Giving Characters Skills & Characteristics

Hello all,
I’m not expecting any complete solutions or anything, and apologies if this has been addressed before but I was wondering on the best way of implementing a set of characteristics and skillset for the character, which could also be applied to NPCs. By which I mean in the style of many d20 and d100 games, where the PC and all NPCS would have, say, a ‘Strength’ of ‘18’ and an Archery Skill of ‘3’ etc etc.

I’m pretty sure I could navigate coding the character creation section i.e. how these skills were awarded to the PC (though I may well be back in the future for that… :confused: ) but it’s just the approach. Should each characteristic or skill be a ‘number’? Would they be ‘part of’ or ‘carried’ by the player? How do I get around every character having them?

I couldn’t find anything on this online, if anyone could point me in a sensible direction, I’d be mighty grateful!

Do you mean in Inform 7?

Given the ‘part of’, ‘carried’ etc. parlance, I’ll assume you’re talking about inform 7 (and in which case, this should be in the inform forum). In any case, the way you’ll probably want to this is declare that people can have numbers called ‘strength’, ‘archery’ and whatnot. Like so:

A person has a number called strength.

Then you can declare what people’s strengths are:

The strength of yourself is 10. The strength of Mildred is 12. The strength of the nurse is 8.

If you don’t want to specify the exact stats for everyone, you can use defaults:

The strength of a person is usually 8.

Change the figure in play:

After drinking the poison: say "You feel your power sapping swiftly."; decrease strength by 5.

A simple action can be used when testing the game to see what each person’s statistics are:

Stat checking is an action applying to one thing. Understand "check [person]" as stat checking. Check stat checking: say "Strength: [the strength of the noun] Dexterity: [the dexterity of the noun] Moxy: [the moxy of the noun]".
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Assuming that you’re asking a general game-design question and not I7, this is actually a really interesting topic to consider. Pencil and paper RPGs have approached this a ton of different ways over the years, and they would probably be the most fruitful source to research if you’re just starting out planning.

The most interesting essays I’ve seen on the topic recently are at Choice of Games; as a starting point I’d recommend at least reading this article about designing stats.

If you’re going to track a characteristic make sure it matters to the story that that stat is tracked. In having a ‘strength’ characteristic, you’re saying that tests of strength are going to be an important part of the game.

Further, I prefer stats explicitly tied to an adjectival level of ability: ‘Strength 7’ could be good, it could be rubbish; while ‘very strong’ is a lot more explicit.