D&D General How do you like your ASIs?

What do you like to see in your character creation rules?

  • Fixed ASI including possible negatives.

    Votes: 27 19.9%
  • Fixed ASI without negatives.

    Votes: 5 3.7%
  • Floating ASI with restrictions.

    Votes: 8 5.9%
  • Floating ASI without restrictions.

    Votes: 31 22.8%
  • Some fixed and some floating ASI.

    Votes: 19 14.0%
  • No ASI

    Votes: 35 25.7%
  • Other (feel free to describe)

    Votes: 11 8.1%

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Please give an example of a class for which there is a floating ASI race that is obviously the superior choice over VHuman. If you can't, there's no power creep.

The idea that floating ASIs has unbalanced the game is just silly. Something like Twilight Cleric is way more of a balance concern than floating ASIs.
I'm not a power gamer or even really an optimizer, so I can't answer that first sentence. There may or may not be power creep. I can say, though, that if there is power creep, it's really, really minor. In 5e that +1 bonus results in a trivial increase in damage, so there's no way that floating ASIS have unbalanced the game.
 

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Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
A few flukes, a rule do not make.
There are bound to be table that will restrain themselves. But a lot more will not. So far, as I said, if you followed, I know of 5 tables using floating ASI and four of these are powergaming the floating ASI and one does not. And I know a lot more tables that will not use floating ASI exactly because of the power creep that it can bring. That rules, was toughtlessly implemented in TCoE.

Also, it depends a lot on the DM. A DM that focuses mainly on RP and not on tactical combat might not see the problems that TCoE can bring because the problem might never be apparent. Especialy if combats are staged as story propelers to the next chapter. If a DM is a lot more like me where combat is not a story propeler for the next chapter but is its own thing, these problems will arise quite fast. We did the maths. And we see the results around us and it reinforced our doubts up to the point of confirmation. Floating ASI are not for every tables. I'd even dare to say that they're not for every tables but for a minority.

Also, how long does a character lasts in your games? In mine, a player can expect to make 1 to 3 low level characters at the begining of the campaign as the attrition is quite high. With luck you might make only one and this character might last up to 14th and even 20th level. Most campaigns end around level 14 but some last a bit more. We let the story arise from the survivors, not from the original characters as the begining character might have died way before the campaign ends.
We are playing "hard mode" where I am making things more dangerous and the player are moree commonly bypassing combats if they can find other solutions. That being said they ventured into a sewer where an Oblex was terrorizing a town It-Clown style. The Oblex and two rat swarms delivered a TPK.

Technically the bard ran away (the player didn't show for a session) and the remaining 3 code to press on with the fight. One PC was overwhelmed by the swarm, one failed a paralysis save and was dumped into the sewer water to drown, and a third died to direct damage from the oblex.

The TPK was mainly due to the PCs not running when it got tough.

So, over 4 PCs and 6-7 levels I have had 3 deaths. We always start at 3rd level, though.
 



Lanefan

Victoria Rules
That's what RQ does and it's the best technique, the one difficulty with RQ is that it means rolling for stats in order, because some are 2d6, some 3d6, some 3d6+3, some 4d6, etc.

So it needs a bit a thought to get something where characters will not be really random...
Here you roll the same set of dice (we usually use 5d6k3) six times, then during the rearranging step you also take into account what (if anything) your species will do to what number you're putting where.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Rolling in order is the only way rolling makes any sense to begin with. Otherwise you're just randomising power, not what sort of character you get, and where's the fun in that?
Randomizing power is a large part of the point, though, as far as I'm concerned.

Not everyone is or has the same relative "power" in real life; and for me, reflecting this in the game world only makes sense.

That said, the system I use isn't quite as dependent on stats as 5e is, though they're still important.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
All that said, detaching ASI from race is not a bad idea. I think I might enjoy a ruleset where the ASI at chargen is +1 for class, +1 for background, and +1 floating (with max +2 to any one ability score).
If it's to be that fuzzy, I'd start to agree with those who say scrap the ASI step at char-gen and just allow a higher point-buy or array to add three total stat points, and somehow tweak the odds for those who roll so as to add an extra .5 to the expected average.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
If people are feeling disadvantaged or annoyed then it does have a noticeable, meaningful effect on gameplay. And I'm one of those who finds not reaching what is, for practical purposes, the game's benchmark to be annoying.

In order from best to worst as far as I'm concerned:
  1. No racial ASIs. They are the single most boring way to differentiate races in D&D and I don't think much of value would be lost if they went. If you're not going to go in don't go in at all.
  2. 13th Age style Class Based ASIs on top of racial ASIs which you can reallocate if you double up. So a wizard always can get +2 Int from being a wizard, but the secondary stats are influenced by races.
  3. Pure floating ASIs. This, to me, is a patch that is effectively a way of saying no racial ASIs while being fiddly and annoying.
  4. Flex ASIs, 4e style. Where there are multiple options for ASIs for each race but defined strengths. This just feels like an inferior version of the 13th Age style.
  5. Fixed ASIs with negatives. If you're going to go in go all the way. I dislike this but it does add worldbuilding.
  6. Fixed ASIs without negatives. If you can't reach the benchmarks it might as well be a negative but without the worldbuilding benefits.
What are you defining as "the game's benchmark" in the post above?
 

What are you defining as "the game's benchmark" in the post above?
I'm not defining so much as observing. All the WotC 5e pregens have +3 (16/17) in their primary stat and it's easy to reach so it's observationally 16.

As mentioned 4e, with point buy, you could buy up a stat of 18 by using 16 of your 22 points and reach a 20 with a beneficial race. A few people did but I'd guess I saw more starting 18s than 20s because you could buy a 16 with only 9 points, leaving a much more rounded character - or even have an 18 with an off-race character. I'd guess I saw more 18s than 20s - and very few 16s or below. 18 not 20 was the benchmark.

Again this is observational but it's probably the best easily achieved threshold.
 

FireLance

Legend
3E gave us magic item values and wealth by level tables. Many people saw that most PCs had the same magic items, and said it was bad.

4E gave us better guidelines for how to balance PC and encounters. Many people saw that the guidelines advised that PCs of the same level should have equipment that provided the same bonus, and said it was bad.

Tasha's in 5E gave us floating ability score bonuses. Many people saw that this enabled PCs of the same class to start with the same ability modifier in the primary ability score regardless of race, and said it was ... good?

I give up.
 

3E gave us magic item values and wealth by level tables. Many people saw that most PCs had the same magic items, and said it was bad.
And many others said that it was either an expected consequence. Some said that it was good.
4E gave us better guidelines for how to balance PC and encounters. Many people saw that the guidelines advised that PCs of the same level should have equipment that provided the same bonus, and said it was bad.
And many others said that it was good. Especially as having the same bonuses allowed DMs to drop the math part and focus on making rewards interesting. I don't recall anyone who was still playing when inherent bonuses appeared really objecting to them.
Tasha's in 5E gave us floating ability score bonuses. Many people saw that this enabled PCs of the same class to start with the same ability modifier in the primary ability score regardless of race, and said it was ... good?
Many said it was good, a few said it was bad.
I give up.
There will always be people on both sides.
 


The d20 is just too random, IMO, for a 5% difference to truly be highlighted.

As has been shown many times, that little 5% means 20-30% more damage, if we're talking about melee combat.

However, it's also true that an observer who didn't know what was on the character sheet and couldn't see the dice rolls, and only observed the outcomes...that is, whether or not they hit, and how much damage they do...would have a very hard time accurately determining whether the modifier was +2 or +3 (unless the player rolled max damage).
 


As has been shown many times, that little 5% means 20-30% more damage, if we're talking about melee combat.
I must have missed this. Thank you.

However, it's also true that an observer who didn't know what was on the character sheet and couldn't see the dice rolls, and only observed the outcomes...that is, whether or not they hit, and how much damage they do...would have a very hard time accurately determining whether the modifier was +2 or +3 (unless the player rolled max damage).
Yep
 

I’ll add to my last comment that I’ve been playing a lot of Baldur’s Gate 3 lately, in which I know the characters’ stats but don’t watch the log so I don’t see what they actually roll.

When the Cleric misses a melee attack I roll my eyes and blame it on her 12 strength. When the fighter misses with her 17 strength, I blame bad luck.

So while objectively it’s very hard to observe the difference, there’s a psychological factor at play that, for some, makes the unoptimized experience dissatisfying.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
For the discussion you could assume each character put their +2 in the main stat for the class.
Then all were optimized to some degree. Some people here view optimization as equating to power gaming, so the entire scale of optimization are just grades of power gaming. I don't view it that way. To me optimization is fine, but power gaming is when the optimization rises enough to become disruptive to the game.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
3E gave us magic item values and wealth by level tables. Many people saw that most PCs had the same magic items, and said it was bad.
Sentence 1 and sentence 2 here aren't necessarily connected; in that the everyone-has-the-same-items issue reflects a problem with the valuation/rarity of the items themselves (i.e. the items everyone has are too cheap/common for what they are) rather than with the existence of the price guide and w.b.l. table.
4E gave us better guidelines for how to balance PC and encounters. Many people saw that the guidelines advised that PCs of the same level should have equipment that provided the same bonus, and said it was bad.
I think I'd agree, not so much that it's bad but that it's a bit dull. That said, I can see that advice fitting 4e's balance-first philosophy quite well.
Tasha's in 5E gave us floating ability score bonuses. Many people saw that this enabled PCs of the same class to start with the same ability modifier in the primary ability score regardless of race, and said it was ... good?
Can't speak to this one as I've yet to read Tasha's.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Yes. But 1 point is 25% of 4. Increase an average of 4 damage to an average of 5 damage and you have a 25% increase. It sounds big when people put it into percentages, but it's ultimately very trivial.
At each discrete occurrence, yes; but over the long run trivial adds up to being not trivial.

Do 5 points of damage instead of 4 once, who cares. Do it 8 times, however, and you've in effect saved yourself the time that two extra attacks would have taken; and that saved time can sometimes be the difference between living and dying.
 

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