Doing away with INT/WIS/CHA

Jer

Adventurer
Strictly speaking in terms of action economy, I think it would probably "feel" better for a spell that takes twice as long to cast being more like 2.5x as powerful as opposed to 2X as powerful, because players generally don't like to spend their turn doing "nothing", even if it's clearly in service of doing something powerful the next turn, but I'd have to experiment with it more to know for real.[/FONT]
In 13A the sorcerer also gets a random chaos effect on the round they lose to gather power. It's either some kind of small but automatic damage to nearby enemies or a bonus to your defenses until your next turn starts. I know the sorcerer in my group typically has zero problems making that trade off and uses gather power whenever they can.
 

Jonathan Tweet

Adventurer
That "charge up" mechanic is really cool. Reminds me of Final Fantasy Tactics which is virtually always a good thing. Strictly speaking in terms of action economy, I think it would probably "feel" better for a spell that takes twice as long to cast being more like 2.5x as powerful as opposed to 2X as powerful, because players generally don't like to spend their turn doing "nothing", even if it's clearly in service of doing something powerful the next turn, but I'd have to experiment with it more to know for real.
That's a good analysis. The other trick is that if charging up let's you get double-value out of your daily spells, it increases your per-day power level even if it doesn't increase your per-round power level.
 

Jonathan Tweet

Adventurer
Where did the "Blood of Dragons" bit come from?
I wrote that kobolds had "sorcerer" as their favored class and that they say that they have the blood of dragons coursing through their veins. I meant everyone to figure that they were deluding themselves, but everyone loved the idea and it became canonical, basically. I don't remember how that got applied to human sorcerers, but we were definitely trying to make 3E cooler than 2E.
 
I'm glad I stared the thread, if only for the kobold blood of dragons story. Thanks.

But, the original topic ultimately attracted no attention from the folks I hoped might see value in it.

::shrug::
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
In 13A the sorcerer also gets a random chaos effect on the round they lose to gather power. It's either some kind of small but automatic damage to nearby enemies or a bonus to your defenses until your next turn starts. I know the sorcerer in my group typically has zero problems making that trade off and uses gather power whenever they can.
That is very nice... I was still thinking a minor action un-related but this is better its like the after effect in that ti can be customized to the specific muli-round action. I like it.

And of course given my purview for for martial equity now I am trying to think of something interesting for martial during the initial stages of a multi-part combo.
 
Last edited:

Lylandra

Explorer
I guess that this is doable, but I generally don't think that getting rid of mental scores is a good idea.

Why? Because it creates a major imbalance between the effectiveness of more intelligent or persuasive or socially adapt players. Plus it one-ups the already omnipresent problem that some DM's and player's ideas on "what's plausible" align more than others.

It may work in homogenuos groups where everyone knows each other pretty well. But use it in a new group or, worse, a con environment, and people will get frustrated.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I guess that this is doable, but I generally don't think that getting rid of mental scores is a good idea.
I think he even said it was a bad idea... :p I know people normally mean the opposite when they say that, but in this case I am thinking it is actually face value LOL
 

GreenTengu

Explorer
I think it would be fine to fix the attribute overall.
Frankly, I am not even sold on the value of the physical scores being exactly what they are given this edition's allowance for players to basically have their Dexterity do everything Strength would normally do plus more.

I am not sure though that "Power" and "Faith" are any more clearly defined for me when it comes to skills than "Intelligence" and "Wisdom" are.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I think it would be fine to fix the attribute overall.
Frankly, I am not even sold on the value of the physical scores being exactly what they are given this edition's allowance for players to basically have their Dexterity do everything Strength would normally do plus more.
Dex the uberstat... if strength can share its stuff let Wis,Int,Cha and occasionally Con steal some of Dex stuff (forethought fast decisive or even instinctive thinking and spirited eagerness sound like a foundation of initiative if you weren't surprised more than reflexes)
 

GreenTengu

Explorer
Dex the uberstat... if strength can share its stuff let Wis,Int,Cha and occasionally Con steal some of Dex stuff (forethought fast decisive or even instinctive thinking and spirited eagerness sound like a foundation of initiative if you weren't surprised more than reflexes)
Sure-- another one might be-- shouldn't the stat that adds its bonus to Perception (i.e. Wisdom) be the stat attribute that ranged attacks with bows and such be based on rather than the stat that dictates ones ability to Dodge attacks (i.e. Dexterity)?
 
Because it creates a major imbalance between the effectiveness of more intelligent or persuasive or socially adapt players.
Part of my thought process was that it would accept that innate imbalance, rather than paper it over.

If you try to play say, a more socially adept character than yourself (relative to your DM, mainly), you're investing chargen resources and concept in something that you likely won't get a payoff on.

Plus it one-ups the already omnipresent problem that some DM's and player's ideas on "what's plausible" align more than others.
Ok, that sounds interesting. Could you elaborate?

Because, one thing I had in mind was eliminating some issues of plausibility & player agency that come up now and then....
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Sure-- another one might be-- shouldn't the stat that adds its bonus to Perception (i.e. Wisdom) be the stat attribute that ranged attacks with bows and such be based on rather than the stat that dictates ones ability to Dodge attacks (i.e. Dexterity)?
Unless one is doing a Hiawatha (or Steppe Nomad Archer) stunt of the snapshot archer barrage in which case totally its dex.
 
I think it would be fine to fix the attribute overall.
Frankly, I am not even sold on the value of the physical scores being exactly what they are given this edition's allowance for players to basically have their Dexterity do everything Strength would normally do plus more.
That's a legit concern, that I wasnt attempting to address.
I am not sure though that "Power" and "Faith" are any more clearly defined for me when it comes to skills than "Intelligence" and "Wisdom" are.
The idea is that RES, FTH, &POW are only for supernatural sub-systems. They don't add to skills, which are mundane, at all.
 
Last edited:

Lylandra

Explorer
Part of my thought process was that it would accept that innate imbalance, rather than paper it over.

If you try to play say, a more socially adept character than yourself (relative to your DM, mainly), you're investing chargen resources and concept in something that you likely won't get a payoff on.
But in a game with INT/WIS/CHA this would be then the DM's fault, wouldn't it? Telling a dork to "persuade that baron" in character while ignoring his stats or skills and the tell him how he failed because he didn't use his "obvious weakness for cute kittens and love of being addressed with at least three positive adjectives" is bad DMing. At least in a game where your PC's mental stats can be different from your own.

And I like to keep it that way. Why? Because I don't see why people are totally cool to let their PCs be the buffest, most agile or toughest guys on earth while being unfit weaklings themselves while having problems allowing that one autistic or shy player to play as a social genius. Other than trying to satisfy some perceived superiority in terms of their own "mental stats".

I do see a problem with mental stats when it comes to "dump stats" though. As I've rarely seen anyone playing a less intelligent, wise or charismatic PC in a sensible way. Especially if they (players) are on the more intelligent side of the mental spectrum. Limiting yourself isn't fun, I understand that. But then maybe don't dump INT.

Ok, that sounds interesting. Could you elaborate?

Because, one thing I had in mind was eliminating some issues of plausibility & player agency that come up now and then....
Okay... this is a bit anecdotal, but I guess it will be more or less prevalent in less homogenous groups groups. As a DM, you usually use your own knowledge and experience when creating a world of your own. NPC are based on behavior patterns you know, archetypes you've read about or often characters from books or shows you like. This applies to other aspects of the world as well, like whether or not you could cut a rope with a knife or whether buildings made of marble make sense, but these usually tend to be covered by the rules.

Now, if I, as a player, get to talk to an NPC or get some clues from others, I get my own picture of said person. If I tend to watch the same shows, read the same books or come from the same culture as my DM, then my mental image and his will more likely align and I will more likely "push the right buttons" (in the DM's eye) when it comes to interaction. And it is the other way round when my and the DM's socio-cultural backgrounds don't align.

So even if I'm a) an intelligent player and b) do my very best to logically describe my PC's actions and how and why this could work in a given situation, my DM could still be not convinced simply because "it isn't plausible" as his and my image of the situation don't align.

In a world with mental stats and skills, I would still describe what I'm trying to do, roll the dice and, should I succeed, would be told by the GM that I should maybe try to use a whole different approach based on his image (that's what the insight skill should do IMO). This situation still isn't as ideal as it could be, but it would still allow me to succed despite the non-match.
 
This thread made me laugh out loud because I saw an identical proposal in 1993, and the problems remain the same. That's 26 years ago for those keeping score at home.

First off, I don't agree with the basic premise that D&D models PCs with high INT, WIS or CHA badly. Specifically I don't agree that CHA has the same problem as INT and WIS. CHA is modeled as well in D&D as STR, DEX or CON. People lump it in here out of misguided, ill-considered symmetry. If the other two "mental" stats have issues, this one also must. But it's simply not true. Players are no worse with a high CHA character than a high STR one. People overestimate what it can do, sure, but it simply doesn't have the same basic issue as INT/WIS. It is already fine even by the logic in the OP, and again, it's just a desire for symmetry that has people lumping it in.

INT is rarely a major problem, too, given how IRL many very smart people are pretty foolish in many ways and simply don't know or consider certain things. The only time it seems to create a genuine problem is when a player dumpstats INT down to 8 or 6 or whatever and then refuses to RP it, instead acting like his character is as brilliant and knowledgeable and so on as his INT 14 or 16 previous character. But this isn't a problem with the system. This is a player refusing to RP, and no different to LG PCs who act like CN ones or a country bumpkin peasant by background who acts like Littlefinger from GoT (don't start).

So really the only legitimate problem is Wisdom, because many players are um, unwise in how they play their PCs whilst their classes demand a high WIS score. Further it doesn't match fantasy fiction, not even D&D based fiction, where plenty of religious characters are foolish or unwise. So I could see a case being made to replace WIS with something, whether Faith or Focus or whatever, anything that didn't measure actual wise-ness.

CHA is a non-issue lumped in for symmetry and INT is merely a "bad RP" issue 99 times in 100, unlike WIS.
 
Last edited:

Aldarc

Adventurer
So really the only legitimate problem is Wisdom, because many players are um, unwise in how they play their PCs whilst their classes demand a high WIS score. Further it doesn't match fantasy fiction, not even D&D based fiction, where plenty of religious characters are foolish or unwise. So I could see a case being made to replace WIS with something, whether Faith or Focus or whatever, anything that didn't measure actual wise-ness.

CHA is a non-issue lumped in for symmetry and INT is merely a "bad RP" issue 99 times in 100, unlike WIS.
I did suggest Perception earlier, though Intuition may also work. Willpower (i.e., wisdom saves) could then be moved to Charisma.
 

Celebrim

Legend
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.
In my experience, attempting to prop up the social interaction pillar with robust mechanical support counter-intuitively tends to decrease social interaction rather than increase it.

The most functional mechanical system for adjudicating RP is simply IMO some sort of fortune test, preferably one that generates a small degree of success but a simple pass/fail will do fine if you have some means of robustly adjudicating difficulty. Beyond that, no part of the game works better with the GM just working off rulings and gut feel for the situation than social challenges, because any system that realistically models the dynamics of interaction between people will be vastly more complex than a system that realistically models combat, and the simple mechanical churn will detract from RP.

Ironically, the worst thing you can do to encourage good social interaction is provide a system of "moves" and mimic combat mechanics exactly, and yet in my experience that is exactly what games that are attempting to support a social pillar attempt to do. I call this the "banging it with a hammer" approach, in that well you only have one tool in your toolbox and so you assume that it applies equally well to solving all problems. One of the few systems I've seen that looks like it has mechanical support for social combat that might work is 'Dogs in the Vineyard' and that in part because it assumes a hierarchy of conflicts were escalating stakes to a more definitive conflict trumps lower conflicts - thus breaking the symmetry that more niave designers seem to design into the system.

In short, while I agree with the OP that this post shows just how bad the idea is, I'm not convinced that his minimalist approach isn't actually better than a more robust system.
 
The big problem with the "more rules means less interaction" claim is that it is both anecdotal, and doesn't actually mean that more rules is the problem.

Going from 2E to 3E combat we saw the same thing. In 2E, with few rules and DM adjudication for anything fancy, players constantly tried fancy stuff. In 3E, with rules to cover vastly more scenarios, we saw a massive decrease, because as the rules were written, fancy stuff was generally outright a bad idea without serious investment in Feats and skills. Especially as suddenly one check might become several, each of which could fail and ruin the whole.

But does that mean having more rules for combat always does that? Your anecdotal claim re social rules follows that logic. And don't get me wrong, in a very broad sense, I agree. My experience with very complex social systems (and very complex combat systems!) is similar. But saying it is inherent and implying it cannot be avoided isn't right, if that's what you mean to imply. As with combat, some rules designs encourage players to be clever and interact, others push them to picking moves with little thought to RP or context.

So I think rather than throwing one's hands up and claiming adjudication is always better, one might want to be more circumspect. Yes, replicating a combat style system may not work well. Especially not if, like 3E combat, it makes specialisation and heavy investment in single tricks the right way to go (hello Trip).

But you can have both more social rules and more and better RP, or at least equal RP, as some other games show. Stuff like 2e WoD and various editions of SR have much more in-depth social stuff than 5E but it wouldn't be reasonable to claim either had less or worse RP than 5E.

Whereas I have played some WW game (I forget which), which did indeed do a "3E combat" on social stuff and RP, making it overly complex and rewarding specialisation to the point where it detracted.

The right rules help, the wrong rules hinder. Less rules is not always better. 2E did not have better RP than 4E or 5E, for an easy example.
 
Last edited:

DMZ2112

Chaotic Looseleaf
I don't see the advantage. I mean, you can argue that no one really understands what the mental ability scores mean, and that is definitely a problem I have with D&D:

Is Intelligence a measure of education, or "IQ;"
is Wisdom willpower, sanity, or common sense;
is Charisma physical beauty, leadership ability, or personality?

But as to whether mental ability scores should be removed entirely... I mean, why stop there? You could arm wrestle your players to determine whether they can lift the portcullis, or have them play ten rounds of Jenga to pick a lock. You could slip arsenic into their food over a period of weeks to see how well they resist poison.

Maybe don't do that last one.

Sure, a smart player is going to have trouble playing a dumb character, and a dumb player is going to have trouble playing a smart character. That's exactly why the numbers exist. The dungeon master can force a roll when they feel like the smart player is overreaching, and the dumb player can request a roll if they feel like they're not personally up to the challenge their character is facing.

I can't help feeling like the endpoint of this reasoning is a game where we all just play ourselves, which isn't roleplaying at all.

I hear the arguments about how the Persuasion skill and its ilk interfere with "actual social roleplay" (whatever that is), and yeah, there's some good design logic there. But it's a game first, folks, not a thought exercise, and for that matter it is a game that disproportionately appeals to the socially awkward. You don't get to tell those players they can't play the bard if the bard is who they want to play. Sorry.
 
This thread made me laugh out loud because I saw an identical proposal in 1993, and the problems remain the same. That's 26 years ago for those keeping score at home.
There are no new ideas.

First off, I don't agree with the basic premise that D&D models PCs with high INT, WIS or CHA badly.
It certainly /did/ it badly (if at all) in '93. Since 3.0, it hasn't been so bad, mechanically (OK, diplomancers were pretty horrid), in theory, if DM's'd use the mechanics, and players'd respect them when they didn't break their way...

…/IF/.


If not, well, machete, gasoline. Problem solved.


Specifically I don't agree that CHA has the same problem as INT and WIS. CHA is modeled as well in D&D as STR, DEX or CON. People lump it in here out of misguided, ill-considered symmetry.
Well, and out of the insistence that "we should just RP it" and "you can't tell me how my character feelz!"

The only time it seems to create a genuine problem is when a player dumpstats INT down to 8 or 6 or whatever and then refuses to RP it, instead acting like his character is as brilliant and knowledgeable and so on as his INT 14 or 16 previous character. But this isn't a problem with the system. This is a player refusing to RP, and no different to LG PCs who act like CN ones or a country bumpkin peasant by background who acts like Littlefinger from GoT (don't start).
It is a problem with the play dynamics of the system, with those sorts of players …which are all too common.
And, it also goes the other way, with high-mental-stat PCs, who's players took the stat only to fuel casting, and aren't up to, or don't even want to, portray the RP implications.

Whether it's a problem with the system or the players is just pointing the finger. It's easier to fix the system than fix the players, humans getting really testy when you try to pop the case and work on their non-user-serviceable hardware (your extended warranty sucks, anyway, what're you so worried about?).

But in a game with INT/WIS/CHA this would be then the DM's fault, wouldn't it? Telling a dork to "persuade that baron" in character while ignoring his stats or skills and the tell him how he failed because he didn't use his "obvious weakness for cute kittens and love of being addressed with at least three positive adjectives" is bad DMing. At least in a game where your PC's mental stats can be different from your own.
That's rather the point. /In a game without mental stats/, it's nobody's fault if the characters turn out to be no more (or less) knowledgeable, prudent, or persuasive than their players.

But as to whether mental ability scores should be removed entirely... I mean, why stop there? You could arm wrestle your players to determine whether they can lift the portcullis, or have them play ten rounds of Jenga to pick a lock. You could slip arsenic into their food over a period of weeks to see how well they resist poison.

Maybe don't do that last one.
Yeah, except for the last one. ;) Though you could substitute some vomit-inducing fraternity hazing trick, to resolve CON saves, I suppose.

It's a funny line, and I don't see why it's so easy to get players to cross the line that their characters are physically different, so physical tasks are resolved mechanically, but so hard for them to accept the mechanical resolution of interaction, exploration, & knowledge tasks /when they think they might do better themselves/, or when they're unhappy with an implied result.

I mean, the fighter fails to open a stuck door, they'll just curse their dice.

I can't help feeling like the endpoint of this reasoning is a game where we all just play ourselves, which isn't roleplaying at all.
It is emmersions to the nth degree, though.


But it's a game first, folks, not a thought exercise, and for that matter it is a game that disproportionately appeals to the socially awkward. You don't get to tell those players they can't play the bard if the bard is who they want to play. Sorry.
Oh, you can totally play a Bard in this variant: CHA-based arcane caster: uses POW. The end. ;) (What? Lore? CHA skillz? Just pick other skills. You can still take tool proficiency: musical instruments (it'll just use DEX), for instance... )
 
Last edited:

Advertisement

Top