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 Post subject: EoS: What does an attribute rating X represent?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:53 am 
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The talk lately about wound levels and TO has resurfaced a question I've had for quite some time. Most of the extreme TO and ST examples are bound to include ratings of 8 which more than hints at the (common) attribute ranges of 1-10.

However, I distinctly remember how the high attributes of 7 and whatnot were highly criticised when the OBaM came out. So, when the attributes are too high in OBaM then that's a problem, but we can't reduce the granularity either, as that would be a problem as well? We need to clear this up!

So, to do it, I suggest explaining how different people view the attribute ratings. You can make any example you like, but I made the Strength example as that's IMO the most clear-cut by far.

So, this is my TROS scale of Strength:
1 - a bedsick person who needs help in getting up and moving about
2 - a very weak person who is capable of getting about, but is unable to carry a significant load (like a large backpack), and can at best drag it
3 - a weak person who is capable of carrying a significant load (like a large backpack), and can drag large loads (like fallen comrade or damsel in distress) with a great effort (Elric)
4 - Joe Average, can lift large loads (like fallen comrade or damsel in distress) but is much more effective dragging them
5 - a strong person like most trained warriors, can carry large loads (like fallen comrade or damsel in distress) for quite some distance
6 - a very strong person, can carry large loads (like fallen comrade or damsel in distress) with relative ease (Conan, Tarzan)
7 - a herculean person, can carry large loads (like fallen comrade or damsel in distress) with almost no effort (Hercules, Predator)
8 - an inhumanly strong creature, most likely with mechanical parts (Terminator, Robocop, Alien)

9 & 10 enter the comic-book area for me and I've never used them, so, I can't really assign proper examples to them. Though by by gut-call they could be used to represent a strength based super-hero (Juggernaut, Iron Man) or a mechanical monstrocity at least 2,5m tall (Appleseed Landmates).

So, what do YOU think the attribute ratings represent?

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: What does an attribute rating X represent?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:57 am 
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To me the numbers on the attributes are metagame, nothing more. The ST 8 girl can no more lift the wagon wheel than the ST 2 guy -- both have to make a roll, and the dice don't lie.

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: What does an attribute rating X represent?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:18 pm 
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This is exactly what I'm talking about! There's a strength rating I see fit for The Terminator and Ian assigns it to a little girl! We need to get each others' bearings on this!

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: What does an attribute rating X represent?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:52 pm 
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higgins wrote:
This is exactly what I'm talking about! There's a strength rating I see fit for The Terminator and Ian assigns it to a little girl! We need to get each others' bearings on this!


The point I am trying to make is that there are no absolutes. A character with an ST of 6 cannot bench press 70 kgs. A player with a character with an ST of 6 gets to make an ST v TN roll to see whether the character is able to perform a feat of strength within a scene. If the test is passed then the feat of strength is performed. If not, then it is failed. All the character's ST number gives the player is a number of dice.

Establishing absolutes creates two critical issues for the game, issues that are largely insurmountable for EoS.

Firstly, the EoS reward mechanic allows attributes to be developed by expending PA points.Establishing absolutes will inevitably lead to the idea that most attributes cannot develop -- by the time adulthood is reached the opportunity to develop such innate characteristics is passed or at the very least would require some in-game justification. A character's MA jumps from 2 to 3 -- what happened that caused that 50% increase in capability?

Secondly, establishing absolutes will inevitably lead to capping, based on whatever the group sees as "realistic" and "logical". A camel can lift far more than a human. A camel has an ST of 7. Therefore we'll cap human strength at 6. Physiologically men are stronger than women. If human maximum is 6 then we'll cap women at 5. And on it goes.

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: What does an attribute rating X represent?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:08 am 
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Hi all,

Higgins, I agree with Ian about there are no absolutes on lifting fixed weights, BUT the limits are usually based on your weight, best described in percentage terms.

I am going to give a base percentage of 7% and suggest that you multiply by Strength. Weight Lifting skill successes will add to strength for this.

Simon Burling


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 Post subject: Re: EoS: What does an attribute rating X represent?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:22 pm 
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simon burling wrote:
Higgins, I agree with Ian about there are no absolutes on lifting fixed weights
This thread has nothing to do with setting the lifting weights, or at least it wasn't what I intended. I intended to determine how people see (and use) the attribute values, be them Strength, Agility, Mental Aptitude or whatever. Whether one would put Strength of Conan to 4, 6, 8 or 10 -- to determine what values your group has seen fit for great commanders or scholars. Describing what a particular value represents in one's group, and if possible, adding well-known examples to the ratings as well.

I would not in my life allow a ST 8 (human) girl in one of my TROS games as that rating represents the strength of The Terminator for me, but as Ian would apparently allow ST 8 girls, he obviously sees those values differently than me. Now that's a HUGE difference and I'd like to know how other TROS players see those ratings, simply to compare. I think we'd all benefit (and remove A LOT of misunderstandings when designing EoS) when we all understand each other's views on this.

To avoid any misguided Strength-value discussion, I also present my scale for Acumen:
1 - mentally handicapped or near to it
2 - mentally inept, major trouble with mathematics and other organised process of thought, perhaps even bad memory
3 - not necessarily stupid, but a dull mind, perhaps unimaginative, not suited for tasks requiring complex mental processing
4 - Joe Average
5 - a keen, imaginative mind. makings of a scholar or a strategist.
6 - a great mind. makings of a great scholar or a brilliant strategist (Horatio Hornblower)
7 - an absolute genius without a doubt (Da Vinci, Einstein, Sherlock Holmes)
8 - a superhuman intelligence, possibly encompassing the experiences of several human lifetimes (Dragons of Earthsea)

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: What does an attribute rating X represent?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:16 pm 
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I don’t want attribute scores to be elative to anything, but I don’t see the need to define atribute levels so closely.

To restate Ian in other words (I think): An attribute value does not equal actual capability. It is much rather the expression of a statistical chance of achievement, but as statisitcs go, they can’t be culled from a single feat. You need many feats and the average result from these many feats to arrive at a statistical chance of success, which is what attribute – and skill and proficiency scores – express. That makes it pointless to outright say what somebody of a certain attribute level will achieve. Einstein will consistently achieve more than the moron, but every once in a while, Einstein may be blindsided where the moron happens not to be.

So instead of defining every score I think it is sufficent to say that X is human average, Y is the very worst at all possible for humans, and Z the very highest potential a human can have.

And just for the record – in my games, I consider attribute scores of 1 to be only possible in connection of some debiliation like muscle atrophy, palsies, the decrepitude of old age or whatever. Healthy human attributes start at 2.

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: What does an attribute rating X represent?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:30 am 
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Grettir wrote:
An attribute value does not equal actual capability. It is much rather the expression of a statistical chance of achievement, but as statisitcs go, they can’t be culled from a single feat.
For stressful situations, I perfectly agree, but that doesn't IMO prevent giving examples. ST 6 gives the character a good statistical capability of performing ST-related feats about like Conan or Tarzan, sometimes better, sometimes worse, but on the average... as Conan or Tarzan. That's what my examples were meant to say.

However on the non-critical non-stressful situations, I don't see everything being strictly success based either. I'd never go the route that one can lift say... 25 kg per success no matter of ST score or something like that. Want to carry your (average size, for the sake of argument) bride through the door? I wouldn't ask a roll! I'd look at the ST score and describe it as in my initial post. ST1-2 character being simply unable to perform that feat, ST 3 would need to make a great effort which is obvious to everybody, ST 4 with moderate effort, ST 5 with slight and so forth. Yet of course, that situation (not being able to carry your bride in) might make a stressful situation on it's own -- like your character's reputation being at stake here in the eyes of his father-in-law who despises weakness. The player wants his character to perform better, and so he asks for the roll, relevant SAs applying and we can move on.

Grettir wrote:
And just for the record – in my games, I consider attribute scores of 1 to be only possible in connection of some debiliation like muscle atrophy, palsies, the decrepitude of old age or whatever. Healthy human attributes start at 2.
That's pretty much how I see it, but I consider 2 also to be rather inept.

Grettir wrote:
So instead of defining every score I think it is sufficent to say that X is human average, Y is the very worst at all possible for humans, and Z the very highest potential a human can have.
I can well understand that, but that's in a way what I'm asking here -- what's everybody's X, Y & Z? Does everybody's Z reach 10? Or even 8? Or do you go beyond 10? I know what the rules say, but I want to know the actual practice here. How high are the "high" attributes in your games traditionally?

All I'm saying is that through common understanding of the rules, each group leans toward a certain number when they're asked to assign a ST score for Conan, Terminator or a little girl. And these are probably a little different in each group. I'd put a little girl at 2, Conan at 6 and Terminator a 8. If Ian puts little girl at ST 8, I have no idea where he would put Conan or Terminator. Yet to decrease the number of misunderstandings, I'd like to know how his mind sees the attributes. And I'd like us to get how each of us think about the attribute values.

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: What does an attribute rating X represent?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:22 am 
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Firstly, let me say that I see this issue as being quite distant to what I need in a game. So I am more than happy for anyone to come up with a list of verbal descriptions for the numbers. Chivalry and Sorcery, for example, provided verbal descriptions for each level of each attribute. They could be quite useful to some referees, as long as they're not a constraint or cap as our game allows attribute development where most do not.

higgins wrote:
All I'm saying is that through common understanding of the rules, each group leans toward a certain number when they're asked to assign a ST score for Conan, Terminator or a little girl. And these are probably a little different in each group. I'd put a little girl at 2, Conan at 6 and Terminator a 8. If Ian puts little girl at ST 8, I have no idea where he would put Conan or Terminator. Yet to decrease the number of misunderstandings, I'd like to know how his mind sees the attributes. And I'd like us to get how each of us think about the attribute values.


I think I've already covered how I view the numbers, but I do need to clarify something here. If I were to put a child at an ST of 8 (I actually meant girl in the sense of the opposite to guy in my original post, but for this illustration let us assume a child) this does not mean I would place a Terminator at 24. Or 17. Or whatever. The Terminator could be at 6.

Grettir wrote:
I don’t want attribute scores to be relative to anything...


I absolutely agree with this, wholeheartedly and without reservation. If a man has ST of 4 this does not mean a boy has an ST of 2. There is no relative measurement here. The boy can have an ST of 6. Does this mean he can bench-press more than the man? No. Does it mean that in a scene he has some statistical chance of performing a feat of strength? Yes it does. Does that mean the boy is stronger than the man? No it doesn't. Does it mean that the boy is more likely to be able to activate the stagecoach brake than the man? That depends on whose PAs are firing.

It is the last statement that will forever affect what the Attributes mean in this game or TRoS as far as I am concerned.

The attributes give you a number of dice to roll when trying to perform some feat within the game. 4 dice for an average human adult. PAs may contribute up to 25 dice to that roll. On top of that, SAs/PAs/Drama may be expended to force successes on the roll.

So if we're trying to say that the number has a specific meaning, I would not agree with that. If we're trying to say that the numbers have relative meaning (a man has a higher ST than a woman who has the same ST as a male elf whose ST is greater than a dwarf female whose...), I wouldn't agree with that because our game allows attributes to be developed through PA expenditure. If we're saying that the attribute number equates to the likelihood of success then I wouldn't agree because of the affect of PAs on a roll (how often do you roll when your SAs aren't firing in a scene...?). For me, all the number does is put a bunch of dice in your hand (and chances are good that your PAs will put in just as many and probably more) when it comes to attribute checks.

You see, in the end if someone asked me for Conan's attributes the first question I would ask would be "As a PC or as an NPC?" And the next question would relate to Insight points... ;)

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: What does an attribute rating X represent?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:44 am 
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A particular attribute score indicates the likelihood of a character achieving various feats over the course of a campaign. A campaign in which a small child consistently performs feats of strength that the circus strongman cannot match would simply be ridiculous. It would need some other in-game explanation, like supernatural powers or a comedic setting--or lots of SAs firing (which is essentially an in-game story factor). A player assigns lots of points to an attribute because they want their character to be more likely to perform those feats than another character. If you take Ian's point of view that the value of an attribute essentially doesn't matter, then why have attributes at all? Why not just set a standard number that everyone rolls for everything, and then allow SAs to drive the entire game? The values of attributes must mean something or there's no reason to have them in the game. There's no reason we can't establish rough guidelines of what the values might mean outside the context of SAs (oops, I mean PAs, sorry), if only for the purpose of promoting mutual understanding and making the other game mechanics make sense.

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: What does an attribute rating X represent?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:23 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
If a man has ST of 4 this does not mean a boy has an ST of 2. There is no relative measurement here. The boy can have an ST of 6. Does this mean he can bench-press more than the man? No. Does it mean that in a scene he has some statistical chance of performing a feat of strength? Yes it does. Does that mean the boy is stronger than the man? No it doesn't.
I couldn't agree more with Ben here. Also, if you claim that ST 4 man is stronger than ST 6 boy, then you also claim that CP 8 warrior is a better fighter than CP 20 peasant, which (PAs aside) just isn't true!

Rating means the number of dice, number of dice mean the probability of success, probability of success over time means general capability. PAs modify the probability of success without altering the general capability.

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: What does an attribute rating X represent?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:57 pm 
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If I can just quote my earlier post:

Quote:
... I am more than happy for anyone to come up with a list of verbal descriptions for the numbers... They could be quite useful to some referees ...


Nevertheless, let us continue the discussion ...

Daeruin wrote:
A particular attribute score indicates the likelihood of a character achieving various feats over the course of a campaign.


1) In our games, a particular attribute is unlikely to have the same score at the end of the campaign that it had at the start of the campaign. Those 100+ SA points the player earns during the campaign have to go somewhere...

2) In my games it is rare for a player to make a roll without SAs firing. As such the likelihood of a character achieving an attribute-check based feat during a session, scenario, or campaign has as much to do with the SA score as it does with the attribute score.

3) We allow automatic successes to be bought with Luck before the roll is made. This makes the TN of the roll irrelevant. As TN reflects difficulty, this aspect alone would seem to call into question the statement above.

Daeruin wrote:
A campaign in which a small child consistently performs feats of strength that the circus strongman cannot match would simply be ridiculous. It would need some other in-game explanation, like supernatural powers or a comedic setting--or lots of SAs firing (which is essentially an in-game story factor).


Hmmm -- I'm not sure what to make of this. In TRoS if the players are following the plot then they'll always be in scenes where their SAs are firing. So I guess that is the circumstance where it isn't ridiculous that the small child consistently performs feats of strength. Phew! We're on the same page!

Daeruin wrote:
A player (in my game) assigns lots of points to an attribute because they want their (player) character to be more likely to perform those feats than another (player) character.


I've edited it this one in an effort to get to a single meaning. If I'm wrong with the interpretation then please correct -- and ignore what follows.

That's cool how your group builds their characters and I have no issue with it. I would simply say that it's not a universal rationale for the allocation of the numbers.

Daeruin wrote:
If you take Ian's point of view that the value of an attribute essentially doesn't matter, then why have attributes at all?


:?: :!: :?:

This is not my point of view.

Ian.Plumb wrote:
If a man has ST of 4 this does not mean a boy has an ST of 2. There is no relative measurement here. The boy can have an ST of 6. Does this mean he can bench-press more than the man? No. Does it mean that in a scene he has some statistical chance of performing a feat of strength? Yes it does. Does that mean the boy is stronger than the man? No it doesn't.


higgins wrote:
I couldn't agree more with Ben here. Also, if you claim that ST 4 man is stronger than ST 6 boy, then you also claim that CP 8 warrior is a better fighter than CP 20 peasant, which (PAs aside) just isn't true!


I am not claiming that an ST 4 man is stronger than an ST 6 boy. Just as importantly I am not claiming that an ST 6 boy is stronger than an ST 4 man. And most importantly of all, an ST 4 man is not stronger nor weaker than an ST 6 man.

What I am claiming is that who is "stronger", who is "statistically" more likely to succeed in a feat of strength, depends on which character has the larger dice pool (and that means knowing SA/PA involvement) and who has the most Luck/Drama to burn.

In the end the only thing that tells us whether a character is strong or weak is their performance within the scene.

higgins wrote:
Rating means the number of dice, number of dice mean the probability of success, probability of success over time means general capability. PAs modify the probability of success without altering the general capability.


I can honestly say I don't agree with any point within this paragraph. How funny is that!

The attribute rating contributes a number of dice to a dice pool. The dice pool is augmented by the SAs/PAs applicable to the scene -- the context in which the roll is being made. The majority of those dice in that dice pool may or may not come from the attribute.

The total number of dice in the dice pool produce a probability of success. The number of dice within the dice pool will change between scenes because the applicable SAs/PAs change. Even if the feat being performed is exactly the same, the probability of success can change dramatically. In addition, attributes change over time through SA/PA expenditure. As a result of both of these points the concept of probability of success over time is largely meaningless. General capability means exactly nothing under these mechanics. All that has meaning is capability within the context of the scene.

But like I've said, I don't really get what the fuss is about. I hold a view that SAs/PAs add so many dice to the dice pool that they often outweigh the base dice allocation -- wherever it may have been derived. I am only interested in what the character achieves within the game -- the character sheet is an abstraction from which it isn't possible to determine relative merit (such as my character is stronger than yours). But if you hold a different view then that's fine by me. As I've said, I really don't mind where you take EoS on this issue.

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: What does an attribute rating X represent?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:46 pm 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
higgins wrote:
I couldn't agree more with Ben here. Also, if you claim that ST 4 man is stronger than ST 6 boy, then you also claim that CP 8 warrior is a better fighter than CP 20 peasant, which (PAs aside) just isn't true!
I am not claiming that an ST 4 man is stronger than an ST 6 boy. Just as importantly I am not claiming that an ST 6 boy is stronger than an ST 4 man. And most importantly of all, an ST 4 man is not stronger nor weaker than an ST 6 man.

What I am claiming is that who is "stronger", who is "statistically" more likely to succeed in a feat of strength, depends on which character has the larger dice pool (and that means knowing SA/PA involvement) and who has the most Luck/Drama to burn.

In the end the only thing that tells us whether a character is strong or weak is their performance within the scene.
Let me just get this one straight... I mean, judging from your obstinate opposion to scaling down, I'd have assumed that you have a very distinct ladder of scaling in mind, so that having less granularity would make the steps of the ladder being too far apart for your liking, such as having ratings for average guy and Conan with no middle ground. But now you say this is purely metagame and you don't care about the individual ratings at all? As you're looking mainly at the successes? Or at least this is what I gather from your current statement. For all I see, the attribute ranges in your view are completely irrelevant. Why all the opposition to scaling down then? I'm profoundly confused. :?

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: What does an attribute rating X represent?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:24 am 
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higgins wrote:
...But now you say this is purely metagame and you don't care about the individual ratings at all?


I don't care about the verbal descriptions of the numbers in each attribute. I don't care about them because I don't think they have any contextual meaning.

However, just because I don't care about them doesn't mean that I am opposed to them. I just don't mind, one way or the other, whether they are there.

The numbers marked against each attribute are very important to the functioning of the game. From a mechanical perspective they are critical. However, because of the SA/PA function and the expenditure of Luck/Drama function. they are only a part of what determines the likelihood of success or failure when it comes to performing tasks within the game.

BTW, I only made one post where I disagreed with scaling down the attributes so that they had a value of 1 through 5 rather than 1 through 10.

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: What does an attribute rating X represent?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:37 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
I hold a view that SAs/PAs add so many dice to the dice pool that they often outweigh the base dice allocation -- wherever it may have been derived.

OK, Ian, I totally get your point now. Thank you, that was very clear to me. Well, I think I get it, anyway. Is it fair to say that you feel a given attribute value may or may not affect the outcomes of any given action, scene, or campaign? And that more often than not, they are the least important factor in a dice pool? So there's no way to tell for sure, when you assign your attribute points, whether that assignment will have a big impact on the game as a whole?

I'm curious. When you create a character, what guides your decisions when you're dividing up your attribute points? Why would you assign more dice to one attribute than another?

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