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D&D 5E Idea that will most players will hate, but I think addresses a mechanical issue in game

Over the years I have seen I have no idea how many arguments about Dex being the god stat. I don't disagree.
There are also umpteen arguments about stats/abilities/what not tied to Str or Dex.

I propose something, that will infuriate most players, for all kinds of reasons.

Some weapon attacks require both a modicum of Strength AND Dexterity. In the real world, a top swordsman (not talking fencers), or archer, needs both.
So what happens if I said to my players:

"OK, when you use your Long Bow, you use your Dex and Prof to Hit, but you add (or subtract) your Str modifier for damage."
This concept can be applied to a myriad of the published weapons, though not all.
Anybody who has wielded a sledgehammer in the real world, or tried splitting wood, understands it not all about Strength.

Now, the cons to such an idea are not limited to the following:
1. More complexity for the players and DM, and we know that new age players hate complexity.
2. Dex, or Str, is no longer a dump stat, which will irritate most martial class players.
3. Martial class chars are taking the hit, while this has no impact on casters.

But...this is far more realistic, and the arguments about creating optimized chars loses some of its value.
Does this also mean that the base damage value of martial weapons has to be altered, to compensate for the inherent nerf to martial chars? Yes.
There are multiple cascade effects.
 

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RainOnTheSun

Villager
If you're worried about complexity but you want strength to be more important, you could borrow a mechanic from Champions/Hero System. A lot of weapons in that system have minimum strength requirements. Maybe it takes a 13 Strength to be able to effectively use a longbow. At 15 Strength, maybe you can use a Composite Bow or a Great Bow or something that uses a d10 for damage and has a little more range.
 

The problem this creates is making all weapon users even more multi-ability dependent. Now fighters need str, dex, and con regardless of weapon choice, meaning they can't have more than a +1 in any mental stat, thus ruling out tactician, leader, and officer concepts. Barbarians are the same but moreso. Rangers need str, dex, con and wis, paladins need str, dex, con, wis and cha (meaning they now *must be dumb), and even monks are worse off. Hexblades need str, dex, con, and cha. Casters (including blastlocks) can still be single-ability dependent, though.

Any time you increase costs without increasing resources, you nerf pcs. Since these costs are already uneven by class, this will exacerbate the issue.

So unless you include a new way of generating stats that tends to get more high-ish numbers without increasing the amount of really high numbers, you'll increase the already problematic gap between weapon-users and casters.
 

But...this is far more realistic,
Not a pro to a lot of people
and the arguments about creating optimized chars loses some of its value.
I don't follow - you've made it harder to build an optimized weapon user, and easier to build an optimized caster.
Does this also mean that the base damage value of martial weapons has to be altered, to compensate for the inherent nerf to martial chars? Yes.
There are multiple cascade effects.
Of course, it also creates a synergy for certain builds to now get more damage than the game expects vis min-maxing, so we'll need to rebalance monsters.
 

payn

Legend
Over the years I have seen I have no idea how many arguments about Dex being the god stat. I don't disagree.
There are also umpteen arguments about stats/abilities/what not tied to Str or Dex.
True.
I propose something, that will infuriate most players, for all kinds of reasons.
Uh...ok lets do this.
Some weapon attacks require both a modicum of Strength AND Dexterity. In the real world, a top swordsman (not talking fencers), or archer, needs both.
So what happens if I said to my players:

"OK, when you use your Long Bow, you use your Dex and Prof to Hit, but you add (or subtract) your Str modifier for damage."
This concept can be applied to a myriad of the published weapons, though not all.
Anybody who has wielded a sledgehammer in the real world, or tried splitting wood, understands it not all about Strength.
Makes sense.
Now, the cons to such an idea are not limited to the following:
1. More complexity for the players and DM, and we know that new age players hate complexity.
This is something I hear ont he internets, but dont think is true. However, I dont know enough about it to actually argue against it.
2. Dex, or Str, is no longer a dump stat, which will irritate most martial class players.
Only in the sense that MAD is obviously inferior to SAD in design.
3. Martial class chars are taking the hit, while this has no impact on casters.
Actually, what if casters need Dex to aim touch and range spells, and casting stat for damage or what have you? Seems to balance out.
But...this is far more realistic, and the arguments about creating optimized chars loses some of its value.
Does this also mean that the base damage value of martial weapons has to be altered, to compensate for the inherent nerf to martial chars? Yes.
There are multiple cascade effects.
Applying it as a houserule to 5E has those drawbacks. Though, if you start with these assumptions in a new design, I cant see why it doesn't become expected in a heartbreaker or 6E.
 

Not a pro to a lot of people

I don't follow - you've made it harder to build an optimized weapon user, and easier to build an optimized caster.

Of course, it also creates a synergy for certain builds to now get more damage than the game expects vis min-maxing, so we'll need to rebalance monsters.
Both your comments echo some of the issues I listed. Yes, this would have a significant impact on game play, right down the line. And no, I never expect WOTC to even begin to think along these lines, as it goes in the exact opposite direction they want aka make the game easier and simpler.

This is more of a thought experiment where I elicit comments which I can then muse over and see if I can incorporate into my own game.
 

True.

Uh...ok lets do this.

Makes sense.

This is something I hear ont he internets, but dont think is true. However, I dont know enough about it to actually argue against it.

Only in the sense that MAD is obviously inferior to SAD in design.

Actually, what if casters need Dex to aim touch and range spells, and casting stat for damage or what have you? Seems to balance out.

Applying it as a houserule to 5E has those drawbacks. Though, if you start with these assumptions in a new design, I cant see why it doesn't become expected in a heartbreaker or 6E.
I like the idea of casters needing to deal with Dex when making Spell Attacks.
 

Faolyn

Hero
In Level Up, some bows (and probably some other weapons; I haven't memorized the weapons table yet) have the Compound feature, which lets you use Strength instead of Dex, in the same way that some weapons let you use Dex instead of Strength.
 

Mercurius

Legend
If you're going for realism, how is adding STR bonus to longbow damage in any way realistic?

Let me explain. Let's say it takes a 12 STR to use a longbow to full capacity - that is, draw it back with no significant effort. How would increased strength do more damage, if both a 12 STR and 18 STR can draw it back fully? Adding STR bonus implies that a higher STR character can draw it back...more fully? Super-fully?

Now adding DEX for damage on a longbow doesn't make perfect sense, but it makes more sense than STR, imo.

Now penalizing for STR makes sense, or you could add a minimum STR, below which involves Disadvantage.
 

If you're going for realism, how is adding STR bonus to longbow damage in any way realistic?

Let me explain. Let's say it takes a 12 STR to use a longbow to full capacity - that is, draw it back with no significant effort. How would increased strength do more damage, if both a 12 STR and 18 STR can draw it back fully? Adding STR bonus implies that a higher STR character can draw it back...more fully? Super-fully?

Now adding DEX for damage on a longbow doesn't make perfect sense, but it makes more sense than STR, imo.

Now penalizing for STR makes sense, or you could add a minimum STR, below which involves Disadvantage.
A reasoned argument. Definitely something that has to be added to the thought experiment.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
But...this is far more realistic, and the arguments about creating optimized chars loses some of its value.
Does this also mean that the base damage value of martial weapons has to be altered, to compensate for the inherent nerf to martial chars? Yes.
There are multiple cascade effects.
In my experience, 5E players don’t want realism and don’t want challenges and don’t want anything less than perfectly optimized characters. The majority of 5E players seem to want fantasy superheroes or demigods from the start.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
If you're going for realism, how is adding STR bonus to longbow damage in any way realistic?

Let me explain. Let's say it takes a 12 STR to use a longbow to full capacity - that is, draw it back with no significant effort. How would increased strength do more damage, if both a 12 STR and 18 STR can draw it back fully? Adding STR bonus implies that a higher STR character can draw it back...more fully? Super-fully?

Now adding DEX for damage on a longbow doesn't make perfect sense, but it makes more sense than STR, imo.

Now penalizing for STR makes sense, or you could add a minimum STR, below which involves Disadvantage.
Ok

All this discussion needs to keep in mind how 3.X handled this situation - with realism. Some bows have a stronger draw than others, and do more strength damage when used. So if you had a "+2" composite longbow, you could do up to +2 str damage on it. If you have 18 strenght, you need a "+4" composite longbow. (I don't mean the "normal" meaning of a "+4" weapon).

adding dex bonus (edit: damage) to ranged attacks was a simplification in 5e, but it made ranged combat dominant, and it was a mistake IMO.
 
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Mercurius

Legend
A reasoned argument. Definitely something that has to be added to the thought experiment.
Not sure your age, but do you remember the Aria RPG from the early 90s? It was a very cool concept with a clunky system, but some interesting elements. Characters had tons of ability scores - can't remember the number, but I think over 10. For most skills you could choose from a number of attributes to create your modifier. Meaning, the system acknowledged that very few actions (skills) involved only a singular attribute, or even way of doing things.

So for instance, a sword-wielder didn't have to use only strength or dexterity, but could use intelligence or perception - or some combination (again, I can't remember the details and am too lazy to dust off the book and do the research).

Obviously that doesn't totally translate to D&D, if only because D&D only has six ability scores. But I think the general idea could be employed. For instance, maybe a broader Finesse rule that gives all weapons minimum STR and DEX; if you're above those, you can use either ability score, or even INT or WIS, or a combination of the four (Say, the average of two).

So for instance, let's say the minimums for greatsword are STR 12, DEX none. Let's say you have a character with a STR 12, DEX 15, INT 10, and WIS 14. This character was trained in a blade style that is focused more on speed and perception, so because they meet the minimums, they can use their DEX/WIS combination to get a +2 to hit and damage, rather than STR.

I'm just thinking out loud here. Maybe this doesn't work or over-complicates things. But it does open the door for players to create more specific character concepts: e.g. a quickness and perception based fighting style, that isn't focused on brute strength, even with a heavy weapon like a greatsword.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Ok

All this discussion needs to keep in mind how 3.X handled this situation - with realism. Some bows have a stronger draw than others, and do more strength damage when used. So if you had a "+2" composite longbow, you could do up to +2 str damage on it. If you have 18 strenght, you need a "+4" composite longbow. (I don't mean the "normal" meaning of a "+4" weapon).

adding dex bonus to ranged attacks was a simplification in 5e, but it made ranged combat dominant, and it was a mistake IMO.
I hear you. But I think that's a feature not a flaw of 5E (to use an over-used phrase): that it simplifies things.

I think most people just want to play, and don't care about nudging the rules closer to perfect simulative realism. That's where optional rules come in.

If I was to criticize WotC in this regard, it wouldn't be simplifying the game to make it more easily playable for a wider demographic - that has obviously paid off in huge dividends, in that I think it is a factor in D&D's current massive popularity. It would be that they didn't take advantage of this enough and make good on their promise of "complexity dials" and "modular options." But that also leaves it open for tinkerers to house rule the crap out of it.
 

Not sure your age, but do you remember the Aria RPG from the early 90s? It was a very cool concept with a clunky system, but some interesting elements. Characters had tons of ability scores - can't remember the number, but I think over 10. For most skills you could choose from a number of attributes to create your modifier. Meaning, the system acknowledged that very few actions (skills) involved only a singular attribute, or even way of doing things.

So for instance, a sword-wielder didn't have to use only strength or dexterity, but could use intelligence or perception - or some combination (again, I can't remember the details and am too lazy to dust off the book and do the research).

Obviously that doesn't totally translate to D&D, if only because D&D only has six ability scores. But I think the general idea could be employed. For instance, maybe a broader Finesse rule that gives all weapons minimum STR and DEX; if you're above those, you can use either ability score, or even INT or WIS, or a combination of the four (Say, the average of two).

So for instance, let's say the minimums for greatsword are STR 12, DEX none. Let's say you have a character with a STR 12, DEX 15, INT 10, and WIS 14. This character was trained in a blade style that is focused more on speed and perception, so because they meet the minimums, they can use their DEX/WIS combination to get a +2 to hit and damage, rather than STR.

I'm just thinking out loud here. Maybe this doesn't work or over-complicates things. But it does open the door for players to create more specific character concepts: e.g. a quickness and perception based fighting style, that isn't focused on brute strength, even with a heavy weapon like a greatsword.
The ideas certainly add to the conversation. Personally, I like complicated. I like hard. The trick is trading that off against the trend within the D&D community for less of that kind of thing. As I originally said, most players would hate the entire concept, so this really ends up being a thought experiment I would like to try to implement at a table of hard core players who are tired of the D&D Pokemon universe, and want to truly immerse themselves in a char. RP includes math, even though many players refuse to accept that.
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I don't follow - you've made it harder to build an optimized weapon user, and easier to build an optimized caster.

The (possibly really bad and unwanted) fix there could be to make casters have two stats too... wizards use intelligence to master understanding the formulae, but need willpower (wisdom) to power them; clerics use their attunement to the divine (wisdom) to gain the spells but their inner force (charisma) to power them, etc...
 

The (possibly really bad and unwanted) fix there could be to make casters have two stats too... wizards use intelligence to master understanding the formulae, but need willpower (wisdom) to power them; clerics use their attunement to the divine (wisdom) to gain the spells but their inner force (charisma) to power them, etc...
Once again, not unreasonable.
Some will say that this means that max-min'ing a char becomes even more important. I suggest that while it certainly forces MAD, max-min'ing is much harder, and chars are not nearly as uber out of the gate.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/They)
"OK, when you use your Long Bow, you use your Dex and Prof to Hit, but you add (or subtract) your Str modifier for damage."
This concept can be applied to a myriad of the published weapons, though not all.
Serious question: why not all? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right? If this change improves the balance of strength and dex (and I’m not totally convinced it would, but giving this rule the benefit of the doubt), would it not be better to apply it to all weapons? And it’s not like it doesn’t make sense - no matter how bulky a weapon, coordination and agility are going to help you use it more it accurately, and no matter how light and agile the weapon, physical strength is going help put more mechanical force behind your strikes. Just seems like if you’re going to implement a change like this, you might as well implement it across the board.
 

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