Attributes/Stats for Characters in Old School RPGs

One comment I got about Tunnels & Traps was surprise that I used Wisdom instead of Intelligence. That was definitely atypical of 1970s RPGs (which were my influences in 1980).

Inspired by D&D, the typical attribute-based RPG had Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence. A majority had Constitution and Charisma. And they all had 6 to 8 stats:

D&D EotPT T&T B&B C&S Traveller RuneQuest
1974 1974 1975 1976 1977 1977 1978
Attributes 6 6 6 8 7 6 7
Strength 100% X X X X X X X
Dexterity 100% X X X X X X X
Intelligence 100% X X X X X X X
Constitution 86% X X X X X X
Charisma 57% X X X X
Wisdom 43% X X X
Appearance 14% X
Bardic Voice 14% X
Comeliness 14% X
Education 14% X
Endurance 14% X
Luck 14% X
Power 14% X
Psychic Ability 14% X
Size 14% X
Smell 14% X
Social Standing 14% X
Speed 14% X

OK, so here’s a system that’s Old School and evocative of every one of these: Bardic Voice, Luck, Psychic Ability, Smell, Social Standing, and Power. (Plus Strength, Intelligence, and Dexterity – of course.) Clearly it’s a game about singing, psionic ants.

Update: For comments, check out the Reddit thread, Attributes in 1970s RPGs.