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  1. #1
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    Default Just a general stat question about D&D - Why have the "every two points" system?

    I'm still new, so please forgive if this has been addressed elsewhere and I missed it.

    As best I can tell, there is zero benefit to me having an odd numbered stat (STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, CHA). Am I wrong about this? Are there certain benefits that DO come from certain stats even if you just increase it one point from an even to odd number? The only thing I can think about are certain feats that require specific minimum numbers, some of which are odd numbers. Is that all?

    If I'm correct that odd numbers don't matter, then my basic question is WHY have a system like this? I understand the pen and paper game may work like this too, but WHY?

    What would be the harm with having every single point of a stat coming with a tangible benefit, rather than have everyone shooting for those even numbers?

    My main, and first character (first life), is a 12/2 Wiz Rogue. I think that, with gear and everything, I have a 32 Int right now. I'm wearing a + 5 Int item. I could easily purchase a + 6 Int item instead, but I don't see any benefit to doing so if the highest it could get me right now is 33 Int. I don't think my SP pool would go up, and I'm pretty sure that my DC rolls would not either, not my "Insightful Reflexes" save, etc.

    Basically it seems weird to me because I would think that in games like this a person should ALWAYS strive for the highest stats they can get. But this game seems different. It seems that if all my stats are even, then loot that raises those stats by +1 have no value for me right now, at least not until I can get an "every 4 levels" stat increase to bring it to the next even number.

    Like I said, it was just bugging me why they set up a system like this, and wanted to hear what others might know about their reasoning. Thanks very much for any insight you can offer in this regard.

  2. #2
    Hero Gkar's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's just the way 3.x is built. A good part of the reason is probably that they don't want the amounts to go too high or it breaks the D20 system (as it has broken the D20 system in DDO, making them abandon it for AC)

    There are a few things with odd # requirements (for example, TWF/ITWF is 15/17), but generally you are right, don't worry about that odd point.

  3. #3
    Uber Completionist Ilindith's Avatar
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    Because that's how PnP is.
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  4. #4
    Community Member TPICKRELL's Avatar
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    Now that we have more common odd number stat effects like Primal Scream, odd stats are more useful than they used to be.

  5. #5
    Community Member redspecter23's Avatar
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    In pnp and to some extent in DDO, your odd stats are used to determine feat prerequisites. 13 Dex for dodge, 13 str for power attack, etc. So while creating your character, your even scores get you +1 to certain abilities, your odd stats qualify you for the feats you might be planning to take later.
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  6. #6
    The Hatchery Enoach's Avatar
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    The design has actually been around even longer than 3.x

    Each point was considered a 1/2 step and due to rounding rules would not be a benefit to the Modifier until a whole step was reached.

    This is seen not only in Attribute Modifiers, but also skill modifiers.

    Additionally, not all gear/effects has even modifiers allowing for "Evening Out" a score. With ML requirements in DDO this works out if you plan your Odd Attribute around ML of Attribute Bonus so you can take advantage.

    Advantages of an Odd attribute - can suffer a single point of Attribute damage without loosing your current bonus. Utilize Odd bonus Items/Effects to even out a score (some of these lower then your current level so may be cheaper/easier to acquire)

    I believe the idea of the 1/2 step was implemented to avoid exceeding the D20 system.

  7. #7
    Hatchery Hero BOgre's Avatar
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    Because there are items, spells, enhancements, etc. that give +1 to a stat (or another odd number). It's easier to have the benefit come at even numbered intervals, than trying to implement bonuses that give a half point. Example: your strength is 29, and your guild minor strength shrine gives +1, for a total of 30. Much easier than trying to make the system be like you have a 14.5 strength and the shrine give you .5 , yes?
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  8. #8
    Community Member Raithe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stefferweffer View Post
    If I'm correct that odd numbers don't matter, then my basic question is WHY have a system like this?
    The short answer is to simplify calculations and keep DMs from having to use a calculator to add and subtract from stat totals. Basically everything gets rounded to a whole number for this reason.

    Obviously for an MMO this no longer matters and precision adjustments can be made at any level, allowing higher precision (.5 stat and skill bonuses) to sift through until that point. I would guess the reason for following the PnP rules was, simply, to follow the PnP rules as much as possible.

    Too bad they decided against that some time ago.

  9. #9
    The Hatchery Hutoth's Avatar
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    Ultimately it's a matter of history convenience and preference.

    e.g. Here's some alternative set-ups to illustrate:

    Instead of ability score 10 = 0 bonus, lets have 0. And any Ability Score above 0 is a bonus, and anything below zero is a penalty, with the absolute value (plus or minus) used.
    Seems simple, but now you need to rework a variety of related rules:
    • What level of Ability Score does a caster need to cast odd-level spells under this new system?
    • [ability] score of +0.5, +1.5, +2.5, +3.5 etc.
    • What bonus do you get from odd-numbered stat-bonus items?
    • +0.5, +1.5, +2.5, +3.5 etc.
    • How much ability damage is done by an incoming poison attack that used to do 1 point of [stat] damage? (well it's 0.5..)
    • etc.

    Hmm - I've made the system no more useful this way... might have to change a bunch more rules.

    Let's start again.

    Let's say that instead of 10 = 0 bonus, we'll make it 100, and have every 20 points over 100 give you a +1 bonus (or 20 points under gives you a penalty).
    • Hmm - nice - all existing stat bonuses and penalties can at least stay as whole numbers (we just multiply by 10), and now the devs have the option to make new items that give much more marginal bonuses... (increments of 1/10th of an ability score are now possible)...
    • ...but people get numbed by the huge numbers and tiny increments in other MMO's and it pulls away a full order of magnitude from the numbers useful in a D20 dice game, which D&D fans tend to frown on.
    • Plus, I haven't made the system much more useful this way... so that's a lot of work and confusion for not a huge gain.
    Yep. It's basically a matter of choice and preference.
    Being able to have less than a full amount of something gives you some degrees of freedom, which makes the bonus-only, small number option more restrictive, but there's such a phenomenon as "too much of a good thing"... which is what you get with the really big number, massively-small-increments system.

    Looking at the PnP roots of the system: Sure, the D20 game isn't the only type of PNP RPG out there, but for a balance between simulation and simplification, this is roughly where the numbers break.
    Bigger numbers = more simulation = 5 hours to handle a large combat in PnP...
    Small numbers = better for fast resolution, but ultimately less blow-by-blow realistic combat simulation. It's usually used for games which are more story-oriented and "rules-lite".

    Back to it being a matter of choice and convenience and history: the above, IMO, is why.
    Last edited by Hutoth; 11-17-2012 at 05:17 AM.
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  10. #10
    Community Member Zenako's Avatar
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    Odd point stat benefits are scattered about. Some feats need base level stats to be things like 13, 17, 19, etc to be eligible to choose those feats. Carrying capacity (not a huge thing in this MMO) increases with every point of Strength of the character. It can really suck to be slowed down with massive strength loss once you become encumbered. Being eligible to cast spells is based on Stat-10 = max spell level you can cast.

    Monsters that drain stats take a random number, so sometime a loss of 2 or 3 points (if you started with an odd stat) end up having about the same effect, while if you started with an even number, the impact would be -1 or -2 (on the 3).

    A lot of Runes have been placed based on stat value thresholds and many of them end up at odd numbers.

    Yes the benefits are mostly ancillary and often minor in comparison, but they are there.

    As to why?, as others have stated it is basically a tried and true legacy system that works pretty well most of the time. At the extremes it gets a bit sketchy, but overall it has weathered decades of play without major changes or improvements from a gaming perspective.
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  11. #11
    The Hatchery bigolbear's Avatar
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    "As best I can tell, there is zero benefit to me having an odd numbered stat (STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, CHA). Am I wrong about this? Are there certain benefits that DO come from certain stats even if you just increase it one point from an even to odd number? The only thing I can think about are certain feats that require specific minimum numbers, some of which are odd numbers. Is that all?"

    You prety much hit the nail on the head.

    going up to even numbered stas give an extra +1 modifier.
    going up to odd numbered stats gives feat access/prestige access.
    going up every point grants some benefits.(see below)

    str: every point gives benefits include things like cary capacity, npc- checks, bend/break checks(in ddo smashy down door checks and levers)
    dex: dex checks are not implemented in ddo... i think this is the one stat I cant find a benefit for odd numbers other than feat access. -- oo scratch that theres one 'dex' rune.
    con: breath timer.
    int: max spell lvl, runes.
    wis: max spell lvl, runes.
    cha: max spell lvl, runes.

    dont underestimate the usefullness of feat access tho, it is the main advantage to having an odd numbered stat. Many fighters start with int 13, or dex 17 (inc tomes) for feat access purposes for example.
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  12. #12
    Community Member donfilibuster's Avatar
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    It is not arbitrary, the chief reason was to use a smaller number on the ability score to simplify the calculations and scale.
    Other games will instead have stat modifiers in the hundreds, since bonuses would grow every level over many levels.
    d20 instead uses small bonuses to the roll, without it we would be playing a whole different game.
    Wether one way or another is better is another matter, each with their own pros and cons.
    Overall what we have now doesn't need fixing.

    The ability score is still used directly for a number of things.
    Feat requisites is one, carrying capacity is another, the leadership feat, etc.
    There's only a few left, because everything else have been simplified to use the ability bonus.

    Apart of that, D&D has always been a tiered system, things get harder or stronger every two levels.
    You see it more directly in spells and gear, and it pays well to move ahead asap, you get more treasure, etc.

  13. #13
    Community Member MindCake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stefferweffer View Post
    I'm still new, so please forgive if this has been addressed elsewhere and I missed it.

    As best I can tell, there is zero benefit to me having an odd numbered stat (STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, CHA). Am I wrong about this?
    Only ever so slightly.
    Some feats have odd ability requirements. Spells require certain INT/WIC/CHA which may be odd or even.
    Getting ability drained, that odd point may let you stay even.
    With small guild, guild shrines give +1. Then with an odd ability score, you may be stronger for one hour.

    But in general, not too useful.
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  14. #14
    Community Member Ivan_Milic's Avatar
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    Also sf pots,give you -10 to stats,so having 11 stats wont get you be helpless.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by stefferweffer View Post
    I'm still new, so please forgive if this has been addressed elsewhere and I missed it.

    As best I can tell, there is zero benefit to me having an odd numbered stat (STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, CHA). Am I wrong about this? Are there certain benefits that DO come from certain stats even if you just increase it one point from an even to odd number? The only thing I can think about are certain feats that require specific minimum numbers, some of which are odd numbers. Is that all?

    If I'm correct that odd numbers don't matter, then my basic question is WHY have a system like this? I understand the pen and paper game may work like this too, but WHY?

    What would be the harm with having every single point of a stat coming with a tangible benefit, rather than have everyone shooting for those even numbers?

    My main, and first character (first life), is a 12/2 Wiz Rogue. I think that, with gear and everything, I have a 32 Int right now. I'm wearing a + 5 Int item. I could easily purchase a + 6 Int item instead, but I don't see any benefit to doing so if the highest it could get me right now is 33 Int. I don't think my SP pool would go up, and I'm pretty sure that my DC rolls would not either, not my "Insightful Reflexes" save, etc.

    Basically it seems weird to me because I would think that in games like this a person should ALWAYS strive for the highest stats they can get. But this game seems different. It seems that if all my stats are even, then loot that raises those stats by +1 have no value for me right now, at least not until I can get an "every 4 levels" stat increase to bring it to the next even number.

    Like I said, it was just bugging me why they set up a system like this, and wanted to hear what others might know about their reasoning. Thanks very much for any insight you can offer in this regard.
    For MOST stats, odd points don't matter, but you're wrong about the spell point pool for casters. EVERY point of prime stat for a caster adds to their spell point pool. That's the only thing I can think of affected by every point of a stat. Even HP require you to hit the every even mark to get a boost.

    The only other benefit of having a stat at odd values...if you get damaged for a point of a stat, you don't lose anything on the first point of damage. Insignificant in the big picture, but still a small advantage for having an odd value stat

  16. #16
    Community Member LordRavnos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dterror View Post
    For MOST stats, odd points don't matter, but you're wrong about the spell point pool for casters. EVERY point of prime stat for a caster adds to their spell point pool. That's the only thing I can think of affected by every point of a stat. Even HP require you to hit the every even mark to get a boost.

    The only other benefit of having a stat at odd values...if you get damaged for a point of a stat, you don't lose anything on the first point of damage. Insignificant in the big picture, but still a small advantage for having an odd value stat
    You are actually wrong. You still need an even number to get more mana, an odd number increase will not in fact increase your pool
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  17. #17
    Community Member Lord_kNiels's Avatar
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    When you have to assign a single ability score point when only every second counts it makes you think ahead and plan out your character. Also increasing an ability by one point might not give you a benefit, nor will wearing an item with a +1 bonus. Doing both however will improve your character. Progress can be slow and doesn't always feature immediate benefits.

    These PnP rules have then been adopted to a video game.

  18. #18
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    D&D has always been that way to my knowledge (played v.1 when I was a kid, mostly 2nd ed) - it's actually a more recent addition that you even get to increase your stats.

    Upon character creation you would roll 3d6 for each stat and that would be it. So no 2 characters were ever equal, and often you'd roll up a character where their strongest ability was only a 13 or 14, the idea was that you would then role-play this character and make something imaginative out of the strengths and weaknesses. As the game evolved they used mechanisms to reduce the super weak (and often it would depend on the DM as well, so anything under a 10 might be re-rolled, or a prime stat you can roll a few times and take the best score). If you actually experiment at home, roll 3 x d6 and you will see how extremely difficult it is to even roll a 16. But the DM was also more all-powerful, they would roll dice in seclusion (usually hidden behind a screen) and if they wanted to they could alter the outcome to help promote a better adventure (whatever that might mean).

    So the 3d6 stats was always a core, integral part of D&D (even now it's based on the same methodology, even though you now manually choose how many points you get) - savings throws used to be static based on class, then they added bonus based on stats. Take away that general method, and you really impact a big core element of D&D.

    In terms of the computer games, odd values often aren't very important, but there are subtle ways you can use it to your advantage. For instance I will often take an odd value on creating a character so I can get that extra point to use to max another value - I'm not worried about taking the hit because getting a +1 enhancement item is quite easy. It also draws out some of your character planning mixing it with items... so often you will want an even stat to go with a +6 helm, but then you will have another stat or a few levels where the +5 is just as useful (and if you have could go +6 WIS helm or +6 STR helm, but then you have a ring with +5 it's more modular).

    In PNP no one every really wanted to roll a bad character, but because it was more about story and interaction (when you consider that fighting a group of goblins could take 30 minutes due to all the dice rolls) it was less important. The computer games very quickly enforced a maximising mentality, a lot of the early gold-boxed games (eg Pool of Radiance) had work-arounds to make every stat 18, or you could sit there for ages hitting re-roll until you were happy with the result - but there was never a positive to low stats in a computer game, whereas in role-play it's character defining. You would also usually roll the stats and then choose your race & class so you never really knew what you were going to play.

    But being a system that you can use in a huge number of computer games and still PNP just shows how powerful it is, and the stat system is core even if it does seem a little redundant at times in a computer game environment.

  19. #19
    Community Member Alrik_Fassbauer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phroggiepuddles View Post
    In PNP no one every really wanted to roll a bad character, but because it was more about story and interaction (when you consider that fighting a group of goblins could take 30 minutes due to all the dice rolls) it was less important.
    In the TDE editions 1-3, TDE had "negative traits" like greed for gold, fear of undead, curiosty, things each character had. They had to be taken, because they were built into the system.

    This led to players having to play out negaive traits, too. It was supposed that they do it. Because everyone had them, o some degree.

    The 4th edition of TDE, however, decided to not implement it as such anymore. The "negative traits" were soon considered (by the pen & paper players) solely as "sources of character creation ponts" (TDE is now an point-buy-system), rather that, and not so much anymore as a way to actually play out negative points in the on character's life.

    This is something I really miss from (A)D&D.
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  20. #20
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    Thanks for the replies. Now I need help applying this to my build.

    Like I said I am 12/2 wiz/rogue. I have 32 Int right now at level 14, from a +3 tome, 2 from enhancements, 1 from Human whatever, and a +5 int item. I'm pretty sure that's all of it.

    What is a reasonable maximum EVEN intelligence that I should be shooting for as 18 wiz/2 rog? I know at level 20 I will get 2 Int in Lich form, I wil 2 more Int from free stat increases at 16 and 20 I believe. Right now I have access (if I want it) to Wizard Intelligence 3, but I don't know if it goes higher than that at upper levels. Right now I can buy a +6 Int item if I wanted to, but I don't know how much higher the + stat items go.

    So I know of 6 more Int available by level 20 right there. Is that pretty much going to be the highest I can go, or should I be shooting for another 2 or more Int somewhere else?

    Thanks!

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