RPG Stats Comparison

A comparison of the stats used to define a character across eleven popular videogame and pencil-and-paper roleplaying games. (20k PDF)

Not included on the chart are depletable scores. Each game seems to have a concept of Hit Points, a number representing the character’s moment-to-moment health, with the possible exception of outlier EVE Online and it’s complete lack of physical traits. Most games that invoke magic of one sort or another have a rechargeable score representing the total amount of magic which may be invested in an action at any given time. Wealth is typically also a depletable score.

All games surveyed also deal with situational bonuses. These may be weapons and armor, single-use or depletable items, or learned skills. Even games with simple stat structures like Shining Force II create highly varied play structures using such bonuses.

Being essentially combat-based, none of the games surveyed had more than one social stat, and the majority had none. For those that did, it was always “charisma” — an ability to gain tangible favors from others. Combat-free games like Harvest Moon may deal more fully with a character’s social aspects, but as a component of adventure storytelling it appears tellingly neglected.

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