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Character Systems Part One

Philip Zieg Posted:
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Roma Victor: Character Systems Part One

MMORPG.com Roma Victor Correspondent Phil Zieg writes this overview of the character system in the roman-era based game.

The character system in Roma Victor (RV) is somewhat different than that of most MMOs. In most games the player creates a character with the standard strength, intelligence, dexterity, etc., based upon what benefits/bonuses are desired for the character class (fighter, mage, thief, and so on). Hit points are most often based upon the character’s level, while combat skills may be based on either level or skill with a particular piece of equipment. Crafting is usually skill based, for games that have it.

Most games have an armor class or armor rating that is determined by the total protection value of various equipped items, with that armor rating being for the character’s entire body. In Player versus Player combat, attacks most often “roll” against the opponent’s armor rating, with successful attacks subtracting a certain number of hit points from the character who was successfully attacked. The character who runs out of hit points first is dead.

That is not how it works in RV. Before creating a character the player needs to know some basic information about the character and combat systems specific to RV. Creating a character based upon how most other games work can result in undesirable consequences that will greatly limit that character, and what the player can accomplish with it.

RV is skill-based. There are no “levels” that increase hit points and unlock special attacks. Characters get better at a given task by raising the skill for that task, either by purposely training the skill (grinding) or simply by using it.

There are hit points, but not in the traditional sense. Each character has exactly 300 Attribute points. In addition to having the usual practical applications (higher hit chance for Dexterity, for example), each Attribute also corresponds to a body part. The number of Attribute points for that particular body part determines how much damage that body part can take. If an attribute reaches zero for any reason the character is incapacitated, falling to the ground. Incapacitation can last from a couple seconds to several minutes. Incapacitation is not death. It is more like the character being unconscious. However, while incapacitated, the character can be “deathblown” (killed) by any Player Character (PC), Non-Player Character (NPC), or Non-Human Character (NHC).

Attacks in RV are not against an overall armor rating, nor do successful attacks result in “damage” to a character’s total hit points. Attacks are targeted against the exact point on the opponent that the attacker is aiming. For example, if the attacker’s cursor is over an opponent’s forearm when the attack is made, the attack is against the forearm and the protection specific to the forearm. If the attack is successful it will damage only the Attribute points that correspond to the forearm. If the Attribute points for the forearm are damaged, the abilities governed by that Attribute are reduced. If the Attribute points for the opponent’s forearm reach zero, the opponent is incapacitated, falls to the ground, and can then be deathblown.


Characters in RV have two different types of statistics: Attributes and Characteristics. They are related, but different. When in game the character’s statistics display is opened/closed with the “C” key.


Determined by the player at character creation.  Attributes cannot be trained or improved.  Attributes are shown as red-colored bars on user interface in game. Attributes are directly connected to specific body parts. A character has a total of 300 Attribute points, which are permanent. Attributes can be temporarily raised with buffs or lowered from damage to the character.

Muscle – Is a factor in melee damage, block defensive skill, and some crafting results; upper and lower arm hit points; buffed by loaf_c; makes character taller.

Vision – Is a factor in ranged combat and possibly melee attack; head hit points; buffed by apples.

Dexterity – Is a factor in melee attack, ranged weapons, parry defensive skill, and crafting results; hit points for hands and lower arms; buffed by pears.

Agility – Is a factor in dodge defensive skill; hit points for legs and feet; buffed with plums; makes character shorter.

Intuition – Is a factor in learning, basic skills, lore and prayer, and all defensive skills; hit points for head; buffed with meat_fish. 

Stamina – Determines vigor pool; hit points for waist and torso; buffed with loaf_a, b, and c; makes character taller.


Based upon Attributes, but can be trained and improved.  Death can reduce characteristics by 0-3 points per characteristic, per death.  Displayed as blue bars in game. Characteristics can range from 0-99.

Strength – Is a factor for damage in combat; based on the Muscle Attribute.

Aim – “Visual acuity”; is a factor in ranged combat; may be a factor in melee combat attack; based on the Vision Attribute.

Shape – Determines the rate at which a character burns vigor; Fitness-based.

Craftsmanship – Is a modifier for crafting results, and possibly attack and parry; "hand-to-eye coordination"; based on the Dexterity Attribute.

Sense – Is a factor in learning and all basic skills; based on the Intuition Attribute.

Fitness – Determines how fast the character regenerates vigor; based on the Stamina Attribute; can be permanently increased by consuming cooked food (currently bread and fish).

Body parts


  • Hit points are determined by Vision and Intuition.
  • A hit to the head damages both Intuition and Vision equally.
  • If damage from a hit is 45, both Intuition and Vision will take 45 damage as the damage is to the body part, rather than to a single Attribute.
  • Any hit that does more damage than either Vision or Intuition will cause the character to be incapacitated.

Upper Arm

  • Hit points determined by Muscle only.

Lower Arm

  • Hit points determined by Muscle and Dexterity.
  • A hit to the lower arm damages both Muscle and Dexterity equally.
  • A hit that does 45 damage to the lower arm will do 45 damage to both attributes, as the damage is to the body part, not a single Attribute.
  • Any hit that does more damage than either the Muscle or Dexterity score will cause the character to incapacitate.


  • Hit points determined by Dexterity.


  • Hit points determined by Stamina.


  • Hit points determined by Stamina.


  • Hit points determined by Agility.

As most gamers know, a buff is a temporary boost. Attributes can be buffed in RV.  Currently buffs come only from food, with each Attribute buff coming from specific food types.  At some point in the future there may be buffs associated with rituals or character skills and abilities that have yet to implemented (such as the barbarian warcry). When a character takes damage, all buffs for all Attributes disappear and the Attributes will return to their normal unbuffed value.  If an Attribute was damaged for an amount greater than the buff, the Attribute will be damaged by any amount exceeding the buffed value (i.e. with Muscle buffed 15 points, a hit for 20 points of damage will erase the buff and result in 5 points of damage) A character must be hungry in order to eat food.  One cannot simply keep eating as much as they want to attempt to get buffs.

There is a chance of getting a buff based upon the quality (QL) of the food.  No buff or Fitness gain is guaranteed, even with 99 QL foods.  The variety of the character’s diet is also a factor.  Consuming only one type of food reduces the chances of that food type having any effect. Food types must be alternated to ensure the greatest chance of receiving a buff.

Vigour is a character's available "energy" for performing actions in RomaVictor.  When Vigour is zero the character is rendered completely immobile as vigour regenerates.  During combat this means that the character is a "sitting duck" as they cannot move, walk, run, attack, or even defend themselves.  In water, running vigour down to zero means the character drowns and dies. When a character is out of vigour they will visibly sweat profusely.

Roma Victor Screenshot

The number of skills a character can master (skill at 90+) before learning becomes more difficult is based upon their Intuition and Sense.  (Intuition + Sense) / 4 = number of skills a character can master before learning becomes more difficult.  A character with 50 Intuition and 50 Sense will be able to master 25 skills before learning becomes more difficult.  Buffing Intuition can change the equation as long as the buff is in effect.  The same character as above with 50 Intuition and 50 Sense, with an additional 20 points of Intuition from buffs, will not be affected by the greater learning difficulty for up to 30 mastered skills, as long as the buff is in effect: (50 + 50 + 20) / 4 = 30. Please note that the character is not prevented from mastering more skills, or pursuing new ones. Learning simply becomes more difficult, although it is not known to what degree.


Combat Offense

The combat skill is a factor in all combat “rolls,” although it is believed to be relatively insignificant.  It is believed that the more advanced a skill relative to the task, the more it is a factor in the outcome (i.e. when attacking with a spear it is believed that spear-melee is more of a factor than spear skill, which is more of a factor than combat skill).  This is only theory, and may not be entirely correct.

Melee Combat Hit Chance = combat skill/weapon root skill (i.e. spear)/weapon advanced skill (i.e. spear-melee)/Dexterity/Vision (possibly)/Craftsmanship (possibly)/random roll VS. opponent’s defenses for targeted body part.

Melee Damage = weapon type/weapon quality/Muscle/Strength VS. save against armor type on targeted body part of opponent/random roll. 

Armor types vary in ability to reduce or negate both penetration and blunt damage.  Weapons vary in capability to inflict both penetration and blunt damage.  The quality of both weapons and armor are modifiers for their effectiveness.

Combat Defense

There are 3 layers of defense: dodge, block, and parry (collectively known as DBP).  Dodge, block, and parry are skills that must be trained.  In order for an attack to land, it must “roll” against each defense that engages. 

Dodge - The dodge skill applies to the entire body of the defender unless it is turned off.  It can be toggled on and off using the /toggledodge command (default F4).  It is the only defense that can be turned off.  Agility and Intuition are modifiers for the dodge skill.

Block – Engages only for attacks against the center of the defender’s body (torso, waist, and head) and defender’s shield side (their left arm and leg).  Muscle and Intuition (and shield type) are modifiers for the block skill.

Parry - Engages only for attacks against the center of the defender’s body (torso, waist, and head) and the defender’s weapon side (their right arm and leg).  Dexterity, Intuition, and possibly Craftsmanship are modifiers for the parry skill.


Attributes and Characteristics are modifiers for crafting results. For example, Muscle and Strength are modifiers for smithing. The crafting system and number of skills preclude detailing them for the purpose of character creation. However, there are some basic considerations specific to crafting. Stamina, Intuition, and Dexterity are the most important Attributes for a crafter. Muscle and Vision are factors in a limited number of crafting tasks, but are less important. Agility is not known to have any effect on crafting at this time.

Stamina is very important to any character, regardless of whether they are focused on combat, crafting, or a bit of both. Many crafting tasks use vigour. For some types of crafting, a lot of moving around from devices to resources may be necessary, as well as loading and unloading carts. All of these require vigour. Low Stamina will result in a lot of wasted time while letting vigour regenerate.

Intuition is important in crafting, as it is a factor in how many skills a character may master before learning becomes more difficult, and may increase the rate of skill gain. A pure fighter type character may only want to master 6-10 skills. Very few crafters will get by with that few mastered skills unless they only make one type of item. For example, just to make top quality metal body armor without any assistance, a character will likely need to pursue mining, mining-iron, smelting, smithing, smithing-armor, and possibly textiles and leatherwork. Other types of smithing will require additional skills. Complicated tasks such as building stone structures can easily require the use of a dozen different skills.

The Dexterity Attribute is also a factor in many types of crafting results. Obviously hand-to-eye coordination comes into play with detailed tasks such as basket making and weaving.

Please note that some of the information on Attributes, Characteristics, and Skills is educated guesswork, based upon player observation and experience, while some is based upon testing by multiple players under varying conditions.  Some of the information also comes directly from the developer. RedBedlam is typically tight-lipped about the combat system, the equations involved, and the degree to which many factors may or may not affect the outcome of both combat and crafting. Information can become obsolete if mechanics are added or rebalanced. For example, RedBedlam plans to overhaul the buff system, but no details are currently available.

There may be other factors of which players are unaware, in both combat and crafting.  Sense may be a factor in more than players realize.  Each guild type is supposed to get very small but invisible bonuses appropriate to the guild type (i.e. combat for warbands, legions, and auxiliary units).  However, the exact nature of the bonus is not known. Some badges and reputations may provide very small bonuses that are unknown to players as well.


Philip Zieg