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#818960 07/07/22 10:28 PM
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New thread in general because this isn't exactly feedback, but a desire to get a sense from the community, specifically PHB-using 5e players and people interested in balance. I'm not a Dnd expert, so maybe some people can enlighten me. Why are there so many charisma casters? Warlock, Sorcerer, Bard, and Paladin (to a lesser extent). Meanwhile, only 1 Int-caster (Wizard), and 2 Wis-casters (Druid, Cleric). Even independent of casters at this stage, we have two STR-classes (Fighter, Barbarian) and two DEX-classes (I know you can switch the builds around, but the point remains). Then you can avoid a lot of combat with persuasion, deception, or intimidation rolls. I don't want to fault Larian too much because they're working from 5e rules, and rules are indeed rules, but this could be a problem, especially if a lot of the game is going to be built around Charisma due to what is ultimately a sort of selection bias, like if a randomly selected player just defaults into a charisma character each time. Already I can see the potential for heavily reduced importance of intelligence. 1/3 of the classes in PHB seem to be based on Charisma, even though Charisma is 1/6 of the abilities. Only 1/12 based on Intelligence. If INT is ignored any more, it could become a de facto dump stat for the game, even with its usage in uncovering information in the world (because a lot of that can also be done with WIS depending on circumstance). One could make the argument that each ability score also provides boosts to skill scores, but it rings a bit hollow when some of those CHA classes can pick up proficiency like grass in a field.

From a quick google search, I know this has been an ongoing discussion in the 5e community. I'm not looking to ruin anybody's fun or anything like that. But for a game built around many classes, with each class having something valuable to contribute, it seems that there's a bit of charisma bloat.


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Its still imbalanced, but... you forgot to include the rogue and fighter subclasses that cast off on int.

This doesn't change the general correctness of your argument, but it does reduce the magnitude a little bit.

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Well. Neither am I an expert on DnD but when you think of it, the correlation between Abilities and spell casting isn't always very logical.

Wizards are easy, they learn magic through study, they can't cast a spell they can't understand ie high INT
Sorcerers are born with magic, it's a part of them and I guess the most logic choice to portray that was CHA even though CON would also work but be less balanced I guess
Bard enchant through their craft which heavily bound to music/singing ie speech/performance so CHA is a given

Druids, Clerics, Paladins (and Ranger to a lesser degree) though...they get their spellcasting from faith. What has that to do with WIS or CHA?

Same goes for Warlock who get their power from a contract. Maybe they were especially good at haggling ie CHA.


But yes, when DnD went from skill points to proficiency, INT became a dump stat for pretty much all but Wizards.

Last edited by PrivateRaccoon; 07/07/22 11:46 PM.
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Originally Posted by PrivateRaccoon
But yes, when DnD went from skill points to proficiency, INT became a dump stat for pretty much all but Wizards.

That's a massive oversight on the part of WOTC, given how intelligence is often needed for problem-solving in general. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence


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This is largely inherited from 5e, yeah. Eldritch Knight and Arcane Trickster are INT-casters, but they're very much Fighter/Rogues first and tend to be best off using their spells for support. There's also the Artificer now, of course, but that doesn't look like it's coming to Baldur's Gate 3. I'll note that Ranger is also a Wisdom half-caster and the yet-unreleased Monk usually depends on having both high Dexterity and Wisdom -- so it's not quite Charisma unambiguously outclassing all the mental stats. (Wisdom also has some general niceties regardless of class: Perception tends to be valuable, and Wisdom saves are a lot more common than INT/CHA ones.)

But all this does leave Intelligence largely the domain of the Wizard, though: it doesn't really have many applications beyond INT checks and saves, and INT saves are on the rarer end. Mostly to see through illusions and to resist mind flayers, from what I remember -- which, hey, at least on paper mind flayers should be popping up. In principle, it could be interesting to see Intelligence given a bit more use: if you were able to apply your knowledge to resolve a few conflicts or glean something extra (beyond flavour). I can't really think of many in-game examples there right now.

One related fun fact, though: the initial intention in 5e was to use Intelligence for Warlock spells. I don't mind them keying off Charisma, but I think it comes across when you read their class description and see them described as "seekers of knowledge" and "delvers into secrets". If they had, there'd be two casters per stat -- although Warlocks use Pact Magic rather than being traditional full-casters.

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People have mentioned the move from skill points to proficiencies. INT as a dump stat is really the result of this change. 4e calculated skills a little different than 5e, but neither of them used the skill points model.

In 3e INT was used for a lot more things, it affected how many languages you could speak, more skills needed INT, but it was used for generating skill points for all classes, which made it an important stat for skill classes like Bard and Rogue, and all spellcasters in general (because Arcana is a combination of multiple spellcasting/spellcraft skills). See this table:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

So why is this important? People have talked before on this forum about MAD, Multiple Ability (score) Dependant. A class that is MAD has class-related dependencies on more than one ability score, which is in itself not a bad thing, but consider that on top of all your normal AS dependencies for your class abilities, you now also need a decent (or at least 0) INT mod so you aren't penalised on skill points. It was possible to end up being dependent on too many scores, and having to spread your ASI levels over too many abilities meant that they would all be lower than they needed to be. Your ability scores were NOT capped at 20 back then, and certain special feats or skill bonuses didn't unlock UNTIL some skills were above 20. If you're interested in what the actual skills were, here

4e and 5e tried to minimise MAD. Wizards wanted a simpler, more new-player-friendly system that was harder to screw up, and multiple INT-dependencies got chopped. CHA was always the main stat behind the second pillar of D&D, social interaction, that hasn't changed. And between 3e and now we only gained one more base class that uses CHA as it's spellcasting/class ability, which is Warlock (but we lost more base classes than we gained with the change from 3e to 4e).

On a personal note, I've always thought it would be interesting if Warlock was allowed to choose weather they wanted to be dependent on either INT or CHA. Choosing your spellcasting stat wouldn't work for most other classes, but I think with Warlock it would.

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That would be interesting from a role play perspective.

INT-lock: I can outsmart the demon I'm indebted to.

CHA-lock: I can talk my way out of this bargain.

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I don't know about the rest of you, but Strength has always been my dump stat. Strength saves are rare (they are considered a 'lesser' save in terms of class save proficiency value), and strength itself isn't used for much unless you are specifically a strength-based character. It's far easier to dump strength than any other stat, as long as you're not a dedicated weapon-swinger.

Piff has mentioned the streamlining of dependent abilities in 5e - what this generally means is that for your core class, dumping most of your other stats won't hurt you too badly, so the choice of what stat to neglect the most becomes more academic, or personal flavour, at least more-so than it used to be in earlier editions... however, it did crate some obvious trends when it hit actual players. Namely, few people are willing to dump Con, for obvious reasons, and few people are willing to completely neglect wisdom either - Wisdom saves are common and debilitating, and most players want to have a decent perception if they can. Folks are generally less willing to neglect charisma if they can avoid it, since a good deal of D&D involves interacting with NPCs and that's the domain of Charisma. Unless they were a dedicated strength user, and used heavy armour, most people didn't want to neglect Dex entirely either, since dex is a strong save (it's very frequent and is considered a major save in terms on class save proficiency value), and it benefits everyone not wearing heavy armour to some extent. This ended up meaning that the ability scores that people found it easiest to neglect, with the least feeling of cost, were Int, as long as they weren't an Int caster, or Strength, as long as they weren't a Strength combatant.

I would put it out there that and casters should try not to neglect Int too much, even if it isn't their casting score - knowledge checks, and in particular arcana checks, are usually given over to the casters to suss out, after all.

For the casting balances:

Sorcerers and Warlocks are about strength of will and presence of self - that's charisma through and through (no strength of will is not wisdom; common misconception from the save-type transition of earlier editions).
Wizard and Artificer are about precision of knowledge, recollection and application or that knowledge - that's Int.
Druids and clerics are both wisdom, but thy come at the wisdom category from two different sides of the same coin. One is based on instinct, intuition and a sense of the natural flows of power that can be guided and shaped, while the other relies on communion with an aligned entity in harmony (unlike warlocks who are often in antagonistic relationships).

Bard, then, unbalances this scale a bit in favour of another charisma class, certainly (though Lavaeolus is correct in that the fault really lies with the mid-way design decision to change Warlocks to Charisma; I agree with others, it works both ways, depending on the nature of your relationship with your patron), but there are fewer (only one) half-caster charisma classes; Fighter and Rogue are Int-based; they learn academic forms, like a wizard. Ranger follows the styles of druids. Monk's pseudo-casting uses their own ki, which is wisdom based as well, though they're kind of their own situation. This only leaves Barb, who doesn't have a casting line, as of yet, unless you count wild magic (it doesn't really count, but in this instance it uses their Constitution to determine DCs, which is the statement that they deliberately didn't want to tie it to a casting stat.) Paladin is a charisma half-caster, but that's still only one against two for each of the others.

When you take this into consideration, Charisma casters aren't actually overbearing on others by too much - only slightly.

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Strength is my dump stat too.
I admit, I do love the Charisma based classes, especially bard and warlock.


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Ditto...Charisma classes multi-class or pure class well.

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Originally Posted by PrivateRaccoon
INT became a dump stat for pretty much all but Wizards.
I believed that was the reason they invented Artificer? O_o


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Dumping int can be dangerous given that we might be fighting alot of mindflayers during the campaign. Even the intellect devourer which physically is not very....strong. But its ability? Is terrifying. It can drain someones INT and teleport inside their brains. Instant killing them. Oh and then it handles the body like a flesh puppet. Yikes! Some spells target INT and some skils use it. Seeing through illusions or investigating objects for example use INT as part of the skill. So dumping Int on an entire party can be dangerous or a pain in the backside in certain situations.

Mind you most of the spells that target int are either illusion in nature or spells that give deprimental effects like the intellect devourer I mentioned earlier. Confusion I thinka also targets Int. I prefer dumping CHA rather then int on characters that dont have a CHA focus and wont be used to talk to people.

Anyway as for why INT based spellcasting is so rare. I dont know? I think it has something to do with previous editions. In ADND and up to 3.5 spell casting was INSANELY powerfull and dominated by INT based spell casters. Clerics and druids were obviouslty also a thing but a single mage could wipe a entire adventuring party if they were ill prepared. A cleric or druid could also do this, but not the easy degree that a mage could. I think WOTC were trying to correct this powergap and moved a little to far with the balancing and resulted in generating like half of the spellcasters to be cha based instead.

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So this wont' contribute much to the why, but this is my idea on why the casters are based the way they are:

Wizard: Obviously why; they learn their magic, so they need a high int to understand what they are casting

Warlock, paladin, sorcerer: Notice that all of these are based on dieties to an extent. Clerics get their power from their gods and goddesses, Paladins get their power from their oath (usually sword to a patron or diety), and Warlocks get their power from a diety in most cases. So I feel the idea behind this, is that you need Charisma to use that magic since it is based on your patron/diety allowing you the powers to cast those spells. The higher the charisma, since this stat is used for social interactions, the more powerful the diety/patron allows your spells to be. Of course a Sorcerer is a bit different, it is innate rather than gifted (usually), so they are the outlier here.

Cleric, Monk, Druid: The wisdom classes make sense to a degree, though I feel like Cleric could use Charisma since their casting is diety based. However, these classes need to be wise in the world, they have a deep understanding of the weave, I feel like--almost an innate knowledge. Think the wise druid who is in tune with nature--or the wisened old Monk in tune with the Ki energy around him.

I think these are why the classes casting skills are put the way they are by and large.


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