Does D&D as a game need ability scores from 3-18+, or can we move on to just use modifiers, if you cut nostalgia from the equation?

36 thoughts on “Does D&D as a game need ability scores from 3-18+, or can we move on to just use modifiers, if you cut nostalgia from the equation?

  1. Blizzard36 says:

    “The rolled stats versus point buy/array stats is a different discussion than the one I’m looking at.” I’m shocked that someone as involved in the game industry as Shawn doesn’t see how these discussions are intrinsically linked.

    We care about the attribute score because of rolling stats. 10-11 being the stated ‘average’ score and getting no modifiers because it is ‘average’ isn’t just because a game designer decided that was going to be the baseline and modifiers would go up and down from there. It is the average because it is the actual mathematical average of 3D6! The dice already established the baseline stat when rolling them, and enforce it because of the bell curve of results. Exceptional stats are truly exceptional. Even the 4D6 drop the lowest method just skews the curve, the curve is still there and getting up to a stat that gives you a +4 modifier is rare. An array or point buy method gets rid of that standard or the impact of having that high score. Everyone will end up with one if it’s in the Array, or buy one if they want it in Point Buy.

    Wanting to get rid of attribute scores entirely is inherently wanting to get rid of rolling stats. Even if you never write the attribute on the character sheet, and don’t worry about +/-1 stat modifiers (maybe all modifiers are equivalent to a current +/-2), you still need to determine what your starting stats are. If you’re rolling, then the attribute score is still needed at character creation at minimum.

  2. Kenneth says:

    Is it really that hard to understand? I’ve introduced plenty of new players recently, one of them being 9 years old and no one has had any difficulty figuring it out.

  3. Daniel Harrington says:

    I literally just did this two weeks ago. For a birthday party I had a bunch of noobs who wanted to game, so I was creating a ‘condensed’ character sheet and simplified rules… It worked great, and to the point of the article, minimized the confusion that an extra six – essentially unused – numbers would have generated.

    I feel the nostalgia angle, as I’ve been gaming since ’79. But, other than tweaking the rules around stat increases and a few other areas… The system would be completely intact without the ability score range.

  4. Lear1987 says:

    As a caster my ability scores determine the highest tiers of magic I can use. Just looking at ability scores a 14 and a 15 are both +2 but the spell choices at 4th and 5th levels are very different. Without a half bonus the current system would require huge bonuses to justify a difference between spell levels, especially at the high end. Your fighter would work perfectly well with a +4 or +5 but if each level of spell had to have a different bonus like it currently uses ability scores for we would need a +9 just to function at the high end.

  5. Joel Hickman says:

    First, the dice numbers still have a place as easy random generation for initial character creation. Second, all of the cures displayed here look more complex than the disease.

  6. Tarragon Burgess says:

    This problem has been created by shifting mechanics, back in the day you would just roll a check on your stat (trying to get equal or under, possibly with a modifier). Removing stats would only make the game more alien for those that knew it first. Though if you’re into it, why not do it at your table, need we change the whole game?

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