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View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next "Replacing" Constitution with Sanity (from DMG) for the "big six"



Arkhios
2016-05-10, 05:11 AM
What the title says basically, except with a clarification:

I was wondering how should I work this out. Generally speaking, all that Constitution matters for is Hit Points and Saving Throws, while most other abilities are tied to certain skills too.

However, since Constitution is so vital part of every character and none should "dump" it, why not shove it a little bit further into the background. So, instead of player characters having to bother their heads with how much to put into Constitution Score, they would all get equal amount of base modifier that resembles Constitution modifier in every ways, just that Constitution wouldn't be a modifiable ability score as usual. Of course, various races would have appropriate increases to Hit Points due to racial increases to Constitution.

Instead, characters would have a Sanity Score, which would be of varying value like the rest of them. Effectively the "big six" in their character sheets would read as follows:
STRENGTH
DEXTERITY
INTELLIGENCE
WISDOM
CHARISMA
SANITY

I'm aware that this causes several issues with certain class features (i.e. Concentration), feats (i.e. Durable), races (i.e. Dragonborn) and classes (i.e. Barbarian), but I believe these issues could be solved by replacing their dependency on Constitution.

I would like to hear suggestions to:
-How big modifier would be enough to satisfy everyone?
-How to replace Constitution dependencies?

Thanks in advance to everyone willing to participate.
PS. Let's keep it civil.

Arkhios
2016-05-10, 05:16 AM
reserving this for future.

Professor Gnoll
2016-05-10, 05:36 AM
Well, if you feel it's an important ability score for the game, it might be an option- but how many games genuinely require a Sanity score?
With the exception of games that heavily feature Elder Gods or the Far Realm, it's just not something that's going to come up all that often.

Arkhios
2016-05-10, 05:53 AM
Well, if you feel it's an important ability score for the game, it might be an option- but how many games genuinely require a Sanity score?
With the exception of games that heavily feature Elder Gods or the Far Realm, it's just not something that's going to come up all that often.

I tend to stay away from Adventurer's League and Pre-made Adventures; I just prefer sandbox homebrew campaigns. Mine does have quite a lot of eldritch horrors, so Sanity is (and has been) often relevant.

That said, I'm aware of what you said. Thanks for input though :)

Ninja_Prawn
2016-05-10, 06:25 AM
Well, if you feel it's an important ability score for the game, it might be an option- but how many games genuinely require a Sanity score?
With the exception of games that heavily feature Elder Gods or the Far Realm, it's just not something that's going to come up all that often.

I wouldn't be opposed to bringing Sanity in from the cold and making it a core stat. Have you played Shadow Hearts? In that, every turn you spent in combat decreased your Sanity Points and when you hit 0, you lost control of that character. It's an extra layer of realism that could do much more in D&D.

Witness an ally dropped to 0HP? Sanity save. Ambushed by hordes of monsters? Sanity save. Too much metagaming? "Your instincts are telling you otherwise. Make a Sanity check to take that course of action".

jinjitsu
2016-05-10, 06:26 AM
The biggest problem you're going to face - and it seems you've noticed this already - isn't that you're changing an existing ability score, it's that you're removing one. Constitution may not have any skills tied to it, but it's tied to saving throws and resistance to many damage types and conditions, which means replacing it with bonuses from another source will be a major undertaking.

That said, I actually think a few of the conflicts you pointed out make perfect sense with Sanity instead of Constitution: Concentration changes from a matter of physical fortitude to one of mental fortitude, barbarians and fighters gain a no-fear element where they're willing and able to rush in and kill anything, even things they can't begin to understand, and sorcerers gain a further air of mystique when their minds hold up more strongly to unfamiliarity.

As for HP, you can easily just tie it to level: every character gets their hit die roll/average (whichever you use), then they add 1/2 their proficiency bonus per HD to that total. The math can get a bit fiddly when proficiency bonus changes, but it's not too hard to figure out.

Final Hyena
2016-05-10, 06:29 AM
Instead of fiddling around with constitution and the affects on races and classes etc why not just leave it and add in sanity as a seventh score. If you use point buy add in another 5 to 7 points. You could give certain classes the option to change a saving throw from X to sanity, for example warlock going from wisdom to sanity. Maybe charisma over wisdom, depending on how important it is.

Ninja_Prawn
2016-05-10, 06:46 AM
If you use point buy add in another 5 to 7 points.

Or whatever. A game where Sanity is important is probably going for a grittier feel, where lower ability scores might be more appropriate... I'd probably add 2 or 3 points to the pool, at most. That's equivalent to giving them all a 10 or 11 in the extra stat, which should be plenty.

Arkhios
2016-05-10, 07:07 AM
Instead of fiddling around with constitution and the affects on races and classes etc why not just leave it and add in sanity as a seventh score. If you use point buy add in another 5 to 7 points. You could give certain classes the option to change a saving throw from X to sanity, for example warlock going from wisdom to sanity. Maybe charisma over wisdom, depending on how important it is.

I should've mentioned that as of now, I do use Sanity as seventh score. However, I began to wonder if "less is more", and thus began to tinker with the idea.
Dungeon Master's Guide suggests that if Sanity is applied as the seventh score, characters would be given another '11' (or 3 points more) to calculate stats for 7 scores with point buy or standard array (which would be 15,14,13,12,11,10,8 instead).

Final Hyena
2016-05-10, 07:32 AM
Depends how important sanity is. If it's just a stat to make a saving throw every few sessions, then it's a not very crucial dump stat not worth more than 2 points, if it's however a frequent aspect every session then it's importance increases. However you need to encourage it along side other stats as many classes require 3 good stats.

All in all depends on the game.

I wonder do you have a class that is based around sanity? That could be fun.

Arkhios
2016-05-10, 08:31 AM
Depends how important sanity is. If it's just a stat to make a saving throw every few sessions, then it's a not very crucial dump stat not worth more than 2 points, if it's however a frequent aspect every session then it's importance increases. However you need to encourage it along side other stats as many classes require 3 good stats.

All in all depends on the game.

I wonder do you have a class that is based around sanity? That could be fun.

I do, kind of, though it's heavily under progress.

ShadowLord
2016-05-10, 10:32 AM
I wouldn't be opposed to bringing Sanity in from the cold and making it a core stat. Have you played Shadow Hearts? In that, every turn you spent in combat decreased your Sanity Points and when you hit 0, you lost control of that character. It's an extra layer of realism that could much more in D&D.

Witness an ally dropped to 0HP? Sanity save. Ambushed by hordes of monsters? Sanity save. Too much metagaming? "Your instincts are telling you otherwise. Make a Sanity check to take that course of action".

Now I want to do a 5e Shadow Hearts conversion.:smallamused:


I do, kind of, though it's heavily under progress.

That sounds intriguing. If you need help you have a volunteer.:smallwink:

Grinner
2016-05-10, 12:04 PM
Instead of fiddling around with constitution and the affects on races and classes etc why not just leave it and add in sanity as a seventh score. If you use point buy add in another 5 to 7 points. You could give certain classes the option to change a saving throw from X to sanity, for example warlock going from wisdom to sanity. Maybe charisma over wisdom, depending on how important it is.

You could work around that, depending on how lethal of a game you're willing to accept.

From what I've read, surviving major trauma seems to come down to luck. To that effect, fortitude saves and most other forms of injury could be made into simple d20 rolls, adding armor and other bonuses when appropriate. The baseline severity of the potential injury maps to a given DC (i.e. gunshots are 12 or 16, a brick to the head might be 8, etc). If the save succeeds, the character remains standing. If not, he doesn't and is out for the remainder of the scene. If he fails by five or more, he requires medical attention or dies if he doesn't receive it.

Racial constitution bonuses can be converted into bonuses for the injury check.

I think this is still a bit rough, but the basic idea is there.

2D8HP
2016-05-10, 12:17 PM
"Wisdom" as I understand it could also be considered a bit like "sanity". The way Wisdom is used in the game it's also "common sense", "willpower", "perceptivenes", and "piety", and from the dictionary definition it could also be "knowledge/experience". You might consider combining Intelligence and Wisdom into one stat. Maybe Strength and Constitution into one as well.

Arkhios
2016-05-10, 01:57 PM
"Wisdom" as I understand it could also be considered a bit like "sanity". The way Wisdom is used in the game it's also "common sense", "willpower", "perceptivenes", and "piety", and from the dictionary definition it could also be "knowledge/experience". You might consider combining Intelligence and Wisdom into one stat. Maybe Strength and Constitution into one as well.

That's a good point. Many times I've grown grey hairs when I've tried to explain the difference between intelligence and wisdom; especially in finnish where the two words translate basically to the same thing.

I agree that Intelligence and Wisdom are similar in lots of ways, but it would mean much more work to combine them than I'd be eager or willing to commit myself to.