Sacred Steak: Consolidating the 6 attributes

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The current six primary attributes are rather outdated. Especially when we are moving to each one having its own saving throws. Three of the six attributes are left in the dust (strength, intelligence, and charisma) while the other three are significantly important for every class.

Furthermore, it remains relatively unclear as to which ability score is necessary for each type of saving throw (see charm and dominate, one requires a wisdom save while the other requires a charisma save). This confusion and the power discrepancy between attributes can be reduced if we simply combine the attributes.

I suggest a reduction to 4 primary attributes.

Strength: covers feats of strength, endurance, and fortitude. Primary attribute for fighter types

Agility: covers speed, reflexes, and coordination. Primary attribute for rogue-likes.

Intellect: covers knowledge, insight, and observation. Primary attribute for the magically adept.

Spirit: covers grit, determination, and willpower. Primary attribute for those who follow the way of the gods.

With these reductions/ consolidations we have a much more simple and streamlined skill/saving throw system. It becomes much easier to determine which attribute should be called upon for a particular check or saving throw. Each ability score is also much closer to the others in overall usefulness.

Thoughts on this bit of sacred steak?
Yeah, but then you have to shove things into categories where the connection is tenuous at best.
The termination of a sacred cow so huge has got to come with a commensurately huge payoff.

I'm not seeing the huge payoff.
If that is something you would like to do, go for it.  That is not a slight meant against you, because I understand what you are trying to argue.  And the solutions are: Increase the options to roughly equal to six ability scores, or Make the ability scores fit are current options.

Personally, one of my favourite systems uses 9 ability scores, so I am not a fan of trim and simplistic.  Simple game design is key, as long as that simplicity does not make megablocks out of legos.  If it would be more satifactory for you and your group, house rule, as it would be an easy fix for the problem you see.  Though, I would probably scrap ability score bonuses if you did that, and switch to bonuses that reflect the old spirit of the ability score, like Dwarven Toughness. 

I am only very rarely moved to post because of an emotional reaction to an idea; this is one of those rare times. I’m shocked that such a thing could even be contemplated. My insides, from my throat down to my stomach sort of shake when I read your words, it is an unpleasant feeling. Although I am by nature and philosophy a pacifist I find myself hoping that you are eaten by a large, winged fish.


For all of our sakes I hope you find your way to a good psychiatrist. Preferably one that is prone to prescribing large doses of psychologically transforming drugs.
Thoughts on this bit of sacred steak?


Perfectly fine idea if you are creating Lawolf's RPG.  For 5e, however, we can be extremely confident the six ability scores will remain as they have been.  As such, there is no room for speculating the contraction of ability scores in 5e.

I am only very rarely moved to post because of an emotional reaction to an idea; this is one of those rare times. I’m shocked that such a thing could even be contemplated. My insides, from my throat down to my stomach sort of shake when I read your words, it is an unpleasant feeling. Although I am by nature and philosophy a pacifist I find myself hoping that you are eaten by a large, winged fish.


For all of our sakes I hope you find your way to a good psychiatrist. Preferably one that is prone to prescribing large doses of psychologically transforming drugs.



This is one of those rare times when I can type "lol" and actually mean it. Also, if this steak is sacred, it better be damn tasty eating, and this idea does in fact leave a bad taste in my mouth. If you want an RPG with Strength, Agility, Intellect, and Spirit however, you could always check out the Sword and Sorcery line of WoW RPG books. They are actually pretty cool, and I wish I could find a group that could get over the stigma WoW has so I could run/play it. Oh, they also use stamina, in place of constitution. Forgot about that one.
If it would be more satifactory for you and your group, house rule, as it would be an easy fix for the problem you see.  



House rules are never easy. If they were then the great undertaking to build a modual D&D rule system would not be so great. There would be little need for a playtest, they would just produce a simple game and everyone could produce "easy" fixes through house rules. 

To OP, sacred cows are immune to fire. People don't want a new game, they want their old game in a new book.
.

Personally, one of my favourite systems uses 9 ability scores,  



It wouldn't be WoD would it? 
They can have 1 attribute or 637, as long as they don't try to call it D&D. For it to be D&D requires 6 attributes.



/thread
/forum
/playtest


.

Personally, one of my favourite systems uses 9 ability scores,  



It wouldn't be WoD would it? 



That was my thought too, and I second the "favorite systems" part.

For those confused on how DDN's modular rules might work, this may provide some insight: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/11/the-world-of-darkness-shines-when-it-abandons-canon

@mikemearls: Uhhh... do you really not see all the 3e/4e that's basically the entire core system?

 

It is entirely unnecessary to denigrate someone else's approach to gaming in order to validate your own.

They can have 1 attribute or 637, as long as they don't try to call it D&D. For it to be D&D requires 6 attributes.



i agree with phoenix.

the 6 stat system isn't perfect, but it is one of the corest things to Dungeons and Dragons. 
It's interesting how posting the same thread every month or two seems to continue generating the same responses.
They can have 1 attribute or 637, as long as they don't try to call it D&D. For it to be D&D requires 6 attributes.


COM

NEVER FORGET
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 don't think it fits.  Few stat games usually are very simplistic/streamlined games.  The increased abstract nature of a stat covering more things fits with those systems.  Generally the more you want to be able to define a character on a mechanical level the worse fewer stats is.  There are ways around it with pseudo stats and other gimmicks but I don;t see it as worth it.

D&D kind of falls in the mid-range on customization and I think 6 stats hits that fairly well.  It isn't champions/hero system or even shadowrun level of customization but it is more than say savage worlds. All of which are games I love to play.  Savage worlds simple streamlined system is a blast but I miss the levels of customization and character building I get from other games even if those games usually have a slower resolution mechanic that bogs down play a bit.  

I don't know D&D and 6 stats kind of hit the sweet spot IMO.  Now I would like a bit of work to be done on balancing stats by broadening definitions of what the stat is and what it covers.  Hell they did it for charisma in later editions why not strength and intelligence or whatever other stat might be a bit under powered.   
If I ran D&D and continuity wasn't a thing that mattered, here's what the attributes would be.

Flash:  This determines reaction speed, how quickly a PC can run & jump from one place to the next, plus wit and dazzle in social situations.

Moxie: This encapsulates spirit, competence and courage in the face of difficult situations. It also encompasses energy levels and the ability to shrug off  deleterious conditions.

Poise: This is how readily the PC arrives at or regains a state of physical and mental equilibrium. It determines steadiness of hands, solidity of stance and the capacity to stay calm during tense negotiations.

Gnarl: This is the PC's physical and intimidatory presence, encapsulating sheer brawn and ferocity plus how readily the PC can make timorous foes wet their pants and run for their lives.

Perspicacity:  This is the keenness, astuteness and raw power of the PC's mind, determining how readily they can solve arcane problems and find the answers they need with moments to spare.

But since I see neither a Wizards R&D position being offered to me, nor collective amnesia amongst all D&D fans, I'm happy to have the game  stick with the Big Six.
I'm a big fan of the Strength/Agility/Intelligence/Spirit layout, although I could easily see that switch to Strength/Agility/Intelligence/Moxie just so we have a different initial for each ability score.

This is an entire edition change.  They've already made it a dice-pool game.  No change is too large to consider.
The metagame is not the game.
 Killing cows worked so well for 4th ed.
I'm a big fan of the Strength/Agility/Intelligence/Spirit layout, although I could easily see that switch to Strength/Agility/Intelligence/Moxie just so we have a different initial for each ability score.


I like "Focus" for the fourth score in the layout.  Makes the common ground between willpower and perception more obvious.
What if I wish add more score abilities? (Because I wish create a mixture of d20 system... and other games by other companies).

It could be only a couple of pages of Dungeon Master II with some advices to avoid abuses by munchkins. 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

They can have 1 attribute or 637, as long as they don't try to call it D&D. For it to be D&D requires 6 attributes.



with a modual it can easely have more though, spliting the ability scores into 2 sub ability scores like they did in 2nd edition skills and powers.
for example dex would have the sub ability scores Aim and balance aim determins to hit with range and finesse weapons, and balance determins Ac adjustment from dex.
I'm a big fan of the Strength/Agility/Intelligence/Spirit layout, although I could easily see that switch to Strength/Agility/Intelligence/Moxie just so we have a different initial for each ability score.


I like "Focus" for the fourth score in the layout.  Makes the common ground between willpower and perception more obvious.

Cool, agreed.

I do like the core 6 we have as long as they are interpretted broadly.

When Charisma is  -> Creativity, Spirit, Inspiration(Divine Guidance), Cleverness and Intimidation and so on.... and so forth

 
  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."

 

Personally I'd sooner see them split the attributes further.  If you split the fine motor skills required for ranged weapons/light weapons/lock picking/sleight of hand away from the gross motor coordination (agility) required for balance/tumble/AC, you split perceptiveness away from force of will (and maybe give it to intelligence, since it is mostly about processing information quickly and figuring out what's important and what it means), and you move cleric's magic stat to charisma (wisdom really never made any sense to me), and it all works out pretty well.  Everybody needs agility for AC, wisdom/willpower for mind affecting saves, constitution for HP, and then another stat for their attacks (dexterity/strength/intelligence/charisma).  None of those stats are overpoweringly better than any other, and nobody can afford to be a one or two stat wonder.  Without giving up on variations that go to the core of differentiating characters and what they're good at in an ability check based system, or creating these bloated amalgamations of attributes that don't mean anything because they've arbitrarily decided to lump several distinct abilities into a single one.  Why should perceptiveness have anything to do with willpower?  Why should the ability to do back flips have anything to do with the ability to shoot a bow?  Why should being able to knock down doors make you better at surviving being stabbed?  You can fix super stats by breaking them up as easily as you can by mushing inferior stats together, and end up with more nuanced characters.
They can have 1 attribute or 637, as long as they don't try to call it D&D. For it to be D&D requires 6 attributes.


This.

6-stats is core.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
They can have 1 attribute or 637, as long as they don't try to call it D&D. For it to be D&D requires 6 attributes.



Sad but true.

Many people would flip tables and say "This isn't D&D!" if they did something like consolodate strength and constitution. Even if it was a better way of doing things, grognardism would overcome reason.

In many ways, making a new edition of D&D is alot like trying to sell a car to the Amish.

The current six primary attributes are rather outdated. Especially when we are moving to each one having its own saving throws. Three of the six attributes are left in the dust (strength, intelligence, and charisma) while the other three are significantly important for every class. Furthermore, it remains relatively unclear as to which ability score is necessary for each type of saving throw (see charm and dominate, one requires a wisdom save while the other requires a charisma save). This confusion and the power discrepancy between attributes can be reduced if we simply combine the attributes. I suggest a reduction to 4 primary attributes. Strength: covers feats of strength, endurance, and fortitude. Primary attribute for fighter types Agility: covers speed, reflexes, and coordination. Primary attribute for rogue-likes. Intellect: covers knowledge, insight, and observation. Primary attribute for the magically adept. Spirit: covers grit, determination, and willpower. Primary attribute for those who follow the way of the gods. With these reductions/ consolidations we have a much more simple and streamlined skill/saving throw system. It becomes much easier to determine which attribute should be called upon for a particular check or saving throw. Each ability score is also much closer to the others in overall usefulness. Thoughts on this bit of sacred steak?



I will happily stick to Pathfinder if the ability scores are changed for Next.  If I see 5e has changed the ability scores I will not even buy the book because I have plenty of games that do not use the D&D ability scores.  If I get sick of STR DEX CON WIS INT CHR, I will go to them. 

Yes breaking a sacred cow as little as this, is enough for me to not give it a try and stick to pathfinder which is the current published game that resembles D&D as it has been for most of its years.





CAMRA preserves and protects real ale from the homogenization of modern beer production. D&D Grognards are the CAMRA of D&D!
They can have 1 attribute or 637, as long as they don't try to call it D&D. For it to be D&D requires 6 attributes.



Sad but true.

Many people would flip tables and say "This isn't D&D!" if they did something like consolodate strength and constitution. Even if it was a better way of doing things, grognardism would overcome reason.

In many ways, making a new edition of D&D is alot like trying to sell a car to the Amish.




This sounds kind of like a slam on the Amish and players of older editions.
How about we stay as 6 abilities and DMs start actually start calling for Str/Int/Wis/Cha checks for a change?!!!

"Roll an Int check. Your character is that smart."

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

They can have 1 attribute or 637, as long as they don't try to call it D&D. For it to be D&D requires 6 attributes.



Sad but true.

Many people would flip tables and say "This isn't D&D!" if they did something like consolodate strength and constitution. Even if it was a better way of doing things, grognardism would overcome reason.

In many ways, making a new edition of D&D is alot like trying to sell a car to the Amish.




Some people just want to play the game.  I recognize things in games that are done better, but I like D&D for all of its bruises as well as its charm.  It has nothing to do with reason or irrationality. 

And those games that seem to do things better?  They are usually a diversion for most of the groups I know.  They all come back to D&D with its warts and bruises.  Sales would support that anecdote as well.


CAMRA preserves and protects real ale from the homogenization of modern beer production. D&D Grognards are the CAMRA of D&D!
This sounds kind of like a slam on the Amish and players of older editions.



It's more a slam on players that are purely interested in nostalgia and not on making a better game.

I don't have a problem with players of older editions having gripes about 3E/4E. There's certainly valid arguments for saying AD&D was better than its predecessors, in fact there are plenty that I agree with. Saying that 3E/4E were too rules heavy or hating the Diablo-style magic items are valid complaints.

When it gets into it arguments like, "Lets keep this rule, because it's the way it's always been done." is where I tend to draw the line. Once a game tries to appeal to pure nostalgia, I think it's just bound for failure. One of my PCs put it best "Why would I pay for a new game that plays like 2nd edition, when I can just go dig out my 2nd edition books?"

*Nods.*
The standard 6 ability scores is my favorite amongst all RPGs I've played.

So no I don't think it should be changed.
They can have 1 attribute or 637, as long as they don't try to call it D&D. For it to be D&D requires 6 attributes.



Sad but true.

Many people would flip tables and say "This isn't D&D!" if they did something like consolodate strength and constitution. Even if it was a better way of doing things, grognardism would overcome reason.

In many ways, making a new edition of D&D is alot like trying to sell a car to the Amish.



I love that phrase... quotable quotes for the win.
  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."

 

They can have 1 attribute or 637, as long as they don't try to call it D&D. For it to be D&D requires 6 attributes.



Sad but true.

Many people would flip tables and say "This isn't D&D!" if they did something like consolodate strength and constitution. Even if it was a better way of doing things, grognardism would overcome reason.

In many ways, making a new edition of D&D is alot like trying to sell a car to the Amish.


Laughing

It made laugh two of my grognard friends ! But not the third.
I suppose we can consider that one-third of grognards have no sense of humor.
Edition changes are the only time we can possibly make any meaningful change to the game.  If we are ever to make this a better game, then now is the time.

I could care less about the six stats, elves and dwarves, or vancian magic, as long as the game allows me to sit around a table with my friends and associates and tell an interesting story.
The metagame is not the game.
They can have 1 attribute or 637, as long as they don't try to call it D&D. For it to be D&D requires 6 attributes.



Sad but true.

Many people would flip tables and say "This isn't D&D!" if they did something like consolodate strength and constitution. Even if it was a better way of doing things, grognardism would overcome reason.

In many ways, making a new edition of D&D is alot like trying to sell a car to the Amish.




Nothing sad about it.

Nothing better about it.

Nothing reasonable about it.

You're not right, except for you.

I think there's a lot sad about it, and perhaps you've even forgotten past changes.

The shift from 3.x to 4ed didn't feel like D&D for a lot of people, but for a lot it did.

The same can be said for the shift from AD&D to 3.0.  Yet here we are.

I know for me, after having played Spelljammer and Hollow Earth, then coming back to the game nearly 10 years later, it didn't seem like the same game at all.  But after playing for a bit, I realized how much better I liked it.  

I think if they took the time to fix the base attributes, whether they stuck with six or less/more, it would make everyone happier.  Because right now, the base six just don't do a good job.  They're not balanced, and everyone knows it. 
Personally I'd sooner see them split the attributes further...


This was attempted way back in 2e AD&D times. With the Player Options: Skills and Powers book.

Each of the 6 primary ability scores was subdivided in two:

Strength 
  -  Stamina 
  -  Muscle 
Intelligence
  -  Reason
  -  Knowledge
Dexterity 
  -  Aim 
  -  Balance 
Wisdom
  -  Intuition
  -  Willpower
Constitution 
  -  Health 
  -  Fitness 
Charisma
  -  Leadership
  -  Appearance

Subabilities had to be within a 4 point spread of each other under the umbrella of the core attribute. And each had their own features, benefits, penalties, etc.


Some people just want to play the game. I recognize things in games that are done better, but I like D&D for all of its bruises as well as its charm. It has nothing to do with reason or irrationality.


Are you planning on buying D&D Next? If so, why? You say you like D&D for all of its bruises and charm, but any new edition will certainly fail at that goal. Nothing can be more D&D at this moment than those editions which already exist.



Many people would flip tables and say "This isn't D&D!" if they did something like consolodate strength and constitution. Even if it was a better way of doing things, grognardism would overcome reason.


If only the dicussion of the six attributes ended this way I wouldn't care much. But the real problem is almost every dicussion about the system ends the same way, "They can have _______, as long as they don't try to call it D&D. For it to be D&D requires _______."


Attributes, levels, classes, races, alignment, spellcasting, magic items, skills, etc... always the same discussion. People don't want a new game, they want their old game to produce new books.



Some people just want to play the game. I recognize things in games that are done better, but I like D&D for all of its bruises as well as its charm. It has nothing to do with reason or irrationality.


Are you planning on buying D&D Next? If so, why? You say you like D&D for all of its bruises and charm, but any new edition will certainly fail at that goal. Nothing can be more D&D at this moment than those editions which already exist.



Many people would flip tables and say "This isn't D&D!" if they did something like consolodate strength and constitution. Even if it was a better way of doing things, grognardism would overcome reason.


If only the dicussion of the six attributes ended this way I wouldn't care much. But the real problem is almost every dicussion about the system ends the same way, "They can have _______, as long as they don't try to call it D&D. For it to be D&D requires _______."


Attributes, levels, classes, races, alignment, spellcasting, magic items, skills, etc... always the same discussion. People don't want a new game, they want their old game to produce new books.




We want the same basic experience, refined and currently supported. We also like new games...but new games should be called __________, not Old Game 3. Chess is not Checkers. Monopoly is not Life. Regardless of similarities, they're different games and should always stay so.



Well said Lad!


CAMRA preserves and protects real ale from the homogenization of modern beer production. D&D Grognards are the CAMRA of D&D!
My thoughts?  Bleh. 
If I wanted to play a game with that 4 stat setup?  I'd already be doing it as there are (at least) several outthere.
But here I am, playing D&D....
 

If only the dicussion of the six attributes ended this way I wouldn't care much. But the real problem is almost every dicussion about the system ends the same way, "They can have _______, as long as they don't try to call it D&D. For it to be D&D requires _______."


Attributes, levels, classes, races, alignment, spellcasting, magic items, skills, etc... always the same discussion. People don't want a new game, they want their old game to produce new books.




Yeah you just have to disregard those people. If they're just stuck on pure nostalgia, then no game will equal the game they're remembering with nostalgia-goggles.

Certain people just hate to change. They're just set in their ways and believe thier way is best, not because of any logic or design philosophy, but simply because it's the way they know and they just don't want to bother learning another one. So ultimately when it comes down to buying a new edition or just sticking to what they already have, they'll stick to what they have, because they didn't want a new edition in the first place.

Attribute discussions are probably the easiest example of it, because you can see who doesn't give a single argument of why 6 attributes are more fun/balanced/interesting than 4 or 8, it's just an appeal to nostalgia:"It's always been this way!"