Early role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons assigned random values to a player character's attributes, while allowing each character a fixed number of skills. As a result, characters were at the same time wildly unbalanced in terms of attributes and heavily constrained in terms of skills. Later games such as GURPS introduced a points-based system of purchasing attributes and skills as a means of improving game balance and flexibility. These points are known as ''character points.
Usually, a player is allotted a number of points for character creation. A character's attributes (such as high intelligence), skills (such as fixing a car or mechanics), or powers (such as flying) can then be "bought" for a certain number of points. More powerful abilities or a greater degree of power will require more "spending" of character points. Later, character points can be earned and spent to improve attributes or skills, or to buy new skills or powers. In some games, such as GURPS, these points are experience points; in others, such as Ars Magica, there is a more complicated relationship between experience points and character points.
It may also be possible to allocate some points toward special properties, like influential family relations or better equipment.