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Variable stat caps. Anyone ever used?

FrogReaver

Explorer
Right now for every pc ever all stats are capped at 20. What if during character creation we rolled some dice to determine the max a stat could be?

Has anyone used such a method. Would you like this?
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Right now for every pc ever all stats are capped at 20. What if during character creation we rolled some dice to determine the max a stat could be?

Has anyone used such a method. Would you like this?

I kind of like the idea of it being tied to race.
 

Aebir-Toril

Explorer
Right now for every pc ever all stats are capped at 20. What if during character creation we rolled some dice to determine the max a stat could be?

Has anyone used such a method. Would you like this?
Could be interesting.

It seems a bit more simulationist than the current system, and I like that.

I'm never going to have (IRL) a Strength score of 20, I might have 14 now, and I could probably max out at 16, but I'm never going to be able to, physically, reach Strength 17+

Overall, I like the idea a lot. I might try it.
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
We've thought about adjusting stats so they are no longer all bonuses and if we did, caps would be 18 modified by race.

For instance, if we changed Elves to Dex +2, Con -2 (akin to earlier versions), then they would cap Dex at 20, and Con at 16.

We do cap halflings and gnomes at Str 18 instead of 20.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
Could be interesting.

It seems a bit more simulationist than the current system, and I like that.

I'm never going to have (IRL) a Strength score of 20, I might have 14 now, and I could probably max out at 16, but I'm never going to be able to, physically, reach Strength 17+

Overall, I like the idea a lot. I might try it.
Strangely I’m pretty anti simulation. However, I like the idea that one fighter I make being optimized differently than the next. That’s the interesting part to me. Flat out rolling for stats allows this to some degree but by level 12 you are just about guaranteed to be very similar to the other fighter or wizard.

This is is a nice middle ground imo that you can use with any stat generation and Has the effect of less samey characters.
 

Jer

Explorer
What are you hoping to get out of this kind of change?

Is the goal to make character creation more random and force people to make more decisions between playing "optimal" characters in classes they don't want to play vs. "suboptimal" characters in classes they do want to play? Like a player that rolls a Str cap of 24 and a Cha cap of 16 is now faced with the choice of the sorcerer they wanted to play not being as good long term vs. a fighter that might be amazing but isn't really what they wanted to play. Is that the goal?

Is this also going to be tied with random stat generation so that you're adding more randomization to the mix? Or are you thinking of a point buy or stat array assignment but with variable level caps to move the randomization to a more meta level?
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
Another thought is this, remove ASIs completely and ONLY have feats. This way a character might get a two point bump if they take feats that add to an ability score, but 3 would be a stretch and 4 almost unheard of. Since most characters already begin with 15 or higher in their primary stat, this would slow down the stat bumping process and by extension create an artificial cap sort of.

For a tangent, I dislike how much impact ability scores have on everything. I mean, your max bonus is +5, and max proficiency is just one better at +6. We house-ruled max proficiency up to +8 and limited ability mod to +4 (for simplicity sake we returned to +5). Honestly, I would rather see ability score mods capped at +3 for players normally and let proficiency bonus play a more important role in the game.

I might eventually make ability scores something like 9-11 = +0, 12-14 = +1, 15-17 = +2, and 18-20 = +3.

I am content with my character having +3 in her primary ability scores and can't see myself ever raising them higher as I would much rather pick a feat.


Anyway, back to the OP. If you want something random, you could roll a d4+2 for each stat and add it to your base after racial modifiers. If the result is less than 20, that is your maximum, 20 or higher is simply 20.

Ex. for a variant human monk

STR: 10
DEX: 14
CON : 12
INT: 11+1 = 12
WIS: 15+1 = 16
CHA: 10


Rolling d4+2 (in order) results in 6, 5, 3, 4, 4, 4; making the maximums:

STR: 16
DEX: 19
CON: 15
INT: 16
WIS: 20
CHA: 14

While this works, I have to really ask what is the point? Given normally five ASI, this character would have to use 4 to bump DEX to 18 and WIS to 20, leaving only one for a feat selection. It is unlikely he will use 2 ASI's to boost CHA from 10 to 14, and then have the player still want to go higher. The only way this become meaningful at all is if a low roll results in a sub-20 cap, like if I had rolled a 3 for WIS instead of a 4. So, fine, this monk is limited to a WIS 19 instead of 20.

But anyway, I like the idea of a feat only game and no pure ASIs.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
I would also prefer to decouple race from stat bonuses and thus from class considerations. I'd be happier with a slightly more 13th age approach and given every race a floating +2 and abilities, and each class a fixed +2. Or whatever your feels are for the actual +. If each race had a balanced set of neat abilities but not stat bonuses you could branch out a lot more concept-wise without handicapping your character before you even take pencil to paper.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
I would also prefer to decouple race from stat bonuses and thus from class considerations. I'd be happier with a slightly more 13th age approach and given every race a floating +2 and abilities, and each class a fixed +2. Or whatever your feels are for the actual +. If each race had a balanced set of neat abilities but not stat bonuses you could branch out a lot more concept-wise without handicapping your character before you even take pencil to paper.
That's generally my preference as well. I don't like optimization trap options. Although if every race got the same stats then abilities become the next determining factor for optimization. Though at least in current 5e there is a little more parity between racial abilities other than stats when it comes to picking a class.

Consider this setup:

Stat cap = 15+1d8 or 20 whichever is lower
Racial bonus increases the stat cap by +2 but never higher than 20
Result: different races are more likely to have a higher stat cap but not guaranteed to do so.

(Also of note, if racial bonuses were +1 instead of +2 you probably wouldn't ever notice the racial stat differences)
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
Again, it comes back to the same question: why a lower limit on stat caps? If you don't want racial bonuses that steer class selection, caps will do the same thing. If I find out my STR cap is 16, for example, I am less likely to pick a Fighter or other battler class, especially if my DEX cap is 16 also. Then it turns out my cap for CON and WIS are both 20. Now, a Druid maybe is looking nice "long-term".

As for races, we've changed it for a while now were every race (except humans) get a +2 and a +1, humans get three +1's.

Also, linking bonuses to classes sort of artificially boosts those primary stats, which likely were already high. You're basically trading racial influence on class to boosting class regardless of race. If you want to be a wizard, you're best stat will likely be in INT, and class boost will make it higher.

I don't know, the more I think about it the more I realize it just doesn't seem that anything like this will influence things. How many stats do you typically see that reach the 20 cap, especially outside of the primary stat? We have one, but it is in the primary anyway.

Finally, I do like the idea of reducing racial bonuses to only +1, and I also like the idea of bringing back a -1 penalty to offset it. Maybe instead of a +2, make it two +1's? Or, just remove stat bonuses altogether for race and class and don't worry about it. If you want a strong half-orc, but a high stat in STR, if you want an agile elf, but the high stat in DEX, a smart gnome would have high INT.

I think maybe a "You can add one point to two ability scores of your choice, but you must remove one point from a different ability score." This represents the abilities your character spent time developing while growing up, etc., at the expense of another. If you did include a class bonus as well, I would limit that to a single point, with maybe two options? Example: a Fighter may add one point to either STR or DEX.
 

5ekyu

Explorer
Right now for every pc ever all stats are capped at 20. What if during character creation we rolled some dice to determine the max a stat could be?

Has anyone used such a method. Would you like this?
Significant elements that can effect long term viability and performance should not be random in my view so no.

If instead you went with ssy your favored saves stats could go higher, maybe. If it was racial, sure.

Random, no choice, nope.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
We've thought about adjusting stats so they are no longer all bonuses and if we did, caps would be 18 modified by race.

For instance, if we changed Elves to Dex +2, Con -2 (akin to earlier versions), then they would cap Dex at 20, and Con at 16.

We do cap halflings and gnomes at Str 18 instead of 20.
This heavily pigeon holes character creation by race, even more so than 5e already does. Under your proposed system, almost every Wizard is going to be a gnome, because that's the only way to get a 20 Intelligence. You'll never see a half orc Wizard (admittedly already a rarity in 5e) since they'd be capped at a 16. It's very unlikely, IME, for a player to hobble themselves in that way.

I like to encourage interesting and unusual PC concepts at my table, so it's not my cup of tea. If your goal is to tie class closely to race then I imagine it would be effective. Though if I wanted to go that route I'd probably just implement the B/X race-as-class approach, or just explicitly ban half orcs from being wizards.
 

mortwatcher

Explorer
As some of the others pointed out, I kind of fail to see the purpose of this change. If the max cap is 20 anyway, you are going to put the highest cap on your primary stat so you can max it, you lowest cap on your dump stat that you would probably never put nowhere near the cap anyway, and then disperse the rest as you will. There are not that many opportunities (especially if you play with feats) to raise your stats anyway, so you are unlikely to cap more than 1 stat.
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
This heavily pigeon holes character creation by race, even more so than 5e already does. Under your proposed system, almost every Wizard is going to be a gnome, because that's the only way to get a 20 Intelligence. You'll never see a half orc Wizard (admittedly already a rarity in 5e) since they'd be capped at a 16. It's very unlikely, IME, for a player to hobble themselves in that way.

I like to encourage interesting and unusual PC concepts at my table, so it's not my cup of tea. If your goal is to tie class closely to race then I imagine it would be effective. Though if I wanted to go that route I'd probably just implement the B/X race-as-class approach, or just explicitly ban half orcs from being wizards.
Not every wizard needs a INT 20, though. I hardly consider an INT 16 hobbling the character since that is what my current wizard character has and I am very happy with it. I can really see using my ASIs to boost it much more as I would rather have the feats. As a 16 is a good, some would even say very good, score and works fine as a cap.

We currently have a +2 to any stat and +1 to another for each race other than human (they get three +1's). We see no reason why a beginning Tiefling, for example, can't have a STR 17 instead of 15 if the player wants a battler class like Fighter or Barbarian.

I am just someone who likes balance personally. I don't like that PCs get +3 total increase with no penalty elsewhere.

Anyway, I rant. If you read the rest of my posts, you'll see I am generally against the idea and even having ability score modifiers in general. If you want a strong character, put a high score there and don't worry about race or class affecting it.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
Not every wizard needs a INT 20, though. I hardly consider an INT 16 hobbling the character since that is what my current wizard character has and I am very happy with it. I can really see using my ASIs to boost it much more as I would rather have the feats. As a 16 is a good, some would even say very good, score and works fine as a cap.

We currently have a +2 to any stat and +1 to another for each race other than human (they get three +1's). We see no reason why a beginning Tiefling, for example, can't have a STR 17 instead of 15 if the player wants a battler class like Fighter or Barbarian.

I am just someone who likes balance personally. I don't like that PCs get +3 total increase with no penalty elsewhere.

Anyway, I rant. If you read the rest of my posts, you'll see I am generally against the idea and even having ability score modifiers in general. If you want a strong character, put a high score there and don't worry about race or class affecting it.
What level is your wizard? I'd agree that a 16 is fine in tier 1 and maybe even tier 2. Not so much at 20th level though.

And that's the thing. If you start with a half orc wizard, you put some ASIs into Int and you can make it to 20. You sacrifice feats, so it's not a zero sum, but it's functional. With a cap, that's not possible.
 

5ekyu

Explorer
Not every wizard needs a INT 20, though. I hardly consider an INT 16 hobbling the character since that is what my current wizard character has and I am very happy with it. I can really see using my ASIs to boost it much more as I would rather have the feats. As a 16 is a good, some would even say very good, score and works fine as a cap.

We currently have a +2 to any stat and +1 to another for each race other than human (they get three +1's). We see no reason why a beginning Tiefling, for example, can't have a STR 17 instead of 15 if the player wants a battler class like Fighter or Barbarian.

I am just someone who likes balance personally. I don't like that PCs get +3 total increase with no penalty elsewhere.

Anyway, I rant. If you read the rest of my posts, you'll see I am generally against the idea and even having ability score modifiers in general. If you want a strong character, put a high score there and don't worry about race or class affecting it.
Any character voncept gine at 26 is not even involved in a max cap use case, unless the lower cap is 15.

Thst said, I think the focus on the higher caps is overvalued. I cannot imagine it bring a major decision for me at chargen.
 

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