- Character point
Early role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons assigned random values to a player character's attributes, while allowing each character a fixed number of skills. As a result, characters were at the same time wildly unbalanced in terms of attributes and heavily constrained in terms of skills. Later games such as GURPS introduced a points-based system of purchasing attributes and skills as a means of improving game balance and flexibility. These points are known as character points.
Usually, a player is allotted a number of points for character creation. A character's attributes (such as high intelligence), skills (such as fixing a car or mechanics), or powers (such as flying) can then be "bought" for a certain number of points. More powerful abilities or a greater degree of power will require more "spending" of character points. Later, character points can be earned and spent to improve attributes or skills, or to buy new skills or powers. In some games, such as GURPS, these points are experience points; in others, such as Ars Magica, there is a more complicated relationship between experience points and character points.
For example, a fantasy role-playing game might describe a character through three traits: combat prowess, magical aptitude, and thievery skills. A player has nine points to distribute, each trait has a minimum value of one point and a maximum of five points.
- For a balanced character the player could assign three points to fighting, three to thievery, and three to magic.
- To create a warrior the player could assign five points to fighting, one to thievery and three to magic. While a superb fighter, the character's thievery skill is poor and may present problems when stealth is needed.
It may also be possible to allocate some points toward special properties, like influential family relations or better equipment.
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