Moving Away From the Six Stats

Moving Away From the Six Stats

Moving Away From the Six Stats

I’m curious about what people think about the six stats of Dungeon World. You know the ones – Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. We inherited them from Dungeons and Dragons, and for fair reason; it lessens the leap from DnD to DW, it makes things feel familiar.

But lately I’ve been wondering whether they’re worth keeping. Constitution, for example, is rather criminally underused. The slight overlap between Intelligence and Wisdom is occasionally an issue. Sometimes moves seem like they belong to multiple stats, or it’s a stretch to apply it to a stat at all. I’d like to know what you folks think.

20 thoughts on “Moving Away From the Six Stats”

  1. For example, what if you had these four stats instead of the traditional six? Would anything be “lost” in the process?

    Blood: Your strength, speed, and passion.

    Mettle: Your willpower, fortitude, and stamina.

    Cunning: Your awareness and cleverness.

    Insight: Your wisdom and persuasiveness.

  2. My only worry would be to need too much hacking to adapt existing playbooks and moves but with the 4 stats you mentioned, it would be easy to convert on the fly.

    the 6 stats are a vestige of old-school D&D and in no way I feel it HAS to be used. It is just that, it feels old and D&D.

    That said, they do cover all situations I can think of, but that might be due to brian training all these years using those.

  3. You’d have to move stat buffs back to the Apocalypse World style of “take an advance to buff a stat” instead of increasing numbers every level, because going from 6 to 4 stats concentrates advancement.

  4. Addramyr Palinor While the simulationist stats of DnD are definitely useful (or are, at least, ingrained into my brain to seem that way), I feel like “expressive” stats might do a better job for what Dungeon World is all about, y’know?

    Aaron Griffin I’m intimately familiar with other PbtA games! I’m just curious as to whether or not there’s anything actually wrong with the stats DW uses. i.e. Are the issues with, say, Constitution worth overhauling the system for?

    Andy Hauge Probably, yeah.

  5. I think 3 stats is all you need. What is the real difference between wisdom and intelligence anyways?!?!?!

    I think something analogous to strength, dexterity, brains would work fine. If thats too limiting, than add personality as a fourth.

  6. Andrew Huffaker I’ve been experimenting as much. The four I mentioned earlier – Blood, Mettle, Cunning, and Insight – have been my focus lately. I feel like it has promise, but I’ve been testing the waters.

    After all, this leads into another conversation altogether – reworking, collating, removing, and adding new moves, basic or otherwise.

  7. Cameron Burns speaking of new moves, Ironsworn has been pretty great reworking some moves. The two I would want to implement more into my DW are momentum (ala City of Judas/Ironsworn) and a one roll scene. If you want to montage a battle or dramatic scene, just do one roll and move on and zoom out vs multiple rolls that are zoomed in. Pretty cool stuff.

  8. The six stats for Dungeon World are of course the right stats for Dungeon World, and what Dungeon World is trying to do. The whole game is built up from there, and they are largely what make the game recognizably Dungeon World.

    When you start tinkering with those six stats, you start tinkering with everything else, and pretty soon you have a completely different game, your own little fantasy heartbreaker, pbta. Which is great!

    As for what to call you stats, that’s of course a matter of taste and vision. How do you want to differentiate characters from each other? How do the stats relate to other things about the playbooks? Do you really need a stat specifically for Blood or can you fold that in to Mettle and make the damage dice and/or moves of the playbook represent just how bloody a Fighter-style character is? Do you want a stat indicating how charming and persuasive PCs are, or is that just a matter of Insight and maybe some playbook moves?

    For what it’s worth, I generally prefer adjectives to nouns for stat names. So Bloody instead of Blood, Steady instead of Mettle, that sort of thing.

    Some that I keep thinking about for a someday-maybe heartbreaker:

    * Fierce

    * Steady

    * Versed

    * Subtle

    * Strange

  9. I do agree that you would be fine with only 3 stats :




    That said, there isn’t really any downside for having more (well, as long as its not too much). It adds precision. I played games with 9 stats and the division between them were clear, it all made sense.

    On a side note, I’m not sure CON is a underused stats. It’s the only way to gain HP, for one. It also serves in a lot of Defy Danger : environmental hazard like heat, cold, poison, disease, endurance, etc.

  10. Mind was brain power, non-social perception, analytical stuff.

    Soul governed social interaction, anything that keyed off of emotional stuff, and social perception. It also covered willpower and was your mystic potency.

  11. This is something I’ve always wanted to see too. My personal gripe, as nitpicky as it is, is the split between Strength and Dexterity when it comes to weapons or fighting, especially when, as written, rapiers are the only Precise weapons in DW. Even in 5e, dex-based classes have access to a wider variety of melee weapons than that. The rules implying that your only viable option as a dex character is a rapier feels like a major limitation on player expression.

    In real life (which is obviously not what games are really trying to be, but… >_> ) rapiers are as heavy, if not heavier than longswords or arming swords, so why can somebody with no strength wield a rapier, but not one of those other swords? Or inversely, why is someone with a high dexterity, implying some sort of nebulous physical capacity, but low strength, garbage in melee combat?

    Alternatively, longbows require huge amounts of strength to draw, but, systematically, require dex, not str, and someone with str, not dex, would be awful with them.

    Orrrr imagine someone using dexterity to do all sorts of acrobatics and flips and handstands and whatnots. Someone with a +3 in dex and a -1 in strength will be great at this, and this is clearly a person with a great degree of physical fitness, and I think it’d be fair to say someone who can do all that can manage to wield a sword that weighs like maybe 3 pounds… Overall, the distinction between Strength and Dexterity seems pretty arbitrary and limiting to me.

    It seems like an unnecessary holdover from D&D style attributes, especially compared to basically every other PBTA game out there. I’m definitely a fan of stats that broadly determine what actions you’re good at rather than trying to categorize what qualities you have, as D&D style stats do. Like, +hard in classic AW is just… the fight good stat… and it’s really not important what you’re fighting with.

    All that being said, as other people have pointed out, D&D style design is pretty directly tied into DW’s DNA. I believe things like this are very intentional on the developers’ parts, and have broader effects on the end experience of playing the game than it might seem at first. Overall, it’d be a pretty significant makeover to try to change them.

    As someone who’s not a huge fan of D&D in general, I’d really like to see another high fantasy PBTA game come out that stays closer to PBTA sensibilities with things like this.

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