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Homebrew Ability Score Rebalancing

dnd4vr

Explorer
I wanted to add - penalizing a language when negative INT or extra languages when high int isn’t going to change whether someone dumps int or not

it might make a few go to 10 int instead of 8. But then they are just putting the 8 in str or cha or wisdom or dex.
True. No matter what priorities you assign to different ability scores, certain classes will nearly always favor dumping into particular ability scores. If you want to be good in fighting, you will favor physical stats, if you want to be good in social, you'll favor the mental ones, if you want to be good at exploration, you'll likely favor a balance IMO.

But other than for role-playing, you'll rarely find a super-smart fighter, with something like STR 12, DEX 12, CON 10, INT 17, WIS 14, CHR 12. That is why for experienced players, I prefer rolling scores and doing so IN ORDER. You play what you get. If you want a fighter, play a smart and wise fighter. Or maybe play an intelligent battle-priest?
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
Nit it to mention when you try to buff a stat it essential gives any class that relays on that stat as a primary a huge buff as well

True. No matter what priorities you assign to different ability scores, certain classes will nearly always favor dumping into particular ability scores. If you want to be good in fighting, you will favor physical stats, if you want to be good in social, you'll favor the mental ones, if you want to be good at exploration, you'll likely favor a balance IMO.

But other than for role-playing, you'll rarely find a super-smart fighter, with something like STR 12, DEX 12, CON 10, INT 17, WIS 14, CHR 12. That is why for experienced players, I prefer rolling scores and doing so IN ORDER. You play what you get. If you want a fighter, play a smart and wise fighter. Or maybe play an intelligent battle-priest?
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
Nit it to mention when you try to buff a stat it essential gives any class that relays on that stat as a primary a huge buff as well

True. No matter what priorities you assign to different ability scores, certain classes will nearly always favor dumping into particular ability scores. If you want to be good in fighting, you will favor physical stats, if you want to be good in social, you'll favor the mental ones, if you want to be good at exploration, you'll likely favor a balance IMO.

But other than for role-playing, you'll rarely find a super-smart fighter, with something like STR 12, DEX 12, CON 10, INT 17, WIS 14, CHR 12. That is why for experienced players, I prefer rolling scores and doing so IN ORDER. You play what you get. If you want a fighter, play a smart and wise fighter. Or maybe play an intelligent battle-priest?
 

RhaezDaevan

Explorer
Intelligence bonus should give more tool proficiencies and/or languages.

Wisdom bonus could give "inherent insight" into their decision making. Each plus is used to ask the DM whether something will work, or if there's a suprise waiting for them if they attempt something, before committing to an action. Once used, they would be gone, though I could see a refresh at some point.

Charisma bonus could have worked with a reputation system, but lacking that, it could give free "favors" with NPCs that could be cashed in during the adventure. Probably only one use per plus, but perhaps they could refresh every few level-ups.

What comes to mind for the Wisdom and Charimsa benefits to refresh, is when proficiency bonus improves, but it would obviously need play testing to see if that's too powerful.

Please, someone take these ideas and run with them like a fun pair of scissors.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
True. No matter what priorities you assign to different ability scores, certain classes will nearly always favor dumping into particular ability scores. If you want to be good in fighting, you will favor physical stats, if you want to be good in social, you'll favor the mental ones, if you want to be good at exploration, you'll likely favor a balance IMO.

But other than for role-playing, you'll rarely find a super-smart fighter, with something like STR 12, DEX 12, CON 10, INT 17, WIS 14, CHR 12. That is why for experienced players, I prefer rolling scores and doing so IN ORDER. You play what you get. If you want a fighter, play a smart and wise fighter. Or maybe play an intelligent battle-priest?
I also wanted to say that you have found the only other workable solution to having fighters in 5e not dump int. Some variation of roll in order or mostly roll in order.

Maybe even a heres the standard array - roll a d6 to see what position on the array aligns with what stat.

Also swap 1 at the end is generally a good idea with such a method.

The only alternative is to is to make int based subclasses etc for all classes. Possibly even a few more int classes could help as you can’t dump int to multiclass into a class with int
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
One fun perk to give to int might be a deduction skill “Sherlock Holmes skill” where you can roll to see if you figured something out that you didn’t previously know based on what appears to everyone else to be unimportant information.
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
I also wanted to say that you have found the only other workable solution to having fighters in 5e not dump int. Some variation of roll in order or mostly roll in order.

Maybe even a heres the standard array - roll a d6 to see what position on the array aligns with what stat.

Also swap 1 at the end is generally a good idea with such a method.

The only alternative is to is to make int based subclasses etc for all classes. Possibly even a few more int classes could help as you can’t dump int to multiclass into a class with int
When I do use rolling in order, I generally allow 7 rolls and the player can remove one. The rest shift positions to fill up the gap.

Sometimes I allow players to subtract up to 3 points from one stat to add the same number to another.

For example: 13, 7, 15, 11, 10, 12, 16

The player removes the 7 and would have 13, 15, 11, 10, 12, 16.

If you add the second option, he might remove 3 from the 16 and add it to the 11, resulting in 13, 15, 14, 10, 12, 13.

Would make a nice character IMO. Oddly enough, the 10 ended up in INT LOL! :)
 

Yaarel

Explorer
The absent minded professor springs to mind
The absent minded professor is misunderstood. Its not that they cant keep track of social events or clothing fashions, its that they dont care. They are busy doing other things that are more interesting to them.

In any case, they have high skill bonuses, not necessarily high ability bonuses.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Pointing out checking on who will benefit from added abilities is a good way to make sure it isn't powering up the wrong characters.

But, the big point is to make it so characters feel having a low stat, and to carefully consider which stat they dump.

Intelligence feels like the stat that is easiest to dump because the skills it is associated with are very active and they're very party wide. You only need one person to make that investigation or arcana check.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
The absent minded professor is misunderstood. Its not that they cant keep track of social events
I would say that’s exactly what it is - that such a person can't keep track of social events

or clothing fashions, its that they dont care.
now you are just explaining why they can’t do those things.

They are busy doing other things that are more interesting to them.
yes, that’s why we call them absent minded. That’s why they can’t keep track of social events or fashions.

More importantly though, absent minded isn’t so much about not keeping track of fashion or social events. Absent minded is a marked distractedness from what is currently going on around you. Typically because you are very focused on something you find more important or interesting. That’s absent minded. Such a character is inherently not perceptive - not aware of their surroundings.

In any case, they have high skill bonuses, not necessarily high ability bonuses.
That’s not true in the case of their perception - which is what my comment about the absent minded professor was actually about - someone proposed changing perception to be an int skill and I was explaining why that doesn’t make sense
 
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FrogReaver

Explorer
Pointing out checking on who will benefit from added abilities is a good way to make sure it isn't powering up the wrong characters.
It's also a good way to introduce the general principle that increasing the benefit of any single attribute buffs any class that naturally increases that ability score anyways and to a much greater degree than the characters that dump the stat will feel any such changes you make (unless you just explicitly target the negative modifiers, but then getting the stat to 10 instead of 8 is the new stat dump...)

But, the big point is to make it so characters feel having a low stat, and to carefully consider which stat they dump.
Why though? D&D is a class based game where each class is primarily defined by a small subset of ability scores. Any ability score that isn't one of your primary 3 (or 2 for some classes) is always going to be worse for a given class than one of it's primary ability scores. I mean - Even the "god-stat" dexterity gets dumped on strength based characters with heavy armor. When's the last time you seen the plate wearing PC sporting more than 8 dexterity (10 at the most)? I don't think I've ever seen that happen and dex is arguably the best combat stat in the game.

So getting back to the question - why do you have a problem with a non-int based PC dumping INT? Do you also have a problem with a plate wearing strength character dumping dexterity? Do you also have a problem with the wizard dumping strength?

Intelligence feels like the stat that is easiest to dump because the skills it is associated with are very active and they're very party wide. You only need one person to make that investigation or arcana check.
Or maybe, just maybe - The biggest reasons you see intelligence dumped more are because
1) There's almost no useful multiclass combinations for it - which is one of the biggest drivers for people to take cha, dex, str or wis to 13 (which would be considered not dumping.
2) Your players find cha skills, dex skills and wisdom skills more fun.


I guess my biggest piece of advice, when it comes to avoiding ability scores dumping (if you still find it a worthy goal after some self reflection):
1. Change how you DM skills related to the stat in game
2. Change how characters are created - possibly change to rolling - try lowering character creation ability score maximums - for example you want smarter fighters then make 14 the new starting out 16 - that means 13 is your pre racial stat cap - try adjusting point buy such that buying 14's and 15's costs more than it currently does.
 

Yaarel

Explorer
I would say that’s exactly what it is - that such a person can't keep track of social events



now you are just explaining why they can’t do those things.



yes, that’s why we call them absent minded. That’s why they can’t keep track of social events or fashions.

More importantly though, absent minded isn’t so much about not keeping track of fashion or social events. Absent minded is a marked distractedness from what is currently going on around you. Typically because you are very focused on something you find more important or interesting. That’s absent minded. Such a character is inherently not perceptive - not aware of their surroundings.



That’s not true in the case of their perception - which is what my comment about the absent minded professor was actually about - someone proposed changing perception to be an int skill and I was explaining why that doesn’t make sense
If someone is autistic, then that is something different. It is more like a flaw, a skill disadvantage, a penalty, or a disease, depending on the variety.



Normal distractedness − such as missing the exit off a highway because of being engrossed in a conversation − is precisely because the mind is ‘elsewhere’. People CAN pay attention to an upcoming exit. But they chose not to by doing something else.

Paying attention requires paying attention. Paying more attention to one thing comes at a cost of paying less attention to an other thing.



The six abilities fail anyway because Wisdom falsely correlates heightened senses and willpower.
 
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FrogReaver

Explorer
If someone is autistic, then that is something different. It is more like a flaw, or a disease. Something like disadvantage on perception checks.
I'm not talking about autism. I'm talking about absent mindedness. If you don't understand the difference then we might as well not even have that conversation


The six abilities fail anyway because Wisdom falsely correlates sensory attention and willpower.
There's no perfect ability score number. There's always something that will be left out. There's always something that will have to get mapped somewhere that isn't quite correct. For example your desire to have perception linked to intelligence undermines the whole absent minded professor concept. Wisdom is a much better place for int than that skill even though neither are perfectly in tune with it.

IMO, I would change wisdom to perception if I were to change it.
 

Yaarel

Explorer
Paying attention has more to do with concentration mechanic. Somethings require concentration, and really that might mean disadvantage in whatever one isnt paying attention to.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
Paying attention has more to do with concentration mechanic.
No. You are confusing the name of the mechanic with what it does. If the concentration mechanic intended you to concentrate on the spell to the detriment of your senses then such a thing would have been spelled out in the rules.

Somethings require concentration, and really that might mean disadvantage in whatever one isnt paying attention to.
Sure. But I'm not talking about someone who was distracted just this once and then is fine. That's not absent mindedness. Absent mindedness is when that state is typical for an individual, not an exception that happens occasionally.

If you want to model temporary concentration impacting senses then disadvantage works good. So does not allowing a skill check in the first place. Neither of those mechanically model absent mindedness if intelligence measures perception of your surroundings.
 

Yaarel

Explorer
With regard to REALLIFE absentedminded professors, they really dont care about the things that the majority of people care about.

The absentedminded person would RATHER spend their time thinking about math problems in their head (or whatever problem they find interested), without any attention to what shoes people are wearing or whose birthday it is. They just dont care. In their ideal world, everyone else would also care about the math that they are doing, so they could talk about it socially, and solve problems together.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
With regard to REALLIFE absentedminded professors, they really dont care about the things that the majority of people care about.

The absentedminded person would RATHER spend their time thinking about math problems in their head (or whatever problem they find interested), without any attention to what shoes people are wearing or whose birthday it is. They just dont care. In their ideal world, everyone else would also care about the math that they are doing, so they could talk about it socially, and solve problems together.
...and that makes them very unaware of their surroundings - ie extremely low perception all the time.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
Absentmindedness is a reallife neurological phenomenon that D&D lacks a way to accurately represent.
low perception and low attribute associate with perception. Now you can play absentminded and have the mechanics back you up.

-That is, you have created a mechanical reality and you are using the fluff of absentmindedness to explain the mechanics.
 
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Yaarel

Explorer
Focus is something that any human can normally do.

Whether it is focusing on hitting a baseball with a bat, or solving a math problem, or concentrating on watching a movie. While focusing, the rest of the world shuts out.

To mechanically represent focus, it something like an action that allows a skill check with advantage, while all other unrelated skill checks are at a disadvantage. Probably, focus should additionally require the concentration mechanic, in the sense that it is possible to interrupt someones focus.

Something like that. Focus is normal and routine. At least for humans.
 

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