Roleplaying Basics – Attributes

So, you’ve decided on the game you wish to play, one person is going to referee the game or take the part of Games Master, the rest will want to create a character to play in the world the GM has set up. One of the most important parts is something called ‘attributes’. Also known as ‘stats’. These are numbers which allow for the physical, mental and personal development of a player character. They’re rolled with dice, usually different types depending on the system. Dungeons and Dragons uses 3d6 for attributes, whilst Middle Earth Roleplaying, Rolemaster and Runequest use the percentile system (2d10).

These attributes are vital for the game as they provide the framework and building blocks from which a player can role-play their character. If you wish to play a fearless warrior, skillful in combat, you might consider making attributes such as strength and dexterity as high as possible. This would maximize your chances of delivering heavy-hitting blows that strike the target effectively. They would also give the character a good chance of evading incoming attacks.

Again, depending on the game you’re playing the number of attributes varies. It is normal to have at least six if not more to allow for ample development of a character as they advance.  The attributes also will determine which professions or skills a character will be able to use effectively. Being able to pick a lock requires a high degree of manual dexterity so it’s no good having a low attribute score and somebody potentially fumbling the mechanisms every time.

Why is it so important to have high attribute scores in certain areas? Simply because a high score will give a significant bonus overall. When combined with the other scores from professions, character races and the occasional item, its helps create a style of play which the player can then use in the game. How the character then appears in the world is then up to the player themselves. Do they wish to roleplay a sneaky, devious layabout? Or perhaps, they would like to roleplay a shortsighted elf  whose adamant they are a crack shot with a Bow. The possibilities are endless!

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