Stat Names

I feel like I’m pulling a White Wolf.

Let me back up:  Shattered Vistas has a stat called Gusto.  It’s had it since the original design, when I had a more traditional initiative mechanic and decided I wanted it to be based on how active your character was, not on any physical attribute.  In one of those rounds of changes where I went from nine stats to six, it got kept as the Spiritual active stat, although it didn’t quite fit there.

They say if a design is problematic, kill what you love about it the most.  That’s probably an overstatement in most parts, but Gusto was holding me back, because I wanted it to be in the game, but it didn’t really fit.  So the name is gone.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out what the hell I should call the active/passive spiritual stats.  Something invovling ‘essence’ ‘spirit’ ‘anima’ etc. is fine, although bland and nondescriptive, and arbitrary.

Going with the whole Eastern-Sanskrit-Hindi-Buddhist trappings of the cosmology, I turn to Hindi for words for soul, and as it happens, they have a couple.  So I get Jiva for the active soul, and Atman for the passive part.  They work, but I wonder if they’ll just be confusing and feel out of place.  Who knows, maybe I’ll end up changing them again.

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2 thoughts on “Stat Names

  1. Rahvin says:

    These don’t directly answer your questions, but I thought you might find it intesting:

    Three recent discoveries I’ve made regarding stats:

    – Colorful stat names end up hurting more than helping. In Burning Wheel, for example, I started using the word “Willpower” instead of “Steel” and I found my games flow better for some reason.

    – Colorful names tend to provoke weird arguments as to when they do or do not apply that more generic names do not. I’m not sure why.

    – I discovered in DitV that stat names are more or less useless compared to stat functions. Knowing how much Heart and Will a character has, isn’t nearly so important as knowing how many Fighting dice and how many Talking dice they have.

  2. […] Back in my short rant about stat names, I remarked that rpgs often have the most obscure, unused names possible to describe their stats.  This is usually a bad thing, and leaves people saying things like “wtf is Quiessence??” […]

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