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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%

  • Total voters
    136
I think fear of missing out is a large part of it. Beyond that, though, I think a lot of us have been programmed to need those stats. Most of us here on the forum are long time players, going at least as far back as 3e and in many cases 1e or before. Stats used to matter a whole lot more and we've got decades of game play behind us telling us that we need that extra +2 to the prime stat. 5e changed that, but one edition where you don't need the extra +1 isn't going to change the way most people have been trained to think and feel about stats.
Agreed. And once that 'need' is established, even if we intellectually unlearn it, it takes a pretty good feature to make you not go for the 16. In a fixed-ASI game, people won't go for a race that doesn't have the "right" ASIs without a strong motivator. They limit themselves, because of how the math is presented (not because of the end results of the math).

Floating ASIs eliminates that barrier to variety.
 

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clearstream

(He, Him)
Even if it's 5 fights a session, it's not going to really be noticeable. Let's see you get into 5 fights and hit 4 times a fight, getting an extra 2 hit in. That's 30 extra points of damage spread over 5-40 opponents. You aren't going to see the effect of that. It's too small. 1 fight or 20, you still don't see it due to the number of hit points 5e monsters have and the sheer number of those high hit point monsters you have to fight. It still amounts to 1 extra point per hit and the rare extra hit.

Sorry, but "my guy doing 1 point more damage than your guy" does not equate to "my guy is competent and yours is only slightly above average." Oh, and the average is 10.5(for the population), not 12-13. 12-13 is average for an exceptional adventurer. So 14-15 is is 4 to 5 points higher than the average warrior.
It's not so one-dimensional though. Our barbarian is hitting more often and harder, and she has more hit points. She grapples better and resists shoving more easily. Outside of combat, she can hold her breath longer, and avoid exhaustion more easily and she is guaranteed to jump further and will climb more successfully.

Jumping is a strong case, because in play, one can stand a 12 strength next to a 14 strength and the rules guarantee that the latter can clear (without rolling) 2 feet more distance (with run up).
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
As interesting as this is, if we deviate from the expectations set by the encounter/CR design, then this quickly devolves into 'at my table' and no definition can be found.
Doesn't that then imply that "required" lacks definition? If it lacks definition, we cannot say what it means to say that a score is or is not required. Therefore we cannot put "not required" forward as an argument for or against floating ASIs.
 

Scribe

Hero
Doesn't that then imply that "required" lacks definition? If it lacks definition, we cannot say what it means to say that a score is or is not required. Therefore we cannot put "not required" forward as an argument for or against floating ASIs.
Perhaps. As it's too loose of a term, (required, for what?) I think at this point I would like to know simply if there was a design expectation.

We know the following.

Expected AC at CR levels per Player Level.
Proficiency Bonus per Player Level.
D20.
Standard Array Caps at 15.
ASI was released as Fixed.

Considering the above, and how open/player friendly 5e is, I find it difficult to accept that the expected design of the games math, assumes only a small selection of Race/Class combinations.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
And, FWIW, this is not only an argument against the stance that a PC "needs" that sweet sixteen over a 14 in their main stat to be effective but also an argument against the stance that taking that sweet sixteen over a 14 in their main stat is somehow the path to powergaming. Truth is, the +1 is barely noticeable over the course of a session. Either way.
I'm conscious of that irony, also. If we were to all accept that there is no noticeable consequence in play, we would also be scotching anxieties about power gaming. However, I feel I must argue according to what I observe, and not what would be convenient.

"...the course of a session" is new context to consider. I'd probably concede that it may not be noticeable every single session, e.g. in sessions where there are no fights, or jumps, holdings of breaths, or great need for inspiration. We noticed for example very clearly when the bard in my current ToA campaign went from +3 to +4 in Charisma, because they became able to target more characters with Mantle and the impact has been very strong. Just one point, but that is an opportunity-attack-free move and 11 temp HP to almost the whole (six character) party. Four times between rests. So from 36*3 = 108 hp for the group, to 44*4 = 176 hp! But to my point, that is only noticed in combat.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Perhaps. As it's too loose of a term, (required, for what?) I think at this point I would like to know simply if there was a design expectation.

We know the following.

Expected AC at CR levels per Player Level.
Proficiency Bonus per Player Level.
D20.
Standard Array Caps at 15.
ASI was released as Fixed.

Considering the above, and how open/player friendly 5e is, I find it difficult to accept that the expected design of the games math, assumes only a small selection of Race/Class combinations.
We could take the design intent to be implied by the fact that the standard generation method usually delivers a 16, and standard array / point buy very likely produce a 16 (or better) after fixed racial ASIs. I imagine we'll encounter reluctance to accept that implication here :D

What do you mean small selection? Do you mean if you randomly assign races to arrays, most don't produce a 16? Do you know what the ratio is?
 

Scribe

Hero
We could take the design intent to be implied by the fact that the standard generation method usually delivers a 16, and standard array / point buy very likely produce a 16 (or better) after fixed racial ASIs. I imagine we'll encounter reluctance to accept that implication here :D

What do you mean small selection? Do you mean if you randomly assign races to arrays, most don't produce a 16? Do you know what the ratio is?
Standard Array only provides 16+ if you select the correct race.

When I say small select that's what I mean.

There are only so many Str races, if 15 is not sufficient by design, then you are expected to pick one.

I just find that unlikely as a design expectation.
 

That doesn't match my experience. When I see characters with lower rather than higher numbers in play alongside characters with higher rather than lower numbers, it couldn't be clearer which is which. With our bards in OOTA, the dragonborn and half-elf leaned into the competition between them, and the recognisable fact that the dragonborn was the noticeably less-successful bard. That made emerged quite a nice narrative, but I can't say that all players would be as equanimous.
Are you talking about a +1 difference in CHA here between the dragonborn and half-elf? In any case, I'm glad some fun was had with the discrepancy.

Reflecting on that, maybe the issue of what is noticeable is more one around overshadowing, because that is one context where it becomes more than usually noticeable. Of course supporting my contention that the amount it helps in play is non-trivial.
Spotlight sharing has a lot more to do with the social contract than with any stat. In our current CoS West Marches campaign, we just finished a session which had a 6th level tabaxi phantom rogue, a 6th level aarakocra bard, a 4th level yuan-ti fiend warlock, a 1st level wildhunt shifter paladin, and a 1st level hobgoblin fighter. Through a mix of exploration and combat, they all contributed. No one wanted to parley with the baddies, much to the bard's chagrin. When the paladin went down to an unfortunate crit from a balloon spider (yeah, that's a real thing and glorious - Tome of Beasts II), I had a friendly swarm of ravens at the ready for the player to control while his paladin was bleeding out. The warlock then took time to cast spare the dying and the bard cast cure wounds once combat ended to bring him back. The 1st level fighter was even the one to pass the Int(History) check to solve a key component of one of the exploration challenges.

Anyway, I'm digressing. But point being: +1 (or greater) differences... made no difference for the fun at our table last night. YMMV.
 

I'm conscious of that irony, also. If we were to all accept that there is no noticeable consequence in play, we would also be scotching anxieties about power gaming. However, I feel I must argue according to what I observe, and not what would be convenient.
Fair enough.

"...the course of a session" is new context to consider.
Good point. When I think of "...the course of a session" I'm considering several challenges over the course of a game session - combat, exploration, and social interaction. A fun session, IMO, typically contains two or three of these, giving each character multiple chances to contribute in their own unique way.

I'd probably concede that it may not be noticeable every single session, e.g. in sessions where there are no fights, or jumps, holdings of breaths, or great need for inspiration.
I hope you don't go too many sessions where all those things aren't happening!

We noticed for example very clearly when the bard in my current ToA campaign went from +3 to +4 in Charisma, because they became able to target more characters with Mantle and the impact has been very strong. Just one point, but that is an opportunity-attack-free move and 11 temp HP to almost the whole (six character) party. Four times between rests. So from 36*3 = 108 hp for the group, to 44*4 = 176 hp! But to my point, that is only noticed in combat.
That sounds great assuming you have 4 combats where mantle is used before a long rest. Otherwise, you'll never see that particular benefit. The total HP numbers are slightly misleading in that you can't stack temp HP - so if you have some left over when you redo the mantle... well the totals diminish. Then again, if there are some left over, you probably move on to the other characters. Strategery! At the end of the day, Mantle is a cool feature no matter how you slice it.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
The "noise" of the swinginess of the d20 means that the statistical impact of the +1 will be hard to observe. And that is true over small numbers or large numbers.

But "hard for humans to observe" is different from "less than the math says"

The thing is that this is exactly what the math say, the law of large numbers is for... well first it's for large numbers, and second it never mandates any results, it just says it it is likely to converge, but only after large numbers of dices have been rolled, which is never going to be the case even for multiple combats. In these, real randomness will prevail.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'm with you on this.

And, FWIW, this is not only an argument against the stance that a PC "needs" that sweet sixteen over a 14 in their main stat to be effective but also an argument against the stance that taking that sweet sixteen over a 14 in their main stat is somehow the path to powergaming. Truth is, the +1 is barely noticeable over the course of a session. Either way.
Absolutely. In my current game I have 4 PCs. One has a main stat of 16, one 18, one 20 and one 22. They are all right around equally effective. Even the difference between the 16 and 22 isn't noticeable be me and I do all of the math regarding damage vs. monster hit points.

I've just plain stopped being worried about optimization as it doesn't mean what it used to.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Agreed. And once that 'need' is established, even if we intellectually unlearn it, it takes a pretty good feature to make you not go for the 16. In a fixed-ASI game, people won't go for a race that doesn't have the "right" ASIs without a strong motivator. They limit themselves, because of how the math is presented (not because of the end results of the math).

Floating ASIs eliminates that barrier to variety.
And I think there is a good argument for a floating bonus. There is also a good argument for fixed. That's why +2 fixed and +2 floating is the way to go. It takes both sides into account and allows both to get what they want.
 




Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
Sorry, but "my guy doing 1 point more damage than your guy" does not equate to "my guy is competent and yours is only slightly above average." Oh, and the average is 10.5(for the population), not 12-13. 12-13 is average for an exceptional adventurer. So 14-15 is is 4 to 5 points higher than the average warrior.

Haven't you ever felt proud of passing an exam with a top mark even when there was no consequence once the "passing grade" threshold was reached? I am not arguing it's a mechanical effect, it's how some people apparently feel with ability scores. Sure, you don't need anything, but on the spectrum of 3-18, one wants to be the closest as possible to 18, irrespective of whether it's actually needed for the game.
 

The thing is that this is exactly what the math say, the law of large numbers is for... well first it's for large numbers, and second it never mandates any results, it just says it it is likely to converge, but only after large numbers of dices have been rolled, which is never going to be the case even for multiple combats. In these, real randomness will prevail.

That is both true and very cleverly misleading.

Happy gaming.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Haven't you ever felt proud of passing an exam with a top mark even when there was no consequence once the "passing grade" threshold was reached? I am not arguing it's a mechanical effect, it's how some people apparently feel with ability scores. Sure, you don't need anything, but on the spectrum of 3-18, one wants to be the closest as possible to 18, irrespective of whether it's actually needed for the game.
Okay. I get wanting to feel good about a high number. That's different from arguing that it does 20-30% more damage, which when you look closer is nearly meaningless given the small numbers. Feelings aren't meaningless. The difference in the math between a 14 and 16 doesn't mean much with the way 5e is set up.
 


clearstream

(He, Him)
Standard Array only provides 16+ if you select the correct race.

When I say small select that's what I mean.

There are only so many Str races, if 15 is not sufficient by design, then you are expected to pick one.

I just find that unlikely as a design expectation.
"BUILDING BRUENOR, STEP 3

Bob decides to use the standard set of scores (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8) for Bruenor’s abilities. Since he’s a fighter, he puts his highest score, 15, in Strength. His next-highest, 14, goes in Constitution. Bruenor might be a brash fighter, but Bob decides he wants the dwarf to be older, wiser, and a good leader, so he puts decent scores in Wisdom and Charisma. After applying his racial benefits (increasing Bruenor’s Constitution by 2 and his Strength by 2), Bruenor’s ability scores and modifiers look like this: Strength 17 (+3), Dexterity 10 (+0), Constitution 16 (+3), Intelligence 8 (–1), Wisdom 13 (+1), Charisma 12 (+1).

Bob fills in Bruenor’s final hit points: 10 + his Constitution modifier of +3, for a total of 13 hit points."
 

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