# D&D 5ENo ascending bonuses: A mathematical framework for 5e

Without the HP pad, the game becomes very binary. Either you take no damage or are significantly hurt.

You have this today. A low level foe tends to hit for 1/3rd of a low PC's hit points.

The difference is that high level foes in 4E tend to hit for 1/6th of a high PC's hit points and DMs have to go out of their way to create monster groups that have good synergy and many attacks per round to overcome this. Course, they rarely can due to the vast plethora of temporary hit points, resistance, surgeless healing, and normal healing at high levels. The PCs have too many ways to reduce this damage even more.

The reason your claim here is inaccurate is that damage in this type of model is significantly decreased over what 4E does today. It's ratio-ed out to an appropriate level. It's not just +1 more damage per monster level.

It makes encounter difficulty much harder to guage and depending on the dice the players either don't feel challenged or face a TPK.

No it doesn't. It makes low level practically identical to 4E.

It makes high level grittier, but that's because high level currently in 4E is a bit of a joke.

As an example, a same level foe in 4E does level+8 damage against a PC that has 16+level*4 through 24+level*6 hit points.

At level 1, that's 9 points of damage against a PC with 20 to 30 hit points or 2 to 3 (sometimes 4) average hits will usually drop the PC. The odds of hitting though tend to be 35% to 50% or so.

At level 20, that's 28 points of damage against a PC with 96 to 144 hit points or 4 to 6 hits will usually drop the PC. Instead of 33% to 50% of a PC's hit points (depending on class), it's now 16% to 25%.

That's one of the flaws of 4E. It's sweet spot changes. This type of model avoids that. It's pretty obvious that you don't like this system, but your claims about it are inaccurate.

And of course, this system can be tweaked to whatever WotC thinks is the best model with regard to percentage of damage per hit for a same level foe, chances to hit for a same level foe, etc.

Personally, I think that PCs should hit same level foes about 60% of the time and that it should take 3 to 4 hits to take out the foe (almost regardless of class except for Strikers). I think monsters should hit PCs 40% (vs. melee class) to 60% (vs. non-melee class) of the time and that it should take 3 hits to take out a non-melee class and 4 hits to take out a melee class. In other words, 10 attacks (sometime via multiple attackers) to take out a melee PC and 5 attacks to take out a non-melee PC (by this, I basically mean a Fighter vs. a Wizard, there is room for shades of gray in between).

The concern is over how this scales.

For characters who are hitting half the time, a one-point to-hit bonus yields a 10-percent increase in hits per round, from 0.50 to 0.55. For characters who are hitting three-quarters of the time, it's less than a 7-percent shift, from 0.75 to 0.80. For characters who are hitting just one-quarter of the time, it's a 20-percent shift, from 0.25 to 0.30.

So, setting things up so that the Fighter always hits won't make him that much more powerful than characters who often hit, but characters who rarely hit will feel bonuses and penalties much more.

You don't allow this via the rules. The best PCs "to hit" (with whatever attack they primarily use) shouldn't be more than 15% better than the worse PCs "to hit" at the same level.

4E was pretty good at this until the splat books and Essentials came out (with the exception of the Rogue who risked himself in combat with lower defenses and hit points than defenders in order to get his mega-bonus to hit). Then, all hell broke loose and a lot of PCs started to get 80% or more chance to hit same level foes.

Sorry, but that's just plain ridiculous.

We also need to pay attention to how the various scores compound one another. A character who gets hit half as often and has twice as many hit points has four times to life expectancy. If he also hits twice as often for twice as much damage, he has four times the offense too, implying 16 times the combat effectiveness -- which actually means he can take on four ordinary guys, due to Lanchester's Square Law.

Characters won't get hit half as often. Again, defenses shouldn't be all over the board (like in 4E). The delta between the best and worse defense should be 4 (i.e. 5 different values) so that the chance to be hit by a given level foe (not saying if this is same level or not) is in the 40% to 60% range. The chance to get hit by a given foe one level higher is then in the 45% to 65% range, etc.

One of 4E's problems is the Wizard feat tax of Leather Armor or Unarmored Agility, just so that he could be at AC 16 while the Paladin was at AC 20. Otherwise, the range tended to be 14 to 20 and that's a serious design mistake. That's 7 different defense values on a D20 out of 20 and it makes the math too swingy.

When talking about NADs with classes, again the core rules had a 9 swing (defense 10 through 18: 0 stat, 0 race, 0 class to 5 stat, 1 race, 2 class). That made the NAD math problem even worse than it would have been.

These are ridiculous ranges on a D20 at first level. The game should be controlled more than that. A 5 range is ok. A 9 range on a D20 is bad game design.

Now, I may be misunderstanding what you are talking about here. If so, please give me an example (with levels of each foe, etc.).

Personally, I think that PCs should hit same level foes about 60% of the time and that it should take 3 to 4 hits to take out the foe (almost regardless of class except for Strikers). I think monsters should hit PCs 40% (vs. melee class) to 60% (vs. non-melee class) of the time and that it should take 3 hits to take out a non-melee class and 4 hits to take out a melee class. In other words, 10 attacks (sometime via multiple attackers) to take out a melee PC and 5 attacks to take out a non-melee PC (by this, I basically mean a Fighter vs. a Wizard, there is room for shades of gray in between).

Right. I agree with this model completely. So why are we disagreeing again?

#### Aramax

##### First Post
I was using this EXACT idea in a D&D clone I was writting before I realized how much work it was.......

#### Stalker0

##### Legend
There is a way to have your cake and eat it too. The way you do that is to have a pool of 'defenses' you can use up. They are mechanically just coupons that you spend to negate an attack entirely. Each PC gets some number of these (they can be flavored as desired and you can provide some slight variations of the mechanics as you want to make them give you the feel you want).

This would be my solution as well. I have used these "get out of jail free cards" in my games several times, and to the overall benefit of the game in my opinion. I actually intend to write an article about them at some point.

By allowing PCs to "cheat", but in a rules-based way, you allow your mechanics a tremendous amount of freedom, for you no longer have to worry as much about how the PCs will survive it.

By allowing PCs to "cheat", but in a rules-based way, you allow your mechanics a tremendous amount of freedom, for you no longer have to worry as much about how the PCs will survive it.

I hate cheat. Even if it is within the rules.

Edit: Especially when it's in the rules. It's like watching a movie and suddenly, you realize that you are watching a movie as the players take over the outcome of the encounter without resorting to dice rolls to do it.

DM: "The Ogre hits you for a massive 52 points of damage and stuns you."
Player: "No he doesn't. I play my "You Dodge the Attack" card.

What's the point of playing the game?

I think immediate interrupts can add to the fun of the game, but I'm not impressed with the "all or nothing" type of "I teleport away" or "get out of jail free" ones. They're mini-cheats. But if they occur during the attack roll and the DM doesn't throw out too much information before rolling the dice, the player doesn't necessarily know everything what was going to happen to the PC, so he's not quite sure if he teleported away on the Ogre's wimpy attack, or his mega-attack. Meh, but not so egregious.

But, I really don't like the concept of some sort of "you find out all that happens to your PC, you negate it" type of system and/or having every PC have these types of abilities and having it be part of the standard rules. Talk about player entitlement. Maybe the DM should make sure that the player gets a comfy chair, some soda, and some pizza while he is at it. After all, the player is entitled to make this the best gaming experience ever and having his PC stunned takes away from that. snort

What ever happen to sucking it up?

This type of short term "I win" and every player gets it solution would probably be a game breaker for me. More and more of it is being introduced to 4E, but at least it's mostly for certain classes at the moment where they have this ability, but the player gives up something else to acquire it. Handing it out to free for everyone would be a lame game system.

PS. I also despise the fortune cards. It's like playing MTG instead of D&D and it ups the effectiveness of the PCs, making every encounter easier.

For a game model of increased offense and defense, but limited increase of damage and hit points, this really isn't needed. There will still be a lot of other abilities (buffs, debuffs, resistance, healing, temp hit points, and a wide variety of other beneficial to the party or harmful to the monsters effects) to handle any streaks of good or bad dice rolls, just like there is today. The game doesn't have to give players "get out of jail free" cards. People are overemphasizing the small amount of extra relative damage the lower level monsters will do and forgetting that the higher level monsters will do a bit less relative damage in such a system.

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#### Daern

##### Explorer
An illuminating discussion

Another +1 here for slowing up the leveling bonus progression, especially AC. Considering to-hits, I really like the idea of keeping the AC range fairly tight. 4e made hitting easy but increased hps a lot because they figured everyone is happier if they "succeed" on their turn each round. Unfortunately, it made success kinda rote. (Note: 4e player and DM here)

As for the damage discussion, static bonuses for a fighter are not that interesting (except for modeling of course). I'd like to point towards old timey damage multipliers like extra attacks, higher crit ranges and such. I've been messing about with Goodman Games' Dungeon Crawl Classic RPG beta a bit this evening and there's a lot of this (including a progression of Crit Charts, but that's not for everybody). A 5th level DCCrpg fighter has an extra attack, Crits on an 18-20 and rolls on Crit Table V. I like this because it gets away from a straight "math" approach to level progression. A higher level fighter isn't just purely better at the table, but more fun, because more stuff is likely to happen.

Of course the hit bonus ascends as well. One thing that has been missing from this discussion is differentiation between classes. It makes sense to me that a fighter would have a fairly rapid melee attack progression, but other classes should not. That serves to clearly mark the fighters territory while preserving a tighter AC range. Other classes may, say, "strike" for larger damage, auto crit etc, but they are less dependable...

Great discussion! Lots of food for thought as I tinker with my DCC houserules!

##### First Post
Without the HP pad, the game becomes very binary. Either you take no damage or are significantly hurt. It makes encounter difficulty much harder to guage and depending on the dice the players either don't feel challenged or face a TPK.
The question is, how much of a hit-point buffer do we want? (And, what kind of buffer do we want?)

I think most people want a high-level Fighter to be much, much tougher than typical orcs or city guards, and they don't want him to die from one unlucky roll, but they don't like the image of a hero simply shrugging off a dozen sword, spear, and arrow wounds -- especially if the hero doesn't happen to have a good way to ward off attacks for some reason, like he's been caught without arms & armor, or he's up to his knees in snow, or whatever.

So, how many hit points does a high-level Fighter need for that? Not many, really. He only needs enough hit-points to take two or three shots -- as long as his AC is high enough, and he's hard to hit.

Also, he doesn't need hit points that work just like D&D's. It's never clear quite what D&D hit points are, but old-school hit points, whatever Gygax said, were implemented as toughness versus whittling wounds -- you only lost hit points on a hit from a weapon that did damage, you got more hit points with a higher Constitution, you restored them via healing, etc.

The latest edition broke away from that somewhat, but not completely.

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##### First Post
This does illustrate something though, if you're required to basically go back to 1980 and base your system on the 1980 vintage fighter in essence, there's not a heck of a lot you can do with D&D. I've read a LOT of pretty reasonably interesting concepts for rules that would work well in terms of an FRPG fighter that would satisfy most of the characteristics that people want both in the 4e camp and in the more traditionalist players, but you cannot make a fighter that both has more scope within the rules and follows those 1980 mechanical conventions, and is a decent game design.
I suppose it depends on what we think hewing close to old-school D&D means.

For instance, we could treat an Nth-level Fighter just like N 1st-level Fighters, with N attacks attached to N hit dice; each time he loses one hit die's hit points, he loses one of his attacks. That's not where AD&D ended up, but it's close to the Fighter's roots as a hero or superhero worth four or eight ordinary soldiers (or squads).

Or we could borrow from D&D's roots in Chainmail, and have a "hit" that bypasses armor really mean something. Bump up everyone's AC a bit, and make a "hit" disable the opponent.

Or we could cap hit dice at nine, as with the 1E Fighter, or a lower number, like three or four.

#### AbdulAlhazred

##### Legend
I hate cheat. Even if it is within the rules.

Edit: Especially when it's in the rules. It's like watching a movie and suddenly, you realize that you are watching a movie as the players take over the outcome of the encounter without resorting to dice rolls to do it.

DM: "The Ogre hits you for a massive 52 points of damage and stuns you."
Player: "No he doesn't. I play my "You Dodge the Attack" card.

What's the point of playing the game?

I think immediate interrupts can add to the fun of the game, but I'm not impressed with the "all or nothing" type of "I teleport away" or "get out of jail free" ones. They're mini-cheats. But if they occur during the attack roll and the DM doesn't throw out too much information before rolling the dice, the player doesn't necessarily know everything what was going to happen to the PC, so he's not quite sure if he teleported away on the Ogre's wimpy attack, or his mega-attack. Meh, but not so egregious.

But, I really don't like the concept of some sort of "you find out all that happens to your PC, you negate it" type of system and/or having every PC have these types of abilities and having it be part of the standard rules. Talk about player entitlement. Maybe the DM should make sure that the player gets a comfy chair, some soda, and some pizza while he is at it. After all, the player is entitled to make this the best gaming experience ever and having his PC stunned takes away from that. snort

What ever happen to sucking it up?

This type of short term "I win" and every player gets it solution would probably be a game breaker for me. More and more of it is being introduced to 4E, but at least it's mostly for certain classes at the moment where they have this ability, but the player gives up something else to acquire it. Handing it out to free for everyone would be a lame game system.

PS. I also despise the fortune cards. It's like playing MTG instead of D&D and it ups the effectiveness of the PCs, making every encounter easier.

For a game model of increased offense and defense, but limited increase of damage and hit points, this really isn't needed. There will still be a lot of other abilities (buffs, debuffs, resistance, healing, temp hit points, and a wide variety of other beneficial to the party or harmful to the monsters effects) to handle any streaks of good or bad dice rolls, just like there is today. The game doesn't have to give players "get out of jail free" cards. People are overemphasizing the small amount of extra relative damage the lower level monsters will do and forgetting that the higher level monsters will do a bit less relative damage in such a system.

I think there are a number of things to be said for having a set of "dodge an attack" chits. They add to the player's agency in combat, giving him a way to inject some creativity into the story. They add a dimension besides simply a single straight numeric progression too. There is more room in the system design for various kinds of unique and interesting ways for characters to develop. It gives the game developers another knob they can twist in order to achieve different types of feel in the game.

In any case it certainly allows you to differentiate more readily between combat and other sorts of situations where PCs can take damage. Hit points always had the issue that they were not too bad as an abstraction for dealing with a couple of combatants trading blows. Sooner or later one of them tires, suffers enough minor damage to bring down their defenses, etc. Not perfect by any means, but at least you get a reasonable feel there. Hit points OTOH are terrible as a gauge of other sorts of situations when you have huge piles of them. You can work around it, sort of, but the guy that can fall off a 200' cliff and walk away is the classic case.

OTOH if you build a system where everyone has a few hit points and they don't increase much you DO have a swingy system. You can argue otherwise but clearly a few lucky die rolls in such a system will rapidly swing a fight one way or the other. So constructing a couple of different ways for defense and durability to work makes sense.

To clarify, the 'dodge chit' thing is applicable to both PCs and NPCs. One of the things this can do is allow for situations of greater advantage or disadvantage. Get caught by surprise? You can't dodge a blow you didn't see coming. All of a sudden there's a premium on planning out a good strategy for a fight. Hacking guys up in a melee is one way to approach an enemy, but avoiding his active defenses is even better and there can be ways to do that.

It just adds another dimension to the game overall, and can be set up in such a way that it somewhat decouples the core numbers from the power curve. I think it would overall add a decent amount to the flexibility of the system.

##### First Post
You have this today. A low level foe tends to hit for 1/3rd of a low PC's hit points.

The difference is that high level foes in 4E tend to hit for 1/6th of a high PC's hit points and DMs have to go out of their way to create monster groups that have good synergy and many attacks per round to overcome this. Course, they rarely can due to the vast plethora of temporary hit points, resistance, surgeless healing, and normal healing at high levels. The PCs have too many ways to reduce this damage even more.

The reason your claim here is inaccurate is that damage in this type of model is significantly decreased over what 4E does today. It's ratio-ed out to an appropriate level. It's not just +1 more damage per monster level.
If low-level PCs can take roughly three hits from level-appropriate enemies, and high-level PCs can take six, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Do we want the ratio to remain constant? Or do we need relative damage to decline, because we want to give high-level characters more attacks per round?

How do we want to control the ratio? If we keep damage and hit points static, the ratio stays static. D&D has historically ramped up the hit points tremendously, and only recently has it ramped up damage, too.

That's one of the flaws of 4E. It's sweet spot changes. This type of model avoids that.
It sounds like you'd like to keep damage and hit points strictly proportional, presumably with no increase in number of attacks per round?

Again, we can do that by keeping damage and hit points static or by increasing them at the same rate.

Personally, I think that PCs should hit same level foes about 60% of the time and that it should take 3 to 4 hits to take out the foe (almost regardless of class except for Strikers). I think monsters should hit PCs 40% (vs. melee class) to 60% (vs. non-melee class) of the time and that it should take 3 hits to take out a non-melee class and 4 hits to take out a melee class. In other words, 10 attacks (sometime via multiple attackers) to take out a melee PC and 5 attacks to take out a non-melee PC (by this, I basically mean a Fighter vs. a Wizard, there is room for shades of gray in between).
If you want a Fighter wearing heavy armor to be just twice as tough as a Wizard, that suggests no difference in hit points or armor class from character class or abilities and only a tiny difference in armor class from heavy armor.

It also suggests that a Fighter shouldn't be able to take on three Wizards in hand-to-hand combat with no spells involved.

##### First Post
You don't allow this via the rules. The best PCs "to hit" (with whatever attack they primarily use) shouldn't be more than 15% better than the worse PCs "to hit" at the same level.

4E was pretty good at this until the splat books and Essentials came out (with the exception of the Rogue who risked himself in combat with lower defenses and hit points than defenders in order to get his mega-bonus to hit). Then, all hell broke loose and a lot of PCs started to get 80% or more chance to hit same level foes.

Sorry, but that's just plain ridiculous.
I think we need to examine the consequences of some of these numbers, because, really, hitting 80 percent of the time isn't overpowering. It means dealing 1.4 times as much damage as hitting 50 percent of time.

In fact, hitting 95 percent of the time means dealing less than double the damage of hitting 50 percent of the time. It sounds powerful, and it's not weak, but it's not overpowering, at least by itself.

#### AbdulAlhazred

##### Legend
I think we need to examine the consequences of some of these numbers, because, really, hitting 80 percent of the time isn't overpowering. It means dealing 1.4 times as much damage as hitting 50 percent of time.

In fact, hitting 95 percent of the time means dealing less than double the damage of hitting 50 percent of the time. It sounds powerful, and it's not weak, but it's not overpowering, at least by itself.

It really depends on what else you can do with a hit. Once you start factoring in any appreciable additional effects besides damage output things start to change rapidly. A 4e character that can hit 30% more often is a lot more than 1.15x more effective at attacking, its more like he's probably 1.5x more effective at low level and maybe up to as much as 2.5x more effective at high levels.

##### First Post
The delta between the best and worse defense should be 4 (i.e. 5 different values) so that the chance to be hit by a given level foe (not saying if this is same level or not) is in the 40% to 60% range. The chance to get hit by a given foe one level higher is then in the 45% to 65% range, etc.
A delta of four means something different between 1 and 5 than it means between 15 and 19. That's the point I was trying to make earlier. On one end, it means hitting (or getting hit) five times as often; on the other, 1.27 times as often.

I think we need to examine the consequences of some of these numbers, because, really, hitting 80 percent of the time isn't overpowering. It means dealing 1.4 times as much damage as hitting 50 percent of time.

In fact, hitting 95 percent of the time means dealing less than double the damage of hitting 50 percent of the time. It sounds powerful, and it's not weak, but it's not overpowering, at least by itself.

If it were only damage, I might agree with you.

But, it's conditions and effects as well. It's forced movement into a hazard.

It's more than just a 40% to 90% increase in damage.

A delta of four means something different between 1 and 5 than it means between 15 and 19. That's the point I was trying to make earlier. On one end, it means hitting (or getting hit) five times as often; on the other, 1.27 times as often.

Precisely. That's why a 7 delta is even worse.

As for the difference between a 15 and a 19, it doesn't really matter. The type of overwhelmingly powerful encounters where the best PC attacker needs a 15 on the die and the worse needs a 19 means that the PCs should be running.

#### Stalker0

##### Legend
I hate cheat. Even if it is within the rules.

Edit: Especially when it's in the rules. It's like watching a movie and suddenly, you realize that you are watching a movie as the players take over the outcome of the encounter without resorting to dice rolls to do it.

DM: "The Ogre hits you for a massive 52 points of damage and stuns you."
Player: "No he doesn't. I play my "You Dodge the Attack" card.

Your example is simply one of many different ways to utilize such an effect.

Try this for example:

DM: "The Ogre hits you for a massive 52 points of damage."
Player: "Damn it....that kills me. Ok, I play my drama point to stay alive".
DM: "The orge smashes you down unconscious, crushing one of your legs in the process. While healing will ultimately help you recover, there will be a lingering wound there that shall never fully heal".

What a great cinematic, works with flavor (pcs often have near death experiences) and you can now introduce permanent wounds into the dnd system.

Karinsdad, I used to agree with your type of system a great deal. But after I've tried my own version and my own gaming system I realized how incredibly hard it is. As I mentioned earlier, this thread shows some of the basic difficulties, and we haven't even scratched the surface on the numbers of options players will likely have access to in the full game.

You can try and create a number of different game mechanics to solve this, but the more general they are, the more unintended consequences they have. Take healing for example. Perhaps I can fix a deadlier system by adding in more healing. Well....that has its own consequences to.

The reason I have fallen in love with "drama/fate/hero point" systems so much is that you can tailor them as scalpel mechanics that only hit a very specific portion of the game.

Let us assume that the example I gave above is the main use of this drama point, it only works when a player dies. That means all the combat actions leading up to death are completely unaffected. And further, the mechanic scales to need.

If in one game, players don't die at all due to other circumstances, the drama point system never comes into play. If the players die alot, it comes into play quite a bit.

Further, in the spirit of 5e dials, it very customizable to the DM. Some dms give every pc 1 drama point, some give 5, some give 0. Some require it to give a lingering wound, some don't. But all of there decisions around this one mechanic have no effect on the rest of the game at all, which is an amazingly effective tool.

I am not suggesting that your ideas are bad, in fact I think as the main gaming system interface I think its a great start. But ultimately as you start adding in all the bonuses and customization you will start to see wear around the edges. The drama point type mechanic is simply the best mechanic I have seen to address it.

#### Olgar Shiverstone

##### Legend
I think I favor KarinsDad's solution of scaling attack bonus and AC while having damage and HP static (or at least growing very slowly) -- it has the advantage of providing a feel for "skill growth", while still keeping combat short (no massive amounts of ablative hit points) and maintaining the potential for mob combat being dangerous (10th level fighter on 1st level probably isn't worried, but the same guy vs 10 1st levels should rightly run). That said, a quick review of the alternatives in a systemic fashion is in order.

We essentially have four scores under discussion, two offensive (Attack bonus and damage) and two defensive (AC (or other Defense, for 4E model) and hit points). You want a system that provides a feel for increasing skill with increasing level, so some of those scores should increase. You also want higher level characters to dominate lower levels, within reason, but still have some ability for lower levels to take on higher levels so that PCs can take on dangerous monsters with clever play, and that high level PCs can still be threatened (avoids the PC walks into town and takes out the entire city guard single handedly problem). Avoiding too much random swinginess is a value if possible. What are the options? (For discussion when I use the term "increase" I mean it increases substantially with level at say a 1-1 or 1-2 rate, while for those scores held constant the term "constant" can mean truly constant or simply increasing at a very slow rate, say 1-5.)

1. Increase everything with level. Equal levels are scaled at higher levels, but high level dominates low level without threat. Creates a "superhero" feel. Close to 3E and 4E D&D, here.

2. Keep everything constant. Equal levels are equal, and all levels are a threat to all other levels. Now we're playing Harn.

3. Increase attack attributes only. Higher levels make it very easy to kill lower levels, lower levels have a lesser probabiliy but equal ability to hit higher levels. High level characters feel skillful but are glass cannons. Damage increase is effectively meaningless due to static hp.

4. Increase defense attributes only. Higher levels can't fight each other, and can't be theatened. High levels never get better at fighting lower levels. You're Clark Kent in a world with no Kryptonite -- doesn't work.

5. Increase attack and AC, constant damage and HP (KarinsDad). High level combats among equals feel like lower level combats, determined by the first few blows. Low levels can threaten higher levels, if lucky or clever. Higher levels can quickly defeat lower levels due to higher probability of hit. Some swinginess due to "goldden BB" strikes, but does solve the "Expert Archer" conundrum.

6. Increase attack and HP, constant damage and AC. At high levels vs equals hits land more often but combats remain the same length as ablative defense of HP overwhelms damage capability. Higher vs lower levels highers dominate -- they might take a hit or two but there is essentially no risk due to high ablative defense (HP). I'd put 1E close to this category.

7. Increase damage and AC, constant attack and HP. Characters never feel more proficient ("Expert Archer" conundrum), but at high levels get obliterated when hit (or high vs. low). Low levels vs. high almost never hit, but can be lethal when they do. probably results in the "most swingy" option.

8. Increase damage and HP, constant attack and AC. Characters never feel more proficient ("Expert Archer" again). Combats among equals stay relatively constant. Higher levels vs. lower obliterate lower on a hit; lower vs higher is a lengthening war of attrition but possible if lucky. This is probably a stable game base, but I expect would result in complaints that characters don't "feel" improved over levels.

I won't go through the "increase three, one constant" options -- I find most less desireable. "Increase one, three constant" is more interesting but a bit less fun [Aside ... unless you do this an let the player choose at each level which one score to increase. *That* might get really interesting ... you get super attacker vs. super defense man vs high HP dude vs damage monger vs "put a little bit in everything" -- probably a min-maxer heaven.]

What still must be fixed is the other inputs to these scores. We've looked primarily at the inputs from gaining levels; I think what tends to break the game (or did particularly in 3E) is not the level inputs but the enhancement bonuses. When you add magic armor, a ring of protection, a DEX boost, an amulet of natural armor, etc, to AC and they all stack, the math breaks pretty quickly (across all scores, generally except HP). To make the system work we either need to eliminate enhancements, or keep them to a reasonable number. Perhaps no stacking at all (only the best enhancement that improves AC counts, for example), or limit stacking to a total -- no more than +5 can be applied to any score or roll from any enhancements.

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#### Stalker0

##### Legend
I think I favor KarinsDad's solution of scaling attack bonus and AC while having damage and HP static (or at least growing very slowly) -- it has the advantage of providing a feel for "skill growth", while still keeping combat short (no massive amounts of ablative hit points) and maintaining the potential for mob combat being dangerous (10th level fighter on 1st level probably isn't worried, but the same guy vs 10 1st levels should rightly run). That said, a quick review of the alternatives in a systemic fashion is in order.

Good review, though if we are looking at core dnd stats then healing should be factored in.

#### Olgar Shiverstone

##### Legend
Yeah, ease/access to healing definitely adds another wrinkle to the potential combinations, though I think it can be equivalent to hit point scaling.

Though it is somewhat PC-centric. I haven't seen a lot of combat encounters built where the monsters had access to the kind of healing PCs do. But then, they know they're going to be red shirts when they pick up the script.

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