Model Virtues

One of the nifty things about RPGs is their manner of modelling a person. D&D starts with attributes, and layers on races and classes. Later editions layer social classes, backgrounds, skills, proficiencies, and feats too. (Character creation can get quite complicated).

But the core are the attributes. In D&D it is six values between 3 and 18: strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom and charisma. The attributes are chosen to allow you to model the physical, social and logic based problems that might be encountered. In truth, the focus of D&D is fantasy combat against kobolds so the three physical stats are paramount. The other three play into features and special abilities, but often serve more as a guide than a constraint.

I’ve been thinking about a system that focuses more on morality than D&D and considering some of the key virtues as attributes. The focus of such a game would not be on combat, but on choices. It would likely be a lousy game.

Still the idea sticks. Here are some sample virtues to get an idea of what I am talking about.

Theological, classical and heavenly virtues
1. Faith
2. Hope
3. Charity
4. Temperance
5. Justice
6. Prudence
8. Chastity
9. Diligence
10. Patience
11. Kindness

D&D type modelling doesn’t work well for a virtues based system. But the FATE system would work better. Choose six virtues and design aspects related to those virtues or the opposing vices. Aspects are easier to use as both guides and constraints in non-combat situations. They make sense in a choice based system.

Even FATE based, it would still be a lousy game. Conflict would arise between the party as much as with others. It would be like a game of Diplomacy. As likely to cause a friendship meltdown as result in a memorable gaming experience.

Ah. Not every idea is a good one. I hope now that I’ve put this one on paper I can stop thinking about it.


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