Monday, November 3, 2008

Re: Levels and Ability Scores

Subject: Re: [GREYTALK] Levels and Ability Scores [NGC]
Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 22:36:35 -0500
From: Scott Casper
Reply-To: The GREYtalk Discussion List

Hi again, all! I'm getting sleepy!

Jon Wilson wrote this afternoon about advancing ability scores, and like all things not specifically relating to GREYHAWK, it sparked a lot of discussion. In case you missed it, his orginal post was the following:

> IMO one of the biggest weaknesses of the AD&D system is that regardless how
> high a character rises in level there is no way for him or her to raise an
> ability score (referring to Str, Int and the rest) through non-magical
> means. For a while I have been working on a game mechicanic(sp) based on
> the Unearthed Arcana's Cavalier class to allow the characters IMC to raise
> one prime requisite a little bit per level gained(1d10). I have had limited
> success as PC don't gain levels at a high rate and so they don't see the
> improvement... i'm currently toying with the idea of basing the increase on
> XP's and not level so that every 2000XP's x the level of the character the
> pc would get 1d10 hundredths of a point in a prime requisite....
> this allows rouges to get more nimble mages to get smarter and Clerics more
> Wise without the DM having to stage a you find a stash of Manuals and Tomes
> that raise your stats....

Now, Russ Taylor and Nathanael Wentz have already debated the issue of whether or not this should be done at all in one's campaign, and while Russ may not agree, I think that both of them have done a good job at listing the pros and cons. Keep in mind the nature of the two men arguing, though. Russ is a free spirit, whose house rules are numerous, and who's Website, "Greyhawk Goodies," contains some very interesting alternate rules. Nathanael is an ardent stickler to the Words as written by Gary Gygax, and has defended the Players Handbook, as written, before on this list. It seems to me that anyone speaking on this position will fall into one camp or the other.

Also, Jon Wilson has spoken up again to add that his system would only raise Ability scores up to racial maximums, and no higher. That's good, because that's one of the limitations I would have suggested as being necessary to make his system playable.

I would go farther to suggest that Ability advancement should be either limited to Prime Requisites, or that it should be harder to advance non-Prime Requisite Abilities. This seems to me to be more in keeping with the Class system, and will keep higher level characters from all being maxed out with 18's.

Allowing Ability score advancement every 2,000 xp also sounds excessive, given how frequently high level PCs will gain 2,000 xp. The original idea of once per level should be kept.

Lastly, Pat Ellis wrote:
>I follow the 1st edition PHB (DMG?) when it talks about changing stats with
>age... most humans start as young adult, when they go to mature, I give them
>that point of Strength (or if at 18 I give 10%) and I think it is also 1
>point of Int or Wis....

It is exceedingly rare for a D&D campaign to last long enough where PC aging becomes a factor towards Ability scores. This sounds more like a Pendragon campaign, where the game spans several generations over a campaign.

Scott "Volstagg" Casper

All Yak-Men max out with 18's....and that's by the age of 6...

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