Chapter 3: Attributes

Working Gutenburg Transition

A persona’s attributes (also called statistics) are its natural given abilities.  The attributes reflect things like strength and intelligence.  Each attribute is determined by dice and these values represent the first inklings of the persona.  Until now, the persona has been nothing more than a flicker of the player’s imagination.  The attributes are the first steps toward the creation of a useful persona.

What Are They?

Attributes are the cornerstones of a persona.  The higher the value of the attribute, the better the attribute is.  A persona’s attribute values determine both her race and her class.  Mechanics need high intelligences, spies need high dexterities and ursidae need high physical strengths.

There are eight attributes that every persona must roll:  awareness, charisma, constitution, dexterity, intelligence, mental strength, physical strength and hit points.  The attributes are not listed in order of importance but in part alphabetical and in part convenience ordering.  Each attribute is covered in greater detail later.

Generating the Attributes

Every attribute is generated by rolling dice.  All of the attributes – except for mental strength and hit points – are determined by rolling 3d6 (three six sided dice) and totalling the 3 numbers.  A single roll is made for each attribute.  The values cannot be altered by switching one score to another nor can they be adjusted by trading points from one score to another.  Whatever is rolled the first time through stands and the rest of the persona must be created from those rolls. A persona with an 11 intelligence would be brighter than a persona with a 7 intelligence.  A persona with a 15 physical strength would be stronger, and could lift more, than a persona with a 12 physical strength.

Attribute Limits

The range of normal persona attributes is between 3 and 18.  An average attribute roll would be 9.  The maximal attribute ranges are between 1 and 25.  There are, of course, exceptions to this rule; both charisma and hit points can drop below 1 and physical strength can increase beyond 25.

The upper limit of the attributes grossly exceeds the necessary limit for humanoid personas. The attribute values are universal across aliens, robots and humanoids.  Most tables include attribute ranges greater than 18 because aliens and robots often have attributes that high.  The tables do not exceed 18 for the benefit of humanoid races.  A value over 18 for any attribute is extremely rare.  From my experience, less than 10 specific attributes in over 197 persons (that is 1379 attributes) have ever been over 18.  The referee will find that watching the players generate their attributes will greatly reduce the average of the rolls.

The lower limit of player attributes is a self-eliminating problem.  If any of a persona’s attributes drop below 1 (except for charisma and hit points), the persona is irrevocably dead.  This very effectively places the lower limit for attributes at 1 point.

Role-Playing

The players should not get hung up on the values of their persona’s attributes.  EXP is a role-playing game and a persona’s attributes should reflect how the persona is role-played.  The attributes are just numbers and the abilities of personas should be compared via role-playing as opposed to number comparison.  Do not automatically assume that one persona will be able to lift a heavy computer and another will not simply because of a difference in physical strengths.  The weaker persona may be more inspired at the moment or the stronger personal may just not be interested.  If the weaker persona role-plays his persona particularly well, the referee may let him show up the stronger persona.  Obviously, this must be used in moderation by the referee and only with attributes that are very similar.  For more information see Chapter 31:  Attribute Rolls.

Bots and Aliens

Attribute generation for robots and aliens is different than from that of people (another term used for humanoid races).

Robots are a combined race and class.  Their process for rolling attributes is covered in chapter 5.  Even though robotic attributes are mechanical, the values are comparable to those other races.  For example, a robot with a physical strength of 12 would be no stronger than any other persona with a 12 physical strength.  However, leverage and wate advantages may allow the robot to lift heavier wates.

Alien attributes represent the average values of an entire race and members of that race may have different values depending on age, sex or whatever.  Like robot attributes, alien attributes are comparable to all the other races.

Awareness (AWE)

Eyes, ears and nose. Key elements of awareness.
Eyes, ears and nose. Key elements of awareness.

Very simply put, awareness is how aware a persona is of her surroundings.  The higher the persona’s Awe, the better she can pick out noises, spot objects and detect aromas.  So a person with a high awareness would be observant, have a fine sense of smell and have good hearing.  Awe would be the most important attribute when trying to locate a hidden object or search a room.

Awe is generated by rolling 3d6, giving it an effective range of 3 to 18.  If a persona’s awareness drops below one, she is dead; her brain has been cut off from all exterior and interior stimuli. This death is representative of a complete disconnection from both the autonomic and systemic nervous systems.

Charisma (CHA)

The face is the front line of charisma.

Charisma is charm, looks and sociability all combined in one value.  A high charisma represents a high proficiency at getting along with other personas.  This attribute is a universal one so a reptilian with a higher charisma than a feline would still be more charismatic to other personas.

A persona’s charisma is very important during negotiations of any sort (see Chapter 22:  Negotiations).  The persona with the best charisma will be most likely to succeed in parley.  These points are just indicators; Cha should never be used to avoid role-playing.  If a persona with a low charisma is run by a congenial player, the ref may be forced to overlook her persona’s disposition.  Charisma can also be challenged by attribute rolls:  when attempting to win a promotion, when wooing a lover, when selling a used aircar or whatever other positions a player finds her persona in.

Charisma is rolled on 3d6.  The normal range is 3 to 18; however, burns, scars, mutations, limps, etc. may reduce a player’s charisma below 3.  Note that a Cha below zero is highly irregular but it will not kill the player.  The reaction of RPCs (referee player characters) to personas with negative Chas may be fatal though.

For whatever reason, a player may desire her persona’s Cha to drop below the racial minimum (see Chapter 4:  Races).  If mutations make this possible, the persona may have a Cha less than the racial minimum or even negative.

Extracting energy from the environment and delivering it to the body.
Extracting energy from the environment and delivering it to the body.
Extracting energy from the environment and delivering it to the body.

Constitution (CON)

Constitution represents a persona’s internal physique.  This attribute indicates the persona’s ability to throw off disease, fight infection, resist poisons, repair damaged tissue and to survive radiation attacks.  The Con roll is a general hardiness roll representing the persona’s all-round general health.  The main components which support a persona’s Con are the heart, the lungs, the liver, the kidneys and the immune system.

A character’s Con is directly responsible for her survival of poisonings (Refer to Chapter 16:  Special Rolls for more information).  Constitution would be used to see how well the persona responds to artificial respiration or to determine if a clone of her body will survive.  Personas with higher Cons are able to endure more physical punishment than players with low Cons.  Refer to hit points (HPS) at the end of the chapter for more information.

The next paragraph deals with the relationship between constitution and hit points.  If you are unfamiliar with the nature of hit points, refer to those pages before continuing.

A player must make a check to remain conscious whenever more than half her remaining hit points are lost at one time.  This check means the player must make a % roll or her persona will lose consciousness or be stunned due to trauma.  In order to ‘make’ a damage system shock, the player must roll a percentile dice score that is lower than her damage system shock value (DSS).  The DSS roll must be less than 3 times her remaining hit points total.  If a player with a 5 Con and 20 hit points were to take 10 hit points of damage, she would have to roll less than 30 on deci-dice or be knocked out.  Failing the DSS roll means that her persona’s system could not withstand the trauma that it just received and the persona has succumbed to unconsciousness.  This is explained in greater detail later in this chapter under Hit Points.

The Constitution Table shows the duration of time until the player can make a recovery roll.  A recovery roll is also dependant on the persona’s hit points total.  A recovery roll would be required before a persona could recover from a failed DSS roll.  The recovery roll is where the player checks to see if her personal has recovered from previous damage.  The recovery roll is a deci-die roll less than 5 times her remaining HPS.  Let’s assume the above player failed her (DSS) roll;  her persona would collapse unconscious from the damage and remain unconscious unless she rolled less than 5 times her remaining HPS; which, in this case, is 50%.  However, she could only attempt a recovery roll after 16 units (according to her duration) and, if she failed it, then she would have to wait another 16 units before trying again.

The Con attribute is rolled on 3d6.  If a persona’s Con should drop below 1, she is irrevocably dead due to combined heart, liver, kidney and immune system failure.

Table 3.1 Constitution and Recovery

Constitution is a collective representation of wellness and internal strength.
ConstitiutionRecovery Duration (units)
ConstitiutionRecovery Duration (units)
120
218
316
416
514
614
712
812
910
1010
1110
129
139
149
158
168
177
187
196
206
215
224
233
242
251
The wiring from the brain connecting to the environment.
The wiring from the brain connecting to the environment. The wiring from the brain connecting to the environment.

Dexterity (DEX)

The dexterity attribute represents many abilities which are collectively referred to as Dex.  Agility, balance, eye-hand coordination, reflexes and running speed are but a few components of dexterity.  A character with a high dexterity could move faster, change direction better and have quicker reflexes than a persona with a lower Dex.  A player may be required to make a Dex attribute roll when her persona attempts to catch a priceless vase or tries to dive through a closing door.

A persona’s dexterity also directly affects her amour rating.  Amour rating determines how difficult a target is to hit during combat.  So a player character with a high dexterity can dodge and deflect attacks better and, consequently, has a better amour rating.  The exact details of this bonus are described in Chapter 29:  Armour Rating.

A persona’s movement rate is determined by her Dex.  Table 3.2 is used to find how fast a persona can move in h/u (equal to m/s).  So a player character with an 11 Dex could move 4 h/u.  This means her figure can be moved 4 spaces (hexes) in one play (unit).  For a more detailed account of movement, refer to Chapter 12:  Time and Movement.

The dexterity attribute is rolled on 3d6 and this makes its range from 3 to 18.  If a persona’s dexterity should happen to fall below 1, she is irrevocably dead due to complete motor-nervous system failure.

Table 3.2 Dexterity and Movement Rate

More dexterous. More faster.
DexterityMovement Rate (h/u)
DexterityMovement Rate (h/u)
11
21
32
42
52
63
73
83
94
104
114
125
135
145
156
166
177
188
199
2010
2111
2212
2313
2414
2515
A soggy bag of chemicals, electricity and consciousness.
A soggy bag of chemicals, electricity and consciousness. A soggy bag of chemicals, electricity and consciousness.

Intelligence (INT)

The attribute of intelligence includes many aspects of sentient behaviour:  creative thought, mnemonic resources and learning capacity.  It would be incorrect to assume that a persona has an equal distribution of all these components but actually some undetermined mixture which results in the standard Int value.

Rolling Int for a persona poses some questions about player/persona interaction.  Conclusions made by a player cannot be refuted because her persona has a low Int score.  Such inaccuracies will either be creatively disguised by the player or merely chalked up to the old numinous.  The obverse situation, a personal with a high Int attribute run by a dull player will not allow the player to sit back and have scenarios solve themselves.  If the player herself cannot solve a problem, that’s just too bad.

A persona’s Int directly affects one of her other attributes.  The affected attribute is her mental strength.  The mental strength is a psychic sort of attribute.  It reflects the persona’s will power, luck and control over the unknown components of the mind.  Mental strength is an attribute entirely separate from Int but greatly modified by it.  The more intelligent a persona is, the more she can manipulate this intangible mental attribute.

Mental strength where minds meet.
Mental strength where minds meet. Mental strength where minds meet.

Mental Strength (MSTR)

Mental strength represents the persona’s will power, luck and level of control over the mind’s unknown abilities.  The Mstr attribute is a mystical combination of ability and fantasy.  A persona with a high Mstr could endure torture longer than a persona with a low mental strength.  Varying abilities to withstand pain are well documented.  However, mental strength also reflects a persona’s psionic ability; something entirely undocumented to this date.

Mental strength has a direct contribution to the effectiveness of most mental mutations.  Mstr can affect the range, intensity and duration of psionic abilities.  The persona’s Mstr is the only natural defence the persona has against psionic attacks.  See Chapter 16:  Special Rolls for more information.

Attribute rolls may challenge Mstr when the persona is being tortured, maintaining a vow of silence, playing dice games or just plain hoping her luck will change.

Mental strength is generated on 4d4.  This produces a range of 4 to 16.  It is very important that Mstr retain this range because a person’s Mstr score is greatly adjusted by her Int – remember that a persona’s Int attribute can help focus her Mstr.  The effects of Int on Mstr are also discussed under Intelligence in this chapter.

Table 3.3:  Mental Strength shows the adjustment made to the person’s mental strength for differing levels of Int.  E.g. a persona with a 7 Int would lose 1 point of mental strength whereas a persona with a 16 Int would gain 2 points of mental strength.

If a persona’s Mstr should drop below 1, she is irrevocably deceased.  This type of death is caused by an evaporation of the life force of the brain.  The more observant of the readers may note that there is the potential for a persona to die while being created.  If the referee encounters such a low intelligence, low mental strength persona combination and it kills the persona during creation, the player should re-roll her persona’s attributes and start again.

There is no set upper limit to the Mstr of a persona; however, a referee should start to worry considerably about any Mstr that exceeds 20 points in value.

Table 3.3 Mental Strength Adjustment by Intelligence

Intelligence allows one to better focus mental strength.
IntelligenceMSTR Adjustment
IntelligenceMSTR Adjustment
1-5
2-4
3-3
4-3
5-2
6-1
7-1
8-1
90
100
110
121
131
141
151
162
172
183
194
204
215
225
236
246
257
Chemistry, muscle and levers.
Chemistry, muscle and levers. Chemistry, muscle and levers.

Physical Strength (PSTR)

In short, physical strength represents the muscular brute force of the persona.  A more detailed look shows that Pstr is actually a combination of leverage, power and physique.  It is important to note that a persona with a high Pstr isn’t necessarily bulky or muscle-bound.  Shape is mostly determined by the persona’s race.  For instance, a wiry praying mantis can be a strong as a polar bear provided that their Pstr values were the same.  Muscle-boundedness is a reflection of low dexterity and is determined by the dexterity attribute, not the Pstr attribute.

A persona with a high Pstr could lift heavier weights, be unaffected by a greater load and generally have greater strength than a persona with a lower Pstr.  Physical strength attribute rolls may be required for kicking open doors, breaking bonds, crushing beer cans or lifting weights.

The amount of equipment a persona can carry is determined by her Pstr wate allowance and picky referees may limit the persona’s equipment list to the nearest milligram.  The players should know their persona’s wate allowances to ensure they don’t ‘accidentally’ end up carting 3 tonnes of equipment across rickety suspension bridges.  This happens most often due to purely innocent oversight.  The finer details of how equipment mass affects movement is covered in Chapter 18:  Encumbrances.  To determine wate allowance, use Table 3.4:  Pstr Wate Allowance.

Table 3.4 Physical Strength and Wate Allowance (kg)

The stronger you are the more you can carry.
Physical StrengthWATE Allowance (kgs)
Physical StrengthWATE Allowance (kgs)
14.5
25.6
36.81
48
59
610
712
813
914
1015
1116
1217
1318
1419
1520
1622
1725
1828
1931
2034
2139
2245
2352
2460
2569
2679
2790
28102
29115

Social Standing (SS)

Social Standing is not a physiologic attribute and just barely finds its place in the attributes chapter.  Social Standing (SS) indicates where persona is socially oriented in their society and how much power they tend to have. A high social standing is synonymous with wealth and power.  Social Standing is generated with a kilo-die roll. The higher the roll, the greater the social standing. What form this social standing takes (famous celebrity, corporate power, or bureaucratic influence) is up to the ref and the milieu of the campaign. The social standing is of great importance to the pesona class nothing. The persona’s CHA attribute is added to the Social Standing kilo-die roll.

How much physical damage can one endure?
How much physical damage can one endure? How much physical damage can one endure?

Hit Points (HPS)

Hit points reflect the persona’s ability to withstand physical damage.  The important components of Hps are based on the body construction:  how well the brain is protected; the amount of protective tissue around vital organs; and the connective tissue’s ability to resist tearing and shattering.  There are other less gruesome components of hit points.  These include the innate skill of the body, as a whole, to react to threat and just plain old luck.

Hit points are a very dynamic attribute.  Unlike the persona’s other attributes, which are unlikely to ever alter during a persona’s life, hit points will constantly have different values, although none of these values should exceed the persona’s maximum Hps.

Whenever a player character is injured in some way or other, she loses Hps.  Personas which lose too many hit points will die.  Personas which die from loss of hit points will usually die in some violent death:  shooting, stabbing car accident, fall, explosions, etc.  For more information about losing hit points, she chapters 26 or 27 in the combat section.

Personas don’t just lose hit points until they die (hit points are a dynamic attribute, not a declining attribute).  Personas can get hit points back through rest.  See Chapter 13:  Health for more information about rest.  Medical attention can heal back lost hit points.  This is covered in detail under the veterinarian class (Chapter 8:   Classes).

The hit point doesn’t convert to some unit of energy – like an erg.  However, the hit point is a constant value. Any person, alien or robot at 10 Hps can only withstand 10 Hps of damage.  What varies is how each race type is affected upon reaching 1 Hps.  How aliens and robots respond to very low hit point totals (less than 1) is covered in their respective chapters.  How people respond to particular Hps totals is detailed here.

All in all, hit points are a general indicator of a being’s overall hardiness.  The more Hps the creature has, the better condition she is in.

HPS Max

A persona’s maximum Hps is determined once, while the player is rolling her attributes.  The maximum Hps cannot be exceeded by healing of any sort (of course, there are always exceptions).  No pity should be given to the players while they are rolling their persona’s Hps.  Hit points should be considered just another attribute which will determine class and race.  Once the player has determined a maximum Hps, it should be recorded in ink on her persona record sheet.

Calculate Maximum HPS
HPS = (1/2 CON x d8) + CON

The persona’s Con attribute plays an important role in determining the persona’s maximum Hps.  A persona’s Hps is determined by rolling d8s.  A player may roll 1d8 for every two points of Con.  The total of these d8s comprises a large component of the Hps. The persona’s Hps are then adjusted by her Con attribute.  For every 1 point of Con the persona has, 1 hit point is added to the maximum Hps.

Dying

The player must also be aware of several conditions that are tied into damage and Hps.  When a persona takes 1 and a ½ times her Hps max without any interim healing, she is permanently dead.   So the persona that rolled 26 Hps max would be dead if her Hps total dropped below -13; a persona with 54 Hps max would be dead if her Hps total were to go below -27 Hps; one with 44 Hps max would be dead if her Hps total were to drop below -22 Hps.  This is also called negative one half of one’s Hps.

Calculate Minimum HPS
Death = -1 times (1/2 max HPS)

Hit points appear to be an attribute that can drop below 1 without killing the persona.  This is true; however, any persona with a negative hit point total is in a state of severe trauma – she is dying.  When negative (having a negative Hps total), a persona loses one hit point each 5 units (10 seconds) she is left unattended.  This rapid decline to death cannot be halted unless medically treated.  See Chapter 34: Healing for more information.

A persona with negative Hps total is completely unconscious and can do nothing other than lie about and bleed.  Things start to return to normal once the persona is returned to a positive Hps total; something which the body cannot do itself.

Damage System Shock (DSS)

Personas with positive hit point totals still have to be cautious.  Whenever a persona loses more than half her present hit point total in one attack, she must make a DSS roll or be knocked unconscious.  A damage system shock roll (DSS) is a deci-die roll less than 3 times her current Hps total plus her Con.  If the player rolls higher than 3 x Hps + Con on percentile dice, the persona has been stunned or knocked down.

Calculate Damage System Shock
DSS= (3 times current HPS) + CON

Recovery Rolls (REC)

The stunned persona will remain inactive until she makes a successful recovery roll.  A recovery roll (REC) is a percentile dice roll less than 5 times her persona’s Hps total plus her Con.  If the player rolls higher than her 5 x Hps + Con on deci-dice, the persona remains stunned or knocked down.  The player may only attempt a recovery roll as often as her Con dictates.

Calculate Recovery Rolls
REC= (5 times current HPS) + CON

An example using numbers may help.  Two player characters both take equal damage in a car accident, let’s say 20 Hps.  However, each persona has a different Hps total.  Persona Sea has 43 Hps and a 15 Con and player Ecks has 34 Hps and an 11 Con.  Persona Sea can unstrap her seat belt and stagger away but persona Ecks must make a DSS roll or be knocked unconscious.  This is because persona Ecks took more than half her Hps total at once but persona Sea did not.  Ecks has 14 Hps left and, therefore, must roll less than 42 on deci-dice or be knocked unconscious.  Since the player running persona Ecks rolled 54 on the percentile dice, her character is stunned for 10 units (duration) until she can attempt a recovery roll.  Ten units later (about 20 game seconds), the player must roll less than 90 on the percentile dice or remain stunned for another 10 units.

Note that units are a very precise measure of game time that are only relevant during combat.  Once combat has ended, all stunned personas should immediately recover and be able to join in on the game.