Content of the article: "DAE Not feel satisfied with a new character unless their Spellcasting/main Ability Score is at least 16?"
This has been a topic that's come up with the new Racial ASI rules announced to be in Tasha's. I'm not here to advocate whether this is the correct way to play, nor am I looking for someone to convince me to change my character-building habits. Please keep both in mind before continuing, but otherwise I welcome disagreements and discussion.
So, as the title says, when I'm building a character I feel like having a primary Ability Score above 16 is important before I can feel satisfied finishing and running the character. I'm not really a huge optimizer. I regularly pick races that only contribute a single Ability Score that's immediately useful for my build, because I find that having a 12 or 14 Intelligence even as a Fighter is a good trait to have if the suits the character.
I think the reason why is because of bounded accuracy. Under the system, almost any check you could make has a possibility to succeed even with a very flat roll. This does mean that having low stats is not as important to success on an individual check as it is in earlier editions. At the same time, I also feel like it makes consistency very important when you have a check that you're going to be making very often because it's also very likely for you to fail an individual check due to how tight the numbers are.
Having +3 to a Wisdom (Animal Handling) check you make maybe once every few sessions is not going to be a huge advantage over having a +2, +1, or even a +0 or -1 to the same check. But, when it's something like a Wisdom (Perception) or Charisma (Deception) check that you'll be making multiple times a session, it seems that a +3 is going to give you better odds at general competency across a long period of time compared to a +2.
It just feels like a competent character needs a +3 to be doing a common task with any amount of consistency, and a +2 feels like it doesn't cut it. This applies even when Prof. Bonus is factored in, as well, because modifiers are very linear in nature. A +5 from having 16 Wis and Prof. at Levels 1-4 is the same as having 20 Wis and no Prof. Bonus.
In addition, having one more use of certain abilities like Bardic Inspiration, just one more AC or to-hit bonus, one more hit point per level, or one more spell to prepare a day, can all be very impactful changes for a character to have. These are some of the most common ways in which your modifier will manifest every session, so just like with common checks I feel like +2 just doesn't cut it for a competent character. Someone who is likely to succeed, have the right utility in their pocket, resource to spend, or chance to protect themselves against something nasty.
Does anyone else feel like this? I know my perspective might seem like min-maxing to some, but I generally feel perfectly fine at 16 in just one score even when I could theoretically go higher (I usually divert those potential other 16's to rounding out other scores that might be useful for checks or just as roleplay material) just because having that security on my most-used stat feels important to overall competency.
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