Four Ability Scores

Yaarel

Adventurer
More people than me disagree with you. Mythus Prime uses 3. The full game uses 18.

Interesting article.



I feel there is a miscommunication.



The Mythus gaming system only has three abilities: Physical, Mental, and Spiritual.

These abilities are called ‘traits’.

For the basic version, Mythus Prime, that is it. Three abilities. Simple.



However, for Advanced Mythus, these three abilities are more complex.

Each ability has two sub-abilities. (A skill might need one or both of these sub-abilities.)

The problem is: each sub-ability has THREE different kinds of ways of measuring it.

These three measurements are numbers. They are the sub-ability SCORES, not the sub-ability itself.



Unfortunately, Mythus calls these numbers ‘attributes’. D&D players use the word ‘attribute’ as a synonym for the official word ‘ability’, meaning Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, etcetera. However, in Advanced Mythus, the word ‘attribute’ means ‘number’ (measurement, score, value, quantification), not ability.

It doesnt mean ‘attribute’ in the D&D sense. It is a Mythus technical term meaning ‘score’.

In other words, there are 18 numbers. But only 3 abilities: Physical, Mental, Spiritual.
 
Last edited:

Don Durito

Explorer
If you're cutting down ability scores then you really should get rid of Charisma.

Because the social pillar shouldn't depend on just one score.

Shadows of a Demon Lord has Strength, Agility, Intellect, and Will. This is a pretty good set-up that covers things well. (Perception is slightly separate, it is derived from intellect at the beginning but may be altered seperately by class and race abilities).
 

Don Durito

Explorer
So "none" is a good alternative to "just one?"

(FWIW, since 3.0, WIS has also figured into social encounters pretty easily, via Sense Motive/Insight)
I wouldn't say 'good'. But better yes. By having none you at least destroy the notion of the 'face' character. (This has become a larger issue in 5E - in 4E training in diplomacy was at least worth +5 - but in 5E if you don't have a good Charisma your often just better keeping your mouth shut for fear of making situations worse - especially if you don't have access to expertise).

Even if you just had intelligence and wisdom - then you have at least two distinct styles on the table - you can empathise or you can reason - different characters can contribute in different ways. You can catch an NPC in a lie by the logical consistencies that they utter - or by the way their nervous body language betrays them.
It still feels inadequate - but at least it's a bit wider.

But really the whole notion of how social skills work needs a rethink. D&D's ability scores were never designed for the purposes they are now used for and can't carry the weight.
 
Even if you just had intelligence and wisdom - then you have at least two distinct styles on the table - you can empathise or you can reason - different characters can contribute in different ways. You can catch an NPC in a lie by the logical consistencies that they utter - or by the way their nervous body language betrays them.
It still feels inadequate - but at least it's a bit wider.
That doesn't mean you can't have CHA(Diplomacy) in there with some spirited oratory, just that you should /also/ have INT(Investigation?) and WIS(Insight) in the interaction scene. There's nothing much to make that happen, but if players declare "searching what he says for logical consistencies" or "paying attention to body language" as well as "give 'em the third degree" /they've/ worked three different stats into (this time it sounds like an interrogation) the social challenge.

But really the whole notion of how social skills work needs a rethink. D&D's ability scores were never designed for the purposes they are now used for and can't carry the weight.
It's hard to get people to talk about re-thinking much of anything in a D&D thread, it seems, but if you've ideas, I'll try to listen ...
 

Don Durito

Explorer
That doesn't mean you can't have CHA(Diplomacy) in there with some spirited oratory, just that you should /also/ have INT(Investigation?) and WIS(Insight) in the interaction scene. There's nothing much to make that happen, but if players declare "searching what he says for logical consistencies" or "paying attention to body language" as well as "give 'em the third degree" /they've/ worked three different stats into (this time it sounds like an interrogation) the social challenge.
Yes but it's awkward. Say you're playing a Ranger with a Wis 16 and a Charisma of 8. The Bard has been blathering to the king for awhile away for awhile and while he's been talking you notice that one of the courtiers is looking very nervous and uncomfortable about something.

At this point the approach you'd expect from watching media is that while the Bard continues to be the centre of attention the Ranger quietly steps aside and has a quiet word to the courtier - tries to persuade him to open up (after all your character noticed something potentially important - this ought to be your time to step into the spotlight).

However if you have to make a Persuasion roll - then you've probably wasted the opportunity - better to just tell the bard so he can go and talk - or maybe you have another character with a decent Charisma.

It's not very satsifying - Insight is half a skill. If the skill was "Empathy" you'd have the other half.

All the active rolls come under Charisma - it's like if all attack rolls (including for spells) came under Strength and the only way to hit people ever was by rolling Strength. If you didn't have Strength you'd be spending all of combat doing help actions and the like. (...because, to continue the analogy, if you tried to attack and missed you may not just waste your action but actively make the situation worse.)

It's hard to get people to talk about re-thinking much of anything in a D&D thread, it seems, but if you've ideas, I'll try to listen ...
If I was designing a full social combat system for D&D, I'd probably use Int and Wis for approaches (attacks) and Charisma to determine the extent of the influence (social damage).

But I suspect such a system would get pushback and probably is more than would be needed for most D&D games. (The Shadow of a Demon Lord Forbidden Rules supplement actually has such a system - but because the game lacks a Charisma stat it loses out a bit in this particular situation where such a stat would actually lend nuance.) . Shadow of a Demon Lord's Boons and Banes systems allow the NPCs attitude to the PC to influence the roll to persuade someone in a way that is difficult to achieve in 5E - Advantage/Disadvantage being too much of a blunt instrument.

Failing that - If I was keeping skills (which I increasingly think don't really fit very well with 5E's proficiency system - but thinking about skills help to think about functions) I'd rework them somewhat so there was a better spread.

eg
Int
Deception
Reason (maybe not a whole skill but an approach at least)
Wis
Empathy
Cha
Build Rapport/Charm
Possibly Fast Talk

I think looking at the above - I'd put more focus on how the PC was trying to do the action then the end goal.

I think there's a bit of a gap there - but I think that's a good thing - I think any social system in a RPG starts to run into trouble when it is able to function completely independently of what the PC is actually saying.
 
Last edited:
If I was designing a full social combat system for D&D,
I'd hate to see it called that, but....
I'd probably use Int and Wis for approaches and Charisma to determine the extent of the influence.
That sounds interesting, and reasonably intuitive, even.

But I suspect such a system would get pushback
Guaranteed.

Failing that - If I was keeping skills (which I increasingly think don't really fit very well with 5E's proficiency system - but thinking about skills help to think about functions)
Also worthy of discussion. Skills, albeit with the game now going on 20 years, still sometimes feel 'tacked on.'
I'd rework them somewhat so there was a better spread.
eg
Int
Deception
Reason (maybe not a whole skill but an approach at least)
Wis
Empathy
Cha
Build Rapport/Charm
Possibly Fast Talk
I think looking at the above - I'd put more focus on how the PC was trying to do the action then the end goal.

I think any social system in a RPG starts to run into trouble when it is able to function completely independently of what the PC is actually saying.
What the player is actually saying could be a summary or abstraction of what the PC is imagined or assumed to be saying, I should hope - if the skill of the PC as wordsmith, and talent (INT/WIS/CHA) is to be modeled, at all.[/quote]
 

Don Durito

Explorer
What the player is actually saying could be a summary or abstraction of what the PC is imagined or assumed to be saying, I should hope - if the skill of the PC as wordsmith, and talent (INT/WIS/CHA) is to be modeled, at all.
Well yes. I don't mean word for word. And I don't think it's good practice to assume that what the player says and what the NPC says are word for word identical anyway. But if the King won't assist because he is worried about the Orcs on his border - then you should address his concerns about the Orcs on his border. And I think it's best to leave space so that if you can do that directly you probably don't need to roll.

If you say the thing that will convince the king then you convince the king.

I feel like in D&D at least, the social system should underpin that. Maybe you need rolls to find out what is worrying the king, to find the contacts to get an audience for the king, to gain extra insight into how other people in the court will react etc.

What I definitely don't want is "Ok roll persuade".

There's issues with having the same system for abstract social situations (I hit bars and try to make friends with someone who works at the palace) incidental encounters, (I try to fast talk the guards into letting me through the gate), and set pieces/full on social encounters.

In the latter situation the system really needs to be able to either step up or step back. (And it's not fair to a player who takes "Persuade" that in the very situation in which the spotlight is most focused on the act of persuasion the mechanical choice becomes irrelevant - so the persuade skill has to go.)

That's what I meant about leaving gaps.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Yes but it's awkward. Say you're playing a Ranger with a Wis 16 and a Charisma of 8. The Bard has been blathering to the king for awhile away for awhile and while he's been talking you notice that one of the courtiers is looking very nervous and uncomfortable about something.

At this point the approach you'd expect from watching media is that while the Bard continues to be the centre of attention the Ranger quietly steps aside and has a quiet word to the courtier - tries to persuade him to open up (after all your character noticed something potentially important - this ought to be your time to step into the spotlight).

However if you have to make a Persuasion roll - then you've probably wasted the opportunity - better to just tell the bard so he can go and talk - or maybe you have another character with a decent Charisma.

It's not very satsifying - Insight is half a skill. If the skill was "Empathy" you'd have the other half.

All the active rolls come under Charisma - it's like if all attack rolls (including for spells) came under Strength and the only way to hit people ever was by rolling Strength. If you didn't have Strength you'd be spending all of combat doing help actions and the like. (...because, to continue the analogy, if you tried to attack and missed you may not just waste your action but actively make the situation worse.)



If I was designing a full social combat system for D&D, I'd probably use Int and Wis for approaches (attacks) and Charisma to determine the extent of the influence (social damage).

But I suspect such a system would get pushback and probably is more than would be needed for most D&D games. (The Shadow of a Demon Lord Forbidden Rules supplement actually has such a system - but because the game lacks a Charisma stat it loses out a bit in this particular situation where such a stat would actually lend nuance.) . Shadow of a Demon Lord's Boons and Banes systems allow the NPCs attitude to the PC to influence the roll to persuade someone in a way that is difficult to achieve in 5E - Advantage/Disadvantage being too much of a blunt instrument.

Failing that - If I was keeping skills (which I increasingly think don't really fit very well with 5E's proficiency system - but thinking about skills help to think about functions) I'd rework them somewhat so there was a better spread.

eg
Int
Deception
Reason (maybe not a whole skill but an approach at least)
Wis
Empathy
Cha
Build Rapport/Charm
Possibly Fast Talk

I think looking at the above - I'd put more focus on how the PC was trying to do the action then the end goal.

I think there's a bit of a gap there - but I think that's a good thing - I think any social system in a RPG starts to run into trouble when it is able to function completely independently of what the PC is actually saying.
IMO part of the solution is to decouple the stats from the skills.

Why shouldn’t the ranger be able to use a Wisdom check with proficiency if he is trained in Persuasion?

I’d also simply allow the Ranger to use Insight to connect with the courtier. I honestly wouldn’t even think to ask for a Persuasion check in that case.

But also, why shouldn’t fast talk, or understanding fast talk, be Intelligence (Deception)?
 

Don Durito

Explorer
IMO part of the solution is to decouple the stats from the skills.

Why shouldn’t the ranger be able to use a Wisdom check with proficiency if he is trained in Persuasion?

I’d also simply allow the Ranger to use Insight to connect with the courtier. I honestly wouldn’t even think to ask for a Persuasion check in that case.

But also, why shouldn’t fast talk, or understanding fast talk, be Intelligence (Deception)?
In principle I agree. Certainly there's uneccessary overlap. What does Acrobatics do that Dexterity(Athletics) doesn't?

But skills in 5E just don't do enough for that to be worth the trouble. To have a reasonable chance of achieving something you need both Ability Mod and Proficiency.

In 4E skills added +5 and that's the minimun number necessary to have skills have meaningful impact. (Because DCs scale by 5 - so an increase of +5 means you can now hit a higher category of DC for the same roll).

In practice I find that if you start moving around skills and ability scores you just take reliability away from the players. Ability scores come first. So if the Cleric player takes Insight because he has a high Wisdom - it doesn't help him much if he is then asked to roll Charisma (Insight) -- the ability score is where the weight in the system is (at least until quite high levels), and most classes don't get much in the way of meaningful choices in that regard.

You could probably just drop skills entirely and say to players pick 2 ability scores and have proficiency in all skill checks with those scores and the game wouldn't really play appreciably different (You'd lose the illusion of choice - which is not nothing - but it is mostly an illusion).

In any case the system is vestigial enough that you can remove the skills - replace them with 13th Age style backgrounds, or just sub in a new skill list entirely and nothing will really break.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
In principle I agree. Certainly there's uneccessary overlap. What does Acrobatics do that Dexterity(Athletics) doesn't?

But skills in 5E just don't do enough for that to be worth the trouble. To have a reasonable chance of achieving something you need both Ability Mod and Proficiency.

In 4E skills added +5 and that's the minimun number necessary to have skills have meaningful impact. (Because DCs scale by 5 - so an increase of +5 means you can now hit a higher category of DC for the same roll).

In practice I find that if you start moving around skills and ability scores you just take reliability away from the players. Ability scores come first. So if the Cleric player takes Insight because he has a high Wisdom - it doesn't help him much if he is then asked to roll Charisma (Insight) -- the ability score is where the weight in the system is (at least until quite high levels).

You could probably just drop skills entirely and say to players pick 2 ability scores and have proficiency in all skill checks with those scores and the game wouldn't really play appreciably different (You'd lose the illusion of choice - which is not nothing - but it is mostly an illusion).

In any case the system is vestigial enough that you can remove the skills - replace them with 13th Age style backgrounds, or just sub in a new skill list entirely and nothing will really break.
DCs scale by 5? Pretty sure the DM sets DCs, and in published modules being proficient certainly makes a difference. As for the idea of losing skills and picking two attributes instead...if the game wouldn’t play very, very, differently for you with that change, you and I are playing very different games.
 

Don Durito

Explorer
DCs scale by 5? Pretty sure the DM sets DCs, and in published modules being proficient certainly makes a difference. As for the idea of losing skills and picking two attributes instead...if the game wouldn’t play very, very, differently for you with that change, you and I are playing very different games.
From the SRD
Typical Difficulty Classes
Task DifficultyDC
Very easy5
Easy10
Medium15
Hard20
Very hard25
Nearly impossible30

How many Strength based characters don't take Athletics (Aka - Strength the Skill)?
How many Charisma based characters don't take Persuade or Deception?

I'd be very surprised if you looked at your PCs character sheets and most of the skills picked aren't in abilities PCs are good at.
 
I'd be very surprised if you looked at your PCs character sheets and most of the skills picked aren't in abilities PCs are good at.
Either that or to partially cover a weak stat. For instance, taking one CHA skill so you have an option in social encounters in spite of no CHA bonus.

Of course, with 5e BA, you can prettymuch just roll any check, anyway Easy or Medium, you have a shot. Sometimes you'll make it.
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
Personally, I think we could drop all the ability scores. They just add a random layer of imbalance, AFAICT. I'd rather see more capability and skills baked into the class itself, in part harkening back to earlier editions. So all Fighters would be equal in fighting ability, as its a class thing. To handle many of the differences and quirks mentioned in the thread so far, I would implement some kind of aspects system (like feats, but targeting the kinds of strengths and weaknesses that people have mentioned and only available at creation). Some of these aspects could even be linked to race.

The aspects would only affect non-combat abilities, either by granting advantage to certain actions or permitting them in the first place. This might make them more fundamental to some classes than others, and as such could be restricted to a given class, background, or race. So two fighters will have equal combat ability, but the one with "Strong as an Ox" will still play differently from the one who is "Grizzled Veteran".

Then again, maybe playing Fate has affected by perspective on the utility of numerical attributes too much.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
From the SRD
Typical Difficulty Classes
Task DifficultyDC
Very easy5
Easy10
Medium15
Hard20
Very hard25
Nearly impossible30

How many Strength based characters don't take Athletics (Aka - Strength the Skill)?
How many Charisma based characters don't take Persuade or Deception?

I'd be very surprised if you looked at your PCs character sheets and most of the skills picked aren't in abilities PCs are good at.
Then be surprised. Every character in every campaign in my group, as well as the library public game I DM for, has skills that aren’t tied to their top stats.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
It's not very satsifying - Insight is half a skill. If the skill was "Empathy" you'd have the other half.
Exactly. Insight − the ability to read other peoples emotions − namely Empathy − is an extremely important social skill. It needs to relocate to Charisma, along with the rest of the social skills.

To put social skills anywhere else is unsatisfying and kludgy.



Say you're playing a Ranger with a Wis 16 and a Charisma of 8.
And that is the problem. Wisdom needs to cease to exist.

Its Insight social skill and its Willpower saving throw (its ‘force of personality’) function more integrally as part of Charisma.

Meanwhile, its Perception skill needs to become part of Intelligence, where it belongs, merging back into Investigation. As such, Intelligence has the Perception saving throw.

And there is nothing left that actually belongs to ‘Wisdom’. Wisdom lacks a reason to exist.



So the solution is, there be only two mental abilities:

• Intelligence-(Lore)-Perception-(Investigation-Deception)

• Charisma-(Persuasion-Intimidation-Performance)-Wisdom-(Empathy-Willpower)



With regard to the Ranger, why did the class associate with Wisdom? Was it because it was Perceptive or was it because it was social? In the case of the Ranger, it seems to me less social, and more about perceiving the phenomena of Nature and comprehending the sciences of Nature. In other words, Ranger inclines Intelligence-Perception.




In sum, the foursome.

• Strength-Constitution
• Dexterity-Athletics

• Intelligence-Perception
• Charisma-Wisdom
 
Last edited:

Don Durito

Explorer
Personally, I think we could drop all the ability scores. They just add a random layer of imbalance, AFAICT. I'd rather see more capability and skills baked into the class itself, in part harkening back to earlier editions. So all Fighters would be equal in fighting ability, as its a class thing. To handle many of the differences and quirks mentioned in the thread so far, I would implement some kind of aspects system (like feats, but targeting the kinds of strengths and weaknesses that people have mentioned and only available at creation). Some of these aspects could even be linked to race.

The aspects would only affect non-combat abilities, either by granting advantage to certain actions or permitting them in the first place. This might make them more fundamental to some classes than others, and as such could be restricted to a given class, background, or race. So two fighters will have equal combat ability, but the one with "Strong as an Ox" will still play differently from the one who is "Grizzled Veteran".

Then again, maybe playing Fate has affected by perspective on the utility of numerical attributes too much.
Yes. I'd do something similar.

I'd consider using something like Spiritual Attributes from Riddle of Steel. So one Character might have: Destiny - to be king + 3, Conscience +4, Oath to Avenge my father's murder +3 etc.

But it needs the right group to be open to that. And it's always going to be something to houserule. I'd don't think it's something that is ever going to be main stream.
 

Don Durito

Explorer
Exactly. Insight − the ability to read other peoples emotions − namely Empathy − is an extremely important social skill. It needs to relocate to Charisma, along with the rest of the social skills.

To put social skills anywhere else is unsatisfying and kludgy.





And that is the problem. Wisdom needs to cease to exist.

Its Insight social skill and its Willpower saving throw (its ‘force of personality’) function more integrally as part of Charisma.

Meanwhile, its Perception skill needs to become part of Intelligence, where it belongs, merging back into Investigation. As such, Intelligence has the Perception saving throw.

And there is nothing left that actually belongs to ‘Wisdom’. Wisdom lacks a reason to exist.



So the solution is, there be only two mental abilities:

• Intelligence-(Lore)-Perception-(Investigation-Deception)

• Charisma-(Persuasion-Intimidation-Performance)-Wisdom-(Empathy-Willpower)



With regard to the Ranger, why did the class associate with Wisdom? Was it because it was Perceptive or was it because it was social? In the case of the Ranger, it seems to me less social, and more about perceiving the phenomena of Nature and comprehending the sciences of Nature. In other words, Ranger inclines Intelligence-Perception.




In sum, the foursome.

• Strength-Constitution
• Dexterity-Athletics

• Intelligence-Perception
• Charisma-Wisdom
It's a more logical breakdown, definintely.

But I personally don't want the situation where one PC is clearly best in social situations anymore than I want any one PC to dominate in combat.

Not that there aren't other ways to split the pie. You could have particular PCs have ways to be situationally better I guess.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
If you're cutting down ability scores then you really should get rid of Charisma.

Because the social pillar shouldn't depend on just one score.

Shadows of a Demon Lord has Strength, Agility, Intellect, and Will. This is a pretty good set-up that covers things well. (Perception is slightly separate, it is derived from intellect at the beginning but may be altered seperately by class and race abilities).


Shadows of a Demon Lord (by Robert Schwalb) has an ability foursome: Strength, Agility, Intellect, and Will.

Will = Charisma-Wisdom
• Willpower
• Sanity
• Persuasion
• Intimidation

Will is absolutely identical to the Charisma-Wisdom of the ability foursome in this thread.



Intellect = Intelligence-Perception
• Perception
• Reasoning
• Deception
• Lore

Intellect is absolutely identical to the Intelligence-Perception of the ability foursome in this thread.



Agility = Dexterity-Athletics
• Body Agility
• Reflex
• AC Bonus
• Jump (!)
• Manual Dexterity
• Ranged Weapons
• Finesse Weapons

Agility is identical to the Dexterity-Athletics in this thread, except Agility lacks Speed (Run, Swim, Climb).



Strength = Strength-Constitution
• Fortitude
• Health
• Hit Points
• Melee Weapons
• Grapple
• Carry, Lift, Pull, Push
• Speed, Run, Swim, Climb

Strength is identical to the Strength-Constitution of the ability foursome in this thread, except it has Speed.



Great minds think alike!
 
Last edited:

Advertisement

Top