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January 13, 2012 / Wythe

d6 RPG: archetype and ability score

More notes from the early days of the d6 RPGThis is where we started to get really deep-thinky… P.D. said:

Archetype and stats: how do they match up?


  1. BODY – bad-assery: strength, toughness, melee damage
  2. SPEED – dexterity: initiative, tumbling, defense, missile damage
  3. MIND – smarts: skills, computers/magic/psi
  4. CHARISMA – uh, charisma: sexiness, bluffing, wheeling/dealing
  5. SANITY – unconscious health: empathy, instinct, perception
  6. LUCK – uh, luck: kismet, fate, coinkydink-itude, wealth

Points/thoughts/misgivings about stats

  • One thing we need to figure out is the relationship between Ability Points (Stats, Ratings?) and Class/Occupation/Body/Mind. The traditional DandD style model that we’re all comfortable with is STATS-FIRST. Meaning, you roll some dice and array your situation. Then your race might tweak that a little bit, and then based on those stats, you choose a class. Meaning, your independantly determined STAT makes you ELIGIBLE for a particular class. Don’t have a 13 or higher INT? You can’t be a Wizard. The model that I was sort of working toward was the other way around… let’s call it CLASS-FIRST. This system is much more similar to the way simple board games do it. You pick being the Genius, then you have a “14” INT because you’re the Genius. I think, Wythe, that your brainstorm-last-email got to the point of Stat complexity that it did because you actually stumbled into a system that was BOTH. Meaning, I think we need to choose: either my Stats are the cause of my choice of “class”… or my choice of class determines my Stats. I’ll write more on this later.
  • I was thinking about it, and I’m having misgivings about choosing to have 6 STAT values, and have them be different than the standard DnD ones. But i think that might just be me getting re-used to them. One thing that might make a lot of sense is for us to try and use the 6 archetypes as a more core inspiration for the rest. Meaning: if we’re going to maintain the “six”-ness of the system, let’s have the stuff line up one to one. In DnD the classes seem to line up: Fighter wants STR; Wizard wants INT; Priest want WIS; Thief want DEX; um… Bard wants CHA?; and, Barbarian wants CON? Ranger? Maybe Dwarf? It breaks down. So in our system, can we make the pillars of Hero, Genius, Madman, Saint, Rebel, Hapless line up one for one with the 6 Ability Scores? I’ll consider this question below.
  • I was thinking about using a scale from -6 to 6, rather than 1 to 6. Part of me feels that it’s essentially changing out an 18 point scale for a 13 point scale—that -6 to 6 sounds way less complex, but is still a fair quantity of numbers. So here, to me are the Pros and Cons of using a larger vs smaller scale for Ability Scores.
    • Large Scale Pro – Large Scales allow for lots of choices during character creation. They also allow for tons of advancement over time. Gaining a single point in a single score isn’t such a big deal because each notch represents “less”
    • Large Scale Con – Large Scales often require a lot of choices during character creation. They also make characters with similar scores play more similarly, because a difference of even a few points might not be that far along the scale.
    • Small Scale Pro – Small Scales mean clearer differences in skill. A single point’s difference means more, and therefore different values function more like categories than values. ( I am a 5 vs. I have a 5.)
    • Small Scale Con – Small Scales mean fewer opportunities to change or add values. If a character is improving over time, it’s hard for them to have incremental growth if jumping a single number means jumping an order of magnitude of aptitude.

Archetype/Ability Pairs

  • Hero & Body – (rating: pretty good) I think having a really “straight forward” character that takes on the role of the fighter and just “is about combat” to a certain degree is good. I like that there is no CON ability because having a CON linked archetype is hell of doofy. The only misgiving for me comes from remembering the Sarge character. I ended up playing him more as a “leader” than a “hero”—which is not a big deal—but made me think Hero should be Charisma. However, I think Body is far better in the long run.
  • Rebel & Speed – (rating: unclear) This might come from un-clarity on my part about what the Rebel is meant to stand for. I definitely think that we need a Speed/Dex/Agility ability, and looking at the options, the Rebel makes sense. As far as aligning the Rebel with the Prophet, I see the Prophet being more in line with the Madman – linking insanity with clarity, hallucinations with visions. Etc.
  • Genius & Mind – (rating: perfect) This is a windmill slam perfect dunk. No need to reconsidering.
  • Madman & Charisma – (rating: unclear) I feel a couple of ways about the madman. At first I have trouble distinguishing between the Rebel and Madman in my head, but I think linking the Madman to Charisma is good. For Madman I keep picturing two modes – James Dean (I know it’s REBEL without a cause… but…)((or even American Psycho)) and then random Hermit Soothsayer. In both cases the idea is that they’re charismatic (in the sense of being HOT sometimes) but also in the sense of being sensitive to, being keyed-into an understanding of, you know, the way things work, the way PEOPLE work… so that’s what makes me say Prophet should be here and not with Rebel. To me, Rebel is still essentially a Worldly Archetype – politics and speed and bombs, while the Madman isn’t quite so worldly.
  • Saint & Sanity – (rating: frowny face) This is the one that I feel might need the most work. Perhaps it’s because Sanity has typically functioned QUITE differently than the other scores (slowly depleting meter vs. constant rating) or perhaps it’s because being sane doesn’t seem to having anything to do with like, healing people (which would let’s face it would often be the way the Saint was deployed). So I don’t know… maybe what this is really indicating is a need to further develop how sanity get’s used… in order for me to feel comfortable with the combo.
  • Hapless & Luck – (rating: lurve it) I think we’re all on board with this idea of including some type of luck-rating. Tying it to the Hapless makes me very happy.


Before, these had the STAT changing effects. What if they are more qualifying status. On or Off?

  1. The Hero – can use all weapons with no penalty
  2. The Rebel/Prophet – can roll to resist any killing blow (going to 1hp instead)
  3. The Genius – can use all Science Objects
  4. The Madman – can use all Psionic Objects
  5. The Saint – can roll to stop Bleeding. can use all Medical Objects
  6. The Hapless – can substitute Luck stat for any other stat (limited times)

I think this sort of role playing (no pun intended) would work well, especially if you’re looking to have multiple characters. If you have only two Genius’ in the party, and one of them get’s offed, then you really have to protect the other one… cause you KNOW there’s some Science Object you need to use later on in the plot/complex/dungeon… and maybe they do die, and that means that all the characters have to figure out a new non-sciencey way to solve the problem at hand.

Basically, I think the Archetypes should be treated as CLASS—and simply re-skinned for each setting. Which means that having the “Routine” encompass Job makes less sense. Like if in this scenario I take the Genius Character, and that’s the weird Science Officer, but then I select… Athlete? Which am I… which means, I think we can make the following two categories a more formal Body then Mind split.


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