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Often times when contemplating what class I want to play I will take a look at my rolls : if they're overall good, I'll generally go something with a little more Multiple Ability Dependence (MAD) vs. if i have a standout score and some ok scores I'll probably be a full caster for Single Ability Dependence (SAD) (or near enough).

For when I do have good rolls across the board, which classes would really benefit greatly from that? Specifically what classes would more greatly benefit from straight 18's than other relatively-MAD classes. Basically, I am looking for a class that has good class features, or would if it weren’t for the MAD they introduce, and thus would be good when you have have all-18s.

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    \$\begingroup\$ MAD is a pretty common term in D&D optimization circles. There may not be many good choices among MAD classes; MAD is usually a symptom of a deeper problem (lack of focus in the class's design) rather than the main roadblock to making good use of a class. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Jul 17 '15 at 17:26
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Bottom line up front: Skald. Plenty of other classes are more powerful, even without all-18s compared to an all-18 skald, but I don’t think any other class is quite so happy to see all-18s.

To begin with, spellcasters are powerful independently of their MAD; being SAD is just one of many things they have going for them. So even with all 18s, even though they really don’t need it, spellcasters are still the most powerful. I think you grasped this, but just to be clear and for completion’s sake.

Moreover, note that rolling all 18s does not solve MAD problems – for a truly MAD class, at mid-to-high levels the impossibility of magically improving all of those ability scores at the rate a SAD class would, means that SAD is still far superior. This is particularly true in Pathfinder, as opposed to 3.5, because Paizo decided to shaft MAD classes even harder by moving all enhancement bonuses to physical ability scores into items that take the same item slot (belt), and all enhancement bonuses to mental ability scores into items that take another item slot (headband). If you need more than one physical score, or more than one mental score, you are going to be paying more than double what a SAD class would.

So this is less “what is the best class with all-18s” (the answer to that is the same as it would be with only one score in the 16-18 range), and more “what class does all-18s let me play that would otherwise suffer too much MAD?” Furthermore, this answer is going to restrict itself to discussing low-to-low-mid levels (say, up to about 9-10 at most), since the benefit of all-18s wanes as you get into higher levels.

Cleric and Druid

Just, to mention them: they’re super-powerful, they like Strength and Constitution pretty well, in addition to Wisdom, and the cleric certainly doesn’t mind Charisma. They kind of qualify, except that they can get by on just Wisdom if they have to.

Qinggong Monk

The monk unchained gets a lot of nice things that came from qinggong monk. I haven’t seen one in play yet, but it should be comparable for this purpose.

Monk certainly is MAD, but that’s just one of its many failings. Even with all-18s, the core monk struggles mightily.

That said, the qinggong monk is a mini-spellcaster, which still has the monk’s need for Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution. Having 18s in all of those stats definitely allows a qinggong monk to make better use of his or her physical options, while retaining spellcasting ability. Sadly, the lack of any good way to work the magus’s Spell Combat or Spellstrike abilities limits the ability to fuse the two neatly.

Magus

Which leads us nicely into the magus itself. While definitely a few steps down from a fullcaster, the magus is reasonably fun and as a physical+magical class, makes good use of Strength (or Dexterity, if Weapon Finesse), Constitution, and Intelligence. Obviously, Dexterity and Wisdom have their uses for everyone, so having a high score in those is nice. Without Perception as a class skill, Wisdom 18 just about counteracts the loss of the +3 class skill bonus, which helps avoid surprise. The high Charisma falls a bit flat, but magi have Use Magic Device in-class, so you effectively start with a +7 or +8 to that compared to a warrior who dumped Charisma and did not have it.

Bloodrager

With caveat that I have only read the class, never played it or seen it played.

Again following the trend of the physical+magical classes, the bloodrager has the neat ability to automatically apply a spell to himself when he starts a bloodrage. That’s nifty. The class also wants substantial Strength, Constitution, and Charisma, which puts a lot of those 18s to use. Again, Dexterity and Wisdom are some of the better scores for their general use without specific class features, and Intelligence is nice enough for the skill points.

That said, the spells are few and weak, and the ability to auto-cast them on rage comes late (11th for 2nd-level-and-lower spells, 20th for any spell). This is a fairly solid idea for a class but the limits placed on it are just far too tight. A bard progression rather than paladin progression, with the auto-casting coming online from the beginning and not limiting the level of spell used, is what this class needed.

Skald

I bet you didn’t see this coming. Doesn’t have the unique bloodrage auto-cast thing that the bloodrager does, but the skald is basically a bard with better armor and weapon proficiencies, and a more combative bent to its music.

Better, the skald really would like to put Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, and Charisma to good use. Going first is particularly important for the skald, because you want your music bonuses to be in effect ASAP, the skald can do melee quite well, and the spells and music depend on Charisma.


I have not gotten an opportunity to play with most of the unchained classes or hybrid classes. Hybrid rules, in particular, make likely targets here, since classes that combine magic with martial ability are likely to risk MADness.

Also, the Path of War material from third-party publisher Dreamscarred Press is excellent, and each of those classes needs a minimum of three ability scores (Strength-or-Dexterity, Constitution, and one mental score). The design there is tighter than Pathfinder’s typical fare, and in particular they do take some steps to limit the problems of MADness, but they still benefit quite a bit from high scores all around.

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I only play dungeons and dragons 3.5 so I apologize that my response is for that but pathfinder is similar.

The class I personally play is an all around build rogue.

Rogues in general are the staple of the skill monkey mindset and benefit the most from having high scores across the board.

Skill sets specifically :

Str This stat is useful for Climb, jump and swim. These may not seem important but as you reach high levels most players go with items of flight or something similar. However, in situations where there is some form of anti magic (more common in mid to high level games) having these skills ranked up becomes useful.

Damage also comes from your strength score. Especially if your DM like many ban the tome of battle/magic books and thus don't have access to the dex to dam feat.

Con Never underestimate the usefulness of a good con score. As a light armor class with medium hit die your health needs all the boost it can get. Not to mention a bonus to your low fortitude save.

Dex Two weapon fighting is a staple of the rogue. As well as sneaking into an enemy location and scouting. Dex scores provide bonuses to hide and move silently as well as tumble (needed to avoid AoO when moving in combat) along with opening locks and slight of hand. All of these are exceptionally useful and weapon finesse builds your bonus to hit off your dex. This also boost your already massive reflex saves.

Int This stat is priority for a skill monkey like the rogue. Knowledge and crafting are built off this. Your disable device for handling traps. It provides an excellent boost to total skill points gained per level and if you end up going with any of the 3 main rogue prestige classes it becomes even more useful. Assassins base spells and their assassinate DC off the bonus from int. Arcane tricksters get bonus from int and the guild thief as well.

Wis From this score you are given your listen and spot skills. These skills alone are worth pulling up to notice trouble before you run into it but your usually lowest save score is will. Having a huge boost to wisdom compensates for your relatively low will save.

Cha Especially useful for rogues who end up in the political game. Getting a bonus to bluff and diplomacy can make the difference between a 6 hour political meeting and a 10 minute walk to the right office because you talked someone into it. This skill also determines your use magic device which... let's face it.. who doesn't like being able to use any magical item they find.

Above and beyond all these is the fact that any of these stats can contribute to a plethora of character builds and variants on the rogue from wilderness to thugs.

The best stats possible and gear plus an in depth build to selecting the right items and spells and I can make a rogue capable of one shotting most enemies simply because the DC to save against my assassinate is so high. Hide is so massive that the -20 to hide after an attack is negligible and there is no door or trap I can't pick.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The rouge is a brilliant idea for this question - But all of the information you've given is for 3.5, and a lot of this has changed into pathfinder. If you wanted to edit this question to look at Pathfinder Skills, I think it would be a good answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Nyoze Jul 20 '15 at 5:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ The only real difference is search/spot is perception. All the other skills are the same. And I'm pretty sure the main stats still stand for the same things. Strength is how hard you hit. \$\endgroup\$ – Zakier Jul 20 '15 at 9:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Str is usefull, though you can use wepaon finesse to use the damage roll with dex instad of str, then make dex higher because it is usefull for a lot of things -.- \$\endgroup\$ – SantaClaus Aug 5 '15 at 15:28

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