I am currently running a role-playing game called DNDBBS and would like to know: If there is stats for Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, Piety, should there be one for Charisma? Is this standard DND?

Edited: 07/31/2018 11:00:00 CST:

The DNDBBS is a Modem (POTS) oriented multi-node text based Adventure game. It can be found on google or http://www.filegate.net/pdnbasic/

Edited: 08/03/2018 21:25:00 CST:

I decided to also add Beauty and Glamour for Lady class.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Ok, first off all, full disclosure. For what I read on your conversation on your question on rpg.stackexchange.com you are the author of the game. And by reading on the linked page, it is open source and public domain. Now, about your question... should there be a stat for charisma? That is up to you, you are the author. "Is it standard DND?" is a question for rpg.stackexchange.com - I'll save you the trouble: charisma is raw from the first edition onward, piety is not raw in any edition. \$\endgroup\$ – Theraot Aug 1 '18 at 6:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Whenever you're evaluating a potential design change, you need to ask: does this change bring the game closer to the experience I intend? So, what do you intend here? What is the goal that you're trying to achieve with Charisma, or the problem you observed without it that you're trying to remedy? \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Aug 1 '18 at 11:53

Is this standard DnD?

The standard DnD abilitiy scores are:

  • Strength, measuring physical power
  • Dexterity, measuring agility
  • Constitution, measuring endurance
  • Intelligence, measuring reasoning and memory
  • Wisdom, measuring Perception and Insight
  • Charisma, measuring force of personality

So Charisma is standard DnD, Piety is not. But that does not necessarily mean that this set of attributes is also ideal for reaching the design goals of your game (or for those of DnD, for that matter).

Should I have Charisma?

When it comes to selecting and balancing character attributes in a role-playing game, you need to consider the following things:

  • How often do situations occur where a specific attribute is used and how important is the outcome of these situations? You can place charisma-checks at every corner, or you can just have two or three in your entire game. They might be optional or unavoidable. Failing those checks can have major, minor or no consequences. If you want to make sure that all attributes are equally balanced, then you should try to have roughly the same amount of spotlight for every attribute. Note that this is often more influenced by the content of your game than by your game mechanics. But the more game mechanics make use of an attribute, the more opportunities you get to write situations where the attribute decides the outcome.
  • What are the consequences of having a very low value in that one attribute and how do these compare to others? Would a 1 Charisma character be completely unplayable? How about 1 Strength? 1 Constitution? Try to make sure that each of these extreme character builds would be either equally crippled or equally viable.
  • What are the consequences of having a very high value in that one attribute and how do these compare to others? Can a Charisma-focused character build overcome almost every challenge in the game? Or are there situations where it doesn't help at all? How does this situation compare to builds focused on other attributes? Avoid having the "one attribute to rule them all" which is clearly more useful than all others.
  • How interesting are the playstyles of characters focusing on different attributes? For example, many RPG systems put a lot of focus on making their combat mechanics as deep and interesting as possible, while the game mechanics for non-combat situations are often rather shallow. Yes, there are of course many notable exceptions, but the majority of RPGs go into this direction. That means that players who focus on those attributes which are useful in combat have a far more interesting game experience than those who focus on non-combat attributes.

    There are two ways to solve this problem. One is to get creative and come up with some non-combat game mechanics which are just as interesting as the combat mechanics. Another is to make sure that every attribute is relevant for combat. DnD integrates Charisma into its combat mechanics by making it relevant for the spellcasting abilities of certain classes and for saving throws against certain effects. But the DnD solution for this problem is still rather lackluster, because only a few classes need Charisma for spellcasting and Charisma saving throws are among the more obscure ones.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your list of criteria to consider for attributes reminded me of a good GDC talk a couple years ago: "Gods and Dumps: Attribute Tuning in 'Pillars of Eternity'" - for their goals, they focus a lot on the range of viable builds ("no bad builds"), and on keeping all attributes relevant (so that "dumping stings") \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Aug 1 '18 at 13:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DMGregory Thanks for the video. I unfortunately don't have time right now to watch it, but I will do later and see if I can incorporate anything from it into my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Aug 1 '18 at 13:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ The video's not loading for me just now anyway (sometimes I find I have to switch browsers or make an animal sacrifice, depending on how deep into the Vault I'm going) but there are also slides here \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Aug 1 '18 at 13:21

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