Should we explore dropping the Ability Mod?

First off, has someone already done this post?  I didn't see it and I'd like a link if you have one...


I like the fact that most things are now being based off of ability scores (saving throws, skill checks, etc.), however, if we're going to go down that route - can't we just drop the ability modifier and find ways to work without it?  Here's a few examples, just possible solutions, not necessarily the best ones either, just what I came up with while I typed... (also note that I didn't do the math on these to make sure they line up with current results, I'm just providing the examples to get the basic ideas across, numbers/formulas are meant to be confirmed via playtesting):

Checks:
As it is now, you roll d20 and add the ability modifier to the check and compare it to a set difficulty class.  What about using your ability score to calculate your DC levels instead?  So if you have a STR of 18 you would subtract that from 40 to set your highest DC (Immortal) and then subtract 4 per DC level (Immortal, Master, Extreme, Advanced, Moderate, Trivial) working down from that (giving you 22, 18, 14, 10, 6, 2 for STR 18 or 30, 26, 22, 18, 14, 10 for STR 10).  These would be written out on the Character sheet, next to your scores, of course.  The GM is then free to give small adjustments to the DC (this jump is an Extreme DC +2).

Saving Throws:
The same basic theory above applies to Saving Throws since they basically work like a check with the same DC's.

Attacks:
Same basic theory as above, except you only calculate one 'attack bonus' which would be equal to your (Ability/2)-5.  This is pretty much the same as now only because I can't think of a way to get rid of the attack bonus without also getting rid of AC...

Hit Points:
At first level you start with your constitution plus a value based on your class (Fighters might be 4, Clerics and Rogues 3, Wizards 1).  Then when you advance a level you get the bonus given by your class.  This opens up the possibility of Race/Class/Backgrounds/Theme features giving you a modifier to this base as well, such as Dwarves get +1, Slaves get -1, etc., but it should work out to where you always get a minimum of 1 per level after all modifiers, or the rule may be that if the final modifier is 0 or less you still get a minimum of 1 per level.

Armor Class:
This is your DEX (or maybe some other formula to reduce the superiority of DEX*) plus a modifier based on armor and shield used.  *How about average of all your ability scores - why all scores?  STR, CON and DEX measure your physical ability to avoid blows, INT, WIS and CHA measures your ability to mentally be prepared, aware and observent enough to avoid the blows and also to feint and trick your opponent into attacking where you want him to instead of where he should.

Anyway, I haven't covered all situations, but I think you should get the big picture from this - find ways to eliminate the need for the ability modifier to where all you have to do is roll and compare the die roll (which is good for those that don't want to be doing math at the table for whatever reason and should speed up gameplay, at the expense of doing some minor calculations during character creation).
The main place I would like to see the ability mod dropped is for racial bonuses, as it always came down to certain ability bonuses effecting the class that was chosen. They can still leave in racial backgrounds, special abilities, etc. Maybe they can take a different approach of picking one ability the race is bad at, like halfling not having a good strength (-2 to strength), but then let the race choose the bonuses for the abilities they prefer. If a race is so specialized to always prefer certain classes or abilities, then that should be reserved for the monster manual or NPCs.
For difficulty classes, Jessup Games' "Magpie Codex" uses something similiar, if not identical. It's an easy system to get used to, and contested rolls are decided not only by if you win the roll but if you won it by high enough to make a significant difference. It worked well for the system, which was very fast all around, but my personal opinion is that it didn't allow for enough fine-tuning of situations. When playing Magpie, my players felt that the system seemed to be more arbitrary. Whether or not that comes out mathematically true is irrelevant. It's how they felt.

For hit points, I'm a die roller at heart. I don't like solid numbers assigned with only minor mods. However, I know how much it sucks to roll a 1 even with CON mods added. So my houserule is to allow a reroll if you don't like your hp roll. You have to keep the second one, so if you roll mid-range you may want to keep that score.

For AC, that's an interesting thought. I had toyed with the idea of letting a player decide if he's going to try to avoid the blow (DEX) or withstand it (CON) to modify his AC. I hadn't thought about feinting and such, using other attribute scores. I may try it out. The group is in "Greyhawk Ruins" right now, and we're feeling experimental.
No.
Here is reality, read and understand: Rangers aren't dull or underpowered, in any edition. Fighters aren't dull or underpowered, in any edition. Casters aren't "god mode" or overpowered, in any edition. The tarrasque isn't broken. And you aren't voicing your opinion by claiming otherwise, you're just being a pain. Now, stop complaining.
Color me flattered.

LIFE CYCLE OF A RULES THREAD

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Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

Lessen maybe. Drop no way.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Id rather drop the 3 to 18 and keep the truly functional element. The attributes in a d20 system used directly are way to extreme.

 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Id rather drop the 3 to 18 and keep the truly functional element. The attributes in a d20 system used directly are way to extreme.

 

This, for sure.  I don't mind having both, but if I dropped one, I'd drop the score and keep the modifier, giving people a score of -5 to +5.  Literally the only things lost would be adding Con score to your HP and the "if your attribute is 5 higher than the DC, you don't have to roll" thing.  

Oh, and I guess 3d6 random stat gen, but I kind of super totally hate that, so no big deal to me.  Plus you could do 1d6-1d6 (or 2d6-7) anyway.

Id rather drop the 3 to 18 and keep the truly functional element. The attributes in a d20 system used directly are way to extreme.

 

This, for sure.  I don't mind having both, but if I dropped one, I'd drop the score and keep the modifier, giving people a score of -5 to +5.  Literally the only things lost would be adding Con score to your HP and the "if your attribute is 5 higher than the DC, you don't have to roll" thing.  

Oh, and I guess 3d6 random stat gen, but I kind of super totally hate that, so no big deal to me.  Plus you could do 1d6-1d6 (or 2d6-7) anyway.




nods... I think having both is a perfectly reasonable bow to tradition (An it harm none, Do what thou will). 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

You'd also lose the save mechanic.

Unless you are no longer rolling 20s there.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

You'd also lose the save mechanic. Unless you are no longer rolling 20s there.


Singling out saves as a different mechanics is unnecessary though. 
You just use saves as a normal action (employing a stat mod) with a difficulty based on the effect you are resisting.


  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

I don't mind having both, but if I dropped one, I'd drop the score and keep the modifier, giving people a score of -5 to +5.   



Exactly like how Cutthroat: The Shadow Wars did it. All scores were rated from -5 to +5 with 0 being average. Worked great in that system, which was one of the earliest systems to use the d20+skill+modifiers vs. target number mechanic (along with some of the GDW games that used a similar d10+skill mechanic).

However, I think ability scores are a sacred cow. I doubt very seriously the designers will remove something as iconic as this from the game.

D&D Next - Basic and Expert Editions

I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.

Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.


Here's a mockup of the Basic Set I created.



(CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)
  

Basic Set

This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).

The Basic boxed set contains:

Quick Start Rules
A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms.

Player's Handbook
(Softcover, 125 pages)
Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level.

Dungeon Master's Guide

(Softcover, 125 pages)
Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.

Monster Manual
(Softcover, 100 pages)
Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D. 

Introductory Adventure
(Keep on the Borderlands)
An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.

Also includes: 

Character Sheets
Reference Sheets
Set of Dice


Expert Set

A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:

Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.)
Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.)
Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)


Expansions

These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.) 

Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book)
Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book)
Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book)
The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)





A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage

A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points

In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...

What are hit points?
The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.

So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then?
It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.

But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target?
Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.

Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact?
Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.

If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent?
Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.

Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack?
It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.

What about poison and other types of non-combat damage?
Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.

If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages?
Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.

What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points?
If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.

Why are monsters killed immediately and not players?
Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.

What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage?
If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).

Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded?
See below.
 

Damage and Dying

Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.

  1. Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly. 
  2. Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
  3. If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
  4. Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.

Unharmed: 1 hp or more
Wounded: 0 hp or less
Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level)
Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)

Wounded
When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.

Incapacitated
Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).

If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.

If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.

Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.

Dead
Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.

You'd also lose the save mechanic. Unless you are no longer rolling 20s there.

Wait, how are we losing the save mechanic?  Isn't the DC of a save 10+stat mod?  And the save roll itself is 1d20+stat mod.  What save mechanic are you talking about?

Sorry space cadet moment in the wee hours of my morning.

For some reason I was using 4e target ability score in my sleep addled brain.

Carry on.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Id rather drop the 3 to 18 and keep the truly functional element. The attributes in a d20 system used directly are way to extreme.

 

This, for sure.  I don't mind having both, but if I dropped one, I'd drop the score and keep the modifier, giving people a score of -5 to +5.  Literally the only things lost would be adding Con score to your HP and the "if your attribute is 5 higher than the DC, you don't have to roll" thing.  

Oh, and I guess 3d6 random stat gen, but I kind of super totally hate that, so no big deal to me.  Plus you could do 1d6-1d6 (or 2d6-7) anyway.




I agree although instead of -5 to +5 just run 1 to 10 or so, make it as simple as possible.
I'm not the first one to suggest this, but I'd like to see a slightly modified Ability Score/Mod system along these lines:



  • The average score (for a human) is 10.

  • 0 is the lowest score possible.

  • The mod is equal to the Ability Score minus 10.

  • At rock-bottom, a score of 0 would give you a -10 mod (or would be if you were actually able to use the Ability at that point).

  • A score of 20 would be a +10 mod, etc.



Most characters would range between 5 and 15, probably. I like this approach because it makes the system a tad less confusing for beginners, but doesn't completely throw away the old system. I also like the idea of having abysmally low ability mods. If you consider how most animals have a 1 or 2 Intelligence, doesn't a -4 or -5 penalty to Intelligence Checks seem a little tame?

EDIT: I have liked the whole "drop the score in lieu of directly using the modifier" thing, along the lines of the -5 to +5 range, but my friend pointed out two problems with that. Namely, some people might not like the idea of a "negative score", and also, once you get rid of 0 as the "ability floor" it might be easy to forget that the floor is an arbitrary negative number. That's why I started preferring 10 as average and 0 as the "absolute zero" of ability.

Everything is worth exploring, though the odds of anything particularly groundshaking happening are slim to none.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
It might be feasible to drop ability score mods and still keep the influence of your ability scores if your attribute score replaced both your d20 roll result and your ability modifier.  For example, a melee attack would change from 1d20 + Str modifier to Strength score and no d20 roll.  Also, your saving throws would just be your attributes.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I too tinkered with Ability Score minus 10 (I applied it to 4th Ed, and dropped the half level bonus).
Some neat ideas here, but one must be careful of the mathematics involved.

If Next uses a scale similar to that of 3E/4E (10-11 is +0, 12-13 is +1, 14-15 is +2...) this is actually linear with each stat increase representing 0.5 increase in modifier. On the other hand, if Next was to use a scale similar to B/X D&D (3 is -3, 4-5 is -2, 6-8 is -1, 9-12 is +0, 13-15 is +1, 16-17 is +2, 18 is+3) it's a bell curve with more modifiers centered toward the middle.

I don't see any real reason why you'd have to keep attribute bonuses as long as you want the scale to be linear. If you want a bell scale then the equations won't work out right because a +1 attribute is no longer a predictable +x bonus.

Also, keep in mind that the more you want characters to be able to raise their attributes through adventure the more you need a scale that can handle big numbers. My OD&D home game has adopted the B/X scale but expanded it so that 19-20 is +4, 21-23 is +5, 24-27 is +6, and so on, so that it gets progressively harder and harder to gain an additional bonus. Not saying it's "the way" to do it, but it has worked for me in the past.

As to another earlier thought in the thread, I suspect that a range from -10 to +10 (as Kurishae suggested) is way too large even if most characters are in the -5 to +5 range. Making each +1 attribute correspond to a +1 bonus (as compared to the 3E/4E +1/2) seems like a pretty extreme change to the mathematics of the game.

Just my two coppers.

Marv (Finarvyn) Master of Mutants (MA and GW) Playing 5E D&D and liking it! OD&D player since 1975

It might be feasible to drop ability score mods and still keep the influence of your ability scores if your attribute score replaced both your d20 roll result and your ability modifier.  For example, a melee attack would change from 1d20 + Str modifier to Strength score and no d20 roll.  Also, your saving throws would just be your attributes.



  This would be very much possible if your Ability Score= Your Ability modifier.

  DCs would just have to increase by 10. And +1 to a stat would mean about as much as +2 does now.
It might be feasible to drop ability score mods and still keep the influence of your ability scores if your attribute score replaced both your d20 roll result and your ability modifier.  For example, a melee attack would change from 1d20 + Str modifier to Strength score and no d20 roll.  Also, your saving throws would just be your attributes.



  This would be very much possible if your Ability Score= Your Ability modifier.

  DCs would just have to increase by 10. And +1 to a stat would mean about as much as +2 does now.


Since the Attribute score is replacing both the attribute modifier and the d20 roll, you really wouldn't need to raise the DCs.

A 10 strength would be equivalent to a roll of 10 with no bonus or penalty.
A 3 strength would be equivalent to a roll of 8 with a -5 modifier.
A 20 strength would be equivalent to a roll of 15 with a +5 modifier.

Looking at that, it might actually be necessary to lower the DCs by 5 (instead of raising them by 10).

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

 This, for sure.  I don't mind having both, but if I dropped one, I'd drop the score and keep the modifier, giving people a score of -5 to +5.  Literally the only things lost would be adding Con score to your HP and the "if your attribute is 5 higher than the DC, you don't have to roll" thing.  

Oh, and I guess 3d6 random stat gen, but I kind of super totally hate that, so no big deal to me.  Plus you could do 1d6-1d6 (or 2d6-7) anyway.



Well you could still use all of the original methods, but once the character is created you don't need to worry about the scores.

Think of it like a table-
roll 3d6 then consult the table for your modifier, in the case of con- determine your base hit points before you get into your class as you get your modifier.

The only place this really has an issue is leveling up where you get +1 to a score (level 4/8/11 etc in 4e) but you can do all the creation stuff quickly and be done with the score concept imo.

You could reasonably just get +1 modifier instead of +1 score at those levels. I don't think thats a bad thing really, it makes the level exciting for all characters instead of those with odd ability scores. 
Please collect and update the DND Next Community Wiki Page with your ideas and suggestions!
Take a look at my clarified ability scores And also my Houserules relevent to DNDNext

As to another earlier thought in the thread, I suspect that a range from -10 to +10 (as Kurishae suggested) is way too large even if most characters are in the -5 to +5 range. Making each +1 attribute correspond to a +1 bonus (as compared to the 3E/4E +1/2) seems like a pretty extreme change to the mathematics of the game.



Thanks for taking the time to think about it. It's a significant change in a lot of respects, but not really extreme, in my opinion.

It only gets more extreme on the lower end of the spectrum, like a smartish animal getting -8 to its Intelligence Checks instead of -4, or some Fine Sized wispy thingy getting -9 to Strength Checks instead of -5 (a score/mod of 0/-10 would preclude any attempts at the Check, if I'm not mistaken.) Like I said, I like the increased negative range - it's just a personal preference though. The sky's always been the limit for how good you can get at something, but we really haven't explored how crappy you can really get at something before not even being able to do it at all. :p

On the positive end of 10, the changes are less pronounced:


  • Feats and abilities can't be tied to the non-mod-increasing odd scores anymore. Something that previously became available on a 13 would have to become available on an 11 or 12 (equivalent to a 12 or 14 in the normal system). No biggie, in my opinion.

  • The number of ability score points gained from leveling would have to be reduced from 5 to 2 or 3 to keep it roughly on par.

  • Each ability point would have a significant impact on gameplay. I think that's a good thing.

  • The math gets one step easier (no dividing by 2 after subtracting 10), making it easier for beginners and veterans (once they get used to the change) alike.


Anyway, it's just a pipe dream of mine. I don't expect the current Ability Score standard to change any time soon. In the meanwhile though, this system works great for my home game.

I have the idea to bell curve the ability to modifer table, then use the best (or worst of) d20 to roll for your ability checks rather than d6 stack variations and adding a modifier, your modifer then becomes your number of d20's you add to the roll, so it improves your odds with similar result to the modifier.

Tie the bell curve to the stacked d20 medians.   1d20 median is 10-11 2d20 median is 15 so that is +1, 3d20 median is 16-17 so that is +2, 4d20 is 17-18 for +3, 5d20 is 18-19 for +4. low side follows the same curve.

Then just build the bell curve into the difficulty/defenses, the really tough ones have 19 and are best defeated with the 5d20, your slightly above average one is a 15, and a 2d20 is likely to defeat it.

Problem is how to combine it with training, as I had same idea there that training stacks the die, then you add the ability modifier.    So I would actually prefer keep the ability modifier, so that those with ability can do the impossible tasks >20 , something that you cannot do with training which is bounded.

Or stack the die for both ability modifier  and training levels if you truly want a bounded system.  Then a +1 ability is a 2d20 roll, a training rank is a 2d20 roll, a +1 ability and a training rank is a 3d20 roll and so on.   I think you can do it in a way that your ability ranks and training ranks simply set your N in best/worst Nd20.

Does not get rid of all the modifiers, but gets rid of the big ones.
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