Ability Scores or Ability Bonuses?

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Has there been any word on whether Wizards plans to stick to the traditional 3d6 style attributes or switch to the much simpler bonus-based attributes like that in True 20?

As a house rule we've switch to strictly bonus-based stats and it seems a lot easier for new players and even older players appreciate the simplicity of knowing that a Bear's Endurance is +1 hitpoint per level and a Bull Strength is +1 attack and +1 damage.

I'm just curious if there's been any word.
Huh? But Bear's Endurance should be +2 hp per level and Bull's Strength should be +2 to hit and +2 or +3 damage (for light/one-handed or two-handed).

I double they are getting rid of Ability Scores though.
You're right. See how confusing the conversion can be sometimes?
I agree that the 3d6 ability scores aren't a helpful way to handle abilities. I'd prefer a system in which you roll 3d4 for each ability score. Str +0 means that you can't exert force, Str +3 means you are a puny pathetic human, and Str +12 means that you're a paragon of strength for humans.

However, I think I heard (on the latest podcast?) that the old ability score system is staying...dag nabbit.
It just would not be Dungeons and Dragons without the 3d6 attributes.

At least that's how I feel.
We'll disagree as friends about the 3d6 ability scores.

Would you agree with me then that there should not be *penalties*, but only low bonuses for low ability scores? That way a low-Dex character actually hates to be flat-footed (even w/o sneak attack to worry about), and initiative/surprise potentially means a lot more.

0 Str = +0 bonus
10 Str = +5 bonus
20 Str = +10 bonus
I would keep all the bonuses the same but I would just focus on the bonuses instead of the base scores.

For example, a new character could start with six bonus points to spread across the six attributes. They can't put more than 4 into any one attribute and they can gain two more by subtracting two from other attributes.

So a fighter might choose:

+4 strength
+4 constitution
0 Dex
0 Wisdom
-1 Intelligence
-1 Charisma

It's a lot easier than a point-buy system and everyone is always focusing on the bonuses which is the only part that really matters.
D&D without Ability Scores just isn't D&D. Don't get me wrong. I am not against the idea of different systems. I play a lot of different games (aka different systems) and I enjoy them all. Those 6 Ability Scores are an icon of the D&D system and to remove them would ruin the game. Of course, we already know they are staying so I am not worried.

On the other note, the penalties for low scores should stay as well. Low scores don't hurt characters, they make them more fun to play.
Please don't misunderstand. I'm not saying to remove penalties so that nobody suffers from being bad at something. I just think that we'd get better mechanics by sticking to low pluses instead of actual mathematical minuses. Do you see what I'm saying? The "penalty" would be a low plus.
We were talking about it in another thread here last week and it got me thinking.

Problem: I want 3d6 abilities to stay, but I don't want the ability modifiers. Since they are just another aspect of the ability score, they are reduntant and confusing.

The modifier is (score / 2) - 5, rounding down assumed, but this is far too complex to calculate on the fly.

However, score / 2 is not that hard to calculate. If I replace all modifiers with half score, I offset all modifiers by 5. How will that change the game?

Trying it out, I found it doesn't change that much. Attack bonuses are up +5, but so is AC. Skill checks are up +5, so static DCs have to be increased by +5. Saves are up +5, but most Save DCs are calculated from an ability score, so they are also up +5. Some things give you X + ability modifier of something, so I had to recalculate X.

In the end, the only thing really messed up was damage bonus. I ended up giving Strength / 4 as normal damage bonus and Strength / 2 for two-handed attacks.

And, as fearsidhe pointed out in a previous post, it's nice that there are no penalties - just low bonuses for low ability scores.

Food for thought?
I definitely understand what you are saying. But I have to be honest in saying I don't like that idea at all because the "penalty is low pluses" is a perspective, not a mechanic.

Your perspective is that the low plus is the penalty for a low ability score. There is nothing wrong with that perspective.

Another player may look at it and not see a penalty at all. In fact, the thought may cross their mind that there is no penalty at all for having a low ability score. That is what crossed my mind when I saw that.

The goal was to provide a detrimental effect for low ability scores mechanically. A shift in perspective completely obliterated the idea that there was a penalty for a low ability score (and an easy shift in perspective at that). Imho, that means the mechanic failed to do what it was intended to do.
The goal was to provide a detrimental effect for low ability scores mechanically. A shift in perspective completely obliterated the idea that there was a penalty for a low ability score (and an easy shift in perspective at that). Imho, that means the mechanic failed to do what it was intended to do.

As you say, it's just a matter of perspective. Mechanically there is a detrimental effect for low ability scores. It just doesn't come with a minus sign in front.
I see your point MHolland. But how can it work right that Liadae-the-Wind-Blade (dextrous elf) gets a much lower AC when flat-footed, while Dungus-the-Arthritic (half-whale ogre) doesn't even suffer any effect (because penalties get no effect when flat-footed)? I'd really like to see a way around that unhelpful mechanic.

Any ideas?
Liadae-the-Wind-Blade (dextrous elf) should find a way to get Uncanny Dodge :P
As to that I cannot say. My current DM didnt even have us write down our Flat Footed AC for him and I don't think he is using it. We never did much like the concept. Just because you haven't acted offensively (your turn in Initiative hasn't come up yet) doesn't mean you can't react defensively to an attack by someone else against you.

We always ruled that if you were 'aware' of combat beginning then you weren't flat footed. So the rule was reserved for rare occasions, such as, a sneak attack/ambush against unaware opponents or my high elf cleric in our current game who is rather oblivious (absent minded book worm is what he is, mostly due to abysmal perception and initiative rolls).