Typical RPG Approach
In response to the "typical" way of doing things...
- I hate randomly assigned stats. I shouldn't be crippled in the game for the next 20 hours because a random number generator didn't go my way in the first 20 seconds.
- Although picking which stats increase when you level up is nice, it's usually fairly meaningless. Unless there was some kind of equipment with a minimal stat I was short on, I would just spread them fairly evenly (maybe a little extra into intelligence if I was a wizard or dexterity if I was a rogue). Still fairly meaningless.
- I don't like the idea that an intelligence or charisma number could determine how I could make decisions in the game. Although Fallout has some funny scenes with that, again I don't want a poor decision early on to ruin the next 20 hours.
- I don't like permanent penalties such as death reducing a value. Penalties should always be recoverable in time.
Strength - Primarily for melee weapons.
Dexterity - Primarily for ranged weapons.
Focus - Primarily for spells.
Constitution - Your body's current toughness (separate from health).
Maybe at first you were a sword user, but decided later on to go for ranged attacks instead. Over time from disuse, your strength will decrease but your dexterity would increase quickly. Same goes if you switch to just casting spells, your focus will increase but your strength and dexterity will go down. It will be possibly to try and exercise all three - regularly cast a spell, shoot an arrow, then do a finishing blow with a sword. But then you get into the jack of all trades, master of none situation. It will be very difficult to max all 3 of them.
After using just my sword...
After casting many spells and disregarding weapons...
But how will a player get permanently better over time?
That will be taken care of by skills! (Which I haven't gotten to yet...) How well your action does will be based on your stat + your skill. And your skills never go down. Think of it this way: You never forget how to ride a bike, but if you haven't been on one in a couple years you're not going to win the Tour De France.
Concerning using just focus instead of separate intelligence and wisdom for spells... Regardless if I'm praying to a god for divine intervention, reaching out to nature for help, or just materializing fireballs out of my hands, all of those requires focus. Is there really a benefit in splitting them up into separate stats?
Constitution & Death
Constitution after fighting for awhile...
After getting knocked down / dying...
This approach to constitution is how I want to give consequences to death without totally demoralizing the player and causing them to rage quit.
- If there are no penalties for death and you start 15 seconds away from your corpse, then you can jump right back into the same battle and possibly win it - who cares if you die, it really didn't matter.
- If death is permanent or very serious and you get struck down, then screw this game, it just wasted hours of my life building up this character so I'm going to do something else.
- If death hits your recoverable constitution but has minimal other consequences, then you still REALLY don't want to die, but you also don't hate the game for stealing your time if you do. You just need to take a break from that boss fight - build up your skills while your stats improve - then go back after him.
In addition to adding stats in the game, I did lots of code cleanup of tactics and made it so you can pickup health and energy potions off the ground.