D&D 5E No ascending bonuses: A mathematical framework for 5e

My main problem with that is that it feels so forced--and seldom works all that well, either. "Zero level" was really intended to be "brief introductory roleplaying before you become heroes." When people try to use it for "early adventuring as the characters gradually become heroes" it doesn't work nearly as well.

I'd rather there be built into the default enough option, powers, "starting bonus hit points", etc. that you can start at 1st level and not worry about cats or single kobolds. But not have this baked too tightly into the game math. That way, the gradual hero bit can be handled by -- "you don't get all those options".

A similar tweak can be used on the epic end. If you want to continue with that default, relatively smooth power curve, you can. If you want to really rachet it up at some particular point, the characters start getting "epic" options. That way, the sweet spot can be from 1st to max level, but if you want to make a much more pronounced power curve--and manage the resulting issues yourself, you can do that, too.

Maybe, but again you start to run into the "what does a hit point mean" problem. If one group is starting with 10-20 less hit points than others then all the other elements of the game start to lose their meaning because whoever designs a power say that just causes some 'minor damage' can no longer know what minor damage IS. Of course if it is not too far off and the difference tends to become insignificant with time then you could pull it off. Low level stuff might work strangely with such an option though.

I'd think it is best to use 'truth in advertising' in a sense and just make a level below the default starting level for it. There have been MANY different 'level 0' rules out there over the years that produce slightly different feels. Level one OD&D characters would be quite easy to slot in that way, they could just get half the normal hit points and each have one really basic feature of their class like armor proficiency, one spell, etc. Honestly in a sense I think it is likely to be more palatable to most players too. Starting out weaker at level 1 and staying weaker? Eh... Do a level of being weaker and then you're on track with everyone else at your level, cleaner.

As for epic? Just put most of the oomph there into EDs and make them optional. You want a more gritty earthbound high level? Don't use them. Want fantastical stuff? Use them. Each class could get an alternate set of 'no ED' stuff for high levels, so they can still progress.

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It might work, but who's to say that it is even needed? Again, you are making assumptions here about how a different system will work. I'm not convinced it will work they way you are assuming and I'm not convinced that any sort of correction (fate points, or anything else) is even needed.

My assumption is that any new system is going to want to include bonuses. Whether its feat bonuses, magic item bonuses, situational bonuses, etc, I believe WOTC will want to include these both to give the players build flexibility but also to give them some areas to build more books on.

For example, feats and PRCs in 3e were areas of the game that were very "bookable", it was easy to make books that had a good amount of these.

As bonuses are added, the math will inevitably break down. How much we will have to see, but the pure level based math we are trying to calculate in this forum is just too simplistic, there will be bonuses added in to skew the results.

Switching gears for a moment to talk about the recent announcement, it does sound like they are going to make an attempt back towards low magic item settings. So the big question will be, do magic items provide numerical bonuses at all, or some other kind of benefit? Will the big 6 (3e) that became the big 3 (4e) becomes the big 0?


My assumption is that any new system is going to want to include bonuses. Whether its feat bonuses, magic item bonuses, situational bonuses, etc, I believe WOTC will want to include these both to give the players build flexibility but also to give them some areas to build more books on.

One of the problems with 4E was that the game had a set number of "to hit" (and defense) bonuses when it first came out. They seemed to, for the most part (at least at heroic), work.

Then, the splat books came out with a series of conditional to hit bonuses, some of which could be worked such that the condition happened practically all of the time. At that point, it's not really a conditional bonus anymore. Some powers got +stat bonuses as well and those are problematic.

The thing about 4E mathematically is that the designers should have limited the number and stackability of "to hit" bonuses. A +1 to damage here, a +2 to hit points there, no big deal. It's the to hit and defense bonuses that can get way out of whack and really change combat ratios. A +1 to hit when one has a 50% chance to hit and does 20 points of damage is almost a 10% (or 2 points) increase in damage and a 10% increase in putting an effect on a foe. +1 damage is 5% more damage and 0% more effect.

Bonuses are good as long as they are controlled. It's when they get out of control that they screw up how the core system works.


First Post
This is based on a mischaracterization of the minion mechanics (and 4e in general). NPCs vs other NPCs is not something the rules are intended to bother with. Since no PC is a minion it is irrelevant. If you want a cat lady with fierce cats that kill her neighbors then you just make up that story. Otherwise you don't. If the in-game reality is not matching your vision of what it should be then you're applying the rules in a counter-productive way for achieving your goals. That's a DM issue, not a system issue.

I was mostly just joking, but I don't really understand the argument that since they are NPCs it doesn't matter: it is quite common in my games that groups of NPCs fight each other with the PCs involved. How those NPCs can hit and kill each other certainly matters.

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