Ability Score Mods to Hit

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Can we just get rid of the STR and DEX bonuses to hit? They really seem to unbalance things and make Ability Mods more important than Character Level (especially 1st-5th) or Feats.

I would vote for doing so and allowing STR Mod to still add damage to melee and thrown attacks and allowing the DEX Mod to add to ranged damage. With seperate Feats that would allow you to use any one Ability Mod for damage in melee OR ranged combat (not both).

Call the Feats...
Detect Weakness (Int)
Intuitive Strike (Wis)
Distracting Banter (Cha)

I got nothing for a Con Feat.
I beg to differ. If the defender gets to add their Dex mod to AC, the attacker has to add something to attack.

Sandulax

Can we just get rid of the STR and DEX bonuses to hit? They really seem to unbalance things and make Ability Mods more important than Character Level (especially 1st-5th) or Feats.

As should be the case.

If you are just a fledgling fighter, your stats should matter more than your training, simply because you don't really have much training to speak of in the first place. When facing off against a foe, you would logically have to rely more on your own natural endownments, like natural reflexes or might to best your foe, rather than any fancy fighting techniques which you likely haven't learnt yet.

Even as you grow more proficient with your fighting capabilities (reprented by you having more class lvs, and correspondingly better bab), your stats should still matter. Compare 2 lv20 fighters. All other things equal, the one with better str or dex should be the one with a better chance of hitting his foe.

Nor do I see how they may unbalance combat. Care to cite some examples? Your example seemed rather lacking...
I disagree with runestar. Unnecessary rules under 3e (like ability scores) shouldn't trump class ability. Player accomplishment should count more than random dice rolls. Drag bonuses back down to a +1 or -1 and that's all. To hit, AC, and HP Bonus. Pre-2000 scores worked just fine.

This became a problem by trying to ensure every point statistically mattered in the 3-18 spread, only to have the 3-18 be greatly diminished in importance by Ability Mods. D&D wasn't designed to have a GURPS-like ability array. Bring back the Adult Human Bellcurve.
I don't see how to-hit bonuses from str is a random bonus. And it would be a very boring game if the higher fighter always trounces the lower lv fighter, simply because there would be nothing random about the fight.

Class abilities are cool and nice to have, but I disagree about how they should be the only thing which matters.
I think the problem (if there is one) is in the abstract HP system vs. reality. The HP system assumes that every "hit" does not equate to actual physical damage, but includes near misses and close shaves also. Use of STR bonuses to hit (and DEX to a lesser degree) takes into account the extra effort necessary to dodge the giant or dragon swipe. Most fantasy sources have actual hits by these creatures on the heroes rare, as they would assume such a blow would kill any mortal. Alternately, it does represent the innate skill of the combatant, which is probably good for realism.

While I agree that ability mods have become too powerful in all aspects of the game, I don't know if there is a particularly good method for eliminating STR/DEX bonuses to hit. 4e is supposed to reduce need for magic gear, which I view specifically referring to stat boosters and such that every PC had. The fact that they are separating PCs and monsters mechanically can go a long way also - they can conceivable lower a giant's chance to hit by either reducing monster BAB (using only STR) or doing what the OP desires for all.

I do not like the design in 3.5 where giants (as an example) get a huge to hit and damage, along with huge HP but crappy AC. They all have PA and become save-or-die melee encounters - either you have the ability to out damage them (via an uber-buffed PA barbarian type or ranged artillery) or a PC is apt to die. This is related to the orc with greataxe problem at 1st level, but I digress.
I like not adding Str to hit. I think it increases the viability of different builds, and makes Strength a less important stat (as it is rated most important for purposes of racial modifiers in 3e).

I wouldn't add Dex to ranged damage, as it makes Dex too important IMO. Dex to AC and Initiative is probably enough.

I think doing away with Str to hit would require a refiguring of Base Attack Bonus in order for the math of attack versus AC to work out (probably having 1st level characters with +3 BAB), but I think it is doable.

AC could be lowered across the board; giving everyone a decent chance to hit the foe even if they don't have high Strength.

It gives more room for design space, a designer can give a monster a high Strength without making it auto-hit.

As an extension of this I would not have armor add to AC, but rather act as some form of damage resistance.
I like not adding Str to hit. I think it increases the viability of different builds, and makes Strength a less important stat (as it is rated most important for purposes of racial modifiers in 3e).

Maybe, but it then seems like you are solving the wrong problem. A better solution might be to have multiple ways of improving your attack roll from different stats, perhaps int or even wis, rather than doing away with them altogether, IMO.

For example, I don't see why a half-dragon fighter1 would have the same chance of hitting compared to a human fighter1 even when the former has a superior str score. It just does not make sense to me.

If a character lacks high stats in a skill/ability, then he deserves to suck at it compared to someone else who has a better stat in that area. Seems rather common-sensical to me...
If a character lacks high stats in a skill/ability, then he deserves to suck at it compared to someone else who has a better stat in that area. Seems rather common-sensical to me...

But the high stat for attacking in DnD would be BAB, and a better case could be made realistically that DEX would be more important for hitting a foe than STR. Why would being able to lift/carry 500 lbs make it easier for a person to hit someone with a sword? Why would a 1/2 dragon Fighter1 have more chance at hitting than a comparable human fighter 4? In 3.X, the human is more skilled in the ability, but the 1/2 dragon will hit more often due to the STR bonus (which will also make him hit harder). That's why I do not like the 3.5 rules for BAB for monsters, because I think they break down for big, strong creatures, who pile BAB onto high STR and PA to escalate an arms race that I don't find enjoyable.

The abstraction of HP often makes all of this line of discussion moot, but it is still good to have it.
For example, I don't see why a half-dragon fighter1 would have the same chance of hitting compared to a human fighter1 even when the former has a superior str score. It just does not make sense to me.

With other things being equal, the half-dragon will still be the favorite to win in combat because he does more damage on a successful hit. Does he need to hit more often too in order to maintain verisimilitude?

I like the triangular symmetry of system that is:
Strength - more damage
Constitution - more hit points
Dexterity - fewer hits

If Strength is both more hits and more damage that symmetry breaks down.
With other things being equal, the half-dragon will still be the favorite to win in combat because he does more damage on a successful hit. Does he need to hit more often too in order to maintain verisimilitude?

I like the triangular symmetry of system that is:
Strength - more damage
Constitution - more hit points
Dexterity - fewer hits

If Strength is both more hits and more damage that symmetry breaks down.

Exactly - this dynamic would allow for better balance at both the high and low end of the game and make BAB the final arbiter of combat "skill" in the game.
I like the idea of being able to use different ability scores in combat as represented by different feats. There are characters in literature and movies who excel in combat and are able to defeat what look like far superior foes in melee. Here are some examples.

Luke Skywalker - Always listed with average str & dex in any Star Wars game.
Kitiara Uth Matar - Always listed as a deadly fighter even with a weak strength.
Gandalf the Grey - Gandalf the "wizard" defeats a balrog with his blade. Try defeating a balrog with a blade unbuffed and without Tenser's Transformation.
Red Sonya - A woman given "the strength of ten men" through supernatural, not normal means.
The Three Musketeers or Peter Pan - Fighters who do not seem to have great strength scores whatsoever.

I could envision feats that give bonuses to hit and damage. Maybe even to make it more balancing, require 2 feats. The first for attack. The second for damage.

Tactical Precision - Intelligence to hit & dmg.
Zen Sense - Using utter calm and focus. Using the light side of the force. Focuses on Wisdom.
Tough as Nails - The " I beat it to the death with a rock approach." Using Constitution to wield heavy weapons to continually batter an opponent and wear him down.
Overwhelming Presence - Imposing your will on the battlefield. Filling your opponents with awe and dread. Giving totally in to your passions and acting recklessly. Sort of like Sith fighting styles in the Star Wars Universe.
I am not really bothered by the initial stat modifiers though I agree that all six stats should have valid builds around them.

What worries me more is when magic is brought into the situation and you get carry through enhancements.

What I mean by carry through enhancements are the cases where the attribute gets a magical buff and then the weapon is also buffed and the effect is double buffing.

You go from a case of a fighter with str 16 and level 3 with a total of +3+3=+6 to a fighter with str 20 and magic weapon +3 buff and you now have the fighter with +5+3+3=+11. ( almost a 200% increase ).

Add in a couple of extrat types of buffs like a luck bonus or rage and the fighter/barbarian is now close to 300% more effective in combat.

Magic that constantly adds plus bonuses and stacks together suddenly makes a regularly balanced fighter into a super-hero fighter.

At some point this all works to kill the fun value of the game but has been seen till now as 'required' to keep the fighters up with the mages.

I hope that the new martial pool removes this endless buff loop which really is quite silly.
I don't think dex would be the only determinant for hitting, at least not for "brute' weapons like greatswords and axes.

For example, str may allow you to punch right through a foe's defense. Picture this - that giant with 30str swings his club with all his might. Despite the fighter getting his shield in the way to block the blow, the force of the attack still sends him reeling and bruised. Or even if he raises his sword to parry the blow, he cannot match his attacker's might, and the force of the attack still slams into him.

In game terms, this would be represented by his attacks getting through, even though flavourwise, the fighter is portrayed as actively blocking his blows. If the giant misses (because of str not improving his attack rolls), than no damage is dealt and such a scenario would not be possible.

Likewise, the stronger you are, the swifter you can swing your weapon, and the harder it would be for the foe to defend himself.
I don't think dex would be the only determinant for hitting, at least not for "brute' weapons like greatswords and axes.

For example, str may allow you to punch right through a foe's defense. Picture this - that giant with 30str swings his club with all his might. Despite the fighter getting his shield in the way to block the blow, the force of the attack still sends him reeling and bruised. Or even if he raises his sword to parry the blow, he cannot match his attacker's might, and the force of the attack still slams into him.

That is precisely why I would prefer a system in which armor reduced damage rather than reducing the chance to hit. That way a nimble fighter avoids the powerful swings of the giant, but an armored one has a better chance of surviving his punishing blows.

Likewise, the stronger you are, the swifter you can swing your weapon, and the harder it would be for the foe to defend himself.

I question that assertion. I'm not sure one can be certain of a correlation between strength and speed, much less speed with the degree of control necessary to properly wield a weapon.
But the high stat for attacking in DnD would be BAB, and a better case could be made realistically that DEX would be more important for hitting a foe than STR. Why would being able to lift/carry 500 lbs make it easier for a person to hit someone with a sword?

runestar answered that. The idea is, STR gets through armor.

The real problem is D&D, in the interests of keeping combat simple, doesn't force melee attackers to both roll a DEX to-hit against DEX/dodge/deflection/etc. AC, and then once that is successful, then a STR to-hit against armor/shield/natural armor/etc. AC.

That would slow the game down considerably, but it would be more realistic. It should also answer your question.

That's why I do not like the 3.5 rules for BAB for monsters, because I think they break down for big, strong creatures, who pile BAB onto high STR and PA to escalate an arms race that I don't find enjoyable.

The abstraction of HP often makes all of this line of discussion moot, but it is still good to have it.

No, it's the abstraction of "hitting" into one thing rather than into first "making contact" and then "getting through armor" that is the problem.

With other things being equal, the half-dragon will still be the favorite to win in combat because he does more damage on a successful hit. Does he need to hit more often too in order to maintain verisimilitude?

I like the triangular symmetry of system that is:
Strength - more damage
Constitution - more hit points
Dexterity - fewer hits

If Strength is both more hits and more damage that symmetry breaks down.

This is a really silly argument. The stats don't each give only one thing. Best example: STR doesn't add to any saving throws, while the other two do. But STR also adds to carrying capacity. And DEX also adds to number of attacks of opportunity with Combat Reflexes. And DEX also adds to Initiative. And CON's addition to HP is important for EVERYONE, whereas STR is a dump stat for non-meleers. Etc., etc. The complexity of the game renders this line of reasoning inconclusive. At best, STR is an offensive stat, and DEX/CON are defensive stats.
That is precisely why I would prefer a system in which armor reduced damage rather than reducing the chance to hit. That way a nimble fighter avoids the powerful swings of the giant, but an armored one has a better chance of surviving his punishing blows.

I agree. This would be similar to the two-requirement hit that I explained above, but it would simply pit DEX attack against DEX/dodge/deflection/etc. defense. Once that is a confirmed hit, you would roll damage, and the recipient would take a percentage of damage depending on his armor/nat armor/shield/whatever. Would still bog down the game a bit, but I think it could really work.

I question that assertion. I'm not sure one can be certain of a correlation between strength and speed, much less speed with the degree of control necessary to properly wield a weapon.

You are wrong here. Strength is absolutely important in wielding a weapon well, particularly how fast one can swing a sword or bludgeon. I guarantee you a 13 year old can't swing a crowbar at a mugger as fast and as hard as an NFL player.
You go from a case of a fighter with str 16 and level 3 with a total of +3+3=+6 to a fighter with str 20 and magic weapon +3 buff and you now have the fighter with +5+3+3=+11. ( almost a 200% increase ).

Well, your DM needs to be shot if he gives a +3 sword to a 3rd level character. And I suppose a half-orc could have a 20 str at 3rd level, but it's unusual. Starting strength does have a big impact at low levels, but it starts to be mitigated some at higher levels (although, the "endless buff loop" as you said does continually raise the bar). Take your example above (discounting the weapon) and apply it at 20th level, and the difference is still only 2 points (and a much lower percentage difference).

But I will agree that STR is the most important melee combat stat. The designers themselves admitted it by giving the half-orc two stat minuses to counteract the +2 to STR. I don't think it would be awful to lessen the dependence on the stat, but it seems un-D&D to have an ability that is not modified by a stat. You're basically saying that a person with a STR of 6 can hit someone as easily as someone with a STR of 18 (albeit with less damage). Because they lumped armor and dodge into a single AC value, it doesn't work. However, if they made armor work as DR and not apply to AC, then it makes more sense.

I still would like to see the BAB modified by some stat...maybe DEX.
Can we just get rid of the STR and DEX bonuses to hit? They really seem to unbalance things and make Ability Mods more important than Character Level (especially 1st-5th)

Wow, my initial reaction to this was outright revulsion. But, y'know, I'm kinda warming up to the idea.

It may fix the exponential growth of 3ed tohit bonuses, and it would make STR more balanced among the stats.

I could see this working. I'll have to mull this over a bit more...

Strange, I never thought the STR tohit bonus to be unbalancing in the early levels. It's in the later levels where players are wearing +4 and +6 STR boosting item along with manuals of gainful exercise (or whatever the strength one is) and getting nigh +10 to the STRs that I see it as a problem.
Well, your DM needs to be shot if he gives a +3 sword to a 3rd level character.

But only given a stiff finger wagging if he gives a +2 sword to a 2nd level character. :D
I do like ability scores modifying stats...

DEX --> AC
CON --> HP
STR --> DMG

Perhaps the class of weapon could affect the to-hit (and I like the idea of that influencing the number of attacks / round as in Everquest RPG stated earlier in this thread) instead of STR?

Plus weapons should have a max STR to dmg similar to the way that Armor has max DEX to AC... I mean can a strong rapier wielder really do more damage any more than a weak one?
Plus weapons should have a max STR to dmg similar to the way that Armor has max DEX to AC... I mean can a strong rapier wielder really do more damage any more than a weak one?

I like this idea. Most weapons should still have a pretty healthy max STR bonus, but the lighter weapons that are more about finesse certainly could have a lower limit. That would make weapon selection more interesting than picking the 4 or 5 popular ones that almost everyone currently uses.

I still think not having a stat that affects your attack bonus may balance it in the wrong direction, but it could be done, I suppose.
This is a really silly argument. The stats don't each give only one thing. Best example: STR doesn't add to any saving throws, while the other two do. But STR also adds to carrying capacity. And DEX also adds to number of attacks of opportunity with Combat Reflexes. And DEX also adds to Initiative. And CON's addition to HP is important for EVERYONE, whereas STR is a dump stat for non-meleers. Etc., etc. The complexity of the game renders this line of reasoning inconclusive. At best, STR is an offensive stat, and DEX/CON are defensive stats.

Perhaps I need to elaborate then. In MELEE combat there would be symmetry between STR, DEX, and CON if Strength added to only to hit or damage. As it stands if someone has a higher Strength you need a proportionately higher Dexterity and Constitution to be on equal footing.

In melee combat saving throws and carrying capacity are all but irrelevant. Perhaps Strength needs to be more important in other aspects of the game if it is, as you say, a dump stat for non-meleers; but making it more relevant in melee combat does nothing to counter that.
Perhaps I need to elaborate then. In MELEE combat there would be symmetry between STR, DEX, and CON if Strength added to only to hit or damage. As it stands if someone has a higher Strength you need a proportionately higher Dexterity and Constitution to be on equal footing.

In melee combat saving throws and carrying capacity are all but irrelevant. Perhaps Strength needs to be more important in other aspects of the game if it is, as you say, a dump stat for non-meleers; but making it more relevant in melee combat does nothing to counter that.

Uh, okay then, RANGED combat is unbalanced! DEX adds only to attack rolls, but on the defense side, DEX adds to AC, and CON adds to HP! DEX adds to both sides! DEX is unbalanced for RANGED combat!

Come on. Melee combat centers around STR. That's the whole frickin idea. Ranged combat centers around DEX. Spell combat centers around whatever the primary casting stat is, and the appropriate saving throws. All type of combat rely on CON for hitpoints.

Don't miss the forest for the trees.
Sure if you want to go this route...though I have always considered Str, Dex, and con all important for a melee based character...but in the interest of balance how do you suggest we get casters MAD like melee characters are in your formula?
I like this idea. Most weapons should still have a pretty healthy max STR bonus, but the lighter weapons that are more about finesse certainly could have a lower limit. That would make weapon selection more interesting than picking the 4 or 5 popular ones that almost everyone currently uses.

I still think not having a stat that affects your attack bonus may balance it in the wrong direction, but it could be done, I suppose.

Taking this even further, maybe have which stat gives a bonus to BAB be based on the weapon. For example, a rapier would be entirely Dex based (no Finnesse feat necessary), and a warhammer would be entirely Str based, with other weapons, like longswords, being 1/2 and 1/2 or giving you the choice of which to use. This could be further modified through talent trees, which could allow you to give other stat bonuses. So, a duelist with a rapier might be using Dex and Wis for his hit/damage, while a babarian with a greataxe would be pure Strength based.
Sure if you want to go this route...though I have always considered Str, Dex, and con all important for a melee based character...but in the interest of balance how do you suggest we get casters MAD like melee characters are in your formula?

Are you replying to my post? If so, I never insinuated casters are, or ought to be, MAD.

STR has always been the primary offensive stat for meleers.

DEX has always been the primary offensive stat for ranged combatants.

INT, primary stat for INT-based casters like wizards, beguilers, and special builds like the rogue/swash/assasin/telf, whatever.

CHA, primary stat for CHA-based casters like sorcs, bards, and special builds, pallies, etc.

WIS, primary stat for WIS-based casters like clerics, druids, and special builds, monks, etc.

And most of these SAD builds people put CON second. To simplify martial combat into "STR/DEX/CON should all have equal weight!" is stupid.
Are you replying to my post? If so, I never insinuated casters are, or ought to be, MAD.

STR has always been the primary offensive stat for meleers.

DEX has always been the primary offensive stat for ranged combatants.

INT, primary stat for INT-based casters like wizards, beguilers, and special builds like the rogue/swash/assasin/telf, whatever.

CHA, primary stat for CHA-based casters like sorcs, bards, and special builds, pallies, etc.

WIS, primary stat for WIS-based casters like clerics, druids, and special builds, monks, etc.

And most of these SAD builds people put CON second. To simplify martial combat into "STR/DEX/CON should all have equal weight!" is stupid.

NO it was a general statment about the idea of making melee combatants rely on three stats.

Also I have always disagree with the statement that fighters only need str...or rogues only need Dex. Personaly to build a well rounded non-caster you need MAD.

Casters on the other hand only really need their spellcasting stat high. Well a medicore con is useful it is hardly neccessary as casters had a thousand and one ways to aviod it becoming a issue.

And lastly let be honest str is important on hitting people in melee. You need strength to control the weapon.

I have heard this arguement for awhile now...I just honestly don't see a reason to change it.
NO it was a general statment about the idea of making melee combatants rely on three stats.

Also I have always disagree with the statement that fighters only need str...or rogues only need Dex. Personaly to build a well rounded non-caster you need MAD.

Not true at all. Visit the CO board.

Casters on the other hand only really need their spellcasting stat high. Well a medicore con is useful it is hardly neccessary as casters had a thousand and one ways to aviod it becoming a issue.

Completely not true. Depends on how your DM runs games, and how you play your character, but you generally need more than a "mediocre" CON as a primary caster. Clerics always need HP. Druids? Uh, yes. Wizards? Definitely.

And lastly let be honest str is important on hitting people in melee. You need strength to control the weapon.

Agreed there.
Since there are a couple DEX to attack threads on the first page, I feel like resurrecting this thread.

While I think adding DEX to melee attack is silly, as it makes DEX too important. Removing STR from attack is actually a plausible solution.

In response to ancalimohtar's strawman argument about ranged combat; I propose that we also remove DEX from attack in ranged combat thereby providing some semblance of equality between melee and ranged.

I had missed johnkretzer's query, but I think it is equally easy to move casters into more MAD(if that is what you think removing an application of a stat is). Wisdom affects defense, Charisma or Intelligence could add to either efficaciousness or effectiveness (equivalent to attack or damage), the other determines how many spells you get or some other factor.
Likewise, the stronger you are, the swifter you can swing your weapon, and the harder it would be for the foe to defend himself.

This is wrong.

It's an idea that's sprung from faulty logic:
If you're not strong enough to properly wield your weapon, it'll slow you down (TRUE), hence if your strength is way above that needed, you'll be faster swinging it (FALSE).

But I do think that malus to BAB because of a too low Str score would be perfectly acceptable :D :
This is wrong.

It's an idea that's sprung from faulty logic:
If you're not strong enough to properly wield your weapon, it'll slow you down (TRUE), hence if your strength is way above that needed, you'll be faster swinging it (FALSE).

But I do think that malus to BAB because of a too low Str score would be perfectly acceptable :

So you are saying that say, 2 people, one with 10str, and the other with 18str, both swing a baseball bat at the same speed? Assuming it requires 10 str to use adequately...
It's an idea that's sprung from faulty logic:
If you're not strong enough to properly wield your weapon, it'll slow you down (TRUE), hence if your strength is way above that needed, you'll be faster swinging it (FALSE).

I don't think anyone has justified it like that. It's really much more simple.

Weapon speed and manoeuvrability is directly (but not necessarily linearly) proportional to strength over mass. The stronger you are, more easily you can move your weapon. In the unlikely event that your weapon is effectively weightless, you get a bigger weapon until it's not.

However, no realistic weapon is effectively weightless. Firstly, because the arm is part of the weapon, and arms tend to be rather heavy. Heck, if you expect to get maximum power and effectiveness then the entire body is part of the weapon. Secondly, even a few feet of very thick wire (which is basically what a modern fencing foil is) gets heavy after being held at arms length for more than a few minutes, let alone a few pounds of sword.

Olympic fencers are not trying to do anything more than touch attacks, and yet they do strength training. How much more someone who is actually trying to injure (not merely touch) their target?
So you are saying that say, 2 people, one with 10str, and the other with 18str, both swing a baseball bat at the same speed? Assuming it requires 10 str to use adequately...

I think the point made was that being able to swing it faster does not really equate to being able to hit easier (harder, yes). It's sort of the steroid debate question in baseball (to continue the analogy) - taking steroids might not make you hit the ball "better" but will help you hit it farther when you do.

I think the general point of this thread is that part of the 3e problems involve making the ability scores too important (in this case, the physical ones). By allowing STR to add to the chance to hit and damage, you are doubling up its importance for melee combat. Similarly, by allowing DEX to add to ranged hits and to AC, the same issue occurs. Both can be justified, DEX moreso IMO, because the whole system is abstact. I would argue balance can be better achieved if STR/DEX to hit were removed.
I think rutrow's on the right track. It's not that STR (or DEX for that matter) don't play a real-life role in the ability to hit a target, it is that the game over-emphasises that role.

It is possible that the game would be more fun (and balanced) if you eliminated STR from the equation to hit. ACs wouldn't have to be such that a character without a high STR has almost no chance of hitting them. More types of characters could compete in melee combat. I don't think they would overshadow the melee combatant, he will still have things others do not (more damage, higher AC, and more hit points for a start), but they can still participate.
If I were to reduce STR's importance in melee combat, I'd do what is done with DEX: STR adds to the "to hit" but not to the damage, just as DEX increases your ranged accuracy but not damage.

Leave the damage increases to talent trees and class abilities and magical weapon bonuses.

OFFENSE:
STR: increase melee to hit
DEX: increase ranged to hit

DEFENSE:
DEX and/or ARMOR: increase AC
CON: increase hp

Once again, you only need one or two stats for a fighter. A Dextrous Fighter will concentrate on ranged attacks for offense and speed for defense. A Strong Fighters will rely on melee attacks for offense and armor for defense. Divine casters rely on Wis for offense and Armor for defense, Arcane casters rely on Intelligence/Charisma for offense and Dexterity/combat avoidance for defense.

And everybody needs Constitution.

If you really insist on making your fighters MAD, make damage increases based on Int or Cha for melee and Wis for ranged. I don't see why that's needed or rational, though.
OFFENSE:
STR: increase melee to hit
DEX: increase ranged to hit

Actually, I think increased damage coming from Str bonus is much more in line with reality than bonus to hit.

If anything, it's Wisdom that should grant bonus to BAB.

Allow me to clarify that: At high level (I'm talking 4th dan up here), all martial arts teach ways to hit better/easier your opponent, using feints and so. That seems very mundane until you understand the reasoning and the very precise timing involved. Basically, the idea is that the way our brain work, we have to finish any simple move we've started. There's no way to avoid it, it's hardwired. What you can do is train yourself not to be a 100% commited into any single move you make, recognised 'trap' situations and so on (levelling).

It does help, though, if your perception and ability to the opponent's intent is high to begin with. Hence, it'd make perfect sense to have Wis bonus instead of Str bonus to BAB (and it'd break the classical physical/mental abilities wall, which makes it even sweeter).
Well, you could add another ability called perception and let it give bonuses to spot and listen and to hit. I currently favor this approach, though I think dexterity should also be important. Something like the derived attributes from the Riddle of Steel would be best.
t is possible that the game would be more fun (and balanced) if you eliminated STR from the equation to hit. ACs wouldn't have to be such that a character without a high STR has almost no chance of hitting them. More types of characters could compete in melee combat. I don't think they would overshadow the melee combatant, he will still have things others do not (more damage, higher AC, and more hit points for a start), but they can still participate.

I remember another suggestion being made somewhere where hitting should consist of 2 processes - you first make a touch attack to see if you would hit your foe (str does not apply here), then parry attacks to see if the blow connects or glances off (maybe str here) followed by dr to reduce the final damage taken (assuming armour as dr).

But the drawback would be that combat is slowed down immensely since there are now 2 rolls, rather than 1.

I am not sure if removing str is a better fix than retaining str. I mean - you are saying that a half-dragon/half-ogre fighter1 is no better at hitting something than a human fighter1? That can't be right...

I mean - it is like both extremes are not without flaws of their own...
I remember another suggestion being made somewhere where hitting should consist of 2 processes - you first make a touch attack to see if you would hit your foe (str does not apply here), then parry attacks to see if the blow connects or glances off (maybe str here) followed by dr to reduce the final damage taken (assuming armour as dr).

But the drawback would be that combat is slowed down immensely since there are now 2 rolls, rather than 1.

You can do that without the drawback of two dice throws. Remember, whereas the attacker throws a dice, the defender has a 10 basic AC before bonus. That 10 is there to replace throwing a D20 (notwithstanding the fact that it statistically gives a slight advantage to the attack).

I am not sure if removing str is a better fix than retaining str. I mean - you are saying that a half-dragon/half-ogre fighter1 is no better at hitting something than a human fighter1? That can't be right...

Assuming both have otherwise the same abilities/fighting skills - except probably on the HP side?
Of course it makes sense. You're confusing ability to hit and being the one most probably left standing at the end of said encounter.
On one side you have one fighter who's pretty sure to be a goner the moment he gets hit; on the other, your half-dragon/half-ogre can very probably shrug off a couple of hits and keep on fighting.
Except if he gets very lucky, the human hasn't a whisper in the long run. No need to give a supplementary bonus to hit to his opponent.
Realistically, combat is one of the most important aspect of the game (I could argue it's THE most important part of the game, at least rulewise).

There's a couple of reasons why STR is considered above DEX, despite that last giving bonuses to more things:
  • If they're equal numbers, bonus to BAB are superior to bonus to AC. That's a design choice where you need to hit AC, not above it (in other words, when you take out the dices and use what is considered the average throw - 10 - if Str of the attacker and Dex of the defender are equal, the first hit 100% of the time)
  • DEX gives bonuses to 4 things (Initiative, AC, Ranged attacks, saves) whereas STR gives only 2 bonuses. But the thing is, these two are on the same thing. i.e. One ability, one dice throw, two bonuses (BAB and damages).
    And bonus to Init are and will always be a joke as long as you use a D20 to check it.


Furthermore, I've always despised the idea that when you make a character, there are abilities that are dumps for bad scores (I'm talking on a purely combat efficiency here), especially for the fighter.

The way I see it, you should be able to build a valid fighter with any Ability as your primary. It could go something like this:

  • STR: Bonus to damage. One of the very few available.
  • DEX: Initiative. Bonus attack, maybe (that would need to be carefully balanced accross levels though).
  • CON: Hit points. Almost no other.
  • CHA: AC (not that much of a strech, and could be combined with DEX)
  • WIS: Bonus to BAB (for the reasons I detailed above)
  • INT: This one is the trickiest. Right now, there isn't really any mechanism for INT, as something appropriate should show the asset INT is to learn quickly new fighting techniques.
    However, if such a thing as manoeuvre tree were to be included, you could have them be bought with "fighting skills" points, INT giving a bonus to the number of available said points (I'd really like to see this , by the way)
I am not sure if removing str is a better fix than retaining str. I mean - you are saying that a half-dragon/half-ogre fighter1 is no better at hitting something than a human fighter1? That can't be right...

Why not? The half-dragon/half-ogre is still the superior combatant. He deals more damage, has a better AC, and more hit points. He is no more skilled than the human fighter, so shouldn't they be on equal footing in some capacity?