Finding a way to make all the stat's worth having.

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One of my gripes with 3.X is that some of the abilities are completely useless inside the mechanics. Mostly Strength for rogues/casters and Charisma for everyone else, although some of the skills might get some buff in utility.

Clearly every ability is good for some class (cha for sorcerors i.e.). But some other stats are very goof for everyone (even if you are not a rogue, having high DEX is a *must*, and having high wisdom helps everyone with Will Saves)

The way to improve that, imo, is making every stat to add some offensive and deffensive value for most (if not all) classes.

Some of my house rules (they started being feats, i'm going to playtest them in my next mini-campaign as free bonus):

Fort save is modified by BOTH Str and Con bonus. That makes a wizzard with 12 str to have *something* better than a wizzard with 8 str, beyond encumbrance lvl.

Ref save is modified by both, int and dex. That make those "+2str -2int" races having a real drawback for barbarians.

Will Save is modified by both Cha and Wis. Wellcome to my confusion spell, mr "I.have.Cha.6" warforged.

Offensivelly, i use Int for spells DC that allow Ref saves, use Wis for spells DC that allow For saves and Cha for spells DC that allow Will saves.

In True20 alternative system, the conviction points (like action points in d20 modern or eberron, more or less) are tied to charisma modifier (with an optional rule). That might be interesting too.

Similarly, we could find ways to make all the stat's worthy. For example, Int might be used as a Initiative modifier (with Dex). Wisdom (perception) might add to ranged attack bonus (maybe only to negate range increase difficulty).
I like your ideas for house rules in your campaign and think that they would benefit 4e a lot. I'm a bit less enthusiastic about the last paragraph, and as WotC has said that we'll have action points in 4e but they'll be significantly different than the current ones, I'll want to wait and see if having cha help with action points is workable. Other than that, great thinking.
The thing is: one of the most common attributes of fantasy heroes is charisma. Aragorn, Belgarion, Elric, Raistlin, Conan itself.... All of them showed a great personality and strength of will. Yet in the game, it is kinda useless (Except if you are a sorceror or bard). Adding them to the "conviction" points will make the heroes more heroic.
But you are right, it will depend VASTLY on how the mechanic of action/hero/conviction points is.
A bit of offtopic here, but I use Charisma as a basis for Rage in my homebrew Werewolf the Apocalypse d20 game (SWSE-based). Works great and makes a good reason to have high Charima for anyone (though it brings certain problems like Death Rage risk inscrease).
Good point. If we take a 'generic' character (meaning class, type, role, and critical stats are unknown), we can isolate which stats are arguably most important.

Con, for HP and fort saves
Dex, for AC, reflex saves, touch AC, and Init.
Wis, for will saves and for some very important reflexive skills (spot, listen).
Int, for more skills, though this is probably a common dump stat for someone who doesn't _neeD_ it.
Str and Cha are only really important as class skills, meaning they'll often only be high if the specific class wants them.

This actually contributes to characters who need high con, dex, or wis: Incarnum characters (which is fine since I don't care for incarnum), rogues/speed warriors, clerics, and psychic warriors.

If we could find a way to have no clear dump stat, meaning cha would be as important as con, I'm all for it. Good luck though.
It's impossible to make all abilities equally needed.
These things depend as much on the CONCEPT of the build as anything else.

And I am a FIRM believer in the "dump stat", but I don't use it in the manner of "what stat do I need the least." I use it because I believe every hero should have one exceptional stat, 4 average/high stats and one low stat.

I'm known to use .. well, every stat except Con as a dump stat. No matter how much I may want to use con for flavor reasons, that's just bloody suicide.

I mean I was building an ECL 59 Divine Rank 2 diety (as a PC for a campaign), who had an 18 dex, and that was just because I did some obscene minmaxing with his armor to get it even up to a +4 max dex.

I ran a warblade with a crappy wisdom score.

Yes, combativly speaking the charisma score is useless for everyone but sorcerers, wilders, paladins, warlocks, artificers, favored souls .. .. That list is actually a lot longer than I expected.

All you do by making all stats equally important though, is further reward power minmaxing, and further penalize people who play for flavor.

And further penalizing a player who's already taking hits for the flavor of a character is something no DM should do.
All you do by making all stats equally important though, is further reward power minmaxing, and further penalize people who play for flavor.

And further penalizing a player who's already taking hits for the flavor of a character is something no DM should do.

That's not true. People who take the hit for *flavor* (and not to get extra points to spend somewhere else) will still create warblades with crappy wisdom scores. It's perfectly ok to roleplay a clumsy warrior with a low dex now. It should not be extra penalized compared to someone who want to roleplay a dull warrior with low cha. The one roleplaying dex is taking a hit, then the one with low cha should be too.
That's not true. People who take the hit for *flavor* (and not to get extra points to spend somewhere else) will still create warblades with crappy wisdom scores. It's perfectly ok to roleplay a clumsy warrior with a low dex now. It should not be extra penalized compared to someone who want to roleplay a dull warrior with low cha. The one roleplaying dex is taking a hit, then the one with low cha should be too.

I'll grant you charisma on that yes. Unless you use Martial adept Dual of Wills rules, charisma is 100% useless for a fighter for anything other than flavor. And even WITH DoW, it's still not too great.

However, a fighter with a low wis score is already taking a major hit, that shouldn't be increased. Same with int. And dex.

Increasing the value of charisma to fighter types and strength to caster types would be a good thing. But other than Con being a little over valued, I think the rest of the stats are fine at their current value.

The idea of action points being tied to charisma is pretty good. Makes everyone value it. But runs the risk of being the new Con.

Strength. Only thing I can see logically to make it more valuable, is make it give a bonus to durability or something. But that still doesn't make casters favor it and makes fighters want it more.
I'll grant you charisma on that yes. Unless you use Martial adept Dual of Wills rules, charisma is 100% useless for a fighter for anything other than flavor. And even WITH DoW, it's still not too great.

However, a fighter with a low wis score is already taking a major hit, that shouldn't be increased. Same with int. And dex.

From the 3 examples you provided, only Int is a valid point, since the other 3 aren't affected by the changes i proposed. You will take the same hit with a low wisdon regardless if you also add charisma to your Will save or not. Actually, it will be LESS of a hit, becouse you might have spent in Charisma whatever points you saved in wisdom.
Charisma and Str are added to saving throws in my houseruling becouse they are underdogs currently for those classes that dont have them as primary. Int adds to reflex for self-consistance. It also happen to be a good adition, imo, becouse make cunning-dextreous fighters like dartagnan having higher reflexes and higher initiative than crush'n kill type fighters like goliath (who got higher fortitude saves).

I also plan to rob Conan parry/dodge AC (so STR will add to *melee* defense, instead of DEX)
I vote for tying "action points", "fate points" or something similar to Charisma. The likable guy, favored by the gods or fate, whatever you want to call it, should be able to get himself out of a jam more often. If Charisma really is "strength of character", then let Charisma let him overcome his physical limitations to excel.
I have to say I think everyone has the wrong end of the stick, so to speak.
What we shouldn't be doing is up-powering useless stats, we should be down powering stats across the board. Something I really noticed going from 2E to 3E is that suddenly having at least a 16 in your major stat seemed to be mandatory and you couldn't have more than low stat and expect to live. In 2nd Ed you could have a wizard with a 9 Int and it was a fairly playable character...same with the Str 9 fighter or the Dex 9 thief. A 13 or 14 quite often didn't give a character any more bonus than an 8. Characters had actual individualized attribute scores, whereas in 3E you can predict a characters statistics from their class quite accurately, most of the time. 3.0 ability scores have no role playing relevance at all: all fighters are tough, hardy, foolish and ill-tempered whereas all monks are wise, fast, stupid and ugly.

Sandulax

I'm another Dump stat fan I guess. I like the characters to have the one exceptional stat, a group of decent a bit above average stats, and a weak stat or two. I'm agreeing with Zolgar in other words.

I don't want every stat to have meaning to every class. I like being able to desgin the 18 X stat wonder and not feel like I got kicked in the shorts for doing it.
I'm another Dump stat fan I guess. I like the characters to have the one exceptional stat, a group of decent a bit above average stats, and a weak stat or two. I'm agreeing with Zolgar in other words.

I don't want every stat to have meaning to every class. I like being able to desgin the 18 X stat wonder and not feel like I got kicked in the shorts for doing it.

I disagree completely, every stat should have viable options for every class. If a person wants to play the charismatic warrior they shouldn't be screwed for the concept. It's not that every stat needs to be unable to be worked around so much as every stat should be useful in some way so that stat based concepts are allowable.

If you choose a higher charisma than strength it should have different viable effects. A high charisma fighter might be a feint expert or something, or it might give him some demoralization powers through intimidation type abilities.

It sucks to have to completely screw yourself over for a simple concept with ton's of story backing because the stats are unbalanced.

In other words, any single stat should be able to be a dump stat other than a classes main stat, and in classes with multiple main stats any of them should be viable in place of one of the others being low. Any stat while high should be significantly advantageous to any class, and no stat other than maybe a main stat to debilitating if low.
I'm another Dump stat fan I guess. I like the characters to have the one exceptional stat, a group of decent a bit above average stats, and a weak stat or two. I'm agreeing with Zolgar in other words.

I don't want every stat to have meaning to every class. I like being able to desgin the 18 X stat wonder and not feel like I got kicked in the shorts for doing it.

Dump stats are fine, but the player should be able to choose between several. think about it, if chr adds to will save, you're not kicking yourself in teeth as a fighter by giving your character 8 chr, because con and str are still more important, it merely adds the option of giving your character crappy wis and decent chr instead of the other way around, it adds options, not takes them away.
I disagree completely, every stat should have viable options for every class.

No way. That would cause stats to lose all meaning. Strength is strength. It doesn't help you cast spells. Sorry. Different classes are supposed to focus of different stats.
No way. That would cause stats to lose all meaning. Strength is strength. It doesn't help you cast spells. Sorry. Different classes are supposed to focus of different stats.

you're reading more in to what was said.

Every stat should be a viable option for every class, doesn't mean to take away the fact that classes require certain stats.

A melee fighter without str or con is never a good idea.

But in 3.5, a fighter only benefits from dex if he's a ranged fighter or a light armor user. Or a finesse fighter, which finesse fighters are just .. illogical builds.

And of the mental stats, a fighter gets the best bonus from having a good wisdom. A fair bonus for a good int. And .. What do they gain from charisma? A good intimidate check.

What's being suggested is, basically, giving a fighter a reason to WANT a good charisma, other than flavor.

Making a wizard find a reason to take a higher str.
Something I really noticed going from 2E to 3E is that suddenly having at least a 16 in your major stat seemed to be mandatory and you couldn't have more than low stat and expect to live. In 2nd Ed you could have a wizard with a 9 Int and it was a fairly playable character...same with the Str 9 fighter or the Dex 9 thief. A 13 or 14 quite often didn't give a character any more bonus than an 8.

in my experiance, it's just the opposite. a str 14 warrior in 3e has +2 hit +2 dmg, wich is just *fine* to do the job (lot of players use the standard array, where 15 is the max you can get), and make him to feel a hero compared with commoners. In 2e, a warrior with 14 in str did not have any difference with a warrior with 8 in str, and was very dull and useles.
I think dexterity should become much more useful for a fighter, but I don't see charisma matter much in combat. It could give a slight bonus, perhaps, but shouldn't ever be equal to the physical stats.

Of course, I think giving fighters decent social skills might be a good idea. Charisma should help a military commander. But I guess the warlord's taking up that role.
This was said on another thread. All the Abilities could be useful for one sort of combatant, and also have one universal use. I think we need to look at the Abilities as used in Combat. Having Charisma, for example, being te primary social stat doesn't make Charismatic characters more battle-ready. Also, it means that other characters get nothign to do in social situations. That's lose-lose.

Here's my proposal:
STR: Melee bonus (good for melee fighters), Fort Save
DEX: Ranged bonus (good for ranged fighters), AC bonus
CON: HP bonus (good for everyone)
INT: Intellectual spellcasting (wizards), Damage bonus
WIS: Intuitive Spellcasting (druids), Surprise/Initiative bonuses
CHA: Inspired Spellcasting (priests/sorcerers), Will Save

I would eliminate the Reflex save. Targeted spells all require a ranged or touch attack. Burst and Blast effects are Fort save (now represented by Str, not Con). Con represents enduring damage, while physical Strength represents shrugging it off. Cha is now, as your force of personality, your ability to resist commands -- you lead, not follow. Wis, as the basis for perception and quick thinking, modfies intiative and surprise. Int, as your strategic ability, represents placing attacks well.

All the abilities are now useful in combat. They should all be useful in social situations too, but I don't see how the physical abilities will be useful there.

STR: ??
DEX: ??
CON: ??
INT: Appeal to reason
WIS: Appeal to ethics
CHA: Appeal to emotion
Having Charisma, for example, being te primary social stat doesn't make Charismatic characters more battle-ready.

Unless, of course, they try to bring friends.
Unless, of course, they try to bring friends.

Which is utterly unwieldy in D&D. My charismatic PC who is effective in combat only because he connived four henchmen into coming along is going to bog down combat exponentially as each henchman has actions, defenses, etc.

If CHA is going to be a co-equal stat in D&D, it has to have a direct combat benefit that tempts players to keep some points in it. As it stands, it's a dump stat for combat characters (unless your class compels you to have it) and is the only stat of note for social characters. That's poor game design.
I really like tying charisma to initiative. It's one of my favorite house rules.

It works great mechanically, and also thematically: the leaders should be leading the charge, not the stealthy, hide-a-lot rogue.
Which is utterly unwieldy in D&D. My charismatic PC who is effective in combat only because he connived four henchmen into coming along is going to bog down combat exponentially as each henchman has actions, defenses, etc.

Yeah, but it can also be stupidly powerful. See Leadership, for example.

I don't believe stats can be both balanced for every character and make sense. Most of y'all suggested fixes for charisma strike me as silly.
Yeah, but it can also be stupidly powerful. See Leadership, for example.

Unwieldy and unbalanced. All the more reason not to balance Charisma through leadership.

I don't believe stats can be both balanced for every character and make sense.

It doesn't have to be All we need is a reason why every stat has some combat-related benefit to any character. Right now, Charisma is only useful to a subset of characters. Same for Intelligence and Strength. Only Wisdom, Dexterity and Constitution are useful to everyone, because it boosts AC, hp and saves, which everyone needs. If something like that can be assigned to Strength, Intelligence and Charisma, the stats are better balanced.
I'd rather have reasonable stats than balanced ones.

Why should every stat be useful for everyone?
I'd rather have reasonable stats than balanced ones.

Why should every stat be useful for everyone?

So that there's no useless stat that no one with half a brain doesn't use as a dump stat. (other than us weird roleplayers who build just as much for flavor as for power)

What is a barbarian going to do with a charisma score? NOTHING.
So, why is a barbarian going to put anything other than his lowest stat in to charisma?

And what does the player benefit if he decides that the lacking charisma doesn't fit his concept, because his barbarian is supposed to be the leader of his tribe?

Sure there's the leadership option. but most DMs I know won't even let you take Leadership because it's a ***** to deal with.
I'd rather have reasonable stats than balanced ones.

Why should every stat be useful for everyone?

Because unbalanced stats make unbalanced classes. It's the old SAD v MAD dilemma. Assuming you apply the same ability generation method to every player, every player should be allowed to choose the class he wants, not on the basis of the abilities he receives, but on what he wants to play. By ensuring that every class has a single primary stat, but that the rest of the stats are equally attractive, you don't favor one class or set of classes for a given ability generation method.

At any rate, since the developers have stated that game balance is very important to them, I think they've already chosen "balance" over "reasonableness". Notwithstanding that "reasonableness" is an entirely subjective notion. I, for example, didn't find the suggestions silly at all.
I'd rather have reasonable stats than balanced ones.

Why should every stat be useful for everyone?

Admitedly, it is just a matter of taste. In my taste, it is not a good thing that a low score in an ability is meaningless, i dont like the group of "everybody has char 8 but the sorceror". But YMMV.

It also helps those classes with MAD problems. If a paladin gets extra benefit from having 4-5 decent stats instead of 1 stat wonder+con, I'm happier
Unfortunately, I think the only way to make EVERY stat worth having is to cut down on the number of stats. I have seen many systems where every stat counts, but the thing they all have in common is that they only have four or five stats.

A good example is combat in 7th Sea (the original, not the D20 version). Whether you hit is determined by Agility (Analogous to DEX in D&D), How hard you hit is determined by Brawn (which combines the functions of STR and CON), How well you defend is helped by Wits (Which is analogous to all of D&D's mental stats combined), and your initiative is determined by Panache (which doesn't have a real analogue in D&D). ANd that's all the stats. Further, the skills can go off of any stat at the GMs discretion, instead of being tied to specific stats. Use any stat as a dump stat and you WILL suffer for it in some way.

Now D&D could make all the stats count by doing something similar. Maybe make initiative go off of INT, attack bonus from DEX, Combine WIS and CHA into a single stat (they both kind of represent 'strength of will' to an extent) and make your defense bonus tied to this new combined stat. I don't know how well lopping off an entire stat would go with the gaming public though. Not so well, I imagine.

There is also a drawback to the concept of making every stat count. In 7th Sea it leads to the creation of a lot of "Captain Average" characters. Because no one wants to get screwed with ANY low stat, they tend to take moderat levels of all of them, making all the characters very similar (in terms of stas anyway). I suspect you would see a lot of characters with 14 in everything if D&D adopted such a model.
Unfortunately, I think the only way to make EVERY stat worth having is to cut down on the number of stats. I have seen many systems where every stat counts, but the thing they all have in common is that they only have four or five stats.

A good example is combat in 7th Sea

Legend of the five ring use bassically the same system, and have 9 stats. All of them are useful. There is a reason to be an intelligent samurai there.

You can balance it with 6 stats too. Just that they need "to want" to do it. which im unsure.
There's also the fact that D&D will stay a D20 system. Thus, there will alawys be 6 stats. And I think the 6 stats are pretty set in stone: Con always affects fort saves and hp, int always affects skill points, etc.
And what does the player benefit if he decides that the lacking charisma doesn't fit his concept, because his barbarian is supposed to be the leader of his tribe?

Charisma already makes him a better leader. If he thinks that matters, he probably should put some points into the stat.

Assuming you apply the same ability generation method to every player, every player should be allowed to choose the class he wants, not on the basis of the abilities he receives, but on what he wants to play.

Of course, that's exactly the opposite of how it really works. People begin life with varying abilities, then choose (or are forced to choose) a certain focus. That's not what most players want, so perhaps stats should be based on the chosen class.

Notwithstanding that "reasonableness" is an entirely subjective notion.

Balance can be subjective as well. Balanced for what?

I, for example, didn't find the suggestions silly at all.

Well, in the context of D&D, I guess they aren't. Because D&D is manifestly a game. I want to be able to explain things without drawing on the rules.

In my taste, it is not a good thing that a low score in an ability is meaningless, i dont like the group of "everybody has char 8 but the sorceror".

You could have a similar problem if stats were balanced. Then everybody would have 10 or 12 twelve charisma but the sorcerer. If you want the occasional very charisma fighter, stat generation should be somewhat random.
You could have a similar problem if stats were balanced. Then everybody would have 10 or 12 twelve charisma but the sorcerer. If you want the occasional very charisma fighter, stat generation should be somewhat random.

I know this is going to be a mooot point becouse this level of balance is impossible, but imagine they find a way so in 4.0 edition, EVERY stat is equally worth taking (similar to what happen with Dex and con know. One can preffer one or the other, but both are pretty much balanced for non-dex characters.)

If so, you can have a fighter with dex 14 or wis 14 or cha 14, and it wont make a difference. All we balanced. Just different flavors (one give some stat, others give some other stat, but all are a balanced decision). If so, one could chose whatever they think it "fits" his char better without being "punished" for doing so. The high charisma barbarian leader mentioned above, will take a heavy hit in combat mechanics in 3.0. IF in 4.0, cha is added... lets say... to will saves and hit points ( ), then he will not be penalized for a roleplaying decision.

But that's just dreaming, i doubht they get to SUCH a high level of balance.
Hey, what if I want to play a fighter with low physical stats? Should I be penalized for this roleplaying decision?

Of course I should be. Being worse in combat would be the main point. I'd have to rely more on skill and intelligence to survive.

And please, charisma to hit points? Strength to skill points! Wisdom to max load! If you must make charisma more useful in combat, give a bonus to deceiving your opponent or some such. Or make the ability also measure favor with the gods and thus provide a luck bonus.

I can't think of a reasonable way to force casters to care about strength.
And please, charisma to hit points?

Several games tie your total hit points to both stamina and will. Since charisma "can" be the will attribute (which nowadays it is shared by wisdom and charisma it seems) it might be an option

I can't think of a reasonable way to force casters to care about strength.

Make fortitude bonus be the average between Str and Con for example.
Several games tie your total hit points to both stamina and will. Since charisma "can" be the will attribute (which nowadays it is shared by wisdom and charisma it seems) it might be an option

That gets rather far away from the meaning of the word. Willpower to hit points is reasonable enough, as long as it's averaged with constitution or some such. Charisma as willpower is dubious. Besides, what does that leave wisdom with?

Make fortitude bonus be the average between Str and Con for example.

Strength affecting hit points would be better, though not by much. You almost might as well combine strength and constitution.
That gets rather far away from the meaning of the word. Willpower to hit points is reasonable enough, as long as it's averaged with constitution or some such. Charisma as willpower is dubious. Besides, what does that leave wisdom with?

charisma is also will, although in other sense. Wisdom seem to be the "stamina of will" (resist other wills influence) while charisma is the "strenght of will" (influence other's will)
I would rip some ideas from Shadowrun and other games, and will create 3 "sub abilities". "quickness" or "reaction" would be dex+int (or maybe the average of both). That's physical quickness and mental quickness. "physique" would be Con+Str (or the average of both). And Wis+Cha as "willpower".

Then add physique to Fortitude, Quickness to Reflex and Willpower to Will.
Yeah, I rather like having derived abilities. Charisma to hit points is still bunk, though. Being able to persuade people shouldn't correlate much with being able to take a punch in the face.
Yeah, I rather like having derived abilities. Charisma to hit points is still bunk, though. Being able to persuade people shouldn't correlate much with being able to take a punch in the face.

yeah i know :D. To be honest i just typed the first thing that come to my mind (i could have said to initiative or whatever, just a way to make it worthwile). The second part was just trying to find a excuse. Maybe just Will saves will be enough.
I can't think of a reasonable way to force casters to care about strength.

Actually, a caster who totally dumps strength has to deal with a very low carrying capacity. It's not a huge issue, but it always comes up for my characters.

A Str 8 human can carry 26 lbs without slowing down. For instance,
Spellbook - 3 lbs
Component pouch - 2 lbs
Staff - 4 lbs
Light crossbow - 4 lbs
20 bolts - 2 lbs
3 days trail rations - 3 lbs
Waterskin - 4 lbs
Lantern - 2 lbs

That's 24 lbs. So you can do it, but it's pretty tight. Str 6 or 7 starts to really be a hassle.

I'd be satisfied with a similar inconvenience for low Cha characters.
Yeah, carrying capacity can matter a little bit at low levels. But the wizard can commonly dump extra gear on the fighter. The disadvantage of low charisma can be overcome in a similar fashion. The party has a face character, so the low-charisma folks never have to talk to anybody.