D&D 5E What if 15 equaled 20???

DND_Reborn

Legend
Cryptic title but easy enough concept...

Once in a while, I hear someone talk about empty levels or how it annoys them that ability scores have the same modifiers if you had a 14 or a 15.

So, I was thinking if an ability score of 20 is +5, what if we made that 15 instead, with each point giving you a +1 increase to your modifier?

Of course, bonuses would change, numbers affected, etc. and the golden 3-18 wouldn't mean as much.

Now, personally I find bounded accuracy too bounded, so this wouldn't bother me, even if PCs could still get to 20 and have a +10 modifier.

Could the system be persuaded to move to a larger level of bonuses again, without, however allowing the treadmill effect of prior editions?

Such a return would also promote greater proficiency bonuses, I think ranging from +2 to +12, and exchanging Expertise for either advantage or an increasing "floor" roll, leading to something like Reliable Talent in the end.

Without magic or another feature, the maximum bonus would be +22 (10 for ability and 12 for proficiency), which while certainly larger is not that far from the current maximum +17 via Expertise.

I have always been vocal about increasing the concept of bounded accuracy to 40 instead of the 30ish at which it currently stands.

To be clear, this isn't some drastic house-rule I am considering, I've just been rolling the idea around a couple days now and wonder what others might think? So, please share your thoughts if you wish and thanks for reading. :)
 

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dave2008

Legend
I am working on Immortals version of 5e where your bonus to your roll is your ability score. So I don't mind the concept.

For "mortals" I would prefer that interesting things happen at each score and worry less about the +bonus to the ability. For example, strength already gives benefits for each ability score, not just the even numbers. I think this should be expanded to all ability scores (and Strength could be expanded too).

If I was going to go with ability score -10 for the modifier, which I have thought of doing before. I would probably limit scores more. So max 18 or possible even 16. Also, I would be interested in bringing back the +5 to hit/ +10 to damage. So that to hit bonus is every even number, but damage bonus is every number.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I forget who mentioned it for creating a difference between even and odd scores, but I recall one suggestion was having the modifier apply to ability checks on the even and combat/saves/magic on the odds.

So, a STR 14 would be +2 to Strength checks, but only +1 to attack/damage/saves. When you get 15, it increases to +2 for attack/damage/saves.

If nothing else, I will probably implement something along these lines eventually.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I think it's a lot of conversion work for a house-rule. I think it's totally fine for the baseline of a new edition; for example, Shadow of the Demon Lord also uses mod = stat - 10 for its stats, and the overall system math is pretty D&D like. The starting stats just go from around 8-12, and generally don't get much above 15.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I think it's a lot of conversion work for a house-rule. I think it's totally fine for the baseline of a new edition; for example, Shadow of the Demon Lord also uses mod = stat - 10 for its stats, and the overall system math is pretty D&D like. The starting stats just go from around 8-12, and generally don't get much above 15.
No, I wasn't thinking really for house-ruling 5E, more just a design question and (dare I say?) hopes for the future.

I'll have to look into SotDL. I've head of it but never seen it.
 



GMMichael

Guide of Modos
I'd rather go back to the days of rolling under your ability score to succeed on a skill check (Late 1E & 2E).
I'd rather just play 3.5. They playtested and expanded the daylights out of that one...and the primary differences between the two games are bounded accuracy and advantage rolls. So if @DND_Reborn wants to ditch bounded accuracy, the easiest thing to do is get a 3.5 PHB and Monster Manual, and whenever a rule says Attacker +X the attacker gets Advantage, and Defender +X means the Attacker gets Disadvantage.

Granting +5 at a score of 15 sounds like throwing a wrench in 5e's rule set. A plastic one, but a wrench nonetheless.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I dunno, but "15 is equal to 20" sounds like a winning political campaign slogan. Think of all the people who would say, "I've always thought so! It's the only thing that would explain why I can't keep a job. I'm voting for that guy!"
 

Stalker0

Legend
I think it's a lot of conversion work for a house-rule. I think it's totally fine for the baseline of a new edition; for example, Shadow of the Demon Lord also uses mod = stat - 10 for its stats, and the overall system math is pretty D&D like. The starting stats just go from around 8-12, and generally don't get much above 15.
My thought as well. While its a neat idea you basically have to rewrite the math on EVERY MONSTER, EVERY SPELL, EVERY PC, etc etc. That's a ton of work, for not a huge amount of gain.
 

Horwath

Hero
I would only be interested if score of 15 is +5 mod, score of 14 is +4 etc...Going one-for-one.

I would certainly be more intuitive for new players.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I experimented with Exceptional Abilities where if you had Exceptional Strength or Dexterity, your ability mod was Ability Score minus 10.

So you 18 STR fighter had +8 STR mod. But a giant could have +15 to Str.
 

Well, you'd have to rebuild the point-buy tables, and you'd probably have to recalculate most monster statistics, because having a -2 to all your rolls due to having an 8 would be...rather bad. Having a -8 to Intelligence stuff due to being an animal would be very bad (they'd essentially always fail Int-related rolls.)
 

Horwath

Hero
Well, you'd have to rebuild the point-buy tables, and you'd probably have to recalculate most monster statistics, because having a -2 to all your rolls due to having an 8 would be...rather bad. Having a -8 to Intelligence stuff due to being an animal would be very bad (they'd essentially always fail Int-related rolls.)
if you keep this only to PC's, then the change is somewhat easy. you can use MM stats as normal.

1. Ignore any racial ASI's

2. ASI gives +1(max of 15) or a feat or two half-feats without their ASI's

3. point buy:
16pts pool

9(-1): 0pts
10(+0): 1pt
11(+1): 2pts
12(+2): 3pts
13(+3): 5pts
 

Andvari

Explorer
I'm working on a homebrew D&D clone (when I have time) where currently you roll 4d2 for ability scores. When you make an ability check, you just add the full score.

This means
  • Scores are 4-8 before any modifications from race etc.
  • There are no negative modifiers, only lower bonuses.
  • d20 results become higher, so DCs are increased accordingly.
  • Every point matters.

One awkward problem I have is that strength modifier for damage becomes rather high compared to the random factor from the die roll, so currently there is no direct modifier from high strength. Instead the damage die is based on the strength score. For example, you roll a d6 for damage if you have 6 strength and a d8 if you have 8. This means you may have to use a d8 if you have 7 strength, rerolling results of 8, which isn't super elegant, unless you happen to have a d7.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Cryptic title but easy enough concept...

Once in a while, I hear someone talk about empty levels or how it annoys them that ability scores have the same modifiers if you had a 14 or a 15.

So, I was thinking if an ability score of 20 is +5, what if we made that 15 instead, with each point giving you a +1 increase to your modifier?

Of course, bonuses would change, numbers affected, etc. and the golden 3-18 wouldn't mean as much.

Now, personally I find bounded accuracy too bounded, so this wouldn't bother me, even if PCs could still get to 20 and have a +10 modifier.

Could the system be persuaded to move to a larger level of bonuses again, without, however allowing the treadmill effect of prior editions?

Such a return would also promote greater proficiency bonuses, I think ranging from +2 to +12, and exchanging Expertise for either advantage or an increasing "floor" roll, leading to something like Reliable Talent in the end.

Without magic or another feature, the maximum bonus would be +22 (10 for ability and 12 for proficiency), which while certainly larger is not that far from the current maximum +17 via Expertise.

I have always been vocal about increasing the concept of bounded accuracy to 40 instead of the 30ish at which it currently stands.

To be clear, this isn't some drastic house-rule I am considering, I've just been rolling the idea around a couple days now and wonder what others might think? So, please share your thoughts if you wish and thanks for reading. :)
I actually agree.

At that point, just use the ability bonus. And there would no longer be an ability score.

For example, there is no "18 Strength". There is only "4 Strength", or +4 Strength.

A spell save DC is: 8 + casting ability + proficiency

Monk AC is: 10 + Dexterity + Wisdom



Every thing is cleaner. Adding a "base 10" to something, opposite a d20 is the same.
 
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DND_Reborn

Legend
I would only be interested if score of 15 is +5 mod, score of 14 is +4 etc...Going one-for-one.

I would certainly be more intuitive for new players.
That is the idea.

I experimented with Exceptional Abilities where if you had Exceptional Strength or Dexterity, your ability mod was Ability Score minus 10.

So you 18 STR fighter had +8 STR mod. But a giant could have +15 to Str.
How did it work out?

Well, you'd have to rebuild the point-buy tables, and you'd probably have to recalculate most monster statistics, because having a -2 to all your rolls due to having an 8 would be...rather bad. Having a -8 to Intelligence stuff due to being an animal would be very bad (they'd essentially always fail Int-related rolls.)
The idea would be for the next edition. IMO it would be too invasive to try to implement as a house-rule to 5E because of such reasons.
 


Huh. Making 0 below average makes sense.

Happy to avoid negative numbers as much as possible.
Yeah, that's more or less how Storyteller (White Wolf) games work. If you have 0 dots in something, you're garbage at it, perhaps even taking a penalty (e.g. rolling one less than your Strength if you have 0 Athletics or whatever). If you have 5 dots, you are the peak of human performance; anything beyond 5 dots is necessarily supernatural in one way or another.

E.g. as a werewolf in Crinos or "war" form--the full blend of man and wolf--my character has 8 dots of Strength, making him well beyond what even the most physically fit and trained human could ever achieve. However, that only gives him a total of 10 dice for Strength+Athletics rolls, as he only has two dots of Athletics, which means that his supernatural abilities "only" put him in the realm of the absolute top-tier human with maximum natural Strength and Athletics training. Should he train up Athletics and Strength further, he could potentially get to the point of rolling 14 dice for a Strength+Athletics check in Crinos form, which is...a lot. That's just a lot of dice. Even at, say, difficulty 9 (so you need a 9 or 10 to succeed), you'd have a 67% chance to succeed without pulling in any other bonuses, which is really damn high (and you'd only have a 3.75% chance to botch, aka critically fail, which is very low.)

Worth noting: you can normally only have 0 dots in the various "skill-like" things (called Abilities), not the various "stat-like" things (called Attributes.) The idea generally being that most living people have at least a certain minimum competence with all the various things. Being genuinely incompetent at baseline abilities is a major penalty, usually coming from some kind of debility or supernatural influence. E.g. your Charisma is 0 for the purpose of interacting with non-werewolves while in Crinos form, because you are a literally supernaturally-terrifying monster.
 

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