More uses for ability scores?
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  1. #1
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    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)



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    More uses for ability scores?

    Hey,

    so one thing I dont like with 5e is the lack of use for ability scores beyond character generation; most of the game relies on modifiers. I really love OSR games that still use ''roll under'' because it makes a character with 13 str and 12 str different, if ever so slightly.

    Do you use ability scores in your game? What game mechanics have you houseruled/added to make scores more relevant?

    What I have in mind for now:
    Str: Number of inventory slots or weight allowance, per the rules
    Dex: ?
    Con: Number of hours without sleep or food before rolling to avoid exhaustion.
    Int: Number of ''background points'' (ala 13th Age) to spend.
    Wis: ?
    Cha: Number of ''relation/contact points'' to spend.
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  2. #2
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    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)



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    Feats and multiclassing both use odd-numbered ability scores.

    Dex: Used to break initiative ties. (I have a large group and it seems like we have to fall back to Dexterity scores to break initiative ties roughly every other combat.)

    Cha: Initial and maximum Loyalty score if you're using the DMG Loyalty rules. (I've found these rules to work surprisingly well.)

    Wis: I got nothin'.
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  3. #3
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    Enchanter (Lvl 12)



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    Yeah, there are very few cases where the actual score for an ability comes into play instead of simply the modifier. I like some of your ideas so I'll keep watching to see how you might expand on it and if anything comes to mind I'll add my 2 cp.

  4. #4
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    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)



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    I think the barbarian "can't roll under actual STR score" ability is great for checks and could be granted more widely.
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  5. #5
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    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)



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    I think I might use Dex score as fixed Initiative. Maybe add +level/ +CR.

    I love the Charisma score for Loyalty rules, never knew it existed. I might extend it to other important NPC.

    Maybe Wis score as Morale? When an enemy damage a PC for more than its Wis score with a SINGLE hit, the PC is frightened of that enemy until the end of its next turn.

    Intelligence score could be Appraisal: the score is a % on the basic buy/sell price of items. Or an Appraise Hoard score? Like, you add your Int score to your result when you roll on a d100 table for Individual treasures or Treasure hoard in the DMG.

  6. #6
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    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)



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    Building on what @77IM mentions above, ability scores come into play in a few more (but, to the OP's point, not many) direct ways:

    STR score: how far the character can jump (PHB 182). How much weight they can carry, push, drag, lift (PHB p 176). There are minimums for certain armors (PHB p144). Monster that drains STR: Shadow

    CON score: how long a creature can be submersed in frigid water (DMG p 110)

    INT score: how far a PC can travel in the Astral plane (DMG p 46). Monster that drains INT: Intellect Devourer. Spell that drains INT (and CHA): Feeblemind


    Of course, a DM could always create a particularly nasty trap or add a feature to a monster that drained an ability score.


    I'll second the praise for the Loyalty Score optional rule (DMG p. 93)
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  7. #7
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    Magsman (Lvl 14)



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    Quote Originally Posted by 77IM View Post
    Feats and multiclassing both use odd-numbered ability scores.

    Dex: Used to break initiative ties. (I have a large group and it seems like we have to fall back to Dexterity scores to break initiative ties roughly every other combat.)

    Cha: Initial and maximum Loyalty score if you're using the DMG Loyalty rules. (I've found these rules to work surprisingly well.)

    Wis: I got nothin'.
    That requirement is just annoying.

    having 13 as requirement just says, requirement is actually 14, but if you really insist having an odd score or you are metagaming your 1st feat that will raise that to 14, but it really says; we have to cling to tradition so we must have 3-18 starting scores and as odd scores have next to 0 value here are some feat and multiclass requirements as we cant think something better or just remove 3-18 ability score array.

    Average ability score can stay at 10 with +0 modifier, but it should scale from that on 1-on-1 basis;
    11 is +1 mod
    12 is +2 mod

    then some really bad scores that are expected, I.E: fly with 1 str will have -9 modifier and some centipede with 1 int will have -9 mod.

    It can also give finer spread of animal intelligence from insects to higher primates(humans) , 1 to 10 on average.

  8. #8
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    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)



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    Quote Originally Posted by DM Dave1 View Post
    Building on what @77IM mentions above, ability scores come into play in a few more (but, to the OP's point, not many) direct ways:

    STR score: how far the character can jump (PHB 182). How much weight they can carry, push, drag, lift (PHB p 176). There are minimums for certain armors (PHB p144). Monster that drains STR: Shadow

    CON score: how long a creature can be submersed in frigid water (DMG p 110)

    INT score: how far a PC can travel in the Astral plane (DMG p 46). Monster that drains INT: Intellect Devourer. Spell that drains INT (and CHA): Feeblemind


    Of course, a DM could always create a particularly nasty trap or add a feature to a monster that drained an ability score.


    I'll second the praise for the Loyalty Score optional rule (DMG p. 93)
    This make me think that I should use more temporary stat damage with poison and disease (and some monster attacks). I use a lot of exhaustion in my games, but that would give me another player ressource to damage while adventuring.

  9. #9
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    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)



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    OK, for now this what I have:

    Score Use
    Strength; Number of Inventory slots (some items with the heavy tag or that have a str requirement use 2 slots), long jumps, push,lift, drag.

    Intelligence; Astral travel time, Appraise Hoard (when you roll on a d100 hoard table, add the score too the roll)

    Dexterity; Score+level (or CR for creatures)= Initiative score

    Constitution; Travelling hours without sleep or food, number on hours in hostile temperatures.

    Wisdom; Balance: A character will receive ''shock point'' (name to be decided) when under heavy stress. When ''shock points'' go over the PC wisdom score, the PC roll for: 1st time -> short-term madness 2nd time-> long term madness 3rd time -> indefinite madness. After X time may become an NPC.

    Charisma; NPC Loyalty

  10. #10
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    Titan (Lvl 27)



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    Quote Originally Posted by vincegetorix View Post
    Hey,

    so one thing I dont like with 5e is the lack of use for ability scores beyond character generation; most of the game relies on modifiers. I really love OSR games that still use ''roll under'' because it makes a character with 13 str and 12 str different, if ever so slightly.
    Roll under runs into some numerical issues, like a stat of 20 being problematic, and modeling varying difficulties being a bit fraught. Open-ended bonuses and DCs leave a lot more room to work with, mechanically.

    A simpler, more honest solution to the 'odd stat out problem,' is just to toss them. Replaces stats with their bonuses: PC stats range from -1 to +5, end of story.

    Do you use ability scores in your game? What game mechanics have you houseruled/added to make scores more relevant?
    I certainly have in the past. I've pegged odd number stats to preqs for Feats, PrCs, PPs, riders on powers, etc in 3e & 4e. I've used them as tie-breakers in contested checks (hardly worth it).

    And, in older pre-d20 games that didn't have standardized checks, I used a variation on roll-under:

    Roll as high as you can without going /over/. It's the same chance of success as roll-under, but it gives you degrees of success that can be intuitively compared across different stat and lets you set a "difficulty" (so, like "roll over 5 without going over your stat."

    What I have in mind for now:
    Str: Number of inventory slots or weight allowance, per the rules
    Dex: ?
    Con: Number of hours without sleep or food before rolling to avoid exhaustion.
    Int: Number of ''background points'' (ala 13th Age) to spend.
    Wis: ?
    Cha: Number of ''relation/contact points'' to spend.
    Sounds reasonable, I suppose you're looking for ideas on the other two?

    WIS: Number of downtime days (or min or hrs depending on the situation) you can spend focused on one task without break before you need to start making WIS checks to avoid careless errors or just giving up.

    DEX: Really has enough going for it, already. ;P Heck, DEX grants it's bonus to so many things you might split them, push some bonuses by one to an odd break-point? So your damage bonus could +1 at DEX 12, but the hit bonus kicks in at 13, save bonus is +2 at 14, but the AC bonus of +2 starts at 15. Needlessly complicated, but DEX deserves to be picked on a bit.
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