Why do we even still have ability score

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They're kind of pointless now when everything except hit points just goes off the bonus. It probably would have been a better idea to instead of having a 3-18 scale, replaced it with just -1 through +5 or whatever.
It's a sacred cow that differentiates D&D from WoD (and others). Only the temperament of the fanbase keeps it around...
bc some people still like to roll dice for their scores
Ability Scores can take damage.  Con is directly used in determining hit points.

Celebrate our differences.

I agree there should be more derived stats from abilities - like how STR impacts the amount you can carry and CON adds to hit points.  This way even increasing an ability score by 1 would have a lasting benefit even if it didn't get you a +1 modifier, beyond qualifying for feats you may not even care about.
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Ability Scores can take damage.


In 4th edition? Can you cite an example?


[qute]Con is directly used in determining hit points.


Yes, but there's a very popular background that lets you use your highest ability score instead.


Ultimately it's an artifice and legacy of the game. It's one of the things that makes D&D what it is, and even though there are other methods and systems, I think it's fair to say it wouldn't feel quite the same if they changed it.



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Ability Scores can take damage.


In 4th edition? Can you cite an example?


Actually, I can't.  I was thinking of the Ooze attacks that drop the Fort score.  My apologies.
Still no real reason why you couldn't incorporate them as a DM if you wanted to.

Celebrate our differences.


Ability Scores can take damage.


In 4th edition? Can you cite an example?


Actually, I can't.  I was thinking of the Ooze attacks that drop the Fort score.  My apologies.
Still no real reason why you couldn't incorporate them as a DM if you wanted to.


No reason you can't. Plenty of reason you shouldn't. Chiefly being the need to go back and recalculate everything based off of the ability score you just damaged (shout it happen to drop it down to an odd number).

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 I would say sitting around the table killing Orcs for being green and taking their stuff, stealing from the dead, casting spells, and pretending to be an elf is what makes it Dungeons and Dragons.

bc some people still like to roll dice for their scores



Randomness in character creation is awful and I'm glad 4e discourages it. Very few modern systems use random generation, thankfully.
To make that fourth line of every race entry seem important.

No good reason, in other words. 
It probably would have been a better idea to instead of having a 3-18 scale, replaced it with just -1 through +5 or whatever.

Only the temperament of the fanbase keeps it around...

Agree to both.

It probably would have been a better idea to instead of having a 3-18 scale, replaced it with just -1 through +5 or whatever.

Only the temperament of the fanbase keeps it around...

Agree to both.




It wouldn't still be D&D then.
It wouldn't still be D&D then.

Do you mean: it wouldn't be D&D if the temperament of the fanbase abated? You could be right.

But this article indicated that the writers viewed the six attributes (but not the 3-18 values) as sacrosanct.

Technically skills could take over, but it would be a very hard sell to get rid of them in regards to D&D. Most likely future editions would streamline the math in regards to how abilities affects skills rolls, defenses and attacks, and limit their influence on feats or powers. In the end, there are other more important things that need to be addressed in regards to features I would liked fixed in 4E.
It wouldn't still be D&D then.

Do you mean: it wouldn't be D&D if the temperament of the fanbase abated? You could be right.

But this article indicated that the writers viewed the six attributes (but not the 3-18 values) as sacrosanct.


Have you ever deconstructed a major sport.  Basketball, for example, is about 10 men in two teams of five on a court throwing a ball into a basket supported at a specific height.  Now, If I asked 10 people to play a basketball game based off that description they might have fun... but it wouldn't be basketball.  Getting rid of the 3-18 is in the same vein.  Its one of those old cultural things about D&D that is just worth keeping because there is more to D&D than just slapping a name on a box. 


My predition would be that if they removed traditional stats from 5th, as they can't remove them from 4th, there would be an even bigger mutany than there is now amoung the players.  Next thing we'll be hearing is that with everyone having smart phones dice are optional.  After all, electronic dice rollers are more random aren't they? 

If I asked 10 people to play a basketball game based off that description they might have fun... but it wouldn't be basketball.

D&D has previously dropped sacrosanct aspects:
- Saving throws are not the same thing at all
- Random attributes are pretty much only a house rule.
- Lower AC's being better than high ones is gone
- Six alignments are gone
- No more inner planes
etc.

A closer example would be: if the NBA altered the rules of basketball, would it still be basketball?

If I asked 10 people to play a basketball game based off that description they might have fun... but it wouldn't be basketball.

D&D has previously dropped sacrosanct aspects:
- Saving throws are not the same thing at all
- Random attributes are pretty much only a house rule.
- Lower AC's being better than high ones is gone
- Six alignments are gone
- No more inner planes
etc.

A closer example would be: if the NBA altered the rules of basketball, would it still be basketball?


The question boils down further to when does the game lack the appearance of being D&D.  I'd argue that the shift from 3rd to 4th was dire enough that it cost them a signifigant amount of the player base.  Further changes will only serve to alienate additional players. 


Further, the NBA analogy isn't as accurate as I'd like.  I play basketball with my friends, not under the NBA's rules.  Likewise I play D&D with my friends, and while I take suggestions from WOTC their absolute control over my game is minimal. 


I guess we could go with " Which rules in basketball can the NBA change where the majority of viewer would still consider it basketball?"  After all, football is more popular and you don't see a tackling rule instituted during free throws.   And I'd argue that WOTC has already gone far enough from what the traditional view of the game is. 

Back when I would play D&D (3.x), we would often make rolls based off ability score... roll your ability score or higher to succeed.
So even if two PC's got the same bonus from an ability, their scores could be different.
Anyway, we don't play D&D anymore, so I have no idea what 4e does.
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In response to the OP, at the very least, it makes things easy in regard to knowing when everything gets a full stat bump.  For example, what would your suggestion be to a PC that has an 11 in cha.  Would that be 0.5?  And if so, wouldn't that just be confusing as a .5 wouldn't really mean anything?
I'm also of the opinion that ability scores are a sacred cow of D&D, as much as class are if I can derail a bit.

As much as scorelesss and classless systems can be fun to play, I think they are a core basic mechanic that help define D&D, and provide a continuous trend throughout the editions.

That being said I also like the ideas of giving more weight to ability scores besides skill checks.

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They're kind of pointless now when everything except hit points just goes off the bonus. It probably would have been a better idea to instead of having a 3-18 scale, replaced it with just -1 through +5 or whatever.


    I would reform the question the opposite way, why bother getting rid of these stats? 
    The bonus system has been changed with each edition of D&D, and there is no reason to think the current one is particularly likely to survive. 
    We want characters to be different, not cookie-cutter.  So we want to increase the possible range of stats, not reduce them.  Why switch to 6 possibilities instead of 12?  Now if we were talking about switching to a d100 system...
I love innovation you know I do.... but there is such a thing as harmless tradition...  I differentate between something with meat (significant mechanical impact)... hence something which might qualfy as potential cuts of sacred cow steak and things which basically act as cheap D&D flavor packet.

The stat values not much meat there looks like some traditionalist pepper to me
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At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
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Scores are really unnecessary, but I don't mind them much; probably because I've been using them for so long that my brain automatically translates scores into bonuses.

But I have no regard for the "But it wouldn't be D&D without them!" idealism. There are grognards who say that anything that Gygax didn't write down himself "Just isn't D&D." But of course that's absurd.

D&D is just a label. As time goes on, we'll lose more sacred cows, we'll gain other ones, and it'll still be D&D. If in 100 years D&D actually becomes a morpg, with gamers interfacing in a quasi-real computer generated futuristic fantasy world via brain chips, yes it will still be D&D. Kids don't stop learning games just because it's not the same as when mommy and daddy's were kids.

In response to the OP, at the very least, it makes things easy in regard to knowing when everything gets a full stat bump.  For example, what would your suggestion be to a PC that has an 11 in cha.  Would that be 0.5?  And if so, wouldn't that just be confusing as a .5 wouldn't really mean anything?


In a hypothetical edition which uses only ability modifiers, we would naturally bump a modifier up every few levels. No need for half-modifiers.

Or even better, there would be no ability boosts at all -- but that's neither here nor there. 

They're kind of pointless now when everything except hit points just goes off the bonus. It probably would have been a better idea to instead of having a 3-18 scale, replaced it with just -1 through +5 or whatever.


    I would reform the question the opposite way, why bother getting rid of these stats? 
    The bonus system has been changed with each edition of D&D, and there is no reason to think the current one is particularly likely to survive. 
    We want characters to be different, not cookie-cutter.  So we want to increase the possible range of stats, not reduce them.  Why switch to 6 possibilities instead of 12?  


Because those 12 choices are actually only 6 choices. Scores only create the illusion of more choice and differentiation.

They're kind of pointless now when everything except hit points just goes off the bonus. It probably would have been a better idea to instead of having a 3-18 scale, replaced it with just -1 through +5 or whatever.


    I would reform the question the opposite way, why bother getting rid of these stats? 
    The bonus system has been changed with each edition of D&D, and there is no reason to think the current one is particularly likely to survive. 
    We want characters to be different, not cookie-cutter.  So we want to increase the possible range of stats, not reduce them.  Why switch to 6 possibilities instead of 12?  


Because those 12 choices are actually only 6 choices. Scores only create the illusion of more choice and differentiation.


   The fact the difference is not much does not mean it is nothing.  Let us consider our standard 22 points, which can be spread out give the PC 5 13s & 1 14 for +7, or can be 2 14s, 2 13s, and 2 12s, for +8.  At 4th level, we improve the odd stats and then at 8 we do the same, but our one PC no longer has any odd stats and remains at +10 while the first one improves to +11.  So we have different patterns because the odd numbers exist.
     Let us say we try for high numbers.  Again the odd number allows us a higher bonus at about half our levels, at the cost of some other bonuses we decide is less important.  Again, the odd numbers allow for patterns that simply can't happen in a pure bonus system.
   
The feat prereqs that depend on odd stats are just an artifical way of making odd stats useful, same as the point above, that difference is trivial. Having stats range from 3-18 is an artifact that just makes things more complicated. Character stats haven't had anything to do with a bell curve in ages, as the game has long assumed PCs had stats substantially higher than the mean.

The 3-18 stats are depreciated, they should go.


My predition would be that if they removed traditional stats from 5th, as they can't remove them from 4th, there would be an even bigger mutany than there is now amoung the players.  Next thing we'll be hearing is that with everyone having smart phones dice are optional.  After all, electronic dice rollers are more random aren't they?



Dice already are optional. Any way to randomly generate numbers 1-20 in a uniform distribution for a 1d20 roll are acceptable under the rules. Hell, a friend of mine who was in prison used a spinner. I don't see why people have a problem with using dice rollers. I prefer the real thing if only because its quicker but there is nothing wrong with using a die roller, especially if you are playing online.

Players will mutiny no matter what changes happen. Mutants and Masterminds, a d20 game, has actually already gotten rid of it.

They're kind of pointless now when everything except hit points just goes off the bonus. It probably would have been a better idea to instead of having a 3-18 scale, replaced it with just -1 through +5 or whatever.


    I would reform the question the opposite way, why bother getting rid of these stats? 
    The bonus system has been changed with each edition of D&D, and there is no reason to think the current one is particularly likely to survive. 
    We want characters to be different, not cookie-cutter.  So we want to increase the possible range of stats, not reduce them.  Why switch to 6 possibilities instead of 12?  


Because those 12 choices are actually only 6 choices. Scores only create the illusion of more choice and differentiation.


   The fact the difference is not much does not mean it is nothing.  Let us consider our standard 22 points, which can be spread out give the PC 5 13s & 1 14 for +7, or can be 2 14s, 2 13s, and 2 12s, for +8.  At 4th level, we improve the odd stats and then at 8 we do the same, but our one PC no longer has any odd stats and remains at +10 while the first one improves to +11.  So we have different patterns because the odd numbers exist.
     Let us say we try for high numbers.  Again the odd number allows us a higher bonus at about half our levels, at the cost of some other bonuses we decide is less important.  Again, the odd numbers allow for patterns that simply can't happen in a pure bonus system.
   


 Personally, I cant imagine caring about such a dubious “benefit”. An odd score isnt nothing, but it is negligible.

In any case, even scores are strictly better. These are the ones with the bonuses. Moreover, there are exactly six boosts for two ability scores thru the 30 levels, and exactly two boosts for the rest of the ability scores. These are an even number of boosts.

So, if you start your character well with the benefit of even scores at first level, you will finish your character well with the benefit of even scores at the highest levels. But if you start your character wrong with odd scores, you will finish your character wrong with odd scores at the highest levels.

The only reason people care about odd scores is to unlock a specific feat at a certain level, without spending too much on the point-buy. But if there are no odd scores because there are no scores, then you already get to unlock that skill anyway.

It seems best to go with just the ability bonuses.
In response to the OP, at the very least, it makes things easy in regard to knowing when everything gets a full stat bump.  For example, what would your suggestion be to a PC that has an 11 in cha.  Would that be 0.5?  And if so, wouldn't that just be confusing as a .5 wouldn't really mean anything?



I'm suggesting that no one would have an 11 in charisma in the first place. Instead, when you create a character, you distribute, say, 8 points, adjusted to taste among your 6 abilities, but they would start at -1 or 0, and top out at 5 or so. Forget the bell curve.

I'm suggesting that no one would have an 11 in charisma in the first place. Instead, when you create a character, you distribute, say, 8 points, adjusted to taste among your 6 abilities, but they would start at -1 or 0, and top out at 5 or so. Forget the bell curve.


We do this often, and it works fine. (I have not tried with 4e, but older dnd and other systems. Hypothetical next editions would fall under that catagory)



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bc some people still like to roll dice for their scores



Randomness in character creation is awful and I'm glad 4e discourages it. Very few modern systems use random generation, thankfully.



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I really don't understand how having attributes (rather than just a bonus) hurts anything. It makes things more complicated? not really. If someone can't grasp that a 12 gives a +1 and a 14 a +2 then maybe they have bigger things to worry about than the relative complexity of an rpg.
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I really don't understand how having attributes (rather than just a bonus) hurts anything. It makes things more complicated? not really. If someone can't grasp that a 12 gives a +1 and a 14 a +2 then maybe they have bigger things to worry about than the relative complexity of an rpg.



It's not that it hurts anything, it's that they don't mean anything (except maybe meeting the requirements for a feat), so why bother having it?  It just takes up extra space.

Currently, each point of STR = 10 extra lbs carried and each point of CON = 1 hp.  So for STR and CON there is a benefit to each individual point you earn.

The same cannot be said about any of the other stats.

Personally I still say I'd rather there be more derived stats from each attribute
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I really don't understand how having attributes (rather than just a bonus) hurts anything. It makes things more complicated? not really. If someone can't grasp that a 12 gives a +1 and a 14 a +2 then maybe they have bigger things to worry about than the relative complexity of an rpg.



It's not that it hurts anything, it's that they don't mean anything (except maybe meeting the requirements for a feat), so why bother having it?  It just takes up extra space.

Currently, each point of STR = 10 extra lbs carried and each point of CON = 1 hp.  So for STR and CON there is a benefit to each individual point you earn.

The same cannot be said about any of the other stats.

Personally I still say I'd rather there be more derived stats from each attribute



But if you derive more stats from each ability score, in addition to deriving stats from the ability bonus, then you really do have do systems doing the same thing. It causes gratuitous complexity to the gaming system.
Why are boobs good?  They just are!

Why do we have abilities score?  Because we do.  Its just DnD, an iconic part of any RPG is the stats for a character.  Simply bonuses would just feel wrong, "i have a +5 strength bonus" sounds so much worse then "i have a 20 strength".

Honestly though, you dont have to write scores on your sheet if you dont want to, you can just use bonuses, but on the same note, just let me do the same and use scores and not bonuses.
I really don't understand how having attributes (rather than just a bonus) hurts anything. It makes things more complicated? not really. If someone can't grasp that a 12 gives a +1 and a 14 a +2 then maybe they have bigger things to worry about than the relative complexity of an rpg.



It's not that it hurts anything, it's that they don't mean anything (except maybe meeting the requirements for a feat), so why bother having it?  It just takes up extra space.

Currently, each point of STR = 10 extra lbs carried and each point of CON = 1 hp.  So for STR and CON there is a benefit to each individual point you earn.

The same cannot be said about any of the other stats.

Personally I still say I'd rather there be more derived stats from each attribute



But if you derive more stats from each ability score, in addition to deriving stats from the ability bonus, then you really do have do systems doing the same thing. It causes gratuitous complexity to the gaming system.



I disagree, it's not gatutitous.  If it was along the same lines of what STR and CON do, then at most it's 4 additional "things". If that's too much for people then I'm sorry - this game has gotten so much simpler over the past 25 years since I started playing, I don't want to see it get any simpler.
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Why are boobs good?  They just are!

Why do we have abilities score?  Because we do.  Its just DnD, an iconic part of any RPG is the stats for a character.  Simply bonuses would just feel wrong, "i have a +5 strength bonus" sounds so much worse then "i have a 20 strength".

Honestly though, you dont have to write scores on your sheet if you dont want to, you can just use bonuses, but on the same note, just let me do the same and use scores and not bonuses.



Umm. Boobs are highly functional. A pinnacle of evolution that separates mammal (mammary animals) from other animals.

I really don't understand how having attributes (rather than just a bonus) hurts anything. It makes things more complicated? not really. If someone can't grasp that a 12 gives a +1 and a 14 a +2 then maybe they have bigger things to worry about than the relative complexity of an rpg.



It's not that it hurts anything, it's that they don't mean anything (except maybe meeting the requirements for a feat), so why bother having it?  It just takes up extra space.

Currently, each point of STR = 10 extra lbs carried and each point of CON = 1 hp.  So for STR and CON there is a benefit to each individual point you earn.

The same cannot be said about any of the other stats.

Personally I still say I'd rather there be more derived stats from each attribute



But if you derive more stats from each ability score, in addition to deriving stats from the ability bonus, then you really do have do systems doing the same thing. It causes gratuitous complexity to the gaming system.



I disagree, it's not gatutitous.  If it was along the same lines of what STR and CON do, then at most it's 4 additional "things". If that's too much for people then I'm sorry - this game has gotten so much simpler over the past 25 years since I started playing, I don't want to see it get any simpler.



But Strength and Con scores do nothing.

For Con, the hitpoints easily become: add 10 + 2×bonus

The score itself is gratuitous.

Regarding Strength and carrying weight: I would rather see the table combine Strength and Constitution, since endurance is so crucial to transporting heavy loads.
I really don't understand how having attributes (rather than just a bonus) hurts anything. It makes things more complicated? not really. If someone can't grasp that a 12 gives a +1 and a 14 a +2 then maybe they have bigger things to worry about than the relative complexity of an rpg.



It's not that it hurts anything, it's that they don't mean anything (except maybe meeting the requirements for a feat), so why bother having it?  It just takes up extra space.

Currently, each point of STR = 10 extra lbs carried and each point of CON = 1 hp.  So for STR and CON there is a benefit to each individual point you earn.

The same cannot be said about any of the other stats.

Personally I still say I'd rather there be more derived stats from each attribute



But if you derive more stats from each ability score, in addition to deriving stats from the ability bonus, then you really do have do systems doing the same thing. It causes gratuitous complexity to the gaming system.



I disagree, it's not gatutitous.  If it was along the same lines of what STR and CON do, then at most it's 4 additional "things". If that's too much for people then I'm sorry - this game has gotten so much simpler over the past 25 years since I started playing, I don't want to see it get any simpler.



But Strength and Con scores do nothing.

For Con, the hitpoints easily become: add 10 + 2×bonus

The score itself is gratuitous.

Regarding Strength and carrying weight: I would rather see the table combine Strength and Constitution, since endurance is so crucial to transporting heavy loads.



That's not reducing complexity it's just changing it to something else complex. 

Strength score x 10 for carry weight is far less complex than taking your STR modifier and your CON modifier, adding them together and then consulting a table to find out what your carry weight should be. 



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The point is,

If the only reasons to keep scores are,

• Adding hitpoints at first level (which can reformulate in any way we want),

• Consulting the maximum load (which is mostly fluff, can look like anything we want, I personally havent used for over ten levels of adventuring, and which should probably go metric anyway)

Those seem feeble reasons for scores.

The unimpressiveness of these pro-scores arguments, is really an argument against scores.

Bonuses seem the better way.
sigh some people still roll their scores though

anyway, you guys have bumbled into a great house rule for yalls private home games. you should implement it immediately
sigh some people still roll their scores though

anyway, you guys have bumbled into a great house rule for yalls private home games. you should implement it immediately



Nothing stops people from rolling 3d6s during character generation, and converting the totals into ability bonuses on the character sheet. In fact, that should remain an official alternative option for character generation.

Notice: Rolling 3d6 is the official option. Pointbuy is the official default.

Generating 3d6 scores should be the official option. Pointbuying the bonuses directly should be the default.
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