D&D 5E Odd-numbered ability scores

S_Dalsgaard

First Post
Why does everything have to have a mechanical benefit. If my fighter has 15 INT I know that he is smarter than the moron cleric with only 14 INT.
 

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Lezta

Explorer
Why does everything have to have a mechanical benefit. If my fighter has 15 INT I know that he is smarter than the moron cleric with only 14 INT.

Sure, he is. But if you were to both make an opposed intelligence check (the games way of 'testing' your intelligence) you'd be on equal footing, despite you being more intelligent. It's not an ideal situation, really. It's also not a massive deal, but if I can find a way to incentivize odd number ability scores then that's a win.

Not everything needs a mechanical benefit. But the mechanics define the logic of the world, and the way things stand at the moment the world says you are actually just as intelligent as the cleric. That... doesn't feel right to me.
 


They're not the same, as Nigel Tufnel will tell you, 11 is one more than 10. I use actual ability scores to solve ties (initiative, opposed rolls, etc).
 

houser2112

Explorer
Why does everything have to have a mechanical benefit. If my fighter has 15 INT I know that he is smarter than the moron cleric with only 14 INT.
No, he's not (at least in any meaningful way). He's not going to notice more secret doors. He's not going to recall more information. He's not getting out of a maze any sooner. If they both multiclass into wizard, they're going to have the same DC, spell attack, and prep slots. The only difference is that he's closer to a meaningful upgrade with his next ASI (being able to bump it by one while bumping another score by one), where the cleric needs to put both points into INT to get the same meaningful upgrade.

Ability checks use the modifier, not roll-under like 2E. Feats don't have ability score requirements like 3E. Other than the exceptions that are few and far between (like Strength and encumbrance), I can't think of a single instance where your raw score actually matters.

I was rather disappointed when 5E neglected to slaughter this sacred cow.
 

Ability checks use the modifier, not roll-under like 2E. Feats don't have ability score requirements like 3E. Other than the exceptions that are few and far between (like Strength and encumbrance), I can't think of a single instance where your raw score actually matters.

Intellect Devourers. Int 15 is harder to eat than Int 14.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth (He/him)
Not really, in fact the issue becomes worse at higher level because you have finer control of the granularity. How many 8th level PCs do you see with two odd ability scores? That's right, not very many, because it feels like a waste. Additionally, at high level there are magic items you can potentially find which set your ability score to 19. Why 19? Why not 18? What's the difference?

The difference is you're one point closer to that +5 bonus. It creates the situation where character concept is realized over the course of progression through multiple levels. Raising a score one point from even to odd is never a waste unless you're planning on your character dying before getting to the next bump.

I want there to be a difference. Otherwise you might as well just divide all ability scores by 2 and let them go from 1 to 10.

Which three dice would you roll that would give an average of 5.5?
 


houser2112

Explorer
The difference is you're one point closer to that +5 bonus. It creates the situation where character concept is realized over the course of progression through multiple levels. Raising a score one point from even to odd is never a waste unless you're planning on your character dying before getting to the next bump.
Unless you have other odd scores that you care about, it is a waste. Otherwise, it would be better to raise one by 2, then the other by two, instead of raising each by one twice.

emdw45 said:
Additionally, at high level there are magic items you can potentially find which set your ability score to 19. Why 19? Why not 18? What's the difference?
I was equally disappointed that they resurrected this sacred cow.
 


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