D&D 5E Ability Scores in 5e

ZombieRoboNinja

First Post
So now's probably as good a time as any to evaluate how the six ability scores play out in 5e.

First off, every class now has one big, primary stat. Unlike in 3e, 5e rogues can completely ignore Int and Str without missing out on skill points or damage. Rogues use Dex, Fighters choose Dex or Str, Wizards and Warlocks use Int, Sorcerers use Cha, Clerics use Wis.

The only minor exception here is the two "hybrid" builds - war clerics and draconic sorcerers - who have to balance Str for melee against Wis/Cha for casting.

So everyone maxes one stat, determined by their class and/or build. Beyond that, what do the six scores do, beyond the obvious "bend bars with Str"?

Strength: resist forced movement; break grapples/binding; melee attacks; carrying capacity

Dex: Initiative; AC; reflex-style saves; escaping grapple; lots of skills; ranged and finesse melee attacks

Con: HP, fort-style saves

Int: lore skills

Wis: will-style saves, Perception, Insight

Cha: social skills

So overall, Int and Cha are almost useless except for skills. Ironically, thanks to the new Skill Mastery changes (which I really dislike), that makes them COMPLETELY useless for a rogue trained in those skills. Wisdom is important for saves vs. almost every mental spell effect, but also for Perception, possibly the most universally important skill in the game.

Meanwhile, Dex is useful for anyone, and near essential for anyone who expects to be in combat without heavy armor. Con is, as always, everyone's second-most-important stat, just for the HP. Strength is situational; it might occasionally suck to miss a Strength save or check, but it's mostly optional.

What does this all add up to? Well, first off, min-maxing. Why should a rogue in a point-buy system have higher than a 6 in Int, Cha, or Str?

Personally, I think the Wis saves should be broken up further. The flavor text for the ability scores suggests that Int and Cha should sometimes be used to resist spells; how about Int is the save for illusion spells (to cleverly see through them)?

Second, initiative. IIRC, in 4e you could choose between Int and Dex for this one. Would there be a downside to this for 5e?

Third, roll back the Skill Mastery changes. A rogue with 8 Wis trained in Perception still has a minimum roll of 12 for that skill, which is pretty nice IMHO.

Beyond that, watch out for MAD in future classes. It makes sense that hybrid classes need two main stats, but more than that is probably overdoing it.

Any other thoughts/arguments/ideas?
 

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Bow_Seat

First Post
I don't see a problem with a 6 str/int/cha thief

I like int/dex for initiative

I like splitting up more will saves but I understand why they didn't (it makes wizards really powerful if they metagame)

rogue skill mastery needs to be lower (8 or 10 min before bonus)

being MAD with 2 stats isn't bad, though 3 is crippling.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Illisions being vs. Int wouldn't be a bad idea, nor would Charms/Compulsions vs. Charisma.

Like many things, the usefulness of an ability will strongly depend on the game being played. Charisma will be dump stat for hack'n'slash, and Strength would be for a Court intrigue-based game.
 

BobTheNob

First Post
I would actually speculate that Con is more important than ever before thanks to HP thresholds. Its not just damage capacity any more, its now also resist everything.

On another note, wasnt the intention that there was to be saves related to every stat. That yes, Int and Chr would both have saves and therefore not be dump stats? (Note : Havent scanned the docco's for affirmation of this).
 

jsaving

Adventurer
Ironically, thanks to the new Skill Mastery changes (which I really dislike), that makes them COMPLETELY useless for a rogue trained in those skills.
No irony here -- playtesters demanded this change because they felt rogues should be able to dump-stat INT/WIS/CHA and still do well at traditional thief skills. Like you, I thought it was a bad idea then and an even worse idea now, but it's very much a feature rather than a bug.
 

cmbarona

First Post
On another note, wasnt the intention that there was to be saves related to every stat. That yes, Int and Chr would both have saves and therefore not be dump stats? (Note : Havent scanned the docco's for affirmation of this).

I guess it depends on how you define "save." For the most part, people tend to use it to refer to the ability to resist a spell. In that context, I agree that the INT/illusion, CHA/charm idea is good. But it looks like they want to expand the idea of a save to incorporate any circumstance that gets you out of potential danger. Check out "How to Play." Under each ability, it lists possible situations that call for a save using that ability. And yes, spells or other "magical" effects are supposed to fall under INT and CHA. CHA specifically lists "magical compulsions" under its list of potential saves.

Some of this is just going to come down to DM styles, as unfortunate as that can potentially be. CHA exists as a dump stat because many DMs don't consider that an uncouth character can easily pull down the wrath of an unhinged or impatient noble, or other similar situation. I played the Game of Thrones RPG once, and they have an Intrigue system as a form of social combat; the idea is that a social interaction can be just as deadly as an armed encounter. Given the hack-and-slashiness of a lot of D&D groups, it was quite refreshing. I'd love to see D&D implement something similar, but the closest they've come is the skill challenges of 4e.
 

Bow_Seat

First Post
No irony here -- playtesters demanded this change because they felt rogues should be able to dump-stat INT/WIS/CHA and still do well at traditional thief skills. Like you, I thought it was a bad idea then and an even worse idea now, but it's very much a feature rather than a bug.


I for one think it's a necessary change since rogues would be 6xMAD if they had to actually have the stats to be good at their multitude of skills. And since the dev team has set up the rogue to be the "best at skills" he needs to be damn good with his skills.

Also, things like sneak, which is on of the rogues trademarks, requires a check even round when moving and scouting ahead. It's hard enough that he has to make it to cover each turn just to try and hide in the first place (not that this is unreasonable, form a logic standpoint). Also, if you are really being a stickler, then he needs to find a way to stay hidden during his entire movement if you look at the RAW for stealth. If the rogue had a serious (>10%) chance of failure on any one stealth check, having the rogue scout ahead would be suicide based just upon the idea that he would surely fail at least one roll on average and be spotted out by the monsters.
 

Bow_Seat

First Post
I guess it depends on how you define "save." For the most part, people tend to use it to refer to the ability to resist a spell. In that context, I agree that the INT/illusion, CHA/charm idea is good. But it looks like they want to expand the idea of a save to incorporate any circumstance that gets you out of potential danger. Check out "How to Play." Under each ability, it lists possible situations that call for a save using that ability. And yes, spells or other "magical" effects are supposed to fall under INT and CHA. CHA specifically lists "magical compulsions" under its list of potential saves.

Some of this is just going to come down to DM styles, as unfortunate as that can potentially be. CHA exists as a dump stat because many DMs don't consider that an uncouth character can easily pull down the wrath of an unhinged or impatient noble, or other similar situation. I played the Game of Thrones RPG once, and they have an Intrigue system as a form of social combat; the idea is that a social interaction can be just as deadly as an armed encounter. Given the hack-and-slashiness of a lot of D&D groups, it was quite refreshing. I'd love to see D&D implement something similar, but the closest they've come is the skill challenges of 4e.

if something is targeting your mental stats then it probably falls under one of the following categories for saves:

save with INT if you are being confused
int lets you follow patterns and think your way out of a maze/puzzle
save with WIS if you are being deceived
wis lets you perceive that you are being tricked or mislead
save with CHA if you are being controlled
cha lets you exert your own free will and presence of being
 


triqui

Adventurer
I agree that they should increase the number of save throws for non-classic saving stats. INT, CHA, and STR need to be checked much more.
 

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