Ability Score Blues


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I agree with the OP. In 3.X and before having a 10 DEX meant lousy AC. Now you can compensate with good INT. You can get away better with lousy secondary/terciary stats in 4E than in 3.X, if you can pick one of each pair of attributes that increase defenses. The temptation to sacrifice other stats to pump the primary one (ones) is very strong. Since the primary determines attack and damage even more so.

Shield wielding fighters can get some reflex without even having INT or DEX if they want to. Initiative might suck... but overall they won't necessarily have a huge weakness with 08 INT and 10 DEX.

no, in versions before 3.x 10 dex or better said: dex lower than 15 meant lousy ac. in 3.x it was partially negated by better scaling and max dex bonus...

i tried playing ADnD 2nd edition some weeks ago, and it was hard to stand, because without fighter or very high attributes, the group was nearly killed by some goblins, with a 18/60 strength fighter with dex 17 fighter, they easily killed a 2000xp monster (how is that mantis thing called again...?)...

4th edition is much more forgiving than previous editions in primary and secondary stats as well... 3rd edition was also somewhat forgiving if you didn´t allow too many sourcebooks and actually remembered your players that they should care a bit about hp and defenses as well as offense...

actually a single +1 bonus in a single encounter only matters in one of 20 rolls... always... which means only in 5% of all rolls +1 makes a difference... (which can result in up to 100% more damage in the long run but usually means only about 10% more damage when you usually hit with 10-12 not counting secondary effects)

so to be even more specific: the expected number of rounds until this bonus takes effect will be 20... i need to look up the standard deviation, but i expect it to be about 3 or 4 so you should make about 15 attacks until you can be quite sure that you notice the effect of a single +1 bonus...
 

Whereas getting that extra +1 makes all the difference? Is hitting on a 9 at level 1 and a 14 at 30 so much different?

no. it starts getting important when you try to bring down a foe when you need an 18 or 19 to hit whith lots of hp, where you just know that you will make many attacks so that the "law of big numbers" will ensure a much higher damage output...

actually this is why the difference between "20 and 18" and "12 and 10" lies... the +1 granted by the 12 compared to the 10 will have a much higher impact (although bot will be rather bad as primary attribute...)
 

Mengu

First Post
no. it starts getting important when you try to bring down a foe when you need an 18 or 19 to hit whith lots of hp, where you just know that you will make many attacks so that the "law of big numbers" will ensure a much higher damage output...

At high levels, if you are fighting something that requires you to roll 18's and 19's to hit, either the characters should be running, or the DM is asleep on the job and turned to the wrong page in the MM. Either way, that is going to be one boring fight, regardless of whether the PC's can win it or not.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
Over 30 levels, a PC can expect to get a +15 to hit from leveling, a +4 from stat increases, and a +6 enhancement bonus. That adds up to +25 to hit vs first level. Over that same 30 levels, monster's defenses have gone up by 29. So, if you're hitting on a 10 at 1st level, on average, at 30th, you'll be hitting on a about a 14.

Powers, especially your leader's powers, may compensate for some of that. For instance, your warlord's Lead the Attack might have given you +4 to hit at 1st, level, but similar powers (and he'll have more of them) might give you a +8 at 30th.

When attacking non-AC defenses, you hit quite well if you pick the target's weaker defenses. Attacking the weaker of FORT or REF will get you a +1 or 2 or more, compared to attacking the stronger, and a +3 or more compared to attacking AC. If you can attack either FORT or REF or can attack WILL, you can generally hit just fine with a mere +3. With an 18 or 20, you can be less obsessive about deducing and attacking lower defenses.
 

At high levels, if you are fighting something that requires you to roll 18's and 19's to hit, either the characters should be running, or the DM is asleep on the job and turned to the wrong page in the MM. Either way, that is going to be one boring fight, regardless of whether the PC's can win it or not.

excactly ;)

that´s the point!
 

Stalker0

Legend
I think this is one of those issues where perception is overshadowing reality at the moment.

Of course, having a high primary stat is very useful...but is having high secondary stats less so?

I think as people experiment with different character builds, they will start seeing that dropping their primary stat a bit to get a nice big bump to some other stats might be just fine...but people are going with the basics first, big primary stat.
 

I had to ban "helping" with charater creation becuse one of my players almost quite...

She was building a rogue and put a 14 in her dex and a 16 in her cha...then 2 other players jumped inwith "No you need atleast a 16 or you suck...try for 20s if at all possile..." and they kept hounding her.


Here a few levels in is her half elf

8 str
16 con

15 dex
11 int

12 wis
19 cha

she is 5th level and multiing into the Advanced players Troubadour (bard). she weilds a +1 rapiar and has +6 to hit...she isn't the best warrior, but she has some kick, especialy with her eldritch blast once per encounter...
 

Benimoto

First Post
so to be even more specific: the expected number of rounds until this bonus takes effect will be 20... i need to look up the standard deviation, but i expect it to be about 3 or 4 so you should make about 15 attacks until you can be quite sure that you notice the effect of a single +1 bonus...

I think this is the thing. If you obsess over every little +1, then of course it's going to be hard to "give up" that +1 by choosing a race that doesn't boost that stat.

But, as UngeheuerLich points out, that +1 is not going to affect you that much. In any one combat, where you might make one or two dozen d20 rolls, your dice are going to make much more of a difference than the +1 will. It's only in the long term that you'll even notice the difference between an 18 and a 16 stat.

As the OP points out, trying to get an 18 in your primary stat can hurt you in some subtle and some obvious ways. It penalizes your defenses, and makes it very hard to qualify for feats that require a 15 in what is a tertiary stat for your class. In many 4e encounters, where a PC is being attacked nearly as much or more than they are attacking, I would be wary of assuming an 18 in your primary stat is as vital as you think it is.
 

Nail

First Post
In many 4e encounters, where a PC is being attacked nearly as much or more than they are attacking, I would be wary of assuming an 18 in your primary stat is as vital as you think it is.
Right.

A "16" (after racial mods) in a main stat is fine. It's not "the best", but given the choices you have to make - like your secondary stat and your defences and your future feats - sometimes going with a 16 is best.

For example, if you are a class that doesn't get high armor, you might want to take the armor feats. ....And the only way you are going to get them is to have a bit of Str & Con (or Dex).

Or how about the feat HBO? Etc. It's not always best to have the main attack stat max-ed out.
 

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