Max Dex should be Completely Removed

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Let's all think for a moment about the mechanic of Max Dex with armors.

It exists so that Fighters with 18 Dex won't grab full plate's +8 AC and a shield's +2 AC for a total of 24 AC and be hard to hit early on. This idea attempts to draw further relevance for itself with another idea, touch AC. So now, you still benefit from having that 18 Dex because you keep your Dex mod vs. that.

I submit to you all that the Max Dex mechanic is completely unnecessary for a few reasons.

1. Max Dex adds Complication - Every armor every made from now on has to have this item listed in the table. This adds more book-keeping and a whole unnecessary slew of items and abilities that will now try to raise max dex. It would be much simpler and better if the armor only listed the defense bonus and type (light, medium, heavy).

2. Max Dex Punishes a Player - Let's take two hypothetical characters. Jim wears awesome plate which gives +8 AC and +0 Max Dex. Billy has 18 Dex and wears cool chain which gives +4 AC and +4 Max Dex. Billy has the same AC as Jim despite the fact that Jim has 10 Dex and Billy 18. Billy adventures a long time and is eventually able to raise his Dex, and manages to get it to 26 through leveling and items. However, Billy's Dex bonus is only +8 and the closest armor to that is meh leather which gives +1 AC and +7 Max Dex. Billy realizes that he spent all his efforts in trying to raise his AC, but instead only has the same AC as Jim. Meanwhile Jim has been putting his points into Strength and is actually able to do decent damage, and in addition he's upgraded it to +5 awesome plate :D .

Yes, it's true that Dex does stuff other than avoid hits. The point is though that Billy's 26 Dex is no better than Jim's awesome plate, that armor can be upgraded which moots the entire point to raise dex. No one has any incentive to raise their Dex to avoid hits which is exactly the picture one has in their mind of a high dex.

3. Rules can be modified to better accommodate - If having +8 Full Plate and +4 bonus from dex is a problem then simply lower the effect that full plate gives. One could have a system of 4 armors, leather gave +1, chainmail + 2, Half-plate +3, and Full Plate +4. Now, adding the dex on top of the armor isn't such a big deal. The big armors could slow you down and make too much noise, so the sneaky characters might still like to wear lesser armors and increase their dex and still benefit from it.

4. Armor Bonus or Class Bonus - One could look at the Star Wars Saga Edition where one can get their class bonus to Defense or their armor bonus to defense. Eventually, no character would use armors except soldiers who can get armor talents which allow them to add their level bonus and half armor to their Defense. In this case, max dex is still not necessary.


Anywho......in my opinion this mechanic does not add to the game. What are you all's thought's?
Dex is already pretty nearly a god-stat. Removing Max Dex only gives Heavy Armor wearers one more stat they have to mind.
Please read some of my reasons. and think of the system as a designer. Dex doesn't have to be a God Stat if you don't make it one. (it wasn't a God stat in 3rd).
I did read your reasons. All that solution does is reduce the overall AC of an item/Dex combo to their original levels while simultaneously making a Fighter more Dex dependent than they should have to be. Nothing wrong with Dex-Fighters, but Strength and Con are going to be necessary for a Fighter in any edition of the game, and a decent amount of Fighter players like having higher mental stats so they're not limited in RP, not to mention the Fighter feats which require higher off-stats (Combat Expertise is sure to be returning).

If a Fighter wants to have a high Dex, he can take advantage of it with a Mithral Full Plate to have faster movement and another 4 points of his Dex (+2 Modifier) matter; if he doesn't, he goes Adamantine Full Plate. Or he could get Adamantine Chain if he's high Dex.

The solution I personally used to prevent having to look up the amount of Dex bonus is simple. (9 = x+y), where X is Armor Bonus and Y is Dex Bonus. Full Plate and Padded Armor apply to this formula, and the other good armors add up to a +8 - a +1 bump to their Max Dex Bonus isn't a big deal.
Your reasons are not necessarily without merit, but they don't quite seem compelling enough to warrant removing max dex cap.

1) Perhaps, but the degree of complexity it may add appears to be very minimal. I didn't the max dex cap rules hindering my mastery of the rules one bit, nor do I believe that its removal will make my life any easier.

2) Chain shirt has other advantages compared to fullplate, such as improved speed (unless you are a dwarf) and lower armour check penalties. Likewise, I fail to see how a fighter in bulky full-body armour is possibly any more dexterous than a fighter clad in lightweight leather armour.

3) Seems to take away more than it adds, if the game was just limited to 4 types of armour.

4) Not sure about this defense class system, or how 4e may implement it, so I am not really in a position to comment.

All in all, I feel that removing max dex may bring in more problems than it resolves. This is similar to my sentiments regarding "sacred cows" such as vancian spellcasting. I feel that they should be retained not because they are so perfect, but rather, because the alternative appears to be much worse.:P
I like the Max Dex, but I wish it were more widely applied. I wish it affected Dex-based skill checks and ranged attack rolls.
At least I have my proper avatar now, I guess. But man is this cloud dark.
check the SAGA rules on armour

Coz its already very balanced in SAGA and yes there's still a max dex :D
I like the Max Dex, but I wish it were more widely applied. I wish it affected Dex-based skill checks and ranged attack rolls.

I like it too and also think this, I just think the penalties are too extreme, even if done for balance's sake.
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Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

I agree with the OP, max dex should be removed. If you don't want a fighter to grab plate mail and a tower shield at level 1, don't give them to him. A player without any dex bonus would have 20 AC with full plate and a tower sheild. A fighter with 18 dex would have 24. But the first fighter would have 18 strength instead of dex, which would give him +4 AR and damage. What is wrong with this? Dexterity shouldn't be necessary for a fighter, but if they want to invest in it, it should give them benefits. The pcs like the rogue and monk that benefit ac wise from dex because they dont wear heavy armour, wont be overpowered by removing the dex cap on heavy armour or medium armour, as there is a penalty to dex skills as a result of this. It's unfair for dex fighters to be left out in the cold unless they find the right PrC.
Well I'm hoping that 4E uses a class defense bonus system. In that case armor would probably provide more damage reduction and less bonus to ac. But I've yet to hear anything official in that regards, so it doesn't seem very likely.
If you don't want a fighter to grab plate mail and a tower shield at level 1, don't give them to him.

And what happens at 2nd or 3rd lv? You can't deny him fullplate and a shield forever, or for long at any rate.

But the first fighter would have 18 strength instead of dex, which would give him +4 AR and damage.

And the fighter with just 13 dex won't necessarily just keep it at 13. He can later boost it via misc means. Restricting your argument to just 1st lv is very short-sighted, IMO, considering how the game will extend to lv30, and any decision will need to be made in the general context, rather than zooming in at just one specific point in your adventuring career.

Likewise, if fighter A had 18 str via say, point buy, he could have reduced it to 16 instead, freeing up 4-6 points, which could then be channeled into dex, raising it to 16 as well (assuming it was 13 to begin with).

Removing max dex on fullplate for a fighter with dex13 does not seem like a big deal, but when we change the scenario to a fighter with dex16 and gloves of dex+6 (for dex22), it is a whole different story now, isn't it?;)

Dexterity shouldn't be necessary for a fighter, but if they want to invest in it, it should give them benefits.

We never said that it should not benefit them (it already does in the form of better initiative, better reflex saves and a few other misc benefits). The key point is that it should not grant too many benefits, or at least, not without cost.

The pcs like the rogue and monk that benefit ac wise from dex because they dont wear heavy armour, wont be overpowered by removing the dex cap on heavy armour or medium armour, as there is a penalty to dex skills as a result of this.

The problem is not that rogues will be broken because of this. The crux is that classes wearing heavy armour will get an additional benefit because they can afford to slap on heavy armour and benefit from this added AC in addition to their high dex, but with none of the drawbacks, unlike rogues or monks (where the efficacy of their class features are specifically contingent on the type of armour they wear).

It's unfair for dex fighters to be left out in the cold unless they find the right PrC.

I don't see how they are left out.
I guess the issue I see is that having everyone in full plate just isn't much fun. And if you took away max dex (and didn't replace it with some other limitation), then why wouldn't you want full plate? That's how it was in 1e... if you were a warrior you always wanted the best armor you could get, and that was it. I like the 3e system better.

You could replace the max dex system with some other limiting factor, but you'd have to decide whether that new system was better and/or less complicated than the current one.

And for your point #2, that the current system makes a high-dex fighter uncompetitive, you do miss a couple points: a) Dex does a lot more than just help your AC, b) lighter armor lets you move faster, c) a number of PrC/multiclass options require light armor only and d) it remains a pretty popular build. So while I see what your saying, I'm not sure it's really a problem in the bigger picture.
No one has any incentive to raise their Dex to avoid hits which is exactly the picture one has in their mind of a high dex.

Actually no, it's only one of many, many uses of a raised Dex.
Dex is already pretty nearly a god-stat. Removing Max Dex only gives Heavy Armor wearers one more stat they have to mind.

He is right.
Please read some of my reasons. and think of the system as a designer. Dex doesn't have to be a God Stat if you don't make it one. (it wasn't a God stat in 3rd).

Actually if there is a god-stat in 3.xe, then it's Dex!

Dex adds to AC, a save, initiative, touch AC, a LOT of skills. It also can be used for hit with only a feat.

Compare that to Jim's Str, it merely adds to hit, damage, max load and very few skills.

No other stat in 3.0e is as powerfull as dex.
I couldn't agree more with the OP. As a matter of fact, I've already removed max dex from my game and everything has worked just fine. Armors already have check penalties and the max dex just penalizes armor wearers more. The fact is, it's a rule that's there just for some conceived rules balance that just isn't necessary. IMO, all the max dex, and sometimes even the check penalty, does is punish "defenders" for doing their jobs. Armor Proficiency should include training in the armor while doing class skills so that no, or only minor, penalties are used while doing those skills.

Fighter only gets 2 skill points per level and 7 class skills while 3 of those class skills are subject to armor check penalties. That really isn't fair. Attempting skills that are not in the class skill list (like Hide, Move Silently, Tumble, etc) should incur penalties. Heck, I don't even think armor, by itself, should reduce a character's speed. That should be based on total encumbrance.
And the fighter with just 13 dex won't necessarily just keep it at 13. He can later boost it via misc means. Restricting your argument to just 1st lv is very short-sighted, IMO, considering how the game will extend to lv30, and any decision will need to be made in the general context, rather than zooming in at just one specific point in your adventuring career.

Likewise, if fighter A had 18 str via say, point buy, he could have reduced it to 16 instead, freeing up 4-6 points, which could then be channeled into dex, raising it to 16 as well (assuming it was 13 to begin with).

Removing max dex on fullplate for a fighter with dex13 does not seem like a big deal, but when we change the scenario to a fighter with dex16 and gloves of dex+6 (for dex22), it is a whole different story now, isn't it?;)

The thing is that there is no incentive to raise your Dex for a better AC. Secondly, I hope items such as gloves of Dexterity are removed from 4th, but we'll see.

We never said that it should not benefit them (it already does in the form of better initiative, better reflex saves and a few other misc benefits). The key point is that it should not grant too many benefits, or at least, not without cost.

The problem is not that rogues will be broken because of this. The crux is that classes wearing heavy armour will get an additional benefit because they can afford to slap on heavy armour and benefit from this added AC in addition to their high dex, but with none of the drawbacks, unlike rogues or monks (where the efficacy of their class features are specifically contingent on the type of armour they wear).

I don't see how [high dex fighters] are left out.

Maybe I can clarify a few points of my argument. Yes, a higher dex gives you better initiative (reflex is being combined into AC for the next game). There's a certain point where it doesn't terribly matter what your initiative is, because you almost always or always go first.

In 2nd edition this wasn't even an issue, Dex stacked with armor, and it wasn't a deal at all. This is why I had suggestion #3 of reducing the bonuses from armor. Having a +4 armor stack with a +4 Dex is not a big deal compared to another person who has a +1 armor stack with a +4 Dex. This is also why I mentioned #4. It is highly likely that all classes will get a level bonus to their AC, making a player choose either their armor bonus or their level bonus works great since that 18 Dex you put on your character will still fully benefit you during your career.

And, allowing Fighters to grab a talent which allows them to keep half their armor bonus in addition works great. If full plate gave +8 AC normally, it would only give +4 AC with this talent. Consider Combine #3 and #4 and full plate would give +4 AC normally, and now +2 AC with this talent. Perhaps there would be no need to give half an armor bonus, and just leave it at +4. In either of these cases, there is still no need for a Max Dex.

Indeed High Dex fighters are very left out. The entire reason that you're a high dex fighter is so that you can hit and avoid being hit. Dex as it currently is does not help you dodge hits any better than a guy in armor. Initiative is nice, but doesn't save you from being slammed after you finish your turn.

This is acutely true of rogues and monks, they're far less defensible than fighters (who aren't that good at avoiding hits themselves). Their flavor is all about being dodgey and evasivey, but instead their AC sucks and they get hit every time. #4, class based defense bonuses solves all these problems.

On another note, #3 solves the fact that there are a plethora of useless armors. Having only 4 armors simplifies things and reduces uselessness.
(reflex is being combined into touch AC for the next game).

Fixed that for ya. ;)

There's a certain point where it doesn't terribly matter what your initiative is, because you almost always or always go first.

Really? When is that? Unless you're always fighting golems and other Dex<10 creatures, Initiative depends heavily on the d20 (Improved Initiative notwithstanding).

Indeed High Dex fighters are very left out. The entire reason that you're a high dex fighter is so that you can hit and avoid being hit. Dex as it currently is does not help you dodge hits any better than a guy in armor. Initiative is nice, but doesn't save you from being slammed after you finish your turn.

And THAT is one of the reasons why Bracers of Armor are so very much popular. :D

Actually, I don't think that giving Dex fighters another use for Dex is really that necessary, or we'd start seeing Dex fighters as the rule rather than an option. As you said, Dex fighters have the same AC, and same Attack as a Str fighter, but deal less damage. BUT, they're also more difficult to touch, have higher Reflex, move faster and can swap their weapon for a longbow if need be and still be effective. Just try and hit that flying dragon with your Str-based character and see the difference. ;)

This is acutely true of rogues and monks, they're far less defensible than fighters (who aren't that good at avoiding hits themselves). Their flavor is all about being dodgey and evasivey, but instead their AC sucks and they get hit every time. #4, class based defense bonuses solves all these problems.

Now, with class bonus to AC I wholeheartedly agree. But I don't think that one automatically makes the other unnecessary. You can give fighters (and rogues and monks etc.) some extra AC based on level, but you don't need to ditch Max Dex just because. Heck, we don't even know what is the mechanic they're using, the only thing I read about was that a playtest wererat or something "was able to hit the Fighters (very high) AC". So we can imply that Fighters (and Defenders, I guess) are able to get their defenses very high, but that doesn't make them immune to monsters.

On another note, #3 solves the fact that there are a plethora of useless armors. Having only 4 armors simplifies things and reduces uselessness.

Well, that would work better if the designers of 3rd edition didn't think it was a good idea to make only two armors have a total of +9 AC, three others +8, and the rest +7. And then they overpriced the good armors (except padded armor, the IMHO best armor you can have), so that you eventually buy a Chainmail for your 1st level fighter, and switch to full plate when you got the cash.
I actually like dexterity maximum inclusions and feel that armour protection as a damage reduction should be a part of the game. Armor protection as damage reduction has been shown to work in several games so far.

In most reasonable interpetation of existing campaign worlds, it takes a long time for dexterity to improve past normal bounds of armour, so much so that studded leather armour is the armour of choice for those focusing on high armour class in mid-power games. In games that throw sensibility to the winds, no armour whatsoever is optive, is best as long as the monk class and enchanted trousers +5 are available.

Personally, I adore low magic campaigns but am not adverse to mid-range magic campaigns.
Really? When is that? Unless you're always fighting golems and other Dex<10 creatures, Initiative depends heavily on the d20 (Improved Initiative notwithstanding).

Yes, initiative is nice, I'm not denying that. I'm saying that it is not the most important aspect of Dexterity, AC is. Once initiative is rolled and you're done going first, the benefit of that number is lost (yes I realize that you'd go first again and get 2 hits to your opponents 1).

And THAT is one of the reasons why Bracers of Armor are so very much popular. :D

Actually, I don't think that giving Dex fighters another use for Dex is really that necessary, or we'd start seeing Dex fighters as the rule rather than an option. As you said, Dex fighters have the same AC, and same Attack as a Str fighter, but deal less damage. BUT, they're also more difficult to touch, have higher Reflex, move faster and can swap their weapon for a longbow if need be and still be effective. Just try and hit that flying dragon with your Str-based character and see the difference. ;)

Bracers of Armor are a silly item, cost too much, and every wizard, monk, rogue ends up with one as a no-brainer. No-brainer items are bad. It's also item dependency which is bad.

We'll see about Dex fighters being the rule, if dex ends up more optimal then it ends up more optimal. Touch means next to nothing. It is not hard at all to increase a Wizard's attack bonus and touch.

I would not say that you move faster. I would say that you move normally and the heavy armor slows you down. Of course the fact that heavy armor slows you down only encourages new special items and feasts which mitigate this and in fact the designers have tried to take away that aspect through special materials, etc.

Yes, they can hit a creature with a longbow easier. Of course, the other fighter put his stat into strength and does more damage :D

I can see that there are some reasons for Max Dex. But, I don't see how they *improve* the game. Much like favored classes, I don't see it adding to the game. Perhaps to some people it doesn't take away.
Bracers of Armor are a silly item, agreed, and I see them going away or being highly limited in 4E. Their existence doesn't make Max Dex removal good.

Dex Fighters work moderately well. The reason they're not the best thing ever right now is because the core Fighter does it poorly (use the Swashbuckler or a third party class as the basis) and because 3.5 made Power Attack overpowered. (You don't fix Fighters being boring by giving them near certain death if they can pull off a full attack...)

Dex is the most important single attribute:
1) Every class wants a Dex of at least 10. Many classes can ignore Str, Int, Wis, and Cha, and there are a few where Con doesn't hurt too bad to not bother with.
2) Dex improves your Armor Class (and touch), Reflex Saves, initiative rolls, and about half of the most important skills in the game.

Compare to Int:
- My class skills suck. Why bother.
- I don't cast with this stat.

Strength:
- I don't hit things.
- Burden is seriously too much paperwork and a lot of people don't bother.
- With a feat I can use Dex instead.

Constitution:
- HP and Fort Saves. The only thing that can compete with Dex.

Charisma:
- I don't have any Cha-based skills or I dump so many points into them it doesn't matter.
- I don't cast with Charisma.

Wisdom:
- Will Saves
- Otherwise, see Charisma.
As of right now, the max dex resticts your mundane AC to somewhere from 7-9. It's a simple system. If you rely primarily on armor or dex, you get full plate or padded armor and you are at a fairly safe +9 AC. If you like a mix of the two, most armors will get you to about +8 AC. All the other armors are for people who care more about cost than safety, and get you to about +7 with the inclusion of a good Dex. That means if you're cheap, you can get an AC of 17; wanna mix a bit of both, you can get an AC of 18; want to completely rely on one or the other, get an AC of 19. Your mundane AC is capped at an average of 18. Unless they use magical means, 19 is the absolute cap to their Armor Bonus.

First off, this means that your targets can be hit in the first place. Everyone gets tired of the game when the only way to tag the thief is with a natural 20, because he's wearing full plate. The thief already has plenty of options for avoiding danger, so why punish the fighter by telling him "Sorry, we've decided he should be harder to hit than you are." Fighters don't have an option for stealth, don't have the option for tumble moving around the battlefield. They have to rely on their full plate, which if everyone wore (because there are no Dex limitations) means the fighter is dead last for purposes of being hit (short of the wizard, perhaps). He has a load of hit points, but that doesn't mean much when you have to stand on the front lines defending the rest of the group, and you're probably getting the full brunt of the beating.

The current system is self-balancing, and prevents the comical illusion of full-plate fencers and thieves running around. It makes Dex's purposes slightly reduced, as they are already worth so much to the game. Besides, as stated before, thieves have other options for avoiding damage (stealth) that fighters don't, so why worry about their AC this much in a self-balancing system? They aren't punishing dex fighters, but rewarding str fighters, whose primary stat is only good for hitting stuff, moving stuff, and climbing stuff.

Ironically, this reminds me of another message board conversation about adding a feat which allows Dex to decide bonus damage for finesse weapons. Made me laugh, because all they needed was to talk about a feat that made Dex decide bonus hit points, and they officially admitted they just want to make one-stat characters.
Thank you AstralFireIX and Decivre for your input. You both make some good points.

Thanks for the list AstralFireIX. I was thinking, is the weapon finesse feat really a good thing? Does that add to the game or just make Dex more powerful than it already is.

I don't think rogues are in any danger of being hit only with a 20. I don't see there being full plate fencers unless rapiers or whatever are really really great weapons in 4th edition. I don't see rogues wearing full plate unless they don't value hide and move silently and moving at a normal speed that much.

I don't think it punishes a rogue at all by letting fighters have a decent AC. Fighters as you said earlier are out in the open with their armor and as such need as high of an AC as possible. That's what a fighter needs and that's also why they have more hit points.

There are actually a couple of ways from Wizards of the Coast 3rd ed. to get Dex to damage. There's an Elven class from Races of the Wild I believe, and there's a feat from Tome of Battle that applies to Shadow Hand maneuvers I believe.
Well, if you were to min/max for AC, you can easily take a halfling with full Dex (20) and throw it in full plate. Without the max dex limitation he's already got an AC of 24. That's a whopping 5 more than a fighter in full plate now, which accounts to about a 25% curve increase in hits (someone who hits 50% of the time now hits only 25% of the time, etc.). That doesn't even take into effect any magical enhancements and such he can get overtime. The fighter could keep up, but would always have to spend more money.

Plus while it's true that they'll be sacrificing the ability to hide as easily, don't forget that Thieves have decent access to magical items (with Use Magic Device), so a well placed invisibility or silence spell can go a long way. Even if you don't want to go there, I have three words that make you all too dangerous still... RING OF BLINKING. You have plenty to save for that, since you don't have to pay for enchantments to raise your AC for a while. At 5 higher than a full plate fighter, you effectively start at a +5 Enhancement Bonus.

Now I agree that there are prestige classes that can make damage based on dex, but I think we can all agree that we'll find all sorts of holes and flaws in D&D if we started talking prestige classes.
The thing is that there is no incentive to raise your Dex for a better AC. Secondly, I hope items such as gloves of Dexterity are removed from 4th, but we'll see.

Conversely, without a max dex on armour, there will be every reason to pump your dex, regardless of what build you are using, simply because it stacks with whatever armour you are wearing. That seems just as bad IMO, in that there is absolutely no reason why a player would want to act any other way.

Yes, a higher dex gives you better initiative (reflex is being combined into AC for the next game). There's a certain point where it doesn't terribly matter what your initiative is, because you almost always or always go first.

Really? A pit fiend has an initiative of +12. Can you shed some light on how a fighter who dumps dex can possibly expect to go first on a consistent basis?

Having a +4 armor stack with a +4 Dex is not a big deal compared to another person who has a +1 armor stack with a +4 Dex.

There is then the question of why fullplate grants so little protection compared to leather armour. Does it solve the problem? Perhaps. Is it very illogical and inelegant? Very, to me at least.

It is highly likely that all classes will get a level bonus to their AC, making a player choose either their armor bonus or their level bonus works great since that 18 Dex you put on your character will still fully benefit you during your career.

I don't understand. Why wouldn't this level bonus stack with armour? Or in said scenario, then don't wear armour, and rely solely on your class defense bonus if you want to benefit fully from dex.

And, allowing Fighters to grab a talent which allows them to keep half their armor bonus in addition works great. If full plate gave +8 AC normally, it would only give +4 AC with this talent. Consider Combine #3 and #4 and full plate would give +4 AC normally, and now +2 AC with this talent. Perhaps there would be no need to give half an armor bonus, and just leave it at +4. In either of these cases, there is still no need for a Max Dex.

From what I can see, you are not proposing that max dex be done away with because it is irrelevant in the current context, but rather, it may be less useful because of a certain set of rules which you believe should/would be implemented. There is a very big difference, IMO, because 4e is far from being finalized, and we simply have no idea what will be included or not. Star wars is a fair yardstick, but it would think it a great folly to expect that it mirror star wars perfectly.

If you require that all the aforementioned new rules be implemented just to negate the role max dex plays in dnd, then you will have all but flat-out admitted that in the absence of such rules, max dex does indeed play a very crucial role in maintaining game balance (why else would you require such rules to plug said gap in the first place?!?).

In the same vein, I can argue that unless you are 100% sure that 4e will be designed in the exact same way you are claiming, that it is way to early to decide if max dex should be abolished or not (because apparently, removing max dex without implementing any of your suggestions is a recipe for disaster).

Likewise, according to you, removing 1 rule (max dex) requires the introduction of 3-4 new rules (smaller armour bonuses, a new custom feat, new class features among other implicit assumptions) to fill in the blanks. That seems counterintuitive in my book, in that you are expending even more effort just to maintain the status quo, when no effort would even have been required in the first place.

Indeed High Dex fighters are very left out. The entire reason that you're a high dex fighter is so that you can hit and avoid being hit. Dex as it currently is does not help you dodge hits any better than a guy in armor. Initiative is nice, but doesn't save you from being slammed after you finish your turn.

Yes, but I fail to see how being agile necessarily affords any more protection than being clad from head to toe in impenetrable armour and just having the blows bounce right off you. At the end of the day, both would be just as adept at avoiding blows, just that they go about it in different ways.

Initiative is also fairly important, because the faster you take down your foe, the less chance he has of attacking you, which translates to less damage taken at the end of the day. So at the end of the day, its role is little different from AC in that they all help to prevent damage one way or another.

Their flavor is all about being dodgey and evasivey, but instead their AC sucks and they get hit every time.

No, it simply means that they are more dodgy and evasive than other classes (which manifests in the form of higher touch ACs and better speed due to lighter armour). It does not imply that they should be able to escape being hit a greater majority of the time compared to a fighter with the same AC but lower overall dex.

That is the whole point of AC - it determines how readily attacks fail to strike you in one way or another. There is no reason why a rogue with dex22 and leather armour (AC18) should be able to escape hits any better than a fighter with dex16 and a breastplate (also AC18) because at the end of the day, they both have the same AC and by definition, have the same chance of being hit in combat.

Also, it seems very weird for say, a fighter with 30dex to still be able to maintain his degree of mobility and reflexes while wearing say, mountain plate. I don't see how he will still be as adept in dodging blows and somersaulting around the battlefield while being encumbered to such an extent. In the very least, I can see an argument for limited removal of max dex cap (perhaps having 1/2 your remaining dex mod apply over and above what said armour normally allows), but definitely not 100% of your dex mod.

On another note, #3 solves the fact that there are a plethora of useless armors. Having only 4 armors simplifies things and reduces uselessness.

I could argue a similar case in 3.5, where we really only need fullplate, breastplate and the assorted light armours. However, I am not sure if an oversimplification is all that desirable here.
I didn't read through most of the replies, but here's my take on it:

1. Before 3E, everybody who could, wore the heaviest armor. This was retarded. Point: Max Dex
2. Dex is NOT a god-stat. Whoever says so has never been to the CO boards. Point: No max Dex.
3. However, in 3.5E, as characters level up, they either acquire items that give Armor bonus or +DEX items. The result is that NOBODY wears heavy armor, because nobody wants to be limited to 20ft. This is retarded. Point: No max Dex.

I think the best solution is to give Heavy Armor benefits and drawbacks that cannot be duplicated. The only specialities, currently, are movement speed reduction and armor check penalties. But they're both drawbacks! No fighter-type wears heavy armor now, ever, because they can get the Armor other ways. Maybe some Dwarven Defender archetype, but that's it.

I don't think keeping or getting rid of Max Dex is that important of a topic. The fix is in giving Heavy Armor some kind of unique, desirable benefit for certain playstyles. It's pretty stupid that D&D's fighters categorically leave the heaviest armor to healers.
3. However, in 3.5E, as characters level up, they either acquire items that give Armor bonus or +DEX items. The result is that NOBODY wears heavy armor, because nobody wants to be limited to 20ft. This is retarded. Point: No max Dex.

At best, this would be indifferent. How does it argue in favour of removing max dex?
At best, this would be indifferent. How does it argue in favour of removing max dex?

Because you can easily duplicate the benefits of Heavy Armor, nobody wears it right now. So if you removed the max dex limitations, more people would wear it.

The goal of D&D's rules system, as I see it, is to provide a lot of options, while making sure as many as possible are viable for some playstyle, without gimping other styles, without being annoying or tedious to play, without being too unrealistic--basically without being stupid in some way.

  • Pre-3E, Light armor was not viable for warrior types, and Heavy Armor was not an option for the rest. Essentially, the class you played dictated your armor.

  • In 3E/3.5E, Heavy Armor is not viable for almost any character.

  • In 4E, I'm hoping that, at least for warrior-types, Heavy Armor and Light Armor are both options that give their own benefits, that fit into different playstyles. This requires, as I see it, Heavy Armor to provide some kind of benefit that cannot be easily duplicated by bracers or whatever.
The big question I have is why not have max dex?

Do we really want Zorro wearing full plate? It makes little sense for finesse fighters to be decked out in heavy armor.

If you get your full dex regardless of what armor you wear, then you're going to have everyone, regardless of character archetype, wearing full plate. Do we want full plate archers? Honestly sounds just like more of a kick in the pants to the swashbuckler, since there's no reason not to wear armor under your changes except for flavor reasons.

While I tend to dislike max dex to some degree simply because it involves bonus deconstruction, something that I generally hate, I think it may be a necessary evil, because I really don't want Zorro running around in spiked full plate +3.
The big question I have is why not have max dex?

Do we really want Zorro wearing full plate? It makes little sense for finesse fighters to be decked out in heavy armor.

If you get your full dex regardless of what armor you wear, then you're going to have everyone, regardless of character archetype, wearing full plate. Do we want full plate archers? Honestly sounds just like more of a kick in the pants to the swashbuckler, since there's no reason not to wear armor under your changes except for flavor reasons.

While I tend to dislike max dex to some degree simply because it involves bonus deconstruction, something that I generally hate, I think it may be a necessary evil, because I really don't want Zorro running around in spiked full plate +3.

Zorro lived in the 1800s. The only weapons he went up against were guns and military swords. Archers aren't supposed to be in melee, that's why they don't wear full-plate. For both, the tradeoff would not be worth it.

Anyone appealing to realism ("full plate is very cumbersome and restricting!") ought to read some actual material on medieval armor. Experts on www.theARMA.org don't think it's quite that bad.
Yes but is Zorro being punished for wanting to roleplay Zorro? Is the bonus to intiative and reflex saves equal in power compared to Grog the Smasher's +4 to attack and damage to each attack? For a fighter to have +4 to attack and damage is powerful. What does 18 dex Zorro get to equal that. How bout if Zorro doesn't want to use a finessable weapon? Maybe he wants to use a longsword. Even if he want's to use a finessable weapon, he has to give up a feat and he loses the damage bonus. If you don't like removing the max dex, then atleast suggest a way to make dexterity matter more to Zorro , since he's chosen to make a high dex pc.
Anyone appealing to realism ("full plate is very cumbersome and restricting!") ought to read some actual material on medieval armor. Experts on www.theARMA.org don't think it's quite that bad.

While it may not be "that bad", it makes perfect sense that it would inflict a max dex cap. While your movement isn't crippled, you just can't do Jackie Chan style dodges while wearing armor, which is what an 18 dex is.
While it may not be "that bad", it makes perfect sense that it would inflict a max dex cap. While your movement isn't crippled, you just can't do Jackie Chan style dodges while wearing armor, which is what an 18 dex is.

You're arguing a specious point. A Jackie Chan (18 DEX) in full gothic armor is still better than me (maybe 12 DEX?) in full gothic armor. This is not the case in 3.5E.

Read my first two posts above. I think that's the key.
Yes but is Zorro being punished for wanting to roleplay Zorro?

Roleplaying choices can be stupid. If you roleplay Robin Hood in a d20 game, where the enemies run around with AK-47s, I don't see why the game is at fault for punishing you. If you roleplay Zorro in a gritty medieval game, where the enemies are fully armored and carry huge ass swords, I don't see why the game is at fault for punishing you.
You're arguing a specious point. A Jackie Chan (18 DEX) in full gothic armor is still better than me (maybe 12 DEX?) in full gothic armor. This is not the case in 3.5E.

Well, remember that level now factors into AC too. So better warriors are going to have better AC simply because they're more skilled too. However, dex just isn't as much of a factor the more armor you put on. Jackie Chan may be slightly more dexterous than you are when you're both in full plate, but it's not going to be something that is very noticeable.

Roleplaying choices can be stupid. If you roleplay Robin Hood in a d20 game, where the enemies run around with AK-47s, I don't see why the game is at fault for punishing you. If you roleplay Zorro in a gritty medieval game, where the enemies are fully armored and carry huge ass swords, I don't see why the game is at fault for punishing you.

Lightly armored finesse fighters are a time honored element of a lot of fantasy. Whether you're talking about Conan, Zorro or Legolas, you've got to make lightly armored characters work well, since they're an iconic part of the game.

Stupidity and Heavy armor side rant

And talking about stupid, I've generally always felt that heavy armor tended to be dumber than going finesse. When you're fighting a hill giant or a dragon, that plate mail just isn't going to help that much. Your real only shot is to dive the hell out of the way, not sit there and take the blow full force from something three times your size.


But this is a game about having fun and both heavily armored and lightly armored archetypes have to work. Some people want to be the heavily armored knight and others want to be barechested Conan, and neither should get screwed for that mechanically. This isn't a game about logic, this is a game about cinematic coolness.
You're arguing a specious point. A Jackie Chan (18 DEX) in full gothic armor is still better than me (maybe 12 DEX?) in full gothic armor. This is not the case in 3.5E.

Fair enough, but what about Jackie Chan unarmoured vs Jackie Chan in fullplate? You cannot tell me that the latter is equally as dexterous in heavy armour as the former.

Perhaps he should be allowed some of his dex bonus (I did mention a similar point earlier on), but I can't see any reason to justify allowing him all of it...
Fair enough, but what about Jackie Chan unarmoured vs Jackie Chan in fullplate? You cannot tell me that the latter is equally as dexterous in heavy armour as the former.

Perhaps he should be allowed some of his dex bonus (I did mention a similar point earlier on), but I can't see any reason to justify allowing him all of it...

I don't think any of this is relevant. In the six posts since I made my original points, no discussion has taken them into account. I said one thing in response to a bad example someone made with Zorro, and this stupid discussion ensued. Why? Does nobody have anything valuable to add on the following?:

1. Before 3E, everybody who could, wore the heaviest armor. This was retarded. Point: Max Dex
2. Dex is NOT a god-stat. Whoever says so has never been to the CO boards. Point: No max Dex.
3. However, in 3.5E, as characters level up, they either acquire items that give Armor bonus or +DEX items. The result is that NOBODY wears heavy armor, because nobody wants to be limited to 20ft. This is retarded. Point: No max Dex.

I think the best solution is to give Heavy Armor benefits and drawbacks that cannot be duplicated. The only specialities, currently, are movement speed reduction and armor check penalties. But they're both drawbacks! No fighter-type wears heavy armor now, ever, because they can get the Armor other ways. Maybe some Dwarven Defender archetype, but that's it.

I don't think keeping or getting rid of Max Dex is that important of a topic. The fix is in giving Heavy Armor some kind of unique, desirable benefit for certain playstyles. It's pretty stupid that D&D's fighters categorically leave the heaviest armor to healers.



The goal of D&D's rules system, as I see it, is to provide a lot of options, while making sure as many as possible are viable for some playstyle, without gimping other styles, without being annoying or tedious to play, without being too unrealistic--basically without being stupid in some way.

  • Pre-3E, Light armor was not viable for warrior types, and Heavy Armor was not an option for the rest. Essentially, the class you played dictated your armor.

  • In 3E/3.5E, Heavy Armor is not viable for almost any character.

  • In 4E, I'm hoping that, at least for warrior-types, Heavy Armor and Light Armor are both options that give their own benefits, that fit into different playstyles. This requires, as I see it, Heavy Armor to provide some kind of benefit that cannot be easily duplicated by bracers or whatever.

I think the point is that your statement about heavy armour offering unique benefits is so vague that no one can comment properly. Sure, it sounds good, and could work if implemented properly, but that is the same with any rule (and I feel is equivalent to not having mentioned it at all). Do you have any suggestion as to what special ability might be apt for heavy armour, and cannot be replicated with light armour?

Important or no, the discussion is revolving around the importance (or lack thereof) of max dex, and I feel any points should revolve around it. Your stance seems to come across as "I could really care less". How do you want us to respond to that?
Here are some possibilities:

  • Heavier armor gives DR.

  • Certain types of armor are good against certain types of damage. Plate reduces slashing damage by 50%, or like 10 damage, or gives +4 AC against shasing. Chain good against piercing, etc.

  • Heavier armor actually takes equipment slots. Full plate includes a helm, which can no longer be used for magical helms! Imagine that.

  • Heavier armor reduces the number of attacks you can make per round.

  • Extend armor check penalties to other skills. Rejigger ACP and skills in general to make this a significant drawback.

  • Prevent you from making AoOs while wearing heavy armor.

  • Etc.


I mean, get innovative. That's what a discussion is about. You're basically saying, "Well, you told us the moon is NOT made out of cheese, but didn't tell us what it is actually made of! So we're still going to argue about which type of cheese it's made of."
2. Dex is NOT a god-stat. Whoever says so has never been to the CO boards. Point: No max Dex.

I don't believe I said it was - just that it was the closest thing to one.

3. However, in 3.5E, as characters level up, they either acquire items that give Armor bonus or +DEX items. The result is that NOBODY wears heavy armor, because nobody wants to be limited to 20ft. This is retarded. Point: No max Dex.

Funny, I see people go for heavy armor all the time. 15 ft. movement isn't bad at all if you have something to make up for it - like, say flight. Flight is equally restricted, but half of 60 ft is still 30 ft. In return, you get DR 3/-, which isn't the best, but is hardly bad either. Not to mention that in my experience, if you can't reach something with a charge at 20 ft, you're not likely to be able to reach it with a charge at 30 ft either. The rules do take into account Dwarves and the PHB smalls, which all have only 20 ft. movement instead of 30.
I see the removal of Max Dex on armor as a game breaker. I've seen too many people who, with out max dex in place would be running around in full plate armor and 20+ dex, confident in thier knowledge that the standard monsters in MM will not beable to hit them. The end result is more work for the DM and an ever increasing power scale that corrupts the game. With an exponentionally increasing AC, Monsters now need an exponentionally increasing attack score. This makes the game almost unplayable for those who want to play characters that are lightly armored.

Someone said that they "If you roleplay Zorro in a gritty medieval game, where the enemies are fully armored and carry huge ass swords, I don't see why the game is at fault for punishing you."

DnD is not gritty medieval game. Its a medieval fantasy game. Incorporating many aspects of pre firearms society, despite some of those aspects never being around at the same time. This is DnD, someone should not be punished for wanting to play a rogue wielding a whip and rapier, dancing on the roof tops, and in that same light, someone should not be punished for wanting to play a heavily armored paladin crusading for what he feels is right. Max Dex puts them on a level playing field. Thier methods avoiding hits is just different, thier ability to do so does not have to be.

two characters should be free to develope themselve differently. Someone focusing on dex will eventually learn to play distance games. Move in, strike, move back. Why? because even if they have to same ability to avoid attack as the heavily armored combatant, he still doesn't want to be hit with that redicolus strength. The heavily armored character, eventually learns to time his attacks. He may not beable to move around like a lightly armored combatant, but because of his great strength, he knows he is going to hit more often and harder. Suddenly these two character feel different to play, and lends to thier character development.

Str based characters wade in timing thier attacks and punish those who come close and lets him come close
Dex based characters dance around thier enemies picking them apart while trying to keep thier distance
Int and Cha based characters run around like wusses because they know that if they start getting hit, they are going to feel it worse than anyone else.

Zorro shouldn't be punished for being Zorro, but he should be punished for trying to Connan. I had a 17th level wizard try to take the frontlines. I did not feel sorry for him when he died.
I also find this important to note. (this is straight from SRD):

armor+bonus+max dex=full armor bonus
Padded+1+8=9
Leather+2+6=8
Studded leather+3+5=8
Chain shirt+4+4=8
Hide+3+4=7
Scale mail+4+3=7
Chainmail+5+2=7
Breastplate+5+3=8
Splint mail+6+0=6
Banded mail+6+1=7
Half-plate+7+0=7
Full plate+8+1=9

not all armors in this game are made equally.
the best armors interms of bonus are: Full Plate and Padded Armor at 9 bonus
each at the end of the spectrum. For those history geeks out there, yes, Full plate does allow for some use of dex. What I'm supprised about is the lack of a standard armor in the medium armor range that gives a +9 total bonus to armor between dex and armor.
Fair enough, but what about Jackie Chan unarmoured vs Jackie Chan in fullplate? You cannot tell me that the latter is equally as dexterous in heavy armour as the former.

Perhaps he should be allowed some of his dex bonus (I did mention a similar point earlier on), but I can't see any reason to justify allowing him all of it...

Here's the point I'm trying to say. It doesn't matter!!!

It doesn't matter if in real life an unarmored Jackie Chan would be more dexterous than an armored Jackie Chan. Just like in real life there are no hitpoints but it makes D&D easier and more fun!


Now, I believe that a level bonus to AC is good and the option to use only your armor or level bonus works fine. There are a couple of issues mentioned earlier that if you give a +8 bonus for full plate and full dex then you could have a really high AC in the beginning. Runestar, you didn't think that a +4 bonus for fullplate was enough. Well, if we make it +6 we could get that elf with 20 dex and full plate and a shield for an AC of 23 which would require a 20 to hit at low levels.

I think that a talent would work fine to allow fighters to wear armor and keep armor, but yes I can see how non-warriors or people without that talent for the most part would not wear armor past level 4. And, maybe the game wants people to wear armor most of their lives.

Alternatively, you could make an alternative talent which allowed warriors to ignore max dex on armors. But that's just another example of the game's inevitable finding ways to circumvent max dex anyway.

Removal of Max Dex from armors is not a game breaker. It also depends on the context you are speaking of. in 3.5 is it absolutely not a game breaker. There is no defense bonus from level, so basically all your AC comes from magical items.

Removal of Max Dex from armors is not a game breaker for a 4e that is similar to Saga Edition Star Wars. The bonuses from armor might need to be slightly tweaked.

I'm not entirely done with my thoughts, just thinking aloud a bit.
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