JRPG Basic Ability Scores

In the previous post about this system, I said I was going to write about classes next. I think I should go over ability scores first though, so I guess I lied. This system uses the standard 6 (strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma), but doesn’t bother with the 3 to 18 range and just records the modifier, which ranges from 0 to 3 (no negatives). It also collapses saving throws into ability checks, for simplicity.

The paragraph explaining the difficulty math and when to roll needs to be improved, and maybe moved into a referee section. More info about what ability checks are actually used for will also be provided in sections about specific rules (drowning, falling, catching, contests, and so forth). A summary (or at least list) of those rules also probably belongs here (and will be added to this section of the final document later, probably, if the flow works out).

Ability Scores

Pick one of the following arrays, and assign them to the six ability scores as desired.

Ability Score Arrays
Array Scores
Focused +3 +2 +1 +0 +0 +0
Versatile +2 +2 +2 +1 +0 +0
Well-rounded +2 +2 +1 +1 +1 +1

A quick note regarding compatibility with other games that measure ability scores with numbers ranging from 3 to 18: +0 = 10, +1 = 13, +2 = 16, +3 = 18.

Ability Scores and Their Application
Ability Applications
Strength STR carrying capacity, melee damage, force skill
Dexterity DEX missile attack
Constitution CON hit points
Intelligence INT mana (black), magic attack, magic damage
Wisdom WIS mana (white), magic defense
Charisma CHA social reaction, retainers, retainer loyalty

In addition to the applications mentioned in the table above, each ability score is used for ability checks and saving throws. So even if you don’t cast spells, for example, wisdom is still used to resist magical effects.

Ability Checks

To make an ability check, roll 1d20 and add the appropriate ability and your character level. 15 or higher is a success. Given that the max level is 3 and the max ability score is +3, the max (natural) bonus for an ability check is +6. Some rare enchanted items may be able to raise abilities beyond +3, however, and thus also increase the ability check chances.

For example, say a first level character with a constitution of +2 needs to make a constitution check. The roll is 1d20 +3 (+1 for level and +2 for ability).

The number 15 is not meant to be modified based on task difficulty. Tasks are either impossible, uncertain, or trivial. If it’s impossible, the referee will just tell you, and you won’t need to roll. If the task is trivial, you just do it. Only if task is uncertain should you bother rolling. A first level character has between a 35% and 50% chance of passing an ability check, depending on the ability score. This raises to between 45% and 60% at third level.

Saving Throws

Sometimes characters are called on to make a saving throw to avoid some danger. Saving throws are resolved exactly as ability checks, and every saving throw will make use of one ability score. Think of them as reactive ability checks.

3 thoughts on “JRPG Basic Ability Scores

  1. ramanan

    Sounds good. This is quite a bit like where they are going with D&D Next. I like the idea of dropping all the different difficulty classes.

    You have all this text for your game somewhere in a format like Markdown?


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