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View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next STR or DEX to AC



Mork
2018-06-21, 06:18 AM
Hello gianttip community, I had this idea as a houserule and I was wondering what the community thought of it.

Basically everywhere where it reads DEX to AC, you change it by STR or DEX to AC.
While wearing armour it would be limited the same way DEX is now (so max of +2 in medium, and nothing in heavy).

This assumes a campaign where point buy is used and feats are allowed.

I guess nobody will argue with me that right now DEX is superieur to STR in almost every way, this should balance it out a bit. This would level the playing field between STR and DEX a bit with DEX having: initiative, more skills and ranged attacks, and STR having carry capacity and 2-handed weapons.
I think this would open up the playing field especially for casters to not always dump STR in favour of DEX. I think DEX is still most of the time the superior choice due to iniative, but having a strong druid will be less bad :).

This creates some inbalance in the case of the barbarian. (not so much the paladin or fighter, because heavy armour is still a better choice for them). But right now it is nigh impossible for a barbarian to make use of his unarmed defence in favour of a half plate. When you start the game 16, 14, 16 and start with maxing STR you won't outgrow half plate in terms of AC until your 5th ASI (lvl 20) and that is without taking any feats (GWM anyone?). Making it useless unless playing a DEX barbarian, or focussing AC over damage (why are you playing a barbarian??). When you can add your STR to AC instead of DEX the barbarian would be better unarmored after his 2nd ASI (lvl8) by 1 point when compared to half plate. (but the half plate can also get magically enhanced).

If you have any insight on how this would impact balance, your thoughts are appreciated.

Blackbando
2018-06-21, 07:56 AM
I'm not sure it's an entirely good idea. Strength is balanced in that its weapons are bigger and do more (2d6, 1d12, plus with feats potentially another +10), and you're making Strength-based characters more MAD.

Point-in-case, the barbarian: you'll have a lot of AC for no real cost other than ASIs spent on Strength and Con, which you were going to boost anyways. You'll have a lot more AC than a barbarian is expected to have, while not sacrificing your damage at all.

Dexterity is certainly very good, but I don't think removing it as the only AC calculation fixes much.

Also, getting away from mechanics, it feels weird thematically, to me. Being agile in leather armor to dodge more makes sense. Being buff in the same leather armor, but with pitiful dex, helps you block. The latter doesn't make a lot of sense to me, really.

Grod_The_Giant
2018-06-21, 09:25 AM
If the Barbarian's stat-intensive Unarmored Defense feature bugs you, you could change it to, oh, 13+Con?

Composer99
2018-06-21, 09:34 AM
Barbarian doesn't seem like an ideal choice with which to suggest this change, because they get resistance to most damage (especially when going bear totem) whilst raging, which is IMO how the barbarian ablates damage, rather than via AC.

MoleMage
2018-06-21, 10:19 AM
The problem with Str (and also Int and Cha) is not that it isn't useful. It is that they are only useful for specific classes. Allowing Str to substitute for Dex regarding AC doesn't make it more attractive for classes that aren't already using Str. Dex has too many other riders.

Ogrillian
2018-06-24, 02:57 AM
It would depend on class to me, mostly Barbs and Fighters, Iíd put this as a subclass feature


Also, getting away from mechanics, it feels weird thematically, to me. Being agile in leather armor to dodge more makes sense. Being buff in the same leather armor, but with pitiful dex, helps you block. The latter doesn't make a lot of sense to me, really.

To me itís the other way around as dodging has nothing to do with taking a hitóthe entire purpose of armor. Realistically (always a can oíworms in d&d) Armor is about getting hit and keep going (str or Con) while Dexterity based combat has always been avoiding the hits completely. While both reduce damage they are dramatically different means to an end. After all whatís the point of wearing a breastplate if itís never going to get used in the first place.

For thematics it would depend how you spin it, using Comics as an example it would be like saying Deadpool has a better Armor rating than Colosseus because heís more nimble.


Edited note: was half asleep when wrote that earlier, later I thought that while realism is also different and d&d has taken that into account I guess as Dex could also be used to twist and lessen damage (like armor) so technically or mechanically it just boils down to flavor, as Dex itís still one of the most used saves so it should still be decently well for any Physical attacker.

Blackbando
2018-06-24, 02:12 PM
Realistically (always a can oíworms in d&d) Armor is about getting hit and keep going (str or Con) while Dexterity based combat has always been avoiding the hits completely. While both reduce damage they are dramatically different means to an end. After all whatís the point of wearing a breastplate if itís never going to get used in the first place.

The way I see it is that, if your dexterity modifier is added to AC, you dodge the attack if it's below 10 + the amount of Dexterity allowed (so 5 for light, 2 for medium, 3 for medium armor master), block it with your armor if the armor's additional bonus above 10 (so, say, +2 for studded leather) is above the attack, but the attack beats 10 + dex, and it hits you otherwise.

Not like that means anything happens mechanically; this isn't Touch AC from older editions or anything. It's just how I imagine how AC functions.

MoiMagnus
2018-06-26, 06:19 AM
I find this to be a "by-design" problem of D&D. There is no reason for your strength to not increase your damages with bows (and you could even argue for strength also increasing accuracy). And I mean, on top of dexterity, since dexterity is of course useful. But dexterity is ALWAYS useful in fight, even with 2-handed maces. So is Intelligence, which should count both offensively and defensively in melee fight (though less than strength and dexterity). But yeah, the d20 system does not easily allow that kind of stuff. And even if that was possible, that would probably be horribly complex to compute your bonuses, for very few game-play improvement.

And for the usefulness of Str in fight for non-specialized characters, it is just a consequence of the way we usually play. If every single enemy was trying to run away when the fight is lost, I'm sure Str to run after them would be more important. Same thing if you apply strict rule for equipment weight, Str become far more important.

Thanatos 51-50
2018-06-27, 06:28 PM
I fail to see how this even... makes sense? Strength's contribution to Armour Class is that it allows you to wear heavier armour, with a higher baked-in armour class. There's no reason The Mighty Thew with a strength of 18 should be as well armoured as Jack The Nimble-Heeled with a Dexterity of 18 in leather armour. It's not a natural thought process. The Mighty Thew should probably upgrade to plate armour, because he's strong enough to carry it and he can't move as fast.

Now, as to how this affects game balance, since that's the stance you're taking here
... it's nothing but a straight buff to Strength, which is already a very useful Attribute.

Your argument is that Strength applies to fewer ability rolls and Dexterity is is always useful "even with a two-handed mace"?
Well. Two-handed Maces aren't a Finesse weapon in any Edition of D&D, so I don't understand what you're complaining about here.

Assuming 5th edition;
As far as Skills go, Dexterity is valid for... two skills more than Strength is. There are five finesse weapons on Pg 149, and they're not really as good as the Strength weapons.
With a Barbarian's Unarmoured defense -- both Unarmoured Defense skills proc off the class' secondary ability. Now, arguably, of course, the Monk still gets the buff from Dexterity, but the Barbarian still has ever-ready access to resiting physical damage and is allowed to use a shield (Which gives a +2 and is, of course, easier to find in a magical form), so it already has a baked-in balance solution. The Monk's Equipment solution? A single magical item which basically allows them to wear a pseudo-shield and cut off other cool magical items they could be wearing.

Derpaligtr
2018-06-28, 10:36 PM
My group(s) have always allowed this and it doesn't actually break anything.

It makes the Ranger a hell of a lot more fun with a strength build as you don't get stabbed as much.

We've made it where if you're wearing medium armor, you can pick either str or dex.