Accurate Is My Dump Stat

It seems to be a clarion call for the existing Symbaroum players to call out this much maligned Attribute. You have to assign a score of 5 to something, so make it Accurate.

To quote recent guidance to a new player:

The main thing I’d say to do is find a way to substitute something for Accuracy since it’s a boring stat that only does one thing.

Reddit Symbaroum community, Noob: Need help with building first PC

More Than A Battle

Symbaroum involves a fair amount of combat and I’d be the first to step up and say that the Abilities system favours battle and conflict far too heavily. In the mix, far too many Abilities focus solely on creating enhancements, advantage and alternatives for hitting things.

I’ve charted out Abilities before – and even suggested a few additions that would ease the spread away from physical and combative; in a game with so much politics and back-biting, the Abilities around persuasion and social improvement are lacking.

Charting Attributes and Abilities in the Symbaroum tabletop roleplaying system
Attributes and Abilities

The possibility that Accurate only achieves one thing and that only for as long as it takes to acquire an Ability that Dominate, Iron Fist or Sixth Sense belies a game that lacks a balanced consideration of what a character should achieve without recourse to conflict.

The Symbaroum magic system achieves a thematically rich connection with the background of the world in the business of corruption and the possibility of becoming an Abomination. When folk consider using another system for the game, they often mention the magic and corruption as the tough part to port. What they’re porting for is often a more complex way to handle combat or character development – which, to my mind, isn’t what the game should be about.

Brutal as battle might be, beyond the first few sessions it can become a session sink, as players create ever more honed “character builds” and the GM struggles to throw ever greater challenges at them to thwart their ingenuity. I wouldn’t suggest that Symbaroum lose the sword-fighting altogether, but a balance of focus on more cerebral and social challenges might make character development less of a feat in Munchkin-ism.

Raw Potential

Away from the battlefield, the characters should expect challenges that put their resolve and expertise to the test:

The…

  • pendulum swings, so you must leap at the right moment…
  • construction lift drops, so grab a joist as it passes…
  • gap is narrow, but you might just skip a stone through it…
  • Queen’s favourite hound growls; a bop on the nose should stun it…
  • sandbag must drop on the stroke of the final chime…
  • relic flies toward you, cast across the yawning maw of the abyss…
  • tiller slides and tugs as you guide your boat between the rocks…

…test your Accurate.

If Accurate is your dump stat, you’re not playing the whole game. Every challenge shouldn’t be about hitting someone with an axe or shooting a Lindwurm in the throat. In the RAW (“rules as written”), page 100 explains the core mechanics of the Attributes – and, alas, falls foul of the very thing that has soured the reputation of Accuracy. The second sentence seals that fate:

This Attribute is for instance used to hit an intended target with punches, strikes, throws or a missile from a ranged weapon.

Symbaroum Core Book, page 100

We know that this only holds true as long as you haven’t invested in one of the half-a-dozen Abilities that rob the Attribute of that very key value.

However, I would ask GMs and players alike to look at that first sentence:

A character’s hand-eye coordination, precision and timing are all represented by Accurate.

Symbaroum Core Book, page 100

In those few words, you have that list above—and more uses besides—that make the decision to stick a 5 in Accurate one you might regret.

As a GM, you should look to create a spread of challenges across your adventures, primarily to ensure engagement for all the characters in your player group, but also to ensure you play up the strengths of Symbaroum‘s background for all its worth:

  • Use Persuasive versus Vigilant to mask your body language when spouting bold faced lies in the court at Karvosti.
  • Use Discreet to remain utterly still and silent as the commander of the guard completes an inspection searching for any excuse to bust you.
  • Use Resolute to see if you control your embarrassment as your mother recounts tales of your childhood in front of your favoured sweetheart.
  • Use Strong to maintain your composure and control your swirling gut after a night drinking in the private quarters of Mayor Nightpitch.

And, use Accurate for more than just landing a punch because you’re a first session character and you haven’t got 10 Experience to buy novice Feint.

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4 Comments

  1. I really like the ideas you’ve given of using stats in unexpected ways. Regarding Accuracy the easiest solution I’ve found to stop it being a dump stat is Accuracy is ALWAYS used for Free Attacks no matter what ability they have bought. For my group it’s not a dump stat anymore

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  2. I do not think social political Attributes are lacking. Cunning, Discreet, Persuasive, Resolve, Strong, Vigilant, all are important for interactions. While a character made solely for combat needs Accurate, Quick, Resolve, Strong. 6>4 The biggest issue with the Attributes is tying Toughness and Pain Threshold to Strong when these could just as easily be three separate stats, more representative of life. It is combat that is less emphasized in the Attribute choices. So I totally agree with your conclusion and GM advice, which might have been spelled out better in the Core Rules.

    ‘All rules are optional” -GG. This is referred to over and over in Symbaroum texts. Symbaroum asks a lot of GMs but video games have over-conditioned us all to play by the book–exactly by the book. Symbaroum point spread a prime example. You do not have to put 5 in anything. Adjust stats, distribute stats, roll stats (4D4 is the best option) are all possible. But the game system is declared broken and a substitute sought.

    As far as combat goes, Accurate is only a dump stat because GMs allow it. This is easily fixed by limiting the use of said Abilities Dominate, Iron Fist, Sixth Sense. Rule that only one of these is allowed to change a character’s attack, but the Abilities can still be selected.

    All game systems are flawed in the Attribute presentation. Here, Accurate can be removed altogether since Quick-Vigilant mean is hand-eye coordination. Obviously, Jarningen wanted to emphasize the Attribute (just as they split Dexterity up into many Attributes). The more I think about it, thus requiring experience with the system to see, it was a good choice, just needing more elucidation.

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