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I have a game where, among many attributes, is Strength and Constitution. In Ultima Online, Strength was used for hit points. However, I would like to avoid this- as Hit Points are so incredibly important, every class will want to have a lot of them in any game you play. In almost all MMORPG's and in many RPG's, players stack constitution almost as much as their primary attribute.

I have a plethora of ways in which INTELLIGENCE helps a WARRIOR type. It is the problem of the attribute STRENGTH helping a WIZARD type that is giving me so much difficulty.

Strength can more easily be an important statistic for Warrior and Rogue types, as they are both melee damage- and players tend to love stacking high damage. However, Strength is all but useless to a Wizard who casts spells from afar, and relies on Intelligence as their damage attribute.

What can I do to strength, to make it more appealing to wizard types, or any class that does not perform any melee combat?

Correct me if I am wrong, but I do not feel as though Spells/Magic should be more powerful because someone has more physical muscles and capacity to lift more. It makes sense to give Magic more power if the caster had a lot of fortitude or a overall healthy body, but that is already defined as Constitution.

I want to make Strength as attractive as Intelligence, to Wizard types than in stereotypical RPG's.

I was able to find balance between a "Dumb Brute Warrior" vs "Intelligent Warrior". How can I find a balance between a "Buff Conan Wizard" vs "Intelligent but Frail Wizard" without introducing melee combat?

Adding unique gameplay features or altering the traditional RPG style of play is more than welcome.

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Why is this closed, but not this question? gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/46463/… –  Carter81 Oct 27 '13 at 9:32
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The other question seems much more objectively answerable to me, because one could provide supporting evidence to document what is an is not an optimal color set. This question appears to be asking for an open-ended discussion without sufficient constraints. –  Josh Petrie Oct 27 '13 at 15:45
    
It "seems"? If this is entirely based on moderator's opinions, then what would you suggest that I edit to add "sufficient constraints"? I am sure we can make this question better, especially if whether it is opened or closed it entirely based on your opinion. –  Carter81 Oct 29 '13 at 6:15
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It's based on community members opinions (I personally did not vote to close or, nor did I participate in the reopen votes against it that I recall). But it has been through two cycles of re-open votes (if I'm reading the moderator history correctly) and failed to get enough votes from the community to be reopened. –  Josh Petrie Oct 29 '13 at 15:29
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I don't have any really solid ideas about how you could better scope it. I think fundamentally it's a topic better suited to discussion, and as such better suited to another forum or to the Game Development Chat. The strongest "subjectivity" bit comes from the "more attractive," point, from my perspective. Perhaps if you find a way to re-word it to focus more on providing clear mechanical balance versus subjective "attractiveness" you may be able to get a reopen vote through? Focusing more on the problem in your specific game instead of talking about your general position on character statistics may help. –  Josh Petrie Oct 29 '13 at 15:30
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closed as primarily opinion-based by Jonathan Hobbs, Byte56 Oct 2 '13 at 13:07

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

18 Answers

up vote 18 down vote accepted

One way I can think of to make strength important to a mage, would be to have strength decide the maximum weight a player can carry, and have some (or all?) Spells require reagents that take space and consume weight.

Or make a heavy staff necessary to cast the more powerful spells, which you can only wield if you're strong enough.

That way, if you want to cast lots of spells, you have to spend some attribute points in strength to carry all the stuff you need.

Crossposting seems to be discouraged, but you may get other perspectives if you ask at the rpg stackexchange site.

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+1 - This is exactly what I was going to suggest. The more strength, the more components you can carry. That could either limit the amount of spells you can cast (light & consumable components) or the versatility of your spells (heavier but permanent components). I really like the idea of Strength increasing your casting versatility, because Intelligence probably increases your melee versatility. –  Bobson Sep 30 '13 at 15:09
    
I'm going to have to choose this as the best answer, because it IS the best answer. There are other great answers, but this combined with a few ideas I already had, give it that final push I needed for players to want Strength above anything else. This is a better answer than the "Strength = Stamina = Mana" answer, because this can be combined WITH that idea, but this idea (as opposed to Stamina=Mana) is more innovative and harder to come up with. –  Carter81 Oct 1 '13 at 9:02
    
This is also the best answer, because it emphasizes items. More things to collect, more items to trade, more things to buy, more recipes to collect, more things to harvest, craft, and sell. This encourages Trade as well as Collecting- two very important aspects of RPG's or MMORPG's. –  Carter81 Oct 1 '13 at 9:25
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Maybe add a "Strength multiplier" to mana? Are you physically strong enough to handle more magic energy flowing through you? Some sort of small modifier to to mana pool... Some sort of damage/effect multiplier... Could create some kind of synergy between con/str/int (other stats) that boosts different stats? STR does a mana multiplier and con does a damage/effect multiplier? Both affect both, but STR does one more, con does the other more? –  WernerCD Oct 1 '13 at 12:51
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I'm not sure if this can be used, but you could have some (powerful) spells that "sap" you of life force/strength and if you want to cast those spells more often, you would have to have more strength. This could maybe only be a certain "tree"/"class" of spells. Kinda like "blood magic". Could maybe also be nice, if you have hybrid classes (warrior/mage). –  Holger Oct 1 '13 at 14:02
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You do not give deep details about what you already have, but starting on an empty canvas, I would say that intelligence shall be used to determine the complexity of the spells being able to be cast by the wizard, while strength may be used to determine the number of spells being able to be cast by unit of time.

This way, an intelligent but weak wizard, may be able to launch a powerful spell, but will need more rest time to launch additional ones; on the other hand, a strong but stupid wizard can systematically launch basic spells, which may be useless against powerful foes.

Wizards will tend to be able to launch powerful spells, but eventually will feel the need to grow in strength to launch them more often.

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I like the approach, although I feel like Constitution may be the appropriate attribute here, instead of Strength. A Wizard with more Constitution would be able to cast more spells before becoming exhausted. –  Lucas Tulio Sep 30 '13 at 13:19
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It depends on how you are balancing all the stats in the game. I see constitution as the attribute defining how well the character deals with events happening to its body: illness, venom resistance mainly. Strength is defining ... well, quite straightforward, how much strong is the character. Pay attention that strength applies to the whole character, not just his arms (so it's not weapon yielding limited). But again, it all depends on how you define your stats in your game. Other people may have a "will" attribute to define how many spells can be launch per unit of time, for instance. –  victor Sep 30 '13 at 14:22
    
+1 Good answer in general. Unfortunately for me, I already tied Strength in with the Stamina formula, and realized spells should cost Stamina (no magic points or 'mana'). Although it's a good answer, IMO it isn't enough to make Strength attractive to the Wizard, above Intelligence. Mostly because of min-maxing, like a Rogues/Warriors in WoW stacking Agility for Crit% and ignoring strength, because Agility is simply more damaging. Players would still probably stack Intelligence over Strength, even if Strength determined "mana". Unless Stamina restores slowly, which in most games it doesn't. –  Carter81 Oct 1 '13 at 9:00
    
I also agree with Lucas Tulio. But, this discussion along with a few other answers lets me think about it- Do I even need the Strength attribute as a primary attribute? Perhaps I should make Constitution a total of two lesser attributes, Strength and Willpower. Or perhaps I should make all primary attributes, a combination or average of two more detailed attributes. This way, something like "Hit Points" could be Constitution, while something like Spell Power could be Willpower (part of constitution). Items could enhance either, or both. (+1 Con, vs +1 Str +1 Wil.) Interesting discussion. –  Carter81 Oct 1 '13 at 9:20
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Casting requires mental discipline but also requires large amounts of energy to flow through the body. Holding the body in the right position and directing the flow with precision requires physical strength to hold the arms and the head and the fingers just "so" while huge energies are flowing through them. If your muscles are not strong you have to take it very slowly and carefully, the more physical strength you have, the more you can rely on your body to hold the necessary position while you channel the energies.

Which is to say that strength affects casting speed and channeling rate.

Maybe

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Get rid of Strength

Just because every other CRPG since the inception of computer games has ripped off D&D's original poorly-conceived attribute system doesn't mean that you have to as well.

You can fix the issue of Strength being useless for casters by simply not having Strength. Or don't have it for casters. Some alternative stat concepts that don't just copy D&D's poor design include:

  1. Show only relevant stats to the class. There can be a handful of "always relevant" core stats like Constitution and Dexterity, but then Strength could only be shown to warrior-like classes while Intelligence is only shown to magic-user classes and Charisma is only shown to rogue-like classes. The issue goes away if Mages don't use Strength and players aren't even prompted to think about what Strength might do if it isn't there.

  2. Remove all "concrete" stats and use only more abstract measurements. Use Health, Dodge, Melee Damage, Magic Power, etc. Few people are going to wonder why a Fighter has a low Magic Power or why it does almost nothing or how to increase it. (Maybe it affects potions or magic items somehow, if you want.) This plays in well with how actual players think anyway - nobody cares if a character's Strength is high, they only care how the character's DPS compares with the average for the character's common/important attacks. If the stats you show are simply the DPS for the main attacks, one whole layer of the stats is removed (simplifying the game).

Change your mechanics

Your game doesn't have to use attributes the same way early D&D and the MUD/CRPG/MMORPGs have been doing.

You can fix the use of Strength by making it directly relevant to the things a player does, rather than trying to find hackneyed secondary attributes to derive from Strength.

  1. Change which cue you take from D&D: follow in the 4th Edition footsteps and make these attribute relevant to abilities rather than classes. The Mage has a wide variety of spells and you can find ways to make different spells use different abilities easily. A Fireball for instance doesn't have to just be a projectile that automatically flies out in a straight line and explodes at the precise desired distance, but rather it can be a small rock-sized ball of fire that must be physically hurled at the target and explodes in a huge conflagration on impact. Strength will be useful for how far one can hurl a Fireball, while Dexterity will be useful to determine how accurate one's throw is in a lore-friendly way.

  2. Go even further and reduce the concept of class. Again ripping off D&D, pay close attention to the multi-classing system of 3rd Edition. The character gains a level and the player can put that level in a class of his choosing, allowing him to be a 4th-level Fighter and 2nd-level Mage. The depth of character abilities is tied to a class level but (unlike D&D) you should have the power of character abilities tied to class level (or a slightly more complicated function of all class levels). It's no good to be a 10th level character with only the melee strength of an 8th-level Fighter and the magic power of a 2nd-level Cleric; such a combination usually ends up being far too weak. However, being able to fight like a 10th-level Fighter but with less special abilities to choose from while also being able to use a small handful of Cleric abilities at 10th-level lets the character remain useful and simply results in trading in some abilities for others. In such a system a Wizard would find Strength useful because he can still toss in some levels of Fighter and be able to hold his own in combat while he's not casting or is out of spells.

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-1 for D&D hate and suggesting to "hide stats" from the player, almost as if to trick them. So much disdain for the system all modern RPG's are based off of. Also, you suggest this system (D&D) is awful, but then SUGGEST to "take a cue" from it? The logic is like a teeter-todder. How can someone belittle a system as horrid, only to use it in their examples as an alternative? So irrational. Which is it? Is D&D a good example to "take a cue from", or a poorly designed system? –  Carter81 Oct 1 '13 at 9:05
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@Carter81: it's a bad system with some good ideas that a lot of lazy system designers have copied with little thought. Copying verbatim the first pen-and-paper RPG system (before the genre had grown up and learned) into a computerized medium is just silly, but taking the good parts makes sense. And hiding stats has nothing to do with "tricking" players - don't hide them, remove them. Your car doesn't have a gauge on it for deisel fuel and hydraulic line pressure, but a semi-truck surely does. Is it "hiding" the gauges to not put them in your car which doesn't use those things? –  Sean Middleditch Oct 1 '13 at 15:52
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Removing strength is not the same as saying everyone is weak. It is the acceptance that strength is irrelevant to the game. In a similated fantasy world, whether a wizard can bench press 400lbs. or 100lbs. may be irrelevant to any aspects of the game mechanics. Look at games that have mama for casters and stamina for everyone else. D&D can be problematic and still have some good ideas; the world is not binary. I mentioned D&D as it is the system most people are familiar with. I've written more PnP systems material professionally than you might think. Have fun on the other site! –  Sean Middleditch Oct 1 '13 at 23:59
    
@Carter81 I don't see any contradiction here; Sean is saying original D&D is poor, the newer editions (3, 4) are better. –  congusbongus Oct 2 '13 at 6:29
    
@congusbongus not only is it hypocritical to attack the very thing you suggest, this doesn't answer the question at all. The question is "How can I make Strength more attractive?" not "Should I get rid of Strength?" or "How do I make attributes for my classes?". This is both hypocritical and not an answer to the question. Downvote remains. –  Carter81 Oct 21 '13 at 2:02
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You could take each non-magical stat, and make it have a secondary but useful function to spells.

A simple approach might be to allow access to certain thematic (and powerful) spells only if the character reaches certain secondary stat values.

For instance, for Strength, you could decide that thematically applies to the ability to magically absorb physical energy, and grant better defensive spells for the mage, such as telekinetic shields, defence against dragon breath etc. Or you could tie it to apply it to travel magic, and only strong mages could levitate and fly. The thematic best fit will depend on which magics are available in your game world, and which might already be taken by the other already-good matches amongst the stats.

You will also want a reasonable collection of "universal" magic which any wizard has access to, of course.

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There are a lot of good responses in here but I'd like to throw something in that is less an answer and more a different way to get at the question.

From the player's perspective character building is about sacrifice. They have a limited pool of resources they have to choose how to divide up. Your job as the designer is two-fold:

Make each choice clear to the player

The player should know that by choosing stat A over stat B what they are gaining and what they are sacrificing. Summarizing the suggestions in the other answers this means the player should know that by choosing intelligence over strength they are choosing something like spell slots, damage or complexity over something like carrying capacity which may be important for spell reagents, weapons or armor. In particular this choice could manifest in the form of either being able to cast 7th-level room-clearing spells like cloud kill versus having the physical capacity to carry around those 10 kg solid-gold gauntlets of fire damage +40.

Make each (reasonable) build functionally equivalent

Each (reasonable) build needs to be able to make it through the game. The player can't be suddenly stymied by a magically resistant foe or physically impenetrable barrier because he chose to spend his stat points poorly. Even more difficult for you, a balance must be struck between showing the player what they could have done had they chosen differently and beating them over the head because they chose badly.

At the heart of your question is "how I can I not punish my player who wants to play as a high strength wizard". This is a good question that you have to consider for each class and stat you choose include in the game. In this case you can reward them with heavy stat-boosting gear or the ability to do physical feats that give them other ways of solving problems (can't take on the guards? climb the trellis to a window). On the other hand punish them with an inability to cast the most complex spells (perhaps shadow-door could have also got them past those guards) either at all or with as much frequency or efficacy as they otherwise could.

Just make sure the player understands the options they are presented with. Don't put the rewards on such a high shelf that the player will be locked into one progression before they realize they have made a choice. Put a few spells in the early game with relatively high intelligence requirements for the expected level and a few items or barriers with high strength requirements so the player gets a flavor of the choice they are making.

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I have a plethora of ways in which INTELLIGENCE helps a WARRIOR type. It is the problem of the attribute STRENGTH helping a WIZARD type that is giving me so much difficulty. (...) What can I do to strength, to make it more appealing to wizard types, or any class that does not perform any melee combat?

Big text:

Don't do this.

Stat systems, like the one D&D has, are designed to be a specialisation system: pick a couple of stats out of those available, and excel at them. Strength was created for physical characters to specialise in, and to appeal to only them. Intelligence, on the other hand, was created pretty specifically for intelligent characters and casters to specialise in.

It is problematic to use a system designed for specialisation, offer a caster stat that all casters would rightly want to specialise in, and then also try to make it a generalised system where all other stats benefit them. It's problematic because it's going against what this sort of specialisation system was made for: specialising.

There is no reason to make Strength beneficial to Wizards as well. They don't need to find it useful. You do not need to make it useful to them.

Instead of putting useful effects on Strength to make it appealing where it would otherwise not be, place those useful effects on a stat that is already helpful to a caster, and let them specialise.

Learn from where this goes wrong: D&D's Monk, and M.A.D.

Editions of D&D from the start up to and including 3.5e included a Monk class which suffered from a huge problem: every single stat, for them, was highly desirable in one way or another. Every stat influenced a significant part of things they would be doing regularly.

This is called M.A.D.: Multiple Attribute Dependency. M.A.D. is very bad news for every class that suffers from it, because of one reason: it was impossible to be good at all of those attributes. The Monk had to spread its resources thin and be mediocre or bad at all of them, just to not be absolutely terrible at any of them - or else let a huge part of their class suffer. In a game where virtually every other class could happily specialise, put everything into 2-3 stats, and become extremely good at particular things, the Monk suffered.

In 4e, they finally fixed the Monk: by making him rely on only 2-3 stats, like every other class.

Don't make your Wizards spread their resources thin. If Strength is a crap attribute, nobody will invest in it. If it's half-decent, everyone will wish you'd put its positive features on something they actually wanted, like Constitution or an equivalent.

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-1 for saying not to do this. Part of the fun of character creation, is unique characters. It is old that the Wizard is frail, but intelligent- the Warrior strong, but stupid. Intelligent Warriors are some of the best types. What Hero in any fiction, is stupid? Even Conan, the "Dumb Barbarian" is depicted as being very creative and often intelligent. Why limit players, if they want to play as someone like Gandalf, instead of a wheelchair cripple? My game is about allowing the player to have variety. Some players are desperate to be a buff wizard. Because in most games, Wizards are frail. –  Carter81 Oct 1 '13 at 23:50
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@Caster81 Because it's not what the type of stat system you appear to be using was designed for. I offered a specific example of what happens when you spread out the features a class might rely upon over multiple stats: you get the Monk, widely regarded as the problematic class in the early editions (and the subject of ongoing huge debates over whether it is incredibly weak or passable) –  Jonathan Hobbs Oct 1 '13 at 23:52
    
If they "Fixed the Monk" by making him rely on 2-3 stats because all other classes did, then I HAVE to make the Wizard rely on Strength. That is because the Warrior relies on ALL 5 statistics, not just all 5 minus intelligence. Because Intelligent Warriors are one of the coolest types of warriors. I prefer types like Michael Weston or Jason Bourne over someone like Conan or The Hulk. –  Carter81 Oct 1 '13 at 23:53
    
@Carter81 Then you appear to have a system which inherently has M.A.D.. This works if it's a feasible strategy to pick stats and specialise. It breaks down if the class relies on all of them in unison, because then classes have to spread themselves thin. It can also break down if it turns out one or two of the stats end up inferior almost universally. You need to avoid those breakdowns if you're going down this route. –  Jonathan Hobbs Oct 1 '13 at 23:55
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Note that OD&D often had you roll your stats in order. When your stats are guiding your class choice rather than vice versa, "This class doesn't really make use of this particular stat" is a feature. –  Alex P Oct 2 '13 at 2:40
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I don't know how much this could apply to your game but you could look into simplifying your stats to a minimum.

In the end, a mage attacks, a knight attacks, a rogue attacks, etc... The problem I've faced with rpgs is that they quickly become these weird number games where:

  • is 50 strength and 60 sword better than 60 strength and 50 sword?
  • Does equipping 2 swords change anything if each attack uses only one of the swords at a time?
  • Does a 60 strength mage deal the same damage with a sword than a 60 strength knight with the same sword?

I think you could look into not having explicit classes and narrowing your stats to something like: attack, defense, evade, magic, and physical where a combination of attack and magic would mean more magic power and a combination of defense and physical means more defense against physical attacks.

This will force players towards having more balanced characters because if you're a mage, you want to add some stats to physical or else you can get one shot killed by any enemy that deals physical attacks. This will have a side effect that your mage won't be bad at physical attacks given that the attack stat was increased for magical attacks.

This kinda makes sense if you have a scenario where your mage has attacks that work great at a distance but are poor in close combat. So, if the enemy gets too close, your mage could possibly pull out a sword and have a chance to defend himself. (like Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings, he actually uses a sword to fight the orcs)

The problem then becomes: then why not just make a magical warrior and that's it?

Well, part of the solution will have to come from design, as in, how does the character level up (or gain exp) and how much a character can improve in any given domain.

Another part of the solution could come by having your characters gain affinity at using certain weapons and talents (like FF12 or Skyrim). The more you use swords, the better you are at using swords. So a mage who has never used a sword before has the same abilities at using a swords than a knight who has never used a swords with equal stats.

This solution could lead you to question why stats? If you've played any of the Metroid games (i know they're not rpgs in the way we think of rpgs but bear with me), you don't need any stats to improve. It's just, unlock better weapon and better armor. So, when you come across weaker enemies, your better armor does the job of better defense and you get less hurt by the weaker enemies. So, if you learn, say, the "fireball" spell, you don't need to know whether you have 60 magic or not to know if it's powerful. If you've been using magic and have been using that spell for a while, then, yes it's powerful.

This kinda all sounds like Skyrim I guess. But if you want an actual class system with this, you can have a scenario where you character must, say, learn spells from the magic school and pass the tests and only then graduate as a wizard which could grant you some points in magic and maybe an item or two. (and the same would be true for the other classes)

Sorry for the long answer but I hope my random ideas (which obviously aren't mine cuz I've invented nothing) help.

(If you have disregarded the preceding, consider flaming swords... strength could then be useful to your wizard this way).

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Well aside from making it an encumbrance issue re. reagents and suchlike (which could be an interesting mechanic I guess), if you're going the class-based route (I have to admit, I do have a soft spot for class-based systems) then another way of doing it might be to have certain spells or category of spells rely on an amplification of the caster's own strength

  • So for example a spell that allowed the caster to remotely rend an enemy limb from limb, would really be amplifying their own physical strength in order to give the desired effect - this actually gives you a pretty simple way to calculate resistance as well as it's comparing two strength scores.

  • In this way a caster with low physical strength just wouldn't be able to make as much use of that kind of spell as a more phsyically strong caster, but can compensate by being able to use higher intelligence to cast more complex spells.

  • You could rationalise this by having the higher intelligence requirements for "complex" spells such as a healing spell because they require more of an intellectual understanding of the biology of the subject, etc.

  • Or you can mix and match and just make a small damage modifier for spells with a physical component that uses str instead of int for those types of spells.

  • Possible con: A caster who is building their strength to be able to take advantage of that mechanic is probably more likely to be offensively combat oriented, so you are starting to veer off into classic/cliche "spell-sword" territory a bit with the above approach, but that could be cool to...the Asha'man from WOT for example..

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"A sound body leades to a sound mind"

When your sick and weak you cant think right and become sluggish. For a wizard this matters because if he cant concentrate he cant channel/chant/focus his spells.

I never use a single stat for anything it it always combinations of stats, this makes it harder to ignore any one stat I have found.

I would use strength combined with various other stats to effect the following:

Cool down of spells - those fireballs might have quite the recoil and a buff mage will handle it better

carrying capacity – you an only loot what you can carry as well as penalties for weight limits such as slower movement.

susceptibility – its far harder to poison a peak athlete that a brittle old wizard, the athlete will recover quicker as well.

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If we take strength as being a measurement of physical prowess, then you may want to consider how casting and magic wielding impact the caster physically.

Some spells could come at a physical cost as well as a magical/mental one. For example, a fireball could burn the casters hands incurring slight physical damage which is offset by strength/toughness.

Some spells may require a steady hand and firm stance to cast. For example, a spell which can push back an enemy may also push the caster as well or the accuracy of a thrown fireball might be affected by strength.

You could have strength/endurance affect the tiring/recovery rate of the caster which could reduce casting chance / effectiveness of cast as fatigue increases. Allowing them to cast more spells, quicker over a period of time.

You could have some spells be an extension of the strength of the caster and thus strength would provide an effectiveness modifier. For example, the strength of a spell with a knock back effect or even the effectiveness of a jump spell.

Strength could affect the total amount of power the caster can wield at a given time. i.e. a stronger caster can allow more energy to flow through them at one time. Intelligence would allow you control it to cast the spell, but the strength would allow you to cast bigger spells that require more mana to cast. This way spells can have an intelligence and strength requirement to cast.

Strength could also affect encumbrance which would allow the mage to carry better armor (which might be better for enchanting with magic buffs) and also allow them to carry more totems, items, staffs etc.

If strength affects hp, then you could have a fail cost to casting. If the caster fails at casting then maybe they take damage. Thus discouraging weaker casters from even attempting the really big spells.

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I could see a strength attribute being important to a summoner type wizard. Have a school of spells that create ghost warriors who are patterned off the caster their strength is equal to the casters strength etc. Then just have a bunch of different types of summons to fill out the school; shield bearers, swordsmen, werebeasts, archers etc. If you wanted it to still be playable as a high int wizard have int determine how many you can keep up simultaneously.

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I think the problem you may be facing is the muddying of a skill based system with a one that uses archetypes. Ultima Online that you mention, did not attempt to define Archetypes available for play.

Wizardly talents are generally defined by intelligence and mental attributes. Fighting is a skill more defined by physical attributes. So while you were free to select from a base template of stats, you were also free to create a hybrid between two common styles of play. Your toon was a collection of stats, skills, and abilities that were generally unique.

A common build in Ultima Online was the Tank Mage. Giving additional strength to the mage did not improve his spell casting abilities but it did allow him to wear more protective armor as a trade-off. At the same time a fighter could choose to give up some fighting prowess for the ability to cast a spell that enables him to escape trouble if need be. Neither were clearly defined archetypes.

Strength and Intelligence are pretty universally understood by players. I would not go to far out of my way to benefit a mage choosing strength or a fighter using intelligence if you are using archetypes. This feels like redefining each attribute and only serves to confuse the player. If however, you are using a skill based approach then the player is probably expecting to give up one for the other when they make that choice. The player can build a character that fits their particular playstyle.

Would you reward a mage rushing in to hand to hand combat? No more than your Fighter with no points in Ranged Combat would fare with a bow. Remember, the players fun will derive from them trying out their own differing choices from available options. Sometimes they will conquer the enemies and sometimes they will fail. Failing along the way makes Victory all the more sweeter though in the end.

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Everyone, no matter your archetype, had 100 Strength. At the very minimum, a player might lower his strength to 75 to become some kind of hybrid, but I have my doubts that would not be gimped in PvP, and very risky in PvE. The reason, is because "Strength" equated to Hit Points. So all mages had high hit points. The reason someone would be "Pure Warrior" is Dexterity instead of Intelligence or vice versa for a "Pure Mage." Dexterity being how quickly you hit in combat. So it was actually Dex vs Int, when determining Warrior/Archer/Bard vs Wizard. Hybrids typically lowered DEX/INT- never STR –  Carter81 Oct 1 '13 at 8:46
    
I wasn't saying you were wrong, btw, I was simply adding to your post with information about Ultima Online, since I did indeed mention it. –  Carter81 Oct 1 '13 at 9:11
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Well, from what I've understood, strength is related to the character's health and damage, and with that said, you want health to matter in your caster class as much as possible so the player isn't just casting spells from afar without ever losing health.

One solution I can think of is to have your character's enemies "magical defense" attribute grow a little bit, making them harder to kill by magical classes. This will force the fight to last long enough so the foe can actually get in melee range and damage the caster. By using the magic defense attribute it wouldn't unbalance PvP or any other thing in game, and casters could remain pretty strong with enemies with regular defense.

Also, an interesting idea could be to have all casters have a very limited pool of "mana" to cast spells, and introduce a basic attack (melee or ranged) which doesn't consume any "mana" but is strong enough to be considered as a viable secondary damage dealing source.

With these ideas put to practice, you'd be fighting a lot more in the close range, forcing you to run-and-shoot to save as much health as possible before the foe is beaten.

As for scaling up the damage dealt to enemies, I think the old method of separating physical damage and magical damage works as a charm in many cases!

Hope it helps.

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Just based on your exact words, I had an idea:

"Buff Conan Wizard" vs "Intelligent but Frail Wizard"

The less intelligent wizard might be from a race like orc / goblins etc. and represent a more shaman like / religious type of magic.

But on the other hand an intelligent wizard might focus more on researching spells and complicating rituals and stuff.

Now that I think of it again this is nothing new and most of the games probably mix it like this. But if you per se want to have the strength modifier playing a big role in spellcasting then I would go with that way.

I would probably mix the shaman's / priest's spellcasting ability with strength (like Defensive Casting from DnD 3.5 ability).

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+1 thanks! I like this idea when tied together with the idea to have spells linked to different attributes. (Shaman magic could be Strength based, while Arcane could be Intelligence based. I like it a lot!) –  Carter81 Oct 1 '13 at 9:15
    
And you could think as well to add feats like in DnD again that based on strength can allow the caster to wear bigger / better armor (for example on the "strength talent tree" there could be a point that a medium -instead of light- armor can be unlocked etc. –  NikosX Oct 1 '13 at 9:22
    
Thank you again, that is also a great idea. I can't believe I didn't think of that. My RPG has a big emphasis on "Traits" (Feats), which are unlocked based on a character's statistics, skills, or race/class. Strength Traits that benefit mages- or simply mages who want a certain trait by coincidence- that's a great idea. –  Carter81 Oct 1 '13 at 9:27
    
I guess that's why this place is for ;) You are welcome. –  NikosX Oct 1 '13 at 9:42
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There are plenty of ways to incorporate strength into a magic spell. Imagine trying to tame a giant dragon or lift anything of substance without some strength. While, intelligence may be the factor that indicates what spells someone might be able to learn, why not consider magic a way of channelling a skill you already have.

  • Strength means you can lift big things, add magic and you can lift adnd control huge things.
  • Constitution helps you heal yourself easier, magic means you can heal yourself and others!
  • Charisma allows you to charm others and make them act more favourably, add magic and you can appear to shapeshift or even control their minds.
  • Dexterity makes you more agile, and magic means you become invisible, can teleport or phase through objects.

In this way, intelligence is important, while ensuring that other skills are still relevant for a wizard, as intelligence opens the door to magic that extends your skills beyond the "humanly possible"


For example, consider 2 wizards who specialise in telekenesis having a fight - Alice and Bob, while Bob has dumped most of his points into INT, while Alice put quite a few points into STR as well as INT.

Bob lifts and throws a giant boulder at Alice. Alice is able to use her spell to slow and hold the rock. Her strength prevents her from getting thrown like a rag doll.

She retaliates, throwing the rock back. Bob stops the boulder, relative to himself, however he hasn't the strength to fight the inertia of a one ton of rock comng his way, he is flung off a cliff face, and on the fall down considers a more balanced build on his next play-through.

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In Diablo II strength was a prerequisit for some items. Some caster builds were highly reliant on items with min str requirement. Only those who seek to use the build would invest in STR - though.

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Diablo 3's route is to have variations on stats depending on the class. Depending on the class the stat is an attack damage modifier in addition to the regular modifier. For example, Barbarians would have their strength attribute directly affect Damage in addition to its property of adding to the Armor stat. For all other classes it only added the armor value.

Having a wizard that could actually get hit once and not explode into little bits would be an attractive attribute.

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This sounds like it would make the problem worse. Give a Wizard 1 more reason to stack Intelligence and completely ignore Strength. Also, Constitution already determines when a character explodes into little bits, not Strength. –  Carter81 Oct 1 '13 at 9:10
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