Re: Darastrix's short guide to litRPG's (mental stats edition)

#1
Welcome to hopefully a comprehensive short guide to explaining mental stats.

LitRPG is one of my favorite genre, along with grimdark. Because I like gritty fantasy novels I often spend time thinking about how to make litRPG's more realistic and immersive. After thinking about mental stats a lot, I have come to the conclusion that they make almost no sense. Let me elaborate.

I'll set an example that's pretty common in the genre: We have strength, Agility, Intelligence, and Wisdom. Usually, there are a couple of other attributes that I have decided to cut for the sake of simplicity. In our example world, the human average for all the stats is 10, I know very original.

10 Strength let's say would entail a deadlift of 100 kg with straining and for every point of strength 10 extra kg to the deadlift, even tho a declining model would be a lot more realistic this is not addressing that problem.

10 points of agility would mean about 20 km/h in a 100m sprint before you get seriously tired and for every point of agility you get 2 km/h extra max speed, even tho air resistance is a thing let's just ignore it and say it's a linear progression. Also, ignore jogging and less strenuous forms of running.

10 points of Intelligence now the plot thickens, how would you measure Int? Well if we look at the definition "The ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills" we can assume it's something along the lines of IQ, so speed of thought and how fast we comprehend and organize knowledge. Even tho it doesn't translate that well we don't really have other ways to measure mental capabilities besides IQ and memory. For the physical stats we have lots of ways we can compare them, but for the mental stats we don't really have a way of measuring how right someone is, right? This is the underlying problem at work here.

But I digress let's continue to the example 10 points of Int is 100 IQ and every point of int it's 10 IQ because linear progression is easier to calculate and this is never addressed in litRPG's for some reason.

10 points of wisdom are I have absolutely no idea and the closest thing I equate it to is memory, but even that is seriously stretching it. The definition is "the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise." so if you 10 points of wisdom you have 10 points of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement. Let's focus on that good judgement and just how subjective right and wrong and good and evil are. Like if we have a person with 100 wisdom that says eating coconuts is good and healthy for you, that would make him more right than a person with 10 wisdom saying coconuts are bad for you, but what if we have another person with 100 wisdom that says coconuts are bad for you? Who is right?

This is basically my entire problem and dilemma of mental stats summed up. Like it's just 2 subjective and open to interpretation that it just makes no sense at all. The problem lies in the fact that we can't really measure intelligence or wisdom, we can measure forms of strength and agility as in the examples.

Usually, mental stats are used as magic amplifying stats besides the mental effects they have, but I mean why not just use normal magic stats like IDK magic power instead of wisdom and mana recovery instead of intelligence and not have this uncomprehensible additional effect that makes no sense?

Thank you for reading my ted x talks.

P.S stop using linear progression on stats.

Re: Darastrix's short guide to litRPG's (mental stats edition)

#2
Personally, I'm not a fan of "the mind" being tied to a stat you can put points into. To date I have never seen a litrpg or game actually make an effort to show a change in the character's mental abilities and personality at 10 points vs 20, 30, 40...

As far as magic goes, I prefer to use Willpower. 

Willpower affects one's mana pool size and regeneration rate. Additionally it affects spell strength and resistance to mental attacks (sleeps, fears, taunts, roots, charms, etc.)

Just, personally, I'm not a fan of "mind altering" magic, which stems from my dislike of games "taking control away from the player" as a mechanic.

Re: Darastrix's short guide to litRPG's (mental stats edition)

#3

Intellect would tell you that a tomato is a fruit, but wisdom would tell you not to put it on the fruit section of the food store.
Intellect would tell you that you require a topic paragraph in an essay, but wisdom would tell you to ignore doing that when you're writing poetry.



I think wisdom would be most correlated with intuition. So let's dig into that one example of wisdom you used: 


Quote:Like if we have a person with 100 wisdom that says eating coconuts is good and healthy for you, that would make him more right than a person with 10 wisdom saying coconuts are bad for you, but what if we have another person with 100 wisdom that says coconuts are bad for you? Who is right?



It's perfectly possible to have two people with 100 wisdom, both say that coconut is simultaneously bad or good for you. Because they're likely thinking more in terms of situation. 

If you're on a deserted island and there's a coconut, the 100 wisdom says "Eat the coconut." 
If you're on a coconut plantation with guards patrolling around looking for people eating their product, the 100 wisdom says "Don't eat the coconut." 
But in both situations, the 100 intelect says "The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the palm tree family (Arecaceae) and the only living species of the genus Cocos." 

So I think wisdom is a stat that's more intimate with who the player is, what their situation is like, their personal reputation, involvement in the world, ect. 
Whereas intellect is something that's more standardized. 100 intellect thief will come to the same conclusions as a 100 intellect businessman. 

Also keep in mind, there's a lot of different types of intellect in the world. Someone super dumb in one category can be really smart in others. So the litRPG stats don't make sense in that point of view. 

If you want a more interesting stat system, check out Disco Elysium. 

Re: Darastrix's short guide to litRPG's (mental stats edition)

#4

Mark Wrote: If you want a more interesting stat system, check out Disco Elysium.



I've played Disco Elysium it's a very unique and interesting experience, looking at how other people judge stats and pick them is even more so.

 Stats are subjective obv, but I just think they're underexplored and underappreciated, everyone just uses the classic game model we're used to and don't try to mesh reality with it, which makes it less immersive.

Let's take my Strength and agility example
Darastrix Wrote: 10 Strength let's say would entail a deadlift of 100 kg with straining and for every point of strength 10 extra kg to the deadlift, even tho a declining model would be a lot more realistic this is not addressing that problem.

10 points of agility would mean about 20 km/h in a 100m sprint before you get seriously tired and for every point of agility you get 2 km/h extra max speed, even tho air resistance is a thing let's just ignore it and say it's a linear progression. Also, ignore jogging and less strenuous forms of running.



I clarified 10 points of strength would mean being able to deadlift 100 kg with straining and similarly being able to sprint 100m before you get seriously tired. This is to point out usually we don't really get to see the limits of the stats in a novel, which is disappointing. Even if the author says that a character can run 20 km/h for 100m they leave out the part of what kind of effort the character would need to put in, which makes things less immersive. Pointing out the physical condition of the characters should be just as important as pointing out how much mana the character has.

I noticed when I read litRPG's and I see certain stats of a single character and I have no other characters to compare it to, I start comparing it to other novels I've read which is wrong because both people prob have different ideas of what 10 strength or w/e means.

I think generally authors should consider adding more status screens of the average soldier, mage, etc so you can clearly see how they stack up to the rest of the world.
Also, that spiel about it being impolite to share your status screen between fellow humans sounds BS honestly, like HUMANS LOVE TO SHOW OFF. What better way to show off and prove your worth to a mate than showing off your manly baker level 100 skill? Obviously, you wouldn't show off to everyone in public, but between friends prob. It would flip running a business where job interviews rely on you providing your stats and skills and a practical demonstration, restaurants would try and show off their level 89 head chef, etc, something along the lines of https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/41521/a-budding-scientist-in-a-fantasy-world. Honestly, if people were to use someone else's litRPG model, I would rather they copy budding scientist.

There is also the big question of if a person with 10 strength trains only his arms and increases his strength to 11, what does it do for the rest of his body and stuff like that that is usually left out.

The goal of this post is to hopefully inspire authors to think more about their own system and how better they can improve the immersion of it.

Re: Darastrix's short guide to litRPG's (mental stats edition)

#5

Quote:I mean why not just use normal magic stats like IDK magic power instead of wisdom

because all people are idiots. all of them. even the ones with so called 200 IQ

monkey see, monkey do.
people just couple to make the changes on where they want to focus on, and most writers just copy litrpg to make tell their own stories, instead of exploring their own systems
i hope more writers will focus on such the system, but that's reality.


regarding intelligence and wisdom, there was a giant discussion around 10 years ago in the threads in fox manga on the story the gamer about this.  forum no longer exist)
basically my idea on this is this:
intelligence: the ability to find answer to a question.
wisdom: the ability to ask questions.
knowledge: the sum of all answers one has.


regarding stat value to mental attributes, i think that they can be done right, but most writers don't even try. the system is just an afterthought for them instead of the basis.
i also think that mental states in real-litrpg are best changed to specific stats that the writer can actually understand what they change, so he can actually write a story with them in mind. for example, senses, reaction, memory, ect.
 (i have my own set of 7 which i am very satisfied on how they divide. if anyone interested just ask, and i will make a post)


i hope that i will see more posts like yours, because that is what i most want to see in this forum.
but your post is definitely not a guide. more like introspection

Re: Darastrix's short guide to litRPG's (mental stats edition)

#6

emperor Wrote: i hope that i will see more posts like yours, because that is what i most want to see in this forum.
but your post is definitely not a guide. more like introspection



I mean I can post a system and explain game theory, but that is not my point in this post. It's pointing out ways you can improve your own system. Take a look at Brandon Sanderson's lectures, they're very vague in a sense. In order for me to actually give concrete advice, I would need concrete examples. I'm trying to be very general on purpose. So I use very general stats that are very common for my examples.

Regarding game theory tho, it's done in a way to break down and simplify reality in a way that's manageable for computers due to their limited resources for processing and storing information. Authors writing litRPG take this concept and just re-apply it to novels, even tho they're not limited in resources in the same way. They are limited in the sense of how much information they or the reader can process, so you can't just have a stat for literally everything. But their world can better reflect reality than video games for now. 

Re: Darastrix's short guide to litRPG's (mental stats edition)

#7

Darastrix Wrote:
emperor Wrote: i hope that i will see more posts like yours, because that is what i most want to see in this forum.
but your post is definitely not a guide. more like introspection



I mean I can post a system and explain game theory, but that is not my point in this post. It's pointing out ways you can improve your own system. Take a look at Brandon Sanderson's lectures, they're very vague in a sense. In order for me to actually give concrete advice, I would need concrete examples. I'm trying to be very general on purpose. So I use very general stats that are very common for my examples.

Regarding game theory tho, it's done in a way to break down and simplify reality in a way that's manageable for computers due to their limited resources for processing and storing information. Authors writing litRPG take this concept and just re-apply it to novels, even tho they're not limited in resources in the same way. They are limited in the sense of how much information they or the reader can process, so you can't just have a stat for literally everything. But their world can better reflect reality than video games for now.

i dont agree wit you on this. you can feed a reader a lot of info if you do it right. how do you think we all survived school? and Litrpg is much more fun then school.


the important thing is to make every stat meaningful, and show its impact on the world.
the biggest mistake that writers make in litrpg is come with a DnD/computer game mindset, that makes them think they need to show right from the beginning everything.
they dont.
a good writer can pace the feeding rate of info on the system.
also, remember, making the MC grow in al the  states at the same time is boring. we want to see unequal growth, and how the MC use it.
so you can for example, make the have analysis attribute, and show how he solve a difficult problem during combat, then have him lvl memory, and show he remembered a weakness on an enemy he heard of. and then lvl up reaction, ect...

the point is, you hold treat attributes like add-on superpowers, and give them one by one, so the reader can enjoy the progress of each attribute.
there are many different ways to make something work, and this is an example to one of them.

also, i am a lot more interested in how the bonus attribute work, instead of the final result.
also, i dont like to think on attribute as absolutes, but just as bonus. a very large and muscular man with +1 strength will be stronger then a small skinny teen with +3 strength

Re: Darastrix's short guide to litRPG's (mental stats edition)

#8
I've more or less managed to explain it by saying that Intelligence is how computer-like one's brain can function while Wisdom is the 'breadth' AKA amount and how much one's knowledge encompasses. Perhaps copy pasting what I've written for them in an Info Dump Chapter would be a better explanation. Additionally, the "System" works more by numerating what is already there rather than granting it left and right in my story in particular, so that gets rid of most of the issues of investing in a stat. Even the leveling process would be more similar to learning something and being granted a Title that then encompasses said knowledge and numerates it to give it away in the guise of a reward. And since Magic requires a lot of computing potential, integrating that to how many times a character can cast a spell via using said stat as a base for a Mana Pool works. Wisdom is somewhat like being 'relaxed', even while doing something, so it is how well someone's mind can relax and recover so that they can use more Spells again being consolidated into Mana Regeneration.
  • Intelligence: The speed and ‘power’ at which the Player’s mental faculties function. It increases the ‘computing power’ which is based on basically how much like a computer can a human’s brain function. This is associated with multi-tasking and the speed at which their brain works. Much like Vitality, 10 will be used as baseline human. Comprehending things 10 times faster does not mean existing 10 times faster, though, as it will be more akin to being able to answer 1 + 1 ten times faster than a human rather than thinking 10 times as fast. This is basically not how fast you think, but how fast your brain comes to a conclusion and answer. Mana Pool is Intelligence x 10.
  • Perception: The speed at which the body reacts and send the signals to the brain, not to be confused with Intelligence. While Intelligence is how fast the brain thinks and responds after getting a signal, Perception is how fast the signal reaches the brain. So responding to an attack, or anything, for that matter, may be seen as a join action of 3 stats. First, Perception gets the signal and sends it to the brain. Intelligence decides what to do with its speed and sends an order to the body. Then the body carries out the order with a speed equal to Agility.
  • Wisdom: If Intelligence is IQ, Wisdom is more along the lines of EQ. Intelligence defines the logical part whereas Wisdom defines everything else about the concept of ‘Intelligence’. It also defines the breadth of one’s knowledge, so knowing more things will increase Wisdom. If an individual is well-versed in many sciences, their Wisdom will be astronomical. Knowing more about one field is useful, but it will result in less of an increase to Wisdom. Mana Regen is Wisdom / 10.
So technically speaking, if the mental stats themselves define what an individual does and not in the manner of being conventionally 'smart' or a 'genius', it can definitely work.