Friday, October 23, 2009

An Odd Snag

I spent the better part of the last day-and-a-half writing System X. As I read over what I've written, I discovered an odd problem. I can't make up my damn mind.

I appear to have written two completely different systems for calculating skill points, and two systems for hit points. Both sets of rules exist within the document on different pages, so only by re-reading did I catch my conundrum.

Skills: First, I state that skill points are a function of a character's attributes, modified by the character's profession. Later, I state that, no, actually skill points are a function of profession, with a modifier for attributes.

Hit points: I do the same thing with this rule, too. So you can read the above two sentences and just substitute "hit point" for "skill point."

The trouble, aside from completely not paying attention to what I write, is that these are two diametrically opposed approaches. It means I haven't made up my mind which is more important -- attribute or profession. Both approaches are perfectly viable. I just can't decide.

Which is more important, a person's innate abilities or their training? I'm asking that rhetorically, of course. I have to ask myself, do I want a system where the attribute provides the base value, with modifiers provided by the profession? Or do I want one where everything comes out of profession, modified by attributes? It's not a question of elegance or aesthetics. It's not even a question of which system is "better." Both calculations do the same thing, in roughly the same way.

I think, for me, it's a question of emphasis. One system places the emphasis on attributes, which means coming up with higher scores is more important. The other emphasizes profession over attribute.

Dungeons and Dragons straddles this line nicely. But I'm not sure what I'm going to do for System X.


  1. I don't see why you can't do it both ways: Hit points based on attributes modded by profession, and skill points based on profession modded by attributes. That's how it seems most logical to me...but I might just be talking out my ass, you know?

  2. I was thinking that both should come from the same place on the character sheet; either from attributes or from class. I like the symmetry of one based off attributes, the other based off class.