D&D 5E Where's the Dump?

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


TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Well, the good news is we are solid on:

STR, DEX, CON = Barbarian
STR, DEX, INT = Fighter
STR, DEX, WIS = Ranger
DEX, CON, WIS = Monk
DEX, INT, CHA = Bard
INT, WIS, CHA = Wizard

6 out of the core 12 isn't bad for a start.
Yea, some classes definitely work more easily than others.

I don't allow Artificers so didn't add them, and have no idea what Wardens or Avengers are...
Well, with 8 open slots, we gotta dive into the back catalog for a bit. :)

I love artificers, personally, so we're gonna have to chalk that one up to aesthetic disagreement. But yea, Rogue definitely fits well into the DEX/CON/INT slot. In general, DEX/INT feel right for any skilled class, and with only 4 DEX/INT slots, competition gets tight. I'll slot Rogue in there and rethink Artificer; maybe it gets STR/CON/INT since a number of its subclasses fulfill that "tanky melee arcanist" niche.

Warden is like a cross between Barbarian and Druid, that can wild shape into elementals and plants to be more tanky. Super tough and survivable, one of the highlights of 4e design, by far. I can see Cleric as STR/CON/WIS, but Warden just fits in there perfectly, and Cleric is flexible.

Heading to bed, more later.
 

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DND_Reborn

Legend
Well, with 8 open slots, we gotta dive into the back catalog for a bit. :)

Shifting Paladin to STR/CON/CHA, changing Bard/Rogue and Sorcerer/Warlock, and from your descriptions of Warden and Artificer I think STR/CON/INT and STR/CON/WIS works.

Current Arrays:
STR, CON, INT = Artificer
???, ???, ??? = Avenger
STR, DEX, CON = Barbarian
DEX, WIS, CHA = Bard
STR, WIS, CHA = Cleric
CON, INT, WIS = Druid (Your druid works)
STR, DEX, INT = Fighter
DEX, CON, WIS = Monk
STR, CON, CHA = Paladin
STR, DEX, WIS = Ranger
DEX, INT, CHA = Rogue
CON, INT, CHA = Sorcerer

STR, CON, WIS = Warden
CON, WIS, CHA = Warlock
INT, WIS, CHA = Wizard

Changes:
DEX, WIS, CHA = Bard
DEX, INT, CHA = Rogue

This focuses Rogues for both Arcana and Investigation, along with CHA for Deception, Intimidation, and Persuasion.
Also, WIS works well for Bards with things like Insight, Perception, and Survival IMO, better than INT really.

Switch your Sorcerer and Warlock, so...
CON, INT, CHA = Sorcerer
CON, WIS, CHA = Warlock

Leaving only the Avenger, which you didn't describe, so that'll have to wait to tomorrow. The current arrays available are:

STR, DEX, CHA - This would be a good second choice.
STR, INT, WIS
STR, INT, CHA - This would be ideal if it fits Avenger?
DEX, CON, INT
DEX, CON, CHA
DEX, INT, WIS

If my count is correct for the other arrays, abilities have been used these many times (numbers are with Avenger in bold above):

STR - 7 (8)
DEX - 6
CON - 8
INT - 6 (7)
WIS - 8
CHA - 7 (8)

DEX is a bit lower, but as the god-stat that is ok IMO. Otherwise, it is about as balanced as we are likely to get. The remaining arrays could fit for other classes, such as the much bemoaned Warlord (IIRC?).

Heading to bed, more later.
Until later.
 


DND_Reborn

Legend
For quite a while INT was in the lead...

I assume a lot of DMs dont enforce encumbrance as well.
With the default as 15 x your Strength score, even a STR 8 allows you to carry 120 lbs. That is not often exceeded IME.

FWIW, we use the variant Encumbrance rules, so that STR 8 only allows you 40 lbs., which is much better IMO, and helps prevent dumping STR. In fact, in over two years of playing 5E, only one PC has every had even a STR 9 (which was my female High Elf Cleric/Rogue/Wizard). Most have STR 12 if possible.
 

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.
The concept of a dump stat was not invented with 5e. Ability scores matter much more in wotc editions and are much more central to the game compared to Ad&d and basic. Both because modifiers are linear (as opposed to being on a bell curve) and because ability scores are more central to the game (affecting things like to-hit, saves, save dc, and the like in a way they never did in ad&d). Racial ability score modifications were also fairly minimal, though the caps could be more significant.

Compared to that, ability scores and the proficiency bonus are absolutely central to almost every facet of 5e design. Almost every single roll you make in the game requires you to reference your ability scores. This is arguably the "killer app" of wotc design, a unified mechanic.

Unless by "used to be more representative," you are thinking of 3e and pathfinder. But the big changes between 3e and 5e would be bounded accuracy, ability score caps at 20 for everyone, and a smaller list of skills.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
The huge spikes for Strength and Intelligence tell me that the rules of the game make it too easy to dump them, quite a turnaround from the 3e days.

Specifically, they’ve made it too easy to replace Str with Dex in combat and Int isn’t being used enough.
 

Horwath

Hero
I agree for the most part. I don't mind ability scores playing a part, but in 5E the balance it too equal IMO.

Proficiency bonus is +2 to +6, while ability modifiers are (generally) -1 to +5. That means at best, proficiency barely beats out ability modifiers for impact on the rolls. In my view, this is just wrong. Experience should definitely trump ability scores.

So, we changed proficiency bonus to +2 to +8 and ability scores cap (generally) at +4, making proficiency count as much as double ability modifier. Having a strong ability modifier will help a lot in the beginning, but its impact counts for less and less as you gain levels.

FWIW, at one point we had proficiency going up to +12, while ability was capped at just +3.


Sure, I could get behind that.


And that, too. :)


Or someone might decide those pairings better fit one of the established classes. Like, I really wanted to make Druids CON/WIS but that was already given to Rangers, so maybe someone who wanted a spell-less Ranger would choose DEX/CON instead.
I agree that ability could be maxed at +4(18), but proficiency goes from +2 to +12.
You have to include expertise in this. Everyone can get a feat for 1 expertise, and most DMs will allow the feat to be taken multiple times or getting 2 expertise instead of 1 expertise plus 1 skill training.
 

S'mon

Legend
So, now years into 5E and I want to see what peoples' experiences are with dump stats. I know the results probably won't be surprising, but hey, maybe they will be...?

What ability is your most common dump stat?

YOU CAN SELECT UP TO 2 OPTIONS.

In 5e definitely INT, with STR some way behind. Players often dump STR, but equally often live to regret it as Athletics checks are pretty common and important. Players can generally get away with dumping INT, and if they don't it's usually for roleplay reasons, especially if the DM tells them they have to roleplay INT 8 like an idiot.
 

Horwath

Hero
For quite a while INT was in the lead...


With the default as 15 x your Strength score, even a STR 8 allows you to carry 120 lbs. That is not often exceeded IME.

FWIW, we use the variant Encumbrance rules, so that STR 8 only allows you 40 lbs., which is much better IMO, and helps prevent dumping STR. In fact, in over two years of playing 5E, only one PC has every had even a STR 9 (which was my female High Elf Cleric/Rogue/Wizard). Most have STR 12 if possible.
8 STR(I have it now with my current sorcerer) only works if you have no armor or light armor.
Half plate+shield and a few weapons, you are at 70-80lb just from basic armament.
Add in ropes, grappling hooks, various tools, not to mention that food and water wights somewhat if you want to have few days worth in reserve.

So, I agree with that you should aim for 12 STR in you are a martial character.
Also Athletics checks are a thing, so...

DM should, make terrains in exploration and in combat somewhat challenging.

Even DCs between 5 and 10, will be a problem with party full of 8 STR or DEX characters.

Having DC 10 check for athletics/acrobatics that prevents you from moving in a round and with 5 or lower on check you suffer detriment, means that with -1 modifier you have 50% chance of not moving and 30% chance to suffer some small detriment(fall prone, roll down the hill 10 or 20ft, suffer 1d6 fall damage, drop weapons) every round while in that terrain.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
8 STR(I have it now with my current sorcerer) only works if you have no armor or light armor.
Half plate+shield and a few weapons, you are at 70-80lb just from basic armament.
Add in ropes, grappling hooks, various tools, not to mention that food and water wights somewhat if you want to have few days worth in reserve.
(bold added)

I must respectfully disagree.

A STR 8 allows you to carry 120 lb. before you are encumbered unless you use the variant rules (?).

Half-plate/ shield: 46lbs.
Gear: less than 50 lbs.
Weapons: up to 24 lbs. (I only used 13 lb. below.)

24 lb. of weapons is a lot! Unless you're totting around a heavy crossbow or polearm, I doubt you have that many weapons.

I went with Finesse weapons mostly assuming IF this PC was in combat, they rely on DEX. Since you have half-plate, I would guess this PC is not a martial and has a DEX 14 at best (unless you take the Medium Armor Master feat for better AC with DEX 16).
  • 2 Daggers (#2)
  • Handaxe (#2)
  • Rapier (#3)
  • Longbow with 40 arrows (#6, 2 for bow, 4 for 40 arrows and two quivers)

If you're interested, here is the gear I use:

Here is a standard gear package I use:

GEAR: #48.5
Cost: 36.5 gp
Backpack (#5, capacity 28.5 / 30)
• Candles (10)
• Case, map (#1)
• Chalk (10)
• Healer's kit (#3)
• Lantern, hooded (#2)
• Mess kit (#1)
• Mirror, steel (#0.5)
• Oil, flask (3, #3)
• Parchment (10)
• Rations, 3 days (#6)
• Rope, silk 50' (#5)
• Sacks (2, #1)
• Sealing Wax
• Soap
• Tinderbox (#1)
• Waterskin (#5)
Bedroll (#7)
Blanket (#3)
Clothes, traveler's (#4)
Pouch (#1)
Signal whistle

So, my armor and "few weapons" is actually less than 60 lb., only half they weight I can carry with STR 8. With less than 50 lb. of gear, I actually have 10 lb. to spare before I would be encumbered.

Clearly, a STR 8 with the default rules is not a problem when it comes to carrying equipment.

Also Athletics checks are a thing, so...

DM should, make terrains in exploration and in combat somewhat challenging.
I agree completely with this. It is one way to make certain PCs at least don't want a penalty in STR.

Even DCs between 5 and 10, will be a problem with party full of 8 STR or DEX characters.
I doubt you'll have a party full of them, though. Different classes will dump different abilities.

Having DC 10 check for athletics/acrobatics that prevents you from moving in a round and with 5 or lower on check you suffer detriment, means that with -1 modifier you have 50% chance of not moving and 30% chance to suffer some small detriment(fall prone, roll down the hill 10 or 20ft, suffer 1d6 fall damage, drop weapons) every round while in that terrain.
Unfortunately there is really a lot of DM fiat when it comes to such things. For reference, here is the passage from the PHB:

1642596350390.png

A STR 8 (with no proficiency! IME if you have a dump stat, you are proficient in the skill to compensate...) the DC 10 is a 50/50. But failure, rolling 10 or lower means the PC would not move (no progress) or moves with setback (fell prone and had to get up, so only moved half).

If you like to play with the "fail by 5 or more" rule, which I also use, then the 30% does kick in. However, suffering damage would be more a kin to fumbling IMO, no just failing. And for tables who use fumbles that would be the 1 in 20 so just 5%.

Finally, depending on the scene, using ropes to tie each other together, etc. often allows for a DM to grant advantage on the check. So, now 50/50 becomes 75/25 towards success over failure. It also makes failing by 5 or more much less likely and "fumbling" just 1 in 400.

Anyway, so while people might dump STR or DEX, most of the time the player will compensate by taking proficiency in Athletics/ Acrobatics to offset the penalty and have a net bonus out of the gate.

Unless the DM purposefully exploits PCs who dump stats (shoving STR 8's to the ground), the game as designed doesn't really make having them a detriment at all, unfortunately.
 


DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Couple things I'd also point out...

1) I don't think there is really anything WRONG with having so-called "dump stats". Every single character class is going to have a stat they just don't care to raise up and there's nothing wrong with that.

2) Even when you have a "dump stat", that stat is still only like 1-4 modifier points lower than any other stat, so even your best stat is only 20% higher than your dump. So how bad is that dump stat really?

3) If you are a DM and don't like "dump stats" because you find everyone at your table is selecting the SAME stat to "dump" and you are bored with seeing that... might that be as much an issue of the kinds of things you call checks for? And what's more likely... WotC getting around to changing their own rules to inspire more uses of the so-called "dump stats"... or YOU as the DM changing the kinds of situations, encounters, and checks you make or call for that will use these "dump stats" so that your players no longer think dumping the same stat across the board is a good thing?

Now I understand every table is different and every group comes together in different ways where you might not as many choices and they will find their own issues. If your groups are all public Adventurer's League tables or online tabletop groups that come together when you as a DM just put a call out for any and all players and they all just show up with their PCs already made... then sure, you're probably going to have a larger amount of overlap if they are all choosing their options in vacuum. But isn't that just one of the issues you have to accept if you find you have to play in that fashion? If you can't or are choosing not to cultivate a group, then it's part of the deal that you're going to have to just play in a manner you might not prefer.

But if you have a home game or a game where the group makes choices about their PCs together, and they STILL are all forsaking the same ability scores... it seems to me it's because your style of DMing just doesn't require them to take them. If they know they aren't going to experience any situation when having one or more people with a high STR is necessary... who's fault is that? You can't get mad that your players are all dumping the same stats if you are running your game such that allowing for that dump is considered smart play. How many DMs who see their players dump INT are ones who also are beholden to the whole "Don't call for checks if there isn't a consequence for failure" thought process? Because I know for me personally who DOESN'T go along with that way of playing... I call for INT checks all the time to distribute information the characters may or may not know... which is why I don't see every character at my table dumping INT because they want that information when they can get it. Is there a "consequence" for not rolling a good INT check? If you don't consider not getting the information and being less informed about what's going on a consequence, then no... but if that's why you aren't calling for INT checks but are still annoyed that your table is dumping INT... that seems to me to be an issue of your own making.

But hey... maybe you will luck out and eventually WotC will change their rules to make STR and INT more enticing. But you'll just have to suffer in silence until that happens though, then, I guess. ;)
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
@DND_Reborn agree mostly,
now I checked at roll20, having 8 STR even without armor is not a lot when you are carrying around 3000GP in coins.
It takes half of your capacity :D
Who the heck is carrying 60 lb. of gold!?! :eek: I've had PCs retire from adventuring with less.

If you're expecting that sort of loot, you have a mule nearby IME. ;)
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
But hey... maybe you will luck out and eventually WotC will change their rules to make STR and INT more enticing. But you'll just have to suffer in silence until that happens though, then, I guess. ;)
I refuse, Sir, to suffer in silence! My voice will be heard hollering from mountain top to mountain top, crying out against the injustice: no more dump stats, no more dump stats, no more dump stats! :D

Seriously, though, personally I don't have an issue with the idea of dumping a stat, what bothers me is that it is nearly always STR or INT.

The easiest solutions IME are:

1. Use the variant encumbrance rules (so STR 8 is limited to 40 lb., which is harder to deal with), and
2. Have INT modifier grant bonus skill proficiencies, so INT 8 and you LOSE one of your starting (typically) 4 starting skill proficiencies.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Shifting Paladin to STR/CON/CHA, changing Bard/Rogue and Sorcerer/Warlock, and from your descriptions of Warden and Artificer I think STR/CON/INT and STR/CON/WIS works.

Current Arrays:
STR, CON, INT = Artificer
???, ???, ??? = Avenger
STR, DEX, CON = Barbarian
DEX, WIS, CHA = Bard
STR, WIS, CHA = Cleric
CON, INT, WIS = Druid (Your druid works)
STR, DEX, INT = Fighter
DEX, CON, WIS = Monk
STR, CON, CHA = Paladin
STR, DEX, WIS = Ranger
DEX, INT, CHA = Rogue
CON, INT, CHA = Sorcerer

STR, CON, WIS = Warden
CON, WIS, CHA = Warlock
INT, WIS, CHA = Wizard

Changes:
DEX, WIS, CHA = Bard
DEX, INT, CHA = Rogue

This focuses Rogues for both Arcana and Investigation, along with CHA for Deception, Intimidation, and Persuasion.
Also, WIS works well for Bards with things like Insight, Perception, and Survival IMO, better than INT really.

Switch your Sorcerer and Warlock, so...
CON, INT, CHA = Sorcerer
CON, WIS, CHA = Warlock
That all looks good.

Leaving only the Avenger, which you didn't describe, so that'll have to wait to tomorrow. The current arrays available are:

STR, DEX, CHA - This would be a good second choice.
STR, INT, WIS
STR, INT, CHA - This would be ideal if it fits Avenger?
DEX, CON, INT
DEX, CON, CHA
DEX, INT, WIS

DEX, INT, WIS works for Avenger. The Avenger is the vengeance paladin, mixed with some Batman, mixed with an anime samurai. Light or no armor, big weapons, lots of movement abilities and debuffs. It was actually the progenitor of the advantage mechanic, as its main damage mechanic was getting to roll 2d20s keep highest for attacks on isolated targets. The class used Wisdom for attacks, and had Dex and Int as secondaries, so it can definitely carry over.

STR, INT, CHA feels like a good fit for a Warlord class.

Trying to think what else could fit the other 4 arrays. Psion, maybe, or a soulknife class. Trying to the think of some other popular class tropes historically that might fit. Maybe cavalier for STR, DEX, CHA?
 

I refuse, Sir, to suffer in silence! My voice will be heard hollering from mountain top to mountain top, crying out against the injustice: no more dump stats, no more dump stats, no more dump stats! :D

Seriously, though, personally I don't have an issue with the idea of dumping a stat, what bothers me is that it is nearly always STR or INT.

The easiest solutions IME are:

1. Use the variant encumbrance rules (so STR 8 is limited to 40 lb., which is harder to deal with), and
2. Have INT modifier grant bonus skill proficiencies, so INT 8 and you LOSE one of your starting (typically) 4 starting skill proficiencies.
I recommend the opposite approach: make dumping other stats (dex and con in particular) easier, so players can choose what to be bad at.

If you succeed in making strength and Int un-dump-able, players will dump cha instead. You can play whack-a-mole with dump stats forever (since you need to put your lowest number somewhere). If you make no stat dumpable, everyone will have only 13's across the board, at which point ability scores become useless.

Players don't want to play dumb and/or scrawny characters in general - they just don't see a choice because they "can't" dump dex, con, or wis. (and charisma classes are fun).
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
DEX, INT, WIS works for Avenger. The Avenger is the vengeance paladin, mixed with some Batman, mixed with an anime samurai. Light or no armor, big weapons, lots of movement abilities and debuffs. It was actually the progenitor of the advantage mechanic, as its main damage mechanic was getting to roll 2d20s keep highest for attacks on isolated targets. The class used Wisdom for attacks, and had Dex and Int as secondaries, so it can definitely carry over.
Hmm... from your description I would think STR, INT, WIS would be better, but if you want DEX, INT, WIS, I'll take your word for it. :)

Yeah, I thought STR, INT, CHA would be a good fit for Warlord.

Updating those two we have:

STR, CON, INT = Artificer
DEX, INT, WIS = Avenger
STR, DEX, CON = Barbarian
DEX, WIS, CHA = Bard
STR, WIS, CHA = Cleric
CON, INT, WIS = Druid
STR, DEX, INT = Fighter
DEX, CON, WIS = Monk
STR, CON, CHA = Paladin
STR, DEX, WIS = Ranger
DEX, INT, CHA = Rogue
CON, INT, CHA = Sorcerer
STR, CON, WIS = Warden
CON, WIS, CHA = Warlock
STR, INT, CHA= Warlord
INT, WIS, CHA = Wizard

Leaving us these arrays:

STR, DEX, CHA
STR, INT, WIS
DEX, CON, INT
DEX, CON, CHA

STR, DEX, CHA could work for the Paragon class (originally by TheCosmicKid), but a Cavalier class would be nice.
DEX, CON, INT would be nice for some form of Bounty Hunter maybe.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I recommend the opposite approach: make dumping other stats (dex and con in particular) easier, so players can choose what to be bad at.
Sure, I've posted options to make DEX and CON "dumpable", WIS is already more dumpable than those two, but really unless you want good Perception and/or Survival, it isn't as necessary anyway.

If you succeed in making strength and Int un-dump-able, players will dump cha instead. You can play whack-a-mole with dump stats forever (since you need to put your lowest number somewhere). If you make no stat dumpable, everyone will have only 13's across the board, at which point ability scores become useless.
I don't consider putting a 10 in something dumping it, and that is normally my lowest score.

If I point-buy, 99% of the time start with 10's across the board and go from there.

If I have to use the standard array, 9/10 I'll drop the ASI +2 into the 8 and move on.

For me, I only consider a dump stat a "dump" if it results in a negative modifier. I know others might not view it that way, and just see your low scores (even 10 or above) as dumping. 🤷‍♂️
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
The easiest solutions IME are:

1. Use the variant encumbrance rules (so STR 8 is limited to 40 lb., which is harder to deal with), and
2. Have INT modifier grant bonus skill proficiencies, so INT 8 and you LOSE one of your starting (typically) 4 starting skill proficiencies.
Additional suggestions:
3. All illusion saving throws are Intelligence saves. I'm not sure that's true in all places. But one of the biggest falldowns in general for 5e is letting too many saves still be based on Dex, Con, Wis.
4. Stop using Perception to help find secret doors and hidden places. Limit that to Investigation.
5. Stop allowing Acrobatics and Athletics to be interchangeable. Start using more Strength saving throws for things like grapple defense.

The solution to excessive dumping is to make all the stats have teeth. Players may still need to deal with a low stat and try to put it where it does the least damage to them, but they will be less likely to dump half their stats to 8 if it will bite them on the ass with more frequency.
 

For me, I only consider a dump stat a "dump" if it results in a negative modifier. I know others might not view it that way, and just see your low scores (even 10 or above) as dumping. 🤷‍♂️
If that's your definition - just use a nicer array / point buy structure / rolling system so everyone starts with a 10 in everything.
 

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