I've begun to reconsider some of my ideas concerning stats in the game. While I'm fine with the way I use physical stats in Traveller play-a-likes (viewtopic.php?f=45&t=58&p=14108#p14107
), I've obviously been floundering with how a similar method should be used for mental stats. I think I may have a better understanding now. It came to me when thinking about death in RPG's.
Mental stats could be handled just like physical stats in how they relate to each other and can be combined together. Mental STR would relate to how well a person might traverse a specific line of reason, much like stepping through differing node levels of a decision tree using generally accepted data. Mental END represents concentration and can add to the mental strength temporarily to allow a deeper tree search although it would leave a person mentally fatigued. Mental DEX is a form of agility in that indicates a level of ability to use seemingly unrelated knowledge/intuition leaps to build a decision tree with more branches. Mental STR is how deep such a tree search might be, whereas mental DEX determines how broad a tree search might be.
mental (STR+DEX)/2 is the overall level of intelligence
mental (DEX+END)/2 would indicate how easily distracted a person is ( steadiness of thought )
mental DEX by itself gives an idea of creativity
mental AP =(STR+DEX)/3
These stats might be used in a nearly exactly similar fashion to how I proposed using physical stats in combat, but for non-physical contests such as debate, insults and comebacks, haggling, hacking, etc. where 'AP's might be used to keep track of how many ideas a player can bring to bear without being confused or overwhelmed by rapidly shifting arguments.
So, how does this relate to death in RPG's?
I feel a person is dead when their identity is gone, aka when a person is brain dead. Once the brain dies, the person's identity is gone and cannot be recovered. When the body dies, as is usual in RPG's, the brain usually dies soon after as the body cannot provide oxygen and the like to the brain. Until the brain is starved, it is alive and thus the individual is alive. This was seen during the French Revolution when people were beheaded. It was often noted that the freshly severed heads were responsive, even to hearing their names, for a short time (probably mere seconds) after the blade came down. If we accept this anecdotal evidence, then the damage done to a body only kills when the body cannot supply blood/oxygen to the brain.
Conversely, a person that is brain dead, yet have an undamaged brainstem, may have a body that continues to 'live'.
As a result, I think maybe attacks that hit the head should do damage to mental stats simulating damage to the brain as well as concussions (which may have a cumulative effect and CTE).
I'll have to think about how to handle the link between mental and physical stat damage. One way might be to have the character's abilities be limited to the lesser of the mental / physical stats AP's, or else to have damage to one cause damage to the other in a proportion.