In 5e, with its rather anemic DM material, doesn't provide much of a way forward when trying to roleplay high-stat creatures. What does a STR of 30 mean? INT 30? I'm sure internally they have some sort of design document that indicates what each means, but for us outside of that very small bubble, we have to come up with our own ways of dealing with these godlike stats.
So what does 30 in a stat actually mean? Well, a lot, actually, but it's hampered a bit by 5e's simplistic design (that's not an inherently bad thing, but it presents some challenges).
At 30 STR, there are two very good, and very popular examples: Thor and the Hulk. Keep in mind that STR in 5e doesn't necessarily mean absolute brute strength; it also affects the creatures chance to hit. So it affects both brute strength and the application of that strength in a given medium, Thor is a much more agile and skilled fighter than the Hulk, but both are roughly equivalent in strength. Of course, with 5e's relatively simple design, the actual difference between a fighter like the hulk who is simply a brute and a fighter like Thor who is more skilled than strong is left up to their individual features.
However, another quirk of 5e's design is that 30 STR doesn't represent the same insane leap in ability that something like 30 INT or 30 CHA would.
With 30 INT, a creature would be thinking in a wholly alien way. Think of 30 INT as being able to have a conversation with someone verbally about quantum mechanics, while also having a conversation with someone else in sign language, about something completely different, at the same time. This is physically impossible for humans to do, since we're incredibly bad at multitasking in general. This amazing article by otherworldly incantations goes over what each step of the INT scale would look like.
30 STR, however, doesn't represent that, and part of the problem is that STR directly translates to concrete numbers that we, as mere mortals, see or hear about quite often. Even the very generous carrying capacity rules give a medium creature with 30 STR a carry capacity of 450 lbs and a push/drag/lift max of 900. Now, the 450 is kind of impressive, since it means that the creature can walk, dash, jump, swim, climb, etc, with 450 lbs on their back, but that's only a 50% increase over what STR 20 gives you. Sure, it doubles per size increase, so the tarrasque has a carry capacity of 3600 lbs, but that's not impressive. It's not E P I C, or at least not as epic as it should be, considering that the only other. We already have real people on Earth who routinely lift 900+ lbs in training or competitions. We even have events where they have to move with 800lbs in their hands a set distance as quick as possible. We wouldn't think these guys have a STR of 30 though – 30 STR is reserved for the biggest of epic monsters and the most powerful of martial creatures.
It's a similar issue to what Warhammer 40k has to deal with in earlier editions; STR was capped at 10, so it meant the designers had to come up with workarounds for weapons and creatures that would pretty clearly surpass that 10 STR limit. Unfortunately, that seems to be the problem that 5e has, but fortunately for us we can solve the problem pretty easily, though this version I'm presenting requires a calculator.
For STR 1-20, keep the carry capacity as normal, but for push/drag/lift, multiply the carry capacity by the Strength modifier, adding .5 to the modifier for the odd scores. This keeps it mostly simple, but increases the P/D/L weights substantially to better represent what people are capable of, turning 18 STR into the relative maximum for humans and 20 STR into superhuman levels.
For STR 21-30, things change. We have entered the realm of gods and demigods. Here, the formula changes slightly. When calculating carry capacity, instead of multiplying the STR score by 15, you multiply it by the STR score plus the modifier adding .5 for the odd STR scores. So for STR 21, you do 21 * (21+5.5), which give you 556.5. Yes, this is an almost 100% increase, but hey, you're super strong. I know it's not the most elegant of solutions for the weirdly low strength curve, so if anyone has something different, I'd love to see it!
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More about Dungeons & Dragons OnlinePost: "5e doesn’t provide tips for DMs to roleplay epic/high-stat creatures" specifically for the game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Other useful information about this game:
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