Strong farmer or well-trained fighter (OR: separate ability modifiers from combat)

this is simple enough that I'm sure it's been suggested many times, but since when does that stop a thread on these forums?

It seems to me that DDN could be vastly improved by separating ability modifiers from combat.  

Ability modifiers are overwhelming in their importance.  A simple example makes it clear:

18 str farmer has a +4 to hit and damage

A an average str (12) lvl 10 fighter would have +4 to hit and +6 to damage.  A 10th level fighter barely better than a strong farmer.  

But the point isn't really about specific wonky examples.  

Separating ability modifiers from combat would significantly free up the roleplaying potential of the game.  

To hit and damage would be determined by class and level (and weapon, proficiencies, skills, feats etc.)

Ability modifiers would effect saving throws and skills.  

This would free up the ability to play charisma based leader fighters, or street wise rogues, well read and studied clerics etc. etc. 

The more I think about it, the more I want to try to create a house-rule for it.  Maybe this could be yet another 'module'. . . 
 
Oooh. I'm not sure what kind of backing you will get from the community, but I support you to do your own thing. Go for it man. Personally though I don't know if I see this taking over the actual game even as a module. But like I said, go for it, let me know how it goes. Good luck.

AD&D 1st Edition Character (Simplified)

BIOGRAPHY
Name: Brother Michael
Adventuring Class: Cleric
Adventuring Experience: 1446 out of 1501
Bonus Experience: 10%
Languages Known: Common, Orc, Elven.
Alignment: Lawful/Neutral Good
ABILITY SCORES
Strength: 10
Dexterity: 10
Intelligence: 11
Charisma: 11
Constitution: 14
Wisdom: 16
WEAPONS: HIT; MEDIUM; LARGE
Footman’s Flail: 1d20; 1d6+1; 1d4
Hammer (Thrown): 1d20; 1d4+1; 1d4
Sling: 1d20-3; 1d4+1; 1d6+1
MAGIC
Today’s Prepared Spells: Cure Light Wounds x2, Command x1
Spells Spent: Cure Light Wounds x1
Other Cleric Abilities: Turn Undead
Spell Failure: 0%
Magical Attack Adjustment: +2
DEFENSES
Armor: 5 (-4 Armor, -1 Shield)
Maximum Health: 10
Current Health: 9
CONSUMABLE ITEMS
Water Skin
7 Days of Trail Rations
7 Pints (Flasks) of Oil
1 Ounce (Vial) of Holy Water
4 Parchments
12 Sling Bullets
6 Pieces of Silver
8 Pieces of Twine

Oooh. I'm not sure what kind of backing you will get from the community, but I support you to do your own thing. Go for it man. Personally though I don't know if I see this taking over the actual game even as a module. But like I said, go for it, let me know how it goes. Good luck.



I don't think it's that revolutionary.  If you think about it 4e basically did this already.  4e did it with tons of classes though.  You could play a class where hitting with your sword depended on Int or Cha, so you could roleplay a fighter with any primary attribute, you just had to be pigeon holed into a particular class.  Taking ability modifiers out of combat entirely, solves this very artificial problem.  
To be fair, STR 12 would be low for a STR based level 10 fighter. There are a possible +3 to STR.

Now if you remove ability modifiers from combat, you have to do more than just weapons combat.

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!

I'd like to avoid 8 Strength greatsword-wielding warriors this time 'round, thanks.
Even the most charismatic of leaders wouldn't be worth jack diddly in a fight if he wasn't strong enough to swing a sword - just saying. There's a hole in your roleplay element right there.
I'd like to avoid 8 Strength greatsword-wielding warriors this time 'round, thanks.



+1

if you want to play a "I will smash your face" warrior you better invest highest roll in strength.

I don't think his point was to separate ability scores from archetype, but rather to point out that being strong doesn't keep you from being clumsy.
GEBELL, try out Ultramodern 4e's Ladder System. Might give you some ideas (there is a free to download rules set).
I'd like to avoid 8 Strength greatsword-wielding warriors this time 'round, thanks.



+1

if you want to play a "I will smash your face" warrior you better invest highest roll in strength.



This is not a reason not to try to design a system like the OP describes. This is a reason to do it thoughtfully and carefully.

In this case, you could make a rule attached to weapons with the "heavy" property: You must have a strength of at least 12 to gain the benefits of proficiency while wielding this weapon.

First and foremost, attributes, as per their definition, are universal. Farmers are people just as much as Fighters and therefore can have the same level of attributes. Do you really think someone who martially trains is really going to be leaps and bounds stronger than someone who pulls a plow for a living? The plow guys might actually be stronger if it were real life :P The fighter's training and superiority show in its class abilities, which a farmer does not get. A farmer may be able to hit a goblin hard, but not nearly as hard as the fighter due to his combat training.

Not to mention that classes get a +1 to a stat which means they are already a little bit better than the average.
My two copper.
First and foremost, attributes, as per their definition, are universal. Farmers are people just as much as Fighters and therefore can have the same level of attributes. Do you really think someone who martially trains is really going to be leaps and bounds stronger than someone who pulls a plow for a living? The plow guys might actually be stronger if it were real life :P The fighter's training and superiority show in its class abilities, which a farmer does not get. A farmer may be able to hit a goblin hard, but not nearly as hard as the fighter due to his combat training.

Not to mention that classes get a +1 to a stat which means they are already a little bit better than the average.



exactly.

a farmer might swing a club with +4 attack and 1d6+4 damage,

but fighter would attack with +4 also but with 1d6+6 +5d6(damage dice).

so its average of 7,5 vs 27 damage. hardy even.


First and foremost, attributes, as per their definition, are universal. Farmers are people just as much as Fighters and therefore can have the same level of attributes. Do you really think someone who martially trains is really going to be leaps and bounds stronger than someone who pulls a plow for a living? The plow guys might actually be stronger if it were real life :P The fighter's training and superiority show in its class abilities, which a farmer does not get. A farmer may be able to hit a goblin hard, but not nearly as hard as the fighter due to his combat training.

Not to mention that classes get a +1 to a stat which means they are already a little bit better than the average.



exactly.

a farmer might swing a club with +4 attack and 1d6+4 damage,

but fighter would attack with +4 also but with 1d6+6 +5d6(damage dice).

so its average of 7,5 vs 27 damage. hardy even.



Yeah, I see nothing wrong here.  That farmer is one of the strongest men alive.  He is as strong as an ogre!  He should be pretty tough in a fight as a result.  He may not be skilled, but he can swing a weapon with enough force to do some real damage.

And that fighter with Str 12 at level 10?  Are we assuming he is a race that doesn't get any boosts to Strength, that he didn't apply his class bonus to Strength, AND that he didn't apply his level 4 & level 8 boosts to Strength?  Or did he start his carreer with a Strength of 9?  And even with all of that, he can still clean that farmer's clock!

If anything, this shows how much range the current system allows.  You don't need to start with an 18 Strength for your fighter to be effective.  Will you be better?  Certainly.  But I don't think a Strength 14 fighter would have serious problems.  Even starting with 12 you are only 3 points less to attack, which might not even be noticeable.  At 10 Strength and below I think you would start to notice.

The problem I have with it is the attack score is a more literal simulation while damage is more abstract/fluff. If anything it should be the other way around with the farmer barely landing. When the farmer lands there is an off chance to enter the random and KO someone with his str.
This seems to be the sort of problem best solved with weapon proficiencies. The farmer may be strong, but he's not going to br proficient with any weapons.

Divorcing attack bonus from stats is something you generally want to do if you want fewer dumpstats and specialized characters. It's not really something you need to do to handle the farmer versus trained warrior problem.
I could see ability modifiers not applying to attack rolls but still applying to damage rolls working out.

Maybe even have ability mods replace minimum damage instead of adding +X to damage.
If you separate ability scores from combat, what's the point of them?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
If you separate ability scores from combat, what's the point of them?



Well I think the idea is to have ability scores be defensive only. So dex adds to AC, and then you have your saving throws.

The general principle is that it reduces the amount of dump stats/super stats and allows more varied characters. So you can make the very intelligent but average strength fighter or a wizard that isn't super smart. Basically doing that allows less cookie-cutter characters, since not every wizard needs to take max intelligence.

Whether that's a good thing or not is largely a matter of opinion. On the plus side it allows some variety in archetype. On the downside, it can be used to generate silly or nonsensical characters.
I'm comin around to the idea that Ability scores should not modify attack rolls, though it would still modify defenses, ability checks and damage rolls.  I think it works well with the "assumptionless scaling" (aka bounded accuracy) design of the new edition, and still keeps Abilities relevant.

Separately, we might have Ability thresholds for certain combat styles.  So, you can't be proficient in heavy armor unless you have a 14 Constitution. You can't weild a two-handed weapon without a 10 Strength. You can't weild two weapons without a 12 Dexterity.  In the same way, you can't invoke arcane rituals without a 10 Intelligence and dviine rituals without a 10 Wisdom.
I'm comin around to the idea that Ability scores should not modify attack rolls, though it would still modify defenses, ability checks and damage rolls.  I think it works well with the "assumptionless scaling" (aka bounded accuracy) design of the new edition, and still keeps Abilities relevant.

Separately, we might have Ability thresholds for certain combat styles.  So, you can't be proficient in heavy armor unless you have a 14 Constitution. You can't weild a two-handed weapon without a 10 Strength. You can't weild two weapons without a 12 Dexterity.  In the same way, you can't invoke arcane rituals without a 10 Intelligence and dviine rituals without a 10 Wisdom.



Inb4 requirements rage
My two copper.
That's how many of the kits worked in AD&D. This might not be such a bad thing for "prestige classes" what with all the pluses we have to attributes now.
I ported in the ODD ability mods in and it works fine.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

I'd like to avoid 8 Strength greatsword-wielding warriors this time 'round, thanks.


-1 hit/dam and low encumbrance is there for a reason.
Inb4 requirements rage

Yeah, guys, just assume I'm going on an apolectic rant right here.  Typing out one just takes too much effort, and it'll just be a repeat of the last eighty or so anyway.

I liked the idea once suggested that ability scores never affect to hit. Str = str dmg, dex = dex damage. 

However, I don't like the idea that a strong farmer needs to be considerably weaker then characters. What for? If you spend the night with the farmer's daughter, it should be at your own risk!

 

My mind is a deal-breaker.

As a fan of Nature+Nurture, I like abilities added to attack.

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!

Good points all, but I do think that bounded accuracy has dramatically increased the importance of ability scores in combat.  

I shouldn't have tried the farmer vs. lvl 10 fighter example - because that draws away the focus.

The real point is that within bounded accuracy getting really strong has the same impact on your ability to hit an enemy as does twenty levels in the fighter class.  

I guess I need to be willing to divorce myself from the idea that being ablt *to hit* represents your ability in combat.  In a bounded system it's more about actions and damage dice... and that is represented in the class system.  It just seems odd to make characters and have *so much* of their effectiveness hinge entirely on ability skills. 
Good points all, but I do think that bounded accuracy has dramatically increased the importance of ability scores in combat.  

I shouldn't have tried the farmer vs. lvl 10 fighter example - because that draws away the focus.

The real point is that within bounded accuracy getting really strong has the same impact on your ability to hit an enemy as does twenty levels in the fighter class.  

I guess I need to be willing to divorce myself from the idea that being ablt *to hit* represents your ability in combat.  In a bounded system it's more about actions and damage dice... and that is represented in the class system.  It just seems odd to make characters and have *so much* of their effectiveness hinge entirely on ability skills. 


Another way to look at this is in the context of magic items. The difference between a 12 and 18 strength is an artifact (+3) type magic item.

I'm comin around to the idea that Ability scores should not modify attack rolls, though it would still modify defenses, ability checks and damage rolls.  I think it works well with the "assumptionless scaling" (aka bounded accuracy) design of the new edition, and still keeps Abilities relevant.




So you're not ok with strong characters/monsters being strong enough to batter their way through your defenses (good for you, you used a sheild/parried/etc.  But the other guy still hit you hard enough to leave a mark....) - wich is exactly what that bonus to-hit represents & always has?

And you're against characters/monsters who have good eye-hand coordination/senses (one of the things lumped into Dex.) being more accurate at range than those without.?
Ok, sure, I can see an argument that the high dex guy will do more damage as he places his arrows better.  (And maybe that should be added to the dex rules) 
But that'd only ever come into play during combat. 
Meanwhile the guys still super-accurate while shooting darts at the tavern, archery contests at tournies, & all manner of other non-combat examples that occur during games.  

So how would you replicate such things if not through the most basic of rules?  
And why wouldn't you use the most basic of rules to cover the most situations?   

I'd like to avoid 8 Strength greatsword-wielding warriors this time 'round, thanks.



Ok, I think that's simple enough to do.  You just don't make that type of fighter....  Problem solved.
CCS: bounded accuracy means that damage now represents how well you "hit ". A skilled warriors damage increases while his accuracy does not.

This means that it makes more sense for ability modifiers to not apply to attack rolls.
So you're not ok with strong characters/monsters being strong enough to batter their way through your defenses


I think battering through your defenses could be represented by hit point loss, not an actual hit.  So the Strength bonus to damage does represent battering through your defenses.

And you're against characters/monsters who have good eye-hand coordination/senses (one of the things lumped into Dex.) being more accurate at range than those without.?


I think that sort of pin-point precision is akin to a called shot, which D&D is not well-equipped to replicate and never has been.  A precision shot, however, could be represented by a Dexterity bonus to damage.

Meanwhile the guys still super-accurate while shooting darts at the tavern, archery contests at tournies, & all manner of other non-combat examples that occur during games.


Ugh.  The ol' "What about archery contests!?" canard.  Since we use d20 for accuracy, d20 is insufficently granular to gauge the ability to hit bullseye as a champion darts players vary in their accuracy by less than the 5% range that a d20 roll will allow.  So how should we distinguish such fine bits of accuracy?  Why, by damage, of course.

So, you need to hit the board but damage represents how accurately you hit it.  Most trained archers will never miss a stationary target.  The only question is how accurately.  That should be damage.  So the high-level fighter, who can inflict d8+Dex mod+6d6, is going to be more accurate than the green yeoman rolling a mere d8+Dex mod.  In fact, assuming the same Dex mod, the green yeoman will virtually never outshoot that master archer.  Why?  Because his max damage is 8+Dex, and the master archer's minimum 7+Dex mod.  The chance of the yeoman beating the master archer (i.e., he rolls max damage and the archer rolls minimum damage) is .00003%.

And, remember, this is assuming the yeoman and master archer are always going to hit the target.  You could, I guess, give the yeoman and archer a chance to miss the target entirely, but I think that would be silly.  Maybe if it was a challenge from the Top Shot tv show.  In that case, the master archer's moderate attack bonus only serves as a further advantage.  Most of those contests give the shooters numerous attempts to get through the challenge, meaning that over time, the master archer's chances increase at an expanding rate.  But even so, I would use a combination of attack tools and damage rolls to express their expertise.

But, yes, if you use nothing but the attack roll to mimic an archery contest you deserve to be disappointed by the results.

"all manner of other non-combat" would be handled by Ability checks, which, I already stated, would be modified by your Ability modifier.

And why wouldn't you use the most basic of rules to cover the most situations?


I would.  Damage rolls are one of the game's most basic of rules.
One rule for contests is to use a 1d6, high roll gets closest.  Making the assumption that the a high level fighter that has used a bow on occasion is going against the low level common Kings Bullseye Shooter and that they both will hit the target.

If one player rolls a 6, they roll again.  If they get another six, they roll one more time.  If they get another 6, they split the other opponents arrow and win.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

If one player rolls a 6, they roll again.  If they get another six, they roll one more time.  If they get another 6, they split the other opponents arrow and win.


Since none of that is depdendent on the contestatnts' Abilities, feats, items, or class features, why not just flip a coin?
Becasue three 6s if more interesting than Abe or George

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

I guess I need to be willing to divorce myself from the idea that being ablt *to hit* represents your ability in combat.  In a bounded system it's more about actions and damage dice... and that is represented in the class system.  It just seems odd to make characters and have *so much* of their effectiveness hinge entirely on ability skills. 




Its not that its a bounded system. Its a bounded system that squeezes accuracy and limits AC to over priced armor while damage reduction doesnt exist and damage inflates like a giant counter weight. Dont let you lying eyes fool you. It doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t make for good character development.

First and foremost, attributes, as per their definition, are universal. Farmers are people just as much as Fighters and therefore can have the same level of attributes. Do you really think someone who martially trains is really going to be leaps and bounds stronger than someone who pulls a plow for a living? The plow guys might actually be stronger if it were real life :P The fighter's training and superiority show in its class abilities, which a farmer does not get. A farmer may be able to hit a goblin hard, but not nearly as hard as the fighter due to his combat training.

Not to mention that classes get a +1 to a stat which means they are already a little bit better than the average.


Exactly.

I think part of the issue stems from some of the older Editions.  Or at least the belief that the Fighter is a class everyone can get into (no more so than the Rogue or Bard, I say.)

A 'level 4' Farmer is NOT a Figher.  He might know how to fight (and he should), but he's not going to be anywhere near the professional soldier/fighter the Fighter class is supposed to represent.

Yes, he might be able to swing and heft a sword, but he's not going to have the same bonuses because Mr. McFarmer is not going to proficient in it.
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