Shouldn't all ability scores carry the same weight?

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I just have a hard time dealing with the arbitary(yeah, I know that word is tossed around a lot) numbers assigned to character stats. Not all of them, though, just some like constitution, charisma, and wisdom. But not even because I don't like having the numbers, they're mostly not a problem, it's just bothersome that they're important, but don't really do much.

I mean, con only grants a bonus to one skill, its ability mod to hit points per level and ability mod to fort save. That's pretty much all. Other than that, it's pretty useless. I mean, a feat could grant any one of those things, in fact, there are feats for doing just that. Skill points can be given through skill focus, HP can be given through toughness, and fort saves can be increased through a feat(I forget the name).

Wisdom only grants a bonus to will saves, spot, listen, and sense motive checks, and cleric(and I think some other divine) spells.

Charisma only affects a few skills(Social skills, of course), innate spell caster spells(sorcerer, bard) and that's really about all.

Strength, dex and intelligence are the three most important ability scores for nearly every class, as they carry the most weight in the most important parts of the game. Honestly, it's strange how much Charisma, Wisdom, and Constitution seem to be more roleplaying concepts and Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence are more ways to quantify the power of your character.

Isn't there a better way to design our characters?

I've just been thinking about this for a while and figured I'd get someone else's take on it. Yes, we may argue, but I'm not against having the stats, I just wish the whole system fit together to feel more balanced in importance. Perhaps a physical(strength, dex, con) and mental(Int, Wis, Cha) concept for describing the characters. That just doesn't seem to be the way things are, now. I could be wrong.
I think that your argument makes sense in a logical fashion. Con should do as much for your numbers as Strength does. But, the truth of it is, the 6 abilities actually all have an important roll for character development off the paper. Low Con characters are sickly and don't physically do the things that other characters might do. How the 6 numbers affect my piece of paper is less important to me than how they affect my characters personality.

Wisdom is always a challenge role-playing wise, but its how your character perceives himself in relation to the rest of the world. High wisdom characters can see how their actions affect others, while low wisdom characters are only concerned with their immediate surroundings.

I wrote a short summary of abilities for my group to them understand how the bottom three abilities really affect your characters personality. A kinda guide to looking at the lower numbers and crafting a character that acts like his abilities.

If you would like to see it, just send me a PM and I will e-mail it to you.
The stats have different priorities to different classes. Fighters simply don't need charisma. Wizards simply don't need Strength, and they barely need wisdom. It's the same in real life too. If you try to make all the stats equally valuable by adding more stats to existing things, you'll end up with a bunch of complex numbers. If you make new extra uses for the stats then they'll probably be ignored, since the game kinda gets along as is. The goal remains to kill things and take their stuff. Whatever lets you do that will always just be the important ones, and the rest simply won't be.
That really doesn't make much sense to me. I don't see why a fighter can't be charismatic(not useful for a warrior, unless he emulates a rogue). I don't see why a wizard can't be wise(not useful for a wizard class).

If Charisma helps flesh out the personality of the character and your character takes an optimization hit by gaining in charisma, it forces the player to cripple their character to roleplay. Someone else brought this up before as being a simply horrible reason to cripple your character's effectiveness for roleplay.

It doesn't make sense that only sorcerers and bards would have high charisma, or that the player should have their character take the hit to their general need for other stats by taking charisma just to say their roleplay depends on it.

I mean, I get that the stats should mean something and they're there for some sort of balance between classes, but they still don't really make sense in their current form(being so highly linked to effectiveness AND roleplay elements at the same time).

Oh, and as for the comment that low con stands for not physically being able to do things high con characters can do, explain to me why a character must cast defensively and take a concentration check in combat to cast a spell. That's entirely mental, until they end up being hit. Does that make sense?
> I mean, con only grants a bonus to one skill, its ability mod to hit points per
> level and ability mod to fort save.

It affects a number of other things as well, but those other things aren't very visible (since they mostly deal with circumstance).

However, the fact that it modifies your hit points makes it a very powerful ability - it's generally the second most valuable stat for any class, which puts it head and shoulders above any of the others for being universally useful.
> That really doesn't make much sense to me.

Being charismatic helps a politician. It doesn't really help the plumber. Being strong helps the lumberjack. It doesn't do much good for the brain surgeon.

Any given stat's value is going to depend on the character (and his class) and what he's trying to be effective at. A fighter can be charismatic, but being suave doesn't make you better at hitting monsters. The same goes for any other sort of specialized endeavor - some qualities are just more useful than others.
I always consider con to be the most powerful overall ability.

Some people may not need to be strong nor particularly dexterous, but I don't see anyone ever using Con as a dump stat. That alone points to the fact that it is important. It's the only mod that kills you when it reaches zero, it modifies your hp, which is vital even to the most glass-cannon of classes. It affects the one save that has the most save vs. death situations. etc. etc.

An ability score like intelligence only affects a single casting class (albeit the #1 casting class), no saves, skill points which are useful for only a handful of classes, and that's it.

Those were asides though. Given that, I only disagree with the specific nature of your assertions. I will say that I do agree that some ability scores are more important than others. Charisma is often touted as the dump stat of choice since it affects few skills and only relates to social interaction and two casting classes as well as the Paladin. However, I find it hard to envision a world in which all the ability scores are taken equally seriously. True, the "mind" scores are often thought of as weaker compared to the "body" scores, but how do you change that? I dunno.
Being charismatic helps a politician. It doesn't really help the plumber.

Adult film tells a different story.
That really doesn't make much sense to me. I don't see why a fighter can't be charismatic(not useful for a warrior, unless he emulates a rogue). I don't see why a wizard can't be wise(not useful for a wizard class).

He could be. Anyone could go so far as to have an 18 in all stats. Doesn't mean they do.

If Charisma helps flesh out the personality of the character and your character takes an optimization hit by gaining in charisma, it forces the player to cripple their character to roleplay. Someone else brought this up before as being a simply horrible reason to cripple your character's effectiveness for roleplay.

Charisma isn't required for roleplay. It determines how well you can impose your thought and ideas onto the world around you. Maybe that fighter has charisma 8 because he had charisma 8 as a kid and everyone picked on him and now he kills strange looking people in the woods as a way of getting even with the world.

That wizard with 8 Str was weak all his life, so he looked to find ways that he could make a difference despite that.

The game has you pick class/race then pick stats, but from the in game perspective you have your race and stats as a young child, then you pick your class you're going for around age 15 (for humans). The class you pick to advance in is based on the stats you had as a kid. A person who's got 8/10/14/16/10/10 just isn't going to make a good WWF wrestler, so he'll go be a lawyer instead.

It doesn't make sense that only sorcerers and bards would have high charisma, or that the player should have their character take the hit to their general need for other stats by taking charisma just to say their roleplay depends on it.

Again, Sorcs and bards aren't the only ones to have high charisma, but a person with high charisma is more likely to be a sorc or a bard.

I mean, I get that the stats should mean something and they're there for some sort of balance between classes, but they still don't really make sense in their current form(being so highly linked to effectiveness AND roleplay elements at the same time).

They aren't very linked to roleplay elements. You still have to determine what your stats mean for you. What does 18/12/12 for mental stats mean? Are you a brilliant tactician but reluctant general (Ender Wiggin)? Are you a super genius who's always arrogant about it but in just the right way to come out as slightly charming (Arik Soong)? Maybe your ideas get ahead of your sense, but you're panicky enough about the importance of them when things go wrong that people still listen to you (Rodney McKay).

3 people just off the top of my head. If you're as into the roleplay as you seem to be, I'm sure you could come up with more as you play out a character over time.

Oh, and as for the comment that low con stands for not physically being able to do things high con characters can do, explain to me why a character must cast defensively and take a concentration check in combat to cast a spell. That's entirely mental, until they end up being hit. Does that make sense?

It has to do with being a tough-guy. When you punch the big bad mafia guard as he turns to his microphone to call for backup, he's just not going to care because he's so tough as nails. Something like that. A weak reasoning, but oh well. There isn't exactly a better stat to use.
All ability scores SHOULD be equal. Hopefully they are working on a way to fix that for 4th edition so that they are. I don't know about you guys, but I like playing half-orcs from time to time and their double-penalization on Intelligence and Charisma does not seem worth a mere +2 to Strength. +2 to Strength AND Con? Maybe. But that still shoehorns half-orcs into their typical role of the Barbarian. It would be better if they made going into your race's favored class more lucrative by giving you bonuses with that class, not by penalizing any other choice you could have made instead.

On a side note, I think that all the classes should provide an ability score bonus on at least one ability score. Like +2 to Intelligence for Wizards, +2 to Dexterity for Rogues. Paladins would get a +2 to Strength and Wisdom since their class is harder to enter into and more strict in how you must behave. Fighter should give you a +2 to Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution; your choice.
Str and Con go directly toward combat effectiveness, something that is important to many people that pick Barbarians. The low int may affect a Half-orc Barbarians utility skills, but even if he doesn't buffer the Int at all they'd have more skill points than a human fighter with an average Int. Barbarians also tend to be the kind to convince people of things with their muscles not their well spoken words. Given those two facts the tradeoff of two non-combat stats for one combat stat is balanced. Also to a high level character an 8 cha means they just have a -1 modifier to their high intimidate score. This is a real problem and I'm glad Wizards is fixing it for the 4th edition.

In general as has been pointed out previously in this thread Con isn't good for much beyond HP and Fort saves, because those two things are good for every class. Con is generally good, there is no downside, so it is only applicable to a few specific things. That is where the tradeoff comes in.
There is one little thing people have missed about CON.

If you lose all your STR or DEX you become paralysed, if you lose all your mental stats you become comatose. If you lose all your CON you DIE. That makes it kinda important for me.

There is no reason why a fighter can't be charismatic or a wizard tough and strong. The only restrictions are point-buy and meta-gaming for play effectiveness (nothing wrong with that, no one wants to play an ineffective character). This is why I've always prefered rolled characters; on a good roll I can have the charismatic fighter that can inspire an army and fight well who also happens to be a tactical genius, but if I'm looking at a fixed number of points to distribute then my fun factor starts dying.
Con, not useful? Constitution is, by far, the most universally useful stat in the game. Casters often have negative strength, fighters often have low charisma, but no one makes a character with a negative constitution modifier.

However, I agree with your general point. For most non casters, charisma and wisdom are useless, and intelligence is only slightly better. I think that the current system makes for less varied characters; for example, you'll almost never have a charismatic fighter, because that good score would go into strength, dexterity, constitution, wisdom, or even intelligence before it would get put into charisma.
I don't know about you guys, but I like playing half-orcs from time to time and their double-penalization on Intelligence and Charisma does not seem worth a mere +2 to Strength.

Here's a secret: +2 Str isn't worth -2 Int and -2 Cha. Nor do the total of half-orc features add up to be as useful as a 1st level feat and what is essentially an entire extra trained skill. The half-orc is just a weak race.

Also, the Paladin class isn't "hard to enter into". The hard roleplay comes from the fact that people put modern sensibilities on the paladin's actions, while everyone else uses medieval world morality, which generally allows for a lot more killing.
Adult film tells a different story.

The truth of this statement is undeniable. viva le plumber!
*ahem* anyways... I don't think ability scores should all carry the same weight...for everybody. As was said previously, it works the same way in real life, being really charismatic isn't terribly helpful when your goal is to hit something as hard as possible or when you're analyzing complex magical formulae. The thing is, when you want to impose your will on your surroundings, it's exactly what the doctor ordered. For most characters, this just means influencing others mental processes...but for a sorcerer, you literally shape the world around you through strength of spirit. Okay, tangent alert, but I hate it when people treat charisma as simply an assessment of how a person looks. You can have an amazingly beautiful person who is incapable of making a persuasive argument and gets on your nerves constantly... Now, I'm not saying their looks aren't useful in social encounters, but that person's still got a charisma of 8. Oh, and being pretty sure never helped a barbarian scare the pants of hordes of goblins.
It takes a decent DM to make all the stats equally useful. Think Charisma sucks not in my games. If you mad eit your dump stat odds are you are sitting on your hands for the 1/3 or the adventure as the party gathers information, negotiates and gains uses contacts.

Wisdom one its a save stat so I never saw it as weak, its all the I notice things stat which helps you avoid the surprise round I consider that solid. Though I will give this is a boring stat it is useful. But hey in 4e it sounds like there taking the SAGA approach and making wisdom the power learning stat. So my absent minder professor wizard idea just got shot to hell. I am so excited about stat parity.
I agree with the people who say Con is important. Now, what I mean is not that any class really depends upon a good Con (with the exception of Incarnum classes, and possibly Barbarians), but that they all find it useful. It is the mostgenerally useful skill, as the warrior needs it absorb damage, and the mage needs in case the enemy gets too close to home. Tallying up the scores, as they are in the PHB under each class' Abilities section, it follows:

Str - 5 (Bbn, Ftr, Mnk, Pal, Rgr)
Dex - 9 (Bbn, Brd, Drd, Ftr, Mnk, Rgr, Sor, Wiz)
Con - 5 (Bbn, Clr, Ftr, Sor, Wiz)
Int - 3 (Brd, Rog, Wiz)
Wis - 5 (Clr, Drd, Mnk, Pal, Rgr)
Cha - 2 (Brd, Sor)

Which suggests that it is about as useful as Str or Wis. However, I will agree that Cha is extremely underpowered, and is usually a dump stat for all non-Cha based caster classes.
Let's compare each stat, too, and list genrally what they affect:

Str
  • 1 type of Attack
  • Damage
  • 3 Skill Checks
Dex
  • 1 Type of Attack
  • AC
  • 1 Saving Throw
  • 9 Skill Checks
Con
  • HP
  • 1 Saving Throw
  • 1 Skill Check
Int
  • Languages
  • Skill Points per level
  • 8 Skill Checks
  • 1 Spellcasting Class
Wis
  • 1 Saving Throw
  • 6 Skill Checks
  • 4 Spellcasting Classes
Cha
  • 8 Skill Checks
  • 2 Spellcasting Classes

From here, it's pretty easy to figure out the "best" and "worst" abilities, going backwards from worst to best (in my opinion).

Cha has the abilities of Int, plus 1 class that depends upon it and no language or Skill Point Bonus. UNDERPOWERED!

Wis, compared to Dex, has the same number of Saves affected, fewer skills, and while it gives necessary help to 4 casters, it trades out ranged attacks and AC for it. UNDERPOWERED

Con, if compared to Dex and Wis, gives way fewer Skills and the same number of Saves. However, it is the resource for possible the most important stat in the game. Therefore, it probably falls slightly above Wis, as the HP bonus cancels out the Skill bonuses. OKAY-POWER!

Int is hard to judge, but, if compared to Wis, it gives more Skill bonuses, with fewer casters depending upon it, though. However, it helps determine how many Skill Points a character gets per level, which defiitely overrides a bonus to a Save. Extra languages is just an added perk. MEDIUM-POWERED

Str, if sompared to Dex, seems slightly less powerful. While both give a bonus on Attacks, one lets you attacke from the distance, but the other ups damage; so far, balanced. However, Dex also give bonuses to many more Skill checks and a Save. However, the bonus to attack and damage is so vital in D&D, that this place it slightly above even Int. HIGH-POWERED!

Dex is probably the best ability. It increases AC, which helps every class, and increases a Save, too. It gives a bonus to more Skill checks than any other ability, and helps woth ranged attacks.OVER 9000!-POWER!

Again, this is my opinion, but I believe it to be fairly accurate in general.
Whoops, double post.
The problem with charisma is that, outside of casters, it has very little mechanical effect upon the game. Don't tell me about Diplomacy and Bluff--- of course they're effects. I'm talking about:

Str-- affects attack rolls, carrying capacity, damage with melee
Dex-- affects reflex saves, AC, initiative, ranged attack rolls
Con-- affects HP and fort saves
Int-- affects skill points/level
Wis-- affects will saves

Note that all of these things apply to any character that is rolled up. Casters, of course, have additional perks for having a high score in their primary casting stat... but that still leaves you with the thorny issue of Charisma being a pretty thoroughly useless stat for anyone but a caster or faceman. But no one is so cavalier about throwing away Str or Dex. Everyone likes more skill points and Expertise is the gateway to some cool feats, so Int dumping is generally avoided if possible as well. The only stat I've seen dumped with anything APPROACHING how often Charisma is dumped is Strength for ranged attackers and casters and Wisdom for certain character concepts. Note that when I say character concepts, in this sense I am speaking purely mechanically.

Charisma is only important, mechanically speaking, for characters with a very limited focus--- casting or talking. Except they're both situational.

A face character is really paying for their effectiveness multiple times. They need to buy social skills with their precious few skill points AND that charisma they worked so hard for go to something else more generally useful, like Dex or Con.

The only characters that derive any significant mechanical benefits from charisma are bards, sorcerers, and paladins. I would argue that paladins actually derive the most noticeable, measurable benefit, but that's more subjective.

Make Charisma a factor in more appreciable, mechanical aspects of the game and you'll see a lot more people who become reluctant to make it a dump stat.
DreadGazebo, see my post above.
Ah, dear friends, forget not the 'Charisma to everything' build.

Charisma can be your most useful stat even in a combat situation. It just doesn't start out that way.
DreadGazebo, see my post above.

I think I am a slower typist than you are.
I think I am a slower typist than you are.

Don't worry. :D
I mean, con only grants a bonus to one skill, its ability mod to hit points per level and ability mod to fort save. That's pretty much all. Other than that, it's pretty useless. I mean, a feat could grant any one of those things, in fact, there are feats for doing just that. Skill points can be given through skill focus, HP can be given through toughness, and fort saves can be increased through a feat(I forget the name).

Yeah.... When you exclude the fact that con helps keep your character alive it's worthless. I totally agree. Except, you know, excluding that fact is kind of stupid, because that's the complete point of it?

And feats in 3.5 aren't handed out like candy. Wasting feats on toughness and great fortitude because you have a low con will help offset the balance that you have a low con, but it won't make up for it. You get 1 feat every 3 levels, which means you're dedicating 6 levels worth of your character's feat resources to marginally make up for poor con. 2 feats out of 7 feats for a non-human for the entire duration of 20 levels.

Con and Dex are Useful for every character. Every character benefits from a high score of those. Con means you're harder to kill (both with better fort saves - that is the save primarily used to negate death) and dex increases your AC, initiative and reflex saves. AC makes you be hit less often, reflex saves let you reduce damage you'll take from most AoE spells, and initiative lets you attack before your opponent, so you effectively get an extra turn against them. (If you go first, and you win, your opponent had one less turn against you, because they died before their turn, if you go second, and you win, your opponent had the same number of turns as you, because you killed him on the same number of turns he had.)

Intelligence and wisdom are next. Wisdom raises your perceptional skills, making it less likely you'll be caught in a surprise round. In addition it adds to will saves, that primary increases your chances to resist "save or be screwed" spells. Intelligence gives you more starting languages and skill points. If your character doesn't care about skills all that much (you're a fighter. you get 2+int per level, and your skill list sucks) then you're not going to make much use out of it. Other classes though, it'll work with nicely. Again, both can help any character, but the degree in which it helps is dependent on your character class.

Then there's strength and charisma. If your class doesn't draw power from it, it's close to worthless for you. Strength gives you better melee accuracy and damage, and allows you to carry more. If you have a bag of holding or don't carry a lot in the first place, and don't do melee combat, you couldn't care less about your strength score, other than it being a liability to strength draining monsters. Charisma, unless you want to focus on social skills or has a class feature that is derived off of charisma, is worthless to your character as well.

I agree, changing the stats so they have equal weight would be great. But I completely disagree with your assessment of the stats as they are in 3.x. Fighters could have 3 int and 3 cha, and not care at all. Sorcerers could have 3 int and 3 str and not care at all either. How does it affect them? Simply one skill point less per level than otherwise, for having 2 dump stats. Then you have wizards who could go 3 str, 3 cha and be like "huh? Being weak and not comely is a problem? It's not like those stats matter to me"
Well 3 is a little extreme. Lots of poisons do Str damage, and then you'd fall to the ground. Or a Rogue of 10th+ level could drain away all your Strength in 2 attacks. It's like a dragon and shivering touch.

Similarly, if you've got 3 int and you're trying to play to your stats then you'll have a horrible sense of what to cast when, and you'll probably just have one battle plan that you repeat for any situation. The Int thing isn't enforced by the direct mechanics though, so you're at the whim of the DM there.

And, if you're in a psionics game, Ego Whip will be the doom of all low charisma characters.
Well 3 is a little extreme. Lots of poisons do Str damage, and then you'd fall to the ground. Or a Rogue of 10th+ level could drain away all your Strength in 2 attacks. It's like a dragon and shivering touch.

Similarly, if you've got 3 int and you're trying to play to your stats then you'll have a horrible sense of what to cast when, and you'll probably just have one battle plan that you repeat for any situation. The Int thing isn't enforced by the direct mechanics though, so you're at the whim of the DM there.

And, if you're in a psionics game, Ego Whip will be the doom of all low charisma characters.

But there are stat draining abilities of all stats, not just the ones that are dump stats.

If the only reason to have a higher stat is to have a defense against being stat drained, then that's not much of a built-in effectiveness is it?

We're talking about the equality of stats here, not how to kill someone with a low stat. Stat draining affects all stats equally, thusly, it's balanced, and not something up for discussion, because we're discussing the imbalances, not the balances.
One thing I did to address this in my home campaigns was make Charisma a modifier on how many action points you got, as well as a modifier on all rolls involved when you spent them. It worked quite nicely to encourage players not to dump on Charisma quite so much, because I don't fudge rolls either. Everything is up front in view of everyone, so character death is slightly more likely in my games than in other styles. Having action points to fall back on gives the players a bit more of an edge than they would otherwise have.

I have also considered tying will saves to Charisma instead of Wisdom, but that would simply shift the problem onto a different stat. Perhaps if Wisdom could take over initiative (quick thinking allowing you to go first) it wouldn't be the "new" dump stat.
If you are loking for straight combat then no not all stats. are equal.

Most People would agree that CHA is the most under powered stat. and for a fighter or wizard that is true. BUT where would the palidins saves be without CHA, or a clerics turn/rebuke undead. or because 3x allows for diversity in classes you don't have to be a thief if you play the rogue class, why not a spy. If you show me a spy with a low CHA then he had better have an extremely high CON. your other under powered stat.

ther is a time and place for everything, on duty a a fireworks factory is not the time and place for a cigarette.
While I do agree that Cha is generally viewed as being a dump-stat and is oft unused...it's usually one of my highest stats, even from a pure mechanical standpoint(though I simply like high-Charisma characters for the sense of authority or natural likeable-ness that entails). Maybe I just play too many knights, swashes, pallies, and sorcs, but Cha is one of the few stats that I have been able to apply effectively, and without hindering character concept, to all parts of the game(excepting for HP, considering that's just a silly idea anyway). Any time I hear Cha being riddled, I can only think in my mind the numerous times I've added it to AC, any or all saves, initiative, attacks, damage, etc., and wonder just where these people have been looking to not have seen it.

Granted, it takes some looking, and in a few instances reliance on magic items...but D&D is an item-focused game anyway. *shrugs*
Didn't I see something in one of the first articles (the one with rain of blows) about a fighter power or something being Con based?

I see different powers/attacks/manoeuvres etc being based on different scores in 4th Ed.
Didn't I see something in one of the first articles (the one with rain of blows) about a fighter power or something being Con based?

I see different powers/attacks/manoeuvres etc being based on different scores in 4th Ed.

That is correct. In addition, it's hinted that Wisdom somehow helps out with "power selection" whatever that means.

Oh, and just to throw in a voice of dissent I think that it's very important that every class have a dump stat.

Look at how hard it is to make a good Monk. You need high Str & Con to be a good melee fighter and good Dex & Wis to make up for the lack of armor. That's 4 out of 6 stats that you need to roll high on to be a viable Monk.

Paladins: Str & Con for melee, Wis & Cha for special powers.
Bards: Cha for spells, Int for skills, Dex & Con for survival.

Some prestige classes are nigh-impractical because of Multiple Attribute Dependencies (MAD). Take the Enlightened Fist -- all of the Monk MAD plus an additional Int or Cha dependency from the arcane spellcasting class.

It's bad enough when some classes require only two very high stats and become unworkable because of it. Dual-stat dependent casters are a real problem. The Warmage, Favored Soul, Archivist, etc. suffer from really needing 16+ in two stats, and that's not generally achievable under point-buy systems nor under the most common rolls you'll see. Said classes will really suffer in high levels as players have to decide between spending money and attribute points from leveling on boosting the stat that their spell saves are based on or the stat that grants them the ability to cast high level spells and bonus spells.

And we're not even counting the universal need for classes to have good Con for survivability and either good Dex for ranged attacks/lack of armor (like the Warmage) or good Str for getting in there and mixing it up (like the Favored Soul)!

MAD sucks, and while I hope that 4e is moving towards making all attributes matter more equally on average, I hope sincerely that they're not moving towards making all attributes matter more equally to each and every class.

We need our dump stats to prevent standard char-gen from crippling our characters!

It shouldn't always been Cha like it is today for nearly all classes that aren't spontaneous casters, but there should be a viable place to put 1-3 mediocre rolls down on a character sheet without dooming your character to irrelevance.

Furthermore, this should be true for ALL CLASSES. We don't want to return to the days of 2e when Fighter was what you played when you didn't roll well enough to play anything else nor even to the days of 3e when Barbarian or Sorcerer was what you played when you only rolled 1-2 good stats and couldn't play a Cleric or a Ranger.
If everyone's equally MAD, that shouldn't be as much of a problem.
I just have a hard time dealing with the arbitary(yeah, I know that word is tossed around a lot) numbers assigned to character stats. Not all of them, though, just some like constitution, charisma, and wisdom. But not even because I don't like having the numbers, they're mostly not a problem, it's just bothersome that they're important, but don't really do much.

I mean, con only grants a bonus to one skill, its ability mod to hit points per level and ability mod to fort save. That's pretty much all. Other than that, it's pretty useless. I mean, a feat could grant any one of those things, in fact, there are feats for doing just that. Skill points can be given through skill focus, HP can be given through toughness, and fort saves can be increased through a feat(I forget the name).

Wisdom only grants a bonus to will saves, spot, listen, and sense motive checks, and cleric(and I think some other divine) spells.

Charisma only affects a few skills(Social skills, of course), innate spell caster spells(sorcerer, bard) and that's really about all.

Strength, dex and intelligence are the three most important ability scores for nearly every class, as they carry the most weight in the most important parts of the game. Honestly, it's strange how much Charisma, Wisdom, and Constitution seem to be more roleplaying concepts and Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence are more ways to quantify the power of your character.

Isn't there a better way to design our characters?

I've just been thinking about this for a while and figured I'd get someone else's take on it. Yes, we may argue, but I'm not against having the stats, I just wish the whole system fit together to feel more balanced in importance. Perhaps a physical(strength, dex, con) and mental(Int, Wis, Cha) concept for describing the characters. That just doesn't seem to be the way things are, now. I could be wrong.

I don't know how this thread got so long. The above bolded portions show you have no idea what you're talking about, and have clearly an amateur's understanding of the rules. CON is "pretty useless" beyond being a roleplaying stat? Everybody needs INT? Toughness is a substitution for CON? You don't even remember the name of Great Fortitude? This thread fails, epically.
I'd totally agree regarding the dump stat.
To pick out a couple of particularly sucky classes design wise:
The Swashbuckler. Oh the chunk blowing. They add INT to damage with light weapons, which is fine. However, they add STR damage to them as well, so you can't neglect Str--they're hulking brutes who happen to know how to tumble.
The monk...this isn't an old guy with crazy martial arts powers either. Its a dumb, ugly guy with bulging biceps.

With the mult-stat casters I think they were aiming to deliberately down-power some classes by forcing them to make hard choices, but it didn't really work...tends to make them playable only in high-point-buy games. Unless you're willing to accept the stupidness and play an illumian so you can get bonus spells from Dexterity for some reason.

Sandulax

If everyone's equally MAD, that shouldn't be as much of a problem.

Giving everyone the problem isn't a good solution.

Everyone might need to have a decent wis now, you literally can't build a decent character without it type need. That isn't a good design goal. Sure some kind of stat parity is nice but when stats fulfill basic roles you need to have in order to succeed with every class its not nice it sucks.

We only have SAGA to go on, and a comment by the designers that wisdom effects power selection. But in SAGA for force powers there is a feat that lets you choose force powers to use with your use force skill. Each time you buy the feat you get 1+wisdom modifier minimum 1 power choice. Each choice is a per encounter choice and you can pick the same power multiple times in order to use that power multiple times in an encounter.

If you are a force power using class and want a basic array of force powers you need to have a good wisdom and blow multiple feats, if you had a 11 or less wisdom your blowing a ton of feats in order to do a basic function of your jedi class which is use force powers.

When powers start getting handed to every class for fighter extreme fighting power etc. Every class ends up needing a good wisdom if they don't want to end up just hitting people in the face with there sword every round.

Allowing a feasible option for bad stats in various attributes also allows for a wider variety of character options. Weaknesses can be fun for character development, they aren't fun when they cripple you.

Giving every class MAD is just a bad idea.
To those of you who make meaningful conversation, thank you. I do appreciate when people can accept that others have opinions and respectfully give their own.

To reiterate my previous statement, my point is that the stats are not equally balanced between mechanics and roleplay, nor are they balanced between each other in social or martial conflict resolution.

I know what the ability scores do. The problem is not that I don't know what they do, but that they are NOT balanced. They aren't balanced because, apparently, many people see charisma as being a dump stat for most classes. At the same time, many people see constitution as being, at least, the second most important stat for all classes. That means inequality among stats. I'm not arguing this for no reason, either. I'm arguing this point because I believe it is strange that you spend the same number of ability score points for each stat, but you do not recieve an equal benefit.

I would argue that if a certain stat seems universally important(or unimportant), why not make it a universal and not have a whole class that hinges on that stat or multiple stats. Con(universally important), Cha(typically unimportant) and even Wisdom(most often unimportant, except for two highly useful skills, listen and spot, and a pretty useful skill, sense motive) come to mind.

I am not exactly sure how to make this balanced, but that's not the point. The point is that the system, as it stands, is not balanced, and my argument why it isn't balanced. I do not know everything, do not claim to, and am asking for others' opinion on the matter.

I did not ask for is for people to come here with personal attacks because they think they know everything that goes on inside my head. Yes, I know you didn't say that, but that's how I see the way you're behaving.

Sphyre, I say you were a jerk because you act as if I had some sort of agenda in not mentioning that zero con means death and sarcasm does not make you any more in the right for doing so. Neglecting to mention something does not mean I have an agenda in doing so, neither does it mean I don't know what I neglected to mention.

Ancalimohtar, you were doing the same thing in trying to say that the thread fails and that I have no idea what I'm talking about. I understand you only know what I type, but give me the benefit of the doubt, when you're reading what I say, that I'm not a complete idiot. If you weren't so quick to judge, you wouldn't come off as being such a jerk.

I didn't know the name of a feat that I never have used, but you knew what I meant, and therefore you pointed out that you know the name and I didn't and that somehow means that I am wrong and don't have a right to my opinion. Sphyre and ancalimohtar, you two have no reason to be so blatently disrespectful. I don't recall that I have ever done so to either of you.

I will not be posting any more follow-ups to this thread, as there are several of you who would rather troll than contribute to a meaningful conversation. I will read any responses, but that doesn't mean I don't think anyone else has meaningful input. I only mean to say that there are a few here that incite my anger more than I'd care to admit, not because they're right and I'm wrong, but because they exhude an aura of self-righteousness.

I suppose I'll go back to figuring out my own, homebrew of how this should work, instead of asking others for their opinion.

(This isn't me being angry with everyone, only angry that there's always one or two people who will ruin things for everyone else.)


Ah, I neglect to point out a couple posts, of course. Anger has its drawbacks.

Argokirby, you make some good points. Neglecting the negative effects of bad stats and unbalanced stats in martial and social conflict resolution does not make the problem go away. It merely means it does not concern you as much as accurately roleplaying a character with the stats you have. The idea that the ability scores affect the character more off the paper(when they aren't more effective on the paper) is a point in my favor, as it is saying there isn't in-game equality between the stats. Roleplay is decidedly divorced from rollplay. Roleplay should be something to be considered outside of rollplay. Stats are a means to defining a conflict resolution system. On top of this, we build the character's tendencies and personality to the best of our abilities. Whether you choose to pick stats or the character's personality first is up to you, but either the stats should affect conflict AND roleplay, or one or the other. No more one stat affecting roleplay more than conflict resolution.

Neutronium_Dragon, the second part of what you said is my point in a nutshell. There is an ability score disparity that shouldn't be there, because it makes the system clumsy and, sometimes, downright unreasonable/unfair. The first part is something I already know, endurance and all, but it still is a far too important stat for all classes, while some other stats affect relatively little for most classes. Also, a plumber DOES benefit from having a high charisma. If he botches a job, being courteous about it and working the problem out is a far better solution than just leaving a broken pipe in someone's home. Say goodbye to that customer.

Qwicksilver, be careful when you say, "that's it," as someone can assume their high horse and try to call you out on it. I realize you probably know that int also affects languages known, and there are other classes that use int as their casting base. And understand I'm not trying to be a jerk, this is in lieu of the two idiots before that decided to assume what I typed was all I knew. I understand you probably do know these two tidbits. I'm just making a point of their behavior. Also, I was thinking all spell casters could use some form of all "mental" stats(cha+wis+int/3) as a base for their casting prowess. I mean, it could unite all casters under one power set, allowing no stat to be the only important one, but maybe each giving certain bonuses to casting. Physical stats, such as Str, Dex, and Con could have a similar system for judging their combat prowess. I don't know, but the idea seems interesting to me.

Lokathor, I'm not seeing why you try to make the point that any class can have low or high stats in whatever, despite their class's most beneficial stats. That is completely irrelevent. I would like to see a system that allows an equal benefit from having any stat, no matter the class. I like seeing variety, but not at the expense of their effectiveness. I mean, a wizard who is strong, but stupid not being able to cast spells is a broken character, but a fighter who has charisma, or is wise, or is smart is not broken. Neither is a wizard who is strong, or swift, or hardy. But classes such as the monk and paladin requiring so many stats for effectiveness is cheese. So is a wizard only needing high intelligence to be powerful, but a fighter needing several stats to be effective. Also, the argument you give for the charisma doesn't hold. A character with low charisma loses no conflict resolution power. A person focusing on charisma as his conflict resolution/prevention power loses a great deal of effectiveness. And your argument for the class/ability score assignment is more like a chicken and egg comparison. It doesn't matter which comes first, it's just that some classes require several stats to be effective, some require only one or two, and some stats actually affect the world and the character's effectiveness in and out of combat far more than others.

CobaltTheBlueKnight, I am glad you agree. I also like the idea of not decreasing a stat for a bonus in another. That would go a long way to helping balance out the system. Instead of not being able to make a viable spell caster of a certain race, the race just doesn't favor them. There are better ways to restrict the class in the society, such as a certain stigma being applied to anyone who chooses that class in their society, which falls to being campaign specific, not core rules. As for classes giving bonuses to stats, I wouldn't agree there, but only insofar as the idea of making the character stronger in that area at the start. I prefer the option of having the +1 to whatever stat you want to roleplay your character improving. As I recall, stats are more representative of your natural abilities and potential than training. Training is represented by feats, BAB, skills, etc.

Gx5ilver, I disagree with the idea of barbarians altogether. I think druids seem to be clerics of nature, barbarians are fighters in a tribal society, and rangers are rogues who live in harmony with nature, not the city(barring the idea of variants). I mean, I get what you are saying, but I think some of the classes can be done away with to make things more simple and more modular. More options at the cost of flavor. The worst thing is that you have to create your character in a more personal fashion, instead of core flavor dictating where you should begin.

Thorguy, I concede the point that constitution is highly useful. I think I was just typing out of my, you get the picture. Con is important, but only to a few things, whereas str, dex, and int are important for a LOT of things. Not that con isn't important, it's just strange that con is so important, but does so little and all classes benefit nearly equal from it(only casters benefit from high concentration).

GnomeNinja5, right on the money. Your list isn't exhaustive of how each stat affects everything, but it makes a good point. Con is so important to anyone that not taking it is almost not a possibility. Cha is so often useless that it is rarely needed. At the same time, the usefulness of a stat is not equal to the cost of increasing its score.

DreadGazebo, you're also right on the money. I agree completely.

Son of a Commoner, the problem is that those are sort of the exceptions to the rule. And not for much reason, either, it seems just like a way of making them different from other classes for the sake of keeping them in the game. I'd prefer the idea of there being no paladin or cleric, allow the fighter class to multi with a priest class for that and take certain feats, such as changing turn undead into a feat a fighter could take that allows one to impose their will on others(depending highly on CHA or WIS), especially if it worked like favored enemy does for a ranger. For that matter, a ranger is half fighter, half rogue, and could be built using a rogue/fighter template with the feats that allow for tracking, etc. A druid is a nature cleric with certain restrictions. A barbarian is a tribal fighter with little equipment but the ability to rage. I mean, there are a lot of things that don't need to be the way they are to stay in the game. Ability scores are one of those things. (Just as a disclaimer: I tend to prefer the concept of modularity so, while you may not agree, I am not saying this for the sake of change, but change that I see for the better, because it would allow homebrew to be more easily made and it would also allow a more unified/makes sense to me system.)

Tevin Illithane, while you may prefer higher charisma for all of your characters, it really doesn't change the fact that outside of a few skill checks, it doesn't affect much in the game and putting points into it is a huge opportunity cost to your character's combat resolution ability. And as this game is often seen as a primarily combat(with roleplay reasons to be fighting) game, it is hard to justify the reason charisma can cost the same number of points for decreased effectiveness. Also, 4E should be pulling us away from item-dependency, so that last part might become a moot point.

Valdrax, you make many good points, also emphasizing another problem with the way ability scores currently work.



Anyway, enough rant/response/rant/response. I'm tired and I need to post this before I accidentally delete it. Thanks for all your input, everyone.
Sphyre, I say you were a jerk because you act as if I had some sort of agenda in not mentioning that zero con means death and sarcasm does not make you any more in the right for doing so. Neglecting to mention something does not mean I have an agenda in doing so, neither does it mean I don't know what I neglected to mention.

You completely misread my post. Perhaps you should read what someone says before calling them a jerk. Yeah, I used sarcasm at the beginning, because the original statement was preposterous, but I didn't attack you in any way.

Go ahead, reread my reply to you. I even responded to someone who was talking about damaging stats and said that because all stats are equally drainable, and all lead to either death or a CDG situation hen drained to 0, it's not valid for this discussion, 'the imbalance' of stats, not balance of stats.

My post said Con (and dex) helps everyone the most, regardless of who has them. More HP? You don't die as easily. More fort save? Don't die to save or dies as easily. Etc.

Meh, I don't care that you called me a jerk. Sticks and stones, I just think you should watch out before you start calling people names, especially when they aren't deserving of them, or you misinterpret their posts. (And, well, if I were really offended, I could simply report the post to the mods, because name calling is against the CoC, but I don't, go ahead, call me all the names you want.)

Being critical of your point isn't being a jerk, calling you an idiot and telling you to get out because your IQ is lower than a rock's (something I did not do, for the record) is being a jerk. I can't believe I'm using this, but are you familiar with PEACH? Please Examine and Critique Honestly. I do that to every post. I don't give praise from the high heavens to anyone who posts a thread, nor do I refrain from doing so, when such a post deserves to be recognized.
Giving every class MAD is just a bad idea.

I'm not convinced. It'd encourage more balanced characters, rather than guys who pump everything into one stat.
Ancalimohtar, you were doing the same thing in trying to say that the thread fails and that I have no idea what I'm talking about. I understand you only know what I type, but give me the benefit of the doubt, when you're reading what I say, that I'm not a complete idiot. If you weren't so quick to judge, you wouldn't come off as being such a jerk.

I didn't know the name of a feat that I never have used, but you knew what I meant, and therefore you pointed out that you know the name and I didn't and that somehow means that I am wrong and don't have a right to my opinion. Sphyre and ancalimohtar, you two have no reason to be so blatently disrespectful. I don't recall that I have ever done so to either of you.

Nobody's attacking your character or being disrespectful. If anything, YOU are being disrespectful by ignoring the points I made in my previous post, and instead whining and appealing to sentiment.

Your OP was complete garbage. You claimed CON was a mostly roleplaying stat. You said Wisdom was good for "cleric(and I think some other divine) spells." I mean, you don't know the game. You don't know how the rules work. Your complaints have no credibility because you don't know what you're talking about. It's like if a guy who never watched football complains to me that NFL rules are silly. Would you take that person seriously? Again, this thread fails.
I'm not convinced. It'd encourage more balanced characters, rather than guys who pump everything into one stat.

MAD is more boring not more balanced. When you are forced to take basic amounts in every stat you are left with nothing or next to nothing in fleshing out your character.

You want a basic degree of competence in every stat so lets say 12, that is 4 points 4 x6 =24. In a 25 point buy you have 1 point to spend to add flavor to your character. Heck even if you are talking just get your self to the no penalty stage that is still 12 of your 25 points gone. With MAD you really don't have a choice because every stat is important to your class.
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