Monday, April 2, 2012

Ability Scores in D&D 3.x (and what we're going to do with them)

I'm going to talk/rant about ability scores for a bit here. Let's look at the example they give in the Player's Handbook first:

Monte (lol) rolls a 15, 14, 13, 12, 10 and 8. These numbers may seem decently spread out but let's look at them for what they really are. Their modifiers. 3.x uses the minus 10 divided by 2 rule for determining what the modifier is for a particular score. That is, a 10 (and 11) is 0 because (10-10)/2 =0. While 12-13 is +1, etc 18-19 is +4 and so on.

So really, 15, 14, 13, 12, 10 and 8 is really 2, 2, 1, 1, 0 and -1. Not so spread out anymore huh?
Back to the book, Monte decides to play a Dwarf and after the racial adjustments he ends up with, in modifiers, 3, 3, 1, 1, 0 and -2. It's a little more of a spread, but still, not really.

This is where I take issue. When ability scores of a games 4-6ish players are looked at, it does seem that there is a very even distribution of high and low scores to the different abilities. But upon further examination, the melee classes all have basically the same ability modifiers, the ranged players are similar, and the spellcasters have similar modifiers.

The illusion of vastly different ability scores seems incredibly unnecessary. Taking that a step further, using a standard array or even rolling for ability scores seems rather pointless as well. The standard array is supposed to be a decent average for a character. Frankly I don't see the point in random generation considering it's fairly irrelevant.

So this is why, in our system, you will not be rolling for your abilities. There won't even be a difference between score and modifier. Your value of your score will be the modifier you use on certain checks and rolls. The value of these attributes will be between 0 and 5 to start with the possibility of raising them further a little later on.

More on what these abilities are called and what they are used for to come.

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