AD&D, NEXT, and Ability Scores

So we spent a lot of time updating characters and looking at the new rules, and then playing them out, and even opening up some old AD&D books and reminiscing while comparing.

What really strikes me is how impacting and important ability scores have become in these newest editions, and I am not entirely sure that’s for the better.

18 being +4 on primary skills/attacks really affects the balance of the game, and it’s not hard to reach with all the new bonuses.  Even 20 isn’t unheard of now, offering a whopping +5.

Compare that to good old AD&D.  A 15 was a good score… and offered, at best, +1.  It took a 16 STR to get to +1 damage and a whopping 17 STR to get to +1 hit.  DEX required 16 to improved missile attack rolls, and it didn’t help damage to boot.

What did that mean?  It meant the character was about the roleplay more than the ability scores.  That lucky SOB who rolled a 17 and 15 was only marginally better than your average guy with a 15 and 14 as primary scores.  Or even that Joe Average with the 13 and 12.  Joe wasn’t gimped.  Wasn’t unplayable at all, because ability scores weren’t the primary focus of character creation, class, skill selection, race, and, yes, that thing called roleplay is what the core of a character was.

I honestly think that much of the scaling and balancing problems with characters and the bestiary boils down to the arms race that character creation has become (and yes, I recognize there’s a 0% chance of it going away). The impact of ability scores and how it resonates through everything (from combat probabilities to skill resolution) has made stat rolling more important than class, race, skill, and feature selection – all of which should be the core of the game.  Having a 20 STR will be more important to a Fighter than whatever Fighting Theme, Background, or Specialty they’ll choose… hands down.

And get off my lawn, you young high stat whippersnappers!

PS: It’s also why I think creatures (bestiary) is getting muddled, too.  The effect of stats on a kobold and their weapon choice, etc., is causing some risk vs reward problems from our early (latest packet playtest) experiences.  AD&D certainly had its issues with its monster manual and the difficulty of some creatures versus their XP value, but it was easier to balance.  Creatures had pretty set attack and damage blocks, armor and HPs, or at least fixed enough to have a baseline to use as a guide. Now in Next, I see kobolds using finesse weapons while goblins aren’t, and the impact is dramatic.  Toss a short sword on a goblin, and suddenly he’s a lot more dangerous.  Give a club to a kobold and it’s dreadfully weak.

Honestly, it would be easier to just see Kobold as AC 11, HP 2, Att +0, Dmg 1d4 or by weapon, than trying to recalculate it, what it’s new XP value maybe should be, etc., simply because it found a new blade on the ground.

If ability scores didn’t impact everything so much… those mid range score given to the kobolds or goblins wouldn’t matter.

But it won’t happen.  The (Score-10)/2 and all the up scaling problems (imo) it’s causing is here to stay.  Still, I can’t help but think that they had it right all those years ago.  Let character creation be more about the role than the rolls.

Yup, this is very true. I started with 3e and always thought +1 swords felt kind of out of place. But then I went back and played 1e and had a "Oooooooh" moment. They felt natural back then, not just a flat, unfeeling bonus that it felt like in 3e. Ability scores do make a big difference now, enough to the point where most players feel that if they don't have an 18 in something it's a bad character, and this is sad. But it was a bad byproduct of something that was great, the d20 system. I love 1e and 2e, but if there's one thing 3e did right, it was the core was easy to manage (at first), and easy to manipulate numerically. Addition was very simple and uncomplicated, whereas Thac0 was a bit convoluted. So while I do agree that they make too much of an impact, I still think they are the darker part of a brighter whole.

Now could they reduce them? I don't see why not. 10-11 = 0, 12-16=1, 17-19=2, 20=3 (20 being the cap), does give a bit smoother of a curve.
My two copper.
A lot of us have been saying this since the second playtest packet was released. 

I believe that as long as the devs insist on using this system their game is going to suffer. With each new packet and unwieldy system they introduce the less this seems to be the kind of game I want to invest in. None of the changes they have made works for me. The assertion by the devs that the core is nearly done only saddens me since their core isn't the core I was hoping to see.

I fear D&D Next isn't anything like the game I was looking for. 
You've definitely got a point.  In fact, the older less powerful ability scores make more sense with bounded accuracy too.   If a monster has AC of 14 at 1st level or 10th level, any + to hit against it is huge!

The +5, +6, +7 to hit that 1st level PCs gain in these playtest packages really unbalance them vs. the monsters.   I think it would be much better to knock them down a bit.


  

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

I am going to try to convince my players to try this ability score chart













































































































ability scored20 moddmg mod
1-3-5
2-2-4
3-2-4
4-2-3
5-1-3
6-1-2
7-1-2
8-1
9-1
10
11
12+1
13+1+1
14+1+2
15+1+2
16+2+3
17+2+3
18+2+4
19+3+4
20+3+5

 paired with this armor listing






































































ArmorAC
leather12 + dex mod
displacer beast hide13 + dex mod
Mitheral chain14 + dex mod
studded leather14 + dex mod (max 2)
scale mail15 + dex mod (max 2)
dragon scale16 + dex mod (max 2)
ringmail14
chainmail16
banded17
plate18

 
I'm in concurrance with this. If Next has both bounded accuracy and the current ability mods, the results will be less than glorious. The seperating damage and hit idea I like, I hope the Devs will at least consider it. Wizards are the ones who changed the ability system in the first place, no reason they can't again. 
Just get rid of the "to hit" modifier entirely.
Just get rid of the "to hit" modifier entirely.



Would you replace it with something?
Why would it need to be?
I really like your table, ardisiankhaine. It had never occured to me that you could split the hit bonus and damage bonus--despite looking over a bunch of AD&D material over the last month! How did you come up with your number spread?
Just a few onions short of a patch.
Just get rid of the "to hit" modifier entirely.


I'm into it. It just does more damage when you hit.

In dumb game terms it's explained by saying, your chance to hit is guided more by you experience and your knowledge of your skillset and how to use it. Damage is affected by your raw power or accuracy when that experience pays off.

I like it in theory. Simpler, lessons the focus of getting 18s and being "optimal" and makes the moath more predictable.... and thus combat more fun to design.
Meanwhile, stats aren't useless (checks, saves, damage and such) and you could stilll give fighters +3 and clerics +2 and so on if you'd like to reflect how different classes excel when they operate in martial combat vs magical. 

I know people would rage against it, but the idea appeals to me. 
A few guidelines for using the internet: 1. Mentally add "In my opinion" to the end of basically anything someone else says. Of course it's their opinion, they don't need to let you know. You're pretty smart. 2. Assume everyone means everything in the best manner they could mean it. Save yourself some stress and give people the benefit of the doubt. We'll all be happier if we type less emoticons. 3. Don't try to read people's minds. Sometimes people mean exactly what they say. You probably don't know them any better than they know themselves. 4. Let grammar slide. If you understood what they meant, you're good. It's better for your health. 5. Breath. It's just a dumb game.
I am going to try to convince my players to try this ability score chart


Seems like you'd just as soon use this instead (balanced both ways):













































































































ability scored20 moddmg mod
1-3-5
2-3-4
3-2-4
4-2-3
5-2-3
6-1-2
7-1-2
8-1-1
9-1
10
11
12+1
13+1+1
14+1+2
15+1+2
16+2+3
17+2+3
18+2+4
19+3+4
20+3+5
Just get rid of the "to hit" modifier entirely.


I'm into it. It just does more damage when you hit.

In dumb game terms it's explained by saying, your chance to hit is guided more by you experience and your knowledge of your skillset and how to use it. Damage is affected by your raw power or accuracy when that experience pays off.

I like it in theory. Simpler, lessons the focus of getting 18s and being "optimal" and makes the moath more predictable.... and thus combat more fun to design.
Meanwhile, stats aren't useless (checks, saves, damage and such) and you could stilll give fighters +3 and clerics +2 and so on if you'd like to reflect how different classes excel when they operate in martial combat vs magical. 

I know people would rage against it, but the idea appeals to me. 


You could eliminate the ability mods altogether and use the scores directly for almost everything if you change D&D from a roll-over to a roll-under system.

But this applies:
I know people would rage against it, but the idea appeals to me.

Just get rid of the "to hit" modifier entirely.


I'm into it. It just does more damage when you hit.

In dumb game terms it's explained by saying, your chance to hit is guided more by you experience and your knowledge of your skillset and how to use it. Damage is affected by your raw power or accuracy when that experience pays off.

I like it in theory. Simpler, lessons the focus of getting 18s and being "optimal" and makes the moath more predictable.... and thus combat more fun to design.
Meanwhile, stats aren't useless (checks, saves, damage and such) and you could stilll give fighters +3 and clerics +2 and so on if you'd like to reflect how different classes excel when they operate in martial combat vs magical. 

I know people would rage against it, but the idea appeals to me. 


You could eliminate the ability mods altogether and use the scores directly for almost everything if you change D&D from a roll-over to a roll-under system.

But this applies:
I know people would rage against it, but the idea appeals to me.



I miss roll-under checks. They did that in 2e right?

Either way, my homebrew d10 system (4th grade was a crazy time in my life) was roll under and I always thought quite elegant and easy to explain. That said, rolling under isn't "as fun" for reasons I can't fully grasp.
A few guidelines for using the internet: 1. Mentally add "In my opinion" to the end of basically anything someone else says. Of course it's their opinion, they don't need to let you know. You're pretty smart. 2. Assume everyone means everything in the best manner they could mean it. Save yourself some stress and give people the benefit of the doubt. We'll all be happier if we type less emoticons. 3. Don't try to read people's minds. Sometimes people mean exactly what they say. You probably don't know them any better than they know themselves. 4. Let grammar slide. If you understood what they meant, you're good. It's better for your health. 5. Breath. It's just a dumb game.

What about getting rid of the link between attributes and accuracy/damage?



What if your damage bonus is equal to your weapon proficiency bonus? (I.E. fighters get +3 damage with weapons, everyone else +2, and it scales as you level up)



Then attributes are purely for skill checks and saving throws. It would really help out with bounded accuracy and make it so people don't feel obligated to max out one attribute and ignore the others.



I know it seems strange to get rid of it, but after spending hours on charop for 4e I think it would be a welcome change. Once they decided that each class could use its primary attribute for attack/damage it drags down the system in my opinion.

A lot of food for thought and certainly feasibility, but I seriously doubt the dev  team would go away from this emphasis on ability scores that has become part of the WotC D&D universe.

Yes, they could change it, and I honestly believe they should change it, but they won’t for whatever reason (simplicity? naw… it’s certainly no inconvenience to look up ability score values when you already have the books open during creation… I am guessing that they just like the idea of stats having a big impact on the game and the emphasis on optimization over roles.. it fitts with the Max DPS world that they are trying to attract players from.)

Ironically, what people whom I have lured away from the MMOs I play have proven to me is that they enjoy the departure from Recount Meters and Leaderboards.  A chance to play a character rather than gear/stat dependant Elitist Jerk number crunched numeric machine is what makes D&D fun.

I do like your thinking, Ardisiankhaine, but I would personally still take it further.  Something like:




































































































Ability ScoreD20 modDMG mod
3-2-3
4-2-2
5-1-2
6-1-1
7-1
8-1
9
10
11
12
13+1
14+1
15+1+1
16+1+2
17+2+2
18+2+3
19+3+4
20+3+5



I would want to see the heavy impact to skills and combat be even further out… it also allows for higher stats on creatures without the dramatic impact on their power or combat ability.  A 14 DEX creature wouldn’t be outrageously better with a dagger, but it would certainly indicate that they’d be a little more dangerous.  All the “common” humanoids that make up the bulk of the world wouldn’t be difficult to balance and add.  XP values would be simple, too, because you’d have pretty clear baseline attacks, damage, etc., centered more around the creature’s HD/Level (power) and not nearly as impacted by stats.

I really wish they'd reconsider, but.. sigh... I just don't think they have it in them to take a serious look at making the Class Roles be center stage over the character sheet rolls.

PS: Anyone else miss actually having racial penalties?  More frail elves, weak halflings, or homely dwarves for example.  Not sure why, but I do.

PSS: Also, +2 on a stat for humans, after a lot of testing, is too much.  I wouldn't care if they got an extra +1, but the +2/+1 boost on stat charts that are so heavily determining of balance, has too much effect.

I miss roll-under checks. They did that in 2e right?

Either way, my homebrew d10 system (4th grade was a crazy time in my life) was roll under and I always thought quite elegant and easy to explain. That said, rolling under isn't "as fun" for reasons I can't fully grasp.


You know, it's been so long since I played 2E, I don't really recall.  I know in older editions sometimes you'd need to roll low and sometimes roll high, so it was there in one way or another up until 3E, maybe not on attack rolls or saving throws though, idk.
As to the reason roll-under isn't as fun, psychologically bigger numbers are better, I suppose.
What about getting rid of the link between attributes and accuracy/damage?

What if your damage bonus is equal to your weapon proficiency bonus? (I.E. fighters get +3 damage with weapons, everyone else +2, and it scales as you level up)


Then attributes are purely for skill checks and saving throws. It would really help out with bounded accuracy and make it so people don't feel obligated to max out one attribute and ignore the others.


I know it seems strange to get rid of it, but after spending hours on charop for 4e I think it would be a welcome change. Once they decided that each class could use its primary attribute for attack/damage it drags down the system in my opinion.



Why do you need a damage bonus at all?  Fighters certainly don't now with ED.  If ED stays with Rogues, then I can see there not needing to be any damage bonus for any class.  It might seem weird that STR doesn't add to damage at all anymore though.
PS: Anyone else miss actually having racial penalties?  More frail elves, weak halflings, or homely dwarves for example.  Not sure why, but I do.


PSS: Also, +2 on a stat for humans, after a lot of testing, is too much.  I wouldn't care if they got an extra +1, but the +2/+1 boost on stat charts that are so heavily determining of balance, has too much effect.



Yes, the return of racial penalties would be welcome.  It doesn't have to balance out like it used to (if you get a +4 somewhere you've got to have a total of -4 elsewhere), but sometimes it just plain makes sense.  For example, why should a race that's 2' shorter than humans have the same strength as humans?  Halflings, I'm looking at you.


As for the Humans in Next - yeah, that's a total (and bad) joke, what the designers have done there.  I've repeatedly asked for a redesign of that in the survey results, make humans have racial traits just like every other race.

What about keeping humans as the baseline with no plusses? I always loved the reasoning behind the 3D6 for stat generation as it gives you a standard distribution bell curve of stats for all characters, just as if they were a real population. This of course gives players characters that are normal persons placed in an extraordinary situation, and not everybody likes to play a game like that, but I always loved that assumption. Having players roll 4D6 and then getting +2/+1 to all your stats really skewes the results you get out of stat generation, and that doesn't make any sense to me at all. I wish they would keep the standard distribution as the default asumption for stats and then adjust the bonuses if they feel that playing a normal person is too boring. They could even have three sets of charts for "Easy, Normal and "Hard" or whatever they choose to call it.

But whatever, I'm rambling. I just don't get the reasoning behind the extra dice and pluses to stats. It seems like an unnecessary layer that serves no other purpose than inflating the stats of characters because people have gotten used to seeing those numbers over the years and want ever higher numbers to feel like they are better than average.

*rant over*

/Angerforce
I like the system the way it is.  If the dm of a given game feels that a proliferation of extremely high abiity scores will cause a problem then it's up to him/her to use a ability score generation method that fixes it, only allowing a really high score once in a while.  I don't believe the solution is to actually nerf the high scores themselves...if there isn't much difference between a average score and a high one then why have ability scores at all?  Of course if you use a array or point buy system (which I don't, at least not as is) then everyone has the same opportunity to have those high scores anyway, nice & even, so what difference does it make?

Here's what I do: 

Low array-- 14, 13, 12, 10, 8, 6

Assign this array as desired--these are the MINIMUM each score can be.   Then roll (4d6 drop lowest) for each score, IN ORDER.  If you roll higher than the score indicated by the array you get to keep the higher score.  Then apply modifiers.

So really high scores will not be common while still being possible, and at least on the scores that matter you will not have scores that are too low.  It's a semi-random system, works really well & completely eliminates the need for re-rolls.  I didn't like any of the existing methods so I thought about it until I came up with one I did like.  My players like it too.
Hey there,

Since this isn't really a session report, I'll move it to Player Playtest Session Feedback.

Thanks!

Monica


Ironically, what people whom I have lured away from the MMOs I play have proven to me is that they enjoy the departure from Recount Meters and Leaderboards.  A chance to play a character rather than gear/stat dependant Elitist Jerk number crunched numeric machine is what makes D&D fun.



This is the exact reason why I stopped playing any MMOs about a year ago.   I was getting sucked into a kind of mindless grind that was 90% combat and 10% other.   I'm actually trying to entice one of my old friends to get into our playtesting sessions of D&DNext (away from his World of Warcraft, etc), but I'm losing that battle.  I'll have to stick with the other friends who I'm playtesting with.  That's ok.

I really like the ideas in this thread.   Depending on the final outcome of D&DNext, I may decide to limit the abilities of the PCs in my group.  We'll see.  

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

I was getting sucked into a kind of mindless grind that was 90% combat and 10% other.

I wasn't aware "other" existed in MMOs.

I was getting sucked into a kind of mindless grind that was 90% combat and 10% other.

I wasn't aware "other" existed in MMOs.




Well..the other includes interacting with other people who are focued on trying to kill and gain levels.

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

I was getting sucked into a kind of mindless grind that was 90% combat and 10% other.

I wasn't aware "other" existed in MMOs.

Well..the other includes interacting with other people who are focued on trying to kill and gain levels.

9% of that 10% is trade talk about Chuck Norris.

--- back on topic ---

Your point is valid, Tim_the_Enchanter68, but not complete.  Part of what I am pointing out is that with such dramatic impact of the Ability Score charts, it resonates throughout D&D.  A Kobold with a 12 DEX and 7 STR is heavily impacted by weapon choice and thus their balance is impacted.  It's why a kobold with a sling can be frightening at level 1, but is laughable if they were to be using a club.

As a DM, fixed damage output by creatures (the good old 1d4, 1d6, 1d8 of AD&D) at low level made for easy inclusion.  Throw in a level 1 creature with a 14 DEX and a short sword, and suddenly it's a much deadlier creature than it's level indicates, just because I wanted it to be "agile."

So, by your thinking, to make sure Ability Scores don't unbalance the game, I have to go adjust the entire Bestiary to make sure creatures are not unduly modified by the D&D inflation of recent editions.  That's a hassle.

As is, the best thing they could do is scrap the idea of trying to make the Bestiary stay in line with the Ability Score charts because it doesn't serve the game well at all.  Just throw out Abiilty Scores on creatures entirely, and balance monsters according to level, XP, etc.

A good "Monster Manual" is one where the creatures are interesting, challenging, and appropriate for their level and XP value.  Those good old 2 HP, AC 7, Att +0, DMG 1d4 Kobold worth 7 XPs in AD&D were perfect.  Nothing complicated, nothing wildly unbalancing, and easy to take a handful and drop in the sandbox for their low XP values.

Now, they come with some caution.  Attack +1 (1d4+1) with +1 per Mob Tactic ally adjacent to target for 10 XP could easily be a nightmare.  That 15 Kobold room in CoC against a 1st level party in AD&D was scary enough, but not necessarily TPK inducing... but with the boosts from DEX, extra rules to apply, etc., it changes their relative value and complicates things.

At any rate, if they persist to keep the (Stat-10)/2 charts, I hope they scrap the idea of trying to balance the Bestiary to it because creatures need to be balanced against challenge and for level, not in an effort to try to adhere to player rules.

Regardless, though, the game needs to be balanced against the norm.  If the average Point Buy or 4d6 (drop 1), results in a primary of 18 (easy right now, with stat bonuses), then +4/+4 along with any class bonuses (+3 or +2) is going to be the mean.  That's +7/+4 attack/damage that the entire Bestiary needs to be balanced against.  That's a high scale.  AC 11 kobolds are hit on a 4.  85% of the time.  There won't be much challenge there except if you scale them up... creating balance inflation and departing from the beautiful simplicity of good old D&D/AD&D of old.

Not only that, if you balance against those high numbers, if I want to play a more "non-superhero" campaign, I have to account for the Bestiary inflation to make sure they stand a chance.

I know there will never be an universal agreement on the subject, but from my experience and personal perspective, the every new edition, every new class, every new feature must be bigger, better, and "badder" than the previous eventually erodes the game and departs from the simple, pure fun of what classic D&D did so well.
I think you're overcomplicating it.  All that they need do with each given monster is make sure the level/xp values are right with respect to a given PC level fighting them, and in the case of very weak monsters like kobolds how many of them it takes to be equivalent to one lvl. 1 monster...there need be no hard lvl. 1 minimum of how powerful a monster is, and therefore no inflation is necessary.  What I'm saying is the power level of a monster should define its level/xp value, not the other way around.  If for example a minotaur happens to hit like a pile-driver because of it's high str. score then its level/xp should reflect this, it (or it's str score whatever it may be) should not be made weaker to make it conform to a fixed level of power.  It will still be balanced, just against slightly higher level PCs, or more PCs.

And I don't think a kobold would be using a club (unless maybe there was a "light club" that counted as a finesse weapon, or it had nothing else available & couldn't flee for some reason), typical kobolds are simply too physically weak to effectively employ that combat style, and the system reflects that.  Really it could be assumed that any weapon a kobold is equipped with (within constraints of common sense of course, and never above the 1d6 damage range) would be a version suitable to a kobold and therefore usable as a finesse weapon.

CoC?  I never thought I'd live to see the day Caves of Chaos would have a contemporary abreviation akin to WoW.... 


heh. Yeah, I type too much as is :P  I am working hard at being more concise :P

I get what you are saying, but still differ in how dramatic the impact of ability scores should be.  Beyond that, I suppose it's also a difference of opinion on what kind of selection a DM should have available from the MM/Bestiary.

For you, Kobolds being more deadly because they are finesse weapon weilding high threat creatures that should come in small  groups is fine because they should be balanced around that fact.

For me, I want a creature (Kobolds in this case) that can be used in greater quantity (classic D&D style) that are only dangerous because of their advantage in numbers.  The extra +1 attack, +1 damage, +1 AC and Mob Tactics to +5 attack might not sound like a lot, but the affect on combat and encounter building is pretty significant.

This was proven out last Friday Night where my NEXT Playtest Group spent the night only testing the new combat mechanics and features in mock encounters (normally, we roleplay).  Skirmishes against 6 Kobolds became heavily influenced by Initiative Rolls. Because player Attack Bonuses are so high now, first strikes rule the day... so to counteract that, they give kobolds these swarm bonuses... meaning that the single most important d20 in combat is the first (initiative).  The laughable 6 kobolds winning initiative suddenly become +1 to +6 attack (eventually) at 1d4+1, a much more worrisome threat (thought still pretty weak).  But make that 12 kobolds, and now we are talking serious impact.

At any rate, I still want next to be more OD&D/AD&D than 3.5E/4E.  I love the elegant simplicity they gave us with Expertise Dice to create more RP and more options, without huge impact on balance.  For Monsters, something simple and easy to adjudicate would be best, imo.  No need to ramp up Kobolds significantly from their good ol' days, just a little tweak as in Mob Tactics +2 (+2 capped).  If player attack bonuses (and damage) is toned done some, then that AC 12, Att +0, Dmg 1d4 creature in higher volume is still a fun, somewhat challenging encounter.

As for one of my all-time favorites, the Minotaur, he'd still be out there with hsi devistating attacks and clever ways to terrorize when PCs come across them... and it wouldn't have to be because specific ability scores were assigned it.  No, the easiest solution is to just design the Minotaur to be all it can be.

I guess what I am saying is that Monsters shouldn't be anything more than just that.  There's no need to complicate matters by trying to make them creature versions of player character creation.  That's way more work than needs to be done and much harder to keep balanced.

 
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What about the idea of doing it like M&M third edition, where they forego the ability and just use the modifier?  Like, where we might say, "I have a strength of 16," in that system you would say, "I have a strength of 3."  It means the same thing.  There are only small differences between even and odd strength scores, and no difference for other ability scores.  The abilities are just there to give you an ability modifier.  Why not skip the ability and go straight to the modifier?

I suppose there's a certain amount of sentimental value in having scores of 3-18 rather than -4 to 4, though.
I certainly don't need actual ability scores for creatures in the Bestiary.  If they wanted to put in simple bonuses (when applicable), that would work great for me.

In the end, I just hope they don't try to "class" every creature and apply Character Rules to monsters.  Just balance the creatures of the Bestiary according to level and XP (which reflects relative challenge) and let them be unique, interesting, and useful in their own right.
The way ability scores are right now it makes me wonder really where the other races stand in comparison to humans at least when it comes to ability scores. Humans get +1 to EVERY ability except one. In that one they get +2. All the other races get only +1 to a single ability. So every human is as graceful as the elves? Every human is as tough as a hilldwarf? I get that the other racial abilities of those races are pretty cool but to make their attributes hands down worse than every human in existence is not right. Especially not with the impact attributes play on everything else in the game.

I'm fine with exceptional humans being able to /match/ an elf for grace (aka +2 to dex for elves and the human puts their +2 into dex) for example but for every last human to be as graceful is just... wrong. It's a bad power gap that isn't necessary.

I know people are going to say: but racial weapon damage boost! or Hit die boost for dwarves! Cool, yeah, a dwarf with a hand axe does a d8 damage instead of a d6. Awesome. But a human can put +2 into Strength and get +1 to hit and +1 to damage with all melee weapons higher than any dwarf, and have the same con as that dwarf!

+1 to every stat is /strong/ in this system, especially with skills capping at +7, +2 to any ability of choice is also very strong.

Give the demi-humans +2 to their racial attribute so they can at least keep up. 
In my game I don't use the racial weapon rule as is, I count it as providing automatic proficiency only.

To make up for this I give each non-human race +2/-2 modifiers like 3.5 & COMBINE them with the subrace modifier provided.  So if you're a dwarf that gives you +2con/-2chr and if your subrace is hill dwarf you get a further +1con for a total of +3con/-2chr.  If you were a mountain dwarf you would end up with +2con/+1wis/-2chr.

It seems to work pretty well & highlights the differences between the races which I personally like.  I've been toying with the idea of eliminating the class-provided ability score modifier, but so far I'm still using it.  Yes, I realize this makes it possible for example a hill dwarf fighter to get +4 con(and no bonus to str, would this really happen?), but what the heck, dwarves are SUPPOSED to be really tough, and it gives them a real advantage to make up for not getting a bonus in str or dex.
Ability scores have been too important in recent editions it true. How about they dial back racial and class ability bonuses or eliminate them altogether. Probably get rid of class ability bonus would be best. This combined with the old OD+D ability bonus system. 9-12= +\- 0, 13-15= +1, 16-17= +2, and 18= +3. What do you think?
I could not agree more with Kali-Mada.  I know that one of the main aims of D&D next is flattening the math/power progression & this is part of the reason for the demi-humans getting only +1 instead of a +2.  But your point about humans is entirely valid.  Why is every human fighter going to be a better fighter than a dwarf of the same class and level.  There are a few ways of handling this to make it fair to dwarves, elves, halflings (and half-orcs & gnomes when/if we see them).  Increase the demi-human bonus to +2 to a key stat and bring back a small penalty of -1 to another stat... for elves make the option CON or STR.  For dwarves WIS or CHA.  This could strike a balance: I know some folks think that the human stat bonuses are OK because the demi-humans get other, non ability score benefits.  While I understand this, I disagree.  The total bonuses that human characters get are +7.  That's too generous. 

Tim the Enchanter has some interesting ideas, though I have to say that I doubt that they'll allow any race get a +3 stat bonus at LV1.  But I also personally like the differences between the races and also would not mind a minor penalty to create some balance for the rules.
Speaking of ridiculous bonuses and damage (okay, this is kind of off topic), what the heck happened to low-level spells and cantrips? Spells that used to do d3 now suddenly so d10. Even Magic Missile seems too strong since it's supposed to be a weakish attack spell. I find the problem of inflation started with abilities and spread to everything. It seems that big numbers mean power and using smaller numbers would somehow seem weak. I really don't get this. The numbers are arbitrary abstractions so why do they need to be excessively bloated?


It's all good and pretty, and I agree that excessive Ability Modifiers may be bad...


But what does +1 or +4 from Strength matter when you are dealing 1d8+6d6+20 of damage already?
Martial Damage Dice and Martial Damage Bonus are game-breaker, imo.

(at least for raw damage, I haven't entirely tested the dice use for maneuvers yet)

They'd be the first thing I'd eliminate were I to play 5ed as it is right now.
Likely I'd substitute it for some house rules, probably bringing back multiple-attacks for high level characters. 
cassmi:  I think the increase in cantrip power is meant to replace the wizard's crossbow and counter the fact that the number of spells has been signicantly reduced.  It's far more interesting for a lvl 1 wizard to spam ray of frost, rather than firing a crossbow, and more balanced for a high level wizard to have an at-will attack that deals some damage, rather than a large enough pool of spells that he effecitively doesn't run out. 

Rastapopoulos: this perspective on martial damage doens't make sense to me.  You seem to think that it's broken to do 1d8+6d6+20 damage.  But how is that more broken than doing a third of that damage with four times the number of attacks?  5e is designed to scale hp instead of AC.  A high level fighter lops of an orcs head in a single blow, rather than hacking the orc apart with four lightning quick slices.  I guess we can argue over the flavor and mechanics of this (as is being done all over these forums), but I'm not sure how one is 'broken' and the other isn't. 

Game-breaking and broken in this case are slightly different concepts.

It's not "broken" because it works as a system on itself, but it does affect several other rules in a bad way, and that, to me, feels like "game-breaking" thinking of the game as a whole, interacting organism.

For instance, if you apply +6d6 and another +20 (or whatever huge ammount of damage of the sort, even if half of that much), your Ability Bonus to damage becomes utterly irrelevant, be it +0 or +4.
You already have an average +41 damage on each attack, so +1, +2 or +4 really matters not.

The same can be said for weapon choice. Things like "I'm focusing on one-handed damage so I'll choose a sword that deals 1d8 instead of a dagger that deals 1d4" become irrelevant... 1d4+41 or 1d8+41... no biggie.
In this system your level is basically all that matters to your damage output.

If you have multiple attacks, however, things change drastically.
Not only you have to score a hit with all attacks to deal the full damage, so your combat round will not be like: either no damage at all or huge ammounts of damage;
but also each small bonus you get here and there do count (a +3 from Str instead of +1, a d10 weapon instead of d6, etc), because those bits of extra damage will be applied for each attack individually and sum up.
Three or four attacks of 1d10+4 will deal considerably more damage than the same ammount of attacks dealing 1d6+1.

Like that, all the small choices you make along the way as you level count.




Also, I see a lot of people arguing that Damage now scales with level instead of AC.

That just doesn't make sense to me.
Maybe AC did scale with level in 4ed, which I didn't like and barely played so I can't really recall.
But before that edition, which developers seem to be kinda ignoring on this 5ed anyway, AC did not scale with level.

Aside from a few feats like Dodge which you could take or not, and perhaps a few class abilities that gave minor bonuses... your AC was Dex+Armor and that's about it.
So what's changed, really, to justify that much more damage? Specially when HP has also not changed much from 3ed to 5ed.

 
those are good points.  I guess I just think that damage depending on class and level way more than weapon and strength is a feature, and not broken.  Or at least something I'm willing to explore.  I feel like I would like to see weapon choice matter more . . .

And the justification for more damage is reduction in number of attacks.  You are right that the main flaw in this is that you either do a lot of damage or zero.  The main advantage is that it is faster and that you don't have cuisinarts of death as fighters.  A 3e fan could think of it is as every martial character automatically using power attack on every attack.  Then if you want to sacrifice damage for accuracy, you can do so through maneuvers which use your martial dice to do things like grant advantage to hit.  Martial dice aren't just damage, they are the instrument for using melee abilities. 

So the +6d6 damage represents a choice to not parry any damage, not attack multiple targets or not otherwise manuever in an interesting way.  the +20 damage makes as much sense to me as a +20 to hit applied on a decresing scale many times . . .

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