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Episode 2296: Stranger in a Strange Band


Many roleplaying games have ability scores (also often called statistics or stats) with common and well-understood names. Examples include the venerable Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, ad Charisma of Dungeons & Dragons, all of which are reused in several other games. Some games prefer to use synonyms or related words to avoid reusing the exact same words, for example: Might, Intellect, Common Sense, Agility, Fortitude, or Personality.

Then there are games that use unusual words to describe character abilities. Toon, a game in which you play a cartoon character, uses the more child-like Muscle, Smarts, and Zip (for strength, intelligence, and agility respectively), but also Chutzpah, which is a stat representing the character's audacity, brazenness, and pushiness. Paranoia uses Chutzpah, and also a stat named Moxie to represent a character's capacity to accept unusual or stressful situations without flinching.

Then there are games with entire unusual suites of abilities. The award-winning Apocalypse World game has the stats: Cool, Hard, Hot, Sharp, and Weird, corresponding to: how in-control you are in bad situations, how violent you are, how attractive you are, how on the ball you are, and how psychic/lucky you are, respectively.

And taking this to the extreme, there are games like Chutzpah! A Certain Je ne Sais Quoi, which has the stats: Gumption, Chutzpah, Moxy, Childlike Wonder, Cut of My Jib, and A Certain Je ne Sais Quoi.

You can make stats out of almost anything. Choose something thematic for the subject of your game. Let's make one up right now! Imagine a game with a Norse/Anglo-Saxon feel. Vikings and stuff. The stats could be: Berserk, Frith, Beot, and Wyrd.

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

Pete on a drum set? Definitely not one of the instruments I'd pictured Pete playing, but then, he didn't seem the type to play instruments either before these two recent comics. Heh, what might be the chances that Annie and/or Jim find an instrument and participate as well?

And I suppose that the band program is Ben's class that he teaches. Perhaps this is a volunteer or extracurricular sort of thing? I don't recall people other than fellow students participating in music/band when I was in school.


[SFX]: Door!
Finn: Hi everyone!
Kylo Ren: I’m going to sing in a band program!
Allan: Cool!
Kylo Ren: And Ben’s playing guitar! And Pete’s playing drums!
Finn: ... Did we just enter some sort of bizarre parallel universe?
GM: Heh. We’ve been talking about it for a few minutes. But you just gave me an idea for a really weird campaign.
Allan: Oooh! We all play bards!
BB-8: And our stats are Attack, Decay, Sustain, and Release.

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Published: Sunday, 16 April, 2023; 02:11:05 PDT.
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