All people are not the same in every area, nor are all characters. For example, the average police officer, whose life may depend on his speed and reaction time, is likely to be in better physical condition than the desk-bound Mayor he works for. Most role-playing games have some way to show the relative strengths and weaknesses of these characters. Not only are people's mental and physical attributes different, but their skills and talents are different. So too, will all characters have skills and advantages that are unique to them.
It is in these areas that the player defines her/his character. He has some latitude in the creation of his character's physical and mental attributes and in the creation of his character's advantages, disadvantages and skills. Nearly all role-play games define characters in terms of Ability Scores (ABL). This section describes the eight ability scores we use here at The Dead Will Walk.
At character generation, these scores range from 1 - 10, with 10 being the most desirable.
Strength (STR) refers to a character's physical power - the ability to lift, carry, and apply force. It affects the damage done in unarmed and melee combat and is, to some extent, a measure of physique and size. A character with a STR score of 5 can carry about 50 lbs. at length without tiring, lift about 150 lbs. without strain, and drag a 200 Ib. weight for a short time without exhausting her/himself.
Dexterity (DEX) encompasses several physical attributes including hand-eye coordination, agility, reaction speed, reflexes, and balance. Dexterity affects a character’s reaction to a threat or surprise, his accuracy with thrown weapons and bows or firearms, and his ability to dodge an enemy’s blows.
Endurance (END) determines how physically hardy and healthy the character is. END is used for resisting disease, damage and fatigue. It is also used, along with STR, to determine how much physical damage the character can take before dying.
Comeliness (COM) reflects physical attractiveness and personal beauty of the character. It is used to determine initial reactions to the character. Characters with a high comeliness may affect the wills and actions of others. While charisma deals specifically with leadership and interactions between characters, comeliness deals with attractiveness and first impressions.
Intelligence (INT) represents a character’s ability to perform abstract reasoning and draw logical conclusions. It primarily affects the ability of the character to learn; it is not the same thing as common sense. How much common sense the character has is determined by the actions of the player himself.
Knowledge (KNO) is a measure of the character’s memory; the ability to absorb and categorize data for future use. It represents the initial limits of skill levels a character can have and the amount of skills for each ABL. For example: A KNO of 6 indicates that no skill can have an initial level higher than 6 and no more than 6 skills under each controlling ABL. It can also be seen as a rough parallel to the number of years of schooling attained beyond basic grade school.
Charisma (CHA) measures a character's persuasiveness, personal magnetism, and ability to lead. It is not a reflection of physical attractiveness, although attractiveness certainly plays a role. It is used for dealing with non-player characters (NPCs) and dictates the total number of henchmen a character can retain and affects the loyalty of henchmen, hirelings, and retainers.
Perception (PER) describes the quality of a character’s hearing and vision as well as mental habits such as attentiveness, visual and aural memory and interest in her/his surroundings. It affects the character’s chances to notice things that may be important in the course of the game.
These Ability Scores (ABL) are a measure of potential based on a well operating body. They may be raised or lowered by advantages and disadvantages during character creation. They may also be reduced at game master’s (GM’s) option, as the result of an injury or illness that limits the characters potential.