SotDL-style ability scores (or, Alternative Condensed Ability Scores)


Homebrew and House Rules


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This thread is largely inspired by WhiteShark's
Condensed Ability Scores
.

Alternative Ability Scores presented in GMG are a very interesting concept of rebalancing the classic 6 ability scores by fundamentally changing them. However, it does have some issues - mainly, Strength becomes the new God Stat, while Dexterity becomes functionally useless. Refusing to split Dex into Agi and Dex fixes some problems, but Intelligence still needs a significant buff, and Wisdom is left slightly underpowered. So let's go one step further, and merge the mental stats too.

I propose reducing the number of attributes from 6 to 4, leaving ability scores very similar to those of Shadow of the Demon Lord - Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Willpower:

  • Strength does everything that both Strength and Constitution do;
  • Dexterity is mostly unchanged, but can be added to damage rolls with finesse attacks (if better than Strength);
  • Intelligence does everything both Intelligence and Wisdom do, with the exception of Will saves;
  • Willpower does everything Charisma does, and also applies to Will saves;
  • Backgrounds only give one boost;
  • The free boosts at 1, 5, 10, 15, and 20 are reduced in number from 4 to 3.

Constitution apex items become Strength apex items, Headband of Inspired Wisdom becomes Intelligence apex item, and Sage's Lash becomes Willpower apex item. Clerics, Druids, Monks, and Rangers can choose Intelligence or Willpower as their spellcasting attribute at the character creation. Thief racket can be reconceptualized as a skill-monkey racket, perhaps allowing you to reroll critically failed skill checks twice per day and giving trainings in Stealth and Thievery. Given that Strength-based characters now only need to concentrate on a single attribute, Bulwark trait can be removed from the game.

Sample Ability Scores through level 20 (Default Ability Scores)
10 10 10 10 10 10 base
12 12 10 10 10 10 ancestry
14 14 10 10 10 10 background
16 14 10 10 10 10 class
18 16 12 12 10 10 free
19 18 14 14 10 10 level 5
20 19 16 16 10 10 level 10
21 20 18 18 10 10 level 15
22 20 18 18 12 10 level 20

Sample Ability Scores through level 20 (SotDL-style Ability Scores)
10 10 10 10 base
12 12 10 10 ancestry
14 12 10 10 background
16 12 10 10 class
18 14 12 10 free
19 16 14 10 level 5
20 18 16 10 level 10
21 19 18 10 level 15
22 20 18 12 level 20

All in all, these new ability scores look remarkably balanced. Strength is important for HP and Fortitude saves, Dexterity is important for Reflex saves and several practically useful skills, Intelligence is important for Perception and utility skills, and Willpower is important for Will saves and social situations. Thoughts?


Really interesting.

My main concern is that it might result into the same character over and over.

I think that int will be dropped more than before, as not tied to armor class, hit and saves.

I'd give int the will save to balance.

This way players will tilt wondering whether to invest in int or char.

Another thing, since 4 out of 6 is worse than 3 out of 4 ( 33% vs 25% ), why not alternate increments?

Something like

Lvl 1 > character creation
Lvl 5 > 3x boosts
Lvl 10> 2x boosts
Lvl 15> 3x boosts
Lvl 20> 2x boosts


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Do you mean giving Int Will save on top of everything it already has? It would only work if you could apply the highest of Int and Wpw to Will saves. Otherwise, you'd be left with an ability score that determines Will saves, Perception (most importantly), Arcana, Crafting, Lore, Medicine, Nature, Occultism, Religion, Society, Survival, and the number of starting skill tranings, and an ability score that getermines Deception, Diplomacy, and Intimidation. It's pretty obvious which one is better. Even if you could choose a mental ability score to add to Will saves, Intelligence decides a lot more than Willpower. I think that you underestimate the power of Perception and 9 skills with additional skill trainings.

Alternating increments can work well, yeah. 3 boosts at 1st, 5th, and 15th levels, and 2 boosts at 10th and 20th levels result in 13/20 boost distribution compared to the standard 20/30. 65% versus 66%. Pretty neat.

If you do so, those are Sample Ability Scores through level 20 (SotDL-style Ability Scores)
10 10 10 10 base
12 12 10 10 ancestry
14 12 10 10 background
16 12 10 10 class
18 14 12 10 free
19 16 14 10 level 5
20 18 14 10 level 10
21 19 16 10 level 15
22 20 16 10 level 20

Perhaps, backgrounds can still give 2 boosts with this variant of these rules. If you dump Intelligence in this set-up, you effectively dump both Intelligence and Wisdom (except for the Will saves). It's more punishing to leave ability scores low.


I get your point, but I am not underestimating the power of 9 skills + lores, but rather considering Combat oriented characters ( in addition to the benefit of Saves and the power of a single +1 in this 2e ).

For example, a DEX combatant or a STR combatant would result in hitting 22 in their main stat and either 18 or 20 in STR/DEX and CON.

What I mean is that I doubt I'll see a character like that investing in int rather than charisma simply because:

- It wont give combat oriented skill bonuses ( Bon mot, Feint, Demoralize ).
- It wont give will saves ( it would result in 3 less points in will saves ).
- It would drastically lower social skills ( -3 as for saves ).

I've already seen this in almost all the 2e games I happened to see ( I mean characters dropping int to 10/12 ), with some exceptions:

- Int based characters, like wizard, witch or alchemist
- Dedication requirements ( to take sxsome you need 14 int )
- Some spellcaster who wants to also have some bonuses to knowledge/lore skills ( for example, a bard with bardic lore ), sacrificing something else ( HP/Fort , Stealth/reflex or WILL ).

I agree that the modify you made gives more dignify to INT, but I won't give it for granted it would be enough for players to invest into it.


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That's a valid point, but I struggle to think of the solution. The raw value of Int, if we ignore Will saves, is much greater than that of Willpower - 8 skills, Lores, Perception, and skill trainings are vastly superior to 3 skills, even if they are applicable in combat (as Perception is applicable in every combat by virtue of being used for initiative, and skills like Crafting and Medicine are essential for every party). Willpower needs to have Will saves to remain competitve.

The one solution I have is to copy WhiteShark's buff to Int - characters would also receive a number of skill increases equal to their Int mod, in addition to skill trainings and everything else. Would that make Int too powerful, when combined with the other changes I made?

On an unrelated note, those are Sample Ability Scores through level 20 if we don't cut the ability boosts from backgrounds
10 10 10 10 base
12 12 10 10 ancestry
14 14 10 10 background
16 14 10 10 class
18 16 12 10 free
19 18 14 10 level 5
20 19 14 10 level 10
21 20 16 10 level 15
22 20 16 12 level 20


Pyrurge wrote:


The one solution I have is to copy WhiteShark's buff to Int - characters would also receive a number of skill increases equal to their Int mod, in addition to skill trainings and everything else. Would that make Int too powerful, when combined with the other changes I made?

I like it but, to be entirely honset, I don't really know whether it would be too much or not, considering the other changes.

We can make a comparison with the lvl 8 rogue ( investigator has one too ) feat "Skill Mastery"

Quote:

PFS Standard

Skill Mastery (Rogue)
Feat 8
Archetype
Source Core Rulebook pg. 229 2.0
Archetype Rogue
Prerequisites Rogue Dedication; trained in at least one skill and expert in at least one skill
Increase your proficiency rank in one of your skills from expert to master and in another of your skills from trained to expert. You gain a skill feat associated with one of the skills you chose.

Special You can select this feat up to five times.

The skill increase you were talking about would have been something meant to give Trained > Expert or just a rank up regardless the level?

Or even, depending on the character int score?

For example:

int 12-16 ( 3 skills From trained to expert )
int 18-20 ( 3 skills from trained to expert and 2 from expert to master )
int 22-24 ( 3 skills from trained to expert, 2 from expert to master and 2 from master to legendary ).

A rogue is going to get 6 legendary skills from lvl 15 to 20, and a wizard/witch/alchemist might achieve 5.

I don't really know.

Anyway, if you have the possibility you should test it with the modifies you proposed in your first post. Maybe it will turn out that the modifies are enough to lure players into spending points in int.

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