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I'm rolling up a Human Paladin for the opening session of the latest D&D Encounters season (Legacy of the Crystal Shard) and trying to decide where my dump stat (randomly rolled 8) is going. I know the Dex mod will negatively affect skill checks and saving throws related to Dex, but will it count against my initiative and AC as well?

Right now his stat array is:

STR 16
DEX 8
CON 11
INT 14
WIS 14
CHA 16

I plan on having him use Heavy armor, specifically chainmail w/shield.

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what kind of armor are you wearing? –  wax eagle Dec 4 '13 at 19:44
    
yes it will, you put the dex bonus in the box where you add up both. Whether it is a negative number or a positive. –  kleinschmidt Dec 4 '13 at 19:44
    
As per Wax's suggestion and talking to my dm, dumping dex still and decided to rejigger stats to be str16, dex8, con14, int14, wis11, cha16. –  Joshua Aslan Smith Dec 4 '13 at 20:07
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Intiative will be affected, but AC will not.

  • Initiative is DEX + d20. If your DEX is -1 then it's going to be d20-1.

  • AC in your case ignores DEX because you're wearing heavy armor. You would take a penalty in either light or medium armor.

Reading the sections on both of these, they do not mention exceptions for negative DEX.

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Am I reading this right, in that a Dexterity Penalty is ignored completely while wearing armor? That can't possibly be right. Not based on any actual knowledge mind you, but it just sounds like it couldn't possibly be true. –  Zibbobz Dec 4 '13 at 19:54
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@Zibbobz for calculating AC, yes. You take disadvantage in stealth and your speed is reduced by 5'. So it's not like it's without cost. –  wax eagle Dec 4 '13 at 19:56
    
@JeffFry, AC isn't exclusively about dodging attacks; it's also about deflecting them, soaking them up, ignoring them, etc. -- whatever applies as dramatically appropriate, all balled up into a single mechanical stat. A nimble character in light armor is going to be dodging them, but a warrior in full plate built like a mac truck... isn't. That doesn't mean the superior armor is going to protect him less! –  Brian S Dec 5 '13 at 15:05
    
@BrianS, I can see that argument, though I suspect even in full plate someone with a terrible reaction speed and a tendency to trip over his own feet will be easier to hurt or wear down than his buddy with average dex standing next to him, all else being equal. Have there been D&D additions before D&D-next that have ruled this way? –  Jeff Fry Dec 6 '13 at 0:58
    
Besides the game rules, I have experienced in first person wearing a ~30 lb chain mail coat and coif) and I wouldn't even call it heavy armour. I wore it in a middle age themed wedding, and at the end of day I still were capable of dancing with it. Another time, I wore it for 7-8 hours while walking, and doing some light exercise (running, etc). Althoug very tiring in the long term, i's quite more comfortable than most people expect. If you want a bit of realism, it should affect AC, whatever the rules say. –  Jaime Pardos Dec 6 '13 at 12:26
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