
Pentacles is subtitled with Endurance, Matter and Earth. It's about material things, and also about standing up to punishment, whether physical or mental. Magic using Pentacles deals with material objects and elemental earth, with toughness and endurance.
The other set is composed of nine static attributes. The idea is that they are deliberately broad, but also reflect how I want a character to interact with the world. There's a reason why each of my very basic summaries has four things listed.
Befriending beasts; riding, taming, handling.
Grace, endurance, dexterity, violence
Pathfinding in the city, pursuit, making deals, commerce
Medicine and healing, monotonous tasks, creative skills, destruction
Repairs, piloting, manoeuvres, control
Friendship and love, manners, deceit, intimidation
Channeling, alchemy, the sight, energy
Wilderness pathfinding, survival, foraging and harvesting, hunting
Next time we'll talk a little about how these might work in play.