Building Blocks 26: Stats 2


What it represents:

  • how strong you are
  • your physical power
  • how big your muscles are
  • how much you can bench press.

How you know if you have it:

  • you don’t use a truck because you are the truck
  • you can carry a house on your back
  • your legs and arms are compared to tree trunks
  • Your shoulders are so broad you turn sideways to walk through doors

How you know if you don’t:

  • Your clothes weigh you down
  • When you jump your feat don’t leave the ground
  • Someone hands you a sword and it takes you to the ground.  They then tell you to “grow stronger”
  • Your nickname is beanpole

Racial modifiers:

  • half orcs +2
  • halflings -2

Skills that use it:

  • jump
  • swim

Feats that have a strength prerequisite:

  • Brutal Throw – 13
  • Oversized Two Weapon Fighting – 12
  • Overwhelming Critical – 23
  • Power Attack – 13 (power attack is itself a prerequisite for the cleave feat line)
  • 2 Handed Fighting – 15
  • Improved and Greater 2 Handed Fighting – 17

How it applies to gameplay:

  • Primary melee attack roll modifier
  • Primary damage modifier for melee and thrown weapon attacks.
  • With 2 handed weapons you apply 1.5x your strength modifier (if positive)
  • With off-hand weapons you apply .5x your strength modifier (if positive)
  • With the feat Brutal Throw, attack modifier for thrown weapons.
  • With the feat Bow Strength, damage modifier for longbows and shortbows
  • If negative, your strength modifier always applies to bows even if you do not have the feat.
  • Most tactical feats apply strength to their DCs
  • How much weight you can carry before being encumbered.
  • Some doors require strength to break
  • Some levers require strength to pull

What is encumbrance?

Encumbrance is a term used to refer to how much junk your character is carrying in terms of weight.  Your strength score determines the amount of weight you can carry and every item has weight.  Some items weigh very little (like scrolls) while some items are very heavy (full plate).  When you open your inventory panel there is a bar at the bottom indicating how much weight you are carrying.  When the bar is full you have reached your maximum weight capacity and you will need to shed some weight before you are allowed to pick up more stuff.  Item weights are given in their descriptions.  This bar also has additional information.  You will see “### / ### lbs Load: ____” on the bar.  The first number indicates how much weight you are currently carrying.  The second number indicates how much weight you can carry, your maximum allowable weight carried.  The last part of this information is the most critical, your load.  This will be one of 3 things: light, medium, or heavy.

A light load imposes no restrictions and is the first 33% of your maximum capacity.  A medium load will make you slightly slower (about 5%), gives you an armor check penalty of -3, caps your max dex bonus at 3 and will also make you uncentered.  A medium load is imposed if you are between 34% and 66% of your maximum carrying capacity.  A heavy load is over 66% of your maximum load and further reduces your run speed (by about 12%), gives a -6 penalty to AC, and reduces your max dex to 1.  It will also give a “burdened” warning message.  It is also possible to exceed your carrying capacity.  If this happens you will get an “overloaded” message and have your speed reduced even further (by about 31%).  Note that several spells reduce your strength and thus reduce your carrying capacity.

Special considerations:

  • Negative strength modifiers cannot lower a damage roll below 1
  • Monks apply full strength modifier to their “offhand” unarmed attacks
  • Monks who must have a “light” load or encumbrance to be centered.

Who likes it:

  • Anyone who swings a weapon in (serious) combat
  • Rangers – they get Bow Strength and the Two Weapon Fighting feat line for free
  • Jumping beans

How much should you have:

If melee is the focus of your build, as much as you can.  More strength equals more damage.  It is worth factoring in what else you can get however.  At best you are getting 3 points of damage for 4 points of strength.  Given the option, losing a point of strength to pick up a point of damage will generally be a better choice.  Fortunately there are plenty of options for slotting in strength gear.

Even characters that use strength as a dump stat (typically casters) should try to slot in a strength item and perhaps should spend an extra stat point or 2 in strength.  Enemy poisons and several spells (especially ray of enfeeblement and symbol of weakness) can drain your strength.  If your strength reaches 0 you will be rendered helpless.  Additionally, because you will now be encumbered you will be much slower.   This is a particular concern with monks and grandmasters because if you are above a light load you will become uncentered. This means you will be automatically be knocked out of any monk stances and start losing ki at a rapid rate.

You can reduce this problem by being more selective about what loot you pick up if you choose.  Armor, especially heavy armor and tower shields, tends to weigh more.  If you find yourself needing to ditch some loot, start on your armor page.  Robe and outfits weigh almost nothing though so don’t chuck those.

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