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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Why was dex made so powerful?

    As far as I understand it, feats are optional rules. So leaving those aside for a second...

    Two fighters start off. Fighter (A) is Str16 Dex10 Con16. Fighter (B) is Str 10 Dex16 Con16.
    Fighter (A) uses a longsword and shield
    Fighter (B) uses a rapier and shield

    Fighter (A) gets +2 Str. This gives him +1 hit, +1 damage, +1 athletic skill checks, +1 strength saves
    Fighter (A) can eventually get fullplate, for a max AC of 21.

    Fighter (B) gets +2 Dex. This gives him +1 hit, +1 damage, +1 AC, +1 initiative, +1 dex skills, +1 dex saves
    Fighter (B) with studded leather has a max AC of 20.

    Between the two, dexterity just seems downright better. Sure, Fighter (A) could grab a great sword and pick up great weapon master, but Fighter (B) could just as easily pick up sharpshooter.

    But between the two, just looking at stats...Str seems to get the short end of the stick. Did the designers really think that +1 max AC is worth losing out on one of the best saves, many skills, and initiative?

    And furthermore...is there anything from the designers on this? Because I'm used to pathfinder, where getting dex to damage means jumping through several flaming hoops with your shoe laces tied together and an angry badger mauling your face. It isn't easy. Here, it is just offered up to you.

    Hell...even using a bow, which normally requires alot of strength, only uses dex now.

    Am I missing something?

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    I tend to find them a little more even than other people say (though dex is usually a little better).

    Strength saves/checks are really common. Any kind of restrained condition is usually resisted by strength - there are a good number of spells that do that as well as monster abilities. Dex saves tend to just dodge damage but a restrained condition can effectively take a character out of the game for several turns.

    Strength also allows better AC for those not wanting to immediately max their attack stat. Say a paladin who wants to boost charisma earlier or a fighter who wan't to multi-class.

    Then there is the attacks. A shove can often be a really powerful move by a fighter. Any kind of interesting environment will reward shoving. Enemy blocking a door? Move them out the way. Guarding a bridge? Push them off. Bad guy being hard on the Party? Push him prone. Maybe you have casters in the party? Push enemies back into their spell effects instead.

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    Goblin

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Well not even counting feats (which brings up the argument of "optional, but find me that one game where the DM does not allow feats before I ignore their help in the balance of the game") you ignore the greatsword's damage boost. 8.33 (GWF) is beating the 6.5 from a rapier (duelist). Then in my opinion (has to do research to double checks) the races that give str bonuses tend to have more offensive racial bonuses (+4 total ability improvements for dwarf, savage attacks for half-orcs). And the athletic to push is not bad at all as making an enemy prone or pushing him off a bridge is going to be extremely powerful.

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    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    I agree with you Dex is the most important stat. Even characters with heavy armor and a spell casting Stat want good initiative and Dex saves. The three most important saves Dex, Con, Wisdom.

    But remember with any system something will be the most important. The opposite question is why is intelligence the preferred dump Stat for nonWizards? Something also has to be the worst.

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    Pex's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Initiative is overrated. For particular characters it is very important to go first as often as possible, like Assassin Rogue, but it's not as if not going first means you're worthless. In some cases you want the bad guys to come to you such as you're too far to reach them anyway if you're a melee warrior. Using a bow is great. It's possible to use both even if you didn't take archery style. There is also merit in knowing what your enemy is doing before you act. The swinginess of the d20 also means having +5 initiative does not guarantee you first place. Good chance, yes, but not something you can solely rely upon.

    You don't need Dex for high AC.

    Dex saving throws are important, but unless you have evasion you're taking damage anyway. There are ways to mitigate it. Paladins have Lay On Hands and add Cha to Dex. Fighters have Second Wind. Bear barbarians have resistance. It's certainly nice to have a good Dex save but not having it doesn't make you the suck.

    Nothing wrong with preferring Dex over Str, but that's your personal taste not a universal command.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Dex is the most powerful stat because of the long-standing obsession with ninjas that geek culture has endured for multiple decades.

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    Goblin

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Also unless your DM rules you can use acrobatics for it, jumping and other useful skills are based on athletics (str). So having a 20 dex and dumping str means you might fall into the pit of lava if you can't get a bridge.

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    MonkGirl

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Access to two handed weapons tends to a slight damage boost as well over DEX even without feats and class features

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Also see the "Incorporating Torchbearer Ideas in 5e" thread to see how ignoring encumbrance helps devalue Str.

    Your 10 Str fighter can wear his studded leather, carry a longbow, a quiver with 20 arrows, a rapier and a shield, a backpack with enough food and water for 1 day in the wilderness, and a handful of coins before he's encumbered. (with the optional encumbrance rules) Hand him a few days' worth of food and water, a couple days worth of torches, some magical items, a few hundred coins, a smattering of gems, and suddenly he's encumbered even with the default encumbrance.

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Dex is seen as a powerful stat because there is a tradition of resolving physical actions using dice while leaving things like cognition, comprehension and behaviour up to player fiat.

    If the game was played such that being wise and intelligent mattered for how a character generally functions in the world, and character Wisdom and Intelligence affected this, there would be less complaints that character Dexterity generally affects things where being quick and agile matters.
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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    As others have said, the disparity in power isn't as great as many neckbeards would have you believe. Some benefits of high strength include:

    • Increased ability to grapple or shove opponents (shaping the battlefield) with Athletics
    • Ability to access higher armor classes by wearing heavy armor (A 20 Dex character with leather armor and a shield maxes out at 19 without class-based benefits/spells/feats/magic items. Meanwhile, a 15 Str character can access an AC of 20 with Plate armor and a shield, although that does require money.). This benefit makes having a high strength score a good choice for characters that are hoping to max out a different stat (such as wisdom for a cleric) without sacrificing their AC.
    • Higher damage dice - to some players, this matters (as mentioned previously)
    • Higher carrying capacity (as mentioned previously)
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    mephnick's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    Initiative is overrated. .
    Vastly overrated, it's honestly insane. Going first is a detriment in a lot of cases now that Delay doesn't exist and the Ready action being so costly.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Well with dex a longbow becomes very dangerous, much more than a javelin or spear. And high acrobatics can negate high athletics skill.

    But since the game isn't PvP, we don't see the huge benefits of a high dex.

    That said right out off the gate, strength and heavy armor are better at least until say 6-8 Level when dex stats are maxed

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    Vastly overrated, it's honestly insane. Going first is a detriment in a lot of cases now that Delay doesn't exist and the Ready action being so costly.
    Agreed. Yes if you play certain characters like an assassin or most wizards going first can be very important (assassin) or at least a fair boon (most wizards) but for many characters it is a slight benefit or even not desired if your strategy requires for your allies to go first or to wait for the enemy t make their move.
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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by grumbaki View Post
    Am I missing something?
    Do you use encumbrance?

    Try it and see why Strength is important.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    Do you use encumbrance?

    Try it and see why Strength is important.
    My 8th level fighter just with starting gear and a few odds and ends he picked up has 161 pounds of gear. Anyone who doesn't trqck encumbrance should start. It matters more thqn you think.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by imanidiot View Post
    My 8th level fighter just with starting gear and a few odds and ends he picked up has 161 pounds of gear. Anyone who doesn't trqck encumbrance should start. It matters more thqn you think.
    Our Swashbuckler dumped Str to 8.

    He was barely able to wear his studded leather, carry his 2 shortswords, a few daggers and some very basic and rudimentary adventuring gear without being encumbred.

    He dumped most of his travellers kit (bedroll, most rations, eating utensils etc) in town before setting off.

    I then mercilessly trolled him as the DM about how he was eating with his hands during short rests like a pig, sleeping in the rain without a bedroll (Make me a Con save or lose a level of exhaustion...) and so forth.

    Luckily we had a PC with the 'can gather food for 6 people' background or he would have starved.

    He treasures his bag of holding now at 16th level.

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    Zejety's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    Vastly overrated, it's honestly insane. Going first is a detriment in a lot of cases now that Delay doesn't exist and the Ready action being so costly.
    You could always just use the dodge action on your turn though, the result being the same as having a lower initiative but with Dodge's benefits before your first turn. That's pretty decent on top of the actual benefits of going first.
    Last edited by Zejety; 2017-08-10 at 04:58 AM.

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    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    initiative is not overrated. If you have a fighter that kills an opponent in three hits.

    If you win initiative
    1 you hit the opponent
    2 the opponent makes an attack against you
    3 you hit the opponent
    4 the opponent makes an attack against you
    5 you kill the opponent
    Result the opponent makes 2 attacks against you

    If you lose initiative
    1 the opponent makes an attack against you
    2 you hit the opponent
    3 the opponent makes an attack against you
    4 you hit the opponent
    5 the opponent makes an attack against you
    6 you kill the opponent
    Result the opponent makes 3 attacks against you so in this particular scenario you take roughly 50% more damage if you lose initiative.

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galactkaktus View Post
    initiative is not overrated. If you have a fighter that kills an opponent in three hits.

    If you win initiative
    1 you hit the opponent
    2 the opponent makes an attack against you
    3 you hit the opponent
    4 the opponent makes an attack against you
    5 you kill the opponent
    Result the opponent makes 2 attacks against you

    If you lose initiative
    1 the opponent makes an attack against you
    2 you hit the opponent
    3 the opponent makes an attack against you
    4 you hit the opponent
    5 the opponent makes an attack against you
    6 you kill the opponent
    Result the opponent makes 3 attacks against you so in this particular scenario you take roughly 50% more damage if you lose initiative.
    But it's not as important when you have multiple PCs, as they will also be attacking/receiving attacks.

    Once its gone round once and changes to a rolling order, it only really matters if there's something that happens at the start of each round.

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Afrodactyl View Post
    But it's not as important when you have multiple PCs, as they will also be attacking/receiving attacks.

    Once its gone round once and changes to a rolling order, it only really matters if there's something that happens at the start of each round.
    If a pc that won intitiative at any point in the combat kills an opponent you've reduced the amounts of attacks your party takes by 1 regardless of how many pcs there are.

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    lt_murgen's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    Do you use encumbrance?

    Try it and see why Strength is important.
    + a whole bunch to this.
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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galactkaktus View Post
    If a pc that won intitiative at any point in the combat kills an opponent you've reduced the amounts of attacks your party takes by 1 regardless of how many pcs there are.
    Look at the second part of what I said. After the first round, it's moot, as it just turns into a continual cycle of them, then them, then them. If any pc kills an opponent before the opponent next gets to act, they've reduced the number of incoming attacks, regardless of whether that pc won initiative or came last. Initiative only matters in the first round.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by grumbaki View Post
    But between the two, just looking at stats...Str seems to get the short end of the stick. Did the designers really think that +1 max AC is worth losing out on one of the best saves, many skills, and initiative?
    ...
    Am I missing something?
    well ... playing a DEX 8 tank for a decent amount of time ...
    • yes, +1 AC is worth it. Don't forget that if an enemy can only hit you on a 17, 18, 19 or 20; +1 AC means getting het 25% time less.
    • skills? yeah, don't really care about sleight of hand or stealth or athletics to begin with.
    • Reflex save is usually against damage spells. As a fighter, I got this thing called hit points.
    • Init ... that's the only thing that got hurt by dumping dex. (but ya gotta dump something, right? My 13 CHA got me inspiring leader & fighter multiclass paladin)


    TL;DR: I dumped dex and haven't regretted it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Galactkaktus View Post
    initiative is not overrated. If you have a fighter that kills an opponent in three hits.

    Result the opponent makes 3 attacks against you so in this particular scenario you take roughly 50% more damage if you lose initiative.
    Well, lets see about that, shall we? The difference between 2 & 3 rounds... lets take CR7, alphabetically first: Giant Ape. (+2 init; 2x: +9 for 22 damage)

    • 18 Dex fighter (+4 init, AC: 12+4 +2 shield+1 defense = 19)
      61.75% chance to win init; takes 22 damage per round
      --> 22 + 22 + ( (100-61.75%) * 22 ) = 52.415 damage
    • 8 dex fullplate fighter (-1 init: AC: 18+2 shield +1 defense = 21).
      34% chance to win init; takes 17.6 damage per round
      --> 17.6 + 17.6 + ( (100-34%)*17.6) = 46.816 damage


    so ... err ... edge, the guy with 5 lower initiative.
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    Chimera

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by grumbaki View Post
    As far as I understand it, feats are optional rules. So leaving those aside for a second...
    Okay, they are optional, yes. However, leaving them aside is also a decision. The game is not going to play exactly the same with feats and without feats. I don't think it's controversial to say that feats disproportionately benefit the Str-based martials more than it does the Dex-based. So is it perhaps the case that Dex wins out a bit without feats and Str wins out with feats? Hardly cut and dried, but a reasonable hypothesis. Regardless, while it is theoretically possible to design a system with perfect balance between Dex and Str for both with and without feats, I suspect that the added constraints would have lead to a less enjoyable system, not a more enjoyable one.

    And furthermore...is there anything from the designers on this?...
    The designers are notoriously uninterested in "but why..." questions. I have a long list of things that will probably never be answered.

    Because I'm used to pathfinder, where...
    In P3e/F and before, you never really could dump one or the other totally (in 2e and before, what you really wanted was to max both Str and Dex). The entire concept of Str or Dex is really a new one (and something of a false one, as people have mentioned re: encumbrance, etc.). Did they do it perfectly? Well, I guess not for everyone.

    Hell...even using a bow, which normally requires alot of strength, only uses dex now.
    And this I think is where the intended balance comes from-the dex fighter gets to switch-hit between the moderate rapier and best-of-ranged longbow, while the str fighter punches hard with the greatsword, but then has to lob javelins if he has to go ranged. Whether those are balanced choices depends on how often your front-liners have to switch to ranged combat.


    Quote Originally Posted by Galactkaktus View Post
    If a pc that won intitiative at any point in the combat kills an opponent you've reduced the amounts of attacks your party takes by 1 regardless of how many pcs there are.
    Yes, and if they wasted/used-inefficiently the first round of any combat, they've invested heavily to get little benefit. Whichever scenario happens more tells us how useful initiative is.

    Quote Originally Posted by djreynolds View Post
    Well with dex a longbow becomes very dangerous, much more than a javelin or spear. And high acrobatics can negate high athletics skill.
    How well acrobatics and athletics are interchangeable is very DM- and player-decision- dependent. If you ever want to be doing the grappling, then acrobatics is a poor substitute for athletics. Likewise, if the DM isn't letting you use acrobatics instead of athletics for various skills, then you'll really want to have high numbers in both.

    That said right out off the gate, strength and heavy armor are better at least until say 6-8 Level when dex stats are maxed
    This is important to remember. The game doesn't start at endgame, so worrying about the 1 pt. AC differential at that point isn't the whole picture.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    I'm curious about older editions. How exactly did stat advancement work if you were trying to raise both Strength and Dex? I can't imagine doing so in 5E with respectable Con, unless you dumb all your mental stats - and that seems incredibly boring.

    Just 2 maxed stats with decent con requires max level and doesn't leave much room for feats. How were previous editions with this?

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    Pex's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galactkaktus View Post
    initiative is not overrated. If you have a fighter that kills an opponent in three hits.

    If you win initiative
    1 you hit the opponent
    2 the opponent makes an attack against you
    3 you hit the opponent
    4 the opponent makes an attack against you
    5 you kill the opponent
    Result the opponent makes 2 attacks against you

    If you lose initiative
    1 the opponent makes an attack against you
    2 you hit the opponent
    3 the opponent makes an attack against you
    4 you hit the opponent
    5 the opponent makes an attack against you
    6 you kill the opponent
    Result the opponent makes 3 attacks against you so in this particular scenario you take roughly 50% more damage if you lose initiative.
    Being overrated does not make it worthless, but you still cannot guarantee going first with a high Dex. Having a good AC (high STR, heavy armor) could mean the opponent misses you despite going first, so you're not always taking the 50% more damage.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saiga View Post
    I'm curious about older editions. How exactly did stat advancement work if you were trying to raise both Strength and Dex? I can't imagine doing so in 5E with respectable Con, unless you dumb all your mental stats - and that seems incredibly boring.

    Just 2 maxed stats with decent con requires max level and doesn't leave much room for feats. How were previous editions with this?
    In 2e you didn't raise stats once you rolled them, unless magic. At least that's how I remember it.

    And I seem to remember that Str applied to damage with a bow and Dex applied to "to hit"?

    (I'm sure someone who actually currently still plays 2e can correct me)
    Last edited by Armored Walrus; 2017-08-10 at 07:44 AM. Reason: added quote because ninja

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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saiga View Post
    I'm curious about older editions. How exactly did stat advancement work if you were trying to raise both Strength and Dex?
    You didn't. You might find magic that increased an attribute (or lowered one). The only exception was the weird cavalier in AD&D Unearthed Arcana.

    Anyway, Dex isn't unbalanced in 5e. Ranged is, but that's entirely a function of two feats, IME.

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    Chimera

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    Default Re: Why was dex made so powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saiga View Post
    I'm curious about older editions. How exactly did stat advancement work if you were trying to raise both Strength and Dex? I can't imagine doing so in 5E with respectable Con, unless you dumb all your mental stats - and that seems incredibly boring.
    The entire concept of expected increased stats is a 3e and later invention. Previous editions, you never naturally gained attributes. However, temporary magic (e.g. gauntlets of ogre power) or permanent boosts (e.g. manual of gainful exercise) were well represented in the treasure charts. Oh and in some editions wishes could raise your stats and wishes were as common as <insert personal experience here>. I say that because there seems to be no consensus. I do know that, when EGG sat down to write 1st edition AD&D, he added that wishes used to try to raise an attribute from 16 to 17 takes 10 wishes, meaning that there must have been enough wishes flying around in oD&D to warrant this rule.

    So, other than having an additional attribute vying for attention (and wishes, and putting a good roll in there in the first place), strength and dexterity were pretty independent. You wanted as much of both as you could. Strength was definitely "the" warrior stat (although the +3 ranged to-hit/-4 AC you got from an 18 Dex might compete with the +3 hit/+6 damage of an 18/00 Strength, the psychological value of getting that 18 strength and getting to roll that percentile dice was game-changing). But there was no dumping one over the other or anything. Every fighter wanted as much of all of them as they could.

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