Thursday, September 2, 2010

EMP: Section 1 Characters - Stats

So in an effort to develop this EMP campaign, I am going to go straight through the rule book. Here at the beginning, it will be more rules focused. Once I progress to the classes, equipment, spells, etc, more world building will come into play.


Ah, character generation. I am going to go mostly by the book here. The main difference will be breaking up bonus structures. For instance, Strength will help with weapon damage, but Dexterity will help with to-hit. I mostly want to get around the concept of dump stats by having each stat offer some bonus to every character class, even in small ways.

Players roll 3d6 6 times and may arrange according to taste. I will use a general chart for stat bonuses and penalties, with a few exceptions for Skills since they will be based on a D6:

 3 = -3
4 - 5 = -2
6 - 8 = -1
9 -12 = +0
13-15 = +1
16-17 = +2
  18 = +3
STRENGTH modifies weapon damage as well as feats of strength, such as forcing doors. This score will also assist in climbing walls. (Note: Thief skills are going to be heavily reworked. They will be generalized for use by all characters, but then Thieves will have the best chance of succeeding on their rolls, especially in iconic Thief skills.)
DEXTERITY modifies Armor class, to-hit, saving throws for avoiding effects, along with Picking Locks, Picking Pockets, Moving Silently, and Hiding in Shadows.

CONSTITUTION confers a hit point modifier per hit die and modifies saving throws against effects against the character's body. It also determines resurrection and system shock survival.

INTELLIGENCE governs the number of languages a character may speak and their ability to read and write. For Magic-users, this will also govern their spell learning probability and Magic-users of exceptional intelligence may also memorize an additional spell per day.

WISDOM offers a saving throw modifier to effects against a character's willpower along with modifying their ability to Find and Remove Traps and Hear Noises. Clerics and Druids with exceptional Wisdom may also cast more spells per day, while those with below average Wisdom may find that they are not always successful when attempting to do so.

CHARISMA confers a reaction adjustment during an encounter while determining the number and morale of retainers and henchmen. Characters with high Charisma scores also start play with more money due to their force of personality granting them additional resources through inheritance, patronage, or a well perpetrated scam.

Experience Bonuses for Ability Prime Requisites remains by the book.

Overall, the design goal here was to offer something for everyone in every stat and offer meaningful choices for the distribution of stats. This does have a downside though. For example, a thief would need a good Dexterity AND Wisdom score to gain bonuses to all of their skills or a Fighter would need Dexterity AND Strength for the full bonuses to hit and damage.
One important factor here that is not yet apparent is the role that number of languages will play into World Building. As mentioned before, the EMP campaign will be human-centric. This will mostly manifest itself during game play, but one concession is made in the rules themselves. Non-humans do not start off speaking Common; therefore, players who choose a non-human race will at least require an Intelligence high enough to gain 1 additional language.

Other effects of these statistics will show up in the sections on Skills, Saving Throws, and Spells.


  1. I like the 3D6 method. I used the 4d6 drop the lowest method to generate a Tunnels and Trolls solo character and got a ridiculous set of stats.I think a few of the characters from my play by post campaign where like that too. The ranger was particularly bad. When I thought about it, drop the lowest kind of completely destroys the idea of a bell curve.

    One thing that occurred to me though, aren't you just as likely to roll a 17 as your are an 18? There is only one combination for each (666 and 665).

  2. The way the permutations works, a 17 is more likely than an 18. There are 216 possible combinations you can get when rolling 3D6. 665, 656, and 566 are unique results to generate a 17, where only the result of 666 generates 18. It is counter-intuitive, but that's how math works most of the time.

    So, there is a 1.38% (3/216) chance of rolling an 17 versus a 0.48% (1/216) chance for an 18.

  3. Wasn't sure if the actual order of the dice mattered, but I guess it does.

    One interesting die method I saw was from Cyborg Commando. You take two ten sided dice and multiply the result together. It gives you a percentile based result, but with non linear results.

  4. Picture it like this: You are rolling 3D6 all at once in reality, so all three numbers appear on the table at once. Mathematically speaking, you would be rolling each of the dice one at a time and summing their results. Maybe that makes it easier to see how a 17 has 3 permutations.

    I like that method for Cyborg Commando, definitely a nice, elegant way to combine percentiles and a bell curve.