Ability Requirements for Armor, Weapons, and Spells

I've seen a lot of dicussion in other threads about making odd numbered abilities useful and posts trying to make things more unique between classes.  So why not make use of ability scores to unlock certain equipment.

We already have ability requirements for Feats, so it isn't a foriegn concept and most of those use odd numbered ability scores.

Pros:


  • It will diversify classes that have access to lots of everything.  


    • Cleric:  This gives them the hard choice of focusing on their Wisdom for spells or Strength for better Armor and Weapons.

    • Ranger:  Balancing a moderate Wisdom for the spells, Strength for better weapons, or Dex for 

    • Multi-Classes(if it happens):   No more taking a single level of a certain class and getting open access to everything it offers without any limitation.  It would allow the possibility, but 


  • Players have ways to increase ability scores, so it won't hinder any progress for things in their class.

  • It's a great call back to old versions of D&D.

  • The requirements match up really well with the current maximum of 20 for ability scores.  (19 would give you 9th level spells, 20 would give you the final +5)  You are rewarded for each and every single ability point.




Cons:


  • It complicates the game, but it is already present for Feats.




Potential Spell Rules:
Reach back to second edition and require 11 for 1st level spells, 12 for second, 13 for third level and so on until level 9 spells require a score of 19.  Simple and beautiful.

Potential Armor Rules:
Medium and Heavy armors would require minimum strength amounts so that not everyone would be wearing the ultimate armor for a given group(Studded Leather, Full Plate).


  • Scale Mail: str 7

  • Ring Mail:  str 11

  • Splint:  str 13

  • Banded:  str 15

  • Plate: str 17


Allow various types of materials the armor is made of to lower those requirements, like mithrial armor would add -2 str req.  Dragon scale/bone/hide might add +2 str req.

Potential Weapon Rules:
So many weapons are flat out better than others, but are in the same category;  Nothing exists to represent the skill needed to use a better weapon.
Require a Str or Dex minimum for weapons with powerful bonuses.

Bows:


  • Short Bow: Requires 9 dex

  • Long Bow:  Requires 11 dex

  • Composite Long Bow:  Requires 11 dex,  13 str


Light Weapons:


  • Hammer: str 13

  • Spiked Shield:  str 13, dex 13

  • Hand Axe:  dex 13


Crazy Good Weapons:


  • Spiked Chain:  dex: 15

  • Rapier: dex 13

  • Glaive: dex 15 



Rule & Faction Designer on Warlord 2nd Edition & Savage North Game Designer & Programmer for Embalmit Games
So I guess this is so great it's blown everyone's minds.    

What about bonus spells based on ability score?  
11:  +1, 1st level
13:  +1, 2nd level
15:  +1, 3rd level
17:  +1, 4th level
19:  +1, 5th level
Rule & Faction Designer on Warlord 2nd Edition & Savage North Game Designer & Programmer for Embalmit Games
No.

Just. No.

That was the problem with 3.5. Too complex. The problem with 4e? Too simple.

The problem right now with 5e? They are going too complex in some parts, too simple in others.

This? This makes things more complex again. 
All of this would only apply when you are selecting your equipment or resting for spells.  Check the type of armor you want to wear, give your character those stats, or work towards them as you level up.

We aren't adding multipliers, calculating spell % failure, stacking armor types, or anything else that truly made 3e too complicated.   This is simple depth.  

The game is trying to find the middle ground, I agree.  It will need simple to understand ways to have depth.  Giving the player a chance to easily understand that the Pros and Cons of their major ability scores can be explained in access to new equipment and higher level spells is a simple mechanic.

 
Rule & Faction Designer on Warlord 2nd Edition & Savage North Game Designer & Programmer for Embalmit Games
While, conceptually, I really like the concept, I also feel that it's an unneeded complication. Plus, it's difficult to get right. Historically, military weapons and armor were generally intended to be wielded by a pysically fit man, probably strength and dexterity around 12-16. Being below that, and anything short of light weapons and armor becomes challenging. So, either you create numbers outside that range, and thus cause arguments, or stick to that range and have little design space to accomplish your goals.

Still, in an advanced equipment module, I'd very much like this sort of thing.
I personally love the idea of having certain ability requirements for armor and weapons. It makes armore and weapon choice more important, and can also help when leveling up since +s to attributes allow you to better your defenses as you increase levels.

I really don't think this complicates things much at all, since as you mentioned, you only deal with it when selecting equipment.
While, conceptually, I really like the concept, I also feel that it's an unneeded complication. Plus, it's difficult to get right. Historically, military weapons and armor were generally intended to be wielded by a pysically fit man, probably strength and dexterity around 12-16. Being below that, and anything short of light weapons and armor becomes challenging. So, either you create numbers outside that range, and thus cause arguments, or stick to that range and have little design space to accomplish your goals.

Still, in an advanced equipment module, I'd very much like this sort of thing.



I think a working range of 11 to 17 would be more than enough, sticking with odd numbers that gives us 4 ranks to work with.

11 should be equipment that require some skill to use accurately, but have lesser versions that have no requirements.  So Longbows or rapiers, they are upgrades for the short bow and short sword.

13 should be equipment that have a slight advantage over others.  So composite long bows or the weaker heavy armors.

15 gets into weapons that have a good advantage over others of the same category.  Two-handers with high damage and reach, or unique weapons that offer specific bonuses like the spiked shield.

17 is for equipment designed with special, class specific equipment.  Spiked chains, or plate armor.

This saves 19 for extreme equipment that uses special materials.

Rule & Faction Designer on Warlord 2nd Edition & Savage North Game Designer & Programmer for Embalmit Games
So your idea to give odd scores more of a use is to RESTRICT those who use martial means, such as armour and weapons based on their score, and REWARD magic users with extra spells for high scores.

I don't think people even notice this sort of stuff anymore.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
Hello:

I think is a great idea for make that class takes different types f weapon or armour and mke more sense the +1 bonus to score ability when you level up to take better armour o weapon and no tke the most bigger of then for make the biger damage o take the best armour. And if ther are people than think can be very difficul, make this a option as the feats for example.
So your idea to give odd scores more of a use is to RESTRICT those who use martial means, such as armour and weapons based on their score, and REWARD magic users with extra spells for high scores.

I don't think people even notice this sort of stuff anymore.


I don't see how you can view one as a restriction and the other as a reward, both are rewards for higher scores.  

A fighter with 17 str would have access to plate armor.  Just about all fighters and paladins would reach that minimum, and it's a better restriction than price.  They would be the ones who almost always reach the minimum and get the advantage of having the best equipment.

A cleric would have to decide if they want to reach Plate armor or high level spells, but gaining both would be close to impossible.  That choice alone adds some major diversity to clerics, the Reaper who is dressed for battle with Plate and heavy weapons and the Priest who settles for chain and a staff but has the absolute best spells.

A Druid that can't access the best weapons or armor will have their spells, and their animal transformations will be huge for diving into battle.  A druid that does have the stats to reach the equipment will want to use spells to augment themselves or grant advantage, like flameblade and entangle.

 

 
Rule & Faction Designer on Warlord 2nd Edition & Savage North Game Designer & Programmer for Embalmit Games
I like this idea. In 3.5 you needed 10 + spell level to be able to cast a spell, and I liked that. It doesn't make any sense to be able to cast 9th level Wizard spells with a 5 Intelligence, just like it doesn't make sense to be able to wield a 25 pound Maul with a Strength of 7.

This should at least be in a module, for those of us who think complexity improves the game.
I think the most important thing is that a bounded system needs lateral options.  We need requirements and bonuses so that each player has a diverse set of options.  I want to see more features for weapons and armor that make them balanced among each other.  Having ability requirements allows for more properties on weapons and for different combinations.

New weapon properties that would be a good idea to implement with ability requirements:

Slam -  The target of this attack can be moved 5 feet in any direction.  Moving them off a cliff allows a dex save. (Maul, Warhammer)

Gore - The target of this attack cannot Concentrate on other tasks.  They must make a save to maintain spells.  (Great Axe, Double Axe, Battle Axe, Glaive, Morningstar)

Disable - A target hit by this weapon loses their reaction until their next turn.  (Trident, Whip, Spiked Chain)
 

If you meet the required stats, can handle the extra weight, and have proficiency then they are nice little bonuses for being an awesome melee warrior.  
Rule & Faction Designer on Warlord 2nd Edition & Savage North Game Designer & Programmer for Embalmit Games
I like the idea, but it needs to be streamlined to be more accessable. I would say pick a specific number, like 13, and always require that number all the time. Then players know if they have a 13 strength, they meet all strength requirements for everything that requires strength.

It seems like encumberance was always supposed to fill that role, but most DMs ignore it since it is not a fun mechanic to have to worry about (like ammo). It can feel like a tax audit when you decide to check it one week.
It seems like a god idea, but to simplify it, Armor could have a strength requirement based on category.
Medium Armor requires Str 13
Heavy Armor requires Str 15
Anyone can equip it, but if they don't meet the Str requirement they grant Advantage to their opponents who attack them since the armor is heavy and restricts movement.

Weapons could have requirements based on existing properties.
Finesse weapons could require a Dex 13
Heavy weapons require Str 15
Versatile weapons require Str 13 and Dex 13
Again, anyone could equip it, but they attack with Disadvantage.

I think this is simple enough that it doesn't overcomplicate anything, but it does add some depth.  Fighters will most likely have access to heavy armor right off the bat, but for paladins, clerics, rangers and so on with martial and magical options, it doesn't so much force a choice as it does diversifaction.  Again, special materials like Mithral or Dragonscale could decrease or increase the requirements as appropriate.

As for Spells, I really do think the 10+Spell level requirement is a good idea.
I don't want to address the bonus spell slot thing though, as I think the spells in general need some restructuring.
Why not treat spells the same as the discussion for weapons? So at all spell levels, some spells require higher numbers to cast. Magic Missile? INT 11. Burning Hands? CON 11. Charm Person? CHA 15. Wish? INT 17 and CHA 15. And so on.

It'd have the same stat and choice diversification benefits being suggested for per-weapon stat requirements.
Why not treat spells the same as the discussion for weapons? So at all spell levels, some spells require higher numbers to cast. Magic Missile? INT 11. Burning Hands? CON 11. Charm Person? CHA 15. Wish? INT 17 and CHA 15. And so on.

It'd have the same stat and choice diversification benefits being suggested for per-weapon stat requirements.



I think this is a bit more complicated than its depth is worth.  Now you have to build your stats to meet the specific spells.  It also spreads you over too many scores.  Then if an effect lowers an ability score temporarily, you have to check each spell to see which you can still cast.  On the other hand, if it was by spell school, it might fit more in the balance of complexity/depth.  Enchantments could be Cha, Necromancy could be Con, Illusion could be Int, etc.  Then the appropriate stat would need to be 10+spell level.  Still diversifies, but over fewer stats.  I like this idea, but it may still be a bit too much.  I think the spells themselves need some work at the same time as the overall structure and I just haven't had the time to get into each one.  I'll be back with more ideas on this soon.
On giving spells different Ability Requirements:
I agree with Wits on the Spells.  Requiring different abilities for each spell would be a complete pain to manage.  It's time consuming enough to flip through a spell book, I don't want to check abilities on things that I would be changing multiple times per game session.  Armor and weapons are things that get updated rarely and there are only 30 or so of them, all contained in a single easy to read table.

On giving an entire group a single STR Requirement:
I would prefer each armor to have it's own Str requirement, that way we could have options for characters with different abilties.  Giving each group their own STR requirement creates the exact same problem the armor has now, where each piece is just a step ladder to gain +1 AC.


Different AC bonuses, Different DEX bonuses, and Different STR requirements creates a situation where each type of armor is different.  It means armor isn't a step ladder, it's a diverse pool of options for a diverse group of characters.
Rule & Faction Designer on Warlord 2nd Edition & Savage North Game Designer & Programmer for Embalmit Games
Can't say I'm a fan. Myself I'd rather see ability requirments to all go, feats included. Now I could see this as an optional add on, well as long as I could ignore it. Wink
On giving spells different Ability Requirements:
I agree with Wits on the Spells.  Requiring different abilities for each spell would be a complete pain to manage.  It's time consuming enough to flip through a spell book, I don't want to check abilities on things that I would be changing multiple times per game session.  Armor and weapons are things that get updated rarely and there are only 30 or so of them, all contained in a single easy to read table.

On giving an entire group a single STR Requirement:
I would prefer each armor to have it's own Str requirement, that way we could have options for characters with different abilties.  Giving each group their own STR requirement creates the exact same problem the armor has now, where each piece is just a step ladder to gain +1 AC.


Different AC bonuses, Different DEX bonuses, and Different STR requirements creates a situation where each type of armor is different.  It means armor isn't a step ladder, it's a diverse pool of options for a diverse group of characters.



A lot of people on the forums complain about things getting too complicated (in some cases I agree and in some I disagree).  I feel like keeping the requirements to the category walks the middle ground pretty well.  I think the best way to diversify armor is with special materials and special properties granted by them.  Red Dragon Scale armor would give fire resistance for example.  Those don't need to be listed in the core rules, but could be added in with later modules.  That adds to the modularity aspect, which I think is good.
Ability score prereqs balance nothing, but serve only to arbitrarily exclude.
Ability score prereqs balance nothing, but serve only to arbitrarily exclude.



In real life, I'm 5'7" and 125 lbs.  If you put me in plate armor and we fight, I'm going to get beaten.  I won't be able to move fast enough to land my attacks.  Plate armor just won't benefit me as it would a stronger man.  Putting a str requirement on plate armor only excludes those who really shouldn't benifit from it anyway.  Then if you make it so that being under the requirement grants opponents advantage on attacks rather than you just can't wear it, it more closely matches the real life example and the armor still functions, just not as well.
On the other hand, I've been a fencer for many years and I'm very agile.  Use of a finesse weapon like a rapier for me is more effective than for someone who doesn't have that agility.  He shouldn't benefit from that property as much as I should, so a dex requirement works the same way.

What it balances is not letting any person who puts on the item fully benefit from it despite not being physically capable to do so.
Why not treat spells the same as the discussion for weapons? So at all spell levels, some spells require higher numbers to cast. Magic Missile? INT 11. Burning Hands? CON 11. Charm Person? CHA 15. Wish? INT 17 and CHA 15. And so on.

It'd have the same stat and choice diversification benefits being suggested for per-weapon stat requirements.



I think this is a bit more complicated than its depth is worth.  Now you have to build your stats to meet the specific spells.  It also spreads you over too many scores.  Then if an effect lowers an ability score temporarily, you have to check each spell to see which you can still cast.  On the other hand, if it was by spell school, it might fit more in the balance of complexity/depth.  Enchantments could be Cha, Necromancy could be Con, Illusion could be Int, etc.  Then the appropriate stat would need to be 10+spell level.  Still diversifies, but over fewer stats.  I like this idea, but it may still be a bit too much.  I think the spells themselves need some work at the same time as the overall structure and I just haven't had the time to get into each one.  I'll be back with more ideas on this soon.



+1 on this :D

Ability score prereqs balance nothing, but serve only to arbitrarily exclude.



In real life, I'm 5'7" and 125 lbs.  If you put me in plate armor and we fight, I'm going to get beaten.  I won't be able to move fast enough to land my attacks.  Plate armor just won't benefit me as it would a stronger man.  Putting a str requirement on plate armor only excludes those who really shouldn't benifit from it anyway.  Then if you make it so that being under the requirement grants opponents advantage on attacks rather than you just can't wear it, it more closely matches the real life example and the armor still functions, just not as well.
On the other hand, I've been a fencer for many years and I'm very agile.  Use of a finesse weapon like a rapier for me is more effective than for someone who doesn't have that agility.  He shouldn't benefit from that property as much as I should, so a dex requirement works the same way.

What it balances is not letting any person who puts on the item fully benefit from it despite not being physically capable to do so.



Historically you're wrong. Most suits of real plate armor still around will fit a man about 5'6" -7". Someone larger than you would have been hard pressed to find a suit they could wear because it would be quite costly do to the additional material cost and the need to fit it to them. Unlike in dnd real armor was not an off the shelf item.  Still the smiths were more accustomed to men of your height.

In addition, well made armor especially was designed to let you move around easily as the real protection the armor offered was the angles it presents to the attacker. It was designed to deflect blows from weapons striking its surface Not merely absorb them.

Due to this fact larger and heavier melee weapons were designed to crush the armor inward and pin the wearer within his own armor reducing their ability To move about without great pain.

imagine you are hiding in a metal trash can and someone hits the side with a bat but can't dent the side with it. You're safe. But when they come back with a ten pound sledge hammer and cave one side in things really change for you inside that trash can. 
Ability score prereqs balance nothing, but serve only to arbitrarily exclude.



I disagree. Too tired to post why right now. Will come back to this tomorrow. 
Ability score prereqs balance nothing, but serve only to arbitrarily exclude.



In real life, I'm 5'7" and 125 lbs.  If you put me in plate armor and we fight, I'm going to get beaten.  I won't be able to move fast enough to land my attacks.  Plate armor just won't benefit me as it would a stronger man.  Putting a str requirement on plate armor only excludes those who really shouldn't benifit from it anyway.  Then if you make it so that being under the requirement grants opponents advantage on attacks rather than you just can't wear it, it more closely matches the real life example and the armor still functions, just not as well.
On the other hand, I've been a fencer for many years and I'm very agile.  Use of a finesse weapon like a rapier for me is more effective than for someone who doesn't have that agility.  He shouldn't benefit from that property as much as I should, so a dex requirement works the same way.

What it balances is not letting any person who puts on the item fully benefit from it despite not being physically capable to do so.



Historically you're wrong. Most suits of real plate armor still around will fit a man about 5'6" -7". Someone larger than you would have been hard pressed to find a suit they could wear because it would be quite costly do to the additional material cost and the need to fit it to them. Unlike in dnd real armor was not an off the shelf item.  Still the smiths were more accustomed to men of your height.

In addition, well made armor especially was designed to let you move around easily as the real protection the armor offered was the angles it presents to the attacker. It was designed to deflect blows from weapons striking its surface Not merely absorb them.

Due to this fact larger and heavier melee weapons were designed to crush the armor inward and pin the wearer within his own armor reducing their ability To move about without great pain.

imagine you are hiding in a metal trash can and someone hits the side with a bat but can't dent the side with it. You're safe. But when they come back with a ten pound sledge hammer and cave one side in things really change for you inside that trash can. 



My height isn't the actual factor.  I pointed it out as a counterpoint the my weight to describe exactly how skinny a dude I am.  I've actually worn plate armor and done fight reenactments.  45 lbs of plate armor is major hinderance to someone my size.  It's a hinderance at the start and gets more so as the fight goes on.  Yes, a man of 5'6" could wear the armor effectively, but I assure you he's a good bit more muscular than I am.  I'm not suggesting that the Str requirement on a heavy set of plate should be 19, but I wouldn't see a 15 to be unreasonable considering how most armored fighters get built in the game.