A replacement ability score system.
Strength, dexterity, constitution, magic, perception, charisma.
Why this substitution? Because these six scores fit into the tasks that adventurers perform regularly in the game, are useful to all classes, and are less ambiguous. For example, should INT or WIS modify the save versus magic? Why? With this spread, the relevant stat is obviously “magic.” Similarly, d6 search and listen checks are the common traditional perception system, and are used frequently. Having a stat associated with them highlights the centrality of these mechanisms to a certain play style.
3d6 each. Modifiers abbreviated as STR, DEX, CON, MAG, PER, CHA.
Force, listen, search, sneak, etc tests are performed with a d6 and succeed on 6 or higher. A natural 1 is always a failure. Listening and searching take an exploration turn and forcing something makes noise.
Magic tests are used both to resist enemy magic (basically, a replacement for saving throws versus spells) and for the difficulty of resisting the spells a particular magic-user casts.
And to replicate traditional race abilities:
- Dwarves: +1 to search tests involving architecture or mechanisms.
- Elves: +1 to search tests involving secret doors.
- Halflings: +1 to sneak tests and thrown missiles.
An aside: it is interesting that “advanced” games modify ability scores directly by race, whereas the “basic” games give demi-humans bonuses only to specific tasks.