Mar 28, 2011

Changing the Terms

In my previous couple of posts I've started using some different terms than the usual D&D ones.  While I do want to keep things simple and avoid changes or additions unless absolutely necessary… I really think some of the game terms that were introduced via D&D and carried into a lot of other games are really sub-par. The rules themselves are good, but the terms don't do them justice. < Strength - I think this one is okay actually. Lots of games use it, and it seems straightforward enough.

Intelligence - Since the character's decisions come from the player, and since bonuses and penalties in this stat are for learning languages and spellcraft I prefer the term Intellect. Eg. an unintellectual character could still be very intelligent, and vice versa.

Wisdom - Again making wise decisions is the domain of the player controlling the character. Since this stat provides bonuses (or penalties) against magic I think the term Willpower is more apt.

Dexterity - This always makes me think of "manual dexterity" which is the only time I encounter the word outside of RPGs. I have seen deft used so I have a slight preference for Deftness, but not as much as Intellect and Willpower.

Constitution - I think Health works better. It's more straightforward and you don't end up with two 'C' attributes in the list. Since the list is often written with just the first letter for each attribute this seems fairly important.

Charisma - Depending on the focus of your game this can be an okay term. If characters aren't leading armies though then I think Charm might be a better term - although you need to consider whether "Charm Person" is a spell in your game I suppose.

Hit Points - Terrible. It suggests how much you can get hit before dying / sinking when the rule describes almost the opposite, how much you can avoid getting hit (badly). I've seen Luck suggested as an alternative, but my preference is for Stamina.

To Hit Roll - Like Hit Points this is terrible. If you "Hit" someone with an Axe for 2 damage and they have 50 left… you didn't hit them.  Attack Roll is a better term in just about every way.

Damage Roll - Once again - damage suggests naval ships getting bits blown off them.  I'm not sure what the best alternative is… but Weapon Roll seems okay.

Armour Class - This stopped making sense when AC 5 didn't refer to a specific type of armour. Once you start adding in Deftness, natural toughness, magic, and luck then it's not a measure of amour anymore. Armour class once again suggests all attacks trying to blast through your armour plating and damage your hull. Fine for naval ships, not so great for imagining fantasy combat.  A simple Defence works much better here.