WIS for Archery

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Well..   an interesting debate came up on our last session with an interesting conclusion..  
Maybe Im crazy but I just though Id write it here... partially for fun but also as a serious suggestion for DDN.

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So this fighter runs and picks up a bow from the ground to take a shot at a flying creature trying to get away..
His player goes 'Okay... ranged attack..   thats DEX.. ok let's see...   wait a moment, WHY would I be better to shoot this bow if I had high DEX???'

Me (DM): "Well..  I guess.. if you are dexterious and have better coordination then you can aim better..."

Him "Um... no?"

And that starts a huge discussion starting off with the debate whether an acrobat untrained in archery would be better at shooting a bow..
Which largely ended up somewhat negative... the discussion moved on to what characterizes a good bowman in RL..

Competition archers..   they didnt strike us as dextrous..
Semi zen-monk japanese kyuudo masters... 

And good shooters of other sorts, like riflemen?

Old hunters with a potbelly who does not freak out when the bear jumps out..

Ok, so..   steady calm, awareness, perception...   that seems to be the traits of a good archer.
But.. there is an ability score for those things...   WIS

So we said 'Aha..  so thats why all the ranger types seem to stack up WIS...', then we silently nodded in the realisation that we had just reached the next level of enlightenment.. adopted the houserule and got on with the game (Where the fighter with his -1 WIS mod rolled a natural 20 and saved the day).

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So, I have been thinking a bit about this.
It actually might be a good thing.
It makes sense.
It also allows you to create the iconic grizzled old hunter type of ranger that will be a great archer despite the fact that he might have a limp.
It allows a hunter/ranger character to get some ability score synnergy between his natural skills and archery...
Who actually picutres a good archer as someone who does backflips (um Legolas in the Lotr movies....but really?)

At least one could do it like the Finesse weapons, but Archery (WIS or DEX)

It will be a solid houserule in our group at the very least.
Personally I think the real problem is that DEX is a bloated attribute (most of them are really).  Lock picking and backflips use next to nothing of the same talents, so it's not all that surprising that archery and backflips share nothing either.  DEX is sort of a catchall for "any physical activity requiring precision," and archery fits pretty well under that umbrella.  I could equally argue that Sherlock Holmes' perceptiveness (which has little to do with good eyesight or depth perception) and the Dalai Lama's enlightenment (which has little to do with whether he'd freak when surprised by a bear) aren't going to help them hit a bullseye any more than Gabby Douglas' backflips.  A good eye will help a bit, sure, but even with perfect knowledge of the target's position, the weak points of its armor, and the prevailing winds there's no guarantee you're going to hit the spot you intended.  What will increase your chances of hitting the spot you intended under those circumstances?  Precision, which falls under the DEX umbrella.  Which is more likely: that a character with perfect coordination will miss because he misjudged the distance, or that a character with perfect perception will miss because his arm wasn't steady or otherwise properly aimed?  I'm not sure, but I can make at least as good an argument for DEX as WIS.  Heck, maybe it should be INT based, because the character with perfect coordination and perfect perception will still need to calculate the appropriate trajectory based on range, windspeed, air resistance and mass of the arrow, and draw weight of the bow (although I suppose practice can sub for that more easily than it can sub for bad eyesight/coordination).  
Personally I think the real problem is that DEX is a bloated attribute (most of them are really).  Lock picking and backflips use next to nothing of the same talents, so it's not all that surprising that archery and backflips share nothing either.  DEX is sort of a catchall for "any physical activity requiring precision," and archery fits pretty well under that umbrella.  I could equally argue that Sherlock Holmes' perceptiveness (which has little to do with good eyesight or depth perception) and the Dalai Lama's enlightenment (which has little to do with whether he'd freak when surprised by a bear) aren't going to help them hit a bullseye any more than Gabby Douglas' backflips.  A good eye will help a bit, sure, but even with perfect knowledge of the target's position, the weak points of its armor, and the prevailing winds there's no guarantee you're going to hit the spot you intended.  What will increase your chances of hitting the spot you intended under those circumstances?  Precision, which falls under the DEX umbrella.  Which is more likely: that a character with perfect coordination will miss because he misjudged the distance, or that a character with perfect perception will miss because his arm wasn't steady or otherwise properly aimed?  I'm not sure, but I can make at least as good an argument for DEX as WIS.  Heck, maybe it should be INT based, because the character with perfect coordination and perfect perception will still need to calculate the appropriate trajectory based on range, windspeed, air resistance and mass of the arrow, and draw weight of the bow (although I suppose practice can sub for that more easily than it can sub for bad eyesight/coordination).  



While I agree with your logic, I think Dex is a bit overpowered in terms of combat right now. It is used for Def with light armor, ranged combat, and finesse melee combat. This is why some people complain that Dex fighters are overpowered. I think moving ranged weaponry to Wis would be a good fix to that problem, and would be just as logical as using Dex (though not more so). As such, I support the notion that Wis, not Dex, should modify your hit rate and damage with a ranged weapon. 

Oh wow! I never really thought of this before. I actually like this idea a lot, and I'll give you another reason why you should too. Wisdom is developed through experience, or training. The biggest difference between an intelligent person and a wise person is that the intelligent person can tell you what they think should happen according to logic and physical laws, a wise person understands how things tend to work from experience and know the secret contraditions of the human heart. So an intelligent archer understands that gravity makes an arrow fall and that the wind is blowing in a certain direction and can adjust their shot accordingly. The trained archer who is wise also knows that their body is moving constantly, even when attemptimg to remain still and has learned to relax, slow the beat of their heart, learned not to fear the string of the bow when released, learned how they will adjust their body to the recoil of the bow. I really like this idea. Let's do it!

I bet you a million imaginary dollars that the Lama would beat Gabby in a shoot off. 
@powerroleplayer

Absoolutely, most stats are catch-alls in some way or another..

But..  I argue this from two perspectives:

The fluff / realism / reason - perspective:
Mostly explained in the first post... but as the stats are defined, it would fit better or at least equally good to link archery to WIS as it does to DEX. 
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />The fun mechanics perspective:
Having WIS as a stat for bows and crossbows would open up a lot of opportunities for character and class design (not all weapon use must be either STR or DEX), without going into the 4E trap where the stats stop to have a meaning.
The wise and in-tune with nature but non-agile ranger is one of those possibilities.

Another point about that is that STR is quite established as the heavy melee stat.
DEX is quite established as the finesse combat stat.
WIS on the other hand is besides the connection to divine magic also fairly strongly the 'nature stat'.

Bows are also thematically connected to 'nature' so linking up bows with WIS would make sense also in that way.
I would go as far as to say that since Str or Dex can be used in melee, then have Dex and Wis be used in range. Dex is and has always been ranged combat since part of Dex is "hand/eye coordination". Wisdom is perception, which is the ability to notice small details; it's not how far you can see (as evidenced by the elderly getting Wis bonuses, not Wis penalties to represent their failing senses).

BUT ... I'm of the school of thought that is starting to emerge, of those who want to separate attack bonuses from the ability scores entirely. A 6th level Fighter has +9 to hit because he's a 6th level Fighter, not because he has 18 Strength; whether he fights with his Strength, Dexterity, or Intelligence is meaningless. It would allow more character types to be made without having to patch them with feats (weapon finesse in 3E) or create clunky class mechanics (4E). It eliminates trap choices too. This won't take off with the main stream, but it is a thought. 
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Heck, I'd argue that Strength makes more sense than Wisdom; it doesn't matter how perceptive you are if you can't pull the bowstring to full draw and hold it there. 

But then again, this is why I hate Wisdom as a concept. Sensory acuity is a physical capacity and not particularly associated with experience, and I don't see why either has to do with intuition or willpower or spiritual strength. 
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
Because looking and seeing are different things.

The STR to draw the string is not related to hitting with the arrow after the string is drawn. But Im all for a STR requirement on weapons...
Also, I was thinking more on the calm and steady mind part of WIS with this archery thing than the perception part, altough as that is also a part of both WIS and archery its a bonus.
Strength ought to give bow more range (take a longer draw) ... and maybe a crossbow faster firing rate...
  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."

 

There was those +STR mod bows in 3.5 ...   those were fun (altough in our group we judged that you could not draw them at all unless you filled up the STR mod). Otherwise a bow has a limited draw length and draw strenght.

But then again, this is why I hate Wisdom as a concept. Sensory acuity is a physical capacity and not particularly associated with experience, and I don't see why either has to do with intuition or willpower or spiritual strength.

In the strictest sense sensory acuity is a physical process, but the interpretation of the information is the important part. My girlfriend and I can be watching the same the couple in a cafe for example, but she will be getting a lot more information about their relationship from their body language than I ever will. Our physiological capabilities aren't too different at all though. We both have 20/20 vision and a similar (tiny) field of detailed vision for example.

It's a two way street though - I'm trained to pick up on physical or nervous dysfunctions and compensation patterns, and she has no idea how I can tell if the reason one of those people are limping is because of an ankle sprain of a pulled muscle.


Intuition is as aspect of perception. It's just a name for the perception we have about people that we're computing subconsciously. If you were trained as an interrogator (or professional poker player for that matter) for instance, you'd probably stop considering "intuition" at all because you'd be more consciously aware of certain subtle nuances than you were previously.


BUT ... I'm of the school of thought that is starting to emerge, of those who want to separate attack bonuses from the ability scores entirely. A 6th level Fighter has +9 to hit because he's a 6th level Fighter, not because he has 18 Strength; whether he fights with his Strength, Dexterity, or Intelligence is meaningless. It would allow more character types to be made without having to patch them with feats (weapon finesse in 3E) or create clunky class mechanics (4E). It eliminates trap choices too. This won't take off with the main stream, but it is a thought

I’d second that argument as well. I’d much rather see class and experience level as the factors that determine to-hit bonuses.

It’d have the side-effect of de-incentivising builds that focus exclusively on one stat for mechanical advantage.  Rogues have had it pretty damn good in that regard for a number of editions now.

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3.5 had Zen Archery as a feat (Wis to ranged attacks instead of Dex) so it shouldn't be that hard to implement. You can houserule it or make it it's own specialty. 
medieval archery uses a technique called 'instinctive shooting', it works through proprioception--which is the is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body--and hand-eye coordination. so while it doesn't initially seem like archery and backflips are related, they sort of are, as both use a similar skill set (muscle memory, coordination training, fine motor control).

also, D&D isn't perfect, but it does the best with what it's got. using Dex for archery is the simplest choice given the options available. 
 In the strictest sense sensory acuity is a physical process, but the interpretation of the information is the important part.


Yes, and interpretation of the information is also very much a physical process as well, hence the occipital, parietal, and temporal lobes of the brain. 

Intuition is as aspect of perception. It's just a name for the perception we have about people that we're computing subconsciously. If you were trained as an interrogator (or professional poker player for that matter) for instance, you'd probably stop considering "intuition" at all because you'd be more consciously aware of certain subtle nuances than you were previously.



I don't agree that intuition is necessarily an aspect of perception. Intuitive logic, for example, can be completely divorced from sensory stimuli; intuitive learning through muscle memory in patients with severe memory deficits can occur on an implicit basis; there's intuitive emotional responses, etc. 

The larger point is that sensory acuity, intuition, explicit experience, willpower, and spiritual energy are not particularly related areas.
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
 In the strictest sense sensory acuity is a physical process, but the interpretation of the information is the important part.


Yes, and interpretation of the information is also very much a physical process as well, hence the occipital, parietal, and temporal lobes of the brain. 

Intuition is as aspect of perception. It's just a name for the perception we have about people that we're computing subconsciously. If you were trained as an interrogator (or professional poker player for that matter) for instance, you'd probably stop considering "intuition" at all because you'd be more consciously aware of certain subtle nuances than you were previously.



I don't agree that intuition is necessarily an aspect of perception. Intuitive logic, for example, can be completely divorced from sensory stimuli; intuitive learning through muscle memory in patients with severe memory deficits can occur on an implicit basis; there's intuitive emotional responses, etc. 

The larger point is that sensory acuity, intuition, explicit experience, willpower, and spiritual energy are not particularly related areas.

I'm not entirely convinced with the muscle memory example. Motor function is a mish-mash of pre-central cortex, basal ganglia and cerebellar function, and as I understand it the cerebellum is largely responsible for pattern programming. Memory formation is primarily a function of the temporal lobes, so I wouldn't necessarily expect temporal damage to rule-out muscle pattern programming.

Now that said, I'm not an expert. So I'm not going to place my hand on my heart and say I'm 100% certain either.

I do take your point though, especially the part about Wis representing perception, force-of-will and spirituality. If you're trying to break down a persons abilities into six ability scores there is going to be some combinaitons that don't make sense. I was always irritated that the barbarian, fighter and warlord were much more likely to be good climbers than the rogue for the same reasons.      

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I think that much of the reason this hasn't been considered more in the past is that it's basically a universal of fantasy gaming that the dexterity-analogue stat is the one that is used with ranged weapons. Granted, D&D is largely responsible for that, as it is for a great many things that are now basically universals in mechanical representations of fantasy combat, but making something that's not dexterity be the ranged combat step is swimming against the stream. It's swimming against a stream that D&D dug out and filled with water in the first place, but it's still swimming against it. That's not an absolute reason to not make wisdom or strength the ranged combat ability, but it's a strike that I think is more important than is usually considered when the topic comes up.
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I agree Lesp, but I am not saying that it should not be DEX at all anymore (that would be a too big change).
However, the 'finesse weapons' are already having a STR or DEX mechanic,
why not include the same thing for the ranged weapons (WIS or DEX).

While the 'real life rationale' for that is interesting, the game mechanics point is more interesting.
It would widen the possibilities for character and class design in a way that allows for more 'fantasy archetypes', and to do so without undermining the notion of ability scores (such as in 4th and the 'weapon training' feat).
There was those +STR mod bows in 3.5 ...   those were fun (altough in our group we judged that you could not draw them at all unless you filled up the STR mod). Otherwise a bow has a limited draw length and draw strenght.



Limited true adjustable within scope also true.  Odysseus's cannot draw me without being demigod strength (4e warlord bow is fun though)

How about Wisdom as initiative Too or even add Intelliegence as fast thinking.... perception and decisiveness determines who acts first if you are relying on dex you are reacting not acting.
  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."

 

Dwarves are sometimes wiser than elves.  If you go the zen archer route it would make more sense for dwarves ( especially their priests) to be crack shots.
Yeah, I agree Wis is a better choice for archery than Dex, if for no better reason than to balance out the stats a bit more. I also think the visual acuity requirement is more appropriate under Wis than Dex.

Now, regarding strength, I wonder if it would be better to lower the die size for bows a step, but then add Str mod to damage in addition to Wis (composite bows only).

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And elves are sometimes wiser than dwarves.... humans are sometimes stronger than orcs...  Let people play what they want

To keep it simple, I give a  +1 to the idea of Dex or Wis in certain situations.
Dwarves are sometimes wiser than elves.  If you go the zen archer route it would make more sense for dwarves ( especially their priests) to be crack shots.



Sometimes they are drunkards who delve too deep too fast.  Tolkein might have been identifying what he considered wisdom by the number of rings were made to bind them in the darkness only 3 for elves (highest wisdom least likely to be bound by it) ... Humans 9. (wasnt it 7 for dwarves).
  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."

 

in Ad&d 2.9, the 6 stats were split  to 12 subabilities;


Dex ==> Aim and Balance

Wis ==>   Intuition and Willpower


then from what is said here you would be happy with a stat merging Aim and Intuition


( by merging the 12 subabilities you end up with 66 abilities )     
I would like to see a resurgence of compound bows that require a certain level of strength to be usable and that add your strength to damage rather than dexterity. Perhaps even increase range.

The thing with Dex and archery is it's not just about pulling the string back, it's pointing the bow in the right direction. Minute changes make huge differences especially at range.

I'm kinda torn on this, my mind keeps coming up with arguments for both WIS and Dex, so maybe it should be both like finese weapons are both strength and dexterity.
I'm kinda torn on this, my mind keeps coming up with arguments for both WIS and Dex, so maybe it should be both like finese weapons are both strength and dexterity.

Projectile weapons can use either Dex or Wis for attack/damage, and composite bows can add Str mod to damage rolls. I could live with that as a core rule.

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Personally I think the real problem is that DEX is a bloated attribute (most of them are really).  Lock picking and backflips use next to nothing of the same talents, so it's not all that surprising that archery and backflips share nothing either.  DEX is sort of a catchall for "any physical activity requiring precision," and archery fits pretty well under that umbrella.  I could equally argue that Sherlock Holmes' perceptiveness (which has little to do with good eyesight or depth perception) and the Dalai Lama's enlightenment (which has little to do with whether he'd freak when surprised by a bear) aren't going to help them hit a bullseye any more than Gabby Douglas' backflips.  A good eye will help a bit, sure, but even with perfect knowledge of the target's position, the weak points of its armor, and the prevailing winds there's no guarantee you're going to hit the spot you intended.  What will increase your chances of hitting the spot you intended under those circumstances?  Precision, which falls under the DEX umbrella.  Which is more likely: that a character with perfect coordination will miss because he misjudged the distance, or that a character with perfect perception will miss because his arm wasn't steady or otherwise properly aimed?  I'm not sure, but I can make at least as good an argument for DEX as WIS.  Heck, maybe it should be INT based, because the character with perfect coordination and perfect perception will still need to calculate the appropriate trajectory based on range, windspeed, air resistance and mass of the arrow, and draw weight of the bow (although I suppose practice can sub for that more easily than it can sub for bad eyesight/coordination).  



While I agree with your logic, I think Dex is a bit overpowered in terms of combat right now. It is used for Def with light armor, ranged combat, and finesse melee combat. This is why some people complain that Dex fighters are overpowered. I think moving ranged weaponry to Wis would be a good fix to that problem, and would be just as logical as using Dex (though not more so). As such, I support the notion that Wis, not Dex, should modify your hit rate and damage with a ranged weapon. 



Yeah.



Moreover, I understand Wisdom as keeping track of details (passively perception, but also actively as engaging details), and in this sense “precision”.

It seems using light blades like daggers can benefit from swift agility, as finesse weapons. But archery - and snipers generally - seem better understood as “perceptive” along with the ability to act precisely in accordance with those details.



Also, I want to see Charisma handle all the social skills, including being in tune with others (a necessary component of reallife charisma), which is basically the same thing as “Insight”. I also want to see Charisma handle willpower, especially maintaining sense of self versus the influences of charm and fear.

Wisdom works well as passive perception - the “saving throw” versus hiding, invisibility and illusion. More actively, tasks that require calm (non-explosive) precision, like archery and surgery, can come under the umbrella of the detail-oriented Wisdom.
Also, I want to see Charisma handle all the social skills, including being in tune with others (a necessary component of reallife charisma), which is basically the same thing as “Insight”. I also want to see Charisma handle willpower, especially maintaining sense of self versus the influences of charm and fear.

Wisdom works well as passive perception - the “saving throw” versus hiding, invisibility and illusion. More actively, tasks that require calm (non-explosive) precision, like archery and surgery, can come under the umbrella of the detail-oriented Wisdom.

While it is completely off-topic, I 100% agree with this.

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Off topic: Yes, I also agree about the charisma part and in our group we did some houserules to that effect. Cha was used for active Will saves when you were already under an effect, while Wis was your resistance aginst the effect in the first place. Thus making for instance sorcerers easy to trick with illusions and mind control, but hard to keep trapped if they realised what was happening.
And elves are sometimes wiser than dwarves.... humans are sometimes stronger than orcs...  Let people play what they want

To keep it simple, I give a  +1 to the idea of Dex or Wis in certain situations.



If we dump racial stat bonuses, I am on board.

And heck, make charisma divinecasting while you are at it.

Austinwulf, I'd like Int as Arcane, Wis as Primal, and Cha as Divine. Charisma suits clerics well, and it definitely suits paladins.
Poe's Law is alive and well. Emerikol is right*
Me (DM): "Well..  I guess.. if you are dexterious and have better coordination then you can aim better..."

Him "Um... no?"

At that point, you should have savagely backhanded him as hard as you could and said, "Bad player...BAD!"

It works for me.


 
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.

I would like to see weapon groups that use the lesser of two stats. If you want to be good with a bow, you have dex and wisdom. With a sword dex and strength, a club strength and con. Any thoughts?
I would like to see weapon groups that use the lesser of two stats. If you want to be good with a bow, you have dex and wisdom. With a sword dex and strength, a club strength and con. Any thoughts?



I don't know about that but I wouldn't mind missile weapons go the way of Finesse weapons, Dex or Wis.
Austinwulf, I'd like Int as Arcane, Wis as Primal, and Cha as Divine. Charisma suits clerics well, and it definitely suits paladins.

Psionic.

I would like to see weapon groups that use the lesser of two stats. If you want to be good with a bow, you have dex and wisdom. With a sword dex and strength, a club strength and con. Any thoughts?

It is an interesting mechanic. There are often times, when a skill check really needs one ability to accomplish one aspect of it, and another ability to accomplish another aspect of it. Instead of rolling two successes, which can seem unfair, rolling the lowest of the two could make sense.

I also feel Heavy Armor requires both high Strength and high Constitution. Wielding “oversized” two-handed weapons, like Greatswords and Greathammers (kung-fu style mallets), require both Strength and Constitution.

I havent assessed the mechanical consequences yet, but using the worst of the two abilities is a simple mechanic that addresses these kinds of conflicts.

It also ensures plausibility of character concept. If a character is wielding a crazy-huge hammer, you want that character to be both Strong and Tough.

I would like to see weapon groups that use the lesser of two stats. If you want to be good with a bow, you have dex and wisdom. With a sword dex and strength, a club strength and con. Any thoughts?



Back in the days of weapon proficencies, when fighters couldn't just wield everything like they do now, this would have been a nice way to handle weapon groups.

The idea being that you could chose to be proficient in longsword, and use the best of your dex or strength.  For all other heavy blades you were not proficient in, you would use the least of your dex and strength.

As of now, I'd be happy if they just took all the stats nakid and wrote next to them what you could use them for.  Looking at that list honestly, they should be able to see which stats are more valuable than others and make changes accordingly.

I don't want to see a return to the participation trophy mentality of 4th, where you just took your best stat, and that's what you made all of your attacks with.  At that point, why even play with attributes? 
  At that point, why even play with attributes? 


How about for style...  though some say disconnecting attributes is appropriate since almost all attributes can be and are used in fighting I think you should have two which define  your fighting style.


  • Instinctual and the fastest virtually unplanned actions possible reliant on luck and repetition but with little follow through.

  • forceful direct attacks easier to follow and predict but likely to ignore deception and complexity in an enemies defense very good at connecting solidly first.

  • aimed and adjusted follows the targets current and seeming actions closely

  • complex, hard to predict, oft times spirited attacks guided by inspiration and made difficult to defend against by deception and creativity. 

  • predictive and analytical good at overcoming complexities.


 
  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."

 

The idea being that you could chose to be proficient in longsword, and use the best of your dex or strength.  For all other heavy blades you were not proficient in, you would use the least of your dex and strength. 



As of now, I'd be happy if they just took all the stats nakid and wrote next to them what you could use them for.  Looking at that list honestly, they should be able to see which stats are more valuable than others and make changes accordingly.



I don't want to see a return to the participation trophy mentality of 4th, where you just took your best stat, and that's what you made all of your attacks with.  At that point, why even play with attributes? 

In my experience, this aspect of 4e enriched the flavor of the character. A person who is strong, naturally optimizes to choose all kinds of abilities that benefit from Strength. In this way, the character concept mechanically expresses a rich variety of Strength-related actions, simply by playing the game, and can realize the flavor of the strong person in every way, both in roleplay and in gaming fact. It is a good thing.

I still like the idea of using the worst of two abilities, unless one is proficient, in which case one uses the best of two (in addition to a proficiency bonus). Thats pretty cool.  
  At that point, why even play with attributes? 


How about for style...  though some say disconnecting attributes is appropriate since almost all attributes can be and are used in fighting I think you should have two which define  your fighting style.


  • Instinctual and the fastest virtually unplanned actions possible reliant on luck and repetition but with little follow through.

  • forceful direct attacks easier to follow and predict but likely to ignore deception and complexity in an enemies defense very good at connecting solidly first.

  • aimed and adjusted follows the targets current and seeming actions closely

  • complex, hard to predict, oft times spirited attacks guided by inspiration and made difficult to defend against by deception and creativity. 

  • predictive and analytical good at overcoming complexities.


 

Sounds perfect.

As of now, I'd be happy if they just took all the stats nakid and wrote next to them what you could use them for.  Looking at that list honestly, they should be able to see which stats are more valuable than others and make changes accordingly.

I don't want to see a return to the participation trophy mentality of 4th, where you just took your best stat, and that's what you made all of your attacks with.  At that point, why even play with attributes? 



Yes, this is my opinon aswell. The meaning and use of the stats should be inherent in the stat itself, not completely remapped by class or feats.

The 'everyone only uses their best stat for everything' part of 4E was the thing I disliked the most of all things in 4E.

Of course classes can slightly modify an augment the stats (like sorcerers cast spells with cha) but that should go in line with the base definition of the stat.

I my mind, when it comes to weapons and attacks:

STR - All melee, but expecially heavy or clumsy weapons, heavy thrown (the most powerful melee weapons should be found here)

DEX - Light and finesse weapons as well as light thrown and ranged weapons

WIS - Ranged weapons.

CON is already an important stat for melee due to its contribution to HP, but I would not mind connecting it to wearing heavy armor. It should remain as a passive/defensive stat though.

--

INT and CHA does not feel as melee stats for me and I would rather tie them to skills and mental strenght than to include them in the basic combat stats. While it would be ok under some circumstances that some class uses these for combat in some way, that should not be pictured or used as normal combat (rather like attackroll with a spell or something), and should not be possible with a 'combat training' feat.