D&D 5E Where's the Dump?

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


DND_Reborn

Legend
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.
That is why I was focusing on a great and two good's -- three scores which would all be important to a class.

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
These are the prerequisite combos for the 5E mod we've been developing / using for nearly a year:

1642537885090.png

I'd have to check the homebrew to ensure this is the current model, but it looks right. Of course, we moved Barbarians, Sorcerers, and Warlocks to subclasses, so they aren't present in the table above. It might serve as a starting point for you.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
That is why I was focusing on a great and two good's -- three scores which would all be important to a class.
Yea, makes sense. I think ideally there would simply be 3 "greats", and try to move away from a class having a single "prime requisite".

View attachment 150150
I'd have to check the homebrew to ensure this is the current model, but it looks right. Of course, we moved Barbarians, Sorcerers, and Warlocks to subclasses, so they aren't present in the table above. It might serve as a starting point for you.
Looks good. What does the color coding mean, if I may ask?
 

I hate dump stats, but with point buy they're almost unavoidable on certain classes.
Well, presumably something's gotta be your lowest number. Unless they're all the same number.

The annoyance is that so many players tend to pick the same thing most of the time.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Yea, makes sense. I think ideally there would simply be 3 "greats", and try to move away from a class having a single "prime requisite".
For me I would want to keep the distinction so a Fighter with Great STR, Good DEX, Good CON would feel different from a Good STR, Great DEX, Good CON; as opposed to all fighters being Great STR, Great DEX, Great CON.

Looks good. What does the color coding mean, if I may ask?
Thanks. IIRC, it had something to do with trying to keep each ability represented about the same number of times. I don't recall, honestly, it was nearly a year ago LOL.

Ideally, each ability would be used 6 times.
 

Many people have argued this, but for D&D it never seems to gain any ground.


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??
Short short answer: via skills. A wizard with athletics proficiency is probably also physically strong. A fighter with a knowledge skill or two is clearly educated (at least)

There's some wonkiness around blending that into class features (ie we do want smart-fighter maneuvers) which would now need to be skill-based, but that's not much harder than the current system.

It does make highly specialized characters harder to portray (ie the cleric who knows about religion but nothing else), but those always felt to me less of a narrative/character choice and more of a way to explain a weird game result.
 


TwoSix

Unserious gamer
For me I would want to keep the distinction so a Fighter with Great STR, Good DEX, Good CON would feel different from a Good STR, Great DEX, Good CON; as opposed to all fighters being Great STR, Great DEX, Great CON.
Oh, definitely. Ideally, a 16 Str, 10 Dex, 14 Con fighter is equally compelling as a 10 Str, 14 Dex, 16 Con fighter. And I mean compelling for me as an optimizer, not compelling in the "Oh, I can make an interesting character with these terrible stats" way. :)

Thanks. IIRC, it had something to do with trying to keep each ability represented about the same number of times. I don't recall, honestly, it was nearly a year ago LOL.

Ideally, each ability would be used 6 times.
If you had each two-stat combination represented, that would be 15 classes, with each stat present in 5 classes. That's not bad.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Intelligence.

Oh, wait. You meant characters, not players...

Used to be Charisma, but with Charisma casters in play, I see far more people using Intelligence as a dump stat, with a lot of "use what I know/have learned about the game", instead of the character.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Short short answer: via skills. A wizard with athletics proficiency is probably also physically strong. A fighter with a knowledge skill or two is clearly educated (at least)
This reminds me of an argument I made a while back:

You are not good at Athletics because you have a high Strength, you have a high Strength because you are good at Athletics.
You do not study Arcana because you are smart, you are smarter because your study Arcana.

Etc.

The idea was you gain +1 ability modifier for proficiency in every skill linked to the ability. It works nicely for INT and WIS because they have 5 skills each, but obviously STR is severely lacking and CON has none. So, unless I wanted to make a total of 30+ skills instead of 18, it doesn't work. Still, I always liked the idea.

Aligning that to your short answer it almost fits perfectly. If your Wizard has proficiency in Athletics, you get a +1 modifier for Strength and add it to all other Strength checks (including Athletics, of course).
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
This reminds me of an argument I made a while back:

You are not good at Athletics because you have a high Strength, you have a high Strength because you are good at Athletics.
You do not study Arcana because you are smart, you are smarter because your study Arcana.

Etc.

The idea was you gain +1 ability modifier for proficiency in every skill linked to the ability. It works nicely for INT and WIS because they have 5 skills each, but obviously STR is severely lacking and CON has none. So, unless I wanted to make a total of 30+ skills instead of 18, it doesn't work. Still, I always liked the idea.

Aligning that to your short answer it almost fits perfectly. If your Wizard has proficiency in Athletics, you get a +1 modifier for Strength and add it to all other Strength checks (including Athletics, of course).
This is my argument for why ASI's should be tied to Background, and not Race.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Oh, definitely. Ideally, a 16 Str, 10 Dex, 14 Con fighter is equally compelling as a 10 Str, 14 Dex, 16 Con fighter. And I mean compelling for me as an optimizer, not compelling in the "Oh, I can make an interesting character with these terrible stats" way. :)
I was thinking more something like 16/12/12 vs. 12/16/12 vs. 12/12/16. Maybe make one 12 a 14?

If you had each two-stat combination represented, that would be 15 classes, with each stat present in 5 classes. That's not bad.
True, but then you have even less variation IMO because each class focuses on two scores instead of 3.

This is my argument for why ASI's should be tied to Background, and not Race.
I've always liked having Background add more, too.
 

Hussar

Legend
No specific dump stat. The low stats usually come directly out of the class someone is playing, as each one has a usual triumvirate of ability scores they focus on. The Fighters take STR, CON & WIS and will dump any of the other three... the Warlocks usually take CHA, DEX & CON and will dump any of the other three... the Monks will take DEX, WIS & CON and dump any of the other three, the Paladins take STR, CHA & CON and dump one of the other three etc.

I have never once had that theoretical table that some others always go on about where every single character is DEX-based and dump STR and INT, because DEX is the so-called "uber-stat". I've always found those complaints completely overblown because there's always at least one player at my table that is going to go STR-based and tank or INT-based and cast, because those character archetypes are fun.
raises hand

Strength, IME, is by far the biggest dump stat. Heck, in my current campaign, there was a section where the party had to dig their way through a rock fall. In the module it limited attempts to those with a 10 Str or higher. Only 3 of the six characters in the party could even try to shift the rocks. In the first 5e party I ran, none of the group could shift the rocks. Six characters, none with a strength higher than 8.

Now, while the response numbers in the poll are still early days yet, there is a very, very clear couple of winners here. So, perhaps blowing off the complaints as "overblown" might be a bit dismissive of an actual issue.
 


Hussar

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.
Hang on, didn't you JUST jump all over me for saying exactly this recently? Told me how ridiculous it was? Or are you being sarcastic here? Hard to tell tone over the Internet.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
raises hand
So, perhaps blowing off the complaints as "overblown" might be a bit dismissive of an actual issue.
Yeah... the issue seems to be that party of 6 characters of yours all seemed more concerned about maximizing their own personal optimization than thinking about the kind of stuff they might have to do as a group. LOL. ;) Hopefully your rock fall check showed them the error of their ways, heh heh!
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I was thinking more something like 16/12/12 vs. 12/16/12 vs. 12/12/16. Maybe make one 12 a 14?
Fine with that also. To me, the ideal end point would be something like "Oh, I ended up with 10 Wis because of rolls/choice/whatever. Cleric is the WIS/CON/CHA class, so I can still make a good cleric with my 10 Wis because I have a 14 Con and a 16 Cha."

True, but then you have even less variation IMO because each class focuses on two scores instead of 3.
True, just coming up with 20 classes that can support three different stats and make sense starts to slice the apple a little thin. 15 classes is a little easier.
 

Str.

I just can't dump Int. I have too many ideas at the table. Not that you need high Int to have ideas, but it helps to justify them!
 

Many people have argued this, but for D&D it never seems to gain any ground.


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??
The funny thing is, I wish ability scores mattered more. But they dont, and I think its clear WotC doesnt want them to. They might as well excuse them altogether if they're going to continue down this path.

Doesn't really matter to me, as I have all I need from them, and 3rd party products (Level Up, for example) are out there that do what I want.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
so I can still make a good cleric with my 10 Wis because I have a 14 Con and a 16 Cha
A "good" cleric with a WIS 10, but maybe not a great one? :unsure:

True, just coming up with 20 classes that can support three different stats and make sense starts to slice the apple a little thin. 15 classes is a little easier.
Sure, two scores is easier than three, no doubt.

Maybe something like this:
1642546402978.png


Each physical attribute is used 4 times, and each mental one is used 4 times.
 

Hang on, didn't you JUST jump all over me for saying exactly this recently? Told me how ridiculous it was? Or are you being sarcastic here? Hard to tell tone over the Internet.
I want ability scores to mean more, and be a better simulator. They used to be more representative, and that was what was intended when they were created. But they mean less every edition, and WotC clearly likes it that way. I'm getting tired of fighting the wind, especially when I have material right now and upcoming from 3rd party publishers that does what I want. If that's how it's going to be, just go whole hog and take them out. I already have what I need from WotC anyway.
 

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top