Making stats cap at 20


Homebrew and House Rules

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Sovereign Court

So I'm thinking of making stats for humanoid creatures cap at 20 (something along the lines of their physiology just doesn't get any better), I'm tired of seeing int 28 humans and str 25 dwarves etc. Personally, if there's ever a new edition I want it to focus a lot less on pumping stats as high as they'll go. I was just hoping to get a discussion on what effects this will have on the game. I know that at higher level this means that there'll be more lost saving throws as the game expects players to use magic items to boost stats to blah blah blah. What else could I expect?

Sovereign Court

Would your cap be on natural stats and not including magic?

What kind of point buy are you allowing in your campaign to start with to be seeing so many 20+'s?

Are your players having fun?


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Effects would vary heavily. Martial characters would hit less often, and possibly have significantly lower ACs if they are dex based. Monsters will make their saves ALOT more. Any ability or save that has a stat based save will become more and more likely to fail as you reach mid to high levels.

Some skills will also be an issue. Tumbling(usually used by dex based characters past CR appropriate monsters for instance will become more and more difficult, and pretty much anything that scales against opponents is going to be a problem. I would also worry about things like bardic performance for things like fascinate but I dont have enough experience with bards to be sure of it.

Also classes that rely on x+stat abiltiies (ki,channels,rage,etc) will suffer compared to where they are normally. Usually these abilities are a on key ability scores that tend to be pumped up rather high.

Edit:
thought of one more, certain class/prestige class abilities will be invalidated. The ones that come to mind are Sorceror Abyssal blood line Strength of the Abyss, and the Dragon disciples strength boosts. Bost of these are meant to make up for the classes shortcommings by bringing their str above normal to give them more combat power. If the wall is 20 everyone who is focused on combat will hit that wall pretty early.


(Score/2)-5

Just a number.

20 is an imaginary line you have drawn in your mind.

In earlier editions, we'd be talking about 18 instead.

Your game is yours, but I predict that this kind of house rule would actually cause more problems than it would fix.

Perhaps take a break from the stat-pumping in Pathfinder and play a game that is less conducive to that mindset for a while. If your players enjoy that, they might learn some new styles-of-play that will make running Pathfinder for them more fun for you.

But, yes, let us all remember the players are from Mars and GMs are from Venus. Players like it when their numbers get bigger. They're human beings. Take that away from them and what do you gain exactly? Balance? Realism? Schadenfreude?

However, LKL, I suspect this idea is more of a veiled complaint, no?


lastknightleft wrote:
So I'm thinking of making stats for humanoid creatures cap at 20 (something along the lines of their physiology just doesn't get any better), I'm tired of seeing int 28 humans and str 25 dwarves etc. Personally, if there's ever a new edition I want it to focus a lot less on pumping stats as high as they'll go. I was just hoping to get a discussion on what effects this will have on the game. I know that at higher level this means that there'll be more lost saving throws as the game expects players to use magic items to boost stats to blah blah blah. What else could I expect?

So a 20 STR Human is just as likely as a 20 STR Dwarf?

Ditto on the saving throws.
Does your 20 cap force players to put their every 4 lvl point in a different stat?
Are plus stat items going to cost less?

BUT, if you are looking to make the game grittier and harder and instill fear in the characters then its a pretty decent way to do so


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I have no problem with imposing a stat cap on PCs and most humanoid characters. But I think 20's lower than I'd put it. I'd consider maybe something more like 26 or so.

I would also probably cap off the amount of bonus a monster can get from his hit dice adding to save DCs or saves as a balancing measure - probably limiting it to +10.


lastknightleft wrote:
So I'm thinking of making stats for humanoid creatures cap at 20 (something along the lines of their physiology just doesn't get any better), I'm tired of seeing int 28 humans and str 25 dwarves etc. Personally, if there's ever a new edition I want it to focus a lot less on pumping stats as high as they'll go. I was just hoping to get a discussion on what effects this will have on the game. I know that at higher level this means that there'll be more lost saving throws as the game expects players to use magic items to boost stats to blah blah blah. What else could I expect?

Your see character stats of 25 and 28 so much that your are "tired" of them?? WowI think I am playing a different game. I've DMd 3 full APs and I have never had one of my players get anything higher than maybe a 22, and that was extreme. This can't be something that the PFRPG changes to 3.5 added is it?

Sovereign Court

Morgen wrote:

Would your cap be on natural stats and not including magic?

What kind of point buy are you allowing in your campaign to start with to be seeing so many 20+'s?

Are your players having fun?

I'm starting with rolls, but it's the SAD characters who then get a headband or belt, put every stat boost into it etc. The problem doesn't crop up with the MAD characters, although I'll typically see someone get to a 22-24 range pretty quickly by RAW.


Alot depends on whether he means natural or with magic, for the stat.

My 8th level witch has a 22 int right now due to a +2 headband. He just got natural 20 this level with his 2nd ability bump.

It could have been 24 adjusted, had I gone with a 20 at creation.

It isn't hard to get 20 and higher, especially for the single-stat classes.

-S


cibet44 wrote:
lastknightleft wrote:
So I'm thinking of making stats for humanoid creatures cap at 20 (something along the lines of their physiology just doesn't get any better), I'm tired of seeing int 28 humans and str 25 dwarves etc. Personally, if there's ever a new edition I want it to focus a lot less on pumping stats as high as they'll go. I was just hoping to get a discussion on what effects this will have on the game. I know that at higher level this means that there'll be more lost saving throws as the game expects players to use magic items to boost stats to blah blah blah. What else could I expect?
Your see character stats of 25 and 28 so much that your are "tired" of them?? WowI think I am playing a different game. I've DMd 3 full APs and I have never had one of my players get anything higher than maybe a 22, and that was extreme. This can't be something that the PFRPG changes to 3.5 added is it?

Could be, all depends on starting stats. Like 15 pt buy vs 25 pt buy. I find with 15 you see starting stats much lower. Also it depends if the players are willing to dump stats heavily like the Wizard with no Chr or Str. So far in my games I've done 1 AP and the highest stat was a 24 by the end. Currently I think 20 is now the highest stat in my Kingmaker game, we are almost finished part II.


lastknightleft wrote:
So I'm thinking of making stats for humanoid creatures cap at 20 (something along the lines of their physiology just doesn't get any better), I'm tired of seeing int 28 humans and str 25 dwarves etc. Personally, if there's ever a new edition I want it to focus a lot less on pumping stats as high as they'll go. I was just hoping to get a discussion on what effects this will have on the game. I know that at higher level this means that there'll be more lost saving throws as the game expects players to use magic items to boost stats to blah blah blah. What else could I expect?

You know the game assumes higher scores are available. Do you plan to fix the monsters so they don't thrash the PC's? If so then game on, but if not then I would rethink that idea.


My 19th level cleric in the current campaign has a 22 Wisdom. I find that if I hit an enemy's strong saves, they are making them more often than not; quite a bit more often. If I can hit the weak save, my success rate is much better. To get an idea, I've yet to get a destruction spell to stick on an outsider that we've fought, even with Greater Spell Focus backing it. Holy word, on the other hand, has only failed me partially on 2 occasions against them. The point is that you'll be making casters use nothing but no-save spells, which can be quite frustrating to some players. While that happens, the monsters will be hitting the party with effects that are increasingly hard to save against, as people with strong saves still manage to blow them from time to time. Why? Because you're not in turn limiting something that boosts monster attacks: the number of hit dice. Others have pointed out the effects on martial characters, so I'll leave it at that.


I guess the question I have is why do you care? Is it making the game no fun for you and your group? All ability scores are abstract numbers applied to the game mechanics and having something really high is just a bonus to the numbers and allow heroic characters to fight dragons the size of a building and have a chance at winning.

The "Hero's" of your game are supposed to be better then the townsfolk. The town blacksmith is a strong guy, but your fighter is supposed to be stronger. The town sage is a smart guy but your wizard should be smarter.

If you want a more down to earth or low magic feel game, just give the group a lower point buy or go with a 3d6 character generation. As long as everyone is OK with this then that can be a great game without altering the game with abstract limits.

Of course do whatever you and your group want to do for fun. :)


You need to give some serious thought as to why you want to implement this change. If it's just because you think humanoids shouldn't get any "better" than an arbitrary high number at anything, a far simpler solution would just be to acknowledge the fact that the stats are just numbers. Evil Lincoln has it right.

You also need to ask yourself if your players will enjoy the game more if you impose this limit on them. I wager that they won't. I think your typical D&D player would think it's silly and kind of unfun. Assuming that your group is the same, you need to ask yourself whether or not you would get enough out of the change to make it worth disappointing your players.


Thazar wrote:

I guess the question I have is why do you care? Is it making the game no fun for you and your group? All ability scores are abstract numbers applied to the game mechanics and having something really high is just a bonus to the numbers and allow heroic characters to fight dragons the size of a building and have a chance at winning.

The "Hero's" of your game are supposed to be better then the townsfolk. The town blacksmith is a strong guy, but your fighter is supposed to be stronger. The town sage is a smart guy but your wizard should be smarter.

If you want a more down to earth or low magic feel game, just give the group a lower point buy or go with a 3d6 character generation. As long as everyone is OK with this then that can be a great game without altering the game with abstract limits.

Of course do whatever you and your group want to do for fun. :)

Most people post such things because they have not been tried yet, and it may not be fun. By posting it here people can poke holes in it before it causes issues at the table.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I like the idea of a stat cap to better be able to balance baseline expectations. I think 30 is a better number for no reason other than personal preference. Thus, you can determine what expected numbers a party of nth level will be, and balance the game around that.

Rebuilding monsters would be some work, but that's a problem of any substantial change. I think if I were to do this, I'd include my idea of removing Str/Dex bonus to hit. This would shrink attack bonuses and make it easier to balance around the d20 roll.


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I support stat caps (and caps in general). I feel the game breaks down when the spread between modifiers approach the maximum of the Random Number Generator (d20). I've been looking at similar for my own house rules. Since I don't run a lot of modules (and have learned that I have to go over over encounters and possibly rewrite them if did) and use a lot of home brew or modified creatures, it's not as much of an issue for me to rebalance for it. If you are expecting to run encounters straight from the book, especially at higher levels, then expect them to get noticeably harder. The three big areas this will impact are saves which you mentioned, attacks hitting (to hit and AC bonuses being brought down by the cap), and CMB/CMD. HP, damage, and initiative will also take some decreases. Also any ability with stat based uses per day will be effected by this limit. Skills will be affected, but that will probably be the least noticed impact (YMMV).

It's not exactly a simple change. There will be a ripple effect. But if you are willing to make the associated adjustments, then it should work just fine.

TriOmegaZero wrote:

I like the idea of a stat cap to better be able to balance baseline expectations. I think 30 is a better number for no reason other than personal preference. Thus, you can determine what expected numbers a party of nth level will be, and balance the game around that.

Rebuilding monsters would be some work, but that's a problem of any substantial change. I think if I were to do this, I'd include my idea of removing Str/Dex bonus to hit. This would shrink attack bonuses and make it easier to balance around the d20 roll.

With a cap of 30 then I agree with you on removing the stat bonus to hit. At a cap of 20 the extremes are still within 20 of each other, but at 30 you end up with extremes greater than 20 apart. (note this is basing solely on BAB and Stat Mod with no other modifiers or magic but it establishes a baseline)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Freesword wrote:
With a cap of 30 then I agree with you on removing the stat bonus to hit. At a cap of 20 the extremes are still within 20 of each other, but at 30 you end up with extremes greater than 20 apart. (note this is basing solely on BAB and Stat Mod with no other modifiers or magic but it establishes a baseline)

Yeah, it seems an elegant solution, that allows BAB to have much more meaning. Plus, nothing can get more than a +10 to damage from stats, making DPR much more predictable across the board. I don't claim this is a good thing yet, it still needs testing. But at first blush it sounds workable.

Ooo, what if it was a progressive thing? No characters under CR 10 could have over 20 in any score, while 11 and above raises the cap to 30? Probably a completely pointless rule, but it sounds interesting.


TriOmegaZero wrote:


Ooo, what if it was a progressive thing? No characters under CR 10 could have over 20 in any score, while 11 and above raises the cap to 30? Probably a completely pointless rule, but it sounds interesting.

I agree with both assessments. But I don't see any obvious harm in tiering the cap vs a flat cap, so why not.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I really need to maintain a list of changes I plan to make so I can remember them all.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
I really need to maintain a list of changes I plan to make so I can remember them all.

FACT!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

You know, my profile here is really handy for things like that. :)

Shadow Lodge

You could just make it more expensive to raise stats.

I played in a game where instead of being given an attribute boost ever 4 levels you were given a base point buy (for example 20 points) and 1 additional point for each level. So you would have to wait 4 levels to go from 18 strength to 19 but could advance from 12 to 13 after a single level.

Headbands and belts could be priced based on the number of points they raised an attribute. So an 8 point belt might cost 6000gp and would raise a 12 strength to a 16 strength but would only raise a 16 strength to 18.

Alternately you could jut put a cap on an item. "This belt adds +4 to your strength score to a maximum of 20" belts with a higher cap would be more expensive (perhaps a belt with a 22 cap would have a base price of 5000 and the +4 belt with the 22 cap would cost 25,000).

Finally... you could just have your players start out with a lower point buy or with the elite array which would bring down all of their attributes.

Sovereign Court

Okay, great discussion guys, thanks for being open to the idea and not just hitting me with bad/wrong/no fun answers. I guess I should explain some things.

Personally, I'm much more of a role player than a roll player, and while I know there are other systems that focus less on stats and builds, I actually like the dnd 3.x system (now pathfinder) and have invested a lot of money into it, I don't want to switch systems after such a large investment. Player expectation isn't so much of a problem with me as I wind up teaching most of the people I play with, (the problem with being an adult only wanting to play with adults and living in BFE). Although when I do add outside experienced players to my group that's when you do see the difference.

I guess more of the problem is that while the numbers are abstract I've always considered them less so, I like the idea that the stats # are a scale where there's a comparable pinnacle. If 20 is the utmost highest level of intelligence attainable, then it's easy to say things like stephen hawkins is a 20 int. when you allow stats to be grown to any level then what comparison do you give a person to understand what their int is like. how can you roleplay or even comprehend the difference between a 26 and a 28 int. Also I don't like the game being about pushing a single stat as high as you can possibly get it, and yes I'm talking about both the base stat with magic boosters, I don't see stats get very high without magic. I'd just like to see the focus being less on stats and more about the effects that manipulate the game world. I don't want to completely remove stat boosters, but I don't want everyone to be seeking out a +4 headband/belt, that's boring to me. Part of it is playstyle, part of it is plain old liking tinkering with the system, part of it is if there are solid rules set up before hand it's easier to mix in outside players who have different playstyles and expectations than the people who I've taught to play. And none of it is a dead set I'm gonna do this, more of a "I'm fiddling with the idea in my head.


lastknightleft wrote:

Okay, great discussion guys, thanks for being open to the idea and not just hitting me with bad/wrong/no fun answers. I guess I should explain some things.

Personally, I'm much more of a role player than a roll player, and while I know there are other systems that focus less on stats and builds, I actually like the dnd 3.x system (now pathfinder) and have invested a lot of money into it, I don't want to switch systems after such a large investment. Player expectation isn't so much of a problem with me as I wind up teaching most of the people I play with, (the problem with being an adult only wanting to play with adults and living in BFE). Although when I do add outside experienced players to my group that's when you do see the difference.

I guess more of the problem is that while the numbers are abstract I've always considered them less so, I like the idea that the stats # are a scale where there's a comparable pinnacle. If 20 is the utmost highest level of intelligence attainable, then it's easy to say things like stephen hawkins is a 20 int. when you allow stats to be grown to any level then what comparison do you give a person to understand what their int is like. how can you roleplay or even comprehend the difference between a 26 and a 28 int. Also I don't like the game being about pushing a single stat as high as you can possibly get it, and yes I'm talking about both the base stat with magic boosters, I don't see stats get very high without magic. I'd just like to see the focus being less on stats and more about the effects that manipulate the game world. I don't want to completely remove stat boosters, but I don't want everyone to be seeking out a +4 headband/belt, that's boring to me. Part of it is playstyle, part of it is plain old liking tinkering with the system, part of it is if there are solid rules set up before hand it's easier to mix in outside players who have different playstyles and expectations than the people who I've taught to play. And none of it is a dead set I'm gonna do this, more...

Unyoking ability scores from concrete performance standards was one of the 3rd Edition paradigm shifts. I don't know if you played 2nd Edition, but in those days the ability scores were not only effectively capped, but some of them meant something quantifiable. Not only would your human fighter never be as strong as a 1500 lb giant, but a 17 STR meant you could press a certain amount of weight, a 14 INT meant you could learn a certain number of languages. Maybe I just maintain some affection for that because I grew up with it, but I wasn't happy with that change when I saw 3rd Edition (still not crazy about it).


If I understand correctly the problem is out of combat stats regarding abilities.

Possible solution:
For all reasons not regarding combat stats make an ability score:
Ability Score - Ability modifier. (with negative modifier this makes it bigger)

This way there is no 3 STR character who can hardly carry the bones in his body and no 30 INT wizard who could achieve a physics skill better than any person in Real life.

As others said, changing things in combat will force you to recalculate every monster and adjust a hell of a lot.

Sovereign Court

Richard Leonhart wrote:

If I understand correctly the problem is out of combat stats regarding abilities.

Possible solution:
For all reasons not regarding combat stats make an ability score:
Ability Score - Ability modifier. (with negative modifier this makes it bigger)

This way there is no 3 STR character who can hardly carry the bones in his body and no 30 INT wizard who could achieve a physics skill better than any person in Real life.

As others said, changing things in combat will force you to recalculate every monster and adjust a hell of a lot.

not before level 13 or so, the game will run just fine till then. And it's not like high level play doesn't take a heck of a lot of work to begin with.

Sovereign Court

jocundthejolly wrote:
Unyoking ability scores from concrete performance standards was one of the 3rd Edition paradigm shifts. I don't know if you played 2nd Edition, but in those days the ability scores were not only effectively capped, but some of them meant something quantifiable. Not only would your human fighter never be as strong as a 1500 lb giant, but a 17 STR meant you could press a certain amount of weight, a 14 INT meant you could learn a certain number of languages. Maybe I just maintain some affection for that because I grew up with it, but I wasn't happy with that change when I saw 3rd Edition (still not crazy about it).

I never played 2nd ed (except for the Baldur's Gate computer games, which I loooooooovvvvvvvvve), but yeah, I'd prefer that. In all honesty I kinda like the way the stat boosters in baldur's gate worked, they set stats to a certain level and if you were stronger than that, it actually lowered your stat intstead of raising it, meaning you didn't want the item.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Freesword wrote:


With a cap of 30 then I agree with you on removing the stat bonus to hit. At a cap of 20 the extremes are still within 20 of each other, but at 30 you end up with extremes greater than 20 apart. (note this is basing solely on BAB and Stat Mod with no other modifiers or magic but it establishes a baseline)

While I can understand how dropping stat bonuses to hit would make it easier to fix expectations around chances to hit, I'm not really sure why imposing a stat cap would encourage that change. If most PCs aren't getting above a 30 in the first place, the game isn't significantly changed from its current conception - few downstream changes are really necessary. If the cap is significantly below the level you see PCs achieve on at least a semi-regular basis, then I would agree further changes would need to be made. I'm just not convinced they're in the modifiers for hitting.

And if you do want to get rid of hit modifiers, what does it do to large/strong creatures and their CR? Are big animals suddenly too weak? Should they get moved to a full BAB? Does getting rid of stat attack bonuses lead to more downstream problems without further changes? Do they necessitate significant changes on the AC side of things?

I'm in favor of some form of stat caps for PCs in an effort to make sure single-attribute classes don't see their offensive stats too greatly outgrow defenses. And I agree that downstream effects are necessary. But I think I'd attack them more from a point of caps on monsters as well rather than removing major mechanics. Since the DC on most PC abilities are dependent on spell level (max 9) or half character level (10 for non-epic games), I'd probably cap monster hit die benefits at the same equivalent level - 20 hit dice - usually halved to 10. I'd also consider capping factors going into AC too - maybe no single bonus could get too high (natural armor, I'm looking at you as the primary offender).

Sovereign Court

Yeah I've never actually seen a stat above 30 so that makes no sense as a cap to me. Maybe my games fall apart too early, and I've seen people get close to 30, but I've never seen a game where someone had a 30 in something.

Grand Lodge

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I'm sorry, what? There is a pretty simple solution to this: tell your players to build their characters on the Low-fantasy point-buy, then tell them they can't sell back any of their stats. That will stop high stats dead in their tracks. Use the tools that are built into the system. The best they could ever hope for is a 33 on one stat, that's including a +6 item and a +5 book, two things which YOU AS THE GM HAVE CONTROL OVER. Otherwise they are at a 22 tops, for that one stat, and every other stat is a 10, 8, or 12.

Seriously, the only thing any of this accomplishes is screwing over the player. Remember player characters are supposed to be the HEROES in the story. Let them have the stats to be heroic.


I have a simple question about this stat capping...

What about barbarians? Even with low fantasy buying a 1st level raging barbarian can easily obtain a 22 in either STR or CON. What about when he gains the higher bonuses? His capstone ability would be useless unless he starts the game off with 12 STR and 12 CON and never touches them, which btw would make him useless through the entirety of the game as a fighter could happily run around all the time with his 18 STR.

What about magic spells like bull's strength? Only cast it on your 16 STR or less allies?

Not saying that capping is a bad thing, though it's not for me, but capping at 20 is too low when it's going to hurt one class especially hard from level 1 impacting the only thing the class can really do.

Shadow Lodge

I'm not sure about LKL but I would leave Barbarian Rage and Bulls strength alone, that would put a renewed value on those abilities which have been watered down a bit due to permanent magic items.

Sovereign Court

0gre wrote:
I'm not sure about LKL but I would leave Barbarian Rage and Bulls strength alone, that would put a renewed value on those abilities which have been watered down a bit due to permanent magic items.

I actually would leave those alone, I don't mind small temporary boosts, although I have thought about changing the +2 stat boost spells so that they don't just give +2 stat boosts as that's fairly boring use of the spell, but Barbarians yeah I'd leave them alone, their rage lets them exceed normal human limits for a short period of time. Hell with that rule change, I might actually see someone play a barbarian in real life (I've never had anyone ever who wanted to play one)

Sovereign Court

Kais86 wrote:

I'm sorry, what? There is a pretty simple solution to this: tell your players to build their characters on the Low-fantasy point-buy, then tell them they can't sell back any of their stats. That will stop high stats dead in their tracks. Use the tools that are built into the system. The best they could ever hope for is a 33 on one stat, that's including a +6 item and a +5 book, two things which YOU AS THE GM HAVE CONTROL OVER. Otherwise they are at a 22 tops, for that one stat, and every other stat is a 10, 8, or 12.

Seriously, the only thing any of this accomplishes is screwing over the player. Remember player characters are supposed to be the HEROES in the story. Let them have the stats to be heroic.

I'm sorry, I didn't know that having a discussion would ruin your fun. I don't use point buy and while I have control over magic items, and do excercise said control, I don't see a problem if the rules of the game are different as long as you aren't making that change in a currently running game.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

0gre wrote:

You could just make it more expensive to raise stats.

I played in a game where instead of being given an attribute boost ever 4 levels you were given a base point buy (for example 20 points) and 1 additional point for each level. So you would have to wait 4 levels to go from 18 strength to 19 but could advance from 12 to 13 after a single level.

Ooh, I really like this idea!

*steals for my own game*

Shadow Lodge

The perspective that you are somehow robbing the players of something by not allowing them to have 28 strength is amusing to me. The rules are set up so modules expect players to be at a certain power level (ability score being a part of that) at a specific CR. As long as you adjust challenges as appropriate there is no way you can 'screw the players'.

Grand Lodge

lastknightleft wrote:
I'm sorry, I didn't know that having a discussion would ruin your fun. I don't use point buy and while I have control over magic items, and do excercise said control, I don't see a problem if the rules of the game are different as long as you aren't making that change in a currently running game.

Okay, then do it old school, have them roll 3d6. The tools to make this work are there, you just have to use them. I have serious issues with GMs who get up in arms about players characters actually being good at what they are supposed to be good at, today's example is having really high stats, who cares if the player has a +6 or +7 from their stat alone, you as the GM have infinite monsters of infinite power at your disposal, and you want to rain on their parade? Shame on you.

You have the "Cuz I friggin' say so." power, why would you use it in a way your players can quantify? The more you use it in a way the players know about it, the more likely they are to complain.


0gre wrote:
The perspective that you are somehow robbing the players of something by not allowing them to have 28 strength is amusing to me. The rules are set up so modules expect players to be at a certain power level (ability score being a part of that) at a specific CR. As long as you adjust challenges as appropriate there is no way you can 'screw the players'.

Player entitlement is way out of control in my experience. For example, I have two players that have been playing for over 20 years but they both believe that the PCs should be able to win any encounter all the time. That is, the GM should never ever make them lose (to fall back to regroup or something). With that mindset, a session should be "the players walk in, do cool stuff, kill the bad guy and take their stuff. The end".

Now I'm not saying anyone's going that far here so please don't be offended, I'm just venting.

To me, it comes down to character growth. I'd rather my players and my characters grow from progressing the story rather than getting a new +1. Pathfinder is full of number inflation; it seems players care more about upgrading the +1 longsword to a +2 sword than saving the princess.

Sovereign Court

Kais86 wrote:
lastknightleft wrote:
I'm sorry, I didn't know that having a discussion would ruin your fun. I don't use point buy and while I have control over magic items, and do excercise said control, I don't see a problem if the rules of the game are different as long as you aren't making that change in a currently running game.
Okay, then do it old school, have them roll 3d6. The tools to make this work are there, you just have to use them. I have serious issues with GMs who get up in arms about players characters actually being good at what they are supposed to be good at, today's example is having really high stats, who cares if the player has a +6 or +7 from their stat alone, you as the GM have infinite monsters of infinite power at your disposal, and you want to rain on their parade? Shame on you.

Who said I'm up in arms over players being effective. I said that I don't like that stats lack a comparative connect to something in order to be properly roleplayed and that I don't like the heavy focus on stat building seen in SAD classes. If I'm opening a discussion to know what to expect from said changes then clearly I'm planning to make adjustments so that I'm not leaving my players in the lurch. You tell me in what way that knowing in advance at the start of the game that 20 is the highest your stat can be is screwing you, then you can claim this is me trying to make my PCs ineffective.

No instead you're here attributing me to some houserule some DM you played under instituted that you didn't like and telling me that I should be ashamed of myself for making changes to the rules of the game. Hey guess what, I also houseruled that reach weapons can hit creatures in adjacent squares for a -4 penalty, should I be ashamed of myself because this means a fighter with imp. unarmed strike isn't as effective because now anyone with a reach weapon can hit adjacent creatures, even though that rule was instituted at the start of the game so a player playing a fighter would already know that.

Oh and by the way if you don't like a DM's houserule, then DM for yourself and run whatever rules you like instead of telling random strangers that they should be ashamed of themselves for floating an idea around.

What would you do if a new edition of pathfinder came out and there was a stat cap in the new edition, would you run to the boards telling the designers that they should be ashamed of themselves for limiting a players power?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Kais86 wrote:


Seriously, the only thing any of this accomplishes is screwing over the player. Remember player characters are supposed to be the HEROES in the story. Let them have the stats to be heroic.

You certainly don't need a 33+ to be heroic. As I see it, capping stats really only "screws" the hard-core optimizer who can't change his play style. And at that point, he's really screwing himself.

Shadow Lodge

Kais86 wrote:
you want to rain on their parade? Shame on you.

I hate to break this to you but there is zero correlation between player enjoyment and ability scores.... ZERO ZILCH ZIP. In terms of player enjoyment, players don't go home crying because they don't see a 26 on their character sheet.

One of the most fun games I've played in a while was a game with a group of completely under-optimized pre-gens.

Grand Lodge

lastknightleft wrote:
Who said I'm up in arms over players being effective. I said that I don't like that stats lack a comparative connect to something in order to be properly roleplayed and that I don't like the heavy focus on stat building seen in SAD classes. If I'm opening a discussion to know what to expect from said changes then clearly I'm planning to make adjustments so that I'm not leaving my players in the lurch. You tell me in what way that knowing in advance at the start of the game that 20 is the highest your stat can be is screwing you, then you can claim this is me trying to make my PCs ineffective.

You wouldn't be suggesting a nerf to player stats if you weren't at least somewhat put off by them having good stats. Having stat maximums is silly, the average player character gets to be superhuman at one point or another in every game system, why limit one of those points? I wouldn't play in a game with maximum stats, it doesn't make sense to me. The monsters can get stats in the 30s-40s, why can't the PCs? By that alone it screws the players, they end up simply not having the stats Pathfinder expects them to have.

Especially when they are dealing with intelligent monsters, where the DM actually has to figure out what the monster has before running it, because it's a fair fight for under-statted characters when you don't give it gear, when you give it gear (like you should, it's an intelligent creature after all) it's a fight that could be their CR, but will beat them up, take their money, and eat their lunch.

As a side note: reducing numbers, makes the d20 more powerful, and no one likes that.

Grand Lodge

0gre wrote:
Kais86 wrote:
you want to rain on their parade? Shame on you.
I hate to break this to you but there is zero correlation between player enjoyment and ability scores.... ZERO ZILCH ZIP. In terms of player enjoyment, players don't go home crying because they don't see a 26 on their character sheet.

No, here's why: in Pathfinder it's very (perhaps ridiculously) easy to get stats in the 20s and 30s, when I suddenly can't do that, I get to looking at weird stuff that makes the GMs life really difficult. I don't want to make the GMs life difficult, but if I can't make my character more awesome, I'm doing something with that money, and the GM will not be pleased. See how this works? The cheese-monkey is going to cheese no matter what you do. In this particular scenario, he can't use stats so he's going to deal with more annoying stuff: spells.

I could have used a pseudonym or something, but I was feeling lazy.

The solution to the cheese-monkey, is the solution also least taken: remove them from the game.

@Bill: I know that, I'm concerned with more than just the player's fun, I'm trying to illustrate that putting arbitrary caps on players causes them to think about other ways to entertain themselves, which is usually painful for everyone else involved in the game. To that end the only person having fun is the player who is doing what he can with everything he has available, which is really just making the GMs life difficult, and he will eventually make a game of getting the GM to say "No, you can't do that, because I said so". That's why I previously suggested that you do that kind of stuff where the players won't notice.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
0gre wrote:
Kais86 wrote:
you want to rain on their parade? Shame on you.

I hate to break this to you but there is zero correlation between player enjoyment and ability scores.... ZERO ZILCH ZIP. In terms of player enjoyment, players don't go home crying because they don't see a 26 on their character sheet.

One of the most fun games I've played in a while was a game with a group of completely under-optimized pre-gens.

The number never bothered me. Whether its 16 or 36. Though I was kind of amused with the absurd str my dragon disciple had. It is more a matter of odds of success. I have been in games where monsters saved almost constantly against various abilities, and that, is not fun. I have had martial characters miss over and over (for various reasons) and that isnt fun. Capping stats at 20 will definately impact this.

However it seems to me the OP started the thread specifically so he knew what he'd have to adjust so this didnt happen, not so he could gloat about weakening his players. So to the OP i'd say be premptive about any stock monsters editing them as needed to match your players capabilities. And keep an eye on your players success rates, nothing feels less heroic then failing over and over.

Shadow Lodge

Kais86 ...

This has nothing to do with the topic at hand. You are assuming LKL is doing this in response to an annoying player and I don't believe this is the case.

Grand Lodge

0gre wrote:

Kais86 ...

This has nothing to do with the topic at hand. You are assuming LKL is doing this in response to an annoying player and I don't believe this is the case.

Even if it isn't, it's still silly. It's an arbitrary limitation, because for some reason, large numbers offend the OP. There is also the concern that one player will take exception to this rule and will then become a problem.

Shadow Lodge

Kolokotroni wrote:
0gre wrote:
Kais86 wrote:
you want to rain on their parade? Shame on you.

I hate to break this to you but there is zero correlation between player enjoyment and ability scores.... ZERO ZILCH ZIP. In terms of player enjoyment, players don't go home crying because they don't see a 26 on their character sheet.

One of the most fun games I've played in a while was a game with a group of completely under-optimized pre-gens.

The number never bothered me. Whether its 16 or 36. Though I was kind of amused with the absurd str my dragon disciple had. It is more a matter of odds of success. I have been in games where monsters saved almost constantly against various abilities, and that, is not fun. I have had martial characters miss over and over (for various reasons) and that isnt fun. Capping stats at 20 will definately impact this.

My assumption is *adjusting encounters as appropriate* and I think LKL has mentioned this as well.

There is no doubt that putting a cap on characters then using encounters designed with core assumptions is going to cause trouble.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

One more thing to OP, if you do go ahead with this thing seriously about rewards for your casters. Untill rods and staves become reasonable items, you wont be able to provide them with magic items that help them offensively. Players like magic toys. They particularly like when they enhance their abilities. For primary casters this is usually a stat boosting item. Wands and scrolls are nice but obviously they are temporary. If you go ahead with the cap, take a look at super genius guide to runestaves and wyrd wands. It would allow you to provide some treasure to casters on par with various levels of magic weapons that isnt a stat boosting item.

Shadow Lodge

Kais86 wrote:
0gre wrote:

Kais86 ...

This has nothing to do with the topic at hand. You are assuming LKL is doing this in response to an annoying player and I don't believe this is the case.

Even if it isn't, it's still silly. It's an arbitrary limitation, because for some reason, large numbers offend the OP. There is also the concern that one player will take exception to this rule and will then become a problem.

The game is full of arbitrary limitations. It's like saying a player might take exception to the limit on spells per day and become a problem. Or take exception to the limit on rounds of rage per day and become a problem...

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