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Author Topic: My Take on Matrixed Attributes  (Read 2120 times)
apeiron
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« on: February 19, 2009, 12:04:17 PM »

This doc is an idea that came to me as i flipped through one of my many notebooks of game ideas.

Gygax's Dangerous Journeys and WW's NWoD use matrixed attributes.

i made the original table for a martial arts themed game, where ancestry, destiny and the like were powerful forces.  The player's choice about destiny and ancestry would inform which column and row would be the most powerful.  The game would have been D&D-esque, so having many stats and crunchy bits would be fine.

If you're familiar with playing matrixed games, i'd like some comparison.  If not, what is you initial impression of this model? Namely "is it better than the chart?".

For the mechanic, i have 2 ideas so far.  In both, players assign priorities to the column and row headers.  1. Physical, 2. Social, 3. Mental, followed by 1. Power, 2. Resilience and so on.  This character is Physically adept and forceful... effective at making things and people do his bidding against their will.  In one model the priorities correspond to dice (d10, d8 and d6).  The other is more of a dice pool thing;  3 dice, 2 dice, 1 die.

If our jock is trying to kick down a door, it's Physical and Force.  In the first model, he rolls two ten siders.  In the latter, he might have a pool of 6 dice (of whatever kind).  Such specifics will come later.  Mostly i'm curious about the idea of using the axes of the chart instead of the chart itself.

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SoftNum
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2009, 01:23:04 PM »

The only thing that kind of bothers me about 7 'values' attributes, but having the chart, is that you're really saying that Strong people are always more Intelligent then Agile people.   The composed people are never going to be more intelligent than attractive people.  Maybe you're OK saying that.

And you're really only talking about 5 more attributes, so you're not saving the player from that many more choices.   And it would still benefit players to figure out each of the 12 atts in advance, since an attractiveness roll will always be Social + Power.
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Vulpinoid
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2009, 02:31:18 AM »

I've also been toying with ,atrices for characters, but I'm using a 6x6 matrix at the moment, using columns and rows to define everything about the character, not just the attributes.

The columns represent elemental essences, while the rows represent methods of manifestation [agenda, connections, skills, face, offences, defences].

Characters basically fill a single column with a point in each...

(I hope these tables work....)
xAirEarthFireMetalWaterWood
Agenda--X---
Connections--X---
Face--X---
Skills--X---
Offences--X---
Defences--X---

...and a single row with a point in each (yes, where the two cross over, the character ends up with 2 points)...

xAirEarthFireMetalWaterWood
Agenda--X---
Connections--X---
Face--X---
SkillsXXXXXXX
Offences--X---
Defences--X---

...then they can distribute 6 more points anywhere across the grid that they see fit.


xAirEarthFireMetalWaterWood
Agenda--X-X-
ConnectionsX-X-X-
Face--X-X-
SkillsXXXXXXXX
Offences--X---
Defences--XX--

Each of the grid positions actually has it's own name, for example the crossover point between Fire and Agenda is "Valour", while the crossover point of Earth and Offence is "Unrelenting". Characters get an improved degree of success where their benefits apply.

The matrix defines almost everything about the character, except for a few supernatural abilities (which also link back to the matrix in some way), and ways that the character links into the community around them (every communal link gives the character access to something they can't do themselves, in exchange for a taboo associated with the group).

Different tasks in the game will require specific manifestations, and if the player can narrate a way that their character's specialty elemental field applies to the situation, then they can get the bonus. Beyond these 36 combinations, there are further subspecialties where character gain truly exceptional bonuses (but it becomes ever more difficult to find uses for these narrow specialty fields during the course of play).

Despite having 36 core attributes and potentially 150 or more sub attributes, the game is designed to be rules light.

One of the key themes in the game is that a certain elemental context permeates all parts of a character's being, meaning that people with a fiery temperament will tend to possess the same types of skills and associate with the same types of people...so the matrixed character description was done on purpose.

But that's just my current take on the theme...

V
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Abkajud
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Posts: 188


« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2009, 10:50:41 AM »

Both of the matrix systems I'm seeing look really cool! I have a thing for matrices Smiley

Ok, so Apeiron, Softnum - I'm thinking it makes a lot of sense for a person who's smart, pretty, and strong to be all those things at once. It sounds very Ubermensch, very Nietzsche, on some level. And, fear not, Softnum! As far as social efficacy is concerned, being pretty is only one part of it, and if you can't outright seduce somebody or intimidate them with your looks, then you're out of luck. That's right there in the table, and we've all encountered people who were really hot, but not so charming, composed, or compassionate.

In fact, a PC who focuses on Physical and Power, while attractive, would be quite boorish, apart from his raw sex appeal. A character who's got Social and Power, on the other hand, knows their way around a dinner party, but still isn't some fearsome powerhouse. Wisdom (life lessons, I guess?), Willpower, and Perception would still be beyond the Soc/Pow PC, so you're looking at someone who's a bit feckless, rash, and self-absorbed, even if they're the life of the party.

Apeiron - Attractiveness is *definitely* a Power stat in my book, if you couldn't tell from my descriptions above. I was about to write that you should flop some of your stat placements, but I'm starting to see how that all fits together. I'd like to know the difference between Dexterity and Agility, though, because it sounds like someone who's a good listener would be better at detailed precision tasks, not gymnastics. A person who's really gregarious, charming, and intuitive, however, could totally have wicked reflexes - that fits! Even then, that's kind of a stretch for me - only the Power trio feel like they flawlessly join together to form an archetype in my mind, but I suppose the Resilience trio is up there, too. The addition of physical qualities is what's kind of rough, I suppose, but...

An exercise: Some points on the matrix and what I'd call them - Pow/Soc=Dilettante, Pow/Phys=Heroic Athlete, Pow/Men=Adventurer-Scientist, Phys/Res=Slogging Veteran, Aware/Men=Obsessive Tinker, Soc/Con=Slick Bastard. Whew, that's all you're getting from me. Some of those are hard!

Vulpinoid, my esteemed commenter Smiley - you've put the Chinese elements in a matrix, and I love you for it. Two quibbles: is there a list of the "subattributes" somewhere, and can you define "Agenda" for me? It sounds like the axes of the matrix are not, themselves, going to come into play per se, no more than D&D stats do, but that's cool - you basically get a big old pile of traits with ratings, I suppose? That's awesome - ever since I read this article (http://ptgptb.org/0019/classconflictD20.html - the chart's about 3/4 of the way down) I have really wanted to do just what this article is talking about, crossing the four OD&D classes with various medieval social arenas (Town, Church, State, etc.). Anyway, gimme link! Cheesy

Something  that really strikes me as important is that, if you prioritize rows and columns, then the whole line has to make sense if taken together as a whole - Apeiron, I think you've pretty much nailed that, like 90%; Vulpinoid, we'll have to see, but you've got promise ^_^ It's also very, very easy to fall into the trap of "oh god, I've set these categories up for myself, and now I have to FILL THEM!" It's just so pretty to have all your ducks in a row, but I hope you folks haven't scoured away too many brain cells trying to make things absolutely perfect! Lord knows I've done that with things like this.

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Seth M. Drebitko
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2009, 05:57:32 AM »

 First off Dangerous Journeys is an awesome game! Second I very much like your take on the matrix. The only thing I would change on it myself would be attractiveness. My problem with systems that use attractiveness is that some people are just downright ugly but seem to command attention of crowds. A better way in my personal opinion to portray this trait would be as Presence.
 Other than that minor quibble everything looks great.
Regards, Seth
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apeiron
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2009, 11:55:56 AM »

The forum neglected to inform me of replies. Sorry.  i'll get to replying soon.
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apeiron
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2009, 12:32:18 PM »

Thanks, everyone for the input!

I've also been toying with ,atrices for characters, but I'm using a 6x6 matrix at the moment, using columns and rows to define everything about the character, not just the attributes.
V

Woah.  Very cool.  And actually it reminds be a bit of my original purpose for the matrix, a martial arts game.  i like the elemental flavor, i might have to steal that!

The only thing that kind of bothers me about 7 'values' attributes, but having the chart, is that you're really saying that Strong people are always more Intelligent then Agile people.   The composed people are never going to be more intelligent than attractive people.  Maybe you're OK saying that.

And you're really only talking about 5 more attributes, so you're not saving the player from that many more choices.   And it would still benefit players to figure out each of the 12 atts in advance, since an attractiveness roll will always be Social + Power.

i'm OK with it for the game i intended to make.

i would like for the player to not know what is at the intersection, or at least to not think about it.  i want them to think Force + Social, "I'm going to make the gate guard like me and turn his back to my ninja friend".  You did get me thinking about renaming that axis, though.  Maybe i'll give them verb names: Force, Sense, Resist, Control.

First off Dangerous Journeys is an awesome game! Second I very much like your take on the matrix. The only thing I would change on it myself would be attractiveness. My problem with systems that use attractiveness is that some people are just downright ugly but seem to command attention of crowds. A better way in my personal opinion to portray this trait would be as Presence.
 Other than that minor quibble everything looks great.
Regards, Seth


i never had a chance to play it Sad .  For the life of me i couldn't figure out how to make a full practitioner.  The magic book for that is amazing, i would LOVE to see someone translate that whole thing into 4E.
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apeiron
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Posts: 135

[ MAKE YOUR FUTURE PERFECT ]


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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2009, 12:36:43 PM »

An exercise: Some points on the matrix and what I'd call them - Pow/Soc=Dilettante, Pow/Phys=Heroic Athlete, Pow/Men=Adventurer-Scientist, Phys/Res=Slogging Veteran, Aware/Men=Obsessive Tinker, Soc/Con=Slick Bastard. Whew, that's all you're getting from me. Some of those are hard!

Get out of my MIND!

The original table had archetypes at each intersection.  If i remember when i get home, i'll post some of it.  Each player would select one of these destinies (a very kung fu movie theme) that would determine the two strongest axes.  Power + Physical was Destroyer, Resilience + Physical was Defender.  Fun stuff.
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Seth M. Drebitko
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2009, 01:24:19 PM »

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