I need a word

edited January 2008 in Game Design Help
I'm working on a cheesy little Gamist pulp fantasy thing that uses Action/Conviction/"do cool stuff or bail yourself out of crappy rolls" Points. They're divided into three different pools -- Vigor, Cunning, and Willpower -- but mostly just for flavor. Aside from a few specific uses of each, the system doesn't "care" what variety of point you spend.

Gaining and spending these points is going to be a pretty major part of the system, and I don't want to say "spend a point of Vigor, Cunning, or Willpower to do X" a hundred times throughout the text. I'm looking for a term that's generic enough to cover all three. If possible, I'd like it to sound cool, too, to give a little extra edge to statements like, "Oh yeah, Mr. GM? Well my guy's got a ton of (whatever) Points saved up. Your puny little ogre is going down, man!"

Any thoughts?


  • Hero (ye olde standby)
    Artha (hi, Luke!)

    The word you pick will shape the perception of the mechanic, and the very execution of play, you realize.

  • Uhm... do you want the word to be somehow setting/color related?


    Awesome Points (already used in redbox hack)
    Trick Points
    Wonder Points

    The more obvious are "hero points" or "action points", but they sound less powerful to me.
  • Hey Ron,

    Acts of Evil has a group of stats that contribute to character effectiveness in various types of conflicts with NPCs: Ambition, Rage, and Clarity. Collectively I refer to them as Dispositions.

  • Hi!
    The coolest name I have seen for these is:
    Ass Saving Points or ASPs

    Also, consider
    Destiny Points
    Drama Points (Spoon!)
    Escalation Points
    Pool Points (Think SoY)
    Cinematic Points

    Hope that helps,
    Dave M
    Author of Leends of Lanasia (Still in Beta)
  • Paul: I do realize that, which is why I'm trying to get it just right, rather than picking something generic like "hero points" or whatever.

    Renato: The setting is utterly generic swords and sorcery, with any important details (Evil Warlord X is oppressing Kingdom Y, Dragon X demands sacrifices from Village Y, or whatever) to be determined by the group during character/situation creation. The game is going to be about fantasy heroes who achieve specific goals largely through violence, with a tone that could range from the tongue-in-cheek ("Let's drink too much soda and play D&D just like we did in junior high!") to the endearingly cheesy ("Let's play Hawk the Slayer: the Roleplaying Game!")
  • Providence
  • edited January 2008
    Vigor, Cunning, or Willpower are all expressions of "thing with no name", yah?

    Uhm. Confidence? Prowess?
  • Hi!
    Every player tried to max their Resourcefulness Stat in my ghame, so that tells me that it is a good stat name and might be what you are looking for:

    Hope that helps, good luck man!
    Dave M
  • Confidence is very good. So's Prowess. What about Grit?
  • Edge Points.

    And you should absolutely differentiate the three more than you're suggesting.
  • "Empowerment?"

    Not "Empowerment Points," just "Empowerment." I think by using the word "Points," you'll be undermining the vibe you seem to be seeking, because it's not particularly strong language.
  • Posted By: WillHProvidence
    Such a sexy word.
    Posted By: Ryan Macklin"Empowerment?"
  • I really appreciate all the suggestions.

    "Providence" would be a great name... in a different game. Its religious overtones don't fit with this one, and it's a bit too... serious, I guess.

    "Prowess" I like a lot, it's got a nice testosterone-fueled heroic fantasy ring to it, but I don't think the three subcategories I have quite fit under it. Maybe I need to rethink them, instead.

    "Empowerment"... this is a game about the kind of characters who would punch you in the face and call you a hippie if you dared utter that word around them.
  • Posted By: Ron Hammack"Empowerment"... this is a game about the kind of characters who would punch you in the face and call you a hippie if you dared utter that word around them.
    Eh, if you throw around value-judgment, sure. I know I certainly don't use the word in some sort of "hippie" way, but whatever baggage folks have with words you pick'll vary from person to person. I mention that to say you might consider how other people will read the word you pick, as if you get less "standard" you're likely to get different responses (like we have here).
  • Posted By: Ron Hammack"Prowess" I like a lot, it's got a nice testosterone-fueled heroic fantasy ring to it, but I don't think the three subcategories I have quite fit under it. Maybe I need to rethink them, instead.
    Power? Might?
  • vigor and willpower both seem to be types of perseverance. Cunning is often used to dodge threats that would drag you down.


    As in, "Oh yeah, GM? You can throw that Double-Tongued Dragon-Naga at me, I've got more bounce than I know what to do with right now." Vigor allows a character to bounce back from exhaustion, and willpower allows a character to bounce back from despair or weak-will, and cunning allows a character to bounce problems aside.

    Otherwise, suggestions include:
    Rugged ("Oh yeah, GM? You can throw that White-Eyed Knuckle-Shaman at me, I'm more rugged than a thirty-something Clint Eastwood.")
    Fixated/Fixation ("I'm too fixated on the treasure to worry about a couple o' Twin-Minded Will-o-Thunders.")
    Spit ("I spit on your Ultra-Dark Talonjaw. I'm spending four points o' spit on this challenge.")
  • Moxie!

    ...Wait, wrong genre.
  • Hey Ron...I know that's what you're up to. My post was about us bonding as designers :)

    How about Threat.

  • Daring Do!
  • edited January 2008
    If it was more primal-themed, "Ferocity" might be good.

    Edit: Just as I submitted this, for some reason "Fire" also came to mind, like the "fire in men's bellies"
  • Effort?
    Assiduity? (from thesaurus.com)

    I dunno.
  • Hi Ron,
    I feel your pain, man! For Black Cadillacs, I've got three core stats: Hubris, Horror and Valour. I cracked the nut by thinking about how I was using them -- the stats fluctuated when the characters were put in stressful situations.

    This led me to the term "Strains". Perhaps a similar methodology will work for you. What are you doing with the stats? How do they get used?


  • Story Points!

    (i mean, geez, people...)

    Then again, going with the "Gamist pulp fantasy" they could be Curses!

    "You think I am defeated Kaaldemorh? I curse you twice! Taste my steel!"

    "Agh, curses!"
  • Action


  • Focus.

    Fire is good.
  • Cheese Points.
    Pulp Points.
    Attack Points.

  • If ThinkMap Visual Thesaurus was still free, I'd have your word in minutes. Now, I gotta use my brain. Damn.

    Given that I agree that tacking "Points" onto it is weak (and not in keeping with the sub-sets' terms):
  • So what was the final choice (did I win?!?!?). :)
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