Sunday, March 3, 2024

Probably a Bad Idea: Tweaking PC Stat Scores

Probably a Bad Idea: Tweaking PC Stat Scores
I know this particular post is a bit on the late side, but you know.....life stuff happens. Another beautiful weekend that wasn't too hot meant I really needed to get some outside work done. Unfortunately for me, a HUGE portion of the work I did last weekend needed to be ripped out and re-done because I didn't account for something important and the resulting build was effectively worthless. I'm relatively happy with the 2nd end result and my own little "maker space" will soon start to be productive....

Anyway I also had some relatively mindless "grunt work" to get done and while I was working on it, my mind wandered, as it does.

I bring up (probably far too) often my fondness of HackMaster and while I'm not really wanting to talk specifically about that game, it came up in my thoughts, and I'll circle round back to that.....just mentioning it now so the haters can just go fuck off not waste anymore of their precious time reading the rest of this post.

I was thinking about OSR OC creation and how, and I'm making a gross generalization here, nobody likes playing "bad" PCs, and by "bad" I mean ones with low stats...at least stats with negative adjustments. I know there seems to be a upward trend in increasing stat scores over the evolution of D&D, and in earlier editions it didn't necessarily seem like a big deal if you had the odd negative modifier here or there. I mean nobody wants a PC with a 3 STR and that lovely -3 to hit/damage, or a 4-5 DEX with the corresponding -2 to hit and +2 to AC, but at our core we're role-players.

Odds are, at best, most PCs would likely have more plusses than minuses and statistically speaking and "dings" are likely to be a -1 to something.

My thoughts were that maybe, just maybe, instead of "just" having a penalty to some stats we instead basically create a "floor" for stats, in the case of Moldvay B/X, 9. Your PC, not counting racial adjustments, won't have stats below 9. Stats are still rolled normally, but if you get a low score that would give you a -2, for example, the score gets recorded as a 9 BUT you have to take a couple rolls on a special table that gives your PC some deformity, birth defect, mental condition, etc., that gives you the appropriate -1 on things that stat controls.

For example instead of getting a 5 CON your PC gets a 9 CON and two rolls on the CON chart. The results could be hemophilia and asthma. The end result is a combined -2 to hit point rolls, but the player (and GM) now has some extra material to work with. I can imagine if we had some good low STR results and the PC gets a hold of some Gauntlets of Ogre Power, that PC would get the benefit of 18 STR, but since they have some physical ailments gained from the STR chart they'd still have some physical issues, just not the in-game -1/-2/-3 from the low STR score.

Now I'm not trying to make light of people with actual mental or physical limitations, and obviously, if the idea was offensive to anyone then I wouldn't recommend it.....and I'm sure any given thing I could conceive of would be offensive to someone somewhere......the larger the audience the more likely for this to happen. 

Anyway just a thought......but to circle back around to HackMaster, that game (both editions) have quirks & flaws and I thought they could probably be mined easily to create charts for each stat.

Adding a little variety and one could argue diversity to the game can't be all bad....can it?

1 comment:

  1. Three words for doubters -- Elric of Melnibone.

    Also, IIRC, there is a similar system for both low and high scores in Pendragon, which is a most worthy system from which to steal, er, borrow ideas.

    And HackMaster 4E rocks.


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