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Character experiment

tglassy

Adventurer
The following is for DND 5e, but other games that use such stats could be included.

If you were allowed to take an 18 on any stat you wanted, at lvl 1, but had to take a 3 in another stat to compensate, which ability scores would you raise, and which would you dump? And what would that look like? Give me some character examples!
 

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aco175

Legend
I tend to play thieves, so 18 DEX and 3 STR or WIS. Planning for the 3 required more though than I thought. I also needed to think about race and if I want a 1/2 orc and end up with a 5 STR instead.
 

Chryssis

Explorer
would be almost completely dependant upon the class:

Wizard 18int 3str/cha
Sorcerer/warlock 18cha 3 int
bard 18 cha 3 str
Fighter/barbarian 18str or dex, 3 int/cha
ranger/monk 18dex 3 cha

all are pretty tropey, ie the weakling bookworm wizard, or crotechty old wizard, dumb fighter, surly dwarf, misanthrope ranger/monk, dandy bard.
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
18 - whatever classes primary stat is.
3 - charisma (unless playing a bard,warlock or sorcerer - then str and pick dragonborn race to help compensate)
 

tglassy

Adventurer
Stats mean more than just having a -4. They’re supposed to represent something about your character. 10 is supposed to be the average person. To make things more clear, let’s go by this chart, which I have shortened to only the relevant numbers:


Strength
2-3 (–4): Needs help to stand, can be knocked over by strong breezes

10-11 (0): Can literally pull their own weight

18-19 (4): Can break objects like wood with bare hands

Dexterity
2-3 (–4): Incapable of moving without noticeable effort or pain

10-11 (0): Capable of usually catching a small tossed object

18-19 (4): Light on feet, able to often hit small moving targets

Constitution
2-3 (–4): Frail, suffers frequent broken bones

10-11 (0): Occasionally contracts mild sicknesses

18-19 (4): Able to stay awake for days on end


Intelligence
2-3 (–4): Barely able to function, very limited speech and knowledge

10-11 (0): Knows what they need to know to get by

18-19 (4): Very intelligent, may invent new processes or uses for knowledge


Wisdom
2-3 (–4): Rarely notices important or prominent items, people, or occurrences

10-11 (0): Makes reasoned decisions most of the time

18-19 (4): Often used as a source of wisdom or decider of actions

Charisma
2-3 (–4): Minimal independent thought, relies heavily on others to think instead

10-11 (0): Capable of polite conversation

18-19 (4): Immediately likeable by many people, subject of favorable talk
 


RogueJK

It's not "Rouge"... That's makeup.
Woah. My initial thought is I wouldn't take a 3, ever, for any reason.

Yep. No way.

Mechanically, a -4 modifier on any stat (even the least-relevant stat for your chosen class) is way too punitive to justify the extra +1 or so modifier on your primary stat over something like point buy, the standard array, or an average rolled stat array.

There's really no such thing as a true "dump stat" in 5E that you can afford to have a 3 in. Every character needs every stat at some point, not only because of all the various skill checks that could come into play, but especially because of the various ability saving throws for spells and effects. There are certainly stats that are less of a priority for each class, but I wouldn't want to have less than a -1 or -2 modifier to any stat on any character.


Besides, roleplaying-wise a 3 stat means that personal is basically profoundly handicapped in that aspect. This is well beyond just "noticeably bad at it". D&D Stats in Simple Language | DMing With Charisma has a nice breakdown of the correlation between stat numbers and actual manifestation. The descriptions for such a handicap of a 3 in a stat are as follows:

STR: Needs help to stand, can be knocked over by strong breezes; Knocked off balance by swinging something dense.
DEX: Incapable of moving without noticeable effort or pain; Visible paralysis or physical difficulty.
CON: Frail, suffers frequent broken bones; Bruises very easily, knocked out by a light punch.
INT: Barely able to function, very limited speech and knowledge; Often resorts to charades to express thoughts.
WIS: Rarely notices items, people, or occurrences; Incapable of forethought.
CHA: Minimal independent thought, relies heavily on others to think instead; Has trouble thinking of others as people.

So for example, a 7 or 8 INT means they're stupid or uneducated, whereas a 3 INT means they are practically non-verbal and barely capable of performing basic personal caretaking functions without assistance.

A 7 or 8 DEX or STR means they're clumsy or weak. A 3 DEX or STR means they are nearly bedridden.

So I can't foresee anyone with such a serious hindrance in one aspect of their life becoming an adventurer.
 
Last edited:

ccs

41st lv DM
So I can't foresee anyone with such a serious hindrance in one aspect of their life becoming an adventurer.

So you've got a limited imagination & have never heard of Bran Stark (Game of Thrones).
Bran is a great example of a -4 dex. And yet he's out there gaining druid lvs....

Then there's my own 1/2ling Warlock.
A real character that I've had quite a bit of fun playing for the past 5 years.
She's almost 11 years old. Her str stat is 7 (-2). But you know what? At not yet 3 ft tall & only half grown, theres not a whole lot of physical force coming off this one.... so i could just as easily see (and play) a -4 on her str rolls.

There's more to playing an actual character than just #s & powers.
Once you realize this, ALL kinds of characters become options.
 

My first thought is that a 3 wouldn't be allowed and wouldn't happen. With the standard array or point buy it isn't possible. I might allow players to trade over a point and leave a 7 before racial mods, but no final result less than 8 for a PC. That said, I went through a phase of playing high Con for different classes. I would say 18 Con for a Barbarian or Wizard and 3 for Wisdom on either.
 

tglassy

Adventurer
Y'all have made some good points, in that an 18 is fairly common and there's no reason to go as low as a 3. So Let's up the Anti a bit.

If you could get a guaranteed 20 on a stat at lvl 1, and be allowed to raise it up to 30 through ASI's or whatnot, but have to take a 3 in another stat, which stats would you use, what classes could you come up with, remembering what a 3 in a stat means.

For example, a Barbarian or Wizard with a 3 in Wisdom rarely even notices where they are, let alone other people. They have no perception, let alone insight.
 

Personally, I'd go with the same. RAW you can go beyond 20 eventually, but not with ASI unless you have a special ability that allows that. You could get a Magic Manual as a rare magic item that allows you to get to 22. And at 20th, the barbarian can get to 24, and epic boons can give 2 more. The wish spell could give you an increase too.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Y'all have made some good points, in that an 18 is fairly common and there's no reason to go as low as a 3. So Let's up the Anti a bit.

If you could get a guaranteed 20 on a stat at lvl 1, and be allowed to raise it up to 30 through ASI's or whatnot, but have to take a 3 in another stat, which stats would you use, what classes could you come up with, remembering what a 3 in a stat means.

For example, a Barbarian or Wizard with a 3 in Wisdom rarely even notices where they are, let alone other people. They have no perception, let alone insight.

Dex fighter. Dumb as a brick.
 

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