106 votes
Accepted

How should a DM resolve a smooth-talking player with a weak Charisma score PC?

This is a delicate thing to pull off as a GM, because it involves finessing the subtle aspects of a player's agency vs the rest of the imagined world. The usual model of player agency is that the ...
  • 38.8k
91 votes

How can I reasonably prevent Manual of Bodily Health abuse?

The Feywild is a living place too and 100 years is a long time. Your party is burying the manual of bodily health in the Feywild with only the hope that in 100 years within the Feywild that nothing ...
  • 2,055
85 votes

How do I handle players simply un-hiding and re-hiding after a poor Stealth roll?

Don't allow Stealth checks until there is a chance of failure This is the solution that is mentioned in your post-script. If a player is just trying to stealth in an empty field with no enemies ...
  • 2,793
79 votes

How can I avoid problems that arise from rolling ability scores?

Option One: Non-Random Ability Score Generation Rather than giving up control of how powerful player characters are to the whims of fate, you can instead use systems that attempt to consistently ...
  • 54.3k
69 votes
Accepted

Is it better to take the array and be Joe Average, or to roll for the odds of getting on average better scores?

It is better to take the array. There are several reasons for having all players start with the same points then choose their stats: Consistency - You'll never have to worry about a player who rolls ...
  • 10.4k
69 votes

What are the ramifications of changing Armor Class to be Constitution-based instead of Dexterity-based?

Nerfs dex classes, buffs everyone else Well, let's start with the obvious. A rogue will usually try to hit 20 dex, so this change will give them -5 AC. Due to bounded accuracy that's a huge nerf. ...
  • 20.6k
66 votes
Accepted

The group I DM for insists on rolled stats, but I don't want unbalanced PCs to cause group conflicts later

This answer includes a frame challenge. 0. Let go of the fallacy of perfect balance What I am looking for is a good resolution, or compromise, so that my players don't feel slighted and no ...
66 votes
Accepted

How do I handle players simply un-hiding and re-hiding after a poor Stealth roll?

You're missing the most important part of the Hiding rules. The DM decides when circumstances are appropriate for hiding. The players can propose hiding in a particular way but the DM has ...
  • 21.4k
65 votes
Accepted

Does a PC know the general strengths and weaknesses of their stats?

Honestly, it depends. If we're talking vague things like "he is/isn't charismatic", it would depend on his personality. For example, Johnny Bravo thinks he has high Charisma. He doesn't, but he was ...
64 votes

How should a DM resolve a smooth-talking player with a weak Charisma score PC?

From the description of Charisma in the Basic Rules: Charisma measures your ability to interact effectively with others. It includes such factors as confidence and eloquence, and it can represent a ...
  • 1,105
63 votes
Accepted

Death by leveling? The effects of 0 max HP and leveling with negative CON

You're not gonna die when you level With the following release of PHB errata it has been clarified that you will gain a minimum of 1HP when you level: add the total (minimum of 1). This new rule ...
  • 124k
63 votes

Is there any reason to pick an odd number for Constitution?

By itself, an odd number in an ability score does not offer any bonus to modifiers (13 is no better than 12). However, it does allow the character to increase it's bonus easier when they have the ...
  • 5,914
61 votes

Is there an Ability Modifier equation?

The formula is simply: $$ \frac{\mathrm{ability} - 10}{2} $$ with the result rounded down, if it contains any halves.
  • 3,457
57 votes
Accepted

What happens when ability scores reach 0?

There are no general rules for ability damage, almost certainly because ability damage in 5e is incredibly rare. With that said, there are some sources of ability damage, so it's worth taking a look ...
  • 142k
57 votes
Accepted

Can I increase an ability score above 30?

Ability scores cannot go over 30 Rules As Written (RAW) and Rules as Intended agree. RAW The PHB defines a general rule which says that the ability score maximum is 30. A score of 18 is the highest ...
  • 92.1k
56 votes
Accepted

How is it possible to have an ability score that is less than 3?

Ability scores can decrease. See, for instance, the shadow and its strength drain ability. Even with score-generation methods that floor scores at 8, it'd only take two drains to threaten a PC with a ...
  • 98.8k
56 votes
Accepted

Is it unbalanced to allow a player to move the tiefling's +1 Int bonus to a different ability score?

This is exactly what is suggested in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything In the section "Customizing Your Origin" (TCoE, p. 7), there is a subsection on Ability Score Increases: If you’d like ...
53 votes
Accepted

How will ability scores be unbalanced if I remove the 20 cap?

Casters become much stronger The largest problem I foresee is Save DC. By RAW, Save DC is soft-capped at 19. 8 + Proficiency + Ability. Without the 20 cap, that goes to 24 or more, raising the save ...
  • 11.4k
51 votes
Accepted

Considerations for assigning Constitution buff within the party

Rather than looking at the static details of the character sheets, I'd look at the actual in game results. So don't ask "Who has the fewest HP?" or "Who gets hit the most?", but ...
  • 78k
49 votes

The group I DM for insists on rolled stats, but I don't want unbalanced PCs to cause group conflicts later

Disclaimer: Overall I prefer point buy. For rolled characters in a long campaign, where the PC/PC imbalance can annoy me, this is my preferred solution for keeping a similar level of "fair starting ...
  • 14.7k
48 votes

Is it better to take the array and be Joe Average, or to roll for the odds of getting on average better scores?

This blog post has some AnyDice scripts for the 4d6 drop lowest stat generation. Looking at the results, the average rolled array should be 16, 14, 13, 12, 10, 9. That's pretty close to the 15, 14, ...
  • 811
48 votes
Accepted

Is Dexterity overpowered compared to Strength?

It's not as overpowered as you might think, depending on your class choice. The AC bonus only helps with light and medium armor. If you were a fighter, you could have full plate on which makes your ...
  • 520
47 votes
Accepted

What is the narrative difference between a Charisma and Wisdom saving throw?

It's unclear but... Looking at the definitions provided for Wisdom and Charisma on the abilities page, there is not a clear definition of saving throws listed for the abilities. Wisdom Wisdom ...
  • 2,793
47 votes

How can I reasonably prevent Manual of Bodily Health abuse?

Maybe the Feywild doesn't always run time that fast There's a table in the DMG which has results anywhere from "days [in the feywild] become minutes" to "days [in the feywild] become ...
  • 80.5k
46 votes

Can multi-classing prerequisite ability score(s) be met through a magic item?

In this unofficial tweet, Jeremy Crawford states that the prerequisite ability scores for multiclassing are intended to be met by your base score and not a temporary score. As such, we can infer that ...
46 votes
Accepted

Are racial stat bonuses every level or just once at creation?

Racial ability score adjustments are only added once at character creation. The Player's Handbook is explicit about how ability scores improve. The ability score improvement class feature says: ...
  • 18.1k
46 votes

How is it possible to have an ability score that is less than 3?

Monsters can have lower ability scores than player characters, and the same table can be used for their attribute modifiers. You can see several examples in Appendix D of the PHB. A few selecions: ...
  • 7,202
45 votes
Accepted

Why are Clerics and Druids Wisdom-based?

Wisdom: Prime Requisite versus Spell Casting Ability The thing that originally made Clerics different was the prime requisite being the Wisdom score. Druids, being a sub-class of Cleric, were along ...
45 votes
Accepted

At what point does a character's INT drop far enough to lose sentience?

Spell texts seem to suggest that the limit for sentience is 3. The description of Intelligence in the definition of ability scores says that 3 is the usual minimum for PCs (PHB 7): The abilities ...
  • 62.7k
45 votes

How do I determine if a creature is too intelligent to be a controlled mount?

There are no rules, but Int 3 seems like a dividing line in 5e The following spells seem to treat Int 3 or less as unintelligent: Animal Messenger: "If the beast's Intelligence is 4 or higher, the ...
  • 12.2k

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