Super Build Saturday #4: Low Attributes

Okay. So you’ve built your character and you have an awesome idea, but it’s going to require a very high score in some attribute. You don’t have the spare character points lying around to raise it to a 10 without lowering something. So, what ability score do you lower? Well, today, we’re going to help you make that decision. It’s fair to not that no matter what score you lower in Pirates vs. Ninjas, it’s going to open up some valid combat strategies against your character. No matter what, you’re making a trade-off. Still, if you look at it objectively, you can decide what stat is best to lower for your character.

Low Body Score
The two most obvious things a character loses from having a low body score is natural DR and Maximum Life. Since life is what fuels your character’s attacks, having a 2 or 3 body has obvious problems to it. A character with a low body will usually want a high will to compensate the Life total or will want attacks that use low life cost to keep from knocking themselves out a few rounds into combat. You can also take your side’s +20 Max Life level 5 ability to help offset this (Passion Rising, Drunken Master Form, and Healthy as a 10 Story-Ox).

However, the natural DR just can’t be gotten back. This may seem minor as 2 DR versus a 50 damage level 5 attack doesn’t seem like much. For lower level attacks and multi-hit skills though, the DR can be the difference between a sizeable chunk of damage. For a Gunnar with 7 agility using bullet dance, each point of DR lowers the total damage of the attack by 7 damage. At 4 DR, it lowers the attack by a massive 28 damage. Furthermore, if a character expects to get hit by a lot of small mook monsters from time to time, a high natural DR can be the difference between life and death. Of course, you can buy abilities to get DR, but the body DR comes with absolutely no cost.

What a lot of people DO forget though, is that Body has three more subtle effects in combat. The first is lifting capacity. A character with a 1 or 2 body will have trouble lifting most heavy objects and will even have trouble dragging unconscious party members to safety if they have high body scores. Outside of combat, this means the character will need a cart and will actually lose some mobility. Speaking of mobility, body also effects your move speed, if your agility is also fairly low, you can expect your character to be painfully slow in combat and incapable of reaching enemies sometimes. The last effect is really simple, but easy to forget. Some of the most hideous and evil attacks in Pirates vs. Ninjas attack a character’s body score instead of agility. A good portion of the Dr. Inja’s best debuffs depend on it, and Infinitesimal Blade (the only true 1-hit kill at the time of writing this), forces the character to make a body check or fall unconscious if it hits.

In the end, characters with low body scores will typically be finesse based and will want to not lower agility as well to avoid having a slow move speed.

Low Agility
Agility should be one of the most obvious stats to think about. Characters with high agility can dodge. Characters without high agility typically cannot. Take a high agility if you want to dodge a lot and do acrobatic stunts. Don’t take one if you don’t need to do that. It really couldn’t be simpler.

Well, that’s not all there is to agility.

First, not all attacks target agility. Some target body, and some even target will. In this sense, sacrificing everything for a high agility does not guarantee a high dodge rate, and having a low agility does not guarantee that all attacks will hit you. This would make agility seem like an obvious dump if you choose to have a high body and will instead. You can just absorb the attacks and not worry about the damage. Sure, agility covers a good 75% of attacks that will come your way, but that other 25% is pretty bad. Also, with Looking for Me and Lord of Parries, a character can forgo agility as a dodge mechanic entirely (although, 8 life a turn can be a pretty difficult cost to choke down).

…But agility is also about mobility. Characters with low agility tend to have low move unless they have a high body score. On top of that, having a low agility means having trouble with obstacles in your way. It’s hard to tumble through a bramble or slip out of ropes with a low agility. Agility is not just about move speed, it’s about mobility in general. A character’s reaction also comes partially from agility. So, a character with low agility frequently finds their attacks interrupted by those with higher reactions in combat. A character with low agility just typically does not have much in the way of movement capabilities.

Furthermore, agility is used for the basis of damage in a few powerful attacks. Many multiple hit abilities use the agility score as a way of determining maximum hits. Torrential Hurricane strike can do a massive 50 damage for 10 life if the character has a 10 agility as well. It’s true that the character is at a 1 agility afterward, but if the last opponent goes down to it, there’s little wrong with having low dodge for 1 turn.

Characters with low agility should aim for a high life total or some way of avoiding damage to compensate for a low dodge. Also, said character should typically avoid a low body to keep their mobility high enough to keep up.

Low Precision
Here it is. The big one. Lots of people have trouble lowering this stat because of the assumption that it’s the most important stat. Precision effects reaction, most abilities’ hit rate, some fine motor actions like crafting, and attentiveness. It also can act as a general assumption of a character’s intelligence. With all those things riding on it, why would you ever put it as your low stat?

Because almost all of these are capable of being compensated for.

To hit bonuses are among the most common in the game. It may cost a lot of life, but characters with low precision have plenty of options to get their to-hit capabilities back up. Even abilities like Breathe and Focus can raise the bonus as high as a +4. Reaction can be kept high with a high agility instead. Fine motor skills can be a hit, but some basic level 1 abilities can give a +2 to those checks. A +4 or 5 might not be the best modifier, but it’s not the worst either. Attentiveness in the sense of noticing things or gathering info in town can be compensated to. Some abilities allow characters to spend awesome points to get similar effects to a good precision roll. For instance, the Shojninja’s You Cannot Hide Your True Self allows a Shoninja to automatically sense a character’s basic intentions. Attentiveness, as pertaining to spotting stealthy assassins is harder to compensate. Still, only one person in a party typically needs to spot a target to alert everyone of their presence. As for intelligence… Well, your character may be dumb as a stump, but in Pirates vs. Ninjas, a strong force of will and a desire to get your goals done can compensate for a LOT.

So, despite being such an important stat for most things, precision is the easiest to compensate for. These compensations come at heavy costs, but if you have a low precision, you can put more points into attributes that give more life, defensive capabilities, or both.

Characters with low precision will want to use accurate attacks, attacks with low cost, or lots of accuracy buffs to help their to hit capabilities. However, a low precision often lets a character live longer in combat.

Low Will
For all the D&D players that are also fans of Pirates vs. Ninjas, you’ll notice Will as being similar to Charisma immediately. However, Will effects more than that. Will is a character’s force of personality and their ability to resist mental effects. Will is also what determines a character’s life score along with Body.

Still, Will doesn’t seem like a bad choice at first. A low number of attacks test will for defense (and those typically don’t do much damage), you can have a high body for high life AND get movement, carrying capacity, and damage reduction with it, and all you miss out on Will is social skills. That’s partially true. Will doesn’t come up often outside of trying to seduce everything with legs (and a few things without but are still very attractive). However, when it does, Will is incredibly important.

For instance, those attacks that hit Will can be devastating if buffed on damage. That 10 insult damage can easily become 30-ish damage that you can’t reduce at all. Furthermore, like body, a lot of debuffs use Will as their defense basis. So, unless you want to lose 2 body from a power chord, you’d be careful to put Will straight at a 1 or 2. Furthermore, Will acts like a character wisdom score in D&D for resisting mental effects. A character with a low will is easy to make lose turns, mind-control, fool with illusions, lie to, and otherwise mess with. A lot of Will effects don’t do damage, but in the right hands, these attacks can effectively end combat if the target doesn’t have the will to resist.

Characters with low Will will want to leave diplomatic interactions to those that do. Said characters will also want to be very careful around factions that target Will primarily. Rokinja, Feykinja, Charrismatic Lords, Charreographers, and Wandering Minstrels are all threatening targets. While the Feykinja, Rokinja, and Charreographers are the ones with the worst effects, the character will want to still be careful around the other 2 lest they take a ton of damage. Everything else can be compensated with a high Body score or an ability that gives more life though.

Well, there it is. A full breakdown on what it means to have a low attribute score in each attribute. With this information, you should be able to decide what attributes you want to keep low and how low. Just remember. No choice to lower an attribute in Pirates vs. Ninjas comes without a consequence. All 4 stats are important.

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