D&D 5E The impact of ASIs

In the old days ya got what ya got. Unless you found a wish or a precious few items your ability scores were pretty static.

I am curious about what others think the effect ASIs have on the game.

Does it increase the importance of magic items? How does it effect the level of challenge and danger?

If these were gone, you would also take more feats.

What do you think the end result would be?
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
In the old days ya got what ya got. Unless you found a wish or a precious few items your ability scores were pretty static.

I am curious about what others think the effect ASIs have on the game.

Does it increase the importance of magic items? How does it effect the level of challenge and danger?

If these were gone, you would also take more feats.

What do you think the end result would be?
ASIs are overrated. An additional +1 or +2 isn't that impactful in an encounter by encounter basis. I'd much rather have feats which are more fun and you can actually see at work.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
In the old days ya got what ya got. If you found a wish or a precious few items your ability scores were pretty static.

I am curious about what others think the effect ASIs have on the game.

Does it increase the importance of magic items? How does it effect the level of challenge and danger?

If these were gone, you would also take more feats.

What do you think the end result would be?
Your timing is very appropriate considering my thread here that I just posted:


Which is a direct result of a conversation I had a couple days ago with another player about the very idea of not increasing ability scores via ASIs.

IME ASIs are there just to increase the PCs' chances / bonuses. The compete with feats which makes them a poor design implementation IMO since 90+% of games use feats.

So, I prefer moving them to a downtime activity, which makes more sense to me and removes the competition with feats.

Another route I would prefer would be expanding the proficiency bonus progression from +2 to +6 to something like +2 to +10, then the ASIs for number bumping would be unnecessary for the most part.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
ASIs are overrated. An additional +1 or +2 isn't that impactful in an encounter by encounter basis. I'd much rather have feats which are more fun and you can actually see at work.
I disagree with the first sentence and agree with the second. Very little is as impactful on an encounter by encounter basis as a +5% chance to hit and +1 damage on all of your attacks. But it’s also incredibly boring and I would much rather have a feat that lets me do something new, rather than doing the same things with higher numbers.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
I like them and have since they were made part of 3e's leveling up. I like PCs improving in a variety of ways as they gain levels, hit points, combat ability, skills, feats, and stats.
 



I disagree with the first sentence and agree with the second. Very little is as impactful on an encounter by encounter basis as a +5% chance to hit and +1 damage on all of your attacks. But it’s also incredibly boring and I would much rather have a feat that lets me do something new, rather than doing the same things with higher numbers.
This is my biggest concern: you could do more character building stuff with feats.

I was asking folks in another thread about having less than 18 in a casting stat because I want some color—to do new things etc

And this is why I often default to half feat choices…
 



James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I think that ASI = Feat isn't an even trade. Yes, having a higher ability score is good to have, but you'd be better off getting there with "half-Feats" that grant some other advantage to your character than making sure you have a +5 at level 8 as opposed to a +4. This probably has more to do with Feats being optional content than any real misstep on the part of the developers.

If/When they make Feats core, I would hope that they separate the two, and grant Feats on a different scale, like "every odd level", and get rid of Half-Feats entirely, while going back to giving you +1 to an ability score every 4 levels.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I disagree with the first sentence and agree with the second. Very little is as impactful on an encounter by encounter basis as a +5% chance to hit and +1 damage on all of your attacks. But it’s also incredibly boring and I would much rather have a feat that lets me do something new, rather than doing the same things with higher numbers.
That +1 is almost entirely irrelevant. At an average of 4 rounds per combat, even with two attacks it will take you 2.5 entire combats to hit one additional time. 5 combats if you only have 1 attack. And for the few hits you do get during the combat, you are doing 1 piddly point of extra damage. The +1 is very rarely going to impact a combat. And given that the vast majority of campaigns will never see 3 attacks...
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
This is my biggest concern: you could do more character building stuff with feats.

I was asking folks in another thread about having less than 18 in a casting stat because I want some color—to do new things etc

And this is why I often default to half feat choices…
Because those +1s are almost completely irrelevant, I don't bother to try and get to 18 or 20. I mean, if I happen to roll high at 1st level, yay, but other than that it's just not a priority for me at all.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
In the old days ya got what ya got. Unless you found a wish or a precious few items your ability scores were pretty static.
In the old days your ability scores basically gave you a few bonuses to a few things but were otherwise unimportant. And yet despite that one of the more common house rules I saw for 2e was to allow folks to increase their ability scores in some fashion or other.

When the game shifted to the d20 + ability bonus + skill bonus vs. DC ability scores became more important for skills and noticeably more important for attack bonuses in low level games. Also tying the saving throw mechanic to ability scores made them even more important.

So it's a real muddle. But you could just make a house rule that says "ASIs don't happen - the ability scores you have at the beginning of the game are the ones you have at the end, absent the feats that give you bonuses, so you have to choose a feat" and the game would actually be fine. The existence of that +5% to attack and +1 for damage is too tempting to some folks[*] so if you really want to shake things up just give them permission to ignore it as an option by taking it off the table.

[*] Despite the fact that the uniform distribution of the d20 means that it'll be noticeable in the aggregate over time but with no guarantee that it will matter at all when you really need it to matter.
 


James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
We'd probably have to do away with magic that increases ability scores if we got rid of ASI's- I mean, granted, magic is currently "optional", but if you can't raise an ability score naturally, the existence of an item that lets someone gain a 19 seems a little busted.

Unless you did away with the artificial ability score limits of the point-buy system, I suppose, allowing someone to start with an 18-20, but that leads to it's own imbalances.
 




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