Strength gets nerfed - Crazy Prediction of the Day 1

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If you look at character optimization boards, every suggestion for a melee fighter is to improve the character's strength. Having a high bonus to both hit and damage is just too important.

Look at this way, if you hit more often and do more damage, the combat is over faster. This is the principle that Barbarians were built on, and this is the principle that character optimization suggestions use.

My prediction for Monday: The bonus to hit from an ability score will move from Strength to Dexterity in D&D 4e
No.
If they really want to go crazy and move To-Hit to another stat, they should move it to either Int or Wis. It's wouldn't break the stats, as those stats aren't really that useful in melee currently.
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[thread=931216]No.[/thread]
Sphyre

Clearly dex as it exists is an over utilized ability for many skills.

I don't thing anyone is proposing utilizing dex instead of strength and changing nothing else.
I hope they do this.
dex for hit and str for damage.. makes perfect sense ;)

Picture the 1HD dex 35, str 1 pixie hitting you ten times a round with that needle, vs the 30' str 50 dex 3 20HD GIANT missing all the time with that uprooted tree, but where the giant to hit even once..!

At the same notion, let armor make it easier to hit you.. you get slower.. but granting possibly massive DR. So a massive fullplate against the pixie would make you largely invoulnerbale... dragging the fight out since you get slower with your strikes, but forcing the pixie to do criticals bypassing armor to hit you. While vs the giant, well... keeping that armor is just suicide.. no dr no matter how high will save you.. ;)
dex for hit and str for damage.. makes perfect sense ;)

Picture the 1HD dex 35, str 1 pixie hitting you ten times a round with that needle, vs the 30' str 50 dex 3 20HD GIANT missing all the time with that uprooted tree, but where the giant to hit even once..!

At the same notion, let armor make it easier to hit you.. you get slower.. but granting possibly massive DR. So a massive fullplate against the pixie would make you largely invoulnerbale... dragging the fight out since you get slower with your strikes, but forcing the pixie to do criticals bypassing armor to hit you. While vs the giant, well... keeping that armor is just suicide.. no dr no matter how high will save you.. ;)

this is interesting, but have some problems:

1) It unbalance the game. Ogres become obsolete, becouse they cant hit anything. It also makes Dex even MORE overpowered. It already helps with initiative (key stat in high level), AC, and REF
2) Armor is not tied to lvl. You can buy a full plate relatively soon. A low level charcter with a "massive DR" becomes invulnerable to most attacks from low level monsters. Even with mechanics that allow to bypass the DR (like finesse weapons and the finesse attack seen in Conan), it does not help. Getting one hit once in a while wont make the fighter fear.
3) DR armor as a static value affect much more monsters and characters with multi-attacking options than monsters with huge single hits. Imagine 2 monsters. Once of them is a tiger, which has 4 claw attacks when pounce 10 dmg each. The other is a bull, which has a charge that do 40 damage. Both are "balanced" against a wizard. But against a character with DR 8, the tiger does 2x4=8 dmg, and the bull does 32. That is why all videogames use % dr instead of flat numbers, but % are too cumbersome for pnp rpg.
Oh im sure wizards arcane armor offers dr too..
With the added benefit of staying perfectly mobile still, so actually way better off against the giant!

Well, dex would be giving to hit and to avoid being hit. Yeah powerful but dunno about overpowered. Halve the bonuses if it seems too much.. str otoh gives damage (getting past that everpresent DR!), carrying more while staying mobile and carrying ever heavier superheavy plates.

Why not make a 400 lbs adamant armor with dr 50, if your orc barbarian with belts of strength etc has str 50? ;)
So no early level weakling can carry those super armors, a sort of balancing.. if you like. Aside from the cost which im sure is quite high too. Easily 10-20k for some specially made super heavy fullplates.

And as said, against the giant you are screwed.

Im sure everything can be balanced in the long run.


If anything im a bit worried about cha, getting all those friends to help you out.. lol!
Or to explain how come your 50.000 gp magical sword really shouldn't be taxed as luxurius property.. Cha 5 players may not get away with talk ;)


Really, theres no reason ogres should fall out of favor.
They can be heavily armored, do massive damage and arent that much worse in hitting than your average dwarf fighter!
Why not make a 400 lbs adamant armor with dr 50, if your orc barbarian with belts of strength etc has str 50? ;)

Becouse my high level ranger/dervish which rely on doing a lot of attacks with lower damage throughtput per hit will be unable to damage at all that guy.

That is the problem with DR, it hurts some characters/monsters much more than some others. Drizzt will be hurt much more than Wolfang, and that will lead to narrow character selections, becouse some character builds will be ineffective
Oh yeah, and the bigger the armors, the harder to make.
Why not have that open ended with something like a DC = 10+DR*3 as the dr component..? Similar ones for movability etc.. creating a real demand for excellent craftsmanship and the theoretical possibility of craftsmanship outcompeting magic!

Ofcourse its easier to make a dr 10 and add another 10 with enchantments, than a straight dr 20. Esp as the dr 20 will likely be really heavy..
Or then just really excellewnt craftsmanship reducing the weight.

Yeah i know, making your armors and swords starts resembling epic spell rules more than anything else.. but besides, thats all for advaced levels anyway, a youngling wont get a legendary superweapon anyway!

Once more a good diplomacy/barter roll lowers cost and maybe even bumps your project up the cue at that legendary dwarven smith.. who might have backorders lasting a year!
Becouse my high level ranger/dervish which rely on doing a lot of attacks with lower damage throughtput per hit will be unable to damage at all that guy.

That is the problem with DR, it hurts some characters/monsters much more than some others. Drizzt will be hurt much more than Wolfang, and that will lead to narrow character selections, becouse some character builds will be ineffective

Criticals, thats what dervishes.. and drizzt.. concentrates on anyway.. slicing up the belly, between the armorplates etc.
All the while you dance around this Obould ( :D ), who will have problems landing a single blow.


Hammer & pick wielders reduce dr.. even wreck that armor, sword & spear bypass armor sometimes alltogether. Axefighters might be in trouble there.. maybe.. (doubling damage past dr?)
dex for hit and str for damage.. makes perfect sense ;)

Picture the 1HD dex 35, str 1 pixie hitting you ten times a round with that needle, vs the 30' str 50 dex 3 20HD GIANT missing all the time with that uprooted tree, but where the giant to hit even once..!

At the same notion, let armor make it easier to hit you.. you get slower.. but granting possibly massive DR. So a massive fullplate against the pixie would make you largely invoulnerbale... dragging the fight out since you get slower with your strikes, but forcing the pixie to do criticals bypassing armor to hit you. While vs the giant, well... keeping that armor is just suicide.. no dr no matter how high will save you.. ;)

Seems to me that the penomena you're looking to duplicate (Which, correct me if I'm wrong, are: The small, agile warrior never missing an attack while the lumbering giant misses often, and armor making you less agile in combat) are already at least halfway implemented in size bonuses/penalties to attack and armor dexterity maximums. These don't completely do your ideas justice, but they're close enough IMHO.
In my own d20 system we have INT added to attack bonus (along with STR) and WIS added to AC (along with DEX). It makes abilities more important overall and makes it much more possible to create the intelligent fighter. Other ability changes include CHA affecting how resilient you are against magic.

Obviously other things needed to change as well because of this but like I said we use a heavily modified d20 rules set. The more we played 3E the more we realized we didn't like the 'feeling' of it, so I blew it up and reassembled it to our tastes. I really look forward to seeing 4E's magic system though.
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Criticals, thats what dervishes.. and drizzt.. concentrates on anyway.. slicing up the belly, between the armorplates etc.
All the while you dance around this Obould ( :D ), who will have problems landing a single blow.

As i said, even if you add mechanics such as the finesse mechanic in conan(if you hit AC by more than the DR, the DR is ignored with finesse weapons), it is, still, unfair. Being able to hit *once in a while* with a low damaging blow such as those dervish-like builds do will make little difference. They still will getting a lot of "clunk" sounds against the armor for a majority of their attacks.
And if you make too much exceptions to ignore the DR, then you are removing the DR effectively from game, and you are hurting those Knight characters, which are hit often and rely on DR to survive.

It is not an easy task. I know, couse i have tried it a lot, and still try. I like conan system (parry/dodge AC and DR for armors) a lot, but it get more clumsy than traditional D&D and have some balance issues. It still works fine in Conan becouse of how the archetipical characters there are, but will give some problems in a campaing where a Knight Templar and a Monk can fight.

And you also forget to address a very important problem in dungeons and dragons. The dragon. They already have a high DR (mostly overcome by magic weapons or adamantine weapons). But... if you add their natural "armor" DR, they will end having... what... 50 dr? That will make a dragon completelly overpowered.

That's another reason to explain why Conan DR system works better in conan : most the fights are against other humans, or very human-like monsters. Conan do not fight Golems normally

Hammer & pick wielders reduce dr.. even wreck that armor, sword & spear bypass armor sometimes alltogether. Axefighters might be in trouble there.. maybe.. (doubling damage past dr?)

Axes were, historically, good for cleaving through armor. Some muslim troops where armed with axes instead of scimitars by this. Maces are better, though.
On dragons.. yeah.. fire, nigh inpenetrable armor.. powerful claws & jaws.
Oh yes they are a terror and are supposed to stay that way. I know how people react when dragons become the common fodder in adventures ;)

Anyway, how amny dragons have been killed thru honest to Odin swordplay? No matter the skill of the warrior, it rarely works.
Instead, we have dragon slaying arrows and similar tricks.
Even drizzt had to use a icicle..
Anyway, how amny dragons have been killed thru honest to Odin swordplay? No matter the skill of the warrior, it rarely works.
Instead, we have dragon slaying arrows and similar tricks.
Even drizzt had to use a icicle..

You mean in D&D? or fantasy? Saint George killed the Dragon with a single hit of the lance. Sigfrid killed the dragon as well. Whatever is called the guy that slayed Smaug with a black arrow, he was a fighter-type too. Several fighers in several fantasy settings get the Dragon Slayer tittle.

And that is something 4e want to be able to produce: with game balance among the classes, the fighter will be able to do as much damage as a cleric or wizard.

And it is not only a "dragon" issue. Almost every monster with a high natural amor, from Behir to a Giant Turtle, will become almost invulnerable to fighters.
These don't completely do your ideas justice, but they're close enough IMHO.

That's not true at all. As it stands, giants almost always hit in melee.
Sphyre

Clearly dex as it exists is an over utilized ability for many skills.

I don't thing anyone is proposing utilizing dex instead of strength and changing nothing else.

I agree that changing it and other things could start to balance it out, but that's not what the OP has ever said. The OP, in fact, on the thread that I linked, believes strength to already be more powerful than dex in 3.x, which is not the case without largely biasing it.

Hence, I paid homage to Seerow, with his/her so elegant way of replying to the post. Not much more needs to be said.

I'm all for balance, not nerfing weak stats to begin with. Basically, if 4e adopts the +1/2 character level to damage that saga has, then each level will be worth a point of strength in terms of damage anyway making it less and less worth having a high strength.
I've been working for a while now on my own D20 system. It has some things taken fromt eh D&D SRD, but alot of it is very different. I've been playtesting it for a while with a couple of groups and its getting closer to being finished all the time, I think from that I have a couple of insights that might be useful to this discussion.

Some things that I'm using that work well (and I think could port reasonably to D&D, but as I said the system is rather different so they might not) with regards to combat stats:

1) Wisdom used to improve initiative rather than Dex (Noticing and reacting rather than quick movement, ties in to Wis for spot/listen)

2) Armour provides a substantial DR in a range of 1/bludgeoning to 4/- and a minor bonus to ac in a range of +0-+3, normal max dex restrictions apply

3) If unarmoured a character may add their reflex save bonus (including dex bonus) to their AC in place of the armour bonus. In this case they don't add their dex a second time. (thus armour makes you easier to hit, but more resilient if you are a dex character)

4) Dex is used to hit.

5) Str is used for damage.

Now a direct port wouldn't work (my save prgressions and stuff are a little different as are my skill/ability distributions) but maybe a couple of those ideas might interest someone .
Well, I'm sure that you will be able to use Dex in place of Str for grappling, ala Saga.
I agree that I expect that the 'to hit' bonus of strength to be removed along with the 'to hit' bonus of dexterity.

Currently in 3e there is a heavy emphasis on attribute buffing equipment because these attributes benefit a character; so, greatly.

If Reflex save becomes a form of armour then Dexterity would gain an even greater importance to characters which would even more heavily attribute buffing.

I think the ways to increase the 'to hit' other than through level are going to be limited. This levels the playing field through the classes by avoiding the vast differances that a 3e level 20 fighter (NPC DMG fighter is +32 as opposed to the Monk and Cleric which are +18 and +17) and other classes.

Dexterity may have an increase of damage to ranged attacks since this benefits classes like the ranger which focus on ranged combat. That though would be a bit of a stretch in assumption without more information. The emphasis to move towards bonus to damage away from bonus 'to hit' in SWS would support such an idea.

Also, increasing damage is far less hard to control then increasing a 'to hit' bonus because every 'to hit' bonus is a 5% increase in the amount of potential damage (hit 5% more often means you will do 5% more damage). Leveling the math of levels verses monsters to increase the 'sweet spot' would discourage having almost any 'to hit' bonus items or spells.
No. You're going to pick your weapons based on your good stats.

Some weapons will be DEX dominant. Some weapons will be Wis dominant. Some weapons will be STR dominant. Some weapons will be INT dominant.

The way stats work is going to change.
If Reflex save becomes a form of armour then Dexterity would gain an even greater importance to characters which would even more heavily attribute buffing.

???

How so?
Currently, in 3.5, if you get +2 to Dex, you will raise your protection against fireballs (REF ) by 1, and your protection versus swords (AC) by 1. On the other hand, in 4.0, you will raise your protection versus fireballs (ref defense) 1. And your protection versus swords (ref defense) by 1.

How did you come that it will make stat buffing more important? It will be mechanically the same.
???

How so?
Currently, in 3.5, if you get +2 to Dex, you will raise your protection against fireballs (REF ) by 1, and your protection versus swords (AC) by 1. On the other hand, in 4.0, you will raise your protection versus fireballs (ref defense) 1. And your protection versus swords (ref defense) by 1.

How did you come that it will make stat buffing more important? It will be mechanically the same.

I was referring back to the idea that had been put out at the start of the thread that the strenght would lose the 'to hit' bonus and dexterity would be the sole 'to hit' bonus.

In that scenario, Dexterity increases in importance because it buffs defense and all offense.

Currently, in 3e, dexterity does far more good then many other attributes as it is a bonus to missle offense, defense (when not flat footed), saving throws, many valuable skills, and iniative.

If Dexterity was given the 'to hit' modifier role for melee and missile then it would be getting very crazy as to how valuable it was and people would be more into buffing it as any gain in attribute was increasing all offense and defense plus everything else.

Personally, I think that in 4e, they will try to reduce the importance of dexterity by removing the bonus to missile fire for 'to hit'.

I also would like them to move to two types of AC. The Reflex AC and the Fortitude AC. The Fortitude AC would be modified by armour choice. I personally believe that someone in plate mail should be harder to poison or affect with blasts of cold or acid. It also promotes the concept of the Paladin dressed in Plate Mail fighting the evil creatures instead of running around half naked because armour AC is static and Reflex AC grows with the level of the character.

If a player was not flat footed then they could choose either Reflex or Fortitude as their AC of choice (some attacks would also dictate the required defense). Flat footed would force the usage of the Fortitude defense. This would allow both the high reflex low armour type and the high fortitude high armour type to exist in the game and have verying.

Armour and Damage Reduction could now be all rolled into one combined item. It would add to the Fortitude of the player or monster. Armour could also now be given certain items that it does not work against like damage reduction works; for example gases. This also avoids the problem of the low damage fighter that can hit often from being unable to do anything to the Damage Reduction opponent. Instead, the bonus is an extra to Fortitude Defense which makes it tougher to hurt/hit/affect but the inside remains crunchy.

PS: sorry wandered a bit off the topic there when talking reflex defense.
No. You're going to pick your weapons based on your good stats.

Some weapons will be DEX dominant. Some weapons will be Wis dominant. Some weapons will be STR dominant. Some weapons will be INT dominant.

The way stats work is going to change.

While I certainly think that's a very neat model to look into and to try to balance, your declaring as if you know exactly what it is is either arrogant or you're breaking your NDA as a play-tester.
While I certainly think that's a very neat model to look into and to try to balance, your declaring as if you know exactly what it is is either arrogant or you're breaking your NDA as a play-tester.

Good call. At least I'm stating my guess of the new rules as a prediction, not as a fact.

Several of the predictions I have made this week have had comments that "this is already stated." Yes, stated by people making speculation or interpreting the designer blogs, stated as fact. But not stated as predictions or opinions, which they truly are (unless they are breaking the NDA or have been time travelling recently).
Good call. At least I'm stating my guess of the new rules as a prediction, not as a fact.

Several of the predictions I have made this week have had comments that "this is already stated." Yes, stated by people making speculation or interpreting the designer blogs, stated as fact. But not stated as predictions or opinions, which they truly are (unless they are breaking the NDA or have been time travelling recently).

Is your speculation one that's been hinted at by the Dev blogs or elsewhere? While I attempt to check them all, I miss some from time to time. If so, would you be so kind as to point me to the link. I think it'd be really neat to have different stats for weapons, or at least bonuses for them based on how they are used.
Well, they might have;

Wands and Staves be INT based weapons.

Leadership Foci like maybe Cleric's Bells and Scepters be WIS based weapons.

They might give the Strikers the light weapons like the dagger and kama as DEX based weapons ( favourable to the 2 weapon style ). Most missile weapons (martial type) will likely remain Dex based.

The Two Hand Weapons and Medium Class Martial weapons will likely remain the domain of STR.

They might give Warlocks/Sorcerer's something in the CHA based list which will be their equivelent Foci.


This type of division would encourage players to seek weapons that were related to what their character was expected to be armed with and avoid the playtest where the Rogue uses a Large Axe to Backstab people.
Well, they might have;

Wands and Staves be INT based weapons.

Leadership Foci like maybe Cleric's Bells and Scepters be WIS based weapons.

They might give the Strikers the light weapons like the dagger and kama as DEX based weapons ( favourable to the 2 weapon style ). Most missile weapons (martial type) will likely remain Dex based.

The Two Hand Weapons and Medium Class Martial weapons will likely remain the domain of STR.

They might give Warlocks/Sorcerer's something in the CHA based list which will be their equivelent Foci.


This type of division would encourage players to seek weapons that were related to what their character was expected to be armed with and avoid the playtest where the Rogue uses a Large Axe to Backstab people.

In one of the developement articles (the one that talk about fighters and how they use weapons) i think one of the supposed players talkign about their warrriors say "i was tempted to use Hammers becouse of their synergy with Con, but i got spears becouse blbablabal"

Maybe hammers and other bludgeoning use Con? or just add Con in some special movements?
Bludgeoning using CON would certainly be nifty and appropriate.
I think this stems from a misconception of what strength represents in D&D. It's a very general term that encompasses not just lifting and pushing strength, but gross motor skills, cardiovascular efficiency, your nervous system's ability to coordinate muscular action and all that stuff as well.

Dexterity is more like hand/eye coordination, fine motor skills, multitasking ability etc.

Swinging a sword requires muscular control. You need to apply just the right amount of force along just the right angle with just the right timing and you need finely tuned antagonist muscles to control and stop the cut. Since most cuts use your entire body, you need to develop the coordination to utilize every muscle in your body together. You practice cuts over and over again so you can build the muscular memory required to coordinate all those muscle groups and to strength all those supporting muscles so you don't lose control of the sword when you put force into it.

Now dexterity, I'd argue, is entirely different. When you throw a rock you're using Strength too, since you need to have powerful, balanced muscles that all work in some kind of coordinated fashion and all that to generate force. To target it though, you have to intuitively calculate with how much force and at what angle you need to throw the rock - this is dexterity.

A magician making cards or coins disappear by back palming them needs excellent fine motor skills - this is also dexterity.

A juggler needs to intuitively calculate those parabolic arcs too, needs to keep track of all his juggling pins as they move through the air, needs to catch and throw again with perfect timing, needs to coordinate both his hands at the same time - this is also dexterity.

Someone fighting with two short swords needs to coordinate both hands in a way that's almost similar to juggling, this is why it requires dexterity.