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D&D 6E Decoupling Attributes to Race

Let's give it a whirl.

Make the attributes caps. Nothing more, nothing less.

I happen to think D&D is mostly about the exceptional, especially when discussing characters. So I would focus on the exceptional by using 3-18, and then include percents on the 18. This would visually represent strata for those in the upper tier; the Arnold from Halfthor, the MIT grad from Einstein, the good looking male model from Brad Pitt. Bonuses:
12-13 + 1, 14-15 + 2, 16-17 + 3, 18 = +4, 18 01/100 - 18 24/100 = +5, 18 26/100 - 50/100 = +6, 18 51/100 - 75/100 = +7, 18 76/100 - 18 99/100 = +8, 18 100/100 = +9
+ 9 is the max for any race. Other creatures can go to 25. For example, an elephant's strength.

Standard array could be: 18, 17, 16, 13, 12, 11 or 15, 15, 15, 15, 15, 15

Now, each attribute is attached to skills. Attack, HP, etc, all skills. The attachments look like this:
Strength: melee attack and athletics
Dexterity: range attacks and acrobatics
Constitution: HP and resist
Wisdom: spell attacks and arcana
Intelligence: languages, pick locks, disarm traps, investigate, and perception
Charisma: persuasion, intimidate, performance, deceive, and insight

Here is where it gets interesting. Roll 5d6 18 times. The more 5d8 is rolled the more it works out statistically average. So you forego many of the outliers from rolling it just 6 times. Or take a standard array which would include two 18's. Place those scores in your skills. So you can have your book smart fighter. You can make your skill monkey. Now, each race, class and background has three out of five skills to choose from. These increase it by +1. That is a lot of character customization and a lot of character build playing. (Percentages increase via tier. An 18 30/100 would jump to 18 51/100.) But, no matter what you place in, the bonus cannot be higher than the attribute cap. This prevents skewed 1st level characters. But it also means that you have the potential, your attribute is just not there yet. Think of the college recruiter seeing the lineman and thinking, with our weight training program this young man is going to be awesome.

Every level advancements offers a +1 to whatever you want, attribute or skill. For grittier play, every 2 levels. For heroic play, 2 per level. This means people could tap out one attribute and skill at 10th for regular play, 20th for grittier play, and 5th for heroic play. (The proficiency bonus via level is no longer needed in this design.)

Tool kits would be given via race, class and background as well. Tool kits would be used as common sense and expanded from 5e. Common sense, you have a climbing kit and are using it, you get advantage on your acrobatics check. Jumping out of the way of a dragon's breath, no. You carry around a pocket version of the Rosetta stone for runes in your pocket, take advantage. Need to decipher in three seconds, no. I would try to make a tool kit for most skills except attacks and HP.

As far as attacks, no damage bonus for strength or dexterity or wisdom. I would switch it to weapon based, and then have +'s or -'s based on the weapon. A dagger, easy to wield, gets a +2 to hit but does d4 damage. The bastard sword, -2 to hit but 2d6 damage. Nothing above a +2 or -2. These obviously would have to be playtested a lot, but would be fun to start thinking more about weapons, and the addition of other weapons not normally seen would be cool. Spells would work the same way. Flaming hands, maybe +1, but lightning bolt -1. Obviously some weapons could cross over to dexterity and some range to strength if it seemed like a good idea.

HP. Touchy. I say based on class, but always averaged. No range greater than 4 between the classes. Start giving spells more AC appropriate blocks. Fighter gets 6, wizard gets 4; cleric gets 5, rogue gets 5, etc. The HP bonus from constitution would be a one time thing, unless you improved it. Then you would get the extra point, not the whole amount. That would still make quite a difference in the long run. Or maybe if they do improve they get the whole bonus. Not sure.

There you have. My quick attempt at decoupling races from attributes and class. Obviously there will probably be glaring errors I didn't think of. But, I do like the thought of attributes as caps if you must decouple race from them. So you can make your skill monkey goliath or whatever. Thanks for reading.
 

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