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Thread: Depowering Con

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    Default Depowering Con

    Con is proportionately more useful to low-hp classes, because it represents a bigger percentage increase on their hp total. There is a game0-incentive to create characters that are not in-keeping with traditional fantasy tropes. Even aside that, Con is widely considered a god-stat, necessary for any build because of the bonus hp it provides. How would the following change affect things:

    • Con provides half its bonus (round down) to hit points per level.
    • Con provides its full bonus to Fort saves, Concentration checks, and the other usual effects associated with Con.
    • Con provides its full bonus to negative hit points per level.


    Likely ramifications?

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    Default Re: Depowering Con

    So, the only change is to nerf the bonus HP per level from high con, while still penalizing characters with low con?
    I've never seen con as a god stat. It's better at higher levels, but from 1-5, I'd rather have the dex to avoid hits entirely. And, as anyone who dabbles in the meta can probably tell you, at the higher levels of play HP matters less and less as wizards and other casters get bigger and better tide-turning spells. What good is your HP when you get mind controlled, or paralyzed, or anything else that completely disables you?
    With your change, it seems the only classes getting seriously penalized are the tanks/fighters/barbarians and other low-tier melee classes. A large portion of their HP comes from con, whereas the wizard only builds con if he has the points to spare.
    A wizard with 14 con gets nerfed a whole lot less than a barb with 20, especially since half the bonus HP from the barb's rage is now gone.
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    Default Re: Depowering Con

    Interesting that gaining and losing a level would decrease your HP total.

    I agree somewhat with gr8artist. I think it might be wiser to explicitly look at what you want to do, and base mechanics around it.

    Goal: make con not "proportionately more useful to low-hp classes"

    Solution: Alter con bonuses to HP based on hit dice.

    Examples:
    • Max HP Bonus/Level is equal to HD size. +4 Con is still quite a lot of wiggle room, so doubtful.
    • After level 1, max HP per level is equal to HD. Assuming using average rolls (so 2/3 for D4s), a wizard would get full benefit from the first +1, and half from an additional +1. Barbarians and warblades would gain full benefit from the first +5, which is largely uncapped for our purposes.
    • Sliding scale, probably balanced around D8. A D8 HD gains +1 HP from every 2 point of con above 10, as normal. A D10 gains 2 HP from every 3 points of con above 10. A D12 gains either 3:4. Meanwhile, a D6 HD gains only 1 HP from every 3 points of con above 10, and a D4 HD goes 1:4, or exactly half, which is what you initially suggested. Downside: Overcomplicated, moreso with multiclassing.
    • Diminishing returns. Maybe Con gives +1/2 up to half your HD size and +1/4 after. Maybe another formula. Also somewhat complicated.

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    Default Re: Depowering Con

    Make it so that if a character's Strength is higher than his Constitution, that's where the bonus hit points come from. I think this would actually work quite well for constructs (instead of their bonus hit points). Maybe undead, too.

    To keep characters more in line with fantasy tropes, you'll probably have to have less permissive character generation systems. Much lower point buy or else an organic dice roll method.

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    Default Re: Depowering Con

    As long as bonus health is attached to a stat, it will be a universal priority. (Or, at least, a universal "if you've got the points left after your primary stat). If you really want to eliminate the dependance, you'd have to remove the stat-to-hit-points aspect altogether.

    On the other hand, if you do take hit points away from Con, then the stat becomes pretty crappy, applying to Fortitude, one situationally useful skill, and nothing else.

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    Default Re: Depowering Con

    A nice idea, but not the solution i think. So long as Con is in a situation where you can't really take a negative value it's always going to be at worst a demi-god stat.

    I've also got a lot of issues with HP generation and scaling overall to boot.

    One idea i'm tossing around was to have each level give you either a fixed number of HP * your new level, or 1HD * Level, with you also getting a large dose of initial HP's equal to 10 * a maximised HD. Apart from addressing some issues i have with HP's and scaling in general, if Con is just a flat Level * Con addition to the prior total, it's not going to represent anywhere near as a big a fraction of HP's, even on a wizard with absolutely maxed con, (using a variant ability score system i'm contemplating, +340 would be the maximum). The catch of course is that doing so would require every aspect of damage causing and the like to be overhauled.

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    Default Re: Depowering Con

    If what you're really worried about is wizards improving Con to help HP, you could always take a page from Legend. In Legend, they don't have Str to attacks, Dex to AC and ranged, Con to HP. They have KOM (Key Offensive Modifier, varies by class) to ALL attacks and KDM (Key Defensive Modifier, varies by class) to AC and HP. So everyone can have decent AC and HP, but still be just as thematically and flavorfully appropriate.
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    Default Re: Depowering Con

    Any way you slice it, this is lowering the number of hit points available to front-liners. This means that they'll be more fragile and more likely to be downed in combat.

    The best houserule I found to solve that particular problem was to make PC Hit Dice grant maximum hit points per level. It let me throw really tough encounters with multiple enemies at the party, and they got to feel awesome having brutal combat with them.
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    Default Re: Depowering Con

    Ideally, I'd combine this with some kind of fixed hp per level depending on HD (ie. no rolling hit pints) or at least make that a viable game option. Given that condition...

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    Max HP Bonus/Level is equal to HD size. +4 Con is still quite a lot of wiggle room, so doubtful.
    So wizards would be limited to +4 from Con, through to barbarians with +12? That's was actually my primary fix, but as noted, it doesn't really offer a meaningful limit to wizards, since they're never going to have 20+ Con anyway except under extreme optimisation.

    After level 1, max HP per level is equal to HD. Assuming using average rolls (so 2/3 for D4s), a wizard would get full benefit from the first +1, and half from an additional +1. Barbarians and warblades would gain full benefit from the first +5, which is largely uncapped for our purposes.
    So upper limit is equal to the lower of die size or die roll + Con mod? That kind of works, except it means you have to roll for it to be meaningful.

    Sliding scale, probably balanced around D8. A D8 HD gains +1 HP from every 2 point of con above 10, as normal. A D10 gains 2 HP from every 3 points of con above 10. A D12 gains either 3:4. Meanwhile, a D6 HD gains only 1 HP from every 3 points of con above 10, and a D4 HD goes 1:4, or exactly half, which is what you initially suggested. Downside: Overcomplicated, moreso with multiclassing.
    Yeah, way too complicated.

    Diminishing returns. Maybe Con gives +1/2 up to half your HD size and +1/4 after. Maybe another formula. Also somewhat complicated.
    Yep.


    Maybe something like this table? It limits the classes intended to be weaker, while giving essentially no limit to the warrior classes.

    {table=head]Hit Die | Max Con Bonus to hit points
    d4 | +1 (12 Con)
    d6 | +3 (16 Con)
    d8 | +6 (22 Con)
    d10 | +10 (30 Con)
    d12 | +15 (40 Con)
    [/table]

    nb. The max Con bonus only affects hit points. All other benefits of a high Con are unaffected.
    Last edited by Ashtagon; 2013-09-03 at 11:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Depowering Con

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    hit pints
    this needs to be extrapolated into an entire system


    anyway, so long as each stat provides asymetric benefits, there will always be something preferred.
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    Default Re: Depowering Con

    You could just take the 4E approach of having Con only affect hit points at first level. After that, just hit dice. Maybe add a bonus based on the size of the hit die, because otherwise everyone has fewer hp which can be problematic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
    this needs to be extrapolated into an entire system.
    Oddly, I remember a very old magazine article (either White Dwarf or Imagine) from the 1980s, that focused on vampires in 1e AD&D. It went into rather odd detail about calculating how much blood a person has, and the effects that a vampire taking a pint would have. It also had stats for various ranks of elder vampire and rules for "Renfields".

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    Default Re: Depowering Con

    This will not fix Con. It will result in one of two things:
    • If Con doesn't affect HP enough to matter in a fight, or the cap is too low, it is now not a useful stat.
    • If Con affects HP by enough to matter in a fight, it is still the god stat that it was before.


    Increasing overall HP and having Con do less will just mean NPC glass cannons are tankier, it won't stop people from wanting to maximize Con so they minimize their chance of death. Even if you removed Con's impact on HP entirely, it would just feed into the new God Stat of Dexterity (for initiative, AC, and a save).

    If you don't want players to maximize the stats that provide defensive bonuses, then stats cannot provide defensive bonuses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Yep. [/SPOILER]

    Maybe something like this table? It limits the classes intended to be weaker, while giving essentially no limit to the warrior classes.

    {table=head]Hit Die | Max Con Bonus
    d4 | +1 (12 Con)
    d6 | +3 (16 Con)
    d8 | +6 (22 Con)
    d10 | +10 (30 Con)
    d12 | +15 (40 Con)
    [/table]
    No, just no, you just effectively killed an Incarnate by not only limiting health but limiting essentia investment. Incarnum characters need high bonuses to match their intended max essentia invested in order to invest it to the maxiumum.
    If hedging a low health base is what you are worried just give a total health cap, die roll+con. modifier. Also the argument of never dumping constitution could also apply to Intelligence. This attribute not only is a bonus to many skills but determines how many skill points you get. Low skill class characters need a competent intelligence to make sure they can diversify into feats and PrC's, however I believe Savage Species said you can't have 0 skill points a level. Therefore you could just say they at least gain half their hit die roll in health.
    Last edited by Amnoriath; 2013-09-03 at 11:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Depowering Con

    Con needs fixing?

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    I'd like to note that I'm not at all sure Con is really in such a terrible position right now; it is of nigh-universal importance, yes, but almost always as a secondary or tertiary stat. No Wizard guides instruct you to prioritize Con over Int, no Fighter guides recommend you finagle some way to get 18 or 20 Con at first level at any cost, and no one tells Rangers that Con is their most important stat. It's simply useful to everyone, and everyone wants it to be somewhere between 12 and 16 to start with.

    But what's wrong with that? Do we want another dump stat like Cha, where most want it to be as low as possible? Or like Int, even? I'd say Con is pretty well designed on the whole; it's possible to trade it away to some degree, but unwise to do so too much, and equally unwise to idolize it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TuggyNE View Post
    I'd like to note that I'm not at all sure Con is really in such a terrible position right now; it is of nigh-universal importance, yes, but almost always as a secondary or tertiary stat. No Wizard guides instruct you to prioritize Con over Int, no Fighter guides recommend you finagle some way to get 18 or 20 Con at first level at any cost, and no one tells Rangers that Con is their most important stat. It's simply useful to everyone, and everyone wants it to be somewhere between 12 and 16 to start with.

    But what's wrong with that? Do we want another dump stat like Cha, where most want it to be as low as possible? Or like Int, even? I'd say Con is pretty well designed on the whole; it's possible to trade it away to some degree, but unwise to do so too much, and equally unwise to idolize it.
    Amen

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    Default Re: Depowering Con

    But what's wrong with that?
    Everything you just said?

    Seriously listen to yourself, your going around saying nobody takes con as a dump stat, nobody takes it as an average stat. It's always a main stat for everyone, (i.e. one of the top 2 or 3 prioritised stats),

    There's no other stat that has this. In a system where typically only 3 stats can be god or better, and at least one is usually a dump stat that's a sure sign of an overpowered stat.

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    Default Re: Depowering Con

    Quote Originally Posted by Amnoriath View Post
    No, just no, you just effectively killed an Incarnate by not only limiting health but limiting essentia investment. Incarnum characters need high bonuses to match their intended max essentia invested in order to invest it to the maxiumum.
    If hedging a low health base is what you are worried just give a total health cap, die roll+con. modifier. Also the argument of never dumping constitution could also apply to Intelligence. This attribute not only is a bonus to many skills but determines how may skill points you get. Low skill class characters need a competent intelligence to make sure they can diversify into feats and PrC's, however I believe Savage Species said you can't have 0 skill points a level. Therefore you could just say they at least gain half their hit die in health.


    That max Con bonus is intended to apply solely to hit points per level. All other benefits of a high Con are unaffected.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    Everything you just said?

    Seriously listen to yourself, your going around saying nobody takes con as a dump stat, nobody takes it as an average stat. It's always a main stat for everyone, (i.e. one of the top 2 or 3 prioritised stats),

    There's no other stat that has this. In a system where typically only 3 stats can be god or better, and at least one is usually a dump stat that's a sure sign of an overpowered stat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post


    That max Con bonus is intended to apply solely to hit points per level. All other benefits of a high Con are unaffected.
    The table only said max con. bonus, not health. What problems do you have with the rest of what was said? I say those two do far more in resolving in optimizing or dumping constitution than what you put down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TuggyNE View Post
    But what's wrong with that? Do we want another dump stat like Cha, where most want it to be as low as possible? Or like Int, even? I'd say Con is pretty well designed on the whole; it's possible to trade it away to some degree, but unwise to do so too much, and equally unwise to idolize it.
    why not go the reverse extreme, we dump cha and str out the game

    at least thinking about it, all the skills cha works with are basically non-sensical in how the skill works (im great at talking through people's biases, oh, but i also wield words like swords, so im even better at it) while strength's realistic "this is how much you can carry" is accompanied by the unrealistic improved combat ability.
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    Default Re: Depowering Con

    Quote Originally Posted by Amnoriath View Post
    The table only said max con. bonus, not health. What problems do you have with the rest of what was said? I say those two do far more in resolving in optimizing or dumping constitution than what you put down.
    I've edited the table to clarify that. But in the context of the OP, I had hoped it would be obvious that the intent was to limit hp to low-hd classes. Apparently it was not as obvious as I had expected.

    Given that the rest of what you said relied on an incorrect assumption that the limit applied to all aspects of Con, it isn't something I was ever wanting to limit and so is not affected.


    Yes, I suppose an incarnate character who maxes out Con is limited to a +3 hp/hd instead of +whatever. It's a d6 hd class, so it wasn't really intended to be a front-liner anyway. Soulborns, and to a lesser extent totemists, are the incarnum hit-point monsters.
    Last edited by Ashtagon; 2013-09-04 at 01:00 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    Everything you just said?

    Seriously listen to yourself, your going around saying nobody takes con as a dump stat, nobody takes it as an average stat. It's always a main stat for everyone, (i.e. one of the top 2 or 3 prioritised stats),

    There's no other stat that has this. In a system where typically only 3 stats can be god or better, and at least one is usually a dump stat that's a sure sign of an overpowered stat.
    By "usually a dump stat", you mean a dump stat for less than half the classes out there? Most classes have some feature based off charisma, or get a decent number of skills + all the social skills on their class skill list, or both.

    As far as con goes... on a wizard, I prioritize dex over it usually. I still don't want to go below 12 in con, but dex usually governs my survival a lot more:
    At low levels, an extra couple of hp is less important than the extra AC, since attacks will kill you regardless of your hp if you are a wizard.
    At mid levels, things will suck if you get hit, and you want to go first more.
    At high levels, HP is less important than ever, and initiative is more important than ever.

    In any case... if you want to disincentivize con, then the solution can be done easily: Increase hit dice. A wizard wants a higher con coz of that d4... so give him a d6. Pathfinder did this, and I feel roughly ok with putting a 10 into con now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    your going around saying nobody takes con as a dump stat, nobody takes it as an average stat. It's always a main stat for everyone, (i.e. one of the top 2 or 3 prioritised stats),
    What would you consider the difference between "dump stat" and "average stat" to be? 10 gets you almost nothing that 8 won't, and 12 is already in tertiary land. Con is almost always either tertiary or secondary. Str and Dex are primary for some builds (quite a few, in the case of Str) and tertiary or dump for nearly all others; Int is primary for some builds and 13 for a few others, but for the rest it's mostly tertiary or dumped; Wis is usually at least tertiary importance, but sometimes primary or dumped; Cha is usually dumped, and occasionally primary or even secondary. So Con is unique in that it is not a dump stat for (hardly) any build, but also unique in that it is hardly ever a primary stat. I don't see the problem with it being steadfastly mediocre.

    There's no other stat that has this. In a system where typically only 3 stats can be god or better, and at least one is usually a dump stat that's a sure sign of an overpowered stat.
    I can't quite tell whether you mean "a system in which nearly all characters can really only prioritize up to three stats" or "a system in which, by construction, three stats are generally far superior to the other three". It sounds like the latter on first read (since "god stat" generally refers to the quality of a stat across all characters and classes, not the usefulness of a single character's respective ability scores to that character), but I think the former is probably more logical, so I'll assume that for now.

    However, in the absence of detailed analysis of how many resources are being put to the various stats, it's impossible to say whether they're overpowered; simple prioritization is not enough to be any kind of reliable indicator when it's in the middle like this. For example, if "tertiary" meant "two points lower than your primary", that would be quite different from "tertiary" meaning "at least 10, maybe 12".
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    Default Re: Depowering Con

    So Con is unique in that it is not a dump stat for (hardly) any build, but also unique in that it is hardly ever a primary stat. I don't see the problem with it being steadfastly mediocre.
    This is an interesting thought. I dislike Con being used as a tax on players, but I can see the argument about it not being broken.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chaos_redefined View Post
    In any case... if you want to disincentivize con, then the solution can be done easily: Increase hit dice. A wizard wants a higher con coz of that d4... so give him a d6. Pathfinder did this, and I feel roughly ok with putting a 10 into con now.
    If every class has lots of hit points, then all you are doing is having the same issues but with bigger numbers. In order to maintain niche protection, some classes need to have lots of hp and some need to have few hp (and equally true for every other resource).

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    @Tuggy: Good questions, to answer them:

    What i mean is that generally stat distribution will look something like this with anything but random rolling, (Highest score to lowest rather than the normal order):

    Note, 28 point buy used to create this:

    16
    16
    14
    11
    8
    7

    3 Stat's are strongly positive, (12 or more), 1 stat is more or less Neutral, and 2 more are negative.

    Con will always be one of the top 3 for every class. However there are classes, (and especially class combinations), out there that can put the rest of the stat's in any order you care to name. As such any stat other than can can be on the bottom 3, but Con never will. n the other hand a few classes emphasise con sufficiently that it might have a higher priority, potentially anywhere on the to 3.


    Does that help?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    @Tuggy: Good questions, to answer them:

    What i mean is that generally stat distribution will look something like this with anything but random rolling, (Highest score to lowest rather than the normal order):

    Note, 28 point buy used to create this:

    16
    16
    14
    11
    8
    7

    3 Stat's are strongly positive, (12 or more), 1 stat is more or less Neutral, and 2 more are negative.

    Con will always be one of the top 3 for every class. However there are classes, (and especially class combinations), out there that can put the rest of the stat's in any order you care to name. As such any stat other than can can be on the bottom 3, but Con never will. n the other hand a few classes emphasise con sufficiently that it might have a higher priority, potentially anywhere on the to 3.


    Does that help?
    It makes sense, but it leaves out a crucial point, and that is the fact that every other stat has a number of builds for which it is highly important or absolutely crucial. For example, a Wizard with anything more than (3.5-style) 16-point buy will seriously consider getting an 18 in Int. But Con is also never one of those, with only a very few exceptions (someone stacking Con to AC, perhaps, or a Totemist or DFA; rare, and confined to a few non-Core subsystems). In other words, Con is always middle-of-the-road: sure, it's never useless*, but it's never your first priority*, and usually not your second either. As such, the average value comes out pretty similar.

    For a better idea of this, it might be interesting to run the numbers on comparative point buys for some common builds: how much gets spent on each stat, total, and therefore what's the average between builds? Con will almost certainly beat out Cha, sure, but I'm not convinced it will score higher by that metric than Str or Int or Wis or even Dex. And the distance between averages might be smaller than you'd think, too.

    *Barring the tedious exceptions that we all know about.
    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    That's RAW for you; 100% Rules-Legal, 110% silly.
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    "Common sense" and "RAW" are not exactly on speaking terms
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