Does anybody know the rationale behind......

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Melee Attack Bonus for Strength.  To me, it doesn't make much sense that somebody who is stronger would have an easier time hitting an opponent.  In fact, it seems almost as if it should be the opposite.  Whenever I visualize really strong, powerful characters, they seem rather oafish, having considerable problems hitting anything (but doing plenty of damage when they do).


I'm getting ready to start a new campaign and was thinking of implementing this as a house rule:


For Melee Attacks, combatants use the Attack Bonus for Strength or Dexterity, whichever is lower.  If the character has Weapon Finesse, they can use the higher of the two.


Thoughts?      
I would guess that higher strength equals greater velocity.  When they see an opening, the  greater velocity can capitilize on an opening quicker when weilding mele weapons

Or maybe its just a simple as high strength = steadily being able to weild heavy weapons
Having a higher strength doesn't necessarily mean you're better at hitting your opponent with a sword.  One interpretation is that you're better at bashing through your opponent's armor and doing damage when you do hit them.  Also, it's there for game balance reasons, and shouldn't be changed.  Allowing folks to take Weapon Finesse to change this just turns that into a feat tax, and that's not fair to melee types.

Making characters use the lower of these two ability scores for melee attacks is just going to nerf people who play melee characters and make them useless next to non-melee characters.  Casters and shooters will immediately be more effective at everything.  This is a bad thing.  But given that 3e THRIVES on the "fighters can't have nice things" mentality, I can see how one might think it's a good idea, even though it's unfair and unbalanced.

It's a very bad idea.  Do not punish melee characters this way.  It's not fair to them.  Avoid, avoid, avoid.    

And regardless of what you decide to do, don't arbitrarily change the rules of the game without consulting with the other players first and finding out whether they are in agreement that it would make the game more fun.  You may find that other players really don't like it, and doubly so if you spring it on them after they agree to play.  If the other players ARE cool with it, hey, then everything's cool.

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First of all, may I presume that you're talking 3.5, since Weapon Finesse doesn't exist in 4e?

Second of all, I presume it was set up that way for game balance reasons.  If strength doesn't get melee attack rolls, then what else is it good for besides lifting heavy loads/doing a few athletic things?  Dexterity adds to AC in both 3.5 and 4e.

Also, don't think of strength as just muscle-bound power, and don't think of AC as just dodging an attack.  Perhaps the low strength character hits but his blows just glance off of armor, or he would get exhausted after swinging around a weapon for more than a few seconds. 
The Strength vs. armor argument does make some sense, but it doesn't really explain how they are able to hit unarmored (or lightly armored) opponents more easily.  I wouldn't spring anything on the players without their consent.  I've got a list of items I was thinking of implementing that I will run by them before we start.  I haven't DM'ed since (early) 2nd edition, and the players are rather inexperienced, too.  RedSiegfried - From most of the campaigns I've been in, Fighters, especially the specialty classes, have always seemed more potent than other characters, particularly at lower levels.  Then again, I haven't run too many higher level campaigns.....

Anyways, if I did decide to do this, there were a couple of perks I was considering putting in to help partially negate some of the ill effects this would have on certain character types.  One would be to half the range penalties for thrown weapons, up to their whatever their Strenght Modifier is.  Another would be using their Stregth Modifier instead when determining a Confirmed Critical. Still brainstorming.  Right now, I'm just trying to wrap my brain around the archetype of a brute, while larger than most is still Medium size, that is very strong but has trouble hitting anything.  In just about every scenario I can picture, this is the rule, not the exception.  In D&D, it's reversed, though!

I haven't played any 3.x, but I believe the reasoning for fighters being better earlier is due to the trope "Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards". This means that, while fighters are better at early levels, at a certain point wizards overtake and shoot ahead of them. If you have mainly played lower level games you may not have encountered this.


I agree, the strength modifier doesn't make sense for all weapons, mainly the smaller ones. Whilst an axe clearly needs strength to wield accurately, a dagger is far more of a dex weapon. In the homebrew system I play in/run, the weapons are differentiated into strength and dex based weapons for exactly this reason. However, in D&D the game has been balanced as it is so I'd be wary about changing something so big.

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Melee Attack Bonus for Strength.  To me, it doesn't make much sense that somebody who is stronger would have an easier time hitting an opponent.  In fact, it seems almost as if it should be the opposite.  Whenever I visualize really strong, powerful characters, they seem rather oafish, having considerable problems hitting anything (but doing plenty of damage when they do).


I'm getting ready to start a new campaign and was thinking of implementing this as a house rule:


For Melee Attacks, combatants use the Attack Bonus for Strength or Dexterity, whichever is lower.  If the character has Weapon Finesse, they can use the higher of the two.


Thoughts?      

Part of it is the ability to hit through armor.

The melee attacker can strike with a mace to a breast plate, and at most, he might dent it. But with his strength, he might actually break through the armor to do some damage. If you hit just the armor and leave a dent, it would count as a miss. If you break through for damage, it's a hit. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
Also consider that the stronger warrior will have greater ease bashing through someone's physical weapon defenses. Parrying someones weapon becomes harder when they're stronger because they strike with more force.

I agree, you would not want to house-rule that because it messes with game balance in a less than desirable way and it would require you to have to adjust every attack bonus of every monster which would also mess with their balance.

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100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Hitting does not necessarily mean you "hit" the enemy.  HP are abstract.  Hitting mean that what you did had some effect on the enemies ability to keep fighting.  Either way, a high strength character ringing blows of shields, armor, or blocking weapons is going to have more effect than a low strength character.  


That said, there are classes that use other abilities for MBA attacks, every melee class that is not strength based has melee powers that run off of other abilities, and often ones that can be substitued for MBA, or for charge attacks.


And you have the melee training feat already, which lets you substitute any ability in for your MBA.


Seems to me you're trying to fix something that's not broken.


TjD

Something to consider is the "reality" of in-game combat.  A round is six seconds in duration but the combatants are not just standing around waiting for their turn to strike.  During the entirety of a combat round, combatants are slashing, stabbing, dodging, parrying, etc etc etc.  The "to hit roll" is only the culmination of one's ability to find an opponent's weak spot and take advantage of it.  And one's Strength plays a major part in the "combat dance".

Think about sword fights in movies.

The one that springs to mind is the final battle between Robin Hood (Kevin Costner) and the Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman) in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.  Costner is wielding a longsword and Rickman a Bastard/Great Sword.  During the fight you can tell there are times when each combatant is tired and tries to use finesse (aka dexterity) and it fails miserably.  It is only when they put their muscles (aka strength) into their swings that they do any real damage or instill fear in the other.

On the other hand, think about the duel between Inigo and Rugen at the end of The Princess Bride.  They are both using rapiers.  Both of them use weapon finesse to find weak spots in their opponent's defenses and make quick jabs.  In D&D mechanics terms the two stabs Rugen puts into Inigo's pectorals would be one to hit and damage roll and at the end when Inigo runs through Rugen that would be a critical hit and damage.

 

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DaBeerds has written some good stuff there.

I'd also add that it is important not to consider all "hits" against someone's HP as damage from the weapon. For instance, when I describe successful attacks they often take the form of the sort of things you'd see in a cinematic battle. So when the Grave Knight struck out with his great sword and hit for massive (but non-fatal) damage, it was described as the undead warrior overpowering the barbarian sword to sword before shoulder-checking him and throwing him off balance with a quick but supernaturally strong punch.

Throwing people off balance...landing non-weapon strikes and peeling open defenses can all describe HP-loss. Heck, you can even describe the PC as blocking the blows with their own weapon but that they feel their muscles tire and strain with the effort, making it difficult for them to continue to keep it up for much longer (dwindling HP).

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

As Mr.Durriken said, do not think of hitting and missing to mean in D&D what they do in english.

In D&D, a hit means: not only did you strike him, you pushed through his defenses (like armor) enough to harm him.
In D&D, a miss does not mean you did not make contact.   It could, but it could also mean his armor or sword or shield deflected your 'hit', such that it did no damage.

Additionally, losing hit points does not necessarily mean an actual wound.   They are an abstraction, meant to reflect your ability to continue to battle.
The literalness of the terms is the cause of the dissonance, not the rules. If "Strength," "attack," "hit," "damage," and other terms are seen more as rules shorthand, than as being tied directly to their dictionary definitions, it's easier to imagine something that makes sense. That is, unless its to your disadvantage in a game to argue in favor of a particular point.

The same goes for the rest of the ability scores, and most other game terms.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

The literalness of the terms is the cause of the dissonance, not the rules. If "Strength," "attack," "hit," "damage," and other terms are seen more as rules shorthand, than as being tied directly to their dictionary definitions, it's easier to imagine something that makes sense. That is, unless its to your disadvantage in a game to argue in favor of a particular point.

The same goes for the rest of the ability scores, and most other game terms.



This +1.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

The literalness of the terms is the cause of the dissonance, not the rules. If "Strength," "attack," "hit," "damage," and other terms are seen more as rules shorthand, than as being tied directly to their dictionary definitions, it's easier to imagine something that makes sense. That is, unless its to your disadvantage in a game to argue in favor of a particular point.

The same goes for the rest of the ability scores, and most other game terms.



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My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
I agree that this is in the rules for game balance and to change it the way the OP is proposing will nerf some of his players.  He has stated that he has plans to install some other changes to un-nerf them, however I think this is a mistake.

He mentions that his players are not that experienced.  So to change from a fairly simple rule of "add STR mod to attack and damage rolls" to something much more complex, and then add even more complexity to try to "re-balance" things is just going to make it much more difficult on his players.  It will also slow down combat a lot as each player will have to "add this" for attack, then "add this other number" for damage then of course there's the  "oh wait, am I using this feat I forgot about that" so instead he/she has to "add this other number" then "this one", then etc, etc, etc.

Basically it will cause too many problems.

To the OP.  Stick with the RAW for this as it has worked for a long time and is probably the easiest thing you can do for newer players.

As many other posters have pointed out, the rationale behind the strength to hit is, that it helps to penetrate your opponents armor / defenses.


There are RPGs that already do what you are looking for (key to hit to dexterity) I can recommend GURPS. You can download GURPS LITE for free – just do a quick Google search. As an added bonus it has an elegant solution for issues like alignment.

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There's no good reason for Strength-based melee basic attacks. Many classes have melee attacks that key off of other ability scores, including Charisma. There are even powers now that key off the character's "highest ability score." This is probably what the game should have done from the beginning, or should have changed the rule to, rather than trying to patch things with feats. As forward-thinking as 4th Edition is, it is still fettered by a lot of simulationism and tradition.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Because Strength would become nearly useless otherwise.
Because Strength would become nearly useless otherwise.

Charisma was once nearly useless, so a bunch of skills were ginned up for it, and entire aspects of the game played up. The same would happen to Strength. Or maybe we'd finally move away from the attribute model.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Or maybe we'd finally move away from the attribute model.



Man, that'd be sweet. #pipedream

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Or maybe we'd finally move away from the attribute model.



Man, that'd be sweet. #pipedream



You can already do that. It's called "play a different game".
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
You can already do that. It's called "play a different game".



And I do! Lots, in fact.

It doesn't mean D&D can't learn from other games that have tackled the problems inherent with that design. Or that the attribute model makes D&D unplayable.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

I'm Recruiting Players for a D&D 5e Game: Interested?  |  Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Thanks for the input, people!  I'll give it some thought.....
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