Spreading Out Ability Boosts

Creating a Character

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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I was looking at the table and thinking. What if you got advancement ability boosts at every level except 1st, 6th, 11th, and 16th level. On those levels you get a clean slate of what characteristics you can choose to add them to.

So at first level you have a clean slate. Second level, you choose to advance STR, third level you can't choose STR so you choose DEX. Then fourth level you choose WIS, and fifth level you choose CHA. Then on sixth level you don't get to choose one, but your choices reset.

This way you don't 'suddenly' jump up in more than half your attributes at one level advancement.

I see the simplicity of four attribute boosts every five levels, and not choosing the same attribute twice in that one selection. But it also feels like a lot of eggs in one basket. So I suggest spreading it out could be considered a functional optional rule to allow characters to progress more evenly at they gather levels.

It would smooth things out a bit. Maybe a simpler way to say it (though not quite the same) is you get a boost most levels as shown but once you boost an ability you cannot give it another boost until you have gained 5 levels.

As an alternative rule for general game design you could also just get a boost every level than maybe need to wait 4 or 5 levels before getting another boost in the same score. It would be more boosts overall but it would be smoother and more uniform. Not sure if it would be worth it though.

Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'd thought about just getting a extra boost every level, and not skipping 6, 11, and 16 but realized that that would be three extra unplanned attribute boosts, so was worried about the potential impact.

What if one available boost was damage dice? But it could only boost attacks who's attack modifier was tied to an attribute which was boosted already.

So if a fighter chose STR at second level, he could then choose attack boost. Any attacks which used his STR as there attack bonus would then do an extra innate die of damage. (So thrown, or other ranged weapons would not benefit)

If he waits and makes his 3rd bonus DEX, then at fourth level he could choose Attack Boost and would be able to add the extra die of damage for any attack using STR or DEX.

There would be an incentive to delay buying the attack boost, and someone who doesn't mind being dependent on magic might forego even choosing the attack boost, instead grabbing an extra boost on an attribute.

You wouldn't be allowed to have more than one boost in any one type, reset which boosts are available at 6/11/16th levels. It is an interesting idea. Of note, by resetting choices, it enables a bit more flexibility on the order in which someone chooses to advance things. If you say you can't advance something until after 5 levels have passed, that means if STR was the last thing you advanced, it means you'll have to wait until the end of the next cycle to advance it again. (not horrible, since before you had to wait til the end to advance them all at once)

Personally, I care less about the distribution and more about the jankiness that is +1 if 18+. For one, it's literally the only place you still see odd ability scores. But it's also endemic of a problem with ability scores as a whole. They want them to be soft-capped at about 20, but also want you to be able to start with an 18 and a 16.

Contrast with D&D 5e. It has a soft cap at 18 and a hard cap at 20. Adventurers League (PFS equivalent) uses 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8. And point buy gives 27 points, all scores start at 8, each increase is 1 point, and there's a cap of 15 before racials.

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