Photograph of an origami wizard in blue and white

Open thread: what’s your dump stat?

[Warning! TVTropes!] A Dump Stat is a gaming concept: a quality in the game that you choose not to allocate any character-building resources to (and thus your character does not possess). Say, your character is a wizard, and has really low strength because you traded it for intelligence (which usually translates to spell-casting power).

Photograph of an origami wizard in blue and white

Wizard, design by Hojyo Takashi, photo by Origamiancy, CC BY.

This guy’s dump stat is definitely fire resistance.

I think my dump stat is probably all-nighters. Can barely stay awake at all: certainly the amount of work produced is nowhere near worth the cost, which is basically a full-on hangover the next day regardless of use, or lack thereof, of intoxicants. And I don’t find them fun. So, I would definitely have no points in all-nighters.

How about you?

Quick note: let’s try and keep this light ok? Stuff you’re OK with being bad at, rather than stuff that tears you apart. And steer clear of “and I don’t care because [whatever skill] is universally useless anyway!”: you can be sure someone here will be into it.

This is also an open thread for any other topics of interest to you. Comment policy applies.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , on by .

About Mary

Mary is a women in tech activist, a programmer, a writer, and a sometime computational linguist. She writes at Her previous projects include co-founding the Ada Initiative and major contributions to the Geek Feminism blog. She's @me_gardiner on Twitter.

34 thoughts on “Open thread: what’s your dump stat?

  1. cadaeib

    Handling cats. I can be all “hey kitty, who’s a good kitty?” and it’ll be all “screw you” and climb over my lap in ways that make me fundamentally uncomfortable, skitter off, or (the worst) claw a pad out of my back pocket.

    Or if we’re going with more conventional RPG stats, DEX. As my often-dropped phone can testify.

  2. confluence

    My dump stat is definitely sport. I avoided it at school, and am consistently unable to remember any sport-related facts today. I put all that XP into cat wrangling. ;)

  3. Raven

    Cooking. I have caused teakettle combustion when attempting to boil water. I stuck a pancake to the ceiling when trying to flip it, only to have it drop back onto my face because I was gaping at that having happened. My housemate has taken to yelling “No!” over her shoulder without looking when I say “is it supposed to look like that?”.

  4. Elizabeth G.

    My Dump Stat is makeup and hair styling. My Mom never wore makeup so at the age that some young women learn to put on makeup and style their hair I was just slapping it on and over using hairspray. I never got past that. So in Highschool I gave up. When friends are able to hold me down and apply makeup (for a wedding or something) I think I look ridiculous. I would say that the plus side is that my skin is really clear.

  5. Zack

    In high school, it was definitely Dexterity. My chemistry teacher wrote “Zack will be a great chemist someday if he can only stop breaking glassware” on my report card. But that went away when I relearned how long my arms were.

    Nowadays, it’s either Knowledge of Current Events Not Related to Computer Security, or it’s upper body strength. (I bike a lot, but I get almost no other exercise.)

  6. Carrie

    History. I can only remember it in the broadest of strokes. I’m always getting events out of order or completely leaving things out. I have no idea why, but my brain just doesn’t seem to hold onto it very well.

    Also, visual arts other than photography — especially drawing. I can sketch very basic diagrams/schematics, but that’s where my drawing ability ends. My painting and sculpting abilities are even more limited.

    And improv theatre. I learned in high school that if I devote a lot of time and energy to researching, preparing for, and rehearsing a role, then I can act pretty well. When I took a course in Method acting, I flourished. But with improv? I freeze up. (Apropos of talking about dump stats, this is why I’m not that into D&D-type games — because they require sustained improv roleplaying, and I find that stressful.)

    I’d consider these dump stats because they’re things I’m okay with being not-very-good at, so I haven’t bothered to put a lot of time and energy into improving at them. However, I’d still like to get better at them. And I love watching or listening to people who are good at them.

  7. Caite

    Athletics. I fall over walking on smooth flat surfaces.

    My favourite character to roleplay is incompetent at street smarts, to the extent that every time he tries to do something requiring it there are negative effects for the party (auto-botch). The best use of that was the time he tried to sell panadol to am undercover cop, under the impression that it was marijuana.

  8. Mercury

    Simple math. As soon as I learn how to outsource it to my graphing calculator or Mathematica, I forget how to do it by hand. I’m currently being thwarted in Differential Equations by my inability to remember 8th grade algebra.

  9. Mym

    Sobriety! *hic*

    …more seriously, allergy resistance. They just keep getting worse and multiplying. It’s gotten to the point where I’m considering getting a bronchodilator for when I visit my sister and her dogs.

  10. quartzpebble

    I’d been wondering who the women are in biochemistry and chemical biology, since the gender binary fractal tends towards women the closer you get to biology. If I went by the papers we are assigned to discuss for my chemical biology class, though, I’d say there wasn’t a single female PI around. When looking around, I found a prize relatively recently put out there for women in the biomedical sciences that’s gone to some impressive scientists:

    More on the lines of organic synthesis, a recent review focused on named organic reactions discovered by and/or named after women: Paywalled, but if you can get to it very interesting!

  11. Raelynne

    Ironing. All my clothes are carefully selected to not require ironing because I loathe and detest it, and am not terribly good at it.

    In D&D it would be STR (jam jars defeat me); in Savage Worlds I would absolutely have the Major Hindrance of Procrastination.

  12. Elizabeth

    Not freaking out. My first reaction to anything is OMG the world is ending. Usually only in my head, thankfully, but still.

    (Yes, I am working on this in therapy.)

    In related thoughts, the line between impostor syndrome and Dunning-Kruger syndrome is currently stressing me the hell out.

    1. nicole

      oh dear, wasn’t familiar with dunning-kruger syndrome… time to freak out :o

      1. Mary Post author

        I feel like this subthread is kind of edging into where the let’s try and keep this light ok? warning was aiming.

  13. Jayn

    Neatness. I can manage some semblance of organisation, but it rarely looks organised (I honestly cannot fathom how people manage to keep things neat, without completely reorganising everything every time they go into a drawer). Even when I’m trying, everything just comes out a bit…off.

    For traditional RPG stats, it’s a toss-up between STR and DEX. I’m pretty weak, even for my size, but my hand-eye co-ordination isn’t great either.

  14. H. regalis

    Ability to watch television shows. I can spend hours watching movies, vlogs, and random Youtube videos; but there’s something about tv shows that just sends me out of the room. It kind of bugs me because I used to like tv shows when I was a kid, and we’re apparently in a golden age of television right now, which would be exciting to be a part of except that I’d rather gnaw my own legs off than watch any of it.

    As for rpgs, CHA. Every single time.

  15. kdmw

    Mine is all-nighters too! I’m a university student, and I thought I was the only one!

  16. Annalee

    Right now I’m going to go with CON. If the Lorax were real, he would have knocked on my door a few weeks ago to say “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. They just concluded their annual conference and have decided to try to kill you. Good luck.”

    Since then, the powdery death they’ve been raining down from their deceptively-graceful boughs would make an M. Night Shyamalan movie seem like fun by comparison. Not just living in the movie, either–actually having to sit through watching it.

    It’s been bad enough these past few days that I’m starting to resent paper recycling. Stupid trees–keep your gametes to yourselves, why won’t you?

  17. Brat

    Organisation. I am pathologically disorganised – to the point where if it was the equivalent to an addiction, I’d be in rehab.

    Also sitting still.

  18. Eraziel

    Organization and time management. I suck so much at both…. can’t remember how many of my papers were done rushed and last-minute and I simply cannot get myself to start learning for tests in time.

Comments are closed.