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Doing away with INT/WIS/CHA

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
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....

Then the NPC is on the fence.

I figured cut to the chase.
I was actually referring to finding the trip wire in the first place.

I see what you're saying though. The player describes what they're doing in exacting detail and the DM decides what happens as a result. I enjoy that kind of play as an occasional "zoom in" on the action, like the players putting their heads together to suss out the workings of an ancient Titan device, but I certainly wouldn't want it for every 5 feet of corridor. I realize some groups used SOP, wherein they only needed to describe what they were doing in unusual circumstances but... not for me. I think that even if a character is keeping an eye out for trip lines (and/or whatever) they might still trip up. Sometimes I just want to be able to roll some dice and move on, rather than being bogged down in an endless back and forth (hence why I felt 3.x was a vast improvement). Obviously though, if you and your group don't mind, more power to you.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
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 like your basic idea, but I think that trying to preserve the six main stats is a bit of a fool's errand here.

Part of the problem, IMHO, is that three mental stats are effectively doing a variety of things stretched between them:
Intelligence: knowledge/wits
Wisdom: willpower, knowledge/wits, perception
Charisma: willpower, social

You could reduce the stats to about four:
  • Strength/Brawn/Physique/Might: physical power/resistance
  • Dexterity/Finesse/Agility: physical finesse
  • Intelligence/Wisdom/Wits: mental finesse
  • Willpower/Resolve/Presence: mental power/resistance
If you wanted, you could also include a 5th stat - Perception - that represents the hybrid interaction between physical sensory perception and mentally processing that sensory data.

Constitution doesn't really do anything apart from bonus HP and Con saves, so combining it with Strength does not strike me as much of an issue. I don't really see much reason why classes can't be the sole (or primary) source of HP.

I don't necessarily think that this solves anything for Tony Vargas though.
 
I was really talking about the entirely non-spell third pillar, which is already lighter than it should be.
No undertaking in D&D is entirely non-spell, regardless of which pillar it may be sorted into.

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.
I suspect that mechanical enhancements only magnify the issue when it does come up. The better the game models the mental qualities of the character, the more dissociated the player will become - the sort prone to the issues being addressed, I'm tempted to use Arquillians as shorthand (yeah, i just saw MiB, not as good as the original).
 
It's my impression that the people who hang out here and grouse on threads are usually DMs, not players.
Not how said grousing was couched. Player-side perspectives certainly come up, here, in spite of our general demographics.

And, when I thought about it, I realized, yeah, players /do/ often express some frustrations at the table that could indeed have the modeling of mental attributes at the root of them.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
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.
LOL

INT: Your ability to decipher, devise, record, analyze, and generally make use of the arcane formulae and knowledged used in spellcasting.
So no quick thinking and prediction

WIS: Your connection to the divine & spiritual.
So no discipline, perception and awareness of the world around you and inside you and other beings (includes insight).

CHA: Your psychic force of personality, used to power & resist certain sorts of magic.
.
So no communication skills and empathy, but yes emotional energy and maybe eagerness
 
So no quick thinking and prediction.
So no discipline, perception and awareness of the world around you and inside you and other beings (includes insight).
Not absent, just provided entirely by the player (mediated with the world through the DM).

So no communication skills and empathy,
Also provided by the player, even if nerd stereotypes would suggest both to be in short supply.


but yes emotional energy and maybe eagerness
Didn't catch that: another reason to just drop the names, too.
 

Seramus

Explorer
It’s a Double Standard.
Someone wants to lift a rock? We make them roll Athletics and the rock is lifted. We almost never ask the player what lifting technique they are using, or only allow them to lift some of the rocks if they describe the wrong method. But if someone wants to solve a puzzle, we often feel cheated or disappointed if it can be solved without player engagement.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
It’s a Double Standard.
Someone wants to lift a rock? We make them roll Athletics and the rock is lifted. We almost never ask the player what lifting technique they are using, or only allow them to lift some of the rocks if they describe the wrong method. But if someone wants to solve a puzzle, we often feel cheated or disappointed if it can be solved without player engagement.
We try to avoid that. While our DM wants us to solve the puzzle, he's a pretty smart guy and frankly sometimes he comes up with the stuff that we might not be able to do but our characters (in some ways smarter sometimes) can so we roll a check and if we succeed, we get good hints to help figure it out. Other times, a good Investigation check or Insight roll and the DM will just tell us something our characters think of, maybe connecting the dots in a way we don't think of.
 

Nevvur

Explorer
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 don't think it is a really bad idea. I agree with the premise, that DnD could handle mental ability scores better, and this seems like a viable solution.

Once a upon a time I laid out the framework for a set of house rules similar to what you describe. Never got around to implementing it, though. My feeling then was that hammering out the kinks would be too disruptive for what our group was trying to accomplish with our game play, so I put it aside. My feeling now is that no amount of discussing it is going to produce information as useful as that generated by play reports. Not trying to shut down discussion, ever, just hoping to encourage someone -- ideally you, since you proposed it -- to take it for a spin.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
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.
Planning vs Reacting indeed that synchs well with my rationale for initiative for a fighter Prepared for Battle being using any mental stat for initiative, is that for the most part they always plan or are prepared to fight it sort of represents aggressiveness in that fashion and is another way to remove some of the super stat effect of Dexterity.
 

jmartkdr

Villager
Honestly, why not just get rid of ability scores entirely? Lean more on skills, which are easier to define and even re-define to match character concepts better.

Raise proficiency bonuses: +4 at level one and goes up every three levels. Proficient skills are now about where they would have been anyways. Also makes attack rolls and save dc's work out well enough. You could even allow half proficiency for stretch uses of a skill (ie stealth to look for where an enemy might be hiding).

I'm less happy with how this affects saving throws, but I'd find a specific fix rather than ability scores.

For features that call for the ability mod without a roll (ie spells prepared, divine sense), use half proficiency.

Set hp by class alone: half hd rounded up plus one, per level.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Honestly, why not just get rid of ability scores entirely? Lean more on skills, which are easier to define and even re-define to match character concepts better.

Raise proficiency bonuses: +4 at level one and goes up every three levels. Proficient skills are now about where they would have been anyways. Also makes attack rolls and save dc's work out well enough. You could even allow half proficiency for stretch uses of a skill (ie stealth to look for where an enemy might be hiding).

I'm less happy with how this affects saving throws, but I'd find a specific fix rather than ability scores.

For features that call for the ability mod without a roll (ie spells prepared, divine sense), use half proficiency.

Set hp by class alone: half hd rounded up plus one, per level.

One of my players would love this. All you would need to do is add in skills for some of the raw ability checks. Character ability scores tend to be pretty set in stone (attack stat the highest, second stat is class secondary stat, con, or Dex, and the others are usually 12, 10, 8, so basically 0). Most characters raise primary stat to 20 and then may raise their secondary stat to 20. Skill and attack/DC modifiers grow from +4/5 to +11/+17 (expertise). Saves grow range from -1 to +5 at low levels to -1 to +11 at highest, so growing on the 3s would get you to the same place.
 
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.
I think it failed at the first two, just like pretty much every RPG, but I think it did a good job of the last one.

A player who is not charismatic and eloquent can easily play a character who is, by having a high Charisma score. The reverse also applies (as long as the GM remembers to apply the character's Charisma score, not the player's).

It is a pet hate of mine how many players I've come across who dump Charisma but who then come up with persuasive arguments and then get grumpy when the GM says no. It never seems to be the other way around, however…

It also peeves me a little that, "your character can't do that, she's not strong enough.' is seldom objected to, but, "your character can't do that, she's not smart enough." is almost always met with, 'stop blocking my agency!" but that might be an discussion for another thread.
 
While providing alternatives to the existing mental abilities isn't inherently worthless, your versions provide less meaningful and universal information about the character; and are therefore less useful. Furthermore, the removal of mental-based tool proficiencies undermines differences between player and character; being therefore incompatible with roleplaying. If one wants to wishes to provide puzzles and challenges to the player as opposed to their character, it's quite easily possible to construct them within the existing framework. One classic method by which this can be accomplished is by requiring the player to narrate a strategy by which a given task is performed (e.g. "How do you try to disarm the poison gas trap you believe sprays through those holes in the wall?"); either modifying the roll or adjudicating the mere possibility of success or failure based on that strategy.

In short: This particular idea will never see the light of day in any game I run or choose to participate in.
 
I think it failed at the first two, just like pretty much every RPG, but I think it did a good job of the last one.

It is a pet hate of mine how many players I've come across who dump Charisma but who then come up with persuasive arguments and then get grumpy when the GM says no. It never seems to be the other way around, however…A player who is not charismatic and eloquent can easily play a character who is, by having a high Charisma score.
Heh. My own experience is that a lot of players run their high-CHA PCs as insufferable jerks. IDK exactly where that comes from, but I've seen too much of it to discount.

And, then there's the whole issue of PC immunity/player resistance to social mechanics, which is one of the things driving the idea. The characters your PC interacts with the most are the other PCs, if they treat your character like, well, you, it doesn't really matter what his CHA is, it's just how good your sorcerer is at casting spells or whatever.

It also peeves me a little that, "your character can't do that, she's not strong enough.' is seldom objected to, but, "your character can't do that, she's not smart enough." is almost always met with, 'stop blocking my agency!" but that might be an discussion for another thread.
It's some of those other threads that inspired this idea.

While providing alternatives to the existing mental abilities isn't inherently worthless, your versions provide less meaningful and universal information about the character; and are therefore less useful.
That's the whole point, they're meant to remove any modeling of the PC's mental faculties that may be different from the players. It's a radical narrowing of scope.


Furthermore, the removal of mental-based tool proficiencies undermines differences between player and character; being therefore incompatible with roleplaying.
Heh. Or it's the whole point of roleplaying, depending on who you talk to. If you're playing a PC who is mentally very different from you, you have to run it from the outside, you can't just apply your brainpower to solving a puzzle, you have to think how your dense barbarian or brilliant wizard might solve it, then probably go to a resolution mechanic that takes you out of the moment, breaking your immersion. While if all puzzle-solving is done by the player, the player stays in the fiction when solving puzzles. Same applies to all uses of mental stats.

In short: This particular idea will never see the light of day in any game I run or choose to participate in.
I commend your good judgement, sir. ;)
 
Sorry I didn't get to these earlier:
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.
Part of the idea, here, is to remove the disconnect between 'player knowledge' and 'character knowledge,' so, all the Knowledge-oriented skills go with INT: away.

Proficiency in Alchemists tools might be rolled, probably with DEX, to perform a delicate preparation without dropping something at the wrong moment and blowing it all up. Proficiency with stealth would be rolled to move very quietly (presumably with DEX), or hold very still while hiding (possible CON would make the most sense, there). Finding a place to hide, avoiding rustly leaves or squeaky floors, would be up to the player.


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.
That'd be problematic, but it's not what I was thinking. Stealth would just be about avoiding making noise (or whatever). Perception is handled strictly by DM-player interaction. If the player sneaks up on something, the DM uses his degree of success or failure, and his judgement of the victim's alertness to determine if he gets surprise or sneaks past. If someone's sneaking up on the PC, the DM can roll stealth behind the screen, and describe what the PC perceives based on the degree of success/failure. From "you hear a loud crack and whispered swearing coming from behind you," through "on you watch you hear crickets and the occasional rustle in the bushes," (which the player could investigate or not)to "the night is still, quiet, & uneventful on your watch, until you feel a sharp pain in your back..."

DM devices like carefully worded descriptions that give the player the information that they're being snuck up on or about to trigger a trap or whatever, /but only if they notice the specific phrasing buried in among a lot of trivial/distracting description/, could be used liberally.
 

Jer

Adventurer
Heh. Or it's the whole point of roleplaying, depending on who you talk to. If you're playing a PC who is mentally very different from you, you have to run it from the outside, you can't just apply your brainpower to solving a puzzle, you have to think how your dense barbarian or brilliant wizard might solve it, then probably go to a resolution mechanic that takes you out of the moment, breaking your immersion. While if all puzzle-solving is done by the player, the player stays in the fiction when solving puzzles. Same applies to all uses of mental stats.
Is it still roleplaying if you are only able to play yourself though?

And for the way I play you have it backward - first you use the resolution mechanic to see if your dumb barbarian can solve the problem, then you go into the explanation of what the roll means. That way if you succeed then you can play out the "Gronk has brilliant idea" moment where the dumb barbarian actually comes up with something for once and the comedy beat arises from them having the insight that nobody else has, and if you fail you can instead play out the "Gronk has brilliant idea" moment where the comedy beat arises from them saying something stupid.

Because if your dense barbarian is the one solving the puzzle, then you're going for a comedy beat, right?
 
Is it still roleplaying if you are only able to play yourself though?
Yes. You're playing "yourself" (that is, someone with exactly your mental capacity & emotional reaction &c), but in a body with very different physical and supernatural capabilities.

Some argue it's the essence of RP, that without that immersive sense, you're just moving a pawn in a boardgame.


And for the way I play you have it backward - first you use the resolution mechanic to see if your dumb barbarian can solve the problem, then you go into the explanation of what the roll means.
That's a generally good way of handling checks, but it can be criticized as reducing the player's 'agency' in his character, and any sense of immersion, as the player is left unable to make more choices for the character than general objectives.

Because if your dense barbarian is the one solving the puzzle, then you're going for a comedy beat, right?
"Now, if we move these sliding pieces into exactly the right configuration, the delicate spring mechanism will release the lock, there are 36,000 possible combinations so...."
::SMASH!:: ::sproing:: "Open now."
 

Greenfield

Adventurer
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....
It's easy to have a player be smarter than their character: Let them take longer than six seconds to think of something he character has to figure out in a single round.

Can a character be more likeable than the player? Yes and no. The diplomacy/persuasion aspect is really hard, since a lead-tongued player is going to be really bad as a silver tongued Bard. Other than that, though, it's all in-game reaction, making it a non-issue.

Can they be more Wise? Again, not hard at all. In fact, players do it all the time. They listen to the other players and follow the consensus of advice. The player takes time to consider something the character has to decide in a few seconds.

So, from my point of view, this proposal is a solution in search of a problem. Still, it's an interesting mechanic, and might be worth exploring on its own merits.
 

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