This is a follow-up to two entries, the first being from earlier today, “Classes With Capabilities,” the second being from yesterday, “Making an Adventurer into an Investigator,” itself a followup of my entry from last Saturday. Since my own game system won’t use anything ported directly from Dungeons & Dragons, I realized I was going to need another stat boost from somewhere.

If you read through my entry about converting a D&D character to Arkham Horror, you’ll note that the character’s race and class both modify their stats. The class typically increases three stats (though Essentials classes are decidedly lacking), and the race increases another two. This actually works fantastically for a couple reasons.

First of all, the “standard array” for a character’s abilities is 1-2-3-4 / 4-3-2-1, for all three ability pairs. It’s intended to give the player a starting point to work from, without really distinguishing them from other characters until they decide whether or not they want to specialize. You could liken them to the Novice from Ragnarok Online.

(This is intended to make a default character just as viable as a specialized one.)

Once you decide to specialize, however, your abilities go to 0-1-2-3 / 3-2-1-0, and are increased from that point based on your selection of class and (in the case of Fourth Edition) race. This amounts to an overall loss of one, if you think about it. Each of your abilities takes a hit, and at most, you get five back, distributed unevenly.

When you choose to do this, what you’re doing is “trading” ability points away for the opportunity to specialize and “break the limit” of one or more other abilities. You can choose which abilities take the hit, of course, and which ones you want to specialize. This is all well and good, assuming there’s a valuable trade-off.

I realized while I was playing around with the numbers, though, that no matter how you configure the profession, position, and state of your character, you don’t get more than three points in your abilities, which means you’re only losing ground, no matter where they go. I’d have to get another two points from somewhere.

If it were Fourth Edition, I thought, those points would be provided by choosing a character race. But my system doesn’t have races, and I don’t intend to add some just to satisfy the current conundrum. It then occurred to me that while there weren’t races for the players to choose from, there was a really easy way to get another “two points.”

The six abilities are grouped roughly into “evade,” “fight,” and “think.” Dexterity and Wisdom, Strength and Constitution, and Intelligence and Wisdom. They correspond roughly to the fighter-mage-thief dynamic. If you want your character to excel in one of these three areas, you choose one and both abilities get a plus-one bonus.

From there, the player applies their profession-position-state template, and they get five ability increases at the low, low price of six ability decreases. Using this method, it’s possible to achieve a “six” in single ability, the equivalent of a twenty-two or twenty-three in the corresponding ability score in Dungeons & Dragons.

Of course, it costs you most of your character’s flexibility, but if you really, really want that eighteen-double-aught in Strength, then you can jolly well get it.