Diceless/Stats Optional


  • Pitcrew

    So I'm looking to go with a simplified version of the system from Adventures in Time and Space, an RPG for the Doctor Who universe, and am curious as to how people see/feel about stats, XP and such.

    The basic system is Attribute + Skill (+any modifiers from Traits, which are like Merits and Flaws) vs. a difficulty number. In the dice system you roll 2 6-sided dice and add that in, too, but I'm probably yanking the dice. Firstly, when human max in anything is 6, 2 6-sided dice adds a HUGE element of chance. The best person on Earth would have an Attribute+Skill of 12, and since you can roll a 12, you could have someone with Att+Skill of, say, 5, beating the Best Person On Earth (TM).

    I'm also wanting to speed things up and simplify, hence no dice.

    You CAN spend Story Points to add +2 per SP you spend. Story Points come and go throughout play. So you can 'buy' a success, or improve on it. You can also at times 'buy' a failure to GAIN SP.

    As I'm steering things as far away from PvP as possible, does this sound reasonable?

    Second, no XP. Everyone starts with the same points. Spending points in certain ways in cgen can ADD points in places at a cost in another, so there will be fluctuation, but everyone has the same chance to have the same stuff. No XP, but you can rearrange a few points from time to time to allow your character to evolve and grow.

    I know this will turn off a certain cross-section of players because they like XP and building up over time. There are also those who like to be a boss at everything. I'll lose them, and I couldn't care less about the latter, but I understand in the case of the former.

    I'm just tired of who can kill who eating up so much time and energy as a Staffer. In advancement-based games, especially those with PvP elements, some people will always be stronger than others, and trying to deal with that drains me. I just want to tell stories, you know?

    Thoughts? Feedback?


  • Politics

    I'm not following too well.

    How do two players roll if they are contesting one another?

    Also, you'll get little traction, in my experience, with no XP.



  • Moving around points doesn't exactly feel like it would show growth and development of a PC over time because you're not exactly improving so much as saying screw this area, I need this more for my rolls or whatever. Or, at least, I feel like that's what this would amount to. I've been known to start with very low level PCs just to have the opportunity to grow and progress over time. It doesn't sound like that would be a very viable concept with this system. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Also, not having dice at all always does my head in. I will admit FATE makes me want to bash my head into a wall. And this SP system would probably make me just as crazy if I'm to be honest.


  • Pitcrew

    I think that this might appeal to some subset of players, but I do have one caution: removing the ability to better your character removes a series of storylines from play entirely. You cannot play the rookie who becomes a pro. A solution, if you would like to keep XP out of it, is just allow characters to come on-grid with some of their points unspent, and then later on, spend them.

    I played on an RP MUD years ago that (by the end) didn't actually have any combat system, combat characters had a single stat that represented how skilled they were at personal combat, and magic users had two stats (one for their brute strength and one for their finesse). If your number was higher, you were likely going to win (unless the other player pulled off an awesome trick in a pose). It worked, it was some of the most fun I've had in my entire MU*ing career... but it's difficult to get most people interested in.


  • Pitcrew

    @ganymede said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    I'm not following too well.

    How do two players roll if they are contesting one another?

    They don't roll. It's like Amber diceless - higher one wins, difference determines by how much. Story Points can be spent on both sides, and one or the other may not care to blow as many points.

    Also, you'll get little traction, in my experience, with no XP.

    No stats at all, then? That loses some people, too.


  • Pitcrew

    @sanguine said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    Moving around points doesn't exactly feel like it would show growth and development of a PC over time because you're not exactly improving so much as saying screw this area, I need this more for my rolls or whatever. Or, at least, I feel like that's what this would amount to. I've been known to start with very low level PCs just to have the opportunity to grow and progress over time. It doesn't sound like that would be a very viable concept with this system. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Also, not having dice at all always does my head in. I will admit FATE makes me want to bash my head into a wall. And this SP system would probably make me just as crazy if I'm to be honest.

    @seraphim73 said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    I think that this might appeal to some subset of players, but I do have one caution: removing the ability to better your character removes a series of storylines from play entirely. You cannot play the rookie who becomes a pro. A solution, if you would like to keep XP out of it, is just allow characters to come on-grid with some of their points unspent, and then later on, spend them.

    I played on an RP MUD years ago that (by the end) didn't actually have any combat system, combat characters had a single stat that represented how skilled they were at personal combat, and magic users had two stats (one for their brute strength and one for their finesse). If your number was higher, you were likely going to win (unless the other player pulled off an awesome trick in a pose). It worked, it was some of the most fun I've had in my entire MU*ing career... but it's difficult to get most people interested in.

    I can put that in as a suggestion - don't feel you HAVE to spend all your points up front. Unspent points become more permanent Story Points (you have temporary and permanent) anyway. There's a Bad Trait called Inexperienced that converts attribute and skill points into more Story Points, too. In any of these cases, I can allow people to convert permanent SP to attributes and skills.


  • Pitcrew

    @botulism said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    I can put that in as a suggestion - don't feel you HAVE to spend all your points up front. Unspent points become more permanent Story Points (you have temporary and permanent) anyway. There's a Bad Trait called Inexperienced that converts attribute and skill points into more Story Points, too. In any of these cases, I can allow people to convert permanent SP to attributes and skills.

    It sounds to me like Inexperienced would be absolutely perfect... for a one-shot game. You get more Story Points, but your numbers start lower. But if Story Points are meant to be spent and earned regularly, this trade-off will quickly just turn into "lower numbers" in a living and continuing game.


  • Pitcrew

    @seraphim73 No, more PERMANENT Story Points. Temporary points come and go. Permanent is what you refresh to after a story ends.

    So you start with 12 permanent story points (let's call them PST). A few Traits in cgen can cost PST, but not many. So say you start the game with 12. This means you start each story with 12 temporary, spendable points.

    Things IC can give more, and you can go over that 12 - there's no max. At the end of a story, though, you reset to your PST (12).

    Inexperienced lets you start with a higher PST.



  • This sounds like it would be really fun for tabletop, or for a small-scale game (roll20 or similar).

    I am not sure how well it would fare in a 24/7 persistent world while people are left to their own devices.

    It could either be brilliant, or become a perpetual argument generator of epic proportions, and I wish I could say which I thought was more likely. (With a small group of mature players who ideally know each other a little, likely fantastic. A larger group of strangers with a lot of mystery wild cards in the mix... not as confident it wouldn't trend toward disaster over time.)


  • Pitcrew

    @surreality said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    This sounds like it would be really fun for tabletop, or for a small-scale game (roll20 or similar).

    I am not sure how well it would fare in a 24/7 persistent world while people are left to their own devices.

    It could either be brilliant, or become a perpetual argument generator of epic proportions, and I wish I could say which I thought was more likely. (With a small group of mature players who ideally know each other a little, likely fantastic. A larger group of strangers with a lot of mystery wild cards in the mix... not as confident it wouldn't trend toward disaster over time.)

    That's why I'm wanting to encourage group app/troupe play. You and your friends make a TARDIS crew and do whatever you like. There would be a few static 'hangout' locations to meet others and open RP, but you only have to deal with others as much as you choose to.


  • Pitcrew

    @botulism said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    @seraphim73 No, more PERMANENT Story Points. Temporary points come and go. Permanent is what you refresh to after a story ends.

    So you start with 12 permanent story points (let's call them PST). A few Traits in cgen can cost PST, but not many. So say you start the game with 12. This means you start each story with 12 temporary, spendable points.

    Things IC can give more, and you can go over that 12 - there's no max. At the end of a story, though, you reset to your PST (12).

    Inexperienced lets you start with a higher PST.

    My question on this would be how on a mush do you decide when the story points refresh? Every scene? Every week as x time? Etc, because not everyone involved will be on the same story track so refresh at the end of a story is kind of meaningless and can be contradictory. For example in the last week I was in two PRPs they were run by different people, PrP A started scene ended final scene scheduled, PrP B started and finished before the final scene from PrP A. Under the story point thing at which point would Story points refresh?


  • Politics

    @botulism said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    No stats at all, then? That loses some people, too.

    It seems to work okay for a lot of superhero games.


  • Pitcrew

    @thatguythere said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    @botulism said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    @seraphim73 No, more PERMANENT Story Points. Temporary points come and go. Permanent is what you refresh to after a story ends.

    So you start with 12 permanent story points (let's call them PST). A few Traits in cgen can cost PST, but not many. So say you start the game with 12. This means you start each story with 12 temporary, spendable points.

    Things IC can give more, and you can go over that 12 - there's no max. At the end of a story, though, you reset to your PST (12).

    Inexperienced lets you start with a higher PST.

    My question on this would be how on a mush do you decide when the story points refresh? Every scene? Every week as x time? Etc, because not everyone involved will be on the same story track so refresh at the end of a story is kind of meaningless and can be contradictory. For example in the last week I was in two PRPs they were run by different people, PrP A started scene ended final scene scheduled, PrP B started and finished before the final scene from PrP A. Under the story point thing at which point would Story points refresh?

    I'd have to have it on a set time. Every two weeks or something.

    @ganymede said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    @botulism said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    No stats at all, then? That loses some people, too.

    It seems to work okay for a lot of superhero games.

    ...True. But there ARE good players who won't do statless/consent RP.


  • Coder

    @botulism said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    ...True. But there ARE good players who won't do statless/consent RP.

    Sure, but there are good players who won't do a lot of things. As long as you're willing to accept the limited audience, doing the kind of game that you'd be happy running is more important than doing what the unspecified masses may want.

    That said, it's pretty well-demonstrated throughout MUSH-land that a) advancement-free games are a tough sell, b) "players do their own thing" games often devolve into relationship soap operas, and c) small-group-based games often lead to a splintered playerbase where people are off doing their own things with limited opportunities to interact. So I think you've got three things working against you from the start. That's not to say "don't do it". Just be aware that you're starting from a disadvantage and will likely have to work extra hard to get people interested/engaged.


  • Pitcrew

    @botulism said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    @thatguythere said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    @botulism said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    @seraphim73 No, more PERMANENT Story Points. Temporary points come and go. Permanent is what you refresh to after a story ends.

    So you start with 12 permanent story points (let's call them PST). A few Traits in cgen can cost PST, but not many. So say you start the game with 12. This means you start each story with 12 temporary, spendable points.

    Things IC can give more, and you can go over that 12 - there's no max. At the end of a story, though, you reset to your PST (12).

    Inexperienced lets you start with a higher PST.

    My question on this would be how on a mush do you decide when the story points refresh? Every scene? Every week as x time? Etc, because not everyone involved will be on the same story track so refresh at the end of a story is kind of meaningless and can be contradictory. For example in the last week I was in two PRPs they were run by different people, PrP A started scene ended final scene scheduled, PrP B started and finished before the final scene from PrP A. Under the story point thing at which point would Story points refresh?

    I'd have to have it on a set time. Every two weeks or something.

    @ganymede said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    @botulism said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    No stats at all, then? That loses some people, too.

    It seems to work okay for a lot of superhero games.

    ...True. But there ARE good players who won't do statless/consent RP.

    And there are good players who won't do statted/non-consent RP. So you kind of just pick your audience.


  • Pitcrew

    @faraday said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    @botulism said in Diceless/Stats Optional:

    ...True. But there ARE good players who won't do statless/consent RP.

    Sure, but there are good players who won't do a lot of things. As long as you're willing to accept the limited audience, doing the kind of game that you'd be happy running is more important than doing what the unspecified masses may want.

    That said, it's pretty well-demonstrated throughout MUSH-land that a) advancement-free games are a tough sell, b) "players do their own thing" games often devolve into relationship soap operas, and c) small-group-based games often lead to a splintered playerbase where people are off doing their own things with limited opportunities to interact. So I think you've got three things working against you from the start. That's not to say "don't do it". Just be aware that you're starting from a disadvantage and will likely have to work extra hard to get people interested/engaged.

    Yeah. Maybe the answer really is to just drop stats. Make getting a character and playing as easy as possible to encourage people to try something new. A couple lines of a concept/overview/bg, a description, and you're approved.


  • Pitcrew

    @roz Yep.


  • Pitcrew

    @botulism Ahhh, Karma Pool versus Good Karma in Shadowrun 3rd Edition. Got it. That makes sense, although it still doesn't allow the inexperienced character to every get better -- they're just always lucky.


  • Pitcrew

    @seraphim73 Except you could turn PST into attributes and skills as you go. Probably just going to go without stats, though.


  • Coder

    @botulism The best diceless system in my opinion is Amber Diceless. You could tweak that to fit nearly any genre, by just removing the Amber themed powers, and making your own to fit the theme. As with every (that I know of) diceless system, it is heavily dependent on ST Fiat though.


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