Sleepwalkers Update: Derived stats and the mana question

Carputations one and all. No, it doesn’t mean anything.

I’m not going to blarf on about PIPI and SUKI or whatever, you’ve all had a dose from your daily webcomics and online recyclopedias.

Obviously im against these stupid acts which wont even work as intended- they will make life hard for webmasters but not for pirates. D’oh!

One day piracy might be stopped. Do not be surprised. It’s a crime. I’d be well miffed if I spent a year making a masterpeice film and then everyone nicked it.

Having said that… ‘you wouldn’t steal a car, would you?’  – well, if i could do it anonymously by remote?!


Anyway. Update on Sleepwalkers.

Why? Who gives a darntoot about a half finished RPG?

Well, mainly its for my benefit- to pin down ideas and remind myself to keep working at it.

The latest conundriddle for me has been the derived statistics. Here’s how it is now:


Health – measures your health, innit. Incorporates both physical harm and ‘life force’, referred to as Aether in this setting. You get vampy-sucked by some kind of magical beastie, you lose Health.

Health is equal to the Brawn stat.


Concentration – measures how many simultaneous acts of magic or intense physical gubbins you can do. You want to enact a Word (er, basically a spell) and use your innate powers? Use concentration ‘slots’.

Concentration is one third of the Brain stat.


Right. The problem is that each character type gets a bonus to a stat- Brawn, Brain, Bearing and Balance. Therefore two of the character types automatically get a bonus to the derived stats above and two do not.

No fair!

So I either had to add Bearing and Balance to the above, which didnt seem right, or add two new derived stats so that were would be one for each.

I went with the latter, but I’m still deciding exactly what to do.

Brawn makes Health- fine.

Brain makes Concentration – fine. Probably needs a new name. Might make it equal to Brain rather than a third and then make more complex magic require more than one slot.


Balance. I’d like to add in a version of the fate points used by many games, so I thought Balance, being the stat that covers luck, speed and overall ability, could link to a Prowess derived stat.

That means that the player could spend Prowess points (or whatever) to get them out of a scrape, simply representing their character’s ability to pull a herculean feat (or crafty bit of luck) out of the proverbial bag. Points would have to be exhaustible. Maybe call it Luck, not sure- want it to reflect their ability, more than fate’s hand.


Finally, Bearing. This stat represents a person’s force of will and their general interaction with the world- a kind of measure of their character.

Now, the mana question.

I have been toying relentlessly with the idea of attaching Bearing to a derived Aether stat.

Whoah, bessie! That would mean that a character has both Health and Aether.

RPG vets and fantasy fans will immediately recognise Health and Mana, HP and MP.

I was torn by this. It’s so very fantasy! Not quite the right vibe for Sleepwalkers. On the other hand, Health would be free to represent purely physical damage to a character and Aether could handle magical drains and be used instead of Health for fuelling spells that require sacrifice.


That would also require huge rewriting. Strays transfer Health all over the place- now they would be doing Aether, or both. Concentration slots wouldnt really be needed if each magical act had an attached Aether cost. On the other hand, it would solve a problem I have with Health being a mashup of physical wounds and internal drains of vitality.


At the end of the day, I’m leaning away from an Aether stat. It doesn’t quite feel right for Sleepwalkers. It would be nice to let characters who aren’t brawny have more Health available for fuelling magic, but I feel that at the end of the day a combined Health makes players take such sacrifices more seriously. Generally speaking, Health can be gained in plenty of other ways.


Instead I’m toying with a Fortitude stat to go with Bearing. A simply measure of the strength of a character’s character, a kind of Health score for the persona. Fortitude would be whittled down when players encounter terrifying occult shit, or killing enemies. Essentially a measure of their mental tolerance (but under Bearing instead of Brain because its about the person, not their ability to think). Fortitude could possibly be ‘spent’ at  times to assert an effort of willpower. Lose Fortitude, start to go crazy or lose nerve. Modern occult games should always take into account the shock that the supernatural has on a person and this would be a way to do it.

Well, I’ll keep thinking. I keep hovering back to having an Aether stat. What do people think? Seperate body health and ‘life force’? Or keep them as one and have a measure of coping-with-scary?


Peace, Wordy Beardsmith.



by Bret

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