D&D 5E Where's the Dump?

Which ability do you see most often as the dump stat at your table?


DND_Reborn

Legend
Yeah, dex and con are must-haves for nearly everyone (dex can be dumped if you have heavy armor), and str and wis are generally useful for anyone. Int and Cha are either your spellcasting ability or a nice-to-have.
Yep, which is why before IME DEX and CON were always in the top 3 scores for just about every PC.

By removing HP from CON and making the AC change to DEX below, we've removed that and had more interesting arrays.

I'd be willing to try getting Con out of hp, (although it becomes a bit of a nice-to-have at that point IMO) but I'm more worried about getting dex out of AC for most classes. Without needing it for AC dex it's still useful for anyone but it shouldn't be necessary for classes like wizards and druids and such.
A house-rule we use now is you can add your DEX mod to AC or your proficiency bonus - 2. This way DEX isn't needed for AC, at least not at higher levels. Another option is to use half your proficiency bonus to AC in place of DEX and we go back and forth about which way we like better.

We already allow Monks and Barbarians to use full proficiency bonus to replace DEX and/or WIS/CON for Unarmored Defense.

Another change is Sorcerers use CON for their spellcasting ability in our games, not CHA. Too many CHA-based casters already. Unfortunately, it was a net-0 shift because we moved Clerics to CHA... 🤷‍♂️
 

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Yora

Legend
I ran one campaign, and with the exception of one wizard early on, I remember every character in the party barely having a positive Intelligence save modifier.
 



Fun anecdote: My player pool is larger than the number of seats for a given session and often players have more than one character to choose from. As it happened one night a few years back, all of the characters in that session had dumped Strength. One of the challenges in the dungeon was to get past a very large, heavy door. They literally couldn't do it, which was hilarious. Ultimately they had to go find a monster in the dungeon that was strong enough to open it and convince it to do it for them. (And they succeeded!)
I ran into a similar problem when all my players dumped Strength and they faced off with shadows. Nearly had two PC deaths!
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I thought everybody needed wisdom for Perception (to avoid surprise) and wisdom saves. Having low wisdom is a good way to lose the ability to take actions in combat.
I think an honest oversimplification, but you don't lose the ability to take actions in combat, just the first round, and even then after your turn you can still take reactions.

Also, IME most often the first round involves a lot of movement, with the possibility of ranged attacks and/or spells. Since being surprised doesn't affect your AC or saves at all, often the surprise "round" isn't that detrimental to the PCs.

YMMV, of course.
 

I generally go with Wisdom, unless I'm playing a cleric. Because it can be fun and free to make a somewhat unwise character.

When I play clerics, I generally go with Dexterity. Because yeah, I'm going to go for heavy armor as soon as I can, and am unlikely to rely on any ranged weapons over Sacred Flame.
 

Adamant

Explorer
I hate dump stats, but with point buy they're almost unavoidable on certain classes. Given a choice I'd dump CHA, since I'm not that good at talking to npcs anyway, but if the class is based on it I'll dump STR or DEX instead. I almost never dump INT because I like having smart characters and it's very hard to play dumb on the intellectual side of gameplay. In regards to CON and WIS, being unable to participate isn't fun, so I make sure I have decent hit points and always take resilient(WIS) if I don't already get the save. It's less about perception, although I try to take that as well, and more about resisting effects that prevent me from being able to control my character.
 



DND_Reborn

Legend
Maybe D&D has too many Abilties. Having 4 instead of 6 would make each of them more valuable.
Many people have argued this, but for D&D it never seems to gain any ground.

Maybe D&D shouldn't have abilities at all anymore. They no longer serve a non-mechanical purpose, so maybe they should just be built into the math.
Yeah, there is only (maybe) a few times where the actual scores serve a purpose.

So, are you advocating for only the modifiers, or no abilities at all? It sounds like no abilities at all. The only issue I would have with that is you would lose some of the appeal of things like a smart fighter or strong wizard, etc.

If you removed them, how would you build them into the math without making it too generic??
 

Dausuul

Legend
Maybe D&D shouldn't have abilities at all anymore. They no longer serve a non-mechanical purpose, so maybe they should just be built into the math.
I completely agree; I've thought for years that ability scores were a terrible mechanic. Unfortunately, they are at the very heart of the game's traditions, and I'm quite certain that will never change.

IMO, the best we can hope for is that Wizards slowly excises ability scores from the game's core mechanics, isolating them into a set of stand-alone functions (Strength determines carrying capacity, Intelligence gives you extra languages, etc.) and maybe modifiers for untrained skill checks.
 

I love Int-based characters, but it's definitely Int. I recently had a 7-person party where the highest Int was 12.
Unless a wizard, Eldritch Knight, or Arcana trickster, a 14 is the highest I've seen. Only they ever use it as an attack/save modifier and there's only a handful of Int saves in the game. While Int skills can be important, it's not worth having a high modifier for this purpose. Our group started giving out extra languages and tools for having a higher mod, and as a DM I even reduce them with a penalty.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I wonder if we will ever see the removal of dump stats by having 10 be the minimum ability score for PCs?

The more I think about it, if you did remove CON from HP and DEX from AC, what abilities would each class really need? Most at that point boil down to just one or maybe two...

Fighters? STR or DEX, then DEX or STR, and maybe INT for EK.
Clerics? WIS, then maybe STR or DEX.
Rogues? DEX, then INT and WIS for skills, maybe STR, depending on build type.
Wizards? INT, then ??? whatever you want really.
Barbarians? STR, then CON or maybe DEX.
Bards? CHA, then DEX probably.
Druids? WIS, then ??? whatever you want really.
Monks? WIS or DEX, then the other.
Paladins? CHA or STR, then the other, maybe DEX?
Sorcerers? CHA, then ??? whatever you want really.
Warlocks? CHA, then ??? whatever you want really.

So, what if instead of having all six scores, you just had something like one "great" and two "good" scores? All the rest are basically average, without benefiting or hindering the PC. The samples above would all want a great in their first choice, then have a couple goods to round out your other character.

Perhaps offer an option to accept a "weakness" in a score, to turn a good score into another great?? (Not something I would do, but for players who want something to play off of...). 🤷‍♂️
 


Horwath

Hero
problem with dumping is that abilities do not contribute to lots of stuff, well most of them.

You use heavy armor? 8 DEX no problem
You use anything except heavy armor? 8 STR unless barbarian
You are not wizard or artificer? 8 INT
You are not bard, paladin, sorcerer, warlock? 8 CHA

only CON and somewhat WIS are protected from carefree dumping as WIS is most important save with very important skills and CON gives 2nd most important save and HPs

I never saw in 5e a character with less than 12 CON and 10 WIS and most have 14 CON and 12 WIS minimum.
 


TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Fighters? STR or DEX, then DEX or STR, and maybe INT for EK.
Clerics? WIS, then maybe STR or DEX.
Rogues? DEX, then INT and WIS for skills, maybe STR, depending on build type.
Wizards? INT, then ??? whatever you want really.
Barbarians? STR, then CON or maybe DEX.
Bards? CHA, then DEX probably.
Druids? WIS, then ??? whatever you want really.
Monks? WIS or DEX, then the other.
Paladins? CHA or STR, then the other, maybe DEX?
Sorcerers? CHA, then ??? whatever you want really.
Warlocks? CHA, then ??? whatever you want really.
Since ability scores are never going away, I'd rather see classes lean into them MORE by not having simply one main stat. Give each class important features that scale off at least two, or ideally three, stats.

There are 20 combinations of 3 stats, I'm trying to think of a class concept that can fit each combination.

STR/DEX/CON - Fighter
STR/CON/CHA - Paladin
 


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