Abilities Scores = Ability Modifier, too outrageous a change?

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If they changed ability scores so that instead of ranging from 3-18 (with no racial modifier), they ranged from -4 to +4, and your score and modifier were the exact same thing, would that be too much?

In other words, a strength 18 guy would become a strength 4 guy in 4E, and he'd add 4 (his strength score) on all strength-related rolls.

It would simplify spells and effects that modify your scores a great deal, but it is a big departure from the past editions. Personally, I can see a lot to be gained in terms of streamlining the system, but I don't know how the community as a whole would feel.

Thoughts?

(I think it can be safely assumed that current feat requirements and other minutia related the 3.x ability score system could be adjusted one way or another without a problem -- it is a whole new system after all).
Its a system used by a variety of games already.

The only difference I see is the 2-step to move a modifier (14-->15-->16) is removed so those effects that move stats around (like a 1d6 ability damage) become more powerful even if you drop the number of sides on the die. 1d3 still changes the modifier under teh new system while 1d6 has a chance not to have any effect under the current system.
I would really enjoy that change, with one condition:
Take away the negative modifiers.
I know it's a change that requires a lot of remodelling of the system, but it's worth it. Negative modifiers lead to a lot of incosistencies, and make a lot of things harder than they should be.
I would really enjoy that change, with one condition:
Take away the negative modifiers.
I know it's a change that requires a lot of remodelling of the system, but it's worth it. Negative modifiers lead to a lot of incosistencies, and make a lot of things harder than they should be.

And once you've done that (which I'm actually in favour of), you can keep the ability scores and just modify things by half your ability score (rounded down, of course).

I think that's an even better solution.
And once you've done that (which I'm actually in favour of), you can keep the ability scores and just modify things by half your ability score (rounded down, of course).

I think that's an even better solution.

Probably. Things would really be much simpler.
Two guys trying to break an object? Just add the Str modifiers and roll once.
An invisible assassin suddenly attacks you? Just take away you entire Dex bonus. And you won't have to explain why your Dex to AC is still higher than that of the other guy who isn't surprised.
Here's my opinion of a better solution. However you do it, make it so that a +1 increase in str means +1 hit and +1 damage, a +1 in Dex means +1 Ac, ranged attacks, ect.

Make it so that we don't need 2 numbers to gain a new bonus.
I don't like it simply because when it comes to ability damage, if most people have a say 2 in a stat (14 isn't a bad score) they can easily go to 0.

I always viewed the 10 as +0 meaning more of "you have a bit of a buffer between average and can't lift your body."
I don't like it simply because when it comes to ability damage, if most people have a say 2 in a stat (14 isn't a bad score) they can easily go to 0.

I always viewed the 10 as +0 meaning more of "you have a bit of a buffer between average and can't lift your body."

Well, you'd halve ability damage, so that wouldn't be a problem. If you went with my original suggestion, then you'd have to get down to -5 before you had a really bad problem with your stats (or 0 for others, but 2 would be like having a 4 in 3.5).
In your system, instead of the normal range of scores being from 20 to 1, it would be from 5 to -5. If a poison delt 4 points of damage to you in 3e, that would take a Con of 20 down to a Con of 16, resulting in 2 hit points/level lost. In your system a poison that delt 4 points of damage, would instead deal 2, taking a Con of 5 down to a 3. Also a loss of 2 hit points/level. So mechanically, I don't see why it wouldn't work. My question is, how do you roll stats? What dice roll would have a range of 4 to -4 (18 to 3 as in 3e). A d8 minus 4 could work, but that would make completely random scores. Seriously, have you ever tried rolling ability scores with one dice? It makes a very unusable character. Sure he might have a strength of 18, but he has an intelligence of 4. You could roll 2d4 -4 and get a better result. Or I suppose you could roll them like normal and then convert them. Oh well, I see no particular reason why it wouldn't work, it just seems to be a pretty big departure to me.
I've done exactly this in my home campaign.

I give my players a few options for determining their starting scores:

roll 4d4 and assign (assumes 2 0's included in array)
assign standard array of 4,3,2,1,0,0
10 point buy (points bought on a 1 to 1 basis)

For more heroic campaigns, you could do 5d4, for a grittier campaign, 3d4.

I also allow my players to subtract 1 point from one attribute an add it to another (ie 5,3,2,1,0,-1)

The only restrictions I place on them are that starting scores range from -1 to 5.
I would love to see this change in D&D. It works perfectly in True20 and there's no reason it couldn't work in D&D. I would even like it better if only positive modifiers were used and a zero ability score was a zero modifier.
While this method would certainly work just fine, and is more logically intuitive than the current method, I fail to see how it does much to help speed up game play or streamline much. Basically the end result will be to eliminate one column on the character sheet and make everyone familiar with the game change their mental conceptualization of a high score from 18 to 4.
While this method would certainly work just fine, and is more logically intuitive than the current method, I fail to see how it does much to help speed up game play or streamline much. Basically the end result will be to eliminate one column on the character sheet and make everyone familiar with the game change their mental conceptualization of a high score from 18 to 4.

It makes ability changing effects easier and more consistent to manage (especially if the change is an odd number). It might seem like a relatively small issue, but a few mental computations add up pretty quickly (especially since ability-changing effects generally have far-ranging effects beyond just the score).