D&D 5th Edition Should 5E Characters be MAD?


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    Should 5E Characters be MAD?

    (Multiple Ability Dependance)

    This came up in the monk thread, and I think it really should have it's own thread.

    Should the 5E classes have their abilities split between multiple ability scores or all tied to one score. In many ways in 3E, the "core 4" pretty much got most of their abilities from a single ability - STR for Fighters, DEX for Rogues, INT for Wizards and WIS for Clerics. Hybrid/subclasses often needed two or three good ability scores - STR, WIS, DEX for Monks; STR, CON for Barbarians; STR, DEX, WIS for Rangers; STR, WIS, CHR for Paladins - the two exceptions seemed to be Druid (WIS) and Bard (CHR, though you could argue for INT and/or DEX).

    Personally, I'd like to see all classes be MAD, and have it split between three abilities, all of which can grant the class some special ability.

    Fighter - STR, CON and INT. STR for offensive CS dice (trip, disarm, extra damage), CON for defensive CS dice (soaking damage, parry/riposte) and INT (buffing other characters, ala the Warlord).

    Rogue - DEX, INT and CHR. DEX for CS dice (sneak attack, ambush), INT for skill mastery and CHR for skill stunts (swinging from chandaliers, fast-talking enemies, etc.)

    Cleric - STR, WIS and CHR. STR for divine-augmented weapon attacks, WIS for spells and CHR for channel divinity/spheres/domain abilities.

    Wizard - INT, WIS and CHR. INT for arcane spells (vancian), CHR for at-will (spontaneous) spells and WIS for rituals.

    ---

    Paladin - STR, WIS and CHR. STR for smites, WIS for spells and CHR for lay on hands abilities.

    Ranger - STR, DEX and WIS. STR for weapon attacks, DEX for stealth stunts (quarry?) and WIS for wilderness abilities (spells, tracking, animal companion)

    Monk - STR, DEX and WIS. STR for ki attacks (flurry, stunning fist, DR strikes, quivering palm), DEX for defensive abilities (deflect arrows, fast movement, slow fall, etc.) and WIS for supernatural abilities (healing, tongues, phasing, teleporting)

    Bard - DEX, CHA and INT. DEX for combat abilities (rapid strike, riposte, disarm). CHA for bardic song/spell abilities and INT for bardic lore abilities and other skill stunts.

    Barbarian - STR, CON and WIS. STR for rage/fury/berserk abilities, CON for defensive abilities (damage soak, healing/second wind) and WIS for supernatural totem abilities (claws of the bear, bite of the wolf, cheetah legs)

    Warlock - CON, INT and CHR. CHR for auras or long-term magics, INT for utility spells and CON for attack spells.

    Druid - CON, WIS and CHR. CHR for animal companion. CON for shape-shifting and WIS for spells.

    Sorcerer - INT, CON and CHR. CHR for at-will spells. INT for rituals. CON for supernatural abilities (dragon disciple, heritages)

    Swordmage - INT, DEX and STR. STR for spell-charged weapon attacks. DEX for defensive abilities/spells. INT for utility magic.

    I'm not quite sure how to exactly make these break-outs work, but it would be nice if your ability scores affected how rapidly (or perhaps how far) you could advance along a certain power track - or at least give you a little bit of a heft with certain abilities.
    "If it has stats, we can kill it." - T.G. Jackson, intro to 3rd ed Hackmaster

 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stormonu View Post
    I'm not quite sure how to exactly make these break-outs work, but it would be nice if your ability scores affected how rapidly (or perhaps how far) you could advance along a certain power track - or at least give you a little bit of a heft with certain abilities.
    I like the MAD theory because it prevents the One Attribute to Rule them all, but in practice I think you end up closer to 4e. What I saw in 4e was most people selecting powers based on secondary attributes. The Paladin always had a high strength and really only used the secondary powers based on charisma because that was the second highest score. So the hope for MAD allowing more choices became SAD and a support attribute.

    I want to see charisma actually used. How many times do you see point buy characters with an 8 or 7 charisma? Why is that person part of team? They should be so obnoxious to be around that no one willingly pairs with them, or so meek and bland a person that no one remembers them. Not my idea of a hero. For that, I love the idea of Cha powering the ability to pull stunts like swinging from a tapestry.

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    I'd like all classes to be dependent on 6 ability scores. If having a 3 in any one has no significant mechanical drawbacks for you, then either the system is screwed up or you're tough as nails.
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  • #4
    Quote Originally Posted by howandwhy99 View Post
    I'd like all classes to be dependent on 6 ability scores. If having a 3 in any one has no significant mechanical drawbacks for you, then either the system is screwed up or you're tough as nails.
    I think saving throws and ability checks do this decently already:

    Low Str: Vulnerable to combat contests, restraints
    Low Dex: Vulnerable to area effects, combat contests
    Low Con: Vulnerable to everything
    Low Int: ....oh.
    Low Wis: Vulnerable to spells
    Low Cha: ...hm.

    Well, we've found our problem.
    Last edited by GX.Sigma; Wednesday, 14th November, 2012 at 08:10 AM.

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    The 5E Monk is hardly what I'd consider MAD.

    Dex is a king stat with to-hit, dmg, init, AC & common saves and skills keyed to it. Str is fairly optional so Con bumps into Wis when competing for the 2nd & 3rd best stats. Int & Cha are nice but optional.

    Off the cuff I'd build allocate scores to the monk like so:
    Str XX, Dex 15, Con 13, Int XX, Wis 14, Cha XX
    XX being however you want to play your character. In fact there's a point to favouring Con over Wis now I give it a 2nd thought.

    The 3E Paladin otoh is MADness turned up to 11. They need Str to hit, Cha for powers, Wis for spell casting, oh yeah and as they frontline they need Con for HPs & concentration, and a bit of dex if there's anything left over. Given that stats are uncapped you end up with a high peaks and low troughs character by the mid levels where they're stupidly strong and, well, just stupid.

    As an aside, I like the existence of the knowledge-warfare Int skill. I think this will be important for any rank of commander and creates space to justify the fighting character that doesn't auto-dump on Int.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stormonu View Post
    Should the 5E classes have their abilities split between multiple ability scores or all tied to one score. In many ways in 3E, the "core 4" pretty much got most of their abilities from a single ability - STR for Fighters, DEX for Rogues, INT for Wizards and WIS for Clerics. Hybrid/subclasses often needed two or three good ability scores - STR, WIS, DEX for Monks; STR, CON for Barbarians; STR, DEX, WIS for Rangers; STR, WIS, CHR for Paladins - the two exceptions seemed to be Druid (WIS) and Bard (CHR, though you could argue for INT and/or DEX).

    Personally, I'd like to see all classes be MAD, and have it split between three abilities, all of which can grant the class some special ability.
    I think the best approach is not to try and streamline this at all.

    Just make sure that ALL six abilities are really useful but not absolutely mandatory in the game, so that having one or two low scores (negative mod) does not make the PC suck, but still hurts (to discourage stat-dumping).

    Then, I agree that it's best if each class is not wholly defined by one score only. But how many exactly shouldn't matter.

    I like that in 5ed you can have a low-Str Fighter thanks to the new rule that with finesse weapons your Dex bonus also applies to damage; this however doesn't mean that every Fighter should have both Str and Dex, but rather than should have either one with a good score. But at least it's an improvement over 3ed IMO. Then Deadly Strike grants heavy additional damage which doesn't depend on any ability score.

    Spellcasters have a problem of their own. Besides their key mental ability score, how useful all other scores are depend on what they can compensate for with their spells. A Wizard doesn't need a decent Dex if she can cast powerful protective spells (for AC) and Fly; a Cleric doesn't need a decent Str if she can self-buff a lot. And so Cha isn't that useful when you have plenty of charme spells.

    Also I think some of your estimations are more based on a certain traditional image rather than a real requirement. E.g. 3ed Barbarians didn't really need a high Constitution: their only thing affected by Con was Rage duration, but with the typical length of combat in 3ed even with a Constitution 10 the Rage would last 5 rounds and cover most fights. And Barbs didn't need a higher Con than Fighters for HP, since even with generally lighter armor they still got more HP from the HD. Barbarians always tend to have high Con more because of a certain image that they players want (the "Conan-type huge, tough savage warrior") rather than an absolute need. Similar thing for the Ranger, Wis for spells was definitely needed but Str and Dex were not necessarily needed both. OTOH the Paladin did indeed have own abilities based on Wis and others based on Cha, plus Str needed for combat (or Dex in the much rarer case of a ranged-fighting Pally) so they were really already a MAD class, and so was the Monk (once again because Str was needed for damage, Dex for defense, and Wis for special abilities).
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    There should be no such thing as a "dump stat", IMO. Every character should be MAD.

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    I'd quite like Fighters to actually want to use Strength, which is dubious at the moment. Perhaps if there were more Strength saving throws being thrown out by monsters it would help - the Wizard and Rogue always getting knocked down, the Fighter stays standing (though the Rogue kips up as part of a move action whilst the Wizard struggles to his feet).

    I really don't want to see everything centered around a primary stat, followed by a secondary for a few other things.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falling Icicle View Post
    There should be no such thing as a "dump stat", IMO. Every character should be MAD.
    I think we need to clarify a bit...

    Personally I LIKE a game where every stat counts, so that if I choose to have (or am lucky to roll) a high score in ability XYZ, then I can enjoy some benefit, while if I choose to have (or am unlucky to roll) a low score in the same ability, then I miss that a little bit, perhaps in the form of not being effective at something I sometimes have to do, or in the form of having a vulnerability, or even in the form of having to look away from certain options. I want ALL stats to be "nice to have".

    OTOH I also LIKE a game where having a low or even very low stat (or even two) doesn't make my character bordering the unplayable. Just like sometimes it's possible to play a Charisma 1 character, it would be nice if it was just as possible to play a Constitution 1 character. This doesn't mean that it should be easy, just that the character would not die too easily and would have plenty of other things to do in the game.

    So when we talk about "dump stats", I would like the game to be perfectly playable if you choose to have (or are unlucky to roll) a very low score somewhere, with two caveats:

    - that this doesn't mean that ANY character concept must be still viable with that dump stat
    - that tricks like "I can dump Strength for my Greataxe-wielding Barbarian because this feat allows me to use another stat for attack rolls and damage" should not be offered by the game, at least not the core

    Therefore if MAD means that higher stats generally make you better and are all "nice-to-have" then I'm definitely in favor of MAD. However I do not want MAD to mean that some classes "need" to have a high minimum in 4 or more stats to use their abilities, otherwise this (in a point-buy system) forces me to give high stats to everybody, which yields a superheroes feel to the game that I really dislike. (note on the other hand, that in a rolled-abilities system, there would be less problems; it's ok then for me if to be a Paladin or Ranger you need to have had very lucky rolls... but this is something most gamers would not like!)
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    Every stat should be useful.
    Not every stat should be required.

    I am opposed to the method of MADness proposed in this thread (three or more required stats) because it leads to an excessive amount of min-maxing and very similar characters.
    If "A" is broken, that isn't a valid reason for "B" to be so, even if they vary in degree.

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