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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    My biggest objection to "stat dumping" is when players try to use it as "free tradeoff" by then ignoring the low stat as much as possible in-game. Classic example being the guy who builds a Fighter, puts an 8 in INT and a 10 in WIS... and then plays the character as a shrewd and brilliant tactician.

    It would help avoid this, and enable things like smart fighters or buff sorcerers, if there were some way to trade off other stuff to get more points for the Ability scores, so that a character could be more Abilities and Skills based... but D&D steadfastly does not work that way.
    Just curious how you would enforce the tactical ability difference between an 8 intelligence fighter and a 14 intelligence fighter, and then perhaps even a 20 intelligence fighter. At what level of intelligence are you going to prevent your player from making a tactical decision because they're too stupid to have thought of it? What decisions are cut off where?

    Is a party of 10 intelligence adventurers going to be utterly incapable of planning a successful surprise attack?

    I understand that I'm exaggerating the situation a bit but how would you even determine such a thing, it sounds like a lot of work. How could you reasonably draw those cutoff points without them being entirely arbitrary and based off of only your own expectations?

  2. - Top - End - #182
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    Just curious how you would enforce the tactical ability difference between an 8 intelligence fighter and a 14 intelligence fighter, and then perhaps even a 20 intelligence fighter.
    The way I do it is that when you declare actions every round, it's done in order of Intelligence, lowest to highest. (In practice everyone declares when they are ready, but someone with high Intelligence can demand to know first what the monsters with lower Int are doing. This is equivalent to the first way, but faster.) High Int = faster OODA loop = better able to respond to information on short notice.

    What this means in practice is that someone with high Int is more likely to realize that e.g. the Hill Giant is getting ready to chuck rocks in his direction, and he might Dodge instead of attacking that round. Or maybe he sees that the Neogi wizard is going to flee, and he can declare that he's going to try to grapple it instead to prevent it from fleeing.

    A player with high actual intelligence might be able to guess these things anyway, just based on the tactical situation, and declare these actions anyway; but if the PCs' Int is high then you don't have to guess. The upshot is that high-Int PCs can behave in more complex ways if they want to.

    But if you're just planning to "I hit it with my axe again" no matter what the enemy is going to do, there's no benefit to high Int.

    At what level of intelligence are you going to prevent your player from making a tactical decision because they're too stupid to have thought of it? What decisions are cut off where?
    Not needed. It happens naturally.

    I understand that I'm exaggerating the situation a bit but how would you even determine such a thing, it sounds like a lot of work. How could you reasonably draw those cutoff points without them being entirely arbitrary and based off of only your own expectations?
    Build it into the game system by giving high-Int PCs more information when they make decisions. Low-Int PCs may also have their players voluntarily impose limitations on themselves for RP reasons (I would). But the system also directly rewards high-Int PCs with more opportunities to use complex tactics.
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  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    In a campaign with lots of Intellect Devourers, Int 13 is probably as low as you should go. 16 is safer so you might wind up with a whole party of wizards. :-P
    If we take that as true, then adding lots of intellect devourers won't discourage stat dumping, as getting an int of 13 requires getting less than 13 of some other stat if you're using point buy or standard array. If int 16 is needed, then you're definitely going to have to dump some stats to get it. So the 'Intellect Devourers' solution actually doesn't do anything to help with the stated thread topic, it's just a way to encourage dumping a different stat, not to discourage the practice in general.

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    I disagree with those who would label "putting a low number" and "putting nothing (or the lowest possible number)" as equivalent forms of dumping. It's not realistic for a character to have everything.
    In the example you gave, you're putting the lowest possible number into your two 10s, as they're your lowest rolls. They're literally equivalent, so I'm not sure how you can claim that putting 'your two 10s' into particular stats is fundamentally different than putting your 8 and 10 in particular stats using point buy/standard array.

    I also don't think 'it's not realistic' is remotely relevant, it's not realistic for characters to cast spells, or to teleport through shadows, or to shrug off sword blows with wisdom, or to recover from having their entire brain eaten. Lots of heroic people in history or fiction had an ability set that would have no low stats in D&D terms, and claiming that such people don't exist is certainly unrealistic.

  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by OverLordOcelot View Post
    If we take that as true, then adding lots of intellect devourers won't discourage stat dumping
    But the person who suggested Intellect Devourers didn't say it was supposed to prevent stat dumping. They said it would prevent Int dumping, which is true.
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  5. - Top - End - #185
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    I think the more experience a player gets, the less likely they are to dump. For example, after my first character, a Barbarian, got hit with a couple of Hold Persons and a Dominate Person throughout the campaign, Iíve never been able to have less than a 12 in wis since.
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  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by KOLE View Post
    I think the more experience a player gets, the less likely they are to dump. For example, after my first character, a Barbarian, got hit with a couple of Hold Persons and a Dominate Person throughout the campaign, Iíve never been able to have less than a 12 in wis since.
    Eh, there's not much difference anyway between Wis 8 and Wis 14-16. 80% of the time they give the same saving throw result, because d20 variance dominates. Your real protections from bad effects in 5E are things like Counterspell and being out of range.

    Int is a little bit of an exception because of the custom mechanic for Devour Intellect: there's a 3d6 roll involved, and THAT has a bell curve. I guess that's one of the reasons I'd rather dump Wis than Int--there's no Wis-based equivalent of the Intellect Devourer. (Plus, I find low Wis easier to roleplay.)
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2019-06-10 at 10:31 AM.
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  7. - Top - End - #187
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by KOLE View Post
    I think the more experience a player gets, the less likely they are to dump. For example, after my first character, a Barbarian, got hit with a couple of Hold Persons and a Dominate Person throughout the campaign, Iíve never been able to have less than a 12 in wis since.
    Couldn't disagree more. I kept getting hit on my strong saves and missing them, so my perception is that the D20 randomness vastly outweighs the difference between a +1 or a +2. Still trying to get my DM to look at bell curve systems...

  8. - Top - End - #188
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    Just curious how you would enforce the tactical ability difference between an 8 intelligence fighter and a 14 intelligence fighter, and then perhaps even a 20 intelligence fighter. At what level of intelligence are you going to prevent your player from making a tactical decision because they're too stupid to have thought of it? What decisions are cut off where?

    Is a party of 10 intelligence adventurers going to be utterly incapable of planning a successful surprise attack?

    I understand that I'm exaggerating the situation a bit but how would you even determine such a thing, it sounds like a lot of work. How could you reasonably draw those cutoff points without them being entirely arbitrary and based off of only your own expectations?
    For starters, it's an RP thing.

    Don't show up with an 8-INT 8-WIS (or less) Fighter with no knowledge Skills... and then constantly play him as brilliant and knowledgeable by compensating with your own player-level intelligence and knowledge. IMO, a player who does that is trying to game the system and get those "points" in other Ability scores for free while ignoring the drawbacks.

    If you make a dumb brick PC, then play a dumb brick.




    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    The way I do it is that when you declare actions every round, it's done in order of Intelligence, lowest to highest. (In practice everyone declares when they are ready, but someone with high Intelligence can demand to know first what the monsters with lower Int are doing. This is equivalent to the first way, but faster.) High Int = faster OODA loop = better able to respond to information on short notice.

    What this means in practice is that someone with high Int is more likely to realize that e.g. the Hill Giant is getting ready to chuck rocks in his direction, and he might Dodge instead of attacking that round. Or maybe he sees that the Neogi wizard is going to flee, and he can declare that he's going to try to grapple it instead to prevent it from fleeing.
    That's an interesting approach worth exploring more, I think.


    Quote Originally Posted by Reynaert View Post
    Couldn't disagree more. I kept getting hit on my strong saves and missing them, so my perception is that the D20 randomness vastly outweighs the difference between a +1 or a +2. Still trying to get my DM to look at bell curve systems...
    Random thought... maybe replace 1d20 with 1d12+1d8... the "mean" only shifts from 10.5 to 11, but you get a curve instead of a linear distribution. Tweak some DCs as needed.

    (And yeah, the 1d20 is one of the elements that kills D&D and derivatives for me.)
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2019-06-10 at 11:31 AM.
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  9. - Top - End - #189
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    But the person who suggested Intellect Devourers didn't say it was supposed to prevent stat dumping. They said it would prevent Int dumping, which is true.
    Found the guy who dumped Int.
    Last edited by NatureKing; 2019-06-10 at 12:18 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #190

    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Something's gotta give if you're using standard array, or if you're using point buy and don't want a bunch of 10s. Nobody in their right mind puts the 8 in Constitution, so it becomes a question of if you want your character to be physically weak, clumsy, slow-witted, oblivious, or socially inept.

  11. - Top - End - #191
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    My biggest objection to "stat dumping" is when players try to use it as "free tradeoff" by then ignoring the low stat as much as possible in-game. Classic example being the guy who builds a Fighter, puts an 8 in INT and a 10 in WIS... and then plays the character as a shrewd and brilliant tactician.

    It would help avoid this, and enable things like smart fighters or buff sorcerers, if there were some way to trade off other stuff to get more points for the Ability scores, so that a character could be more Abilities and Skills based... but D&D steadfastly does not work that way.
    By the same token how many DMs who hate this won't allow a player of an 18 IN character know all about a particular monster they're facing, its strength and weaknesses to inform the party how best to fight it or refuse to let an 18 WI character player know his plan won't work because of reason or if the 18 CH player says something wrong, too bad the Duke refuses your request and feel fortunate he doesn't throw you in the dungeon.

    In any case, a fighter knows how to fight. That's his profession. I don't expect an 8 IN fighter to know which mushrooms are edible and which are poison or the location of the Temple of the Open Mind, but I have no problem believing he knows best when it comes to combat tactics. An 8 Intelligence is not an imbecile knowing absolutely nothing about anything.
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  12. - Top - End - #192
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    By the same token how many DMs who hate this won't allow a player of an 18 IN character know all about a particular monster they're facing, its strength and weaknesses to inform the party how best to fight it or refuse to let an 18 WI character player know his plan won't work because of reason or if the 18 CH player says something wrong, too bad the Duke refuses your request and feel fortunate he doesn't throw you in the dungeon.
    I have no idea how many DMs might do that.

    My approach is to try to work with the player if their character is just blatantly smarter or more charming than they are.

    (There is however a limit and I won't let a player abuse my generosity by constantly counting on me to compensate for a lack of effort or other issues. That is, at least TRY to be smart, or TRY to be well-spoken / charming... I'm far more forgiving of player who makes an honest best-effort that comes up short.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    In any case, a fighter knows how to fight. That's his profession. I don't expect an 8 IN fighter to know which mushrooms are edible and which are poison or the location of the Temple of the Open Mind, but I have no problem believing he knows best when it comes to combat tactics. An 8 Intelligence is not an imbecile knowing absolutely nothing about anything.
    Skill with weapons and melee techniques is not the same thing as "tactics".
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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  13. - Top - End - #193
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    For starters, it's an RP thing.

    Don't show up with an 8-INT 8-WIS (or less) Fighter with no knowledge Skills... and then constantly play him as brilliant and knowledgeable by compensating with your own player-level intelligence and knowledge. IMO, a player who does that is trying to game the system and get those "points" in other Ability scores for free while ignoring the drawbacks.

    If you make a dumb brick PC, then play a dumb brick.
    I would have respect for this argument if the people who claim 'it's an RP thing' applied the same standard in the other direction. But I've never seen someone who does actually let a 20-int character act if they're more intelligent than the player. Do you step in and tell a player mechanical information about a monster that their 20-int character would know but the player doesn't? Does their 20-int character solve a riddle, pattern, or other puzzle if the player hasn't figured it out? Do you ever give the 20-INT player tactical advice that their character would easily figure out but the player isn't good at?

  14. - Top - End - #194
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by OverLordOcelot View Post
    I would have respect for this argument if the people who claim 'it's an RP thing' applied the same standard in the other direction. But I've never seen someone who does actually let a 20-int character act if they're more intelligent than the player. Do you step in and tell a player mechanical information about a monster that their 20-int character would know but the player doesn't? Does their 20-int character solve a riddle, pattern, or other puzzle if the player hasn't figured it out? Do you ever give the 20-INT player tactical advice that their character would easily figure out but the player isn't good at?
    Like telling the player what action the monster is doing this round, so he can declare his action accordingly? Yes, I do. It has allowed players to play PCs who act smarter (IMO) than the players are.

    It doesn't make me jump in and tell the player, "You shouldn't cast Grasping Vine, it's a crummy spell," but that's just because having the DM play your PC for you wouldn't be fun for the player. I guess if the player wanted my tactical advice for a high-Int PC I'd give them whatever advice they were interested in. Meanwhile, at least their Int is letting the PC act in smart ways.

    There are similar related benefits to riddle games, etc.--if you want to engage with the challenge through rolling dice instead of roleplaying through a riddle, you can usually do that, although IMO it is less fun.
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  15. - Top - End - #195
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by cjcaesar View Post
    I read a lot about valorize the abilities that the players are likely to dump during character creation: INT first, then STR and CHA and in some builds I also see WIS as the dump stat. I never seen CON or DEX dumped because they are too valuables and if someone wants to dump one of these two, I think he's already fairly penalized. I didn't find a way to valorize the remaining 4 abilities in a build that put them as the dump stat but maybe I can try to discourage players to dump them before all:
    1. INT or WIS: apply the malus to character initiative;
    2. STR: apply the malus to bonus HP derived from CON every level;
    3. CHA: apply the malus to charisma skill check of every member of the party if the character is in the same room and if you roll for a random character to attack count that character as two (if you have 3 party members don't roll a 1d3, roll instead a 1d4).

    You can use the malus only to mitigate the bonus to a minimum of 0 (a character with 10 DEX and 8 INT has Initiative 0) or you can choose to go all out and use the malus to impose a negative modifier (a character with 10 DEX and 8 INT has initiative -1).
    What you think?
    Tell the party to write down the stats they feel their character would have. Their upper level stats will be lower and their low stats will be higher because it is no longer a mechanical but a story based decision. Gamifying character design is why you get gamey characters.
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  16. - Top - End - #196

    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Tell the party to write down the stats they feel their character would have. Their upper level stats will be lower and their low stats will be higher because it is no longer a mechanical but a story based decision. Gamifying character design is why you get gamey characters.
    And what if they feel their character should have 18 18 19 18 18 20?

    How do you make sure they're acting in good faith if you just let them pick? How do you make sure their highs ar elower and their lows are higher?

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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by Constructman View Post
    And what if they feel their character should have 18 18 19 18 18 20?

    How do you make sure they're acting in good faith if you just let them pick? How do you make sure their highs ar elower and their lows are higher?
    You don't have to, that is the nice thing about human interactions. If they feel they are gaming a system they will push the envelope, if they feel they are breaking the social code and are going to be shamed for it they won't. You can spend an entire lifetime trying to make an ungameable system, or a five minute conversation about group expectations.

    Look at almost any thread about an exploit in the rules and the response is "that won't fly in any real game but good job." Remove the puzzle aspect to gaming rules and people tend not to do it.
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  18. - Top - End - #198
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Simplest way to discourage stat dumping: remove stats.
    They do not really add much of value to the game.
    Last edited by noob; 2019-06-10 at 02:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by Constructman View Post
    And what if they feel their character should have 18 18 19 18 18 20?
    Then you shrug and run the game. What's the problem?
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by OverLordOcelot View Post
    I would have respect for this argument if the people who claim 'it's an RP thing' applied the same standard in the other direction. But I've never seen someone who does actually let a 20-int character act if they're more intelligent than the player. Do you step in and tell a player mechanical information about a monster that their 20-int character would know but the player doesn't? Does their 20-int character solve a riddle, pattern, or other puzzle if the player hasn't figured it out? Do you ever give the 20-INT player tactical advice that their character would easily figure out but the player isn't good at?
    Asked and answered:

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I have no idea how many DMs might do that.

    My approach is to try to work with the player if their character is just blatantly smarter or more charming than they are.

    (There is however a limit and I won't let a player abuse my generosity by constantly counting on me to compensate for a lack of effort or other issues. That is, at least TRY to be smart, or TRY to be well-spoken / charming... I'm far more forgiving of player who makes an honest best-effort that comes up short.)
    If the character is supposed to be a brilliant tactician, then I'd let them roll INT and then pass them notes or point things out in combat... or give them the "bad idea" look before they could finish committing to an action, etc.

    As an aside, which Skill if any would reflect a character's knowledge of monster quirks, biology, ecology, etc -- perhaps Nature or Arcana depending on the monster? There's really not a "tactics" Skill at all, is there?
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Less artificial restrictions:

    Str: Carrying Capacity. Use a simplified encumbrance system.
    Str 1/4 - Unencumbered
    Str 1/2 - Lightly Encumbered
    Str 3/4 - Encumbered
    Str - Heavily Encumbered

    Light Armor takes up 2 slots, Medium 4, Heavy 6.

    A weapon or implement takes up 1, a versatile weapon 2, a two-handed weapon 3.

    Easy to track. And significant until they get a bag of holding (which takes actions to pull things out of tho).

    ---

    Treat Intelligence as "Lore". Have lots of Lore. Make people do checks, even in combat.

    Even something as simple as: When a fighter attacks a monster, do a Lore check. On success, the fighter remembers a weak spot, and gets advantage on the attack or damage.

    Do "Lore" checks based on character backgrounds. This lets you demand particular characters do the check.

    ---

    Dumping Wisdom, Dex or Con makes your saves suck. So not a problem.

    ---

    Charisma. Steal a page from Strength. Contact points!

    A Cohort costs 12, an Ally costs 6, a Friend costs 3 and a Well-Wisher costs 1.

    The DM offers these to the party over time. They are like treasure. If you lack Charisma, they are treasure you aren't gonna get.

    Cohort: Power scale of a PC. Sometimes willing to adventure with party just to help them out.
    Ally: Power scale of a PC. Rarely willing to adventure, but definitely willing to help out; a local cleric who might case restoration for your past services.
    Friend: Someone willing to help the PCs out without always getting equal value in return. A merchant who goes the extra mile to do some magic item brokering for the party.
    Well-wisher: Someone who won't screw the PCs over, like a Barkeep that wakes the PCs instead of telling the assassins where they are sleeping.

    You could also have Enemy points or something. Double the price of friends, and state that you can have at most Charisma Enemy points, and your Contacts are limited by (Charisma+Enemy).

    (Low charisma means that even enemies don't think you are worth it).

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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    For starters, it's an RP thing.

    Don't show up with an 8-INT 8-WIS (or less) Fighter with no knowledge Skills... and then constantly play him as brilliant and knowledgeable by compensating with your own player-level intelligence and knowledge. IMO, a player who does that is trying to game the system and get those "points" in other Ability scores for free while ignoring the drawbacks.

    If you make a dumb brick PC, then play a dumb brick.
    I think a lot of people's expectations for what 8 int should look like are off the mark. The standard deviation of a 3d6 roll is just under 3, and 10.5 is the average. Rounding, everyone from 8 to 13 in any stat falls within one standard deviation of the mean, which means those people are clinically normal. Expecting someone of 8 int to act like a dumb brick doesn't make any sense. That's a C math student, not someone too dumb to tie their own shoes.

    A fighter of clinically normal intelligence being an effective tactician (something entirely within their wheelhouse as a fighter) isn't strange or unusual. Chalk it up to experience if you really need an RP reason.
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by crayzz View Post
    I think a lot of people's expectations for what 8 int should look like are off the mark. The standard deviation of a 3d6 roll is just under 3, and 10.5 is the average. Rounding, everyone from 8 to 13 in any stat falls within one standard deviation of the mean, which means those people are clinically normal. Expecting someone of 8 int to act like a dumb brick doesn't make any sense. That's a C math student, not someone too dumb to tie their own shoes.

    A fighter of clinically normal intelligence being an effective tactician (something entirely within their wheelhouse as a fighter) isn't strange or unusual. Chalk it up to experience if you really need an RP reason.
    If a character's INT score results in a penalty, they're not "average".

    8 INT and no INT-related Skills isn't average, it's a touch slow and an education that was limited in some way.
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    If a character's INT score results in a penalty, they're not "average".
    And "at the human mean" != "typical for my social circle."
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    I don't think dump stats are going anywhere without a very thorough reworking of stats and how they interact with the system at large. Assigning attributes in D&D is mostly a formality, anyway, with some minor variation in what you want to focus on beyond your main attribute.
    Last edited by Morty; 2019-06-10 at 04:19 PM.
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  26. - Top - End - #206
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    And "at the human mean" != "typical for my social circle."
    To quote George Carlin, "Think about how stupid the average person is then realize that half of them are even dumber than that."

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  27. - Top - End - #207
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    If a character's INT score results in a penalty, they're not "average".

    8 INT and no INT-related Skills isn't average, it's a touch slow and an education that was limited in some way.
    It is equivalent to an IQ of 85, they wouldn't stand out as particularly dumb in a conversation.
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  28. - Top - End - #208
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    It is equivalent to an IQ of 85, they wouldn't stand out as particularly dumb in a conversation.
    And yet they will rarely or never have original insights into how to run your 5E game. (That's not directed at anyone in particular, it's just an illustration of the difference between being present in a conversation and making people glad you were in that conversation.)
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  29. - Top - End - #209
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    If a character's INT score results in a penalty, they're not "average".

    8 INT and no INT-related Skills isn't average, it's a touch slow and an education that was limited in some way.
    Your example was "tactician"; there is no int skill in 5e that corresponds to tactical abilities. There just isn't a way to mechanically pin down someone's tactical competence. It makes sense to use the int score as a loose proxy, but you should keep in mind what 8 int actually means. It's "a touch slow in general", not "bad at literally everything more cerebral than walking while chewing gum" and not "dumb as a brick."

    I didn't say they were average. I said 8 int was clinically normal, which is true. A psychologist likely wouldn't find it noteworthy that someone with clinically normal intelligence was moderately effective in a specific field that correlates with intelligence.
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  30. - Top - End - #210
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    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

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    Default Re: Discourage stat dumping

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyutaru View Post
    To quote George Carlin, "Think about how stupid the average person is then realize that half of them are even dumber than that."
    The real joke there is all the people who laugh because they don't understand how averages work.
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