Condensed Ability Scores (5e Variant Rule)
From D&D Wiki
- Replace all instances of Charisma with Intelligence. Effectively, Intelligence counts for two ability scores. Among other things, this means using your Intelligence modifier for sorcerer spells and Persuasion checks.
- Replace all instances of Constitution with Strength. Effectively, Strength counts for two ability scores. Among other things, this means adding your Strength modifier to your hit points.
- Consider employing more useful intelligence so Intelligence matters for everyone outside of ability checks. Ideally it would also be used in downtime activities, like training for new languages or feats.
- Make initiative checks based on Wisdom (senses and decision-making) instead of Dexterity ("my hands move faster than yours").
This reduces the number of scores from six to four. Strength and Dexterity are now always important for every character because they make you die less. Intelligence and Wisdom are now useful for everyone for ability checks, interaction, perception checks, initiative, etc. The three most common saves (Con, Dex, and Wis) are still reliant on different ability scores.
The following races or subraces gain the according ability score increases instead of the standard one. Use whatever your DM deems appropriate for these races or for races outside the PHB.
- Human. One ability score of your choice increases by 2, and all others increase by 1.
- Mountain dwarf. Your Strength increases by 2, your Wisdom increases by 2.
- Half-orc. Your Strength increases by 2, and your Dexterity increases by 1.
- Tiefling. Your Intelligence increases by 2, and your Wisdom increases by 1.
- Several classes will now only grant proficiency in one saving throw. This shouldn't affect game balance.
- Remember that creatures other than PCs (and maybe their lackeys) still have six ability scores. The conversion generally doesn't change much for them.
- Overall this rule seems surprisingly easy to implement after character creation.
- This helps bring other ability scores up to the 'god stat,' Dexterity, and the universally-useful score, Constitution.
- This rule reduces the number of "dump stats" for a typical PC from "at least three" to "maybe one."
- It's fun to mix things up sometimes.