Ability Scores and Ability Modifiers

19 posts / 0 new
Last post
Hopefully i wont ridicule myself in my first thread as im unsure if the words im gonna use are correct and im quite afraid some1 has already made a post on this

Well there it goes:

What i really hate in the current version is that odd(not divisible by 2) ability scores over 10 dont give tangible benefits with the exeption of STR which actually increases weight allowance etc.Odd ability modifiers bellow 10 function in the exact opposite way since a 9 is a -1 modifier while a 11 is not a +1.

My point is that you are never happy about an odd AS(ability score)unless you have point buyed it that way to qualify for a feat(dodge,combat expertise etc)
and i find that annoying in many ways

When you play a low-power campaign whith most stats at 12 13 11 or bellow you actually end up with a character that possibly has more than 1 odd AS and NOTHING to gain from it except the hope to raise it at lvl 4 except if its STR which has a mild scalling
An NPC or PC with INT10 compared to another one with INT11 have NO gameplay difference.I mean its obvious that you could RP them differently but on the table they are EXACTLY the same regarding skill points and skill modifiers so despite being a bit smarter , the second NPC or PC ends up the same...
Same aplies to all the other AS except as mentioned above STR.

I believe in V2 of DnD scores functioned differently and even a single point meant a difference(then again you didnt get to raise it every 4 lvls)

Even tho im still quite unsure about the 4th edittion id like to know if there are any plans on addresing this "problem" or whatever it is and id like your thoughts on the matter.

Again im sorry if i used the wrong word or if i doubleposted , thank you
I believe in V2 of DnD scores functioned differently and even a single point meant a difference(then again you didnt get to raise it every 4 lvls)

Actually your wrong. In 1e and 2e it made less difference because the bonuses didn't kick in till a rating of around 15 or higher. Combined with 3d6 stat generations, and it was possible to generate characters who had no statistics outside the 0 bonus range.

Even tho im still quite unsure about the 4th edittion id like to know if there are any plans on addresing this "problem" or whatever it is and id like your thoughts on the matter.

WotC has not said anything yet on this issue. But many people expect the 4e rules to give out more stat increases then the 3e rules did. Saga (Star Wars Saga Edition) gives out more then 3e does and WotC has said that Saga previews many of the ideas that 4e will incorporate.

jay
Actually your wrong. In 1e and 2e it made less difference because the bonuses didn't kick in till a rating of around 15 or higher. Combined with 3d6 stat generations, and it was possible to generate characters who had no statistics outside the 0 bonus range.

Basic was consistent, with +1 at 13, +2 at 16, and +3 at 18 (with an exception that I can't remember for one Charisma check). 1e/2e had these massive gulfs in the middle and then the bonuses shot up rapidly. As someone who started on the basic rules, the arbitrariness of the 1e/2e bonuses looked really silly, and 3.0's linear system was a welcome fix.
Odd stats aren't useless. I just lost 1 point of my 15 Dex. I'm still at +2. If I had 14 then I'd be at +1. Just think of it like having more hit points, more is always better.
Yes you can cope ability drains more effectively but tell me why is it that 2 scores represent the same modifier since its obvious that they are different, i mean a poison that drains your intelligence by 1 point doesnt have any effect on you if you have int 11 but if you have int 10 there comes the negative modifier?

Still my point is that since Rules are based on reality (as much as that's possible)to explain the nonmagical things that happen (falling damage , starvation , thirst , suffocation etc) but why normal people (EG people with an average of 9,10,11,12 stats) have to be so similar and their stats so unimportant except str.

I can understand a person with int12 may know 2 jobs (proffesions) and even have a knowledge skill but why do the ones with int 13 boil in the same casserole like him (hmm strange phrase) and why does somone with 1 freaking point difference from him know almost half the things he knows? (sp 2+int mod)

I m just saying id like to see something better from modifiers in the 4th edition not just a 3.5 edition with new base races classes and spells
An NPC or PC with INT10 compared to another one with INT11 have NO gameplay difference.I mean its obvious that you could RP them differently but on the table they are EXACTLY the same regarding skill points and skill modifiers so despite being a bit smarter , the second NPC or PC ends up the same...
Same aplies to all the other AS except as mentioned above STR.

Small minor detail. A wizard with a 10 int can only cast cantrips, while a wizard with 11 int can cast cantrips and 1st level spells.

But, I do agree with you. I think the stat system could get a pretty new face.
I'd prefer they just get rid of ability scores entirely, and just have ability modifiers. It eliminates one step in the calculation and it makes almost no difference either way.
Indeed. True d20 (Green Ronin Pub., I think) has only modifiers, for example. The problem here is what I found on an Enworld Bruce Cordell interview:
Q: Are the standard 6 ability scores used? Will they range from 3 to 18?
A: Yes, it's a d20 game.

Was that an answer to both? Well, maybe you'll add your ability score (which might mess up the math of a d20 roll). Another possibility is that your modifier = your score -10; (9=-1, 11=+1, 12=+2, etc).

PS: Along those lines, XP could be equal to CR and you only need your current levelx10 to level up (start from 0 each level). Looking up a table is slow.
Was that an answer to both? Well, maybe you'll add your ability score (which might mess up the math of a d20 roll). Another possibility is that your modifier = your score -10; (9=-1, 11=+1, 12=+2, etc).

The problem with that idea either way is that the range of bonuses becomes too large. To insure that every character has a chance of making every roll, you want the difference in total bonus between the best and worst party member to be no more then 15 and it should generally be less then 10.

Otherwise you run into the epic level save problem. Where the rouges total reflex bonus is +30 and the party members are +10. Now, anything that has a DC high enough to challenge the rouge is so high that nobody in the rest of the party can make it, and anything that the rest of the party can make the rouge can't miss.

If the person with an 18 has a 8 point advantage over somebody with a 10, you are half way to the 20 point difference that you want to avoid. And that is before adding in any class bonuses or magic bonuses.

There are really only two solutions. First is to go to adjustments rather then stats, like you mentioned. The second is to realign the stats so humans range from 5 to 10 rather then 3 to 18.

I doubt either will be done simply because that would be a major change to fix a minor problem. And they are already pushing numerous major changes into the rules.

Jay
I'd prefer they just get rid of ability scores entirely, and just have ability modifiers. It eliminates one step in the calculation and it makes almost no difference either way.

You'll probably have to wait until 5E; there's only so many changes the game can make per edition!

It's already been mentioned that the system we have now is whole orders of magnitude better than what we had from 1974 - 2000. It's got a few minor problems, sure, but it's consistent!

Furthermore...
Let's not forget some of the other differences between having an even or an odd ability score in 3.5E: (Feel free to correct any mistakes.)

Strength: - 15 has a higher carrying capacity than 14.
Dexterity: - 15 goes before 14 on a tied initiative roll.
Constitution: - 15 can hold her breath for 30 rounds; 14 can only hold his for 28.
Intelligence: - 15 can cast 5th-level wizard spells; 14 can't.
Wisdom: - 15 can cast 5th-level cleric spells; 14 can't.
Charisma: - 15 can cast 5th-level sorcerer spells; 14 can't.

See! There's a big difference between having an even or odd ability score! :P
I'd prefer they just get rid of ability scores entirely, and just have ability modifiers. It eliminates one step in the calculation and it makes almost no difference either way.

I agree. Teaching two new players, I frequently thought to myself how ridiculous it was, whenever I re-specified whether I was talking about their modifier or their score. "You take 3 Strength damage, so reduce your Strength by 3. No, not your modifier, reduce the score, then reduce the modifier to what it should be for that score." And, "Ok, he's Bull Rushing you, so make a Strength check. Yes roll the d20 and add your Strength. No, not your score, your modifier." It's not a major deal, especially once you're used to the system, but it feels like a very unnecessary complication.

In addition to using just Modifiers, I'd like to see Spell Levels changed to be more sensible.
"Let's see, you're a 5th level Warblade, so the maneuver you got at 5 can be 3rd level, because you're 5th level, then the maneuver you got and the maneuver you could swap at 3 and 4 can be 2nd level, because you got 2nd level maneuvers at level 3, and then your other maneuvers have to all be level 1, because you can only get 1st level maneuvers at levels 1 and 2."
Although I have heard rumors that there are spell levels at every level in 4E? Either way, this is just another number to number comparison (score to modifier, character level to spell level) that doesn't match up intuitively for new players.
I agree. Teaching two new players, I frequently thought to myself how ridiculous it was, whenever I re-specified whether I was talking about their modifier or their score. "You take 3 Strength damage, so reduce your Strength by 3. No, not your modifier, reduce the score, then reduce the modifier to what it should be for that score." And, "Ok, he's Bull Rushing you, so make a Strength check. Yes roll the d20 and add your Strength. No, not your score, your modifier." It's not a major deal, especially once you're used to the system, but it feels like a very unnecessary complication.

Yeah, I mean... whenever you say "add your strength to damage" or "treat your int as a bonus on this roll", you're talking about the actual bonus, never the ability score itself. The score itself seems to exist solely because you used to roll 3d6 back in the day for character generation and it's a sacred cow.

Kind of sad really, because it's just a pointless layer of added complexity.
I agree. Teaching two new players, I frequently thought to myself how ridiculous it was, whenever I re-specified whether I was talking about their modifier or their score. "You take 3 Strength damage, so reduce your Strength by 3. No, not your modifier, reduce the score, then reduce the modifier to what it should be for that score." And, "Ok, he's Bull Rushing you, so make a Strength check. Yes roll the d20 and add your Strength. No, not your score, your modifier." It's not a major deal, especially once you're used to the system, but it feels like a very unnecessary complication.

I have experienced the same problem. That's why I got rid of the ability modifier and rewrote the rules to use half ability score to modify the die rolls instead. I had to increase all static DCs by 5 and recalibrate some minor things, but it works so well now.
origanaly posted by JayM
Otherwise you run into the epic level save problem. Where the rouges total reflex bonus is +30 and the party members are +10. Now, anything that has a DC high enough to challenge the rouge is so high that nobody in the rest of the party can make it, and anything that the rest of the party can make the rouge can't miss.

plus the rogue gets dexterous will and dexterous fortitude :P:P

Well back to the subject at hand , indeed theres the problem of overwhelmingly many changes per edition but i believe that when something is kinda flawed , a "patch" should fix it

JayM and Dreamstrider you are suggesting things that cross over to the World Of Darkness d10 system with maximums stats and point by point XP rewards , there is no POSSIBLE LOGICAL way that would happen cause it would be too much like the Vampire system

Still i personally dont ask for a terribly complicated thing , i merely wish EVERY single stat to mean a difference so we can compare even at low level play a 10 and an 11 or a 12 and a 13 etc etc.

Ow and btw concerning the rogue thing , yes a rogue can probably succed almost any save post 20 but still thats what he is good at , its like pointing out that a Spellcaster can cheese the cheese out of every situation post 20 while a Combat char cant.
True 20 uses ability modifiers instead of ability scores and I think it works a lot better. There's no reason skills and feats can't use the modifier instead of the score. The score itself simply goes back to the "roll 3d6" for stats. Why not just let people roll 1d6 per stat and subtract 3 or 1d8 and subtract 4. Or better, a d20 based attribute system:

1d20 per attribute:

1-4 -2
5-8 -1
9-12 0
13-14 +1
15-16 +2
17-18 +3
19-20 +4
Why not just let people roll 1d6 per stat and subtract 3 or 1d8 and subtract 4.

That gives a rather different spread. Rolling an 8 on a d8 is a lot more likely than three 6s on 3d6.
I don't have a problem with the odd value in an ability score. It means that you can just boost it once to get a higher modifier.

The 3E way of doing modifiers is much better than in previous editions. Back in 1E/2E, you need at least 15 in order to get a bonus for many of the abilities and you get penalties at around 7 or 8. Basically everything between 9 and 14 are pretty much the same.

If you are really hung up about 12 and 13 being exactly the same, why not just keep track of fractions? A 12 is a +1 and a 13 is a +1.5. If you have 13 strength, then add 1.5 to your damage. The hit bonus would be +1.5. AC would be modified by multiples of 1/2 if you have an odd Dex score. A 15 Dex would increase your AC by 2.5.
<\ \>tuntman
Hey stuntman thats just crazy enough to work :D

Sounds nice actually...hmm its gonna change A LOT of things tho...
a whole new skill system a whole new DC system...

Well im gonna give it some thinkin
Hey stuntman thats just crazy enough to work :D

Sounds nice actually...hmm its gonna change A LOT of things tho...
a whole new skill system a whole new DC system...

Well im gonna give it some thinkin

...Dem0, if you're seriously gonna try that, you have way too much time on your hands. :P