D&D 5E Wy to level playing field for martials with alternate ability score generation.

ECMO3

Hero
I see a lot of people on this board who complain about martials in general and fighters in specific not being fun to play or not being powerful enough.

I don't really agree with this, but I thought of two ways to increase relative power of martials in the game without changing the classes or core rules:

1. drive up average ability scores for everyone. This increases character power across the board, but it helps non-casters because it helps them more than casters as it increases damage on attacks (something that typically does not happen with spells) and it makes them better at non-combat roles, a deficiency casters typicall solve with spells.

To really make this effective though you need to buff abilities substantially. One method is to roll using a variant of the 1E unearthed arcana method:

Choose 1 stat and roll 9 dice for that stat and drop 6, Choose a second stat roll 8 dice and drop 5, ...... your final stat you roll 4 dice and drop 1.

This is going to give an average (mode) array of: 18 16 15 14 13 11 before racial bonuses.


2. Another way is to use a different point buy method: 31 for martials, 27 for half casters, 24 for full casters. If you multiclass at any point in the game into a class with a lower point buy you must lower your abilities to that new level.

Either of these methods will increase the relative power of non casters without mucking up the rules of the game itself once you start playing. I would not want to play in the second example but if you can't find people to play martials in your game it is one option.
 

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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
1. drive up average ability scores for everyone. This increases character power across the board, but it helps non-casters because it helps them more than casters as it increases damage on attacks (something that typically does not happen with spells) and it makes them better at non-combat roles, a deficiency casters typicall solve with spells.
I see this as having the opposite result. There are three pure martial classes. No one is complaining the barbarian is underpowered. Of the remaining two, both of them get extra feats as part of their class progression. There is diminishing returns with feats - once you have some, your later choices don't bring as much.

So increasing ability scores would mean everyone gets to picking up feats instead of ASIs faster, which means that the extra feats granted by fighter and rogue are less useful.

As this nerfs martial class features, I say this weakens martial classes more than helps them.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I see a lot of people on this board who complain about martials in general and fighters in specific not being fun to play or not being powerful enough.

I don't really agree with this, but I thought of two ways to increase relative power of martials in the game without changing the classes or core rules:

1. drive up average ability scores for everyone. This increases character power across the board, but it helps non-casters because it helps them more than casters as it increases damage on attacks (something that typically does not happen with spells) and it makes them better at non-combat roles, a deficiency casters typicall solve with spells.

To really make this effective though you need to buff abilities substantially. One method is to roll using a variant of the 1E unearthed arcana method:

Choose 1 stat and roll 9 dice for that stat and drop 6, Choose a second stat roll 8 dice and drop 5, ...... your final stat you roll 4 dice and drop 1.

This is going to give an average (mode) array of: 18 16 15 14 13 11 before racial bonuses.


2. Another way is to use a different point buy method: 31 for martials, 27 for half casters, 24 for full casters. If you multiclass at any point in the game into a class with a lower point buy you must lower your abilities to that new level.

Either of these methods will increase the relative power of non casters without mucking up the rules of the game itself once you start playing. I would not want to play in the second example but if you can't find people to play martials in your game it is one option.

For a homebrew thing I've been working on, I've been pondering having various mystical connections require something bought out of the same pool as ability generation and ASIs. So, ability to learn magic, psionic aptitude, sorcerous bloodline all cost something out of that pool (and give you something even if you aren't in the relevant class/multi class).
 

Not to be a bother, but I see this topic coming up repeatedly and I have to ask: Does the perceived disparity between martial and caster classes actually impact play? Has anyone been playing a fighter and get miffed when their teammate wizard drops a big ole fireball and cleans house of all the goblins? I have never experienced this as a DM or a player and I tend to stick with martial classes.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I see this as having the opposite result. There are three pure martial classes. No one is complaining the barbarian is underpowered. Of the remaining two, both of them get extra feats as part of their class progression. There is diminishing returns with feats - once you have some, your later choices don't bring as much.

So increasing ability scores would mean everyone gets to picking up feats instead of ASIs faster, which means that the extra feats granted by fighter and rogue are less useful.

As this nerfs martial class features, I say this weakens martial classes more than helps them.
That and stats just aren't that important in 5e.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
The main complaints concern the higher tiers of 13-16 and 17-20.

For this reason, high-tier feats that only become available at levels 13 and 17, can more precisely keep pace with high level spells, from slots 7-8 and slot 9, respectively.

Even so, keep in mind, in 5e the save-or-suck spells of previous editions no longer exist. Dealing hit points of damage matters in 5e. Tactics like focus fire especially matters. The martial classes deal outsized damage at these levels. The mage classes envy this damage output. So the complaints of imbalance are debatable at best.

There seems to be an unusually frequent number of complaints about the Forcecage spell at slot 7. But the problem seems to be the spell itself and not anything else. It probably needs a nerf or a rethink.

Even so, the spells at slots 7 and 8 tend to suck. So even if Forcecage nerfs, other spells of slots 7-8 need to upgrade to a power more appropriate to the slot gradations between 6 and 9.

Every slot level seems to have its spells calibrated to doublecheck that the spells of the same slot are moreorless equally powerful and equally desirable, compared to each other. 5e did a good job of getting rid of overpowered spells. But there are way too many underpowered spells at each level. Some spells would work better if demoted to a lower-level slot where it becomes more comparable to the spells of that slot.
 
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Not to be a bother, but I see this topic coming up repeatedly and I have to ask: Does the perceived disparity between martial and caster classes actually impact play? Has anyone been playing a fighter and get miffed when their teammate wizard drops a big ole fireball and cleans house of all the goblins? I have never experienced this as a DM or a player and I tend to stick with martial classes.
It depends on the type of game the DM runs. 5E was designed as a game of attrition, where you have somewhere around 6-8 encounters per long rest, with about 2 short rests along the way. During the playtest, WotC never thought to ask how DMs like to run things, and it turns out the overwhelmingly popular choice is for only 1-3 encounters per long rest. For those who run those types of games, short rest/long rest classes have a significant disparity in usefulness, since you might not even get a short rest and long rest classes can freely use their resources without worry of running out. Playing a short rest class in one of those games puts you at a significant disadvantage compared to the long rest classes, so people then prefer the long rest classes. Since almost every short rest class is a martial (Warlock) and almost every long rest class is a caster (Barbarian), the debate defaults to martial vs caster.

As far as how much people really care about it in play, I honestly don't know. I don't know anyone who DMs this way, and since I've always favored casters (particularly the magic-user/mage/wizard), even if I did I might not be aware of the problem. IME people still like to play monk, sorcerer, and ranger, despite the fact they're among the weakest classes, so I don't think the average player really gives a damn.
 

Not to be a bother, but I see this topic coming up repeatedly and I have to ask: Does the perceived disparity between martial and caster classes actually impact play? Has anyone been playing a fighter and get miffed when their teammate wizard drops a big ole fireball and cleans house of all the goblins? I have never experienced this as a DM or a player and I tend to stick with martial classes.

Agreed. The wizard is on my team so if he clears a room of goblins that's great.

As I've said elsewhere, the only real issue I have with Fighters is that they don't have enough fun buttons to push. "I attack" is kinda their only thing, and at high levels you do that four (or five) times each turn. When you have a good reason to Shove or Grapple it's like Christmas morning. So the only thing I think the Fighter needs is a few more buttons, and not constrained to X times/rest.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
It's not just the combat aspect of the game, however. The issue with casters is, if they have spell slots in excess, they have greater ability to deal with non-combat threats that come up in the game. Need reliable ways to long rest, avoid ambushes, ferry party members past dangerous obstacles, rapidly arm some peasants to make them into a fighting force- the list goes on of things that they can do with a single spell slot, sometimes with a single action that non-casters can only do with ad hoc actions that usually require skill checks.

A Fighter should, by rights, be able to train a townful of villagers to use weapons, but by what process? What skill check? Some DM's would hand wave this, but quite a few would not.

The spellcaster's ability to trivialize combats with hard crowd control, so that the martials don't face challenges from multiple foes is a factor as well, though not every caster plays that way (I've noticed a strong tendency to deal "moar damage" with spells, even though that's not the most efficient way to deal with foes). If you've ever watched an encounter broken in half due to summoning or banishing a powerful enemy in order to mop up their minions in the intervening ten rounds, only to obliterate the target once they return, you know what I mean.

Add to that challenges that are very difficult for non-casters to handle on their own, that they need magic to deal with. Going to fight a powerful dragon? Someone would be likely to fail the save vs. dragonfear- but hey, good thing the Cleric hooked us up with a Heroes' Feast today!
 

Not to be a bother, but I see this topic coming up repeatedly and I have to ask: Does the perceived disparity between martial and caster classes actually impact play? Has anyone been playing a fighter and get miffed when their teammate wizard drops a big ole fireball and cleans house of all the goblins? I have never experienced this as a DM or a player and I tend to stick with martial classes.
Yep. I first had this pointed out a while ago as we were playing a short campaign. I was playing a "utility wizard" with the intent of supporting the party and it got to the point that the DM and several of the players approached me and asked if I could turn it down a few notches in terms of trying to be helpful. :)
I wasn't dominating in the damage department, apart from the few occasions I tossed a fireball, but in terms of controlling the encounters and out of combat, my character was getting almost all of the spotlight. Changing the cadence of the adventuring day wasn't an option because of the limited healing of the group, leaving my wizard with plenty of spell slots to run rampant over most of the challenges.
Fortunately the artificer wizard subclass UA had come out recently, so I switched subclasses and was able to burn more spell slots off on healing and direct support for the rest of the group.
After that, I made a point of playing more martial characters for the higher-level games to see if was really as bad as my party had said. To cut the story short - it was.

Now, our group doesn't often do straightforward dungeon crawls, and I'm pretty sure that in your standard beatfest through a series of rooms/tunnels/catacombs, this problem isn't going to appear, particularly if you play a full adventuring day. When repeatedly killing things is the primary challenge, the classes that excel at rolling to hit and damage get to do that a lot.
In a more sandboxy campaign, or where challenges become more investigative, exploratory or similar however, martial classes get much less ability to influence the world or solve problems.

Ultimately, groups and their playstyles are so varied that we can't say "This problem doesn't exist" or "This is a problem for all groups". Most of the discussion about the issue has moved on to what to do about it for the people for whom it is a concern.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Everytime a fighter tries to attack a skill check (attack roll) is required, but the same rules do not apply to casting a spell.
I think a lot could be done by requiring a skill roll for every use of a spell, and actually limiting what a spell can do (ie not replace a skill use or make weapons obsolete).
plus give fighters moreto do than just hitting stuff for more damage
 
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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I'd rather prefer if spellcaster got to generate a 7th ability score (Power? Magic?) linked only to their magical abilities and no skills. This would mean that they would need to split their ASI thinner if they want to boost their spellpower AND their skills.

No longer are all sorcerers more socially inclined just because their spellcasting ability happens to also affect 3-4 skills.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Everytime a fighter tries to attack a skill check (attack roll) is required, but the same rules do not apply to casting a spell.
I think a lot could be done by requiring a skill roll for every use of a spell, and actually limiting what a spell can do (ie not replace a skill use or make weapons obsolete).
plus give fighters moreto do than just hitting stuff for more damage
4e actually did this, by making casters roll against a defense stat of the target, as opposed to firing off spells and letting the enemy save, and most effects only lasted a turn (saving throws were made each turn for effects that could last longer than 1 turn). This meant the caster could roll a 1 and fail to affect a target, as opposed to 5e, where if the save DC is too high for a target to make, even a natural 20 cannot save you.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Not to be a bother, but I see this topic coming up repeatedly and I have to ask: Does the perceived disparity between martial and caster classes actually impact play? Has anyone been playing a fighter and get miffed when their teammate wizard drops a big ole fireball and cleans house of all the goblins? I have never experienced this as a DM or a player and I tend to stick with martial classes.
Not in my experience. I am writing to the population of this board.
 

ECMO3

Hero
I see this as having the opposite result. There are three pure martial classes. No one is complaining the barbarian is underpowered. Of the remaining two, both of them get extra feats as part of their class progression. There is diminishing returns with feats - once you have some, your later choices don't bring as much.

So increasing ability scores would mean everyone gets to picking up feats instead of ASIs faster, which means that the extra feats granted by fighter and rogue are less useful.

As this nerfs martial class features, I say this weakens martial classes more than helps them.
I have played with the higher scores house rule, not to nerf martials but because that particular group wanted to have "herioic" stats and I did not find this to be the case. As a matter of fact it makes more feats useful because players have high abilities across the board.

The thing this does it puts all feats on the table at any level. For example if you play a fighter it is very likely after racial bonuses you will have a 16+ in both strength and dexterity at 1st level (and as likely as not a 20 in one of them). Such a character can get BOTH sharpshooter and GWM and they both pay out. Similarly if a character starts with a 16 Dex and a 20 strength he can take ASIs in Dex to get both of these to 20 at the same point a regular point-buy fighter would be hitting 20 strength. You can take medium armor master and your tank can sneak awesome in half plate because he is rocking a high dexterity. You can move back and forth between light missile guy and front line tank guy and give up nothing in either role.

So for example you have a level 4 front line tank fighter with a 20 strength GWM. At 6th he can take sharpshooter. Keep a bow on his back as a backup weapon for long range engagements or to start a fight until enemies get close and maybe have a few darts to throw if he downs someone in melee but is too far to get to the next guy that turn. IF you come across a flying dragon he rains EFFECTIVE missile fire on it with his bow and 16 dexterity until it lands. Having played such a fighter, I ended end up using backup weapons a lot, because even though my greatsword was my best weapon it was often better to do something with another weapon. So I would end a fight with weapons dropped all over the battlefield. I would start hacking a guy with my greatsword, drop him then pull out my bow and take down the caster on the other side of the room. Then drop that and pull out my warhammer to help the cleric clean up the last bad guy.
 
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ECMO3

Hero
I don't see having more numbers solving the issue of having fewer ways to engage in the game.
You have more ways to engage because you heroic level stats in both dex and strength, regardless of if you are doing a stealthy ranged build or a tanky melee build.

You also have better social and investigation skills.
 

GreyLord

Legend
I see this as having the opposite result. There are three pure martial classes. No one is complaining the barbarian is underpowered. Of the remaining two, both of them get extra feats as part of their class progression. There is diminishing returns with feats - once you have some, your later choices don't bring as much.

So increasing ability scores would mean everyone gets to picking up feats instead of ASIs faster, which means that the extra feats granted by fighter and rogue are less useful.

As this nerfs martial class features, I say this weakens martial classes more than helps them.

I don't see it as ADDING ASI, but unlimiting them.

Thus, a Fighter no longer is limited to a 20 STR, they can have a STR that goes up to the max of 30 (or a DEX). A fighter that can do +10 damage from their STR is a lot better than one that can only do +5.

Sure, it helps a Spellcaster's DC's as well, but that's not as lacking (not as big a return I think) as the damage a Fighter does from the STR/DEX each round).
 

ECMO3

Hero
I don't see it as ADDING ASI, but unlimiting them.

Thus, a Fighter no longer is limited to a 20 STR, they can have a STR that goes up to the max of 30 (or a DEX). A fighter that can do +10 damage from their STR is a lot better than one that can only do +5.

Sure, it helps a Spellcaster's DC's as well, but that's not as lacking (not as big a return I think) as the damage a Fighter does from the STR/DEX each round).
I would not be a fan of this.
 


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