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Four-stat D&D

Gentleman Highwayman

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I'm going with Body (Str+Con), Grace (Dex), Mind (Int) and Soul (Wis + Cha) for my 5E lite game. Also going to ditch the scores and just use the bonuses. Since it's for kids I don't have to justify anything, but for myself the split between Str and Con doesn't make much sense in D&D or the real world (except for a few outliers). And stats are only really important at low levels. Midlevels plus gear means stats matter less later in the game--other than surviving to get there.
 

seanairt

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If I were to split things into 4 attributes, they'd be:
Mind: intelligence, wisdom, memory, problem solving, etc.
Body: Str, Dex, Con, etc.
Soul: Intuition, Willpower, Luck, Serendipity, Magical ability, connection to the supernatural, etc
Society: Charisma, social rank, political influence, being "made" or "connected"
I really like this one. For me, I'd rename "society" to "influence" and that could be any combination of charisma, intimidation, greasing of palms, commanding presence and so on.
 

The Fiendish Dr. Samsara

The elegant assassin
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I really like this one. For me, I'd rename "society" to "influence" and that could be any combination of charisma, intimidation, greasing of palms, commanding presence and so on.
Plus, you wouldn't have two stats with the same starting letter. You could even take a leaf from the original Marvel Super-heroes game and call your set-up BIMS (Body, Influence, Mind, Soul). Or MIBS. Or SIMB. Or....
 

The Fiendish Dr. Samsara

The elegant assassin
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I love this, almost entirely because it approaches DC Heroes' divinely beautiful 9-grid statblock, where each column and row represented different domains (physical, mental, mystical) and applications (acting/opposing, effect, resistance), and from each row and column you derived something else.

Hmn...now you have me wondering if I lifted it from that. I really didn't play that game at all, but I was aware of it and admired the elegance.

Naw...I'll claim complete coincidence! :)
 

secondbest

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I've been thinking about this for a while now. Ability scores do three four things:

1) How good you are in your class
2) Provide bennies like Initiative, AC, HP
3) Determine saving throws
4) Allow for action adjudication

For me personally, action adjudication is the single most important purpose of ability scores. For this, constitution is hardly ever used and Intelligence and Charisma are weird because they're related to RP of the player. I can manage charisma in a way that doesn't shut down player attempts to interact but intelligence is a bit light (the way it plays at my table). Wisdom is poorly named because it's essentially awareness in 5e. Strength and Dex are mostly fine.

Currently, I would thus combine Str and Con into a Body stat, place awareness (Wis) under Intelligence as a Mind stat, and keep Dex and Cha. Charisma would be presence. Depending on the size of my group,* Body, Dex, Mind, and Cha (presence) would probably serve any of my action adjudication needs.

This leaves how good you are in your class, bennies, and saving throws. For this, I'd like a new stat, say Heroism, that through luck, ability, magical aptitude, destiny or whatever determines your mechanical skill. 1/2 heroism (rounded up/down) for class abilities base on secondary stats. The stat would increase at set levels and cannot otherwise be increased. I'd just keep 3 saves as in earlier editions but tie them to Heroism and disconnect them from the other ability scores. This also solves a host of probles with proficient and non-proficient saves.

This would ensure that all characters are capable mechanically but can go outside the box. You can still create a burly fighter but you could also have a tactical genius fighter. Both would be mechanically capable but could play quite differently in their general approach.


* A bigger group may need more stats to create unique characters
 
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Stattick

Electronic Thing
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If I were to split things into 4 attributes, they'd be:
Mind: intelligence, wisdom, memory, problem solving, etc.
Body: Str, Dex, Con, etc.
Soul: Intuition, Willpower, Luck, Serendipity, Magical ability, connection to the supernatural, etc
Influence Society: Charisma, social rank, political influence, being "made" or "connected"
Ironically, if you're wanting to do the typical dungeon crawling, combat heavy, traditional D&D style campaign, where conflict is usually resolved through violence, I think that the 4 attributes above are subpar. The heavy focus on combat in a traditional DnD game is probably better served by further breaking down the physical attribute into smaller pieces, so the game mechanics can focus more closely on it. Strength, Dexterity, & Constitution (using traditional DnD definitions) are a reasonable way to do so. Or another way might be to go with Strength (which includes Constitution), Dexterity (hand-to-hand & small movement stuff like picking pockets and disarming traps), and Agility (ranged & gross movement stuff like acrobatics).

So including the zoomed in attributes for physical stuff leads you back to 6 attributes: Str, Dex, Con, Mind, Soul, & Influence... or something like that.

Now, if your intent is something more like Game of Thrones, where combat is important, but only comes up now and again, but plenty of stuff is going to come down to investigating, intellectual pursuits, politicking, and so forth, you wouldn't want to zoom in on the physical. But if you're going that route, you probably want to have character classes that include things like: scholar, artisan, sailor, nobleman, priest or monk (as in, you're a person attached to a church or monastery, not a magical delivery system for some supernatural force), and so forth. Yes, there's still room for knights, bodyguards, mercenaries, and so forth, but a lot of times, things are going to be solved by the party's talky person (or people) talking, rather than the barbarian raging and charging.
 

Felix

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Ironically, if you're wanting to do the typical dungeon crawling, combat heavy, traditional D&D style campaign, where conflict is usually resolved through violence, I think that the 4 attributes above are subpar. The heavy focus on combat in a traditional DnD game is probably better served by further breaking down the physical attribute into smaller pieces, so the game mechanics can focus more closely on it.
I think that taking the three attributes from The Fantasy Trip == Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence -- might work good if you're trying to simplify D&D and keep an emphasis on combat. Strength is for HP and damage. Dex is for defense and missile weapons. Int is for anything where brains are more important than body. )In this game, I'd turn Charisma into just a roleplaying thing.)
 

Stattick

Electronic Thing
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I think that taking the three attributes from The Fantasy Trip == Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence -- might work good if you're trying to simplify D&D and keep an emphasis on combat. Strength is for HP and damage. Dex is for defense and missile weapons. Int is for anything where brains are more important than body. )In this game, I'd turn Charisma into just a roleplaying thing.)
Yeah, that could work.
 

Daz Florp Lebam

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See, now I want to see a spellcaster-centric fantasy rpg whose abilities are INT, WIS, CHA, and oh yeah BOD or PHYS or whatever. ;)
 

The Fiendish Dr. Samsara

The elegant assassin
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I think that taking the three attributes from The Fantasy Trip == Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence -- might work good if you're trying to simplify D&D and keep an emphasis on combat. Strength is for HP and damage. Dex is for defense and missile weapons. Int is for anything where brains are more important than body. )In this game, I'd turn Charisma into just a roleplaying thing.)
INT is important to physical stuff too because it determines how many skill points you have, and what skills you can buy, and - unlike D&D - fighting involves skills.
 
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