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Thread: Why Modifiers?

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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by stoutstien View Post
    Derived values allow you to have 1 number acting like 2 for the purpose of using different resolutions mechanics. So 20 strength and +5 strength can be used depending on the given subsystem.
    This. Strength is a good example (score for carrying capacity, modifier for tests) and Score can also be used for certain features e.g. Indomitable Might. It also allows for rolled stats, which are let's face it still pretty popular.
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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Well, and I'm not sure if someone else has mentioned this, but it also allows for a different cost buy in granularity for the bonuses. Most of the time, there is a calculation or table with cut offs for various bonus/modifiers based on the "true" value of the stat. This creates changes in "cost" to build up those modifiers. And yeah, along the way can create min/max points too.

    Champions had direct stats, but there were various things that were based on (stat/3) or (stat/5), in the game (so basically calculated bonuses). But the game system has a "round up" feature to it (50% or higher in the range rounded to the next value). So this created certain numbers that were numerically useful to hit (which for a point buy system kinda worked). So a 23 in a stat was a great number to hit, because you got the round up to 24 for stat/3, and the round up to 25 for stat/5. 28 was good for one (stat/5), but not another (stat/3 actually rounded down to 27). 38 was the next "rounds up to both" number in the sequence.

    Obviously, if you eliminate the stat entirely, that works fine. But if you are starting with the stat, but then calculating the bonus and using it from that point on, you run into other oddities where the initial values and round-up/downs get lost, and now folks are spending the same exp/points/whatever improving just the modifiers instead. There is some value to having characterA needing to buy 2 points of a stat to get to the next increase in bonus, while characterB only needs one. It can affect player choices in terms of character development over time. I'm not sure if that's worth it overall, but it is a point for keeping the original statistic value around, I suppose.

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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Modifiers are a great way to have an absolute and objective value assigned to an ability score (ie 0 means you have none, 10 means you have average) while still having the ďaverageĒ have not adjustment to dice rolls. If you dont use modifiers, then ability scores either will need to go into negatives to reflect lower than average (at which point you lose reference to what 0 in an ability score means), or an average bonus to your roll will need to be greater than 0.

    That being said, you could achieve this by halving ability scores as a baseline, and having your dice roll modifier be your ability score -5, but thats still having a modifier thats different from your score I guess
    Last edited by Crake; 2023-09-06 at 07:00 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    [1] assuming scores are in the range [1, 20] like 5e. If the scores can be higher, the situation gets even worse.
    Well, 3-20 or 8-20, depending on generation method.
    --
    One advantage of scores is as a buffer. Prior to 5e there was a thing called ability damage (shadows still do it, sure, but it being rare in 5e is an understatement), this meant your score could change but more importantly that wouldn't translate to modifier as much or as quickly. Something like a d4 or d6 reduction to a modifer hurts alot, especially over time.
    It also goes in the other direction, say in 5e, you get +2 to scores periodically, this only translates to a plus 1 modifier at most, and odd numbers actively encourage spliting focus from a primary score.

    In 5e it is mostly vestigial, as there are almost no effects that use ability scores. But that doesn't mean a system can't use it for value.
    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    We have STR reduction, and HP max reduction in a few cases in the current edition. I wonder if INT reduction ought to be introduced, to give the min maxers who dump INT a moment's pause.
    I really miss ability damage in general, ray of stupidity may have been a poor idea because of how many animals had 2 int back int the day. But alternative win conditions by dropping a score to 0, undead being legit terrifying, reasons to use poisons and care about desease.
    And then the variants of drain and burn for additional nuance.
    There was alot of good fun game design in there that got cut because... I don't actually know, it wasn't that complicated, I guess people hate setbacks.
    Last edited by Witty Username; 2023-10-15 at 12:05 AM.

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    wink Re: Why Modifiers?

    Ability scores of some kind exist in most TTRPGs. When the primary dice to resolve encounters is a d20, things can become so swingy, that skill and attribute modifiers become necessary to show the differences between PCs.

    In games that rely on d12, d10, d8, or d6, however, I'm not really sure of the purpose. If it ain't broke don't fix it?

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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    It's still there because it works well. There is no problem caused by having that number on my character sheet. None.

    A. 10 has meant an average score, and 18 an elite score, since the 1970s. This is probably the real reason. For those of us still playing, keeping that general approach has value.

    B. Any trivial arithmetic done before the game starts is not "unnecessarily complicated".

    C. In 3.5 at least, that isn't the only use for it. For one thing, a CON of 17 has (slightly) more value than a CON of 16, since if you lose 1 point of CON, it doesn't affect your hit points. For another thing, some Tomes increase the ability score by 1, 3, or 5.

    D. At 4th, 8th, or later levels, when you can increase an ability by 1, there's a tactical decision to make: do you increase your most important one from 18 to 19, and wait four more levels to get a benefit to your modifier, or increase another one from 13 to 14 and get an improved modifier immediately?

    E. The number you want on the character sheet is on there. No problem. But perhaps it's all right to also have the other number that I want there.

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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    It's still there because it works well. There is no problem caused by having that number on my character sheet. None.

    A. 10 has meant an average score, and 18 an elite score, since the 1970s. This is probably the real reason. For those of us still playing, keeping that general approach has value.

    B. Any trivial arithmetic done before the game starts is not "unnecessarily complicated".

    C. In 3.5 at least, that isn't the only use for it. For one thing, a CON of 17 has (slightly) more value than a CON of 16, since if you lose 1 point of CON, it doesn't affect your hit points. For another thing, some Tomes increase the ability score by 1, 3, or 5.

    D. At 4th, 8th, or later levels, when you can increase an ability by 1, there's a tactical decision to make: do you increase your most important one from 18 to 19, and wait four more levels to get a benefit to your modifier, or increase another one from 13 to 14 and get an improved modifier immediately?

    E. The number you want on the character sheet is on there. No problem. But perhaps it's all right to also have the other number that I want there.
    Why do you want it there?

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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Honestly I mostly see non-D&D based games using modifiers to make judging scale easier (particularly games which use linear scales). On the other hand I've noticed a trend of games clearly based on D&D dropping them as part of trying to establish their system as it's own thing (which both M&M and Pathfinder 2e have done).

    Some games also try to hide the fact they use modifiers, the only one I can think of without checking is about half the d00lite lines (where modifiers are Attribute/2).

    There's also the case of some d% games wanting to use '10 is average' stats but wanting to let you roll against them. The end result is that 'stat*X' basically becomes a defined value in the system, at which point you've basically created an AD&D style stat/modifiers split coming from the other direction.
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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by gatorized View Post
    Why do you want it there?
    A. That doesn't matter. The fact that I want it there is the reason to include it, whether anybody else approves of my reasons or not. Whether I can explain my reasons or not. Whether I even really know my reasons or not.

    B. Because it communicates. I already think in D&D terms, and an INT 10 already means an average intelligence to me. It has meant that to me for 48 years.

    C. Because it's a linear scale in which the the value of zero has real meaning. Therefore the proper level of measurement is a ratio scale, not merely an interval scale (using the jargon of statistics).

    For instance, if a character with CON 10 loses 5 CON (in 3.5e), then he's lost half of his constitution. If he loses the same amount again, he's dead. That is clear from using the actual number. But it isn't clear that a person who has gone from Con +0 to Con -3 is in the same situation.

    D. Because it makes intuitive sense. In original D&D, being unarmored was AC 9, and wearing full plate with a shield was AC 2. That made no sense. Eventually they changed it so that wearing more armor gave a higher AC, not a lower one. That was the intuitive approach, and I want an intuitive approach to ability scores as well.

    E. Continuity.

    I want "daytime" to continue to mean when the sun is up.

    I want 5'7" or 1.7 meters to continue to mean my height. Even if somebody translates height to some other scale for a particular purpose, I want the translation into what I understand to be included.

    I want an IQ of 100 to continue to mean average intelligence. Even if a paper describes intelligence in standard deviations from the mean for some reason, I want the translation back into IQ included, to improve my comprehension.

    And for the same reasons, I want intelligence shown on a character sheet such that INT 10 means "average intelligence" -- just like it has meant for nearly half a century.

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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Outside of ability score generation and ability score damage, the ability score's value is absolutely meaningless. I am thoroughly convinced D&D would have removed this aspect of the game if the grognards were not nostalgic for it (and I believe the same for the fact that we are stuck with 20 levels, even though the vast majority of campaigns end before level 10 but that is neither here nor there).

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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by VampiricLongbow View Post
    Outside of ability score generation and ability score damage, the ability score's value is absolutely meaningless.
    Note that this is identical to saying that it is meaningful, and it is used.

    Quote Originally Posted by VampiricLongbow View Post
    I am thoroughly convinced D&D would have removed this aspect of the game if the grognards were not nostalgic for it ...
    Note that this is identical to saying that lots of people want it. There is no other serious reason to include anything in a product.

    They want to sell games to you. But they also want to sell games to me.

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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    (1) Note that this is identical to saying that it is meaningful, and it is used.

    (2) Note that this is identical to saying that lots of people want it. There is no other serious reason to include anything in a product.

    They want to sell games to you. But they also want to sell games to me.
    1: In 5E, at least, there's... Two? I think two monsters that can directly affect your ability scores. That part is basically vestigial.

    2: That's fair. They want it to sell, so they tailor towards the audience that'll buy.
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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    Note that this is identical to saying that it is meaningful, and it is used.

    Note that this is identical to saying that lots of people want it. There is no other serious reason to include anything in a product.

    They want to sell games to you. But they also want to sell games to me.
    You're arguing for the idea that there's at least some value to the system (and some cost to fixing it), which I don't think anyone's really disputing.

    The question is whether or not that value is enough to make it worth preserving.

    That said, I think you're probably right that it's not worth 'fixing'. Over-emphasising 'elegance' isn't really a good approach to game design.
    Last edited by lesser_minion; 2023-11-18 at 05:16 AM.

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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    A. That doesn't matter. The fact that I want it there is the reason to include it, whether anybody else approves of my reasons or not. Whether I can explain my reasons or not. Whether I even really know my reasons or not.

    B. Because it communicates. I already think in D&D terms, and an INT 10 already means an average intelligence to me. It has meant that to me for 48 years.

    C. Because it's a linear scale in which the the value of zero has real meaning. Therefore the proper level of measurement is a ratio scale, not merely an interval scale (using the jargon of statistics).

    For instance, if a character with CON 10 loses 5 CON (in 3.5e), then he's lost half of his constitution. If he loses the same amount again, he's dead. That is clear from using the actual number. But it isn't clear that a person who has gone from Con +0 to Con -3 is in the same situation.

    D. Because it makes intuitive sense. In original D&D, being unarmored was AC 9, and wearing full plate with a shield was AC 2. That made no sense. Eventually they changed it so that wearing more armor gave a higher AC, not a lower one. That was the intuitive approach, and I want an intuitive approach to ability scores as well.

    E. Continuity.

    I want "daytime" to continue to mean when the sun is up.

    I want 5'7" or 1.7 meters to continue to mean my height. Even if somebody translates height to some other scale for a particular purpose, I want the translation into what I understand to be included.

    I want an IQ of 100 to continue to mean average intelligence. Even if a paper describes intelligence in standard deviations from the mean for some reason, I want the translation back into IQ included, to improve my comprehension.

    And for the same reasons, I want intelligence shown on a character sheet such that INT 10 means "average intelligence" -- just like it has meant for nearly half a century.
    Of course it matters. If it doesn't improve the game, it shouldn't be included, regardless of what anyone wants. When you give a man a choice, he usually chooses wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gatorized View Post
    Of course it matters. If it doesn't improve the game, it shouldn't be included, regardless of what anyone wants. When you give a man a choice, he usually chooses wrong.
    That's quite the philosophy.

    The ideal game: one no one wants to play. (Or only women do, I guess!)

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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    When something is done a certain way for a long time then there needs to be a good reason for changing it. Having to do very simple math isn't a good reason to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    That's quite the philosophy.

    The ideal game: one no one wants to play. (Or only women do, I guess!)
    Giving punters the choice to go and pet the tigers at the zoo isn't improving anyones visit, even if some kid put it on a "customer suggestion" card. It's a relatively accepted rule that people don't make good choices and it's by no means a given that "because it's always been done that way" is neccesarily anything approaching a good reason.

    Yes, marketing is a valid reason, but what Joe from accounting thinks is a good idea is not neccesarily what's best for the game from a design or player point of view.

    And for what it's worth, I do think that elegance of game design is one of the highest ideals of game design and worthy of pursuit over many, if not most or even all other aspects. Far higher than marketability, at least for those playing the game. Popular does not equal good and an elegant game, even if it only reaches as far as one persons game group, is by definition easier and/or more enjoyable to play.
    By way of analogy, I doubt anyone would argue that furniture that has been hand-crafted by a master carpenter is worse than that which they could obtain from a certain popular Swedish multi-national brand. Yes, the latter is accessible to more people, but that doesn't make it better except to the ones putting money in their pockets.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gatorized View Post
    Of course it matters. If it doesn't improve the game, it shouldn't be included, regardless of what anyone wants. When you give a man a choice, he usually chooses wrong.
    Even if my choice is "wrong", WotC wants my money, so they want both you and me to buy their games.

    Note also that in this statement, "wrong" merely means "doesn't agree with gatorized".

    Yes, I disagree with you. That does not make my opinion "wrong".

    In any event, it does improve the game. For me, and for others who want an intuitive simulation. You ignored most of my five points in its favor, replying only to the introductory sentence of the first one, and didn't even actually address the point it introduced.

    But let's skip that one, since it's about my preferences, which you have made clear are "wrong".

    Here's the most important point I made, which neither you nor anybody else has replied to, or even acknowledged:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    C. Because it's a linear scale in which the the value of zero has real meaning. Therefore the proper level of measurement is a ratio scale, not merely an interval scale (using the jargon of statistics).

    For instance, if a character with CON 10 loses 5 CON (in 3.5e), then he's lost half of his constitution. If he loses the same amount again, he's dead. That is clear from using the actual number. But it isn't clear that a person who has gone from Con +0 to Con -3 is in the same situation.
    Using a ratio scale, in which 0 CON represents a loss of all constitution, and 0 INT represents loss of intelligence, is the best representation of a simulation in which 0 CON represents death and 0 INT represents the inability to think at all. Having +0 CON and +0 INT represent an average constitution and intelligence may make trivial arithmetic trivially easier, but it doesn't communicate as well. And since both are included on the character sheet, it doesn't even improve the trivial arithmetic. The tool for that purpose is right there.

    In short, the ratio scale of measurement makes it a better simulation. It improves the game for me.

    Now, you may disagree with the importance of using correct levels of measurement in a simulation. You may not even care. But even so, you have given no reason why having the ability score on the sheet is bad for the game.

    It improves the game (for me, and for others), by having an intuitive simulation. It doesn't detract from the game, as long as the modifier is also listed.

    And finally, if it doesn't improve the game, and doesn't hurt the game, and more people will buy it that way, then yes, it should be included. Enticing cover art doesn't improve the game, either. It increases the number of people who will buy it. WotC wants my money just as much as yours.

    Even if my reasons are "wrong" ("different from gatorized").

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    Quote Originally Posted by JellyPooga View Post
    Giving punters the choice to go and pet the tigers at the zoo isn't improving anyones visit, even if some kid put it on a "customer suggestion" card. It's a relatively accepted rule that people don't make good choices and it's by no means a given that "because it's always been done that way" is neccesarily anything approaching a good reason.

    Yes, marketing is a valid reason, but what Joe from accounting thinks is a good idea is not neccesarily what's best for the game from a design or player point of view.
    That's a strawman, and I didn't say anything about marketing.

    gatorized made an extremely sweeping statement; you're now trying to put it in less easily refutable terms. The thing is, though? You and gatorized are both yourselves people, whose phrasing oddly suggests you're not aware of this. That you don't like ability scores is not a reason they should not be there. If you make a perfectly steamlined game which you consider to be artistic perfection, and consider it a meaningless detail that no mere people want to play it, you've done more than make an unmarketable game--you've made a bad game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    That's a strawman, and I didn't say anything about marketing.
    That I directly quoted you does not mean I am responding solely to you, nor that any of my response is necessarily in direct reference to anything you've said. I see no strawmen here.

    gatorized made an extremely sweeping statement; you're now trying to put it in less easily refutable terms. The thing is, though? You and gatorized are both yourselves people, whose phrasing oddly suggests you're not aware of this.
    What?
    That you don't like ability scores
    Who's strawman is this? I didn't say that.
    is not a reason they should not be there.
    It absolutely can be.
    If you make a perfectly steamlined game which you consider to be artistic perfection, and consider it a meaningless detail that no mere people want to play it, you've done more than make an unmarketable game--you've made a bad game.
    Elegance is a matter of opinion, but something that is elegant is, again, by it's nature quite marketable because it has intrinsic value. Whether it is actually marketed or not is another matter and the reverse is not also true; many things that are marketable can be and are absolute garbage.
    Last edited by JellyPooga; 2023-11-18 at 01:59 PM.
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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Why not modifiers?

    It comes down to you liking strawberry ice cream while I prefer chocolate. The various game mechanics across the game systems differ for whatever reasons. No one system is better than the others; it's just your personal taste. 2E's THAC0 system worked well enough. 3E chose d20 rolling high is always better to be easier to think about. There's a Star Wars game where you roll non-numbered dice and roll a number of dice based on mark-off of skill which I found to be an interesting mechanic. Personal anecdote I won't play the game anymore because its Force Die rules is a game breaker for me, but the general dice resolution mechanic has an aesthetic appeal to me. Surely players of the game love the Force Die rules.

    There is appeal to using a different mechanic for the sake of being different, but just because a mechanic is old and traditional is not itself a reason to get rid of it from everywhere. If it Honest True doesn't work get rid of it (hello 3E Truenamer), but if it works fine being old is not an excuse to dismiss it.
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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    Using a ratio scale, in which 0 CON represents a loss of all constitution, and 0 INT represents loss of intelligence, is the best representation of a simulation in which 0 CON represents death and 0 INT represents the inability to think at all. Having +0 CON and +0 INT represent an average constitution and intelligence may make trivial arithmetic trivially easier, but it doesn't communicate as well. And since both are included on the character sheet, it doesn't even improve the trivial arithmetic. The tool for that purpose is right there.
    I'm not sure I can agree with this. A strength of 1 seems a lot stronger than a lot of things that might end up being worthy of stats in a fantasy TTRPG, so I'd prefer not to have an arbitrary floor. The floor also causes problems as you get closer to it -- in 3e, an ostensibly normal house cat can potentially move up to 50kg single-handedly, for example.
    Last edited by lesser_minion; 2023-11-19 at 06:45 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lesser_minion View Post
    I'm not sure I can agree with this. A strength of 1 seems a lot stronger than a lot of things that might end up being worthy of stats in a fantasy TTRPG, so I'd prefer not to have an arbitrary floor. The floor also causes problems as you get closer to it -- in 3e, an ostensibly normal house cat can potentially move up to 50kg single-handedly, for example.
    This isn't really so much an inherent issue with a score - modifier system as it is a design choice combined with the rules not really caring about the carrying capacity of cats.

    The specific design choice is to systematically understate the tremendous effects of size on physical power. This is pretty much necessary in a game where you expect people to run up to 40ft tall monsters, whack them with a sword, and not instantly be stomped into goo. You simply can't have a Large creature be as overwhelmingly powerful vs a medium as it should be, and because for simplicity the game uses linear math this ripples down into Small and Tiny things not getting bodied by Medium things.

    You'd get exactly the same sorts of problems in a game that didn't track an underlying attribute, and only used the modifier. Sure you could give the cat like a -5 Str, but then it can't do things cats are actually good at like climb trees or catch mice, unless you give the mice an AC of like 3, and if you've ever tried to grab a mouse that can move, that's definitely not right.
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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by lesser_minion View Post
    I'm not sure I can agree with this. A strength of 1 seems a lot stronger than a lot of things that might end up being worthy of stats in a fantasy TTRPG, so I'd prefer not to have an arbitrary floor. The floor also causes problems as you get closer to it -- in 3e, an ostensibly normal house cat can potentially move up to 50kg single-handedly, for example.
    Side issue:

    Yes, STR is not a linear scale, in 3.5e at least. High STR scores give a carrying capacity that is exponential. Thatís why I didnít use it as an example of a linear scale.

    On the lowest levels, though, it is a linear scale. From STR 0 to STR 10, the highest carrying capacity is simply STR * 10 lbs, and the zero point is clearly a zero point.

    The problem this causes for a catís carrying capacity does not come from putting the raw ability score on the character sheet. It comes from using a stepwise function to approximate a continuous one. Yes, there are an infinite number of values of STR between what we represent as STR 0 and what we represent as STR 3.

    You appear to want to discuss whether to change STR to an exponential function at the lowest levels. I certainly agree that an exponential function is not linear, and has no meaningful zero point.

    Discussing changing to an exponential scale on the low levels might be a fruitful discussion. I donít see the need, because has never even come up. In 48 years of role-playing, Iíve never had a session turn on a question about a catís carrying capacity.

    But if you want to discuss a different model for low levels of STR, so we can accurately measure the difference between a catís carrying capacity and a mouseís, feel free to start such a thread.

    Meanwhile, back to the main issue:

    The question in front of us is whether to include a raw ability score along with the modifier on the character sheet, or to list just the modifier. The inaccuracy of a catís STR score has no bearing on that issue. [Yes, changing to an exponential scale would have bearing.]

    Let me make my case as bluntly as possible.

    Opinion 1: The character sheet should serve your needs and wants, whether I share them or not.
    Opinion 2: The character sheet should serve my needs and wants, whether you share them or not.
    Fact 1: I want a raw score and a modifier.
    Fact 2: Some people want a modifier.

    From the above two opinions and two facts, I conclude that the character sheet should have both a raw score and a modifier. This conclusion is forced.

    To disagree with this opinion, you must reject my opinion 2 Ė that character sheets should serve my needs and wants, whether you share them or not.

  25. - Top - End - #85
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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    The question in front of us is whether to include a raw ability score along with the modifier on the character sheet, or to list just the modifier.
    The question is why go specifically with the 3rd edition D&D score/modifier split over any other approach to handling ability scores, and especially in games that aren't D&D. It's not just a fight between 3e stats and Ars Magica stats in the context of D&D.
    Last edited by lesser_minion; 2023-11-19 at 02:12 PM.

  26. - Top - End - #86
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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Honestly, OP ain't wrong. You could very easily convert a 3.5 style stat line into ST +2, DX +1, ETC and change almost nothing. Heck, it would simplify things in a lot of ways. Honestly, the main D&D still uses the classic "3-18" range is...At this point, largely just tradition. But, hey, some people do prefer it. It's far from the only element of D&D or things in general that stick around out of tradition. See also: Why the Tardis still looks like a 1963 police telephone box years after those boxes have entirely vanished from the real world. Once something's been around long enough, changing it just feels WRONG.

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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    Note that this is identical to saying that it is meaningful, and it is used.



    Note that this is identical to saying that lots of people want it. There is no other serious reason to include anything in a product.

    They want to sell games to you. But they also want to sell games to me.
    IMO, there is little mechanical reason to include them, and any rules that reference them can be easily changed to focus on the modifier instead. I get that the ability scores are an "iconic" part of the game but in my 20 year experience of DMing, they cause a lot of confusion for new players, especially as their mechanical importance has largely been diminished with each passing edition (since 3rd).

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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by VampiricLongbow View Post
    Outside of ability score generation and ability score damage, the ability score's value is absolutely meaningless. I am thoroughly convinced D&D would have removed this aspect of the game if the grognards were not nostalgic for it (and I believe the same for the fact that we are stuck with 20 levels, even though the vast majority of campaigns end before level 10 but that is neither here nor there).
    A bit of irony here; games with only levels 1-10 are relatively common (Dungeon Crawl Classics, Castles and Crusades, Shadowdark). Old school essentials has elves max at 10, dwarves at 12, and humans at 14. I'm not a grognard, as I'm too young to have played 1E and 2E when they came out. But, I play these old school games, and prefer levels 1-10.

    I do like ability scores though. Other systems key off them noticeably more, to their benefit. In DCC, for example, ability burn to power up spells, or activate other magical effects is common. It's nice to have that separated from a modifier.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    C. Because it's a linear scale in which the the value of zero has real meaning. Therefore the proper level of measurement is a ratio scale, not merely an interval scale (using the jargon of statistics).

    For instance, if a character with CON 10 loses 5 CON (in 3.5e), then he's lost half of his constitution. If he loses the same amount again, he's dead. That is clear from using the actual number. But it isn't clear that a person who has gone from Con +0 to Con -3 is in the same situation.
    This is a great point which I had not heard before. Ability scores are more simulationist; modifiers more gamist.

    Edit to add: 5e does not really take advantage of ability scores, at all. I've heard some people suggest that modifiers themselves are unnecessary in the context of 5e. Your character gets a '+3' to their primary class abilities at 1, '+4' at 4, and '+5' at 8. Then, everyone gets +2 to hp per level. AC is determined by armor. Initiative and skills by background + class.

    When that kind of system seems workable, then something is being left on the table with respect to ability scores. I don't care for how 5e uses them.
    Last edited by Atranen; 2023-11-22 at 01:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Alright we are removing levels above 10, ability scores and and ability modifiers. What do we meaningfully lose? Off brand saves that most characters fail anyway?
    My sig is something witty.

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    Default Re: Why Modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Witty Username View Post
    Alright we are removing levels above 10, ability scores and and ability modifiers. What do we meaningfully lose? Off brand saves that most characters fail anyway?
    The solo game of high level theorycrafting, which is a major reason for 5Es continued popularity.

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