Fix Stat Polarity

Sadrik

First Post
This is something that I see as a core mechanical problem that lends itself to strong but not tough characters, smart but not quick, charismatic but not wise and vice verse. So without further ado I'll let the chart speak for itself.

STR
Basic melee or heavy thrown weapon attack
Basic melee or heavy thrown weapon damage
Encumbrance
Athletics skill
Primary for Fighter
Primary for two-weapon Ranger
Primary for melee Cleric
Primary for Warlord
Primary for strength Paladin

CON
Starting HP
Healing surges
*Fortitude defense*
Endurance skill
Primary for infernal Warlock

DEX
Basic ranged or light thrown weapon attack
Basic ranged or light thrown weapon damage
Initiative modifier
*Reflex defense*
AC defense
Acrobatics, Stealth, Thievery skills
Primary for Rogue
Primary for archer Ranger

INT
Arcana, Dungeoneering, Heal, History, Nature, Religion skills
Primary for Wizard

WIS
Passive Insight
Passive Perception
*Will defense*
Insight, Perception skills
Primary for lazer Clerics

CHA
Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Streetwise skills
Primary for charisma Paladin
Primary for fey Warlock
 

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keterys

First Post
So... judging from the chart, Con, Dex, and Wis are too good for secondary stats or the other three are not good enough.

And you're potentially making them more so, by forcing the defense onto them only? Or perhaps something else? What's the change you're looking for or suggesting?

Also, Str is probably too popular, perhaps lending to the 'maybe Rangers should be all Dex' and 'Paladins should be all Charisma' theories (and/or clerics should be Wis only, etc, etc).
 

fissionessence

First Post
Hm . . . maybe I'm missing something, but from what I can see all your chart does is make Intelligence and Charisma even less attractive to many characters, without really enhancing any sense of uneven 'polarity'.

Perhaps you could explain, as I was unable to glean what the chart was supposed to 'speak for itself' ;)

~
 

Siberys

Adventurer
I think that's the chart of how it is in core, un-altered 4e.

What I want to know are what your suggestions for rectifying it are? I already allow INT for initiative in place of DEX, for example. I've also made the number of trained skills one gets based on INT, like in Saga Edition, as opposed to a static number.

Edit - just noticed the lack of choose-one for saves. Yeah, that does gimp INT even more.
 

Nymrohd

First Post
I'll kind of agree with how the OP placed the defenses, if you don't use Dex or Int with your class, you will always choose Dex optimally since it has more effects and the same with Wis/Cha (Wis for senses) or Str/Con (Con for healing surges). What I dislike about the polarity is that in 4E abilities are very important (while in 3E magic items and spells pretty much made starting scores irrelevant for the non primaries). I like to think that the abilities represent my character so I don't like dumping stats at all.
 


DreamChaser

Explorer
Also, each defense is either or...it's not just Con, Dex, & Wis. It's the other three potentially too.

Also, your chart is a little unfair because it sorts out all the strength variations but none of the variations (class-by-class) for the other stats.

Int & Cha is key for Warlords (half each)
Cha is key for many rogues

Just a thought...the class references are incomplete.

DC
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I have said it before but I think it deserves re-presented... In real life there are more than one way to skin a cat... accomplishing the same goals by maximizing ones own best capabilities is how very successful people operate. It's not some wishy-washy the game cant decide thing, it's actually a better simulation ;-), the desperate circumstance of being attacked in a deadly way really is the time this seems most appropriate. As an example, I could easily argue using wisdom for a reflex defense (you notice the attackers most likely goal and adjust your defense to accommodate before it can be done).

Melding or blending the attributes which might contribute would be too bland in its own way allowing that the other attributes are in there but de-emphasized by the individual character because that would be the losers method... playing to ones strengths is the winners technique and heroes are nothing if not winners. Elric of Melnibone be damned ;-)

I guess what I am saying is that don't break the cool parts with your fix...Cool fixes which encourage diverse attribute selection seem possible.. but they I think they can be found at a different level.
I do agree we might need more reasons to pick constitution over strength (In PHB2 their is a flood gate of primal characters coming and high constitution in a battlerager is already very nice).

I dislike "easy" mono-attribute characters, I want some fighter at wills that exploit INT and WIZ and Encounters and Dailies that even more emphasize CON, I want more Wizard, class features (builds) which bring Wisdom better in to the picture.
 
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Sadrik

First Post
Perhaps you could explain, as I was unable to glean what the chart was supposed to 'speak for itself' ;)

The chart was suppose show an "in the grand scheme view" of moving the defenses back to their 3e versions will = WIS, Reflexes and AC = DEX and Fortitude = CON.

As far as reason, what can I say I don't like the effect that it has on character creation. Slow wizards and all the other combinations. It forces your stats in a non-natural way. You choose sub-par because you want to be smart and quick? That is BS.
 

Sadrik

First Post
Also, your chart is a little unfair because it sorts out all the strength variations but none of the variations (class-by-class) for the other stats.
Just a thought...the class references are incomplete.

The secondary stats could be added to the list but they are secondary...
 


Burrito Al Pastor

First Post
This is a real issue with 4e - mechanically speaking, your character should put an 18 into his primary attack stat, a 13 in his secondary class stat, and throw a 1 on some other stat arbitrarily. (For some classes, a 17 in the primary stat and a 16 in the secondary stat may be preferable.) If you don't do this, your character will be less effective than the system assumes he will be. He might be slightly underpowered; he might be seriously underpowered.

The obvious fix is to give players more stat points to work with, but this doesn't help, because then you'll just get people with an 18 in the primary and an 18 in the secondary.

How can we best deal with this, then? My suggestion: identify each character's primary and secondary stats. Give the player 22 points between those two stats. Give the player another ten points for use in the other four stats, with a max score of, say, 14 for any given tertiary or quaternary stat.

It'll increase your party's power level, yes, but the impact should be somewhat minimal, and will show up most in an increase of one to two points in various defenses. Offensive capabilities won't significantly change.

Most importantly, it's pretty simple, and doesn't have any long-term gameplay changes, beyond maybe giving the party slightly harder encounters than they might otherwise have.
 

keterys

First Post
More and more I like removing 'attack stats' - instead of whatever your stat is, treat it as 5 at 1st, 6 at 8th, 7 at 14th, 8 at 21st, 9 at 28th for attack (or any other system that's decently fair of a progression, can divorce it from the stat bumps entirely). Damage is whatever it says now, secondaries whatever it says now, etc.
 

Sadrik

First Post
I also like the idea of making an attack stat for this game. But that still does not fix the stat polarity issue.

You will still see str over con, dex over int, and wis over cha (or vice versa). Players cannot naturally place their stats. I want to be smart and quick. Oh crap, now I am overlapping my resources in one area.

Simply breaking the defenses into three stats instead of three pairs of stats has to happen to fix stat polarity. However as pointed out, it makes some stats worse than they already are (INT looking at you). That is why I see this as a core mechanical problem it is not just a quick easy fix. So lets consider options on how to balance the stats more in the rest of the thread.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
More and more I like removing 'attack stats' - instead of whatever your stat is, treat it as 5 at 1st, 6 at 8th, 7 at 14th, 8 at 21st, 9 at 28th for attack (or any other system that's decently fair of a progression, can divorce it from the stat bumps entirely). Damage is whatever it says now, secondaries whatever it says now, etc.

I had this same idea the other day. The formula I came up with was 4+ 1/7 your level. (1/7 your level is identical to the stat-bump progression is, except at level 7-8, when it is only off by 1.) Also I start with 4 instead of 5, because an 20 at first level is kind of rare, and will be rarer still if you separate attack from ability score. Alternately, you could describe total base attack bonus as 2/3 your level + 4 (+ enhancement and proficiency etc.), so that you don't need to deal with a pseudo-ability score when calculating attack bonus. Keeping the damage based on the normal ability score makes sense and seems balanced with the secondary ability score uses.

.....

To address the OP's issue, here's an alternate house rule that might work (but which has its own problems):
Defenses use the WORSE of the two ability scores. If your class gives a +2 bonus to a defense, it doesn't anymore; instead, that defense uses the BETTER of the two ability scores.

Another avenue you might explore is allowing other areas to use best-of-two stats, with a different set of pairings. For example, maybe melee basic attacks could be based on Str or Dex, whichever is better, and ranged basic attacks could be based on Dex or Wis (since aiming is like Perception which is a function of Wis?). Hit Points could be based on Con or Cha (since your "strength of personality" keeps you going? I dunno...). You get the idea. Part of the issue with this, is that 4e doesn't have a whole lot of derived traits to apply this method to.


The way I solved the problem at my table is to charge half-price for stats that weren't used by your class. So dumping points into both Int and Dex maybe isn't very useful, but it's not very costly either. (I don't see why you should pay full-price in the point-buy if you're not getting full value. It defeats the purpose of point-buy.)

-- 77IM
 

keterys

First Post
Simply breaking the defenses into three stats instead of three pairs of stats has to happen to fix stat polarity.

No... it doesn't. If anything it makes the problem more extreme for some characters.

Now, making it based on the average of the two or lower of the two or something else like that? Sure.
 

Sadrik

First Post
No... it doesn't. If anything it makes the problem more extreme for some characters.

Now, making it based on the average of the two or lower of the two or something else like that? Sure.

Ok, true it does not have to happen. Taking the lower of the two is an option that I was exploring a while back. It is viable. However it is not. A wolf who has an INT of 3 has an AC penalty. I nixed the idea because of these situations.

Another idea is you assume a +2 average for INT and DEX (or any of the polarities) and go with defenses following this formula REF: 8 + INT + DEX.

So, if a rogue has a 8 INT and a 18 DEX he winds up with 8-1+4=11.

I worry about messing with the math too much though. It really trickles throughout the game.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Another idea is you assume a +2 average for INT and DEX (or any of the polarities) and go with defenses following this formula REF: 8 + INT + DEX.

So, if a rogue has a 8 INT and a 18 DEX he winds up with 8-1+4=11.

I worry about messing with the math too much though. It really trickles throughout the game.
..
If their were conditions under which only one or the other could be applied that would also do the trick without shifting the math, ie you dont always get the better or always get the worse of the two. For instance Will ...discepline and spirit, do not always cooperate ... its old inner conflict idea.
A confused character, a stunned character, etc.
These conditions would need to be frequent enough that it would impact a players character design (which is the target I see).

It goes back to the idea of using the appropriate attribute with a skill not just one. When climbing a really tall cliff you use Con when you want to get over fast you might use Str, when trying to estimate how long it will take you use Wisdom etc.
 
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Nymrohd

First Post
I tink removing attack stats would really go a long way in changing the importance of abilities and alleviating MAD. The more I think of it, the more I like it. The question is, what would you tie attacks to? Simply level?
 

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