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Lost opportunity to consolidate Abiltity Score and Modifier


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Hey, so I made this post on the blog post for the Starfinder and Pathfinder compatibility blog post and I wanted to discuss with a wider audience.

I just feel like this would have been a great place to remove an oddity of D&D where you have two numbers for each ability, score and modifier, with one of them being directly derived from the other.

With so many other major changes being made to actual gameplay elements such as AC and HP and weapons etc. doing something like removing the ability score entirely and just keeping the modifier would have been a very welcome purely mechanical simplification to the system.

Sure it would take a bit of getting used to for veterans but it would also remove one extra thing to think about

(example: what is the modifier for 27 again in a high powered game? Uh... well 27-10 is 17 and /2 is 8.5 which means +8! Why not just have the +8?)

And for newcomers every bit of simplification and streamlining helps to onboard. Removing seven numbers from the character sheet is a pretty good cleanup!

Certainly there would be ripple effects such as how to figure out when a character dies and how to deal with character advancement but these would be far less of a big deal than the major changes already in Starfinder to AC and HP for example.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Azih wrote:

Hey, so I made this post on the blog post for the Starfinder and Pathfinder compatibility blog post and I wanted to discuss with a wider audience.

I just feel like this would have been a great place to remove an oddity of D&D where you have two numbers for each ability, score and modifier, with one of them being directly derived from the other.

With so many other major changes being made to actual gameplay elements such as AC and HP and weapons etc. doing something like removing the ability score entirely and just keeping the modifier would have been a very welcome purely mechanical simplification to the system.

Sure it would take a bit of getting used to for veterans but it would also remove one extra thing to think about

(example: what is the modifier for 27 again in a high powered game? Uh... well 27-10 is 17 and /2 is 8.5 which means +8! Why not just have the +8?)

And for newcomers every bit of simplification and streamlining helps to onboard. Removing seven numbers from the character sheet is a pretty good cleanup!

Certainly there would be ripple effects such as how to figure out when a character dies and how to deal with character advancement but these would be far less of a big deal than the major changes already in Starfinder to AC and HP for example.

I don't think I'm allowed to say much until First Contact officially comes out, but you'll probably be pretty happy with monster creation rules.


It would change too many things from the core system.

Also, it looks... "funny" to new people. M&M3 does it OK, but someone asked me if having a negative stamina made them a zombie.

Not so much a missed opportunity, as it is just not that much of a good idea.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Speaking personally, I don't find it a lost opportunity, because I don't like the concept, even if it does streamline some things. IMO it just makes the game feel too "weird". I like the gradation of incremental score instead of whole number points, and you'll notice that it's important enough of a "sacred cow" that both 5e and Pathfinder haven't touched it. Irrational as it may seem to some, it's just too important a third rail to touch.


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Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Eh. It's not that complicated. It feels like it would introduce more complexities to work around than the minor one it would remove...also it would make ability damage/drain potentially more lethal, since you'd be guaranteed to have your modifier decrease. And I'm not sure how things that only do 1 point of ability score damage would function, unless you're just going to accept it getting boosted to be nastier. And it would add even more conversion being necessary to monster abilities from Pathfinder that deal ability score damage/drain...


It's a basic rule of d20. Six standard abilities, all have scores with normal range of 3 to 18, each value above 11 translates into a bonus, every value under 10 translates into a penalty.


It is so simple that it is mostly a nonfactor. It is not worth getting rid of especially since they plan to make the game somewhat backwards compatible with PF. Since character sheets have the modifier and the score right next to each other you really don't have to do any math, and buffs wont likely be adding a large enough number that requires a calculator. As an example even if you get a +6 bonus you know it will be a +3 modifier since you just divide the bonus by 2.


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

There is a design philosophy of the d20 system dependant on keeping the actual ability scores. For example, having Strength 12 or 13 is identical as far as anything that uses the ability modifier is concerned, but with Strength 13 you can take the Power Attack feat, and with Strength 12 you can't. The design philosophy here is that the even numbers are what gives out the modifiers and the odd numbers are what fills the prerequisites for feats or prestige classes and so on.


Zaister wrote:
There is a design philosophy of the d20 system dependant on keeping the actual ability scores. For example, having Strength 12 or 13 is identical as far as anything that uses the ability modifier is concerned, but with Strength 13 you can take the Power Attack feat, and with Strength 12 you can't. The design philosophy here is that the even numbers are what gives out the modifiers and the odd numbers are what fills the prerequisites for feats or prestige classes and so on.

That's not set in stone, though.

In a different game, you can just as easily have "STR +1" as a prereq.


Mashallah wrote:
Zaister wrote:
There is a design philosophy of the d20 system dependant on keeping the actual ability scores. For example, having Strength 12 or 13 is identical as far as anything that uses the ability modifier is concerned, but with Strength 13 you can take the Power Attack feat, and with Strength 12 you can't. The design philosophy here is that the even numbers are what gives out the modifiers and the odd numbers are what fills the prerequisites for feats or prestige classes and so on.

That's not set in stone, though.

In a different game, you can just as easily have "STR +1" as a prereq.

Yes, in a different game you can. That game is not this one. Personally, I'm happy that they left certain things the same. They didn't reinvent the D20 wheel, they just put a tire on it.


Steven "Troll" O'Neal wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Zaister wrote:
There is a design philosophy of the d20 system dependant on keeping the actual ability scores. For example, having Strength 12 or 13 is identical as far as anything that uses the ability modifier is concerned, but with Strength 13 you can take the Power Attack feat, and with Strength 12 you can't. The design philosophy here is that the even numbers are what gives out the modifiers and the odd numbers are what fills the prerequisites for feats or prestige classes and so on.

That's not set in stone, though.

In a different game, you can just as easily have "STR +1" as a prereq.
Yes, in a different game you can. That game is not this one. Personally, I'm happy that they left certain things the same. They didn't reinvent the D20 wheel, they just put a tire on it.

I don't really see why not, to be honest. Other than it changing how point buy works and somewhat adjusting for ability drain/damage (namely, halving the values of ability drain/damage), there's not particularly much change this would bring, while simplifying the game.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

3d6 based ability scores are an old D&D tradition, and these die hard. Just ask 4E what happens when you slaughter few sacred cows too many.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Halving in this way would actually make ability damage/drain a bit more lethal, simply because the minimum amount of damage effectively rises to 2 (unless you want to introduce half a point ability damage, which sounds a little complicated). I'd also say that knowing your character dies or is paralyzed or whatever at -5 isn't particularly intuitive, personally, but that might just be me...


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Azih wrote:


(example: what is the modifier for 27 again in a high powered game? Uh... well 27-10 is 17 and /2 is 8.5 which means +8! Why not just have the +8?)
.

Funnily enough, after a couple of months I had those memorized like multiplication tables from grade school / primary school. I also use a QWERTY keyboard and measure everything in inches, feet, and yards instead of metrically. It's a suboptimal world I cling to.. :)


Luthorne wrote:
Halving in this way would actually make ability damage/drain a bit more lethal, simply because the minimum amount of damage effectively rises to 2 (unless you want to introduce half a point ability damage, which sounds a little complicated). I'd also say that knowing your character dies or is paralyzed or whatever at -5 isn't particularly intuitive , personally, but that might just be me...

No more so than dying from -10hps. Now -con, that is more intuitive.

Talislanta did stats this way. If they wanted to do it, I think it could be done.


Gorbacz wrote:
3d6 based ability scores are an old D&D tradition, and these die hard. Just ask 4E what happens when you slaughter few sacred cows too many.

4e is coincidentally my favourite edition of D&D. It was really good at making steaks out of sacred cows.

I think it's silly when people get upset over pointless sacred cows which don't benefit the game at all.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯
EDIT: Moreover, Paizo heavily implied rolling for stats will be removed as an officially supported option from Starfinder. Only ability score buy will be present, to the point that races now have modifiers for ability score buy stuff rather than straight adjustments, rendering your argument invalid.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Valandil Ancalime wrote:
Luthorne wrote:
Halving in this way would actually make ability damage/drain a bit more lethal, simply because the minimum amount of damage effectively rises to 2 (unless you want to introduce half a point ability damage, which sounds a little complicated). I'd also say that knowing your character dies or is paralyzed or whatever at -5 isn't particularly intuitive , personally, but that might just be me...

No more so than dying from -10hps. Now -con, that is more intuitive.

Talislanta did stats this way. If they wanted to do it, I think it could be done.

...but -Con is when you actually die in Pathfinder? I agree that -10 might seem a bit arbitrary.

And yeah, I'm not saying that it couldn't be done, I'm just contesting that it's essentially a missed opportunity that would definitely have made the game simpler and would otherwise automatically be considered desirable.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My take on it?

Pros:
- Easier to track stat changes
- slightly faster to build characters? (Not sure about this one as you would still use some point buy system where a +1 is 2 and a +2 is 5 or some such...)

Cons:
- Stat changes are far swingier, no incremental improvements or able to take a point of ability damage but not change your modifier
- Can only work with point buy system or pregened modifiers... or a very complex math table on how to roll and convert.
- how do you determine stat growth by level? If you increase a modifier by a flat +1 every 4 levels than SAD characters just got a huge boon while designs that used to rely on starting with a cheaper odd valued stat and boosting it with levels lose the flexibility to do so.

In the end the only big change i see is making it easier to figure out new modifiers when stats change... which shouldnt be too often and even then the most common changes are buff spells, so just divide the spell bonus by half and add it to the relevent values. really its far more complex remembering to note where the new modifier changes things than figuring out what the modifier is. (IE, +2 strength mod is +2 to hit but maybe +3 to damage plus it changes some skill mods and could change your encumbrance levels.) I think it impacts more things negatively than it improves things.

Also, i would like to see a return to rolling under your stats as a way to pass ability checks but that is neither here or there for this system.


Torbyne wrote:

My take on it?

Pros:
- Easier to track stat changes
- slightly faster to build characters? (Not sure about this one as you would still use some point buy system where a +1 is 2 and a +2 is 5 or some such...)

Cons:
- Stat changes are far swingier, no incremental improvements or able to take a point of ability damage but not change your modifier
- Can only work with point buy system or pregened modifiers... or a very complex math table on how to roll and convert.
- how do you determine stat growth by level? If you increase a modifier by a flat +1 every 4 levels than SAD characters just got a huge boon while designs that used to rely on starting with a cheaper odd valued stat and boosting it with levels lose the flexibility to do so.

In the end the only big change i see is making it easier to figure out new modifiers when stats change... which shouldnt be too often and even then the most common changes are buff spells, so just divide the spell bonus by half and add it to the relevent values. really its far more complex remembering to note where the new modifier changes things than figuring out what the modifier is. (IE, +2 strength mod is +2 to hit but maybe +3 to damage plus it changes some skill mods and could change your encumbrance levels.) I think it impacts more things negatively than it improves things.

Also, i would like to see a return to rolling under your stats as a way to pass ability checks but that is neither here or there for this system.

Keep in mind:

1. From what was shown so far, it's very unlikely rolling for stats will have official support in Starfinder, which I feel is a good thing.
2. Stat growth by level in Starfinder is very different from Pathfinder. The level 5 Soldier had +2 STR, +2 CON, +2 DEX, and +2 INT over the level 1 Soldier, implying a very quick progression which renders irrelevant odd stats.
3. It's not significantly less incremental - most of the time, only even numbers mattered for most characters outside of a few prerequisites at relatively now numbers, such as 13 for Power Attack.


And, in similarly-rare cases, determining how much of things like ability drain a character could endure... XD Although most characters don't get down far enough for that to really kick in, I think. But the raw score is used for things.


GM Rednal wrote:
And, in similarly-rare cases, determining how much of things like ability drain a character could endure... XD Although most characters don't get down far enough for that to really kick in, I think. But the raw score is used for things.

My point is that it's used rarely enough that, with changes already shown so far for Starfinder, removing it entirely would likely have been pretty easy.


Mashallah wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:
And, in similarly-rare cases, determining how much of things like ability drain a character could endure... XD Although most characters don't get down far enough for that to really kick in, I think. But the raw score is used for things.
My point is that it's used rarely enough that, with changes already shown so far for Starfinder, removing it entirely would likely have been pretty easy.

Yes, and considering you are the only one arguing in favor of it, such a choice would have likely turned off the majority of the target demographic.


Steven "Troll" O'Neal wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:
And, in similarly-rare cases, determining how much of things like ability drain a character could endure... XD Although most characters don't get down far enough for that to really kick in, I think. But the raw score is used for things.
My point is that it's used rarely enough that, with changes already shown so far for Starfinder, removing it entirely would likely have been pretty easy.
Yes, and considering you are the only one arguing in favor of it, such a choice would have likely turned off the majority of the target demographic.

Tbh, I'm not strongly arguing in favour. My whole line of argument was "this is simple" and "there's nothing really that prevents this other than sacred cow status" to people who said this is impossible or claimed there are some good reasons against this.

I don't really care that much myself whether scores exist or not.


Well, I'm the one who suggested it Steven so I'd say there's two of us :). I was just asleep!

But look at the HP system in Starfinder. That's a *far* more radical change to classic D&D than what I proposed and that in and of itself will make Starfinder a radically different game than Pathfinder. It changes everything about how the adventuring day works, how healing works, the basic idea of how encounters should deplete resources!.

Removing the score for just modifier will only change a few things and make things significantly simpler. And even things like Ability damage or drain can be easily designed around. Just have poisons or drain spells take 2 rounds to drop the modifier by 1 instead of dropping the score by 1 every round for example. Just make death equal to 15+ con mod instead of con score. Somewhat less lethal at low levels and the few HP here or there won't make much of a difference at all in higher levels.

Sure 12 = +1 and 15 = +2 is easy to remember but like I said once it gets above 20 or so it starts requiring a moment of mental arithmetic for even experienced players.

Honestly the only thing lost seems to be tradition. But aren't we better off with newfangled BAB as compared to the traditional THAC0 anyway?

Archmage Variel has indicated that the monster creation rules are going to be greatly simplified.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Mashallah wrote:
My point is that it's used rarely enough that, with changes already shown so far for Starfinder, removing it entirely would likely have been pretty easy.

It would make for a different game, though. As I said, for example. Str 12 or 13 is not the same in a d20 game. It would be the same in your version.

Anyway. Wait until you see First Contact


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Azih wrote:
Honestly the only thing lost seems to be tradition. But aren't we better off with newfangled BAB as compared to the traditional THAC0 anyway?

THAC0 is not as traditional as you might think. That's a 2nd edition AD&D invention. First edition AD&D had a to-hit table for each class. And BAB has been in usage now for almost twice as long as than THAC0 has been.


Zaister wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
My point is that it's used rarely enough that, with changes already shown so far for Starfinder, removing it entirely would likely have been pretty easy.

It would make for a different game, though. As I said, for example. Str 12 or 13 is not the same in a d20 game. It would be the same in your version.

Anyway. Wait until you see First Contact

I've already seen it about a week ago or so. I find interesting what they did there with ability mods, though it feels like kind of a half-measure.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mashallah wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
3d6 based ability scores are an old D&D tradition, and these die hard. Just ask 4E what happens when you slaughter few sacred cows too many.

4e is coincidentally my favourite edition of D&D. It was really good at making steaks out of sacred cows.

I think it's silly when people get upset over pointless sacred cows which don't benefit the game at all.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯
EDIT: Moreover, Paizo heavily implied rolling for stats will be removed as an officially supported option from Starfinder. Only ability score buy will be present, to the point that races now have modifiers for ability score buy stuff rather than straight adjustments, rendering your argument invalid.

Wouldn't the 4E-based Gamma World be a better choice for you, then?


Gorbacz wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
3d6 based ability scores are an old D&D tradition, and these die hard. Just ask 4E what happens when you slaughter few sacred cows too many.

4e is coincidentally my favourite edition of D&D. It was really good at making steaks out of sacred cows.

I think it's silly when people get upset over pointless sacred cows which don't benefit the game at all.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯
EDIT: Moreover, Paizo heavily implied rolling for stats will be removed as an officially supported option from Starfinder. Only ability score buy will be present, to the point that races now have modifiers for ability score buy stuff rather than straight adjustments, rendering your argument invalid.
Wouldn't the 4E-based Gamma World be a better choice for you, then?

Maybe. Finding a group is never easy with unpopular systems, though. I'm hyped for Starfinder both because it seems to have fixed most of the issues I had with Pathfinder and because the brand guarantees it'll be popular enough that finding a group will be easy. In fact, I already have several groups in mind for playing Starfinder with.


Zaister wrote:
Azih wrote:
Honestly the only thing lost seems to be tradition. But aren't we better off with newfangled BAB as compared to the traditional THAC0 anyway?
THAC0 is not as traditional as you might think. That's a 2nd edition AD&D invention. First edition AD&D had a to-hit table for each class. And BAB has been in usage now for almost twice as long as than THAC0 has been.

Progress is good is what I'm saying :)


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Eh, I'm glad they kept it.

Fewer ableist joking about negative intelligence scores. Fewer threads about how negative scores don't make sense. Characters dumping charisma or wisdom being played less obnoxiously. Less reductive feel when describing a character. Less conversion work. Similar feel to Pathfinder.

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

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Mashallah wrote:
EDIT: Moreover, Paizo heavily implied rolling for stats will be removed as an officially supported option from Starfinder. Only ability score buy will be present, to the point that races now have modifiers for ability score buy stuff rather than straight adjustments, rendering your argument invalid.

That isn't the system we ended up going with.

And we always had rules for rolling ability scores, as an option. For some people, that's simply a crucial part of the feel of the game. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm glad they're keeping it, too. Honestly, a lot of people aren't looking for a different system. They like what we've got. One of the pitches for Starfinder is that it will feel familiar. How much can you update/change before it is no longer familiar. Tweaks to make it work for a futuristic setting, sure. Changing some of the core concepts? Not so much.

Missed opportunity or avoiding a self-inflicted wound? I'm thinking the latter, but of course folks are entitled to their preferences.

Scarab Sages

I'd be fine with dropping the raw scores in favor of the modifiers, but I'm also fine with keeping both scores and modifiers.

Trivia: Although THAC0 is strongly associated with 2nd Edition, it first appeared in the 1st Edition Dungeon Master's Guide.


I've never been a fan of dropping the raw scores in favor just the modifier number. I didn't like it when M&M did it, and I wouldn't like it if Starfinder did it. Ingrained into the core PF/SF system is the idea that even scores give a bonus from a modifier increase and odd scores unlock prerequisites, and that Ability Drain/Damage is a very real thing.

Plus, no one likes having a negative stat, or even just "zero". Having "average" = "zero" just rubs me the wrong way, no matter how streamlined or logical others may see it.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Mashallah wrote:


4e is coincidentally my favourite edition of D&D. It was really good at making steaks out of sacred cows.
I think it's silly when people get upset over pointless sacred cows which don't benefit the game at all.

What does (or does not) benefit a game tends to be highly subjective. And the market will have its say. Hence 4e's struggles, Paizo's successes with PF, and D&D resurgence under 5e.


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I'm all for getting rid of the ability scores. 90% of the time, they're just extra math in an already somewhat burdensome and clunky system. But, they're important for character generation when you roll for stats. I can't think of a single other use that couldn't be served by just using the modifier:
-instead of 13 strength for power attack, +1 strength mod required (I know it's not the same, but the difference is pretty unimportant)
-ability score damage could be 1d2 +1 per 4 levels of modifier instead of 1d4 +1 per 2 levels of score (it's always annoying to recalculate after damage)

The #1 criticism I hear of Pathfinder is its clunkiness due to excess D20 baggage. I'm all for trimming the fat where possible. If the argument to keep ability scores is only 'but mah nostalgia', is it really worth keeping? Another question to consider: is Starfinder meant to incorporate a new audience, or appeal only to the existing Pathfinder audience? I'd say a new version of the system with a different setting is the perfect opportunity to streamline some fundamentals, just like getting rid of arcane vs divine casters.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
KarlBob wrote:

I'd be fine with dropping the raw scores in favor of the modifiers, but I'm also fine with keeping both scores and modifiers.

Trivia: Although THAC0 is strongly associated with 2nd Edition, it first appeared in the 1st Edition Dungeon Master's Guide.

Thanks, KarlBob. I was decently sure THAC0 was around before 2E. Now I don't have to go look it up.


Bill Dunn wrote:
Mashallah wrote:


4e is coincidentally my favourite edition of D&D. It was really good at making steaks out of sacred cows.
I think it's silly when people get upset over pointless sacred cows which don't benefit the game at all.
What does (or does not) benefit a game tends to be highly subjective. And the market will have its say. Hence 4e's struggles, Paizo's successes with PF, and D&D resurgence under 5e.

Objectively speaking, 4e didn't even really struggle. It sold really well. The only metric by which they performed poorly was the one the executives set, and that one was impossible to meet - the bar set by executives was "sell several times more copies than the entire size of the tabletop market", an utter pipe dream. Due to not meeting that impossible goal, 4e was considered a flop despite being very profitable, which is absurd.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mashallah wrote:


4e was considered a flop despite being very profitable

Do you have any hard numbers? In particular, hard numbers on 4e sales vs. 5e sales and PF sales. Genuinely curious here, you seem to have a lot of interesting insider insight into the industry (ha! alliterations FTW) and I would be delighted if you could share it with us.


Gorbacz wrote:
Mashallah wrote:


4e was considered a flop despite being very profitable
Do you have any hard numbers? In particular, hard numbers on 4e sales vs. 5e sales and PF sales. Genuinely curious here, you seem to have a lot of interesting insider insight into the industry (ha! alliterations FTW) and I would be delighted if you could share it with us.

Hard numbers on 4e sales aren't publicly available and never were. My judgement is based on what a former WotC employee told me when I inquired upon the matter, which is as good of a source as I could find.


As for non-hard numbers, here's a source:
https://icv2.com/articles/games/view/12654/d-d-4e-back-press


The complete overhaul of magic, AC, HP, iterative attacks, and weapons in Starfinder are far more than tweaks and all way more radical than what is proposed here.


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Azih wrote:
The complete overhaul of magic, AC, HP, iterative attacks, and weapons in Starfinder are far more than tweaks and all way more radical than what is proposed here.

Actually it's because switching that up brings it too close to being just a board game (like 4e was). I'm here to play tabletop RPG's, not Monopoly. It isn't a sacred cow as much as it is essential to what the game feels like when played.

Also, how would you roll ability scores? Assuming the point buy build from PF is relevant you can't go under a 7 (-2), and you can't go over an 18 (+4) before racial adjustments. That's 7 different modifiers (including 0), so let me break out my d7?

It isn't as revolutionary an idea as people are making it out to be. I'd say (again) that it isn't so much a missed opportunity as it is a dodged bullet. If they would have done that kind of a switch up, I'd probably just write Starfinder off as another 4e type failure and continue my Star Wars conversion for Pathfinder.

What they did was make a few adjustments to the Pathfinder system to accommodate ranged combat as the default, and streamline a few systems. That's all. They aren't completely overhauling magic, HP, or AC; they're tweaking them to better fit the setting. Iterative attacks are getting the biggest visible change, but BAB is still there with different progressions based on class. The actual biggest change is to gear. Reworking damage to scale from item levels is kind of a big deal, but that isn't going to change how the game feels to play the same way changing how Ability Scores work would.

Edit: Your assertion that the other tweaks are less radical than what you're proposing is subjective.


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CKent83 wrote:
Azih wrote:
The complete overhaul of magic, AC, HP, iterative attacks, and weapons in Starfinder are far more than tweaks and all way more radical than what is proposed here.

Actually it's because switching that up brings it too close to being just a board game (like 4e was). I'm here to play tabletop RPG's, not Monopoly. It isn't a sacred cow as much as it is essential to what the game feels like when played.

Also, how would you roll ability scores? Assuming the point buy build from PF is relevant you can't go under a 7 (-2), and you can't go over an 18 (+4) before racial adjustments. That's 7 different modifiers (including 0), so let me break out my d7?

It isn't as revolutionary an idea as people are making it out to be. I'd say (again) that it isn't so much a missed opportunity as it is a dodged bullet. If they would have done that kind of a switch up, I'd probably just write Starfinder off as another 4e type failure and continue my Star Wars conversion for Pathfinder.

What they did was make a few adjustments to the Pathfinder system to accommodate ranged combat as the default, and streamline a few systems. That's all. They aren't completely overhauling magic, HP, or AC; they're tweaking them to better fit the setting. Iterative attacks are getting the biggest visible change, but BAB is still there with different progressions based on class. The actual biggest change is to gear. Reworking damage to scale from item levels is kind of a big deal, but that isn't going to change how the game feels to play the same way changing how Ability Scores work would.

Edit: Your assertion that the other tweaks are less radical than what you're proposing is subjective.

The core of Roleplaying Games is, well, roleplaying.

Simpler mechanics don't make roleplaying any more difficult. I'd say even the contrary - they free up the time you'd waste on fiddling with pointless rules to instead spend that same time roleplaying.


A change to mechanics like the one suggested here brings the game closer to a board game. This type of change doesn't add anything to the game, it takes away from it. It isn't a change for the better, the mechanic is simple enough as it is and there are uses for Ability Scores outside of providing a modifier, and there are reasons for having the even/odd split. All of these things have been stated earlier in this thread, and the highly talented (why didn't the Soldier get Perception?) game designers at Paizo decided to leave it the way it was. There is a reason for that.


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CKent83 wrote:
A change to mechanics like the one suggested here brings the game closer to a board game. This type of change doesn't add anything to the game, it takes away from it. It isn't a change for the better, the mechanic is simple enough as it is and there are uses for Ability Scores outside of providing a modifier, and there are reasons for having the even/odd split. All of these things have been stated earlier in this thread, and the highly talented (why didn't the Soldier get Perception?) game designers at Paizo decided to leave it the way it was. There is a reason for that.

I don't see any basis for any of the claims you made, to be honest.


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From Starfinder: First Contact, we now know that only PCs (and perhaps their pets?) have actual ability scores. Monster entries just use the modifiers.


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I hope that this doesn't go so far as to mean we can't have bad guys built like PCs with class levels and things.


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Redelia wrote:
I hope that this doesn't go so far as to mean we can't have bad guys built like PCs with class levels and things.

Well there's nothing stopping you from doing that if it's what you want. The system is just designed to make throwing together enemies more straightforward so that GMs don't have to go through and tediously add class levels to every enemy just for the sake of increasing the challenge. Now there's a quicker more direct way to scale and modify enemies or create new ones.

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