Character-specific Attributes


Any one have thoughts on exchanging or adding attributes to specific characters? Old editions of Dnd had optional rules for Appearance, Honor, and other replacements for CHA. The Fate SRD mentions exchanging Approaches as a type of permanent consequence (Forceful to Vicious, Careful to Cowardly, etc.)

In the past I’ve thought about making character species and background more significant by letting players add a new attribute to their character sheet (An elf could have a stat for how ancient they are, a dwarf for how respected, etc.) although I’ve never implemented it because I didn’t want to start complexity creep.

I HAVE given monsters attributes that cover unique abilities (without adding to more conventional rolls), like giving a dragon Flight +6 but otherwise having low DEX.

I’m always looking for ways to expand my mechanical toolset as a GM


Many of the thing you are describing, Appearance, Honor, etc, can be replaced with a Milestone or Loot.

You are correct in thinking adding an additional attribute would add to the complexity, but if its not used very often, it won’t hurt much.

I would recommend using a token or loot to denote the attribute you want them a player to have… an example would be a Badge of Lineage for the Elf. It represents his family crest for 1000 years of age. Maybe its dated or stamped showing its authenticity… … But even better, what happens when he loses it, or its stolen, or worse… destroyed. Food for thought.

As for monsters, if you look in the Core rules, Hankerin’ does the same thing with his monster stats.

Game On!


Hey Ash! Interesting ideas here.

Although I agree with Ezzerharden that those things could be handled with a Milestone or Loot, I would like to provide a different perspective.

If you like tying something mechanical to a class, background, or race that others do not get, I think that’s a worthwhile thing to pursue. I suggest presenting them as a currency to be spent and restored, like Hero Coins, Inspiration, and so on.

For example, if the elves in your games are very closely related to the evil snakemen of old, perhaps something like this…

Elf: Snake’s Splendor (d4 charges, restored on cruel acts), gain +3 CHA when intimidating or inspiring awe.

It is (1) unique, (2) mechanical, and (3) setting specific.

If your dwarves were created in the ancient clay pits…

Dwarf: Stonespeak (1 charge, restored when praying at dawn), ask a sculpting of any sort 3 questions (jars, vases, reliefs, busts, pillars with animals on them, etc.)

Are these good? I don’t know. But, perhaps they give you some ideas for how you can work that sort of thing into your games.

Good luck!


@Anthony_C Yeah that’s basically a #TAG in my games, pretty much what I was about to suggest!

From a design POV, unique things are better if they also add a unique mechanic or flavor, STATS are abstractions that are meant to generalize things through out the game.


@Ezzerharden, @Anthony_C, and @Nimlouth thank you all sincerely! My players love adding specificity and little mechanical quirks to their characters (or at least some of them do) and I saw this idea as something that could either be a more mechanically consistent addition or bog down things exponentially. #TAGs definitely seem like a better way to mechanize unique traits and keep them consistent. @Ezzerharden 's recommendation is actually the first time I’ve ever thought about the narrative implications of loot.

All of that said it now occurs to me that the general purpose function of attributes makes them ripe for customizing to suit a campaign rather than a character. But that would be a whole other thread. :laughing: