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Doing away with INT/WIS/CHA

So, topics that have come up tangentially in other threads have given me a really bad idea.
D&D has never done a great job modeling a PC who's smarter (or dumber), more prudent, or more likeable than it's player. In particular, because, while it did /eventually/ come up with mechanics to address some of that, players often object to them.

There is no such objection to STR/DEX/CON, nor to wielding magical power, however.

So, why not just work with that, instead of fighting it?

This is a simple variant for 5e:


Replace INT, WIS, & CHA with:

RES: Resistance. This is your innate resistance to magic and other bad things happening to you little mind. Whenever the game calls for you to make an INT, WIS, or CHA save, you use your RES, instead.

FTH: Faith. This your connection to the divine and spiritual. When spellcasting or other supernatural class abilities call for WIS and/or CHA, use FTH, instead. (Yeah, Paladins should be happy with that.)

POW: Power. This is your innate magical power, When spellcasting or other supernatural class abilities call for INT or CHA, use your POW, instead.


Now, yes, that does have some minor impacts. Being a Wiz/Sorc or Wiz/War suddenly is more efficient. Paladins are less MAD. The handful of non-caster sub-classes have /two/ prime dump stats.


Next, skill & tool proficiencies.

If a tool, skill proficiency, or mundane class ability/feature/whatever keys of INT, WIS, or CHA, it's just gone. It doesn't exist. All such actions are resolved by the player. If there's a puzzle to be solved, the player must solve the puzzle. If you want to start a fire, you describe you how you do it, and, if you and the DM were in the same boyscout troupe, you probably succeed. If you think trolls don't regenerate from Fire but are healed by Lightning, that's what your character thinks.

I know, there's a WTF element to that, on the Knowledge side. Here's a rationalization and a DM rubric. 1) Rationalization: Adventurers talk, if you listen to a lot of what they say, you can glean just about anything in the MM or PH or whatever. Players who memorize rule books or are familiar with the sources of inspiration used be the DM just happen to have such characters. 2) rubric: Common Knowledge. The DM can always explain something the PCs know as 'common knowledge,' usually right in the descriptions: "You see three goblins." "What's a goblin?" "It's Common Knowledge that goblins are small evil fey humanoids who kidnap babies." "Oh, like Labyrinth?" "Yes, exactly."

Still too much? OK, here's a more extreme explanation. It was a common fantasy trope, for a while, for the main character to be pulled from the real world, either physically or mentally, into the fantasy world. IDKW, so it'd be easier to identify with them, or so they could contrast the fantasy world with the real? Anyway, assume that. You're not making decisions for a character quite different from you, you're inhabiting it, using it's physical & magical abilities, but there's no other mind in there with you.


That 'bout covers it.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I think it’s a fantastic idea. Unfortunately, the traditional six ability scores are one of those sacred cows that people cry “not D&D” if you slaughter. So, personally I just settle for accepting that Int, Wis, and Cha just don’t represent the things that their names mean.
 
Go for it. Tell us how it goes.
I wouldn't have prefaced the whole thing with "a really bad idea," if I had any intention of inflicting it upon my own players.

I mean, I don't particularly want to run Quag Keep overandoveragain, and I don't think that all that many players really want to play exactly themselves, piloting a fantasy body through the Realms like a Arquillian in a robotic human-suit.

I think it’s a fantastic idea. Unfortunately, the traditional six ability scores are one of those sacred cows that people cry “not D&D” if you slaughter. So, personally I just settle for accepting that Int, Wis, and Cha just don’t represent the things that their names mean.
Yeah, it occurred to me to nix all INT/WIS/CHA skills &c, and just change what the stats /mean/, leaving the names intact.

So:

INT: Your ability to decipher, devise, record, analyze, and generally make use of the arcane formulae and knowledged used in spellcasting.

WIS: Your connection to the divine & spiritual.

CHA: Your psychic force of personality, used to power & resist certain sorts of magic.



But INT edged too close to being justifiable for knowledge skills, and I liked the idea of breaking out a stat just for saves.
 
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Fanaelialae

Adventurer
It's an interesting idea, but I see some issues with it.

How do you resolve finding a trap without Investigation/Perception?

If the player makes a reasonably persuasive argument or tells a decent lie, but the DM is on the fence as to whether it should succeed, how do you resolve it without Persuasion/Deception?

I realize that before these things were proficiencies, DMs would simply make a call as to what happened or how to resolve it. I remember those days, and how when 3.x came out with a more standardized system for resolution, I felt it was far superior.

I still don't always require a roll. If the player says they look at the underside of the drawer, they find anything hidden there. If they make a convincing argument or tell an excellent lie, I often don't require a roll. But it's nice to have those skills for those times when I'm on the fence.

If you're tired of people not playing their mental stats, you could narrow what they represent. For example:

Education
Perception
Rhetoric

Those can still fulfill their former roles in the skill system while allowing greater interpretation of their meaning. A person can be intelligent without being very educated. A person can be perceptive without being wise. And a person can be gifted with rhetoric without all that entails one being charismatic.

Obviously, it loses some of the advantages of your proposed replacements. But it retains the skills, which to me are sometimes invaluable.
 

Yaarel

Explorer
How do you resolve finding a trap without Investigation/Perception?
At the tool proficiency to the d20 check. If one knows how to make a trap, then one knows how to recognize a trap that someone else made. The kind of trap depends on the kind of tools that one has proficiency with to make traps (snares, pits, stonework installation, magical trap, etc).



Same goes with every kind of ‘Perception’.

If one knows how to hide in shadows, then one is better able to recognize someone else doing it. Add the Stealth skill proficiency to detect someone who is hiding.

If one has proficiency with Alchemist tools, then one is more likely to recognize a particular chemical by its smell.

And so on.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
At the tool proficiency to the d20 check. If one knows how to make a trap, then one knows how to recognize a trap that someone else made. The kind of trap depends on the kind of tools that one has proficiency with to make traps (snares, pits, stonework installation, magical trap, etc).



Same goes with every kind of ‘Perception’.

If one knows how to hide in shadows, then one is better able to recognize someone else doing it. Add the Stealth skill proficiency to detect someone who is hiding.

If one has proficiency with Alchemist tools, then one is more likely to recognize a particular chemical by its smell.

And so on.
That's certainly a viable option. However, it turns Stealth into a godly skill. The ability to both hide and spot ambushes is incredibly potent.

Additionally, since (if I understand correctly) Stealth still adds both Dexterity modifier, but counter-Stealth only adds proficiency, it is a big buff to stealth overall. On the other hand, adding Dexterity to counter-Stealth would be rather nonsensical.
 
Get rid of all stats and roll everything into skills. Have primary +3 skills, secondary +1 skill and +0 skills. Have a couple 'blind spot' skills at -1.

Use ASI's to boost Primary skills up 1 to a max of +5
Use ASI's to boost a secondaries to a max of +3
Use ASI's to move a couple skills up one shift on the ladder.

Make spell saves use narrative appropriate skills to resist. Do it on the fly or codify it to your heart's content.

EDIT: which means making up a few new skills
 
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Yaarel

Explorer
That's certainly a viable option. However, it turns Stealth into a godly skill. The ability to both hide and spot ambushes is incredibly potent.

Additionally, since (if I understand correctly) Stealth still adds both Dexterity modifier, but counter-Stealth only adds proficiency, it is a big buff to stealth overall. On the other hand, adding Dexterity to counter-Stealth would be rather nonsensical.
Stealth should probably be treated as a kind of combat, rather than a kind of skill.

Similarly, grappling (wrestling, grabbing, pulling, pushing, lifting, punching, kicking, etcetera) should be natural weapons treated as weapon combat, not as skill.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
D&D has never done a great job modeling a PC who's smarter (or dumber), more prudent, or more likeable than it's player. In particular, because, while it did /eventually/ come up with mechanics to address some of that...
I dunno. I think "make a Charisma/Wisdom/Intelligence check" has been there from the beginning. What they came up with was ways to look at these things in greater detail, and allow those thing to advance along with the characters. But before skill systems made their way into the game, the "roll d20 (or 3d6, depending who you were playing with) and roll under your stat" was a way to resolve such stuff.

...players often object to them.
Do they?

I mean, really, do they? What evidence do we have of players, broadly, having an issue with them? Did a lot of people in the playtests respond with "these mental and social skills are a huge bore. Do away with them!" or something?

It isn't like D&D is the only game to use such things. You'd figure that if these things really cheesed off players enough for it to be a design consideration... there'd be more designs that eschewed these elements, wouldn't there?

'Cause, if they don't, this is a fix looking for a problem.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
You know, this is interesting. I think the reason why we don't see as much complaints about STR/DEX/CON is because those physically represent the player in the game. We have to know how strong, quick, and hardy that body is, right?

But the mental stats (INT/WIS/CHA) are harder because I have often seen players running character smarter than themselves, or wiser, or whatever. It doesn't matter if the character is stronger than the player (happens A LOT!) because the player doesn't swing a sword or climb a cliff in the game, the character does. But the player has to act out their character as smart, nice, perceptive and so on.

I think that is why people have a more difficult time with the mental stats. Your idea takes them away and puts it all on the player. Sort of nice, but kind of not also... Many players would have a hard time convincing a mob not to lynch another character or solving a complex riddle without a hint or two provided by a good INT roll.

At any rate, all of this is worth thinking of while I enjoy a couple days off from work. :)
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
Stealth should probably be treated as a kind of combat, rather than a kind of skill.

Similarly, grappling (wrestling, grabbing, pulling, pushing, lifting, punching, kicking, etcetera) should be natural weapons treated as weapon combat, not as skill.
Sure, something like the Stealth system in Neoclassical Geek Revival? That is an interesting system, but one of the key differences is that NGR stats are fairly different from 5e. Perception is a stat, and it modifies Stealth. That actually works significantly better than Dexterity in that system, conceptually, since I can see how Perception would both make it easier to stealth and easier to counter Stealth. That said, something like that would be a bigger change than the OP's proposal.
 
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dnd4vr

Adventurer
{snip}, and just change what the stats /mean/, leaving the names intact.

So:

INT: Your ability to decipher, devise, record, analyze, and generally make use of the arcane formulae and knowledged used in spellcasting.

WIS: Your connection to the divine & spiritual.

CHA: Your psychic force of personality, used to power & resist certain sorts of magic.

But INT edged too close to being justifiable for knowledge skills, and I liked the idea of breaking out a stat just for saves.
Umm... all of those things are already part of the stats (at least for some characters) so you aren't really changing things IMO. Are you more trying to redefine them by removing certain elements?
 
I before skill systems made their way into the game, the "roll d20 (or 3d6, depending who you were playing with) and roll under your stat" was a way to resolve such stuff.
Sure, or just talking through it, or whatever th DM came up with or ad libbed, because, like I said, the game didn't cover it for quite a while.

Yeah, upon reflection, they do. I encountered those sorts of complaints in a few threads in a row and realized "Yeah, that is not an unfamiliar sort if grousing..." I just hadnt ever thought to bundle them all up like this, and offer one, simple, cut-the-baby-in-half solution.

It's an interesting idea, but I see some issues with it.

How do you resolve finding a trap without Investigation/Perception?
The player describes how the character looks for the trap, the precautions he takes, etc.
The DM describes what he finds.
If the player thinks a crack or wire or something is a trap, he describes how he disarms or bypasses it.
At that point the DM might call for a DEX check....

...pretty old-school, really.

If the player makes a reasonably persuasive argument or tells a decent lie, but the DM is on the fence
Then the NPC is on the fence.

If you're tired of people not playing their mental stats, you could narrow what they represent. .
I figured cut to the chase.
 
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billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Yes.
I didn't think it went far enough.
INT, in particular might still have arguably had applications outside casting.
Yes, it should have applications outside of casting.

But ultimately, I think just considering these 3 stats without also fixing issues with the physical stats is a mistake. Part of the problem with some of the D&D classes is it's too cheap to dump stats because they are so unevenly used. I think the 6 stats should boil down to 3 offensive stats, 3 defensive stats and matched in pairs. 4e skirted the idea a little by allowing a player to choose which stat affected their defense, but ultimately botched it because with the higher stat picked for defense, all the player had to do was pick a class that used those same stats for offense and they had 3 ready-made dump stats. Unfortunately, not all classes or class options were geared well for it, meaning some could only manage 2 dump stats, putting them at a disadvantage against ones that really could do the full 3. Comparing the artful dodger vs the brutal scoundrel kind of highlighted that for me.

Rather than allowing choice as in 4e - define the stats in offensive/defensive pairs. Strength/Constitution make a good pairing. Strength is actively using a body's power, Constitution rates passive power to endure. Charisma and Wisdom make a good pairing as well - Charisma being the exercise of personality, Wisdom being the passive power to resist. Charisma would affect all non-Int-based offensive casting, Wis provide for saves.

It's only Dex and Intelligence that are tricky. But Intelligence could represent Acuity and reflect either physical or mental (or both). It would take over the offensive features of Dexterity (ranged/finess bonus) and leaving Dex to keep defense reflexes (Saves, Initiative). And it could take over the spell casting offense of casters whose spells rely on the Acuity of the mind.
 
Yes, it should have applications outside of casting.
Thus dropping the names, as well. To avoid any confusion with qualities that will be provided by the player.
with the higher stat picked for defense, all the player had to do was pick a class that used those same stats for offense
The reverse of the usual process, but, yeah.
<offense/defense stat pairs>...
It's only Dex and Intelligence that are tricky.
Planning vs reacting. While the former could offer defense in the form of preparedness, it makes sense for offense, and reflexes make perfect sense for a defense.
 
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Fenris-77

Explorer
I think this has legs for a certain kind of 5E campaign, but a real 3 pillar campaign that was looking to work the social interaction pillar might find this an even less useful resource than what comes in the tin. I'd rather prop up the third pillar than abandon it all together. You need some mechanics there, and while I applaud the abolition of INT/WIS, CHA isn't im quite the same boat IMO. I get that there's an issue with the stats, but there's an equally large issue with the skill system, and repurposing the stats to be combat specific won't fix it.
 
I think this has legs for a certain kind of 5E campaign, but a real 3 pillar campaign
There's spells with effects in the other two pillars.
that was looking to work the social interaction pillar might find this an even less useful resource than what comes in the tin.
Less useful, but also less problematic.
Interaction is handled by interacting with the DM. The character doesn't come into it, unless the player decides it uses some concrete ability.

need some mechanics in the Social pillar, and while I applaud the abolition of INT/WIS, CHA isn't im quite the same boat IMO.
Resistance save v DC based on casters Power is a mechanic.

Though, I guess the Advantage granted by the Charmed condition is moot.
 
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Fenris-77

Explorer
I was really talking about the entirely non-spell third pillar, which is already lighter than it should be. I don't want 5e to be a strictly combat/spell game, even though it shades that way already. My general thrust is to enhance the social interaction mechanics, rather than further hampering them. That's also not as much of a criticism as it sounds like.
 

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