Race/Class Ability Idea

Right now you get +1 to an ability score from race and +1 from class. What if both race and class granted +2 to an ability score, but you could not pick the same ability score twice?

Rogue might grant +2 Dex or +2 Cha and elf might be +2 Dex or +2 Int. An elf rogue could then choose +2 Dex and +2 Int or +2 Cha. Humans might simply have the option to choose +2 to any attribute (in addition to some other abilities).

This would open up a number of racial options for unique character concepts and prevents abuse from stacking bonuses to the same attribute.

My 5e Homebrew Material

The Warblade: A Mythic Fighter

The Hero: A Modular Class

Would mean the characters are more high powered from the start, so it won't suit all campaigns

remember you get +1 to two ability scores 1d6 at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th level

so your characters will end up very heroic in 1-2 stats anyway

not saying its a bad idea, just more aimed at heroic fantasy than 'fantasy'

Key things for D&D - Where is the character from and why do they do what they do? / Recurring NPCs - allies and enemies / Plot, World and Personal Events.

I'd personally rather get rid of racial ability score bonuses entirely.
i imagine a world where everyone gets +2 to a stat of their choice, regardless of race/class.

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I'd personally rather get rid of racial ability score bonuses entirely.

Agreed. Let class give a +2 bonus to a chosen ability, and give all races non-ability-bonus features.

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Right now you get +1 to an ability score from race and +1 from class. What if both race and class granted +2 to an ability score, but you could not pick the same ability score twice? Rogue might grant +2 Dex or +2 Cha and elf might be +2 Dex or +2 Int. An elf rogue could then choose +2 Dex and +2 Int or +2 Cha. Humans might simply have the option to choose +2 to any attribute (in addition to some other abilities). This would open up a number of racial options for unique character concepts and prevents abuse from stacking bonuses to the same attribute.



That's similar to how 13th ages does, except the races on third age have 2 choices of having +2 on a race, you select one, then select one from a class that isn't the same you selected from race...I am thinking of house ruling this on future 4e games
I'd personally rather get rid of racial ability score bonuses entirely.



So would I...but seeing as how this edition is bending over backwards to appease the older D&D players I'm 100% sure that isn't going to happen.

As such I think this method leads to a nice compromise. It significantly reduces the effects of Race on Class performance. Think about the dwarven wizard. If Dwarf gives +2 Str or Con and Wizard gives +2 Int or Wis then you could make a Dwarven wizard who is just as intelligent as an Elven Wizard. It opens up a lot of options for players overall.
I'd personally rather get rid of racial ability score bonuses entirely.

So would I...but seeing as how this edition is bending over backwards to appease the older D&D players I'm 100% sure that isn't going to happen.

As such I think this method leads to a nice compromise. It significantly reduces the effects of Race on Class performance. Think about the dwarven wizard. If Dwarf gives +2 Str or Con and Wizard gives +2 Int or Wis then you could make a Dwarven wizard who is just as intelligent as an Elven Wizard. It opens up a lot of options for players overall.

I like how the current stat bonus from class opens up more (and more interesting) race+class options.  This would go even further towards doing that, so I approve.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

i guess none of you ever played 1st or 2nd edition and are still complaining about balance. the choice is you play a human who can advance in any class to any level or you get a demi human who gives up unlimited progress in all but certain classes and instead gets a balanced ablitity score bonus with a negative ablilty score and the ability to multi class characters. i dont like that ever few levels you gain ability scores that weakens magic items that gave ablilty score bonuses from being special tightly guarded items to ehhhh oh i had a str of 20 so only losing 1 point is no big if i cant find that ring
Racial level limits didn't actually do anything.

Well, they did, actually: effectively cap the entire party to the lowest limit, or less-than-subtly force that player to roll a new guy.
didnt they? the took the benefits of better stats and some abilities like infravision and balanced that with a celing of advancement. now in your small type you get snarky but you failed to understand i believe that due to your lack of knowledge of the actual rules of the system that each race had classes you could level without limit so i think your totaly wrong
now in your small type you get snarky but you failed to understand i believe that due to your lack of knowledge of the actual rules of the system that each race had classes you could level without limit so i think your totaly wrong


So... Humans and a bunch of thieves, with the occasional half-orc assassin or half-elf druid?

Yes, that's much better.
and how many characters did you have that were fun to play over level 20 most players got tired and retired them at that level anyway. but again most didnt look at the rules and say oh i cant play him to level 50 so lets pick something else. most came at character creation as i like elves so lets be that and then look at options.
but again most didnt look at the rules and say oh i cant play him to level 50 so lets pick something else.

The average cap in 1E was around nine (or a whopping 13 in 2E. 
"Oh I can't play him to level ten" certainly is a good reason to pick something else.  If the party wasn't expect to get to level ten anyway, then the level limit did absolutely nothing and never actually needed to exist.

caps were modified by ability scores  and with multi classing it wasnt as big of a deal as you say or the game wouldnt have lasted as long as it did
It wasn't a big deal because it was one of the first things regularly ignored.
Right now you get +1 to an ability score from race and +1 from class. What if both race and class granted +2 to an ability score, but you could not pick the same ability score twice? Rogue might grant +2 Dex or +2 Cha and elf might be +2 Dex or +2 Int. An elf rogue could then choose +2 Dex and +2 Int or +2 Cha. Humans might simply have the option to choose +2 to any attribute (in addition to some other abilities). This would open up a number of racial options for unique character concepts and prevents abuse from stacking bonuses to the same attribute.



If they absolutely must keep racial stat bonuses in the game, this seems like at least as good a way to do it as any I've seen.
Right now you get +1 to an ability score from race and +1 from class. What if both race and class granted +2 to an ability score, but you could not pick the same ability score twice? Rogue might grant +2 Dex or +2 Cha and elf might be +2 Dex or +2 Int. An elf rogue could then choose +2 Dex and +2 Int or +2 Cha. Humans might simply have the option to choose +2 to any attribute (in addition to some other abilities). This would open up a number of racial options for unique character concepts and prevents abuse from stacking bonuses to the same attribute.



If they absolutely must keep racial stat bonuses in the game, this seems like at least as good a way to do it as any I've seen.



Yeah it seems to solve a number of issues people have with racial attribute bonuses. You can have Orcs (+2 Str or Con) be stronger than your average elf (+2 Dex or Wis) while still having a elven fighter (+2 Str or Con) who can be just as strong as an Orc fighter. It allows for more interesting combinations and doesn't funnel any race into a particular class. You can make Orc bards, gnome Barbarians, and dwarven wizards. Lastly, it gives humans that unique versatility they deserve without overpowering them (+2 to any ability score).

Note: I would also prefer if they switched to the 4e point buy system but removed all level based ability score increases. This would allow a PC to start (after +2 to 2 ability scores) with 2 good scores - (18 18 12 12 10 8) or one very good score - (20 12 12 12 10 8) or a balanced spread - (16 16 14 14 12 8). Removing the level based ability score increases makes your level 1 choice more meaningful overall and prevents an increasing disparity between the PCs.
No increases from level would make odd stats effectively meaningless, which is a bit of an issue. I do wish the actual ability scores played a bigger role in the mechanics, but unless that changes, I think there will be a need for a +1 ability adjustment from somewhere.

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Pointless power creep.  Makes characters start out a little stronger on average with no real benefit.
No increases from level would make odd stats effectively meaningless, which is a bit of an issue. I do wish the actual ability scores played a bigger role in the mechanics, but unless that changes, I think there will be a need for a +1 ability adjustment from somewhere.



Well even +1 to 2 ability scores every 4 levels means that for the majority of the time odd ability scores do absolutely nothing. The +1 to 2 ability scores barely justifies the inclusion of odd ability scores. And with the 4e point buy method, it is easy to build a PC with no odd ability scores at all.

That being said, I would like to see this change made for 5e.

Fortitude Defense = (Str score + Con score)/2
Reflex Defense = (Dex score + Int score)/2
Will Defense = (Wis score + Cha score)/2

This will help ensure that odd ability scores remain important as two odd scores added create an even defense value, and will help prevent "dump" stats as every ability score contributes equally to a defense.
The reason we have a problem with odd scores doing nothing is because of the basic d20 mechanic introduced with 3E. Now we have ability modifiers that go up with each two points of ability score, and this number is added to your d20 roll to hopefully roll over a DC. In AD&D, you rolled a d20 trying to get a result under your own ability score, which might or not be lowered by some amount to account for the difficulty of the task.

The AD&D version might seem awkward, but it is actually quite elegant. For one, odd ability scores count for something in this system. With a DC -3 task, a STR 17 character will have a 5% higher success rate than a STR 16 character because he needs to roll a 14 or lower, while the other guy needs a 13 or lower. 

The other problem with the d20 system's ability score method is that increasing your scores doesn't mean nearly as much. As we've already talked about, going up to an odd number means next to nothing. But going up to an even number doesn't mean that much either. Where Next is going wrong is combining old school ability score limits with new school ability scores with modifiers--the reason being a significant difference in the power of a STR 20 AD&D fighter and a STR 20 d20 system fighter. 

A Next fighter with STR 20 gets a +5, cancelling out five points of difficulty. To succeed on an easy check (DC 10), he must roll a 5 or better. That's an 80% chance to succeed. Against a hard task (DC 20), he needs a 15 or better (30%). An AD&D fighter with STR 20 facing an easy task (-0) needs to roll any number on the die to get his score or lower (100% chance). Add the same ten DC points to make it the equivalent of a hard check (-10), and the fighter needs to roll a 10 or less (50%). Very Hard (25) for Next fighter: 5%. For AD&D fighter: 25%. 

For ability scores in Next to mean what they should, the cap would have to be raised, or your modifier would need to be just your score -10. But both of those create bigger numbers than we need to be dealing with every round. And only the worst of the two options addresses odd ability scores. Another option would be to have lower ability scores be better, so you can keep the roll over aspect. But that's too sacred a cow to kill I suspect.

I know ability scores will not be changed at all from what they are in this edition, so don't think this is a plea to reinstitute the roll under method of AD&D. I'm just explaining how the ability score aspect of the game evolved to the point it's at currently.
i guess none of you ever played 1st or 2nd edition and are still complaining about balance. the choice is you play a human who can advance in any class to any level or you get a demi human who gives up unlimited progress in all but certain classes and instead gets a balanced ablitity score bonus with a negative ablilty score and the ability to multi class characters. i dont like that ever few levels you gain ability scores that weakens magic items that gave ablilty score bonuses from being special tightly guarded items to ehhhh oh i had a str of 20 so only losing 1 point is no big if i cant find that ring

1) I did play 1e and 2e.

2) Rules like race/class level limits and race/class combination restrictions were arbitrary and only prevented people from playing what they wanted without adding anything to the game.  I could not be more glad at their demise.

3) You can keep your cruddy magic ring, thanks.  With or without level-dependant ability score increases, I want my character to be cool/interesting by virtue of his or her capabilities, not because of a piece of jewelry.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

Yeah it seems to solve a number of issues people have with racial attribute bonuses. You can have Orcs (+2 Str or Con) be stronger than your average elf (+2 Dex or Wis) while still having a elven fighter (+2 Str or Con) who can be just as strong as an Orc fighter. It allows for more interesting combinations and doesn't funnel any race into a particular class. You can make Orc bards, gnome Barbarians, and dwarven wizards. Lastly, it gives humans that unique versatility they deserve without overpowering them (+2 to any ability score).

This is precisely why this proposed change appeals to me.

I may even have to houserule it if something like this doesn't get implemented in core.

*snip*

I would't object to a system that used score -10 for ability/skill checks and the now standard [ability score -10]/2 for attacks and spell DCs, assuming such a system could be worked out and made sense.  I doubt we'll see it though.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

That being said, I would like to see this change made for 5e.

Fortitude Defense = (Str score + Con score)/2
Reflex Defense = (Dex score + Int score)/2
Will Defense = (Wis score + Cha score)/2

I think the pairing is much better like this:

Fortitude Defense = (Str score + Con score)/2
Reflex Defense = (Dex score + Wis score)/2
Will Defense = (Int score + Cha score)/2

Otherwise, I'm in agreement that they need to bring back defenses.

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Let's just add all six scores, divide by six, and that can be what we add to every attack, skill check and save, while also serving as our armor class and the difficulty to save against any spells we cast. 
It wasn't a big deal because it was one of the first things regularly ignored.



It wasn't a big deal because experience was gained so slowly that 90% of the characters never got to the higher of the caps on the demihumans.  And they just didn't play demihumans of the classes with the lower caps.


But it did mean that humans dominated higher level play (for those groups that used the rules  -as ours did).  Which was Gary's intent all along.  Except for the thieves because thieves were uncapped.


Carl
i played 2nd edition for years, hardly anyone actually used them (games I played or reading frp.d&d and frp.misc on usenet)

instead they had a house rule of ignore demi human level limits

some even detailed what multiclass options humans could take

one of the good chances from 2nd to 3rd = any race can take any class, in fact the non min max option (taking a class you don't get a bonus in from your race) usually had the best roleplaying

Key things for D&D - Where is the character from and why do they do what they do? / Recurring NPCs - allies and enemies / Plot, World and Personal Events.

In 2ed I think we played with a house rule that after the regular max level, a demihuman could continue to level but gained xp at 1/2 the normal rate.
since when does ability sccores = a character thats cool. you might as well say you are a munchkin im ok with playing an average character my role play makes him cool and thats the diffrence you need rules to pump up your character so its cool i just need me
^what are you even talking about?
The solution needs to allow every race to play every class but each race should provide abilities that seem to fit certain classes just a bit better.

Dwarves should be good fighters but a dwarf wizard should still be fun to play.

i don't like the meaninglessness of odd ability scores.

With point buy, every character has mostly even scores except for those intended to build upon or when needed for certain feats. 

A system with modifiers as the given stat would make sense instead of the secondary conversion required  with a 3-18.  

Unfortunately, 3E gave use the linear gain on even numbers which made odd numbers relatively useless.
 
not saying its a bad idea, just more aimed at heroic fantasy than 'fantasy'


Exactly the words "heroic fantasy" that Gary used to describe this game called D&D... just sayin
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
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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
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since when does ability sccores = a character thats cool. you might as well say you are a munchkin im ok with playing an average character my role play makes him cool and thats the diffrence you need rules to pump up your character so its cool i just need me

I'm assuming you're responding to me, and if so, you're grossly misinterpretting my meaning (not to mention baselessly attacking me and casting false aspersions).

You complained that a +1 magic ring was meaningless when ability scores are inflated from level-based increases.  I merely countered that a +1 magic ring is meaningless, period.  To me, a character should defined by who they are and what they can do, not by what stuff they carry around.  So while I have no specific attachment to level-based score increases (as long as the math works out, I'm fine with or without), your argument against them just falls flat for me.  Because unless it was forge in the fires of Mt. Doom, I really don't want a magic ring to be important to my character.

And no, I don't "need rules to pump up" the characters I create.  I'm perfectly capable of operating without rules; I regularly create characters for the stories I write, where the only rules are the conventions of fiction, begging to be broken.  So I don't appreciate you insulting my imagination.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

Unfortunately, 3E gave use the linear gain on even numbers which made odd numbers relatively useless.

Which is preferable over a huge dead zone from 7 to 15.
Unfortunately, 3E gave use the linear gain on even numbers which made odd numbers relatively useless.

Which is preferable over a huge dead zone from 7 to 15.

I agree with both sentiments. I really hope theres at least some advanced modules for making the odd scores have meaning again. I would rather see it in core, however.

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If there were things that used the whole score (except feat prereqs - screw those things!), odd scores would have meaning.
If there were things that used the whole score (except feat prereqs - screw those things!), odd scores would have meaning.

Exactly! One reason I like the idea of using 4e-like defenses is that the formula can change to (ability1+ability2)/2, which will respect odd scores. I suppose you could convert that back to a modifer, and use the derived modifier as the bonus vs the spell DC. That would help the issue of certain spells too strong against the "weakest link" ability, such as Int or Cha, unless both scores are low.

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If there were things that used the whole score (except feat prereqs - screw those things!), odd scores would have meaning.

Exactly! One reason I like the idea of using 4e-like defenses is that the formula can change to (ability1+ability2)/2, which will respect odd scores. I suppose you could convert that back to a modifer, and use the derived modifier as the bonus vs the spell DC. That would help the issue of certain spells too strong against the "weakest link" ability, such as Int or Cha, unless both scores are low.



I am not a big fan of averaging scores but I'd prefer that the whole score be used more often, such as with hit points or encumbrance.  

I'd prefer if contests use the whole score and a smaller die, like a d6 or d10.

Imagine an arm-wrestling contest (or even grappling) between a str 10 individual and a str 15 individual.  In a d20 contest, the str 15 individual only has a slight advantage.  In reality, an individual with such superior strength would be expected to win nearly every time.

Such a contest should use the full strength, rather than the strength modifier, and even use a smaller die to replicate the superiority of one contestant.

i would never best an olympic wrestler in grappling or best a marathon runner in endurance.  Sometimes d20 checks should be replace with d6 + full score. 
D20 + Score?
That's probably still too much overlap.  D10 + score means 10's average is just about 15's minimum.

D20 + Score?
That's probably still too much overlap.  D10 + score means 10's average is just about 15's minimum.



I don't follow you.

My idea was either (d10 + full ability score) or (d6 + full ability score). Particularly for contests between individuals.

In a contest of intelligence, a 15 int would rarely lose to 10 int if a d10 or d6 + full intelligence score was used.

In a system using d20 + ability score modifier, the random component is much larger than the differences  between modifiers. The random component is therefore more important that the ability modifier.

In a contest of abilities, the biggest factor should be the ability scores themselves.

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