3 thoughts on “Which way do you record your ability scores?

  1. D. Walker says:

    From a logical standpoint, for ease of reference, the most important piece of information should be the most prominent and visible.

    Overwhelmingly, if you’re referencing your character sheet for your attributes, it’s to find your attribute -bonus- for a roll. You typically don’t particularly care about the stat itself, except in the sense that you derive your bonus (or other statistics like Carrying Capacity) from that stat.

    Obviously you want to know the actual attribute score sometimes. But this is secondary information, referenced far less frequently. In fact, your attributes themselves are only meaningful because other numbers are derived from them. They are almost never, in and of themselves, actually important.

    The sole exception that occurs to me is the rare situation of having an attribute reduced to 0, which in 5E only happens because of specific powers and abilities possessed by specific creatures, each one operating off its own unique rule, rather than working off a general rule as in previous editions.

  2. Moxxmix says:

    If you have modifications to your stats (eg: a belt that adds +2 Str), the larger box area makes it much easier to show Str as [12+2], and then you can put the +2 bonus value in the circle below, and it’s easy to understand. If you reverse that, you have +2 in the big box, and 14 in the tiny circle (because there’s no room for extra details), and it may be difficult to properly re-adjust if the belt is ever lost or removed.

    The ‘importance’ of a number isn’t a valid justification given how many little numbers on the character sheet you have to look up all the time. Besides, the vast majority of the time, it’s the combination of the stat bonus with some other value (eg: proficiency bonus) that really matters, so the +2 from your Str isn’t relevant when you want to find the +6 to your attack roll.

    The stat bonus uses don’t have sufficient importance to promote them over the physical values that may have good reason to need to track secondary values in the same area.

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