Before today's post proper I want to point out a cool thing that other people have made. Earlier this month I thought "What would it be like if you add cool cinematic stuff like Tension and Duels to a game like D&D?" and set out to write a terrible fantasy heartbreaker as a thought experiment. Turns out it was unnecessary, because such a game is already on its way. If you like Sword and Sorcery and are tired of ancient relics of game design, check out 13th Age!
Now for today's topic proper. Of the many things I'd like to change the one I have the least idea on how to do so is in making PC stats relevant during Operations. Originally, this was the job of Genre Points, but being almost entirely a meta mechanic it does not seem to be conceptually accepted.
A brief aside:
One of my pet peeves of game design are the so-called "Power Stats" these being Attributes/Ability Scores/Whatever that are obviously much better than others, yet are presented as equal. Nothing makes the already long process of character creation feel longer than the illusion of choice being entirely pointless, because all the options are already chosen for you!
You've probably ran into games in which if you create a PC using the 'social stat' as the highest one, your character will likely suck and you're only going to slow everyone down, so you better change your concept to be good at murdering things first and talking to them second.
The end result of this is that most characters and groups look about the same, and playing a second campaign after your first is repetitive in the worst possible way - the boring "I already did all of this once" one.
That aside done and over with, I want people to be able to take whatever with their PCs and have it at least be relatively around the same power level, which is why things like Offensive Tests only recommend stuff like Combat or Diplomacy instead of tying you down to it, because creative descriptions can let you get away with Athletics and Presence in their stead.
Of course, being so open ended does take away some potential depth from the game as a whole, and if I'm going to be adding a handful of subsystems to handle things like Investigations or Social Combat in a more interesting manner, then I should also consider shaking up this balance that all options have with each other for the sake of making them more fun to play with.
One way to go about this is to use Mecha Archetypes. See, Super Prototypes include motion feedback in their cockpits, Production Models are thought-controlled and rely on skillfully managing their subprograms, and Living Weapons are handled like you would handle a very big and large animal who happens to be a giant robot.
Every character has three stats, too: Fitness, Intellect and Empathy. I think you can see where this is going. The question is how to implement it, because a stray +5 or +7 randomly placed somewhere in the operation combat math can wreck things. The one thing that could use having a fixed number is Initiative, because right now it only uses your Genre, and while sticking it to Initiative makes sense (Mooks and Elites don't have Archetypes, so they still have way lower initiative than the PCs) it is honestly kind of weak, even if Initiative is more important in GGG than in most games because of Tension.
The Archetype route also leaves me wondering what the hell would I do with Base Units. Though then again, those are slightly stronger by default so maybe they don't need the extra boost. Unless I want to add a fourth stat like Willpower or Spirit, but that's crazy talk.