[MUD-Dev] Statistics

Adam Martin ya_hoo_com at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 2 11:39:19 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ben Chambers" <bjchamb at bellsouth.net>

> What statistics do you consider necessary to define a character?
> I am planning on using a 100% skill based system, with no levels,
> where the more you do something the better you get at it.  The
> problem is I was hopping that the skills would be defined by the
> host.  The set of skills that seem most logical to me are:

>   Strength - How capable of physical feats this character is
>   Constitution - How resistant to physical damage he is
>   Intelligence - How quickly he learns new skills
>   Wisdom - How well he retains learnt skills

> The problem is I can't figure out where spells and stuff would
> come in.  So I came up with this:

> If you reduce the system down to JUST the capability to learn and
> the retention of what is learned, Strength is no longer a
> statistic, but rather a skill.  The problem is too many things
> would be dependent upon this one skill.  The obvious solution (in
> my mind) is to define a basic skill for each item, and than any
> skill that you perform (attack) uses a modifier for how proficient
> you are with this weapon.  This however becomes to complex again.

> What would happen if we defined TWO types of skills?  I could have
> skills that describe the proficiency with different things, and
> than skills which describe what you can do.  The key is that I
> can't do a jump kick with a magical attack, even if I am
> proficient in magic.

At the risk of repeating what many other people are likely to reply
with, I'd suggest you have tricked yourself by saying you want a
100% skill-based system; I'm pretty sure you don't. What you do want
is a mainly skill-based system. You seem headed in the direction of
a fairly standard approach - to have skills as "things you do" and
separately have attributes "things you have/are".

Its generally a false economy to try and wrap them both up as
skills, since the two are like chalk and cheese:

  (-) Skills (+) Attributes (note that the following makes
  assumptions that you use a %-based rating for the sake of
  argument, please bear with this even if you intend to use a very
  different form of rating):

    - provide you with at least one new command
    + do not *on their own* allow you to *do* anything new

- normally most people start without many skills, or have 0% in them
+ most attributes are innate measures, and for most attributes other
than in exceptional cases you *must* have non-zero percent in them -
e.g. Strength.  Most attributes are attributes that everyone
possesses without having ever *learned* them

- Skills must be learned and can be improved by practicing them +
Attributes are non-learnable, and can be improved, but only by
performing some skill which has a side-effect of increasing the

- When writing algorithms to determine success/failure and extent
thereof for a skill, you very very often find yourself wanting to do
things like "[Jump] - attempt to jump over X succeeds only if
maximum-run-speed > height of X, and if check against jump-skill is
successful", where maximum-run-speed is an attribute - because it is
used here in a way that it is different from how a skill would be
used semantically (although I seem to have explained that very
poorly, and even confused myself!)  + attributes usually affect many
many many skills and their success/failure in complex interacting
ways. However you cannot "succeed" at an attribute, as a side effect
of the way they are defined as things "you have" rather than that
"you do".

Adam M
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