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Making Con a bit more important

amnuxoll

First Post
One thing that was a tad disappointing about earlier editions was that Constitution was essential for just about every PC. I think that in 8 years of playing 3E and 3.5E about 1 in 50 PCs I saw had a Con of 10 or less. It was hard to play a "fragile" character.

4e did a great job of balancing this by giving fixed hp bumps based on class but still giving a surge bonus based on Con. I like this, but I'm disappointed that the effect on max hit points becomes so miniscule at higher levels. While Constitution is not really a dump stat, there are an awful lot of 4e PCs, even melee-focused PCs, with a Con of 10 or 12.

I'd like to see Con matter just a little bit more in 4e. Here is my proposed tweak:

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When you reach the paragon tier (11th level) and again at the epic tier (21st level) you gain additional hit points equal to twice (2x) your Con modifier. If for some reason you have a negative Con modifier you do lose hit points at this point. This modification can not be changed retroactively if your Con score changes after 11th or 21st level.

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NOTES:

If you're using the PHB ability point buy system this should only affect PCs who started with an 8 for their Con score and only by a small amount (-2 hp). At Epic Tier, such PCs would break even anyway.

Conversely, if you have a high Con it's worth about a 10% bonus in your hit points overall. Not bad but not game breaking. I certainly don't think it would have any impact on corresponding creature levels and encounter levels.
 

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WhatGravitas

Explorer
...but I'm disappointed that the effect on max hit points becomes so miniscule at higher levels.
Not true, it's just a little harder to see. You get bonus healing surges for high Con, i.e. every point of Con bonus gives you 1/4 of your hit points.

If you add up the total hit points a character has per day (base hit points + hp from all surges), then you see that the effect of Con is still pretty big. It's just disguised a little bit, as you don't see it directly in form of a number at your sheet.

But anyway, your house rule is fine. Most PCs won't play with a sub-10 Con anyway, so you're basically just handing out some extra hit points, which makes high-Con PCs a little more sturdy - if somebody increases his Con for that, he will lose out at the other abilities, so that's fine.

Infernal warlocks, however, will benefit the most from that house rule, getting even more resilient.

Cheers, LT.
 

Yeah, the effects of the house rule really are pretty minor, so it certainly isn't going to break anything. Still, IMHO Con is already the best stat in the game, arguably, for almost any character class. Granted you can get away with low con for certain classes, but remember that they are likely excluding themselves from some rather useful feats.

Below 13 Con you cannot qualify for ANY armor proficiency feats.
Fast Runner requires 13 con
Potent Challenge requires 15 con

Con is also probably a key stat for more builds than any other. Besides fighters there are conlocks, infernallocks, and definitely a good stat for other melee classes as well, or any class that needs to burn surges for any reason, like paladins.

And then on top of that Fort defense is the most likely NAD you're going to get attacked on, so either STR or CON pretty much needs to be enhanced to some extent. IMHO a character with sub 13 con is almost certain to be hamstrung to some extent. It sure seems to be the one stat that everyone should consider boosting.

Int on the other hand... Sure, there are a bunch of good int based skills, but not everyone in a party needs them. I've seen a LOT of 10 Int characters in my campaign!
 

amnuxoll

First Post
I keep hearing all these fervent arguments and yet I continue to see a steady stream of low-Con characters in both RPGA and home-game play...
 

evilgenius8000

First Post
I keep hearing all these fervent arguments and yet I continue to see a steady stream of low-Con characters in both RPGA and home-game play...

Prepare for that to change when PHB2 comes out. Many of the primal classes, and strangely the bard, have mechanical benefits based on Con.

Still, until that book comes out, really the only people who benefit to a great extent from Con are warlocks (well star and infernal ones, at least) and fighters, though the extent that a fighter benefits from con depends on what he is focusing on... A battlerager really loves a good Con, and for others it helps with Potent Challenge, axe/hammer powers, plate armor, and extra surges (which, if you are playing some of the harder LFR adventures, are quite necessary for a tank). Indeed, I'm playing a battlerager in LFR and Con is basically my bread and butter (aside from Str, of course) except for attack rolls.

So, yeah... 2/8 of the original classes really use Con (and I'm not going to count the single wizard class feature) aside from starting HP and surge value. Compared to Wisdom, which grants not insignificant mechanical benefits to 4 classes (Fighter, Ranger, Cleric, Paladin) and is used for the very useful Perception skill, Con is underused atm. The same, however, could be said for Dex and Int (both used by only two classes in the PHB, though the swordmage makes 3 for Int)
 
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Seems to me that every stat has good utility for a number of classes. Looking at the PCs in my campaign at least I don't see any one stat that is consistently a dump stat. Some classes/builds are focused on two stats, some more on three stats, but none get consistently ignored. In truth it almost seems to me that if there is a problem it is more that its difficult to ignore ANY stat, no matter what sort of character you have, and some classes, like fighter, have a pretty tough time balancing out. Fighters in particular tend to end up with bad ref and will defenses or else they end up 'all around mediocre'. Overall though that seems better than having a 'god stat' like what Con used to be in pretty much all the earlier editions.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I keep hearing all these fervent arguments and yet I continue to see a steady stream of low-Con characters in both RPGA and home-game play...

I know for me it might be a reaction to previous editions...starting out with so many hitpoints I feel like hey since con just makes what feels like a good thing already... somewhat better letting this slide and be "normalish" isnt so bad.

I have always hated INT being a dump stat. Gee, the second most powerful attribute in the real world is the worst in the game. (Its second place because CHA lets you exploit/employ the INT and other abilities of others ;-)) CHA is the other dump stat from yester year... how ironic.
 
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I know for me it might be a reaction to previous editions...starting out with so many hitpoints I feel like hey since con just makes what feels like a good thing already... somewhat better letting this slide and be "normalish" isnt so bad.

I have always hated INT being a dump stat. Gee, the second most powerful attribute in the real world is the worst in the game. (Its second place because CHA lets you exploit/employ the INT and other abilities of others ;-)) CHA is the other dump stat from yester year... how ironic.

Yeah, well, CHA has sort of perpetually been the poor stepchild of all stats since the dawn of D&D. INT was always and to some extent still is the dump stat of choice for combat focused characters, but I wonder if people often take too narrow a view of the utility of various stats. I don't think it is a problem for any given stat to be fairly inconsequential for a given class/build. There SHOULD be some reason for PCs to be differentiated, and the only real fundamental way they vary is by stats. If you need good numbers in all stats, then eventually you just end up with every PC having practically the same numbers across the board (or else having some really fatal weakness).

But I think those who assume an intelligent fighter would be relatively valueless might consider that there are advantages to being smart. Same for being wise or charismatic. Sure you may not be quite so astounding at sticking people with the pointy end of your sword, but a good CHA gives you a good use of the combat bluff ability, which at times can be worth a minor loss of defense or attack. A really stealthy fighter might be a pretty interesting idea too, requiring good dexterity (sneak into the rear ranks of the enemy and glue down the big baddies instead of just the minions and front rankers). Same with wisdom, having a high perception roll may be well worth a little of something else.

The point being that a fighter has to DELIVER his primary combat capability effectively and deploy it to the battlefield in a useful manner, and these other abilities may help him do that enough more effectively that they are worth investing in. Not that every character should do that, but if each one can work in an extra little shtick or two it may be a good idea, even if it means pumping up what might otherwise be a dump stat to some extent.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I could fairly easily argue every stat was vital for using the pointy gadget effectively. Being able to recognise patterns and predict future activity... sheesh how could you fight without being good at that.
 

Yeah, but given that PCs all have basically equivalence in total stats, if it were possible to apply any stat to providing a bonus in any given activity, then all characters would pretty much end up with equal ability at everything. In a 'realism' sense it might be more accurate, but it would sort of make all characters pretty uniform, and that would be boring. All I'm suggesting is any character can find a good use for most any stat. Some more than others of course.

Another interesting thing to consider is the COST of min/maxing. Certainly a fighter with high CON and STR and a decent DEX is going to be the most effective fighter, at low levels, but he'll also on average have less total stat points. That asks the question, is it actually a good idea to start out with the 'typical' kind of build out? IE is a fighter with 18 CON, 14 STR, and 11 DEX at 1st level really the best character to have? He'll do better in a fight at 1st level, but once you get a few stat bonuses, say in the upper heroic levels and up, the guy that started with 14,13,13 will have overall higher numbers because he starts with 79 total stat points vs 71 for the min/max guy. Sure the min/max guy is now up to 20 CON, 16 STR, but the more evenly distributed guy will have a 16 and a 15, AND his other defenses are better, he can take practically any feat, etc. The advantage would just grow as you hit paragon levels and up. Each character gets 24 bonus stat points through 28th level, so by that point certainly the evenly distributed character is ahead in all likelyhood. It is a somewhat difficult call. For a 'one off' character it would be better to min/max, but in a long running campaign, maybe not...
 

Sadrik

First Post
I keep hearing all these fervent arguments and yet I continue to see a steady stream of low-Con characters in both RPGA and home-game play...

I think this has less to do with how powerful CON is and more to do with stat polarity. Stat polarity is the choice between CON and STR at character creation, almost always you choose STR over CON. This is not the worst offender of this poorly designed mechanic, that would go to INT and DEX.

To fix stat polarity, spread the defenses out to an individual stat. For instance: CON = FORT, DEX = REF, and WIS = WILL.

So, that makes...

STR
Basic melee or heavy thrown weapon attack
Basic melee or heavy thrown weapon damage
Encumbrance
Athletics skill
Primary for Fighter
Primary for two-weapon Ranger
Primary for melee Cleric
Primary for Warlord
Primary for strength Paladin

CON
Starting HP
Healing surges
Fortitude defense
Endurance skill
Primary for infernal Warlock

DEX
Basic ranged or light thrown weapon attack
Basic ranged or light thrown weapon damage
Initiative modifier
Reflex defense
AC defense
Acrobatics, Stealth, Thievery skills
Primary for Rogue
Primary for archer Ranger

INT
Arcana, History, Religion skills
Primary for Wizard

WIS
Will defense
Dungeoneering, Heal, Insight, Nature, Perception skills
Primary for lazer Clerics

CHA
Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Streetwise skills
Primary for charisma Paladin
Primary for fey Warlock

I think I have it all in there.
 

keterys

First Post
Umm... Why is it bad for there to be Cons of 10 + 12 but it's ok for every other star to often be 8 + 10?

Houserule isn't going to break anything but I question the motive.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Yeah, but given that PCs all have basically equivalence in total stats, if it were possible to apply any stat to providing a bonus in any given activity, then all characters would pretty much end up with equal ability at everything. In a 'realism' sense it might be more accurate, but it would sort of make all characters pretty uniform, and that would be boring.
ummm they are all pretty darn uniform as everyone currently uses there best attribute for most all moves.

I am kind of arguing that the fighter could reasonably be given some Int Powers ... ie

PREDICTIVE STRIKE which might fluff wise "predict and even interrupt the adversaries attack" based on intelligence as a for instance. Would it mean every fighter had to have high intelligence .. no ... but it might enable the sharp minded fighter to be something other than a swordmage. In game effect might even be a temporary boost in effective Reflex and Armor Class.

And just to show the idea can float both ways ... It might also be reasonable to allow wizards to Stabilize a spell ... ie the spell might sustain itself extra rounds based on Charisma or Wisdom. Hmm I guess that isnt quite the same as having Strength impact spell use... Inspite of the flavor text I dont really see wisdom much used in the Wizard class... or did I miss it.

.. I am a renaissance man hear me roar.
If you think that means I go to renaissance faires, ur you missed it ;-)
 
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ummm they are all pretty darn uniform as everyone currently uses there best attribute for most all moves.

I am kind of arguing that the fighter could reasonably be given some Int Powers ... ie

PREDICTIVE STRIKE which might fluff wise "predict and even interrupt the adversaries attack" based on intelligence as a for instance. Would it mean every fighter had to have high intelligence .. no ... but it might enable the sharp minded fighter to be something other than a swordmage. In game effect might even be a temporary boost in effective Reflex and Armor Class.

And just to show the idea can float both ways ... It might also be reasonable to allow wizards to Stabilize a spell ... ie the spell might sustain itself extra rounds based on Charisma or Wisdom. Hmm I guess that isnt quite the same as having Strength impact spell use... Inspite of the flavor text I dont really see wisdom much used in the Wizard class... or did I miss it.

.. I am a renaissance man hear me roar.
If you think that means I go to renaissance faires, ur you missed it ;-)

I think it would be fine to have builds of any class that rely on whichever stats you have a nack for making up powers for. I actually would suggest that they be assigned to a single list and then you can use a feat to have access to the list. Most will require a certain stat or two of 14 or 15. That would encourage players to build a greater variety of character types.

If 4e has a single major failing, it is that they subdivided powers down to the level of classes. And now they have compounded that by almost ignoring builds and class features and instead made a dozen new classes, that MUST now have all their own power lists, sigh.

Maybe the madness should be reigned in! ;)
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I think it would be fine to have builds of any class that rely on whichever stats you have a nack for making up powers for. I actually would suggest that they be assigned to a single list and then you can use a feat to have access to the list. Most will require a certain stat or two of 14 or 15. That would encourage players to build a greater variety of character types.

Making the effects dependent on a non-standard "for the class" attribute might be sufficiently high bar.. you think it necessary to add a feat on the front too?
 

Making the effects dependent on a non-standard "for the class" attribute might be sufficiently high bar.. you think it necessary to add a feat on the front too?

Only because it is more likely that they will wind up providing you with some extra powerful combinations. Compare to multi-class feats where you gain a small benefit and then TRADE your existing power for a power of the other class. It would be WELL worth a feat to get access to a general list of additional powers. That to my mind would have been better than the MP approach of adding to three separate lists.

Powers can be restricted by class, feature, power source, level, race, god, etc. So they don't really NEED to be separate lists, so maybe ALL powers should join one 'master list'. Then there is no need of a feat, but there is a need to figure out what aught to be allowed to match with what. Also what the impact is on all the various multi-classing features.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The feat which allowed basic attacks by swordmages to be intelligence based... that intrigued me quite a bit - though it amounted to more of one stat to rule them all... and in the darkness bind them. Similarly some of the backgrounds make starting hitpoints based on an alternate stat in place of constitution. These make me want to waffle back the other direction Its easy to see how specialization gives benefits... less obvious how diversification will.

I guess predictable benefits are safe and hence dont need as many checks on them
 
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I think this has less to do with how powerful CON is and more to do with stat polarity. Stat polarity is the choice between CON and STR at character creation, almost always you choose STR over CON. This is not the worst offender of this poorly designed mechanic, that would go to INT and DEX.

To fix stat polarity, spread the defenses out to an individual stat. For instance: CON = FORT, DEX = REF, and WIS = WILL.

So, that makes...

STR
Basic melee or heavy thrown weapon attack
Basic melee or heavy thrown weapon damage
Encumbrance
Athletics skill
Primary for Fighter
Primary for two-weapon Ranger
Primary for melee Cleric
Primary for Warlord
Primary for strength Paladin

CON
Starting HP
Healing surges
Fortitude defense
Endurance skill
Primary for infernal Warlock

DEX
Basic ranged or light thrown weapon attack
Basic ranged or light thrown weapon damage
Initiative modifier
Reflex defense
AC defense
Acrobatics, Stealth, Thievery skills
Primary for Rogue
Primary for archer Ranger

INT
Arcana, History, Religion skills
Primary for Wizard

WIS
Will defense
Dungeoneering, Heal, Insight, Nature, Perception skills
Primary for lazer Clerics

CHA
Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Streetwise skills
Primary for charisma Paladin
Primary for fey Warlock

I think I have it all in there.

Except it would seem to me all you've done is devalued STR, INT, and CHA. Now STR I think won't suffer much from that, it is still of primary value for any number of things which characters regularly want to do. Fighters will still have to build up STR to be really effective (unless they can take powers that substitute some other stat). CON will obviously become even more important than it is now (and it already has plenty of love, especially with BRV in the mix).

CHA would become pretty much a total dump stat for anyone that doesn't need the 'social' skills much. It wouldn't be valueless by any means, but it would certainly become worth less than it is now. WIS really didn't need to be built up all that much though, if at all. It was already driving some fairly vital skills (Perception is a pretty key skill to have for many characters).

INT would essentially become an utter dump stat. Unless you're an Arcane build that relies on INT based attacks there is just very little reason to take INT. Again there are some nice skills attached to it, but not ones most classes need to be able to use. You really only need so many historians and arcane experts in a group. DEX now becomes an even more highly desirable stat than it was before, contributing to AC and also providing reflex defense (next most commonly used after AC).

So, I don't see where this sort of change is making things better in any sense. You will now have a lot more characters with high CON, DEX, and WIS and a lot less with high STR, INT, and CHA. Dunno what that accomplishes.

It also would throw a monkeywrench into a lot of existing class design. An int based build is now forced to also invest heavily in DEX and thus is more likely than ever to have to raid something else, like probably CHA and STR will be minimized. The same goes for other builds. Any build which is seriously dual stat based now and where CHA or INT is one of those stats will be pretty much totally SOL, they're going to be sitting at base level reflex and/or will defense for most/all of their career.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Having cross uses and allowing one to defend oneself with spirit(CHA) not just discipline(WIS) is one of the recent features I have liked in D&D.

People will habitually use there best abilities which may be appropo to the circumstances.. and can be very adaptable about how to apply them especially in desparate circumstances (alah defense). This is a real thing, now it isnt perfect hence the old addage if you have a really good hammer everything looks like a nail... it sometimes causes problems for instance when you try to use wisdom in place of charisma and vice versa ;-), you sometimes get charismatic psychopaths running churches (they get called cults...) and priests trying to run governments (they get called all sorts of names.)
Perhaps the GM is upping the DC of actions using them that way.
 
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