Nonabilities in 4E?

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One of the clunkiest mechanics in 3.0/3.5 is the lack of a Constitution score for non-living creatures and objects. It served to limit game designers in making hit points reflect how tough a non-living creature is. What benefit did it provide, besides serving as an indication of wether a creature was living? Creature type can do that just as easily.

Constitution can dictate how physically resilient a creature is:
Iron golem? High Constitution.
Glass golem? Not so much.

Objects can have a Constitution that affects things like break DC.

Maybe it's just me but I have trouble with non-intelligent creatures also. A creature without an intelligence score has no capacity to learn, but just how much can it function in new situations? Mostly I'm never sure how non-intelligent undead behave with orders.
I'd think that having a Constitution score implied having a metabolism of some sort. Obviously constructs and undead don't have metabolisms. I'm not sure what you mean by "resilience."

A creature without an Intelligence score would be like your computer. They do what they're told, but have very limited abilities to interpret instructions creatively. Basically, don't rely on your undead minions for any but the most simple of chores (dig a hole here, don't let anyone but me through this door, kill everyone who doesn't have Orcus' unholy symbol tattooed on their forehead, etc.)
Those Nonabilities are really strange. I tried to make a Cyperpunk setting in d20 a while ago and found that really interesting:
From the most basic to the complex, which has what mental ability scores:
-A simple delete program.
-A smart attack program with automated targeting (something with a knowledge database).
-A computer virus with advanced adaptive protocols (a program that learns in a limited way)
-A simple AI (that can learn a lot less limited, basicly "evolving", immitates human behaviour)
-A true AI (as we know from science fiction. Has a self-awareness, (somewhat) dissconnected conciousness and subconciousness. Learns and evolves. Acts like a human, because every human brain function is represented in the code)
I'd think that having a Constitution score implied having a metabolism of some sort.

Therein lies the problem. It all depends on how you define an ability. A not insignificant number of people believe that constitution should represent physical sturdiness not just "I can eat".
"resilience."

Shoot a car with a 9mm and the drive will high tail it. Shoot a tank with a 9mm and the driver will laugh at you.
That's what hitpoints and hardness are for.

I think Constitution is somewhat the easiest of the nonabilities.
"It uses it's Constitution absolutely only for Hitpoints? Than we can cut this of and eventually just give a HP bonus."

Strength and Dexterity are another interesting thing. Does a car have a strength and/or dexterity score?
That's what hitpoints and hardness are for.

As was pointed out, Constitution can be used for other things, such as modifying the break DC. Again, it all depends on how you define it.

Here's something to think about: If non-living things don't have Con, what would you call a Fort (heavily fortified base) in d20?
Does a car have a strength and/or dexterity score?

Yes. Put enough people in a car, and it becomes over encumbered and wont go anywhere. An F1 can make a tighter turn (and at higher speeds) than Semi can.
I think CON is a useful metric for determining resilience of any creature, living or undead.

INT is also useful in determining the complexity of a "non-intelligent" object/creature. Indeed, SWSE uses INT to categorize computer programs. SWSE also uses STR, DEX, and INT to categorize vehicles, though the INT ability is associated with the onboard computer. Since vehicles do not advance levels, CON was not needed.

However, droids do advance levels and increase in hit points. It would seem that CON would be appropriate for droids, since hit points improve as the droid advances levels. So, the "resilience" of the droid could be measured in more than one way (e.g., level and CON--"toughness potential").
Therein lies the problem. It all depends on how you define an ability. A not insignificant number of people believe that constitution should represent physical sturdiness not just "I can eat".

According to the 3.5 PHB (and the SRD), CON is a measure of a creature's "health and stamina". A non-living creature cannot be described as having a health status. Also, note that the description of what it means to not have CON score states that anything without one is immune to poison and disease. This supports the "presence of a CON score indicates a metabolism" idea.

Here's the definition for metabolism:
me·tab·o·lism /məˈtæbəˌlɪzəm/
–noun
1. Biology, Physiology. the sum of the physical and chemical processes in an organism by which its material substance is produced, maintained, and destroyed, and by which energy is made available. Compare anabolism, catabolism.
2. any basic process of organic functioning or operating: changes in the country's economic metabolism.
source: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=metabolism&x=0&y=0

So, when we say something has a metabolism, we don't mean it eats, we mean that it's a living organic system that, through chemical processes, produces its own energy.

It doesn't matter what most people [BOLD]think[/BOLD] it should mean. This is the context they're playing in. Every assumption that the rules make about what benefits any particular Constitution provides are based on this definition. Besides, this is closer to the real-world definition than "physical sturdiness".

Constitution can dictate how physically resilient a creature is:
Iron golem? High Constitution.
Glass golem? Not so much.

This is a misuse of the word "resilient":
re·sil·ience (rĭ-zĭl'yəns)
n.
1. The ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune; buoyancy.
2. The property of a material that enables it to resume its original shape or position after being bent, stretched, or compressed; elasticity.
source: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=resilience

resilience
1. Energy (per unit of volume) released upon unloading.
2. Springiness or elasticity.
Origin: L. Resilio, to spring back, rebound
source: http://cancerweb.ncl.ac.uk/cgi-bin/omd?query=resilience&action=Search+OMD

I've never seen iron behave in an elastic manner, sure it resists deformity, but once deformed, it doesn't easily return to its original shape.

As was pointed out, Constitution can be used for other things, such as modifying the break DC. Again, it all depends on how you define it.

You can't give a non-living creature a Constitution score and say "for this class of creatures, CON means something completely different than normal simply because I have trouble understanding what it means to not have a CON score."

Does a car have a strength and/or dexterity score?

Yes. Put enough people in a car, and it becomes over encumbered and wont go anywhere. An F1 can make a tighter turn (and at higher speeds) than Semi can.

A car would not have any ability scores: it's an object. In order for something to have a Strength or Dexterity score, it must be able to move under its own power; a car requires a driver to constantly provide force and direction or it won't move. I covered Constitution above, so a car won't have one. A car does not have any sort of perception or intuition, so no Wisdom. A car neither learn nor reason, so no Intelligence score. Finally, a car does not have a personality, so no Charisma.

It doesn't take much effort to know what it means to have or not have any particular ability score, and the difference between not having a score and having a score of 0. The meanings of the abilities are fine just the way they are, and they should not be changed to mean radically different things just because you don't understand them.
According to the 3.5 PHB (and the SRD), CON is a measure of a creature's "health and stamina". A non-living creature cannot be described as having a health status. Also, note that the description of what it means to not have CON score states that anything without one is immune to poison and disease. This supports the "presence of a CON score indicates a metabolism" idea.

So you support exactly what I said?: It all depends on how Con is defined?
It doesn't matter what most people [BOLD]think[/BOLD] it should mean.

Actually, it does. If most people define Constitution vaguely (as is the case with Most d20, the vaguity and abstractness, that is) to include resilience and sturdiness, then there is no reason for non-living things to not have Con Scores. A game system is not a sacred text, forbidden to be altered. It is an evolving thing, gaining new desired attributes and losing undesired attributes. If this were not the case, the d20 system would not even exist (because we would still be playing 1st edition).
Origin: L. Resilio, to spring back, rebound

And this happens on a subatomic level for really dense objects. A bullet will cause a few molecules of a dense substance to morph, but they will spring back because of the strength and density of the material.
You can't give a non-living creature a Constitution score and say "for this class of creatures, CON means something completely different than normal simply because I have trouble understanding what it means to not have a CON score."

That's not what's being purported at all. No where did I (or the others, IIRC) say non-living creatures without a Con would not gain bonus HP, etc. They in fact would. The only thing that says otherwise is tradition/stubborness of how Con is defined. If Con is defined vaguely and abstractly, there is no reason to deny anything of a Con score.
A car would not have any ability scores: it's an object. In order for something to have a Strength or Dexterity score, it must be able to move under its own power; a car requires a driver to constantly provide force and direction or it won't move.

Oh, then I suggest you stay away from SW Saga Edition. It'll be witchcraft to you. Everything has a Str and Dex score.
A car does not have any sort of perception or intuition, so no Wisdom.

Computers have Wisdom; It mainly governs how hard they are to hack.
A car neither learn nor reason, so no Intelligence score.

Vehicles have Int, scores. It mainly covers how good a fire control bonus it grants to attacks.

Charisma also reflects the ability to influence your environment.

See, what you're doing is narrowly defining things so your in your little, traditional/stubborn world, so that you're right. You're not letting people proving you wrong because of the illogical walls you put up.
I'm on fedos's opinion.
Why change something which is OK and consistent, and does not adversely affect game play? we can all agree that there are things that have 0 int. It was with the game in AD&D time (and probably before).
Having 0 Str means that one cannot exert physical force in its environment. Ghosts come into mind.
And they having 0 CON also means that the thing/organism cannot be critically hit.

Try to get out of the 3.x mindset when monsters were created as characters. There is no need to have mechanical reason behind a dragon's 200 hp.

Also if you want bonuses on attack or piloting check from a vehicle, why not just indicate that a particular vehicle grants you +1 bonus to piloting check. Why do you need to assign Dex 12 to it? Much more complex, and unneeded.
I think nonabilities are useful in some circumstances--e.g., ghosts--but I do think Constitution should be used to measure the resilience of inanimate objects.

If you wanna be a stickler for definition, living creatures could have Constitution and unliving creatures and objects could have Construction. Thus a skeleton with calcium-rich bones could have a Construction of 14, while the solid-iron golem could have a Construction upwards of 30.

I agree with using Strength as a measure of carrying and pulling capacity for vehicles, too. No, it can't move under its own power... unless you ignite the engine. Quite simply, if we've got a good way to measure strength and durability in a character, we can use that on things that aren't (or aren't going to be) characters, because it's one less subsystem. Plus, it could be handy for statting up important vehicles like they were characters or monsters.
Also if you want bonuses on attack or piloting check from a vehicle, why not just indicate that a particular vehicle grants you +1 bonus to piloting check. Why do you need to assign Dex 12 to it?

So the party can scrape together enough funds to buy, say, a Siena's blessed wingspan for their flying-machine, which grants a +4 enhancement bonus to a ship's Dexterity. Rather than just increase a piloting check to +3, it'd also increase its defenses, its onboard attack systems, and how fast it can react to oncoming attackers. Vehicles make more sense and don't need as many rules if they're made out like creatures. EDIT: Plus, it makes vehicles more personal. It's not just a slab of HP, hardness, and bonuses, it's built like a person (at least in game system terms), and it's easier to empathize with an inanimate object when it looks like you.

Hell, you could even make use of maneuverability from fly speeds to apply to wheeled or tracked vehicles. A crappy little cart would have speed equal to the creatures pulling it and Clumsy maneuverability. A motorcycle (in a modern or offbeat fantasy setting) would have speed, say, 120 ft. at a low speed rate and Good maneuverability.
why not just indicate that a particular vehicle grants you +1 bonus to piloting check. Why do you need to assign Dex 12 to it? Much more complex, and unneeded.

Actually, a +1 is more complex than a 12 Dex. A 12 Dex implies a +1, and there's already space on the Char Sheet for it. A special +1 has to be called out, and space needs to be carved out for it.
This is a misuse of the word "resilient"

Okay, would using the word "durability" make you happier?
I've never seen iron behave in an elastic manner, sure it resists deformity, but once deformed, it doesn't easily return to its original shape.

You've obviously never owned a slinky :P
You can't give a non-living creature a Constitution score and say "for this class of creatures, CON means something completely different than normal simply because I have trouble understanding what it means to not have a CON score."

It doesn't mean something entirely different, it's the number that adjusts hit points and the creature's defense against assaults on its physical makeup.
A car would not have any ability scores: it's an object. In order for something to have a Strength or Dexterity score, it must be able to move under its own power; a car requires a driver to constantly provide force and direction or it won't move. I covered Constitution above, so a car won't have one. A car does not have any sort of perception or intuition, so no Wisdom. A car neither learn nor reason, so no Intelligence score. Finally, a car does not have a personality, so no Charisma.

It doesn't take much effort to know what it means to have or not have any particular ability score, and the difference between not having a score and having a score of 0. The meanings of the abilities are fine just the way they are, and they should not be changed to mean radically different things just because you don't understand them.

But as soon as an object is animated it gains a Str, Dex, Wis, and Cha? It has hit points that are solely based on size? Having scores indicating how an object behaves in the game should it become mobile is incredibly useful. Knowing how much weight a bridge or cart can support (Strength) is useful. Who cares if those scores mean something slightly different in the context of an object?
Computers have Wisdom; It mainly governs how hard they are to hack.

Vehicles have Int, scores. It mainly covers how good a fire control bonus it grants to attacks.

Charisma also reflects the ability to influence your environment.

Charisma + Wisdom: I don't know, if Computers should have this. Anything "influences" the enviroment. If a stone is lieing in the grass, the grass is diffrent then it would be, if the stone wasn't there. I don't think that is meant with influence.
I think this is about creativity.

Wisdom govers intuition, but the question about if *** is an ability or not seams to be more given by the question, how the thing in question preceives it's world. A simple camera has no wisdom. It preceives the world but can't interpret the information.

I think it's a good rule that wisdom and charisma only come as a team. This describes a whole complex of knowledge about who/what you are and who/what is not you and what I whould like best: What you want to be.
Of course, this opposes given creatures: Insects have Charisma and Wisdom, through they have no idea of what "itself" is.



But Int is the score I have most problems with. Sure, a good fire control could be described as Int. Pattern recognition, maybe even a tactical computer that keeps track of friends/foos and predicts movement in advance.

However ... if that's the case, why does a golem have no Int?
The Golem gets order to "attack anything that attacks his master".
Now the Golem remembers this order ("learns it"). He reasons what exactly is an attack (the wizard that throws a fireball, that harms the master but not the master's friend that throws a fireball at the group of evil guys, allthrough the master happens to be in the area of effect, etc...).