Why do stat increases slow down after you have an 18 in a stat?


Creating a Character


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Why do stat increases slow down after you have an 18 in a stat?

Is there a good reason for this and even if does it make sense to have it slow at 18 and not 20?


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Balance. It serves a double purpose, it tightens the end math by ~2, and it incentivizes players to diversify their attributes a bit, especially when their secondary stat that starts as a 16 can't hit 22, so they need to dump it somewhere else. When one of your tertiary skills hits 18, will you dump the +1 into it and get nothing for it, or will you dump the +2 into one of your lower abilities that nets you a measurable result immediately.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

This is a really good question.

It's one of the 1st things I'm going to houserule.

At 1st level, if you have a Barbarian with 18 Str and 10 Int, if you advance both stats, at level 20 you'll have a Str of 22 and an Int of 18. Basically the same thing.

To me, it doesn't feel right that your greatest weakness is now nearly as strong as your greatest strength.

26 Str and 18 Int is OK.

In PF2 they want to make all characters to be within the same parameters, therefore we are all the same. I can handle a little but not excessive amounts of this.


Abyssiensis wrote:

Why do stat increases slow down after you have an 18 in a stat?

Is there a good reason for this and even if does it make sense to have it slow at 18 and not 20?

Off-topic but hello player, I have found one of you.


Jason S wrote:

This is a really good question.

It's one of the 1st things I'm going to houserule.

At 1st level, if you have a Barbarian with 18 Str and 10 Int, if you advance both stats, at level 20 you'll have a Str of 22 and an Int of 18. Basically the same thing.

To me, it doesn't feel right that your greatest weakness is now nearly as strong as your greatest strength.

26 Str and 18 Int is OK.

In PF2 they want to make all characters to be within the same parameters, therefore we are all the same. I can handle a little but not excessive amounts of this.

Except if you're buffing it (i.e. working on it: Reading books, getting taught by the wizard etc) every chance you can get it wouldn't be your greatest weakness any more. One of the stats you've not raised (or raised less) would be, and that would have a much greater relative distance than 22-18.

But, more on topic, I do like the idea of the soft cap. Helps keep things (relatively) balanced.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Well, certain class/ancestry combinations simply cannot start with an 18 in their primary stat (Dwarf Sorcerers, Goblin Druids, Gnome Barbarians), and while in PF1 these combinations were widely considered unplayable without a specific option which changes the primary stat (e.g. Empyreal Bloodline sorcerers), one of the goals of PF2 was to make all these things viable if not optimal.

So since a Dwarf who puts everything into charisma starts at 16, if stat boosts didn't slow down at 18 they would be down +1 for their entire career versus a non-Dwarf who started with an 18 in Charisma. With the slow-down, you have the Dwarf be a +1 behind for exactly half their career (even for levels 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, behind otherwise). Which helps make these combinations more viable. Gnomes are still better bards, they are just +5% better half the time instead of all the time.

So if I was going to house rule "all stat boosts are +2" I would probably also want to house rule out ability flaws from one's ancestry, which would require rebalancing humans somehow.

Additionally this helps minimize the advantage SAD classes have over MAD classes, since choosing not to boost your primary stat to 18 so you can spread your bonuses around because you need a bunch of stats doesn't set you back as much.


Thank you for your responses.

Particularly possiblecabbage, it makes sense that this method allows for people with sub optimal races for the main stat to be on par, for half of the levels.

One thing I liked about the theoretical slowdown option, where stat progression slows after 20 instead is it resulted in your maxed stats at level 20 being identical, this felt nice thematically, but is probably worse balance wise.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
CommanderCoyler wrote:
Except if you're buffing it (i.e. working on it: Reading books, getting taught by the wizard etc) every chance you can get it wouldn't be your greatest weakness any more. One of the stats you've not raised (or raised less) would be, and that would have a much greater relative distance than 22-18.

You can argue anything you want, but this wasn't the case in PF1.

In real life, after 20, your strengths and weakness don't change much. I'm not talking about training skills, I'm talking about your raw ability to do certain things.

In real life, focusing on your weaknesses just makes you mediocre at several things. I've studied professional athletes and they will all tell you to spend the majority of your time improving your strengths.

It's just a game, not real life, but I'm more than OK saying that not all races are equal, and that some races are just better than others at certain things.


It is to balance out races who can't get to an 18 at level 1.

It also helps to encourage more diverse builds. In PF2 there is no stat that you can do "without" you need all of them to function.

Strength - Even if a Dex-to-Damage Rogue or Wizard will help carry things. The Bag of Holding alone won't cut it.

Dexterity - Everyone needs AC and Reflex Save

Constitution - More HP and higher Fort Save

Intelligence - More Skill Bonuses, More Skills.

Wisdom - Will save, Perception, and mostly Initiative.

Charisma - Resonance and Charisma based skills.

-----

Example Paladin:

01: 18/12/10/10/12/16
05: 19/14/12/10/12/18
10: 20/16/14/10/14/18
15: 21/16/16/10/16/19
20: 22/16/18/12/18/20

Example Wizard:

01: 10/16/12/18/12/10
05: 10/18/14/19/14/10
10: 10/19/16/20/16/10
15: 12/20/18/21/16/10
20: 14/20/18/22/18/12

Example Rogue:

01: 10/18/12/10/16/12
05: 10/19/14/10/18/14
10: 12/20/16/10/19/14
15: 12/21/18/10/20/16
20: 14/22/18/12/20/18

etc etc


9 people marked this as a favorite.
HWalsh wrote:
It also helps to encourage more diverse builds.

I personally don't find this a good thing. If I put points into a stat I want it to be because that's what I want to do and not because the system forces you too. IMO, this produces LESS diverse stats as in encourages less highs and lows and more middleground. I'm not sure why it's 'bad' to not improve some of your stats.

Secondly, as things stands you're looking at a coin toss with a maxed out stat/skill/tool/ect: this means that bumping up a low stat up 2 is fairly meaningless as far as skills go. This pretty much applies to Int increases too for bonus skills as signature skills gate skill advancement so trained skills quickly lose relevance.

So IMO you're looking at your save stats and your main stat[s] and the others really don't have a 'need' to be raised. This is almost 100% for combat reasons and signature skills you raise.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

One positive function is that it makes 16/16 top stat builds a viable long term strategy.

But I'd really rather there just was a max cap at like, 22 (or even 20, with a max of 16 before racial ancestral? modifiers)


Assuming it is the cause of this paradigm, they could easily solve the "2 behind" problem by allowing two of the free boosts from the last ability score step to be applied to one stat, so long as this didn't bring it over 18. Thus a halfling could still end up with 18 Str in the last step, but then they'd only have two boosts left to spend instead of three.


This way of ability score increase was used in Starfinder, and in practice it's actually very good, and healthy for the game. In particular when you have certain things that scale by 1-1/2 times any particular attribute.

For save DC, this slows high level growth, as DCs are already increasing by your level, and other factors. So it stops high end things from blowing ahead, while simultaneously letting those who start low end in a respectable area.

For things like damage and hit chance, it stops the +2 every 5 levels on min-maxers that debalances high level play. Starting at max lets you achieve a higher result, but since the variance between starting high and ending ends around a 2 point difference monsters don't need to be tuned higher for this potential maximum (a PFS problem noticable in Shattered Star). It also means everyone is actually capable of contributing meaningfully.


Also, you need to realise that Paizo has placed a hard cap on Ability Scores of 24. The current system allows a character to start with an 18 in their primary stat, increase it at every chance (getting no benefit at 5th and 5th levels), then add a +2 ability score boosting magic item to allow them to get up to that 24 in a single stat.

Allowing stat increases to continue improving by +2 after 18, would mess with what I'm guessing is their carefully curated math, allowing a character to have a non-magically boosted ability score of 24 at 15th level. And if the hard cap on ability scores is kept, then you're very likely to see several ability scores above 20 at 20th level, when the default method means you're more likely to spread some of those boosts to less useful ability scores once the more important ones hit 18.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

It rewards spreading your stats around to be allround character.

you can have specialized:

22,20,20,18,12,10.

or balanced:

20,18,18,18,18,16.

That is only if magic items for abilites don't fall from sky :D


It wouldn't matter if they did. You can only benefit from a single Potent (Stat Increasing) Item at a time.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
NorthernDruid wrote:

One positive function is that it makes 16/16 top stat builds a viable long term strategy.

But I'd really rather there just was a max cap at like, 22 (or even 20, with a max of 16 before racial ancestral? modifiers)

I think taking stats to 20 instead of 18 wouldn't be too overpowering but if its power creep your worried about perhaps removing one of the character creation steps is in order.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

But, I would rather see +2 to two abilities at every even level than +2 to 4 abilities every 5 levels.

And put a hard cap of 22 to abilities.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

If you need a role playing reason think of it like when you go the the gym you can get to a certain point easily but to get higher it takes exponentially more effort so your progress slows.


It also allows you to start with a 14 in a stat and still end up only a +1 behind the maximum possible.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
HWalsh wrote:

It is to balance out races who can't get to an 18 at level 1.

It also helps to encourage more diverse builds. In PF2 there is no stat that you can do "without" you need all of them to function.

Strength - Even if a Dex-to-Damage Rogue or Wizard will help carry things. The Bag of Holding alone won't cut it.

Dexterity - Everyone needs AC and Reflex Save

Constitution - More HP and higher Fort Save

Intelligence - More Skill Bonuses, More Skills.

Wisdom - Will save, Perception, and mostly Initiative.

Charisma - Resonance and Charisma based skills.

-----

Example Paladin:

01: 18/12/10/10/12/16
05: 19/14/12/10/12/18
10: 20/16/14/10/14/18
15: 21/16/16/10/16/19
20: 22/16/18/12/18/20

Example Wizard:

01: 10/16/12/18/12/10
05: 10/18/14/19/14/10
10: 10/19/16/20/16/10
15: 12/20/18/21/16/10
20: 14/20/18/22/18/12

Example Rogue:

01: 10/18/12/10/16/12
05: 10/19/14/10/18/14
10: 12/20/16/10/19/14
15: 12/21/18/10/20/16
20: 14/22/18/12/20/18

etc etc

Well, first please don't take me as I being rude because it's not my intention, but...

Your examples don't proof your statements
The rules don't proof your statements.

I explain: you have said that this encourages diverse builds.
Then you show some examples in which the soft cap don't deter people in buying points above 18.
If soft cap works, it means that you are not buying above 18 because it is suboptimal (indeed I wouldn't buy above 18 especially because as a usual-wizard player, INT is a stupid stat, and I wouldn't increase it above 16 or even 14)

Clarify: if soft cap works it is because you don't buy 20 or 22.
If you still buy it, you are simply being penalized.

So: soft cap "completely" working means exactly that you don't buy 20, so you don't raise above 18.
A player that wants to avoid soft cap would end with 5 18's and one 16's. Making this the less divers stat builds ever in the history of RPG.

If you want to prove it you should compare a character with and a player withou softcap, that would be changing 22's to 26's and 20's to 22's
What is the difference between "your" characters in soft cap and no cap. Well, the difference is that the soft cap players are less powerful and less specialized (not having so high attributes)

Now, make the difference between a character without soft cap (the ones you have written but with 22 and 26), and a player who has been scared out of >18's by soft cap, this is one player that has distributed its increases in order to avoid >18s (18,18,18,18,18,16)

the comparison with both shows:
no soft cap, are specialized and diverse
soft cap not working, are the same as no soft cap, but less powerful
soft cap working, all the players are almost the same (choose your 16 obviously INT)

TL;DR: soft cap may result in two different strategies:
1- I don't care => less powerful builds
2- I care => the same build for all characters

with all the variations in the middle.
sorry you are wrong


Aadgarvven wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

It is to balance out races who can't get to an 18 at level 1.

It also helps to encourage more diverse builds. In PF2 there is no stat that you can do "without" you need all of them to function.

Strength - Even if a Dex-to-Damage Rogue or Wizard will help carry things. The Bag of Holding alone won't cut it.

Dexterity - Everyone needs AC and Reflex Save

Constitution - More HP and higher Fort Save

Intelligence - More Skill Bonuses, More Skills.

Wisdom - Will save, Perception, and mostly Initiative.

Charisma - Resonance and Charisma based skills.

-----

Example Paladin:

01: 18/12/10/10/12/16
05: 19/14/12/10/12/18
10: 20/16/14/10/14/18
15: 21/16/16/10/16/19
20: 22/16/18/12/18/20

Example Wizard:

01: 10/16/12/18/12/10
05: 10/18/14/19/14/10
10: 10/19/16/20/16/10
15: 12/20/18/21/16/10
20: 14/20/18/22/18/12

Example Rogue:

01: 10/18/12/10/16/12
05: 10/19/14/10/18/14
10: 12/20/16/10/19/14
15: 12/21/18/10/20/16
20: 14/22/18/12/20/18

etc etc

Well, first please don't take me as I being rude because it's not my intention, but...

Your examples don't proof your statements
The rules don't proof your statements.

I explain: you have said that this encourages diverse builds.
Then you show some examples in which the soft cap don't deter people in buying points above 18.
If soft cap works, it means that you are not buying above 18 because it is suboptimal (indeed I wouldn't buy above 18 especially because as a usual-wizard player, INT is a stupid stat, and I wouldn't increase it above 16 or even 14)

Clarify: if soft cap works it is because you don't buy 20 or 22.
If you still buy it, you are simply being penalized.

So: soft cap "completely" working means exactly that you don't buy 20, so you don't raise above 18.
A player that wants to avoid soft cap would end with 5 18's and one 16's. Making this the less divers stat builds ever in the history of RPG.

If you want to prove it you should compare a character with and a player withou...

Sorry, wrong, it is even worse:

19/18/18/18/18/18


Igor Horvat wrote:

It rewards spreading your stats around to be allround character.

you can have specialized:

22,20,20,18,12,10.

or balanced:

20,18,18,18,18,16.

That is only if magic items for abilites don't fall from sky :D

Even more:

19/18/18/18/18/18

Grand Lodge

Another Suggestion...

all stat increases are +2.

stat progression changes as follows
10-12 +0
13-14 +1
15-16 +2
17-18 +3
19-20 +4
21-22 +5 etc...

even more extreme
10-12 +0
13-15 +1
16-18 +2
19-21 +3
22-24 +4
25-27 +5 etc...

to the totally ludicrous
10-14 -1
15-19 +0
20-24 +1
25-29 +2 etc...

yes I'm toying with the math here but then what does these numbers really mean?

Those that remember AD&D probably recall the hardship of playing a character with stats as low as 6 and that was still part of the game. I actually enjoyed playing the non-charismatic dwarf stereo types who belched at the ladies.

The progression of stats over the years has lead to this mentality that your character doesnt shape up if its core ability score isnt 18 or higher! So why limit the increase at a certain point? Just reduce or shift the increase to fit your balance.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Aadgarvven wrote:

So: soft cap "completely" working means exactly that you don't buy 20, so you don't raise above 18.

A player that wants to avoid soft cap would end with 5 18's and one 16's. Making this the less divers stat builds ever in the history of RPG.
If you want to prove it you should compare a character with and a player withou softcap, that would be changing 22's to 26's and 20's to 22's
What is the difference between "your" characters in soft cap and no cap. Well, the difference is that the soft cap players are less powerful and less specialized (not having so high attributes)

Exactly. The soft cap promotes us to raise our prime stat (maybe) and then raise everything else to 18.

At level 20 we will have the least diverse characters in any RPG.

22/18/18/18/16/14 (if you want to boost your prime stat)
or
19/18/18/18/18/18 (overall boost)


You'd probably want to remove at least some of the FOUR(!) +2 increases you get every 5 levels if you removed the soft cap. That's a lot of extra stats.

Grand Lodge

Going to throw another suggestion out there. This one doesn't directly focus on the OP topic but does "influence" it more.

Change Character Progression as follows...

Step 1: Start at 6!

Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Player Rules / Creating a Character / Why do stat increases slow down after you have an 18 in a stat? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Creating a Character