Moves using chosen attribute

I’m writing moves for my game such that if you can justify which attribute to use, that’s what you use. However what I’d also like to use is an XP mechanic to encourage players to try using different attributes for their moves. The main mechanic for XP is likely going to be the 6- roll to encourage risks.

Anyone have ideas on XP penalties for continually using the same attribute for everything?


Thinking of going with this-

Whenever you roll a 6- (after all modifiers) and miss on a move, you gain 1 experience point. Mark it on your playbook in the attribute you used for the move. If you used no attribute for your move, mark your playbook experience track.

At the end of a session there is also a list of goals for your playbook. If you fulfilled any of these requirements, mark you playbook experience track.

When you fill an experience track you gain an advancement from the list and erase the experience track. If you used an attribute track, also mark that you used that attribute for an advancement

  • Each attribute can only grant two advancements.
  • You may make any amount of advancements from filling the playbook track
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How about only being able to get 1xp per attribute per session/adventure?

Of course it all depends on how many xp players expect to get per session, but it would encourage players to try to use a different attribute if their good/bad/favorite attribute already got them an xp this session.


Maybe, that would lead to a lot of change within a session though. I’m thinking of doing it for advances rather than XP because it is a bit slower - although that does bottle-neck. They’d get to a point where they never want to use that attribute as it doesn’t get them XP…

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Yeah, none of those solutions are perfect :confused: Tell me more about your game, we can help more if we understand the “bigger picture” more.

Another (shot in the dark) solution is to tie your advances to attribute xp. So, in a D&Desque game to get stronger you need a Str Exp, to learn new spell you need Int exp. Each attribute has a space for xp, and when you advance you choose which xp to spend (if you have more than the advance requires).


It’s got some elements from Forged in the Dark, and I really like how they give examples of solving problems using different attributes - I’m also not keen on having a specific attribute only used for a Move as many moves could be used by at least two different ones. Anyhow the work in progress is over here-
The splash page on what it’s about is here-

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I might say that if a stat is 2 XP further ahead than others, then you don’t get XP until the others catch up.

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That might work. I could also put markers on the XP track that stop progress until you reach that marker in the other tracks. Possibly like this-


Oh wow! That looks great!

I’m thinking maybe the circles on the XP track should be black - as they don’t need to be filled in, unless it’s useful for closure for a player to mark 6 times that they’ve managed to use all their attributes.

(I prefer white : my brain would think a black dot is typographic and trample on it when reading the stats)


Are you aiming for a wide spread of attributes at the session level, or the “campaign” level?
The latter will probably just work out, more or less unless the players are weasels.
The former could definitely be managed by a simpler mechanic like the aforementioned 1 XP per attribute per session. It’ll mean they’re pretty much guaranteed 1-2 XP, but have to work for more?

At the campaign level - I want folk to use all their attributes at some stage in a campaign (somewhat like resource management), otherwise not sure how to justify having so many.

A simpler way would be to just have a Lasers&Feelings two-state differentiation. Or maybe a Venn diagram, where players can write stuff in good, bad or the overlapping so-so intersection.

I want this many attributes as I think it helps customise a character and differentiate them from other characters, and I don’t want some of them to be “dump stats”. So possibly the question might be - how do I keep them relevant?

Already we have good stats= successful moves, bad stats= get XP but fail at a move. With the added tension of the fiction specifying some stats can’t be used in all occasions and forcing a player to use something out of their comfort zone. Because often the fiction will not justify the use of any attribute for any move.

Also I should add - you can’t spend XP currently to improve you attributes. You keep them for life (or until the fiction justifies something so drastic)

Okay, cool. So honestly, I feel like you probably don’t strictly need anything here – there will be times where it’s just not appropriate to roll a good stat, and that’s okay. If you want to incentivize beyond that, you could give a bonus XP the first time each session when someone uses a “bad” stat?

In games with a 6- roll giving XP, I’m already givng incentive to use bad stats - but I suppose I’m looking for ways for players to be encouraged not to metagame and use their bad stats for unimportant moves.

As it is I guess it’s up to the GM but it can be an additional burden - but possibly in GM advice I just need to have that every use of a move should be important, otherwise it’s just resolved in the fiction.

Would there be a better way to have players self-manage? Maybe a principle?

6- : 1 xp is clean
You can also play with knowledge prior to roll : desperate position X 1d yields 3xp; 2d 2xp ; 3d 1xp. Or something to that effect.

As you’ve broadened the range of possible solutions in your last post, I am going to go out on a limb and add apersonal opinion : I’d make the stats more dramatic (ie implying a scene type) or even thematic (lasers & feelings). Right now, they look more like an anthropological model than a narrative one. Designing is choosing. (If you only want to qualify characters, good / bad / meh traits are clearly superior, but stray very far from FitD framework and come with their own problems.)


Basically they are just the stats from the Doctor Who RPG by Cubicle 7 just reworded - kind of a subversive nod to them.

I’d have to have something other than a stat that is violence and stat that is thinking though - something less diametric. Possibly a stat specific to alternative technologies (e.g. magic and quasi-magic) and one for everything timey-wimey. I don’t think I want as many stats as a FitD game - 15 is just far too many.

Although that said having stats be themed approaches to problem solving does mean it’s more justifiable to improve them with XP. I might also keep the FitD grouping for a resist move calculated stat. Plus I think that kind of statblock looks cool.

I haven’t got position and effect as such - I’ve got a tag you can get that does increase the effect… However as I’m using Impulse Drive’s Advantage/Disadvantage roll mechanics they also can be thought of as position…

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Now thinking this might be the way-