Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Any Ever "Split the Stat Bonuses" for Strength and Dexterity?

Strength gives a bonus "to hit" and "to damage".

Dexterity gives a bonus to "AC" and reaction / initiative.

Have you ever split those bonuses, so instead of a Str Bonus of + 3, instead the player has to choose between bonus to hit and / or damage. So, + hit and no bonus to damage or + 2 hit and + 1 damage.

It might need a slight reworking of the spread of the bonus itself. Just an idle thought that occurred to me.


  1. It sounds interesting, but like most interesting house-rules I don't know if it really does anything for the game except add extra rules for the sake of them. Maybe if it was an either/or situation, like you could have a + to damage OR to hit, but not both.

  2. I thought of something similar with a variation of 3E's Base Attack Bonus. I called it a Base Combat Bonus, and the player has to declare at the beginning of the round how he will split up between attack, defense (AC) or damage.

    But I never thought of doing it with the Ability bonuses.

  3. How about using dexterity to adjust missile & melee 'to hit' bonus and using strength to only adjust damage bonus. I've spent a few idle moments pondering this over the years & it seems logical that dexterity ( a measure of agility & hand eye co-ordination) should be equally relevant to wielding both missile & melee weapons whereas strength is just a measure of the muscle power used to cut or thrust with a weapon.

    1. I've always liked this myself. The bonus given to (for example) only composite bows in Pathfinder, at least, makes sense for ALL bows. Strong guys can pull strong bows. But your hit bonus feels more like DX to me.

      With the relative limited range of bonuses in Swords and Wizardry, and the seeming lack of assumptions that you will be driving one of your attributes to 20+ that seems to be in place in Pathfinder, I think OSR MIGHT be a more fertile ground for such a change than Pathfinder would be. There'd be less to undo.

      But I say this as a guy who occasionally plays S&W and Pathfinder, and writes and contributes content for GURPS, so my d20 Fu isn't strong.

    2. I would agree with this. However, at that point, you have to start thinkking about the mechanics of AC. The bonus to hit from Str is based on the idea that AC makes it harder for you to not only be hit, but to take damage. The to hit modifier on Str is akin to a character's natural Penetration to an armor's natural Damage Reduction.

      At least, that's how I have always understood it.

    3. Expanding on the idea, its not simply a case of using strength to overcome AC but using dexterity to stick the pointy end somewhere the armour isn't. It could be further refined by using strength for weapons of percussion, maces, war hammers etc; dexterity for spears, longswords, daggers. This could over complicating matters though.

    4. The 'new' Hackmaster 5th does this. Intelligence and Wisdom also factor into combat as well. It IS a neat system, and with a good DM it can still flow quickly. But it seems to short change strong characters quite a lot.

  4. Wha would it represent? It's not like being physically coordinated and strong people are not better off than people who are one but not the other. I can't can't figure out what this would represent in the real world. Maybe hitting hard vs. accuracy, but that should be divorced from stats . . . let people back off a strike for +1 to hit but -1 to damage, and plow into it for -1 to hit but +1 damage.

    1. I"ve always thought that the trading bonuses for AC vs Hit or Damage worked for me on an intuitively appealing game choice level, like Combat Options in GURPS. Sure, you can Telegraphically Attack, but it is easier to defend (yes, yes, this doesn't work for D&D). But sacrificing your ability to hit for your own AC, or attacking recklessly and strongly, so that you can subtract up to your (say) STR bonus from their AC but your own takes the same penalty, or whatever. Pathfinder has fighting defensively buried in there somewhere, so that option was explored a bit, but in a ruleset that is of at least similar complexity to GURPS.

  5. We did that with AD&D, the split STR, can't remember what we did with the DEX. But today, no split. Just plain old bonus or penalty.



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