Microlite74 Plus: Four Attributes or Six Attributes?

Microlite74 3.0 Extended uses the standard three attributes of the Microlite20 system (Strength, Dexterity, Mind) and Charisma. Strength combines two standard OGL20 attributes (Strength and Constitution). Mind combines two standard OGL20 attributes (Intelligence and Wisdom). In a tradition dating back to 0e, standard OGL20 games use six attributes: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, and Charisma.

In Microlite74, attributes bonus do not play as large a roll in the games as they do in later TSR and WOTC editions of the game. As attributes are less important, having fewer of them doesn’t seem to hurt anything. However, some Microlite74 players have noted that using only 4 attributes reduces the amount of knowledge they have about their characters by one-third. Some GMs have noted that it is hard to convert some characters and NPCs in published adventures. For example, take a character with a strength of 18 and a Con of 9 — there’s really no good way to assign a M74 Strength attribute that is true to the original’s outstanding strength but average constitution. Looking through early TSR and Judge Guild modules, I see even more of this problem with Intelligence and Wisdom.

Moving back to the six standard attributes for Microlite74 Plus would prevent such issues from arising and give players more info about their character for little extra character creation effort. However, it would mean there are six saving throws, one for each attribute using the current Microlite74 saving throw system. That’s one more than the five standard saving throws from the saving throw tables in 0e and 1e. The saving throw issue also makes it hard to making using six attributes instead of the standard M74 four an optional rule: I need to be able to say “Save vs X” in monster and spell descriptions. “Save vs X if using 4 attributes but save vs Y if using six attributes” would be wordy and confusing to new players and GMs.

So the first Microlite74 Plus question I’m asking on on our new Microlite74 Forum is:

Should Microlite74 Plus use the standard six attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Charisma) of the “standard fantasy game” or the four attributes currently used by Microlite74 3.0 (the standard Microlite20 attributes of Strength, Dexterity, and Mind plus Charisma)? Why?

You can answer in a comment below, of course, but the best thing to do is join the Microlite74 Forum and answer in the Attributes in Microlite74 Plus? thread — where it is easier to have a running discussion.

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5 Responses

  1. firstfort says:

    Maybe something like "Save vs Strength (Constitution)" or "Save vs Mind (Wisdom)" so the base 4 saves are preserved, but the optional, more-specific 6 saves are also specified?

    The same thing could be applied to bonuses as well: "Drinking this elixier gives the character a bonus to saving throws vs Mind (Intelligence)".

    It makes it a little more cumbersome, but I think provides a lot of flexability for the cost. It also allows 4-save sources and 6-save sources to be used without much problem at all.

  2. Randall says:

    @FirstFort: That's certainly much less wordy than I was thinking of. If I do one set optional, that's probably how I'll handle saves. Thank you for the idea!

  3. Talysman says:

    You could make saves against mental attacks equal to the *higher* of Int or Wisdom, and likewise use the higher of Strength or Con for physical saves. You would only have to note this in one location, then record saves as mental, physical, reflex, and influence.

  4. Hamel™ says:

    A quick solution for the Saving Throws issue could be assigning (during PC creation) the M74's Strength Bonus/Malus to STR or CON but NOT to both of them (same for WIS/INT with Mind).

  5. You could do like 4e did, and when using 6 attributes, eliminate Presence saves, and make the other saves based on the higher of two attributes: STR or CON for Fortitude, INT or DEX for Reflex, and WIS or CHA for Will.