I'm sorry about monsters having ability scores in 3E. We were desperate to make the game system less arbitrary and more systematic. Giving monsters ability scores had the positive effect of making a gelatinous cube easy to hit. I mean, it's a 10 foot by 10 foot wall of goo. You ought to be able to hit the thing with your sword. But ability scores for monsters meant it became way too hard For DMs to create their own monsters, and creativity is something D&D does better than any computer game. Sorry, everyone. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
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- You can still give monsters a grapple score in their stat block. And with monsters it makes sense not to have that score directly related to Str and Dex, because the monster might not actually have any limbs to grapple with, or it might be all tentacles. Rules written for humanoids aren't going to work there, so why try to fit everything in those rules?May 29, 2012
- On the other hand, rules written for humanoids will work for most things, so why abandon a useful set of rules entirely just because you need to make exceptions for a few special cases?May 29, 2012
- There are problems with just ignoring the rules. (1) They contribute to information overload, which can be a serious issue for some of us and most newbies. (2) It’s annoying when players make decisions assuming a rule is not going to be ignored and then it is. You can try to specify everything that is going to be ignored up front, but the more rules, the harder that becomes. (3) In 3e there are a lot of dependencies between subsystems, which makes it harder to ignore select rules without having to make changes elsewhere or running into unanticipated consequences.
But I’m going further off topic here. I was just trying to clear up what seemed to me a misconception about how some of us who don’t care for monster ability scores play.
(Truth is, I like 3e, and I play it. And I play other systems when I want something different because I find it loads easier than bending 3e to my will.)May 29, 2012
- The core statement that the issue is with is:
"But ability scores for monsters meant it became way too hard for DMs to create their own monsters, and creativity is something D&D does better than any computer game."
Ability scores were general, free-form measures to encapsulate a variety of stuff. If the issue is simplicity, the question would be why D&D3 includes so many stats for monsters (touch AC, flat-footed AC, regular AC, Base Attack Bonus, attack bonuses with different attacks if the monster has feats that mod those, Fortitude save, Reflex save, Will save, Hit Die type, Hit Dice, hit points, etc.) that follow very rigid rules with different progressions for different monster types! Ironically, out of all these numbers, the only ones GMs were allowed to set, at personal whim, were the attributes.
If the issue is compliance -- that is, if GMs felt they had creative ideas, but because they couldn't navigate the number system to "correctly" build them ... well, either the game is too complex at its root, or a GM could just invoke the most basic rule and simply ignore them. (Double check the math in many Origins-Awards winning adventures.)
Eliminating generic attributes for monsters ... while miring monsters in dozens of combat stats, sets a formalized precedent that "all you do to these monsters is hit them until they run out of HP -- do not try general activities with these monsters, such things are too hard to conceive." Computer games are already better at making mobile entities that one hits until they die. Let's be creative!May 29, 2012
- Thank you. It was one of the only problems with the system. But actually it was having skills for monsters that really killed it for me - I wrote up lots and lots of my own critters for 3e, and figuring ability scores wasn't a total dealbreaker, but figuring out whether to put points into Use Rope or Search really kind of was. It was a great game anyway though.May 31, 2012
- I think it would have been good if 3E included the standard way to make monsters (with ability scores, etc like it did) and a quick and dirty option that walked DMs through how to quickly create monsters and how to effectively fudge things like "what's its Spot skill" on the fly.Jun 13, 2012