Rivean wrote:My concern is not about coded limits but about how stats affect the PERSONALITIES - the mental traits, essentially - of PCs.
Just like physical abilities, personality traits can confer in-game advantages that may be subject to balancing.
Rivean wrote:1) All PCs, in the total number of stat points available to them, are the same (or round about). This is not true in real life with real people, some of whom genuinely are above or below the curve. By adhering strictly to a stat based interpretation of personality, we're narrowing the field in unnatural and unrealistic ways.
Yes, there is a perspective from which realism is being sacrificed in the name of fairness here. That said, think of it like your skill point pool -- your character can have all kinds of personality traits, but he can't be simultaneously be brave, and inspiring, and clever, and determined, and hard-working, and ...
The game -- like many roleplaying systems before and after it (cf. GURPS
) -- requires that you balance advantages and disadvantages. Of course, if you want to RP some stats as lower than they've rolled -- or even ask admins to lower them for you -- I don't think anybody's going to object.
Rivean wrote:2) PC concepts are made before stat rolls come out, which - considering the current unpredictableness of the generator, whereby people are frequently complaining of getting stats in the wrong order of what they set - means that you must either adjust your PC concept post roll, or be broken.
I'd be the last person to deny that the stat prioritization system has a learning curve, but it's not that
bad, especially when combined with judicious use of the upgrade command.
Rivean wrote:3) Since stats are, and always have been, primarily about code and mechanical balance, you will find that if you link personality traits to coded stats then certain PERSONALITIES will always be linked with certain professions. Whereby, for example, soldiers are almost invariably stupider than tailors. If I made any such claim IRL, I would be hanged.
That's because you live in Pakistan.
More seriously, yes, RPG characters are, on average, better suited to their chosen careers than RL people. But I suspect there's more variety in the soldier concepts players roll than one might think.
Rivean wrote:4) Continuing from above - if I were to make a very effective fighter PC, my primary stats ought to be strength, con, and willpower. I know the other stats play a role, but these are the really important ones. It follows then that I CANNOT codedly create a very intelligent fellow (personality) who is ALSO a top quality soldier (role). When certain the most efficient IG execution of certain roles (soldier/crafter/hunter) preclude certain personality types, this is a problem.
Every stat has some role to play in soldiering. Most PCs don't have max skills -- on average, a PC who's a fast learner
(and/or perceptive) will have higher skills than one who isn't. You can't make a PC with equal [and high!] aptitude for learning combat techniques, hitting things really hard, dodging out of the way, standing his ground in front of terrible monsters, and soaking up damage. Ultimately, the limitations do more to encourage variety than to discourage it.
And if they don't, they can -- and probably should -- be tweaked.
Rivean wrote:Now, we can find ways around this, as mentioned earlier, we can also interpret intelligence to mean whatever we want it to so that it makes the persona and the stats become more aligned.
I think you're reading too much into the names of the stats. The only thing they really 'mean' is the coded effects they have, with a handful of possible exceptions.
Take willpower, for example. As a general rule, using willpower as a dump stat and then RPing your PC as immune to torture isn't really a cool thing to do. It isn't fair to the players who gave up strength or constitution or int to justify their characters' ability to resist. This is a situation that, while it isn't directly coded, is a very natural analogue of the role of willpower as a combat stat.
(That said, I wouldn't at all mind seeing some low-willpower concepts more vulnerable to greed, lust, or other temptations -- I recall at least one alcoholic who met a bad end in SoI2 -- than to simple intimidation.)
Rivean wrote:Also, I think coded 'Presence' is a horrible idea. No amount of code will make an uninspiring PC leader an inspiring one, and I'm going to be really resentful if I'm told by some OOC method that I must find Joe Leader inspiring because he's got peak presence.
You can make your PCs as cynical and demanding as you want, RP-wise. The presence code isn't going to tell you what your character thinks of the content of a speech.
Once you've already ICly decided to accept a character in a leadership role, via the follow command, it's going to make your PC have an easier time catching his orders to retreat or attempts to rescue you in the heat and confusion of battle. It's going to make NPC merchants and animals more responsive to him. It may give the music he makes a more stirring quality, which your PC can recognize without being swayed by -- you've listened to plenty of charismatic preachers you disagreed vehemently with, haven't you? They didn't change your mind, but you recognized their stats.
By the same token, if you want to let someone roll vs. haggle in a negotiation with your PC, you can, but no one's going to force you to.
Rivean wrote:In closing, my suggestions are this: Enforce strict adherence to stat rolls on physical traits (call me a snob, but I don't think anyone's strength or agility, much less their dexterity, is an integral part of their personhood in the same way as their intellect is), but leave social, interpersonal things like intelligence and presence (and to a lesser extent, willpower) to the player's discretion, within some common sense limits.
Err ... wouldn't the only conceivable way to accomplish this be to rip out all code referring to the mental stats, re-write it in purely physical terms, and have everyone re-roll their PCs?
Also, are we taking bets on how many inspiring, determined geniuses we'd see if this happened?