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Poll: Ability scores - How intrinsic are they to D&D?

What is the importance of ability scores in D&D?

  • Very important; they should mechanically impact everything within reason.

    Votes: 48 60.0%
  • Important, but they should primarily serve to inform RP, not mechanics.

    Votes: 8 10.0%
  • Ability scores should be limited for mechanical reasons (ex. modifier bloat).

    Votes: 18 22.5%
  • Unimportant; D&D would still be D&D without them.

    Votes: 5 6.3%
  • Replace them with an alternative (for example, aspects from FATE).

    Votes: 4 5.0%
  • It all depends on specific implementation. I need more details.

    Votes: 3 3.8%
  • Other (please elaborate)

    Votes: 4 5.0%
  • The cake is a LIE!!! (Or I don't care.)

    Votes: 1 1.3%

  • Total voters
    80

Fanaelialae

Legend
I'd intended to include a poll with my original thread, but I didn't realize that the system would time me out if I wasn't quick enough. So, here it is.

Would some kind moderator be willing to merge the two threads? Pretty please?
 

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I voted "Other".

Ability scores have always been a part of D&D and should remain a part of D&D.

The impact of ability scores on the mechanics of the game has changed drastically over the years. This is the bit that needs to be overhauled.

In general, bonus fixation & bloat has done more to drag the game away from its RP roots than anything else. The endless collecting of plusses is a minigame all in itself and has IMHO become too large a part of the game.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
The impact of ability scores on the mechanics of the game has changed drastically over the years. This is the bit that needs to be overhauled.

In general, bonus fixation & bloat has done more to drag the game away from its RP roots than anything else. The endless collecting of plusses is a minigame all in itself and has IMHO become too large a part of the game.
I agree with this.


I wouldn't mind seeing the list expanded to something like The Arcanum's:

Strength
Dexterity
Constitution
Speed
Intelligence
Willpower
Perception
Charisma

Wisdom, in particular, has always seemed to me like a mish-mosh of leftover characteristics.


Although to be honest, I wouldn't exactly be heartbroken if ability scores went the way of the dodo. Due to their history with the game though, I realize that's quite unlikely.
 

As I said in the other thread, I'm fine with games that don't use the six ability scores. However, in D&D they are a sacred cow that simply cannot be slaughtered - it isn't D&D without them.

You could maybe get away with removing the stats and just using the modifiers instead, but probably not. Certainly, I would oppose such a move.

I also agree with ExploderWizard that ability scores have become far too important in the game. Actually, this was true even as far back as 1st Edition - BD&D was considerably better in this regard. A scaling back of the importance of the stats is long overdue, IMO.
 

I wouldn't mind seeing the list expanded to something like The Arcanum's:

Strength
Dexterity
Constitution
Speed
Intelligence
Willpower
Perception
Charisma

Wisdom, in particular, has always seemed to me like a mish-mosh of leftover characteristics.
While in theory you might be able to set up a better arrangement, I don't think you can even tinker with the stats and have the game remain D&D.

Basically, the game has to have ability scores, it has to have six ability scores, and they have to be those ability scores. Or it isn't D&D.

(And, yes, I'm aware of Comeliness, as added in Unearthed Arcana. I'm also aware that this attempt to add a seventh score just didn't gain any real traction.)
 

Squire James

First Post
The poll seems confused about whether it is asking whether ability scores SHOULD matter or if they DO. Whether the should or not, they do matter. A lot. I'd go so far as to say that the six ability scores with those names define the game as D&D as much or more than the d20 does. Most RPG's can be identified by the names of their major ability scores and nothing else.
 

Ahnehnois

First Post
The six ability scores are the basic language of D&D. Looking at those numbers is the first way I understand a character. It's like beng a doctor and looking at a standard set of bloodwork that tells you all kinds of important things about your patient. If you changed the things being measured, the units, or even the names, it would throw the entire medical profession for a loop (and for no good reason). Same with D&D.

Not saying that other ability systems are invalid, but I am saying that Str/Dex/Con/Int/Wis/Cha are fundamental to D&D.
 


MarkB

Legend
Ever since 3e unified ability score modifiers, I've wondered whether it's actually useful in any way to keep the scores themselves, since they're hardly used in any game element.

99% of the time, I don't need to know that my Strength score is 18 - I just need to know that I have a +4 bonus to Strength-related actions. So why not make the +4 the only entry for that ability?

I'd keep the actual ability names as they are - there's room to argue for slightly different definitions of physical and mental attributes, but the current set serve well enough.
 

Wiseblood

Adventurer
The unification or standardization cost ability scores some of their sizzle.

They are critical to D&D but I'll admit their current iteration could use some retooling.
 



Ever since 3e unified ability score modifiers, I've wondered whether it's actually useful in any way to keep the scores themselves, since they're hardly used in any game element.

99% of the time, I don't need to know that my Strength score is 18 - I just need to know that I have a +4 bonus to Strength-related actions. So why not make the +4 the only entry for that ability?
I think I remember the designers wanting to do exactly that with some edition. Eventually, I think that's what will happen.
 

My recollection had the two "C's" being at the end - Str/Int/Wis/Dex/Con/Cha. Maybe it was a change from OD&D to Basic (which is where I started in the 70's).
Yep. OD&D was Str/Int/Wis/Con/Dex/Cha; Basic/AD&D went to Str/Int/Wis/Dex/Con/Cha; then 3E went to Str/Dex/Con/Int/Wis/Cha. The last is more useful, really, and the first is the original, but I'd agree the middle is "the classic".
 


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