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D&D 5E Why do you use Floating ASI's (other than power gaming)? [+]

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I saw in another thread a poster suggest that the only reason to use Tasha's optional rules for floating Ability Score Improvements is "power gaming."

I disagree.

The purpose of this thread is to collect some stories of why folks use Floating ASIs for reasons other than optimization and power gaming.

This is a + thread, because I'm hoping it won't fall into the same.old arguments. Instead, let's make this a positive thread about the different ways we have, or want to, use this optional rule!

So: what is your experience with using Tasha's? Why would you want to use it? What are your experiences with it?
 

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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I did play a few sessions with a dwarven wizard (before delta) in AL and used the new options. It was fun but I would have created them under the "old" rules anyway.

But if you want to have more tool proficiencies, it is one way of doing it. I don't need all the weapon proficiencies so he's kind of a jack-of-all-trades. Medium armor proficiency is nice too, but I guess I'd put that in the potential power gaming list as well.

Maybe someday everyone be willing to play an all dwarf campaign? :unsure: Actually, probably not. The prejudice against short runs deep in a lot of players.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
We did a one-shot with all Goliaths. One of the players made a Goliath Monk. In the game, they felt very ineffective. Later, they made a halfling monk and felt a lot more effective.

Tasha's optional rules would have helped them play out the Goliath Monk that was in their imagination better.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
For me, floating ASIs unlock really fun ideas for new campaigns, like an All Halfling Campaign or an All Clerics Campaign.

And why do they "unlock it" ? What prevents this under the normal rules ?

Using Floating ASIs would mean that players would still have a lot of options in those "limited palatte" campaigns.

Which options don't they have now ? Ah yes, only the slightly less optimal ones, which are only unpalatable for people who care about optimisation. Q.E.D.
 

For myself, I like to create characters that do meet whatever I consider the minimum requirements for effective play...and then from there I like to play with the formula, I like to create characters that have features one wouldn't necessarily expect.

I have two examples, one from back in 4e (where racial and level-up ASIs obviously work differently, but still) and one from 5e.

I have yet to play in a truly long-running 4e game, the closest opportunity I had ended abruptly when the DM had to shift their life around to care for an injured family member on top of their very young son. But every time I think maybe I have reached such a thing, I try to make a Dragonborn Paladin, 'cause I would dearly love to see this particular character evolve through from Heroic to Paragon to Epic.

But I find the "paladunce" archetype boring. Being sincere, rather than merely memeing, I do consider myself something of an intellectual, and find it challenging at best to play a character that is of below-average intelligence. Instead, I crafted this particular Paladin to have a decent Int score. Nothing major, sure, but instead of dumping Int, I dump Dex, a stat that can be worked around. I also spread my stats out quite a bit--only 16 in my main stats (Str and Cha), using other means to make up for the reduced hit rate (high-accuracy At-Will, high-proficiency weapon, grabbing a magic weapon ASAP, etc.) This gives me the freedom to have respectable tertiary stats, including Intelligence. By taking a Theme and a Background that supplement skills, I can even get a character that matches the bonus of an Intelligence-focused character on a couple skills--favoring History and Religion. This gives a highly literate, philosophical Paladin: a man whose faith is very deep, but through substantial active thought, rather than blind trust in the divine. He has taken various forms in various games (coming from nobility, being poor but raised up by the church, a relatively typical soldier who found profound faith, etc.), but the core personality has been largely contiguous.

Meanwhile, in 5e, I have a character I would like to play in order to playtest a prestige class I wrote, Silver Pyromancer, based on the PrC of the same name from 3.5e. A Silver Dragonborn, who is also a Gold-blooded Dragon Sorcerer (explained as the intentional crossing of two noble dragonborn lineages with the intent of producing such a hybrid), in part inspired by this image. Being the son of a noble family, he's a bit of a bon vivant, but he also carries the expectations placed on nobility. As a result of his refined upbringing, he's not very strong (that's day-laborer stuff!), but he is rather serious about both intellectual and religious topics in addition to his study of magic. Even though neither Int nor Wis is particularly valuable to a Sorcerer, they're both higher than his Con and Dex mods, because that makes more sense for this character.

So, like I said: I'll go for the "important" stat(s) that I need, but after that, I like to play--usually by making the character more widely-read, more of a thinker or sophisticate (whether that's merely superficial, highly focused, or generalized.) I also like to challenge a bit of the status quo, by making Sorcerers or Paladins that have a real brain behind the pretty face.
 
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If by "optimized" you mean "is the very best possible version of their class"? then that's not the only use. It allows you to make viable characters without needing to pick the right race.

Because for some players, not having a 16 means they'll feel ineffective. You can argue math all you want, but they feel how they feel and telling them they shouldn't feel that way is both pointless and kind of rude, since telling people how to have fun is dismissing their own perception of fun.

And while that may or may not be a big plus to floating ASIs, it's a positive and the theoretical downside (people will just forget all the tropes and play short, bearded, surly, elves) simply does not manifest. That's why I favor it.
 

For me, floating ASIs unlock really fun ideas for new campaigns, like an All Halfling Campaign or an All Clerics Campaign.

Using Floating ASIs would mean that players would still have a lot of options in those "limited palatte" campaigns.
I have difficulty understanding how it unlocks themed parties. Could you go into how that frees you to do so?

I ask this as I played in a halfling-only campaign, and we had a fighter, ranger, magic-user (me), and two thieves. Now, this was in 1e so it's a bit of an apples to oranges comparison. But, as the Greek proverb says, "we're all fruit." Although, thinking about it, I find that I would be far more accepting of a floating ASI if everyone was playing the same race.
 


prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Generally, because you want there to be ideas for class-people combinations that aren't the obvious optimized pairings. If you want to play ... a cleric, there are only a few ways to get Wisdom boosed if you don't use floating ASIs. Playing a halfling or goliath or half-orc as a cleric shouldn't be penalized, IMO.

So ... using ASIs seems to me more like a way of defanging optimization, at least a little.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I have difficulty understanding how it unlocks themed parties. Could you go into how that frees you to do so?

I ask this as I played in a halfling-only campaign, and we had a fighter, ranger, magic-user (me), and two thieves. Now, this was in 1e so it's a bit of an apples to oranges comparison. But, as the Greek proverb says, "we're all fruit." Although, thinking about it, I find that I would be far more accepting of a floating ASI if everyone was playing the same race.
Here's my thoughts:

Let's say we are doing an All Halfling game. We are restricting the players to the same set of racial abilities.

Because of the way 5e is designed, the players who choose Rogues, Dex-Based Fighters, etc are going to be the most effective.

With floating ASIs, characters who want to play as Halfling Wizards, Barbarians, etc can be just as effective.
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
Maybe someday everyone be willing to play an all dwarf campaign? :unsure: Actually, probably not. The prejudice against short runs deep in a lot of players.
The last few times that I actually played (including 4e), it was a dwarf character. I have a type, obviously. But different class, including barbarian, wizard, bard, cleric, and (my fave) the hybrid paladin-cleric in 4e.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
The last few times that I actually played (including 4e), it was a dwarf character. I have a type, obviously. But different class, including barbarian, wizard, bard, cleric, and (my fave) the hybrid paladin-cleric in 4e.
I like to play against the grain - characters that are not run-of-the-mill. My PC was not the first dwarven wizard I've had and depending on how often I get to play, won't be the last no matter what the options are.

My first 5E PC was a dwarven rogue, so maybe you aren't the only one with a type. :)
 

Players tend to have a number of specific races/lineages that they like the idea of playing. Ingrained into a lot of players though is the idea that you should only pick a race where the stats are good for your class. Whether that is reasonable is beside the point. People believe it, often unconsciously.

Floating ASIs frees those people to pick the races they think are cool, not just the subset with good stats. Contrary to expectations we haven't seen any avalanche of Mountain Dwarves or the like (or indeed any at all).
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Threadcrapping
It lets me play a halfling wizard or a dwarven sorcerer without the indignity of starting with a +2 in my main stat.

If that doesn't bother you, fine. But for many of us, it's a nonstarter.
So ... basically optimization and power gaming.

I'm sorry, I know we're trying to make it a plus thread, but I just don't see it when the sole justification people can come up with is that they want a 16 at first level. I'm not picking on anyone in particular, but I see having a 16 instead of a 15 to start as power gaming. Maybe not to the extreme, but there it is.

I mean, I could have made my dwarf wizard without shifting anything around, but with Tasha's why would I? Tools are relatively benign, but in any game that I play if I run a dwarf again (just picking on that race because it's the only one I've done this with) I'm going to swap out weapon and potentially armor proficiencies for tools. Even if I'm playing a martial character.

The only reason I see to use the Tasha's rules is because you want race X to be more optimized for a specific class. Whether that's power gaming or not is a matter of opinion.

In any case, I'll go back to ignoring this. :)
 


I don't care about the ASI either way. If that is what hinders someone playing a nice combo, so just change th ASI. It should be fun.
I don't like swapping all proficiencies. A single one? Why not. All of them... no thanks. Maybe if the elf lived with dwarves, they may take dwarven proficiencies and the appropriate strength. Sounds like a fun concept.
 

Here's my thoughts:

Let's say we are doing an All Halfling game. We are restricting the players to the same set of racial abilities.

Because of the way 5e is designed, the players who choose Rogues, Dex-Based Fighters, etc are going to be the most effective.

With floating ASIs, characters who want to play as Halfling Wizards, Barbarians, etc can be just as effective.
Thanks for your response, I appreciate it.
 

ReshiIRE

Adventurer
A variety of reasons:

1) Yes, there is the factor of being able to have a +3 in a starting stat so I can actually maybe think of getting an interesting feat later on without restricting myself to certain ancestory and class combinations etc. etc.
2. 5e has no other potential rules to apply downsides in exchange for having more control over your character's modifeirs etc.
3) The PCs are highly varied people different from the norm, and in general won't fit into a neat box provided by a fixed ASIs determined by their ancestory.
4) If there is anything I have learned in life, intelligence creatures apart of the same species - such as us - are going to be so varied, so wildly different... that any other intelligent species would be similar. And I don't think that is properly represented by fixed, minor pluses and minuses.
5) The features of ancestories themselves provide significantly more differentation besides a minus number or plus number there. Whether floating ASI or fixed ASI, a Kobold Cleric wanting to maximise their features is going to play significantly differently than an Elven Cleric maximising theirs.
6) From a GM point of view, I have the view it will generally mean that I won't have to worry about there being a distinct different between the effectiveness of characters, no matter how small, based on what ancestory they chose.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
So ... basically optimization and power gaming.

I'm sorry, I know we're trying to make it a plus thread, but I just don't see it when the sole justification people can come up with is that they want a 16 at first level. I'm not picking on anyone in particular, but I see having a 16 instead of a 15 to start as power gaming. Maybe not to the extreme, but there it is.
I’m not going to pretend it isn’t for power gaming, and certainly not going to apologize for it. It’s a legitimate motivation for play.
 

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