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Killing the sacred cow: playing D&D with only 4 abilities instead of 6. And returning to 3 saves instead of 6.

Viking Bastard

Adventurer
For redesigned Ability Scores, I once came up with (inspired by various sources):
  • Brawn
  • Character
  • Cunning
  • Finesse

This seemed to hit all the main notes for D&D-esque play for me. I never used it for anything, just a brain exercise sometime.

~

But I sometimes miss the old Fortitude, Reflexes and Will saves, to be honest. I like Saves to be quick things (and I call for them in abundance), and I still find it kind of difficult to abandon the programming.
 

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Horwath

Hero
For redesigned Ability Scores, I once came up with (inspired by various sources):
  • Brawn
  • Character
  • Cunning
  • Finesse

This seemed to hit all the main notes for D&D-esque play for me. I never used it for anything, just a brain exercise sometime.

~

But I sometimes miss the old Fortitude, Reflexes and Will saves, to be honest. I like Saves to be quick things (and I call for them in abundance), and I still find it kind of difficult to abandon the programming.

That is very similar what I have in mind:


  • Brawn - Strength
  • Character - Willpower
  • Cunning - Cunning
  • Finesse - ​Dexterity
 

Viking Bastard

Adventurer
That is very similar what I have in mind:


  • Brawn - Strength
  • Character - Willpower
  • Cunning - Cunning
  • Finesse - ​Dexterity

To a point, except they don't correspond exactly like that. Under my thinking, most acrobatics and such would fall under Brawn, stealth would fall under Cunning, while the rest of Dex's babies would fall under Finesse.


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Gardens & Goblins

First Post
[sblock]When I see folks stating, 'A score of 8 is only a little below average', as if this isn't so bad, I have to wonder - especially with regards to Charisma.

I realise that movies and media heavily influence our appreciation of the norm with regards to appearance and eloquence. The sad reality is that most folks are average and average is... boring. Bland. Another face in the crowd. Another dull voice in the droning along with the herd. Thank you dishwater, you saved my life and.. I'm sorry, what was your name again? Even the minor stat bonus of +1 is a natural, 24-7, boost to all social rolls. And in a world where heroes regularly drop their Charisma to 8, Captain Charisma of at Least 12 is going to shine even more/claim the room a little more.

Help! Save my daughter! Ah.. yeah, not you. The other guy/gal/misc. You! Yeah I have a good feeling about you!

(Obviously hyperbole of course. Still, every player character in our groups has at least a Charisma of 10, while most try to get at least a positive modifier!)[/sblock]

I've often toyed with the idea of having three stats - physical/mental/social. I'm all for streamlining and I reckon it'd be simple enough to reflect the diversity of different folks with a few tweaks, such as traits and flaws. Heck, I'd even fold all the saves into a single save, the 'Hero Save', which reflects a deliberate attempts to distance a player character from a non-player character. Tie it to the appropriate stat and I reckon it'd be rigorous enough to account for any eventuality.
 

Although a bit nicer spread of things realted to ability scores and saves would have been nice as well as tool or language proficiency tied to int bonus, I would refrain from reducing them to 4 that do too much.
The problem I see with it is that you really can't have a weakness that does not cripple you.
So from everyone dumps charisma which is not true btw. It is everyone has 14 in all stats as a single 8 anywhere means that either you or someone in the party dies too easily.
Right now you have the option of dumping every stat except for maybe constitution.
So that might be the only stat which you could scrap without losing too much.
 

What Fruit

First Post
Oddly shadow of the Demon Lord produced by Schwalb cut the sacred cows down to

Strength
Agility
Will
Intellect

Charisma and Constitution "skill checks" are split between strength, intellect and will. Intellect is used for persuasion and deception. Will for intimidation. Strength is used for the resistances of poisons , will for resistance to mental and endurance.

Saves are arbitrated through challenge rolls with penalties against the attackers or defenders appropriate stat.

My favorite thing about Demon Lord is the division of ability scores by four system. Everything above 10 is a + everything below 10 is a -.

I still struggle with skill adjudication in Demon Lord because there are none. I'm trying to come up with a skill system in demon lord which doesn't rob players of agency which I feel the current system does.
 

Dausuul

Legend
If we're willing to strap up and go after the holiest of sacred cows, then D&D should get rid of ability scores altogether. They're an unnecessary layer of fiddliness. Key everything off proficiency instead. Either you are proficient in a thing, in which case you get a set bonus based on character level; or you are not, and don't. There are only two types of checks: 1d20 + proficiency, or a straight 1d20 without modifiers.

A first whack at customizing 5E along these lines would be:

  • Proficiency bonus starts at +5. You get a bump at levels 3, 5, 7, 9, 13, and 17. At the highest level, your proficiency bonus is +11.
  • Everyone gets +2 hit points per level.
  • No ASIs, you get feats instead. Any feat that grants +1 to a stat instead grants free proficiency in a skill that was previously tied to that stat (e.g., +1 Cha becomes proficiency in your choice of Persuasion, Deception, Performance, or Intimidation).
  • Rogues and monks have proficiency in initiative. Everyone else can just roll a d20 and hope. (Yes, I know this is a noticeable boost to the rogue and monk. I don't have a problem with that.)
  • The base AC of light armor and of unarmored PCs is increased by 4, and the base AC of medium armor is increased by 1.
  • Ability score names persist only as saving throw names. (I'd prefer to return to Fort/Ref/Will, but these changes are sweeping enough as it is.) You are either proficient in a save, or not proficient.
  • Racial stat modifiers are simply abolished.
  • Expertise grants a bonus equal to half your proficiency bonus, rounded down.
I'm sure there's a ton of stuff I've forgotten, and a lot of kinks that would have to be ironed out, but that covers the basics at least.
 

ro

First Post
Yes, D&D was played with 6 abilities for 40+ years, but maybe some of them can be removed.

I'm sure much discussion that I haven't yet read has happened, but what about this idea:

Drop Con and make HP based on the lower of Str or Dex: If you aren't physically balanced, your overall health suffers.
 

Davinshe

Explorer
so how would some other issues work?
point build: 21 or 20 points seem fair?
ability score increases: should this be lowered? I was thinking limiting it to +1 to 2 ability scores instead +2 to one might be more balanced
racial ability scores: should these be lowered?
 

OB1

Jedi Master
I'm going to echo others - what's the point? What are you trying to achieve?

Sometimes just opening up a discussion about something that's on your mind without a specific goal leads to great things, such as the below.


Better to leave them as they are and just adjust saves to a two-stat formula on the following scale of both stats added together;

16 or less: -2
17-19: -1
20-23: +0
24-26: +1
27-28: +2
29-32: +3
33-36: +4
37-40: +5 etc.

Willpower Save (Wis & Cha)
Fortitude Save (Str & Con)
Reflex Save (Dex & Int)

The same can be done for Skills as well - many make more sense when combined - Athletics (Str & Dex); Perception (Wis & Int); Sleight of Hand (Dex & Int), and some can be simply doubled up where more suitable - such as History (Int & Int).

It also works better for weapons and initiative - more common-sensical;

Melee Attacks (Str & Dex)
Ranged Attacks and Initiative (Dex & Wis)

Hit Points make more sense too;

HP Bonus (Str & Con)

Spell DC's and attack bonuses as well...

Wizard and Warlock (Int & Cha)
Sorcerer (Cha & Wis)
Cleric and Druid (Wis & Int)

This way of doing things makes all classes MAD and reduces dump stat allocation. It also makes more sense of monsters CRs - which are weak against optimised characters using the core rule system as is.

I am going to work on this and come up with a complete alternative core system I think - I want to rework stuff anyway for making d20 work well with S&S and more gritty higher fantasy game worlds - mixing it up with modified versions of the current alternative HP and Healing rule options available.

I had the same idea;

casting stats could also be

Wizard/druid/ranger: int+wis
Sorcerer: cha+con
Cleric/paladin;wis+cha
Warlock/bard: int+cha,

Love Caliburn101s concept and Horwath's splitting of casting stats. What really blows me away though is how easy this would be to implement. Gonna try this out the next time I run a Yawning Portal one off and see how it goes over.
 

Horwath

Hero
so how would some other issues work?
point build: 21 or 20 points seem fair?
ability score increases: should this be lowered? I was thinking limiting it to +1 to 2 ability scores instead +2 to one might be more balanced
racial ability scores: should these be lowered?

point buy; I was thinking 18pts. if you spread your 27 points for cheapest stats you get 12,12,12,13,13,13. Remove one 12 and one 13, that is 9pts in point buy.
you can then have balanced 12,12,13,13 or focused 15,15,8,8. Or anything in between.



I would keep it as it is, but maybe would put the "cap" at 18 instead of 20. More room for feats and secondary abilities.

Racials: I would like to keep racial influence in abilities so I would try to balance most races in +2/+1 category.
Maybe +1 to defining stat and +1 to two stats in 3 favored stats by a race.
I.E:
Wood elves would get +1 dex and +1 to two abilities from str,dex,cunn list.
 

Halloween Horror For 5E

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