D&D 5E D&D Next Ability Scores

Ability scores in D&D Next (see definitions below)

  • Fixed

    Votes: 39 30.0%
  • Upgrade, capped

    Votes: 26 20.0%
  • Upgrade, uncapped

    Votes: 6 4.6%
  • Scaled, capped

    Votes: 12 9.2%
  • Scaled, uncapped

    Votes: 6 4.6%
  • Dynamic, capped

    Votes: 15 11.5%
  • Dynamic, uncapped

    Votes: 17 13.1%
  • Something else

    Votes: 7 5.4%
  • I do not wish to participate

    Votes: 2 1.5%


Limit Break Dancing
Changing basic rules like that won't entertain a wider range of playstyles, just a different range; as for every new playstyle the game takes in it'll leave one (or more) behind.

What would be the point?
Agreed. I'd XP you if I could, Lanefan. Apparently I need to spread some love...
[MENTION=65726]Mengu[/MENTION], If they are "just numbers on paper," what difference does it make if the number is 3-18 or 1-100?

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I'd like a game where ability scores change dynamically over time, but are still overall capped. Ideally, a game where you could train your strength, for example, to become stronger - as you grow levels, you can get a net gain, but there are limitations, and at some points, you need to make trade-offs, like reducing another stat.

But if I can't have that, just having fixed ability scores -set once, determined by a "fair" system they stay where they are.

I definitely do not want ability scores to be changed by spells or magic items.


I don't really care, as long as the math works.

In a philosophical sense, when I think of leveling up, I think "I become stronger," "I become more agile," etc., so it would be cool to see a system that does that, but I totally like the flatter math angle, so I support the way they're doing it now.

When I think of potions of strength and whatnot, I think "this potion makes me stronger," "that spell makes me less intelligent," so I'm all for having those change your ability scores. However, we've seen that there are problems with that approach. If we can minimize those problems, I'd love to see ability-changing spells and items. If not, I guess not.

It would be great if the game didn't have to artificially cap ability scores, but if it's the best way to prevent degenerate gameplay, then sure.


First Post
[MENTION=65726]Mengu[/MENTION], If they are "just numbers on paper," what difference does it make if the number is 3-18 or 1-100?

None for play style. That's my point. It may however change the game model, probability distributions, options, complexity, etc. A system with stats ranging from 0-5 could be a lot simpler than 3-18, and 1-100 might be much more granular and complex. None of them are inherently better or worse per se, just different, and may lead to different mechanical aspects.

I'm not saying they should change stat ranges or anything (though I see simplification as a good thing if they went from 8-18 to 0-5), but maybe how they interact with the game. For instance, I see no problem divorcing attack bonuses from stats. I feel it would improve the character design process and balance. But too many sacred cows would moo. So they won't even entertain the idea. How do you improve a system without making changes? What's the point of a new edition if they can't break a few molds?

Something else: Point-buy or array.

After that, static or scaling would be fine. But, under 'bounded accuracy' having ability score increases possible depending on happenstance (who drinks from the magic pool of gets to use the Tome of Clear Thought or flips the right toggle on the Machine of Lum the Mad) probably isn't a great idea.


First Post
Upgrade, fixed is my opinion. Use a feat, "improve ability" increases one ability score one point. Usable at "X" level. Cannot stack with the same ability but can use a feat for each ability score, so that's six feats total.


Victoria Rules
As long as ability scores are bought with points, not rolled.
Tony Vargas said:
Something else: Point-buy or array.

With these you're reducing the range - instead of 3-18 it effectively becomes 8-18. You're also reducing the realism...

We roll for stats, have done since time immemorial, and - somewhat amazingly - have used pretty much the same roll-up system all the way through; giving consistent data. A while back, just for kicks, I dug out a whole bunch of character sheets - 80 or so who had done very well and another 80 or so who hadn't lasted very long, as a control group - and ran the numbers to see whether having high or low stats at roll-up made a great difference to expected career length measured by number of adventures.

There was a difference. A small difference. Small enough that it could have been entirely accounted for by the natural tendency of some players to look at low-stat characters as throwaways and not play them as seriously. (needless to say I didn't have data for this!)

I've seen characters whose lowest rolled stat was 15 (!) die in their first adventure; I've seen characters with very average stats last an amazingly long time. Death is a random mistress, misfortune is a fickle master; and both can strike at the best and worst of characters at any time.

To sum up: I say roll 'em - it makes little to no difference in the long run anyway and it's much more fun at the time. :)

Lan-"for a more entertaining game, insist that all non-Clerics put their dump stat in Wisdom"-efan


First Post
I picked "scaled, uncapped." From a pure fluff perspective, I find it silly to think that my level 1 barbarian is exactly as physically strong as my level 20 barbarian, and I think it's gamist hand-waving to say that the level 20 guy has learned to do 10x the damage with, say, a great maul and NOT gained a single pound of muscle in the process.

This is especially true since apparently in 5e they're getting rid of a lot of 3e's incremental increases (skill points, fort/ref/will save bonuses, BAB) along with 4e's blanket "add half your level to everything" bonus.

In other words, 5e is taking steps to make ability scores more important, and that being the case, it would be disappointing if they never increased.

Li Shenron

I have to go with "fixed".

I'm all for options too, but the default should be no options, i.e. give options in the hands of the DM so that the game doesn't assume them.


First Post
I have to go with "fixed".

I'm all for options too, but the default should be no options, i.e. give options in the hands of the DM so that the game doesn't assume them.
And exactly how are you supposed to do that without breaking the math? Only scaled and fixed are mathematically sound.

Lord Pendragon

First Post
I like the concept of players being able to increase their ability scores. Perhaps 5 times between levels 1 and 20 is a bit much (I might go for say, 3 benchmarks,) but I have no problem with the rigors of adventuring allowing the PCs to have gotten stronger or smarter than the average townie.

And beyond that the only way to improve one's ability scores is magic, which can do anything. ;)


I said "Upgrade, capped".

I almost said "Fixed", people can work out, study, etc. and improve themselves in a fundamental way, in real life. It's had to accept absolutely static score because of that.

I really hate the stat bloat that's happened in 3e and later, though. Stat changes should be a rare thing, though. Not every character should have them and never by more than a point or two (cap at +2, total, over the life of the character). You also shouldn't be able to exceed racial limits -- that's why they're called limits. People who start maxed out have already done the perfect workout routine (or whatever) that allowed the other guy to increase his.

Spells to raise stats should not be particularly common or standard issue, but they do make sense. Maybe move them up to 4th level spells giving a +2 and requiring higher slots for higher stats (hmm... meteor swarm or +4 str?).

Wishes and other extreme events are an exception, but they should be just that -- extreme.

Elf Witch

First Post
I don't want fixed or capped.

Part of the fun is getting to improve your character. If I want to play a human with an Einstein IQ why shouldn't I be able to play that.

I don't mind caps on physical stats based on race maybe an elf can not be stronger than say an 18 but I don't want to see caps on intelligence, charisma or wisdom of course doing that gives an edge to the classes that have those as primary attributes.

I also like rolling over point buy which IMO gives bland cookie cutter characters and limits ever having really fantastic characters or characters with lower scores.

One of my favorite character has a 5 in wisdom and he was a blast to play he was always running into combat and just did not have much common sense.

One of the great joys of character creation for me is picking up that dice and rolling and then using the dice rolls to help me decide what I want to play. I also use the stats to help me design a background. The 5 wisdom guy had a 17 intelligence. So I decided that he grew up very sheltered and ad no clue just how dangerous the world was.

When I am forced to do point buy I find a lot of the enjoyment just taken away.


First Post
Maybe like the +X item deal, if the DM so chooses, you might be able to bump a stat (or more, etc).
And neither of those is very balanced. If +X items exist at any level commonality even remotely similar to prior editions of D&D, they have to be built into the math or it will break. Stat increases that may or may not happen are in the same category.


I'm for raising ALL ability scores periodically in lieu of attack bonuses, saves, etc.

The taciturn fighter should be more charismatic at 20th level then he was 1st.

Epic Threats

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