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View Full Version : Are willpower and perception useful enough to be main attributes?



xBlackWolfx
2015-11-28, 01:48 AM
This is something I've grappled with for years. I don't like these to just be meshed together with other attributes like intelligence is 'wisdom' (which I've always seen as just a miscellaneous attribute), but at the same time I don't really think they would be important enough to be separate attributes on their own either.

When thinking up systems myself, I often say that perception governs ranged attacks, since this does kind of make sense. Often I'll fuse it with willpower into an attribute called 'focus', though honestly that seems kinda strange to me and looks a lot like the 'wisdom' stat that I've never really liked.

What do think? In particular, I find willpower to be essentially a dump-stat. I mean, really, how often does someone actually have to do a 'will save' during game play? Heck, the sole reason its used as often in D&D as it is, is solely because there's a bunch of spells that require you to do one! I don't imagine anyone's ever had to do a will-save/willpower check when it wasn't required by a spell.

xBlackWolfx
2015-11-28, 03:15 PM
Oh come on. All I'm asking is if anyone sees perception and willpower as dump stats. Personally, I kind of do.

Mark Hall
2015-11-28, 03:37 PM
Oh come on. All I'm asking is if anyone sees perception and willpower as dump stats. Personally, I kind of do.

Dude, give folks some time.

Personally, I think you can design stats that way, but it all comes down to what the system supports. If you leave perception as a dump stat, then it will become a dump stat. If you make it more valuable (say, giving an initiative bonus), then it becomes a clearer favorite. If you make Willpower a useful attribute to have, then people will take it.

Since 3.x combines Willpower and Perception into a single stat of "Wisdom", it comes down to how useful you're making them in your games. If no one ever has to do a Will save and no one makes Perception checks, yeah, it seems useless.

noob
2015-11-28, 05:01 PM
With some GM I always supermax WILL.
Being controlled like a marionette toward the doom that awaits automatically at the end of the scenario is something you want to avoid and willpower can save you from this kind of situation.

xBlackWolfx
2015-11-28, 07:04 PM
Dude, give folks some time.

Personally, I think you can design stats that way, but it all comes down to what the system supports. If you leave perception as a dump stat, then it will become a dump stat. If you make it more valuable (say, giving an initiative bonus), then it becomes a clearer favorite. If you make Willpower a useful attribute to have, then people will take it.

Since 3.x combines Willpower and Perception into a single stat of "Wisdom", it comes down to how useful you're making them in your games. If no one ever has to do a Will save and no one makes Perception checks, yeah, it seems useless.

You are right. Having perception determine initiative AND ranged attacks would probably make it fairly valuable. Willpower on the other hand is still a bit of an issue. Unless you were running a horror-themed campaign, or you had some kind of morale system where characters could receive penalties if they're weak-minded and the journey goes on too long. By morale I'm kind of referring to a system more like what you see in darkest dungeons, though I came up with this long before that game came out. Or perhaps you could also have it add to hit points. I was thinking of my system having hit points (or stamina as I prefer to call it) be simply the total of strength and agility. I was thinking willpower may also add to this too. I'd imagine a character's will to keep fighting would add to their endurance a bit.

Orderic
2015-11-29, 04:37 AM
It really only depends on how important the system makes it. One example, where willpower (or courage, as I think the translation vor "Mut" would be) is important, is the dark eye system, where each skill is rolled on three atributes. For example, in order to climb something, you have to roll courage, agility and strength. Also, things like initiative and attack bonus are calculated using several attributes, amongst which is courage. Also, it is extremely important when summoning demons.

In D&D on the other hand it depends mostly on how the game is played. If it is a game where everyone prefers blasting over any other kind of magic, will might be almost worthless. In a political game, it might be more important than reflex and fortitude. And in my game a charakter has Mark of Nessus, making him nearly unattackable by low-will enemies.

Anyway, as I said, willpower is only as important as the game makes it. If you want all attributes to be important, I would use several attributes to calculate important stats.

Markoff Chainey
2015-11-29, 12:28 PM
My group and I fizzled around for ages with our own systems and in the end, we return to a "ready-made" system for balance reasons, but what we grew fond of over the years is the following system...

Each person has a physical system (body), a mental (thougths) and a "soul" system.

Each of those have one stat that determines the "strength" of it, one for its "toughness", another one for its ability to "perceive" and one for its "flexibility".

That leaves you with 12 Attributes, for example:

Body: Strength, Agility, Constitution and Senses
Mind: Willpower, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma
Soul: Power, Intuition, Compassion, Empathy

The names can differ, the purpose must be clear.

This way, you also have also 2 stats to do ine thing - like casting could be Might + Intelligence for a Wizard.. or Agility + Senses for ranged attack.

The tricky part is to create a system where all attributes matter equally within the game.. :-)

Mark Hall
2015-11-29, 03:57 PM
You want Willpower to be important? Make it part of Hit Point determination... your ability to stick with the fight, even when weaker folks might quit. Make it part of defense against social attacks... 3.x did this with Sense Motive being the end-all of defense against Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidation, etc.. World of Darkness made Willpower an independent, semi-metagame attribute. Want an automatic success? Spend a Willpower, and get Willpower back for good roleplaying.

TheTeaMustFlow
2015-11-29, 04:08 PM
Willpower or the equivalent attribute is often important in games with more in-depth systems for social interaction (e.g. FATE or WoD), as it's often used as a defensive attribute in such. Furthermore, most systems have an intimidation mechanic, and many have (unnatural) mental manipulation mechanics, which are resisted by willpower. Lastly, some systems use it for an `extra effort` mechanic, pushing oneself beyond the limits of one's body.

Dusk Raven
2015-11-29, 04:39 PM
Well, if you're designing a system... I'd consider willpower to be pretty important. I mean, it's basically what keeps most people going, isn't it? In my own system, Willpower is actually the main spellcasting stat - you usewillpower, not "intelligence" to operate magic and literally bend the world to your will.


My group and I fizzled around for ages with our own systems and in the end, we return to a "ready-made" system for balance reasons, but what we grew fond of over the years is the following system...

Each person has a physical system (body), a mental (thougths) and a "soul" system.

Each of those have one stat that determines the "strength" of it, one for its "toughness", another one for its ability to "perceive" and one for its "flexibility".

That leaves you with 12 Attributes, for example:

Body: Strength, Agility, Constitution and Senses
Mind: Willpower, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma
Soul: Power, Intuition, Soul, Empathy

The names can differ, the purpose must be clear.

This way, you also have also 2 stats to do ine thing - like casting could be Might + Intelligence for a Wizard.. or Agility + Senses for ranged attack.

The tricky part is to create a system where all attributes matter equally within the game.. :-)

That's actually really awesome, and reminds me of my own system, but I'll save that for PMs or another thread...

xBlackWolfx
2015-11-29, 06:25 PM
I was actually thinking of using willpower for spellcasting.

In my system, characters have three different attack bonuses essentially. One for melee, one for ranged, and one for spell casting.

The attributes I was considering were strength, agility, dexterity, perception, willpower, and knowledge. Agility improves defense (AC if you will), dexterity improves melee attack bonus, perception improves ranged attack bonus, and willpower improves spell attack bonus.

Then again, this is all getting kind of complicated. I was working on my own version of microlite20 before all this started. Perhaps I should just abandon this and focus on that much simpler project. Oh well.