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General Ability Score Potpourri (Split Dex? Whither Willpower?)

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
And so, starting with D&D and assuming we're always going to have 5 to 12 ability scores (please keep nuking them altogether elsewhere):

For physical stats:

Is Dexterity the broadest ability? If any were to be split, is this the one? Say into Agility (speed, initative, AC) and Dexterity (hand-eye, to-hit)sense?Does strength giving a bonus to hit only make sense because armor in D&D doesn't give damage reduction?

If there was armor DR, would Dexterity be the only stat that should be used to give bonuses to hit, while a minimum strength would be needed for some weapons?

For mental stats:

Are the main mental things that INT, WIS, and CHR cover - recall (knowledge skills and spell memorizing), perception of the physical world, sensitivity to the metaphysical, force of personality, and willpower?

Is Ki a Wisdom type will power? Is sorcery a Charisma type will power? Is Rage a Constitution(?) type will power? Do all three of those and Intelligence have a use against some mental attacks?

In versions where some stat lets you learn more spells, should that always be based on Int? Should the effectiveness and number you can cast be class dependent though?

If there was recall, sensitivity, willpower, and charisma, are some of those hardly used (like willpower)?

Is more stats too much trouble:

Assuming magical Christmas land where folks wouldn't react negatively just because it was change, is seven or eight abilities just a step to far for balancing things out? Doesn't WoD work just fine with 9? Did anyone play with the expaneded skills & powers stats back in 2e? Was it worth the bother?

Anything for the good of the order? (Besides nuking them altogether?)
 

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One thing in the current rule framework I have seriously considered is merging strength and constitution. Con is super boring stat, you never really do anything with it, it just gives you hit points and one save. Strength and con are also thematically linked, strong people tend to be tough too. And I'm not even sure it would be super imbalanced, at least if we compare it to what dexterity can do.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Strength and con are also thematically linked, strong people tend to be tough too. And I'm not even sure it would be super imbalanced, at least if we compare it to what dexterity can do.

Does it make those two even more head and shoulders above all the rest though for anything involving combat?
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
So, we want 3 and 3. We have power, finesse, and toughness. Things could be moved around the three to make them more important.

I'm going to ignore offensive power for a moment. That's important, because str doesn't matter offensively to a sorcerer. If we want to make the stats all matter more, they have to matter to everyone. Classes are going to have preferred high stats and that's ok, as long as they have better incentives to have the other stats high.

So Str grants carrying capacity, improves speed with heavy armor, str saves (common, but not usually tied to spells, mostly resisting grabs and pushed and prones), and is tied to Athletics.

Dex grants AC (that is limited by medium and heavy armor), Dex saves, and Acrobatics, Sleight of Hand, and stealth, and is likely to be used with some tools.

Con grants HP, Con saves, and some really rare con checks or counters measured in Con rounds.

I think one thing that can be done is clear deliniation between what is an acrobatics check and what is am athletics check. Backflips sound like acrobatics, but you still need to be strong.

When I go with a heavily armored character, I feel it when I have a low Dex. High Dex characters often get away with having a low Str, so making them feel it is important. I end up using lots of Str saves, and athletics checks come up a lot in my games. I also don't allow acrobatics for things that I feel are athletics.
 


Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
Does it make those two even more head and shoulders above all the rest though for anything involving combat?

Yes, warriors are strong.

Pathfinder 2 offers a suggestion. Merge Str and Con, split Dex into Agility and Dexterity. If Str was HP and Strength stuff (which fits to me, archetypical tough characters are usually strong too), I think you'd see more people willing to take a lower score because they don't feel like it applies.

The issue then becomes Agility could be easily ignored by heavy armor characters. But at least they'd feel the Agility saves being low.

Making sure Dex is important could be tough too.

It's tough all around.
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Yes, warriors are strong.

Pathfinder 2 offers a suggestion. Merge Str and Con, split Dex into Agility and Dexterity. If Str was HP and Strength stuff (which fits to me, archetypical tough characters are usually strong too), I think you'd see more people willing to take a lower score because they don't feel like it applies.

The issue then becomes Agility could be easily ignored by heavy armor characters. But at least they'd feel the Agility saves being low.

Making sure Dex is important could be tough too.

It's tough all around.

Is Str still the one that does to-hit and damage bonus? Or does Dex do that too for some weapons? Or is that level and class determined?
 

Rabulias

Adventurer
Constitution and Strength overlap in many ways, but there are many creatures that are small (low Strength) but hardy (high Constitution), like rats.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
One thing in the current rule framework I have seriously considered is merging strength and constitution. Con is super boring stat, you never really do anything with it, it just gives you hit points and one save. Strength and con are also thematically linked, strong people tend to be tough too. And I'm not even sure it would be super imbalanced, at least if we compare it to what dexterity can do.

Con is boring because a lot of the design teams for D&D did not place active use of it in the game. Many just shifted it to a saving throw then tagged everything physically disables to it.

Most chase scenes should be opposed Con checks with the faster one having a bonus.
The exertion of long combat is waved of.
And for a game that uses taverns often, opposing Con check drinking and eating contests don't happen enough.
Glass cannon warriors (high Str low Con) and tough tanks (low Str high Con) enemies aren't used enough.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
I've played a lot of game where 8-10 ability scores are the norm, one as many as 12.

A fair number of people are in favor of combing STR and CON into one "super" stat like DEX is. So, I see no harm in spliting DEX into two scores, Agility (AGL) and Quickness (QCK) or something similar.

In a game where armor provides DR instead of a metaphysical AC bonus, DEX should in used on all attack rolls (with my suggestion, AGL) and then QCK would be used for defense. STR would be used for damage, and CON would be used to take damage (via HP or whatever).

Renaming some things I would end up with:

Agility (AGL) - bonus to attack rolls, includes hand-eye coordination and balance
Power (POW) - bonus to damage, include encumbrance capacity and raw force
Quickness (QCK) - bonus to "AC"/defense, includes reaction time and speed
Stamina (STA) - bonus to "HP", includes health and resistance, endurance, ability to overcome pain.

Mentally, a lot of players have issue with the seeming blend between INT and WIS when it comes to things just as Investigation and Perception. So, I think you might be able to shift some of the focus maybe. There is also the issue there are a lot of facets when it comes to the wide range of things mental ability scores have to cover, so IMO much harder to differentiate. I like symmetry (if it makes sense), would try to find 4 comparable mental scores:

Mental Agility - something like creativity, imagination, "out-of-the-box" thinking, etc.
Mental Power - something like aptitude, knowledge, reasoning, etc.
Mental Quickness - something like cunning, cleverness, wit, etc.
Mental Stamina - something like resolve, determination, etc.

IMO, things like Perception deals a lot with your senses and have less to do with your mental abilities than your genetic make-up. Many people require glasses due to poor-eye, so they simply don't see things others do. This has nothing to due with their intelligence or wisdom. Likewise, people who are hearing-impaired would have a lower perception possibly, but this don't reflect on their mental ability at all.
 
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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I've played a lot of game where 8-10 ability scores are the norm, one as many as 12.

A fair number of people are in favor of combing STR and CON into one "super" stat like DEX is. So, I see no harm in spliting DEX into two scores, Agility (AGL) and Quickness (QCK) or something similar.

In a game where armor provides DR instead of a metaphysical AC bonus, DEX should in used on all attack rolls (with my suggestion, AGL) and then QCK would be used for defense. STR would be used for damage, and CON would be used to take damage (via HP or whatever).

Renaming some things I would end up with:

Agility (AGL) - bonus to attack rolls, includes hand-eye coordination and balance
Power (POW) - bonus to damage, include encumbrance capacity and raw force
Quickness (QCK) - bonus to "AC"/defense, includes reaction time and speed
Stamina (STA) - bonus to "HP", includes health and resistance, endurance, ability to overcome pain.

Your physical ones were what I was thinking if there was DR (except I'd keep the D&D names for familiarity for 3 of them). Do you have a favorite d20 version of DR that that worked well? (Or one that you could port over easily if not). The one in PF apparently go complaints when I looked it up, but some of that was about scaling, and I'm looking for an e6/e8 game.

Mentally, a lot of players have issue with the seeming blend between INT and WIS when it comes to things just as Investigation and Perception. So, I think you might be able to shift some of the focus maybe. There is also the issue there are a lot of facets when it comes to the wide range of things mental ability scores have to cover, so IMO much harder to differentiate. I like symmetry (if it makes sense), would try to find 4 comparable mental scores:

Mental Agility - something like creativity, imagination, "out-of-the-box" thinking, etc.
Mental Power - something like aptitude, knowledge, reasoning, etc.
Mental Quickness - something like cunning, cleverness, wit, etc.
Mental Stamina - something like resolve, determination, etc.

IMO, thinks like Perception deals a lot with your senses and have less to do with your mental abilities than your genetic make-up. Many people require glasses due to poor-eye, so they simply don't see things others do. This has nothing to due with their intelligence or wisdom. Likewise, people who are hearing-impaired would have a lower perception possibly, but this don't reflect on their mental ability at all.

For the mental I'm not sure I need that much symmetry (in that they're all technically mental and line up with the physical ones). And I wonder sometimes about some of the mental ones making some of the things hard to RP well. Does the lower mental agility/quickness paper have to stay out of the room for a bit or penalize themselves if the party is working on a riddle or puzzle? Does that need to be a stat? And then it feels like something for general insight and force of personality might fit.

I was pondering something like your Mental Power and Mental Stamina, but then Perception/Insight and Charisma. The question then is if there are enough classes/abilities/skills that ke off of each of them.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I've played a lot of game where 8-10 ability scores are the norm, one as many as 12.

A fair number of people are in favor of combing STR and CON into one "super" stat like DEX is. So, I see no harm in spliting DEX into two scores, Agility (AGL) and Quickness (QCK) or something similar.

In a game where armor provides DR instead of a metaphysical AC bonus, DEX should in used on all attack rolls (with my suggestion, AGL) and then QCK would be used for defense. STR would be used for damage, and CON would be used to take damage (via HP or whatever).

Renaming some things I would end up with:

Agility (AGL) - bonus to attack rolls, includes hand-eye coordination and balance
Power (POW) - bonus to damage, include encumbrance capacity and raw force
Quickness (QCK) - bonus to "AC"/defense, includes reaction time and speed
Stamina (STA) - bonus to "HP", includes health and resistance, endurance, ability to overcome pain.

Mentally, a lot of players have issue with the seeming blend between INT and WIS when it comes to things just as Investigation and Perception. So, I think you might be able to shift some of the focus maybe. There is also the issue there are a lot of facets when it comes to the wide range of things mental ability scores have to cover, so IMO much harder to differentiate. I like symmetry (if it makes sense), would try to find 4 comparable mental scores:

Mental Agility - something like creativity, imagination, "out-of-the-box" thinking, etc.
Mental Power - something like aptitude, knowledge, reasoning, etc.
Mental Quickness - something like cunning, cleverness, wit, etc.
Mental Stamina - something like resolve, determination, etc.

IMO, thinks like Perception deals a lot with your senses and have less to do with your mental abilities than your genetic make-up. Many people require glasses due to poor-eye, so they simply don't see things others do. This has nothing to due with their intelligence or wisdom. Likewise, people who are hearing-impaired would have a lower perception possibly, but this don't reflect on their mental ability at all.

I was always a fan of Input Processing Output Health if D&D went 8 stats

Input is your mental or physical ability to take in information
Health is your mental or physical ability to absorb damage
Processing is your mental or physical speed
Output is your mental or physical ability to exert force

Perception
  • Physical Input
  • Initiative bonus
  • Bonus to hit with bows, crossbows and light melee weapons
  • Bonus to damage with crossbows
Constitution
  • Physical Health
  • Bonus to HP
Dexterity
  • Physical Processing
  • Bonus to hit with thrown weapons and slings
  • Bonus to damage with light melee weapons and slings
Strength
  • Physical Output
  • Bonus to hit with heavy melee weapons
  • Bonus to damage with bows, heavy and thrown weapons

Awareness
  • Mental Input
  • Initiative bonus
  • Bonus to counterspell or dispell
Wisdom
  • Mental Health
  • Number of active Concentration spells
Intelligence
  • Mental Processing
  • Bonus to spell attack
  • Max number of metamagics
Charisma
  • Mental Output
  • Save DCs

It'll never happen tho
 

Yardiff

Adventurer
At one point in D&D they had the option for 12 ability score but of hand cant remember if that was Unearth Arcana or Skills and Powers. Maybe look at what they were trying and see if that helps any.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
Your physical ones were what I was thinking if there was DR (except I'd keep the D&D names for familiarity for 3 of them). Do you have a favorite d20 version of DR that that worked well? (Or one that you could port over easily if not). The one in PF apparently go complaints when I looked it up, but some of that was about scaling, and I'm looking for an e6/e8 game.
The simplest rule I've come up with for people who want DR in 5E is this:

Half of the AC bonus (round up) stays to AC, the other half (round down) goes to DR.
So, half-place (AC 15) is a +5 bonus, half (up) is +3, giving it a new AC 13. The other half (down) is 2, giving it 2 points of DR.
Plate mail (AC 18) is a +8 bonus, so splits evenly +4/4 giving AC 14 and DR 4.

For the mental I'm not sure I need that much symmetry (in that they're all technically mental and line up with the physical ones). And I wonder sometimes about some of the mental ones making some of the things hard to RP well. Does the lower mental agility/quickness paper have to stay out of the room for a bit or penalize themselves if the party is working on a riddle or puzzle? Does that need to be a stat? And then it feels like something for general insight and force of personality might fit.
Yes, mental scores are much more of a bust IMO. You can have guys with average smarts with a Wizard with INT 18, and simply can't solve a puzzle their PC could... so, as DM, I let them roll, and if they roll well I give the player a "hint" to help them solve the puzzle/riddle/etc. Same thing when you have a quiet player but their PC has CHA 20 with social skills. They just have a hard time role-playing the PC.

In that way, I think that the mental scores should be replaced more with skills or traits or such that more represent what their PCs can do with their mental ability.

I was pondering something like your Mental Power and Mental Stamina, but then Perception/Insight and Charisma. The question then is if there are enough classes/abilities/skills that ke off of each of them.
The real issue with things like this is there are just so many things that a game designer is trying to cram into 3-4 attributes. So, yes, there are more than enough to key off of each IMO, the hard part is defining them really well.
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
At one point in D&D they had the option for 12 ability score but of hand cant remember if that was Unearth Arcana or Skills and Powers. Maybe look at what they were trying and see if that helps any.

That was 2e skills and powers.

Strength -> Stamina (carrying capacity) and Muscle (to hit, dmg, press)
Dexterity -> Aim (missile, pick pocket, open locks) and Balance (initiative, defense, stealth, climb)
Constitution -> Health (system shock, poision save) and Fitness (hit points, ressurrection)
Intelligence -> Reason (spells level and max spells) and Knowledge (bonus profs, learn spells)
Wisdom -> Intuition (bonus spells) and Willpower (magic defense)
Charisma-> Leadership (loyalty and henchmen) and Appearance (reaction adjustment)

Aim and Balance helped solidify my thinking on Dexterity a little. Some of the others (Str, Con, and Chr) helped convince me they weren't worth splitting.
 


dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
My favorite system split the PC into three broad categories: Body, Mind, Soul; with each category having three ability scores:

BODY (BOD; Power, Reflexes, Stamina)
MIND (MND; Aptitude, Reason, Retention)
SPIRIT (SPR; Faith, Intuition, Willpower)

Now, each of these ability scores "combined" to form three broad secondary categories:

PRESENCE (PRS; Power, Aptitude, Faith)
REACTION (REC; Reflexes, Reason, Intuition)
RESOLVE (RES; Stamina, Retention, Willpower)

So, you ended up with a grid:

1600648743872.png


Of course, it is one I came up with. ;)
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
The simplest rule I've come up with for people who want DR in 5E is this:

Half of the AC bonus (round up) stays to AC, the other half (round down) goes to DR.
So, half-place (AC 15) is a +5 bonus, half (up) is +3, giving it a new AC 13. The other half (down) is 2, giving it 2 points of DR.
Plate mail (AC 18) is a +8 bonus, so splits evenly +4/4 giving AC 14 and DR 4.

I hadn't seen something like that before. That's nice.

Yes, mental scores are much more of a bust IMO. You can have guys with average smarts with a Wizard with INT 18, and simply can't solve a puzzle their PC could... so, as DM, I let them roll, and if they roll well I give the player a "hint" to help them solve the puzzle/riddle/etc. Same thing when you have a quiet player but their PC has CHA 20 with social skills. They just have a hard time role-playing the PC.

In that way, I think that the mental scores should be replaced more with skills or traits or such that more represent what their PCs can do with their mental ability.

Does the game need an "smarts" to run? Or just something about how much knowledge the character can have in their brain for memorizing spells and knowledge checks? If it was just "memory" instead of "intelligence" would we lose folks playing someone super smart or super not? Is that bad? (For puzzles, is that just something the DM should aim at the level of the actual players smarts? )

For your Cha remark, I'm picturing some books where the main character is aghast that someone elses pick-up line with bad delivery actually works. Or folks thinking about politicians on the other side. Or other people with great lines where it just doesn't work.

The real issue with things like this is there are just so many things that a game designer is trying to cram into 3-4 attributes. So, yes, there are more than enough to key off of each IMO, the hard part is defining them really well.

And then making sure the definitions that make sense are balanced...
 

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