What if Stats in RPG's also had negative effects?

BarryMcCociner

New member
Feb 23, 2015
340
0
0
I should preface this by saying that NONE OF THIS carried over into Skyrim.

In Morrowind and Oblivion Breton's had a 50% resistance to magic. Problem being, this meant they resisted ALL magic, healing magic included. This meant that playing a Breton was a double edged sword, on one hand you could laugh in the face of wizards, on the other hand you had to work really hard to viably heal yourself quickly.

Orcs Bezerker ability seriously upped your damage but reduced your agility, making you easier to stagger.

And also there's the fact that the gender of your character played into your stats, meaning if you for instance played a female wizard or a male fighter character, your bonuses to wisdom and willpower would mean you'd get a lower level cap than a female warrior or a male wizard if you never got imprisoned.

It made for interesting gameplay choices.
 

default

New member
Apr 25, 2009
1,287
0
0
I always liked double-edged swords when it came to character building, but I think this upside/downside system works best with perks and powerups (i.e. your attacks deal bleeding damage but every hit you land makes you lose 1 hp), not so much base stats that you are constantly building throughout the game. Your system really punishes specialisation, which means most characters will be more or less the same with a bit of everything to maximise the upsides and minimise the effects of the downsides.
 

Anomynous 167

New member
May 6, 2008
404
0
0
Stats with negative side effects? What about Strength in Fable: The Lost Chapters. If your strength is too high you won't be able to kick a chicken into the center square and earn the maximum amount of points for the chicken kicking contest
K12 said:
I like the idea it when RPGs have debuffs as part of character creation or progression it really adds to the whole role-playing business. I think the easiest way of doing this is pairing two attributes on a scale so that +1 to one attribute means -1 to the other.

Strength-------------Dexterity. You can be a clumsy powerhouse or a weakling with surgical precision.

Speed----------------Wisdom. This sounds weird until you think of it in terms of age; young and quick vs. slow and experienced.

Perception-----------Endurance. You can be very aware of everything but be more sensitive or be clueless and able to shrug off anything.
(This reminds me of how allomancers use tin and pewter in the mistborn series)

Willpower (or whatever you call your magicalness stat)----------Charm. You can be great at magic but creep the shit out of everyone or be likeable but useless at magic.

Faith--------------Intelligence... (sorry couldn't resist that one)
I'm pretty sure a high wisdom stat could be balanced in an RPG by having the methods that raise your wisdom score be detrimental to your character's health. Like say, sticking limbs outside the window of a moving vehicle, or placing your head in an oven
 

WeepingAngels

New member
May 18, 2013
1,722
0
0
Why would you want to punish players for getting stronger? Why would you want to make sure that no matter how much time a player puts into a game, he/she can never become godlike in terms of stats?

Is it because of realism?
 

happyninja42

Elite Member
Legacy
May 13, 2010
8,577
2,947
118
Mister K said:
Just a question that appeared in my head a few day ago. What if a character with high Strength had a chance to literally crash the weapon they are wielding if they are not careful? What if a character with high Constitution was highly resistant to poison, chems... and healing potions? What if a character with high Charisma was so good at attracting others that they were a primary target for enemies in battles and thieves in towns?

What do you people think about this concept?
Also, are there any games that already had something like this? The only thing I can think of is Tech/Magic scale in Arcanum.
I like the idea, but the closest I can think of that does this, would be games that require you to take negative traits at character generation. Oh wait no, I can think of ONE example offhand. Fallout: New Vegas. They had that...did they call it Trait system? Characteristics? I forget, but you could pick 2 of them at the start, though they were optional. They gave you a pro and a con.

Aside from that, no I can't think of any specific games that did this. At least not video games. One of the source books for Werewolf: The Forsaken, introduced something like this for the various Auspice Aspects that you could take. By becoming a powerful ritualist, you had to spend more points for learning Gifts, since you were so Ritual oriented. They had ones like this for every rank in the Aspect, for all 5 Auspices. And some of them were really debilitating, so you had to think really hard about taking them. But again, they were optional, you didn't have to pick up an Aspect if you didn't want to.
 

runic knight

New member
Mar 26, 2011
1,118
0
0
Interesting concept, though aren't most balanced RPG games built around this idea by limiting points so you can only really be good at one or two things and be terrible at the others?

Well, my first thought was the adverse effect of steroids. So would that be something like Strength up but Virility Down? Or increased aggression affecting diplomacy checks?
My second was this line graph



neither are particularly effective for RPG though.
 

Guffe

New member
Jul 12, 2009
5,106
0
0
Gethsemani said:
Arkham Horror (a boardgame, but still).
Arkham Horror is the BEST - SHIT - EVEEERRR!!!! :D
But yeah, really cool concept, I think many games does the "you can only upgrade one, which makes the other abilities weak = weakness" but actual "double edge sword concept" I can't remember playing.
Arkham horror comes the closest, one high stat means the other is low, and not all stats can even be equal 50/50, depends on ones character and his/her traits/personality.
 

Cavouku

New member
Mar 14, 2008
1,122
0
0
Ooh, this seems fun. So I'm actually making a mod to D&D right now. Sufficed to say, the six main stats are in tact, but a couple have different names (Wisdom -> Perception, since it's more of an inherent attribute than a skill - picking up that thing you perceived is worth your attention is the skill. Constitution -> Vitality. I think that was it...), and each stat has four "sub-stats" that I won't get into in depth, but this could be relevant.

There are a couple things to be mindful of when talking about Strength. Primarily, Speed = Strength. Speed is a muscle moving quickly (you use the fast-twitch motor units). Power is just speed + Resistance. You can only accelerate so quickly when you're trying to move more mass. So a fast person is someone who has the most amount of strength with the least amount of SIZE. Of course, the issue there is that your strength is a measure of your muscular cross-section, so by definition a stronger person should be a more massive person. Strong people can be flexible, very coordinated, have great cardio, and can be QUITE FAST (they just tend to need more time to accelerate). The MAIN DOWNSIDE to gaining muscle is ENERGY DEMAND. As you become a more muscular person your Basal Metabolic Rate increases. Which is good for losing weight, but it also means you need a greater caloric intake or risk gradual atrophy. As well, each movement will likely require more energy, as it will need to move more mass. This is part of the reason why heavyweights exhaust before feather-weights. The amount of extra glycogen and phosphates the muscles can store is not sufficient to keep up with movement demands.

So Strength^ = A little less acceleration (though I don't know how much I'd calculate that), greater caloric requirement and more stamina demand throughout a physical task.

And the others?

Constitution is interesting. I haven't heard of someone with a particularly great immune system being immune to most pharmaceuticals or basic nutrition, but... maybe for funsies. Plus, Constitution CAN play a little tag-game with Perception (Touch), with sensitivity and all that. I dunno. Gonna leave CON alone here

If Dex includes Flexbility, then we must remind ourselves that being overly flexible can be detrimental - your muscles may be generally weaker, and lose some of their stretch reflex and thus making you more susceptible to injury (in extreme cases to a similar degree to inflexible folk). Other things usually covered by Dexterity - proprioception, coordination of movements, preventing unnecessary force or undue twitching - don't immediately seem to come into a downside zone as far as I can see.

Dex (Flex)^ = maybe less strength, maybe more prone to overstretching injuries (there should be a "strain" damage, like being put into an armbar or something)

Perception could definitely be bad if you have too much of it. Just general sensory-sensitivity. Bright lights, loud noises, offensive odours, bitter tastes and unpleasant tactile information (temperature, pressure, pain) could all be detrimental in certain situations. Perhaps you can play a balancing game between this and CON for Perception (Tactile), but I'm not sure how best to handle this.

Intelligence, now that's interesting. I love the idea of Smarter = More susceptible to Insanity (or even just pessimism). Maybe intelligence fights with Charisma, which I'll get more into there. I'm gonna reveal my big 4 for Intelligence:
Understanding (how well you can comprehend something presented to you. Your capacity to learn), Memory (self-explanatory), Reasoning (your ability to figure something out, often with limited information. Problem solving) and Cognition (the rate with which you can process. "Speed of thought"). That "Understanding" one, as well as "Reasoning" could DEFINITELY be an issue if you wanna play with Lovecraftian themes. Memory could be good bad or neutral depending on your personality. Cognition I don't necessarily see a downside to, but I'm sure someone can come up with something.

Int (understanding, reasoning)^ = More sanity damage?

And Charisma. So I'm gonna break again and reveal three of the Charisma stats: Influence (essentially your capacity to sway people. Force of personality), Will (sense of morale. Also effects spellcasting and mental defense), and Faith (not JUST in a deity; faith in yourself, faith in your friends, faith that things will turn out okay. Your ability to trust. Confidence). Will might not necessarily have a downside I can come up with, but Influence could be played with. Might think on it. Faith could definitely go wrong, as we have seen so often in real life. Too much Faith can turn into False Hope real fast.

Cha (Faith)^ = Zealotry? Overconfidence?

All in all I'd mostly rather have more of these things than less. I'm glad you brought this up though, this has been a fun thought experiment.
 

DoPo

"You're not cleared for that."
Jan 30, 2012
8,665
0
0
WeepingAngels said:
Why would you want to punish players for getting stronger? Why would you want to make sure that no matter how much time a player puts into a game, he/she can never become godlike in terms of stats?

Is it because of realism?
Or is it because, I dunno, different games are allowed to do different things?

Take Morrowind - you are perfectly capable of becoming a nigh deity and excel at everything using game mechanics. That's valid.

Take Arcanum - while at the end of the game, you would be more powerful than in the beginning, you aren't going to be a god by any stretch of the imagination. Aside from few game mechanics that are actually broken, that is, but the intention of that game is clear - you aren't going to be deity worthy. That's also valid.

Take Dark Messiah - the progression you get over the game is relatively minimal. Sure you'll be able to sneak better or cast few more spells, but overall, you'll not get as much power as an Arcanum character - at the end, you'll be doing mostly the same as what you did in the beginning, but you'll be focused around your preferred playstyle. Again - valid.

Now let's take the tabletop FATE game[footnote]as I can't think of video game RPG examples for the type of progression[/footnote] - that has sideways progression, so as your character advances, they'll not get that much better at what they could do at the start, but they'd be able to simply do more stuff. That's valid again.

Would you argue that each of these is solely because of "realism"? If so, then the realism is a bit unreal, as it isn't the same across the board. Or would you agree that each game has a different goal in mind in terms of character progression? Different games, different ideas. You are, amazingly, able to pick whatever floats your boat. Yeah, you read that right - you aren't even forced to play whatever somebody else wants. Amazing, ain't it!
 

K12

New member
Dec 28, 2012
943
0
0
Anomynous 167 said:
I'm pretty sure a high wisdom stat could be balanced in an RPG by having the methods that raise your wisdom score be detrimental to your character's health. Like say, sticking limbs outside the window of a moving vehicle, or placing your head in an oven
How about "curiosity" and "common sense" stats that are directly opposed. Curious players learn new info and abilities faster but occasionally do things really stupid like set themselves on fire.
 

CaitSeith

Formely Gone Gonzo
Legacy
Jun 30, 2014
5,231
240
68
I think Final Fantasy Tactics (of FFT: Advanced) had something like that. Cure spells healed less HP on characters with high magic resistance.
 

WeepingAngels

New member
May 18, 2013
1,722
0
0
DoPo said:
WeepingAngels said:
Why would you want to punish players for getting stronger? Why would you want to make sure that no matter how much time a player puts into a game, he/she can never become godlike in terms of stats?

Is it because of realism?
Or is it because, I dunno, different games are allowed to do different things?

Take Morrowind - you are perfectly capable of becoming a nigh deity and excel at everything using game mechanics. That's valid.

Take Arcanum - while at the end of the game, you would be more powerful than in the beginning, you aren't going to be a god by any stretch of the imagination. Aside from few game mechanics that are actually broken, that is, but the intention of that game is clear - you aren't going to be deity worthy. That's also valid.

Take Dark Messiah - the progression you get over the game is relatively minimal. Sure you'll be able to sneak better or cast few more spells, but overall, you'll not get as much power as an Arcanum character - at the end, you'll be doing mostly the same as what you did in the beginning, but you'll be focused around your preferred playstyle. Again - valid.

Now let's take the tabletop FATE game[footnote]as I can't think of video game RPG examples for the type of progression[/footnote] - that has sideways progression, so as your character advances, they'll not get that much better at what they could do at the start, but they'd be able to simply do more stuff. That's valid again.

Would you argue that each of these is solely because of "realism"? If so, then the realism is a bit unreal, as it isn't the same across the board. Or would you agree that each game has a different goal in mind in terms of character progression? Different games, different ideas. You are, amazingly, able to pick whatever floats your boat. Yeah, you read that right - you aren't even forced to play whatever somebody else wants. Amazing, ain't it!
The problem is that the industry is all about chasing the success of others. After Skyrim, everyone wanted to make the next Skyrim. If you didn't like Skyrim, suddenly the market seemed pretty dull. Now me, I want a turn based, console JRPG without an overly complex battle system and also isn't a damn cartoon. Something along the lines of Lost Odyssey but since everyone is busy chasing Bethesda or making military/zombie shooters, it's pretty damn dry out there.

My point with realism was that people talk of a "usually less fun" game mechanic being more realistic, as if that is reason enough to suck the fun out of a game but they never want to go complete reality and remove magic or take out an unrealistic inventory, I mean how you gonna fight monsters with 20 glass bottles of potion in your rucksack? How you gonna be mobile hauling around 4 swords and 6 shields? They don't want to go down with one shot to the leg. Even those who don't like the "take cover to heal" mechanic still like the "pick up a Red Cross pack" mechanic.
 

remnant_phoenix

New member
Apr 4, 2011
1,439
0
0
Mangod said:
Mister K said:
Just a question that appeared in my head a few day ago. What if a character with high Strength had a chance to literally crash the weapon they are wielding if they are not careful? What if a character with high Constitution was highly resistant to poison, chems... and healing potions? What if a character with high Charisma was so good at attracting others that they were a primary target for enemies in battles and thieves in towns?

What do you people think about this concept?
Also, are there any games that already had something like this? The only thing I can think of is Tech/Magic scale in Arcanum.
Great, now I'll be thinking about how this would work for the rest of the day...

Constitution 1/18 = Needs isolated, sterilized airbubble to avoid lethal sickness.
Constitution 18/18 = Body rejects everything; immune to potions, spells, cybernetic implants and any other things that could positively impact the body.
Constitution 19+/18 = Requires immune suppressants to get nutrients from food!

Intelligence 1/18 = Dumber than a bag of rocks.
Intelligence 18/18 = Speaks in Technobabble. Cannot communicate in simple terms ("It took me eight years to get these PHDs! I'll not dumb myself down just so the plebs won't have to think!").

Charisma 1/18 = Gets run out of the village with pitchforks and torches.
Charisma 18/18 = Cannot talk to people with getting the anime "Senpai noticed me! *faints*" reaction.
The high intelligence penalty makes sense IF the player doesn't have high enough charisma to recognize/navigate social politics in spite of their higher intelligence. Or maybe that would be a wisdom thing? But now we're getting really complicated...
 

Mangod

Senior Member
Feb 20, 2011
829
0
21
remnant_phoenix said:
Mangod said:
Mister K said:
Just a question that appeared in my head a few day ago. What if a character with high Strength had a chance to literally crash the weapon they are wielding if they are not careful? What if a character with high Constitution was highly resistant to poison, chems... and healing potions? What if a character with high Charisma was so good at attracting others that they were a primary target for enemies in battles and thieves in towns?

What do you people think about this concept?
Also, are there any games that already had something like this? The only thing I can think of is Tech/Magic scale in Arcanum.
Great, now I'll be thinking about how this would work for the rest of the day...

Constitution 1/18 = Needs isolated, sterilized airbubble to avoid lethal sickness.
Constitution 18/18 = Body rejects everything; immune to potions, spells, cybernetic implants and any other things that could positively impact the body.
Constitution 19+/18 = Requires immune suppressants to get nutrients from food!

Intelligence 1/18 = Dumber than a bag of rocks.
Intelligence 18/18 = Speaks in Technobabble. Cannot communicate in simple terms ("It took me eight years to get these PHDs! I'll not dumb myself down just so the plebs won't have to think!").

Charisma 1/18 = Gets run out of the village with pitchforks and torches.
Charisma 18/18 = Cannot talk to people with getting the anime "Senpai noticed me! *faints*" reaction.
The high intelligence penalty makes sense IF the player doesn't have high enough charisma to recognize/navigate social politics in spite of their higher intelligence. Or maybe that would be a wisdom thing? But now we're getting really complicated...
Yeah, I tried to think of it as something akin to the brainy guy having trouble not descending into academic minutia, but I'll freely admit it's a bit of a hackjob.

I think Intelligence and Wisdom are the two stats most difficult to do this with, because while low stats makes you stupid and foolish respectively, the high stats feel like they'd be tied to social interaction - which, like you said, is already covered by Charisma.

... come to think of it, what would high Dexterity be penalized by? Incredible sensitivity?
18/18 Dexterity = Sensory overload ala Frank Cotton from The Hellbound Heart?

Or do you just turn into Ragdoll from DC Comics?
 

Shoggoth2588

New member
Aug 31, 2009
10,250
0
0
I think that's a really good idea! As much as I love becoming a shiny God of unstoppable power in games, it would make more sense for you to be penalized in some ways depending on how you build your character. It's great how, in Elder Scrolls games, I can eventually be the best there ever was but it never made much sense that the head of the College of Winterhold would also be physically eligable to also be the head of the thieves and fighters guilds.

If a player pours points into strength and various weapons skills, it makes a ton of sense that your player would also gain penalties when it comes to stealth and spell-casting. It would definitely give players a great incentive to replay the game time and time again.
 

Veylon

New member
Aug 15, 2008
1,626
0
0
CaitSeith said:
I think Final Fantasy Tactics (of FFT: Advanced) had something like that. Cure spells healed less HP on characters with high magic resistance.
It was Faith, not resistance. Zero Faith made a character effectively immune to whole branches of the magic system - including the healing/buffing ones.

The Final Fantasy franchise also had negative stat gain in FF2: raising certain attributes lowered other ones. Also, characters didn't level up.
 

FalloutJack

Bah weep grah nah neep ninny bom
Nov 20, 2008
15,489
0
0
I predict that it will be a niche idea, a product that some will go for...but not as many as there could be. People like to be superhuman in games, not actually human. I resist drugs to a point. No allergies to medication, but also no pain relief, no cold relief, and a natural resistance to drowsiness in general.
 

Mechamorph

New member
Dec 7, 2008
228
0
0
From a narrative standpoint, it could work for the sake of drama or comedy. From a game design perspective it would just be about balancing a scale rather than simply going for the highest bonus. In that sense, it is just more complexity. From the common sense perspective, it is rather counter-intuitive. Mainly because the vast majority of people simply go not naturally go to such extremes of the scale. Even strongmen or PhD holders generally do not find themselves incredibly hindered by being extremely strong or smart. Trying to find a downside might be a matter of dipping into stereotypes. Does being really smart equal to poor social skills? Not really, more like there is a nerd subculture but they hardly represent the majority of intelligent individuals. Being so healthy (high Constitution) that medicine does not work on you is something that just does not happen in real life.

Overall I think this works best in parody, especially in genres where such extremes are plausible.

Oh yes, an idea did strike me. In one particular work, "Maou x Yuusha" the Hero becomes so strong that he becomes detached from the rest of humanity. As a high level adventurer he was invincible in battle with spells and powers that were nigh godlike. When trying to find a diplomatic solution to a long running war that had ravaged the land and an economy that relied on wartime spending to stay afloat, he was kinda useless. I think the idea you had has merit in such a work.
 

GestaltEsper

New member
Oct 11, 2009
324
0
0
It's an interesting idea that has potential. I'd try to balance it by adding in skills that could help to mitigate (not eliminate, mitigate) the downsides though. Something like Muscle Control to reduce that chance of breaking the equipment by lowering your power based on your dexterity, or Know Your Audience which uses your charisma to allow you to be able to dumb down what you're saying so that it can be more easily understood.