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RPG Superstar 2015

15-Point-Buy. Be reasonable.


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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I've just read several threads where people are dealing with players with astronomical Ability scores.

I've been trying to use a 15 point buy in all my new games, and I still get push back from the players.

I just don't get it. All high scores accomplish is more paperwork for the GM and/or ruining the experience for all involved.

So to all you players out there, I beg you, take the 15 points. Your GM can then build encounters super-easily, and you'll get to play more! Anyone can make a "powerful" character by writing down big numbers rather than small ones, but you cannot make an awesome character in this way.

*steps down from soapbox*

Scarab Sages

I GM ten times more then I play and I have never run a game less then 20 point buy. Not once. Hell I just started using point buy recently because I refused to start a player at 8 on everything.

So sorry I just can not agree with you.


Gimped unplayable characters are not fun...sorry.


The problem is that a lower point buy punishes weak characters that use multiple stats (like monks) more than it punishes strong characters that use one stat (like wizards).

Shadow Lodge Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

I'm still a fan of stat rolling. *dodges tomatoes*

That said, I'm also a fan of adjusting the encounters to the party, not expecting the party to adjust to the encounters (unless the party keeps losing due to terrible tactics, that's their own fault :P ). I suppose not every DM is willing to do that extra work though.


How are they unplayable? How so gimped?

If the PCs make a 20 point party, all it means is I increase the strength of the opposition. The game ends up almost exactly the same experience for all involved, except the GM can't run the monsters off the page.


Awesomeness is not defined by mechanics, or the number of points that are in the stat scores, or how many widgets they have, or how many times they can cast irritate sensitive tissues, it's defined by how the player plays his character.

YMMV.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think you are wrong my thoughts on characters as a player and a DM if you dont have some high stats why did you ever leave being a commoner and you should go back to your NPC class

Every long lasting group I have been a part of has been a dice rolling stats group, I think most would revolt from points buy. We always play with at least one 18 or all your other stats really good. Its needs to be fun for both the Player and the DM and I would find a 15 point character no fun because I would suck at most things, for alot of people they already suck at most things in life (for me i suck at the english language and in a fight i would get my ass handed to me amung other things I suck at) so why not let them in a game have a character kickass at most things.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Devil's advocate.

Mechanically what we're talking about is likelihood of success. In a nutshell, higher ability scores weight towards a PC's actions succeeding. It doesn't matter if the ability score's purpose is to determine a to-hit, or the DC of a spell, or the PC's Skill modifier. It all comes down to the question of how much disparity your group wants between their successes and their failures.

Sure, around 15 point things might be balanced. But is balance really a good thing in this case? Having a 50/50 chance against The Bad Guys kind of sucks, especially if you expect to have a career against Bad Guys. While a 0% chance of failure takes all the tension out of the game, there's a middle ground somewhere.

Clearly your group feels they fail too often.

Think about that. It's telling you something. Maybe your DMing style is just too darned clever for their playing style. Maybe you're smarter than they are. Maybe they just suck. Dunno. But if they players seriously find a few more ability buy points, it speaks loudly.

On another note, I both GM and play. I don't see any difference in creating challenges for my players when they've got 25 points to buy with and 15. I respect you a LOT, Evil Lincoln, but I think you're blowing this way out of proportion from the GM's end.

Finally, if my DM retracted us down to 15 (currently 25), I'd strongly consider stopping playing. I get my ass handed to me often enough as it is. I have a HUGE collection of dead character sheets. Enough.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4

My real life group appreciates characters and combat of Epic proportions.

We use 4d6, re-roll 1's, and drop the lowest. With the option of calling a mulligan on the stat block if you don't get an single 18.

I tend to max out enemy HP and for named special people give them +2 on saves/rolls/damage.


Evil Lincoln wrote:

How are they unplayable? How so gimped?

If the PCs make a 20 point party, all it means is I increase the strength of the opposition. The game ends up almost exactly the same experience for all involved, except the GM can't run the monsters off the page.

Make a 15 point buy Monk...tell me you arent a vitual cripple compared to the wizard that only needs INT.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Evil Lincoln wrote:
If the PCs make a 20 point party, all it means is I increase the strength of the opposition. The game ends up almost exactly the same experience for all involved, except the GM can't run the monsters off the page.

And that's what I'm pointing out. You're (probably) doing it wrong. If your players badly want 20 point, it's likely not because "bigger is better", but because they want to be more effective. You jacking up the difficulty to "keep the man down" defeats the purpose.

Lay off. Let the natural results happen. If your players get bored, succeeding too often, it'll be obvious to everyone around. Then you can have a talk with them.


I just want to point out that my OP was a little deliberately inflammatory. I definitely think people should play the game they like, and ignore me if I contradict that.

That said: If the players have more points, the GM loses CR as a tool for building encounters quickly — now he has to do all sorts of tweaking and math to get things where they should be. If he doesn't, the players will breeze through things and the game will be boring.

Your character does not get more effective with higher scores. The GM just has to put more effort in, and he's already putting the most effort of anyone at the game table.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Scipion del Ferro wrote:

My real life group appreciates characters and combat of Epic proportions.

We use 4d6, re-roll 1's, and drop the lowest. With the option of calling a mulligan on the stat block if you don't get an single 18.

I tend to max out enemy HP

+1


LOL. While I see the OP's point... taking away a player characters ability scores is like taking dice away from the player themselves!

Some groups really like the RP aspect of the game and will even get into a diceless system. Others prefer nothing more then going from one dice rolling fight to another dice rolling fight. Most people are somewhere in between.

That being said, I think a lot of groups like to feel as if they are "succeeding" at what they are trying to do. With a 15 point buy, a fighter will miss more often and the bad guys will make the save more often. By allowing a higher point buy, players have more spells land and people hit more often. Then DM can increase the toughness of the monsters by adding more HP to each creature or adding in a couple of more.

It is easier to add things to an encounter to match the party then it is to remove things after the fact. And thus the baseline is set at the lowest common denominator for both characters, adventures, and creatures. When you have higher abilities, more stuff, or more players the monsters need to get an additional kicker. I personally think the Advanced and Giant templates are great for this aspect. It is an easy and built in kicker option.


I guess my point is it isnt always about power. Its about versatility, I would much rather cap all stats at 18 or even 16 and play with 25 points than play with 15 and cap at 30. I want to play a fighter with enough INT to have a few skill, or a Monk who can attack and have a decent AC...or a Bard with enough strength to be a competent two handed weapon wielder.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lazurin Arborlon wrote:
Gimped unplayable characters are not fun...sorry.

We still roll our stats, and I find it fairly easy to compensate even for "super" character parties, its not that hard really, My Base Adjustment is give the standard Bad Guys a +2 Con (+1 Hp per HD and +1 Fort Saves), and with The BBG I tend to also give them a +2 Dex (+1 Init, +1 AC maybe, + 1 Ref, +1 Dx base Skills, +1 Range Att) or their Primary, whichever gives the most benefit overall... Its pretty simple to run those numbers and see that they can really level things out for dealing with a powerful group. I still get the occasional character death and thrilling encounters, it simply requires a bit of number crunching.

Also the occasional one use Item...like a Potion to Buff the BBG can go a long way to Help, Say... Shield of Faith or a Stat Buff... also without giving the party too much loot if they pull off a quick kill, don't wanna go all Monty Haul on them.

Scarab Sages

If prefer 20. 15 feels a little tight, and 25 feels a little overly generous.

I do however design characters at least a little differently than many, as I loathe attributes below 10 or 'dump stats.' Char Ops suggestions to dump lesser-needed attributes to 8 or 7 to get more points to 'min-max' the primary stats just don't work for me.

Even when I, rarely, play non-humans, I tend to buy up the 'weak stat' to 10, while others are happily dumping their Dwarven Fighter's Charisma down to 6...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I could play a 15 point buy character.

I wouldn't necessarily prefer it, though. What I find with both rolled and higher point buy options is that although I may not be relatively more powerful, I often have characters that are more flexible. The problem I had in the last low-point-buy game I was in was that the party ended up not having sufficient casting power. If I'd had the chance when building my character I'd have given them better intelligence, which would have made it possible to multi-class and add a bit to the party's effectiveness ... but I didn't, and I couldn't. Even if I have a character than never changes class, I like having the options ...

Edit: Set, you summed up the way I feel too!

Scarab Sages

Set wrote:

If prefer 20. 15 feels a little tight, and 25 feels a little overly generous.

I do however design characters at least a little differently than many, as I loathe attributes below 10 or 'dump stats.' Char Ops suggestions to dump lesser-needed attributes to 8 or 7 to get more points to 'min-max' the primary stats just don't work for me.

Even when I, rarely, play non-humans, I tend to buy up the 'weak stat' to 10, while others are happily dumping their Dwarven Fighter's Charisma down to 6...

+1, I can not recall ever making a pc with any stat below 10


Same here, I hate dump stats beyond belief. To be forced to play a drooling idiot or a total jack ass just to be effective in your party role suck. Actually I really dont like point buy at all but I do agree it creates the most balance. We went to point buy in our game...all it has done is garuntee I never use any other of my DM's self made character perks except for the one that gets us access to a 20 point build ever again.

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

I've always given my players stats that they could move around however they like.

Usually 18, 17, 15, 13, 11, 10. (41 point buy)

Although recently in my 12 person Kingmaker game I decided to power down the characters in order to allow teamwork and tactics to shine:

17, 15, 13, 11, 10, 8. (23 point buy). (

Playing with 15 point buy my PCs would get -

15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 (15 point buy - 2 +2, 2 +1, 1 +0, 1 -1)

Not bad, but I'd always feel like my players are too fragile.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Evil Lincoln wrote:

How are they unplayable? How so gimped?

If the PCs make a 20 point party, all it means is I increase the strength of the opposition. The game ends up almost exactly the same experience for all involved, except the GM can't run the monsters off the page.

Well, Pathfinder Society uses a 20 point build and many encounters use the stock monster from the Bestiary. The Guide to Organized Play states using the 20 point buy allows one "to build a solid character at first level".

With 4-6 players at the table, seems balanced to me. I've seen many near TPK's in fact. So it's no cake walk in organized play using 20 point buy.

Do you regularly run tables of 7+ players? Otherwise I don't see a need to increase the power of the monsters.


Evil Lincoln wrote:

I've just read several threads where people are dealing with players with astronomical Ability scores.

I've been trying to use a 15 point buy in all my new games, and I still get push back from the players.

I just don't get it. All high scores accomplish is more paperwork for the GM and/or ruining the experience for all involved.

So to all you players out there, I beg you, take the 15 points. Your GM can then build encounters super-easily, and you'll get to play more! Anyone can make a "powerful" character by writing down big numbers rather than small ones, but you cannot make an awesome character in this way.

*steps down from soapbox*

1) No.

2) They are probably pushing back because it was balanced as a base 8 system in 3.5 and is balanced as base 10 in Pathfinder making 15 look bloody terrible.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thinking about it, would I use 15 point buy as a DM?

Possibly, if I was playing a 'zero to hero' type of game, but then I'd probably give the characters extra stat boosts as they progress.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4

I AM beEng a MUnk:
Dwarf Monk. Let's call him Moon.
Str 15 +2 (7pt.)
Dex 14 +2 (5pt.)
Con 16 +3 (5pt. +2 racial)
Int 7 -2 (-4pt.)
Wis 16 +3 (5pt. +2 racial)
Cha 5 -3 (-4pt. -2 racial)


And there he is a barely effective villiage idiot.

Scarab Sages

I prefer 20 points as a standard. It's what Society uses, the encounters seem plenty balanced with it, etc.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And I think Moon makes all the points this thread has to offer.

15 point buy encourages a 'back to basics' style that really hampers some of the more 'fantastic' classes like the Bard, Paladin, and especially Monk while encouraging people to stick to the 'base 4' plus maybe Sorcerer.

20 Point Buy allows enough wriggle room to game the system and get a silly-effective SAD character (while crippling yourself in other areas) at the 'cost' of making MAD characters viable WITHOUT being silly.

25-point-buy allows for super-strong characters of any class, and the only good reason to go down from 10 is RP. The cost here is that many of these characters will be strong enough to 'break' the CR system.


I can get behind 20 points, too, BTW.

My main point is that a number of players want higher points still, as though it will achieve something.

There comes a point where the presence of a GM balancing the game makes the number of points wholly irrelevant. In that case, why not choose the number of points that makes the balancing act easier for the GM, so he can concentrate on better things, like placing treasure?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lazurin Arborlon wrote:
And there he is a barely effective villiage idiot.

+1

Sorry, but RPing a socially challenged moron does not appeal to me. It's not a case of wanting higher scores as of not wanting bad ones, or at least not wanting more than one bad one.


Personally I use an 18 point buy on the first few APs where I have 6-7 characters. This allows for a score array like: 16/14/13/12/10/8, and still you'd get the racial bonus, in most cases granting 18/14/13/12/10/8, 18/16/12/11/10/8, 16/16/14/11/10/8, or 16/16/13/10/10/10. With 6 players this still ends up working out without having to adjust as much, but the most important factor is players experience and teamwork.

Most of my players like roleplaying and having one weakness they can ham up. Also, in a group that size, it seems that everyone can shine and let others handle their bailiwicks. YMMV, this is just my personal experience with players who have been playing since 2000/3e's launch.-

EDIT: I should also mention our standing house rule on point builds:
Everyone gets 25 points - 1 per player that is part of the ongoing adventure party. This is how I arrived at 18 points for 7 players. If we had 5 players 20 would be fine.

The Exchange

I started my campaign at a higher power level because we were playing with a small group and none of us are optimizers, so we had a druid with high charisma and a monk with high intelligence. We also had a small group of 3, plus my GMPC Cleric playing a support role.

In a more 'normal' group, I support 15 point buy, or at the very most 20 point buy. Beyond that you get into an arms race with the GM that just makes it more tense.

I don't mind roleplaying low stats, it's one of the best places to get inspiration for character reactions.

Scipion del Ferro wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Hey, there's a good example of how to make a monk seem crappier at low point-buy than he is. How about maybe one that's less min-maxed?

Spoiler:

Str 16 (10 pt)
Dex 14 (5 pt)
Con 12 (0 pt, +2 racial)
Int 10 (0 pt)
Wis 14 (2 pt, +2 racial)
Cha 6 (-2 pt, -2 racial)

Human or either of the half-races works even better:

Spoiler:

Str 16 (5 pt, +2 racial)
Dex 14 (5 pt)
Con 12 (2 pt)
Int 10 (0 pt)
Wis 14 (5 pt)
Cha 8 (-2 pt)

You can do all sorts of stuff here, such as switch intelligence and charisma if that fits your concept more, or lower dex or wisdom by 1 point to get charisma up to 10. This might not be the best monk EVAR, but that's not what we're going for, is it? It's still perfectly playable.


Pathfinder Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I personally support the 15 point buy and think that w0nkothesane gave two great examples of monk characters that are going to be effective without being really hurting on any stat. I think that at 15 you need to make decisions about what is important to your character. But everyone's game and play style differ.

Happy gaming.
Barator


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Evil Lincoln wrote:

That said: If the players have more points, the GM loses CR as a tool for building encounters quickly — now he has to do all sorts of tweaking and math to get things where they should be. If he doesn't, the players will breeze through things and the game will be boring.

Your character does not get more effective with higher scores. The GM just has to put more effort in, and he's already putting the most effort of anyone at the game table.

You're arguing in circles. There's no reason why you have to tweak CR. Leave the CRs the way they are, let the players be slightly more effective, everyone's happy.

Loosening up ability score restrictions will not necessarily make the game boring for your players -- it sounds like your players' "sweet spot" for maximum enjoyment is just the slightest bit easier. I think you're projecting a little, here.

Besides, 5 extra build points means, what, 2 or 3 ability mods get to be +0 instead of -1? That's not exactly "breezing" through the game.


Dear God, it baffles me how Charisma is always put aside... I understand why, but it's really, really sad. I play in groups with VERY, VERY High Ability Scores, and it was never a problem, but probably because the DM's are experienced. I'm having problems now as a player to a bunch of kids I took under my wing, he gave a LOT of points, which I'm used to, but still I see like FOUR guys putting charisma 8 and inteligence and wisdom low... it just pains me when I see a character that can do only one thing, and a player who thinks he can do it all...


Both of those builds will have a 14 ac for a very long time in a lower magic game, hit only marginally worse than a fighter and still have to be either slighty dumb or a bit of a boor in terms of roleplaying. I am sorry but 15 points isnt enough for any character that needs three decent stats unless you want to completely dump two other stats.

edit/ I hit reply to the wrong post on this so to eliminate confusion I am speaking of the two monk builds above.

Shadow Lodge

Evil Lincoln wrote:

I can get behind 20 points, too, BTW.

My main point is that a number of players want higher points still, as though it will achieve something.

There comes a point where the presence of a GM balancing the game makes the number of points wholly irrelevant. In that case, why not choose the number of points that makes the balancing act easier for the GM, so he can concentrate on better things, like placing treasure?

Seeing as 20 and is statistically close to what an honest 4d6 drop roll is you can argue that the game is designed around that as a base.

That said, 15 point buy is challenging but still quite fun. It does make classes like the monk much tougher to work with though.

You can almost think of it as 15 points is expert setting, 20 points is for average players and 25+ is for beginners. At 30 point buy (maybe 25) you have effectively increased the APL by 1 and need to drastically alter encounters to make them at all challenging. Alternately just apply the advanced template to all monsters, it really makes encounters rocket tag early though.


So they're slightly dumb because they have the same Int as the average human?

15-PB is equivalent to 25-PB in 3.5; I normally gave my players 28-PB, so I guess I'll likely use 18-PB in pathfinder games. That always seemed to make the players happy, while I didn't need to worry about them being overpowered (it would basically be an additional +1 to one or two stats).


Personally, every game I've run since I got my hands of Pathfinder, I've given the players an option of either a 20 point buy, so their characters are Heroic, or allowed them to roll.

15 point buy .... forces players to make characters with at least two or more scores in the negatives. While this can be said to bring 'character' to the characters, it also leads to min-maxing and in turn gimping the characters in a way that I find disturbing.

20 point buy .... we're not talking earth-shaking change here. People who want to max out a single stat will still do that, they've just got more points to spread around so their Wizard can't die if the Gnolls look at him funny or a Fighter who is so culturally inept he offends other people just by breathing. At the same time, people who prefer well-rounded or balanced characters, and classes such as the Paladin (Str, Con, Cha, Wis), Monks (Dex, Con, Wis) and Bards (Dex, Int, Cha) are not classes that must be played only by the most adept players for mechanical reasons now, something I have always loathed.

Roll 4D6 dice and use the three highest rolls .... granted this can lead to massively powerful characters but if the DM lets a Fighter into the game that has rolled 4 18's and 2 12's, he's doing so at his own risk. Dice-Rolled Characters are unique. It is almost impossible to get the same rolls twice, wherein just about every cleric will have the same scores under a point-buy system, making them all the g%&$!#n same, in which case why not go play WoW? Admittedly the GM must also step in if a player rolls very low, getting nothing but six very low, sub-optimal scores, in which case the DM might give the PC a chance to reroll, but in doing so makes it very clear this is a once off. Next roll, the Players takes his dice-roll, numbers be damned. No rolling until you get a full six 18's!


Michael Gentry wrote:
You're arguing in circles. There's no reason why you have to tweak CR. Leave the CRs the way they are, let the players be slightly more effective, everyone's happy.

My statements do come from experience. My game languished for a period before I had the courage to crank up the challenge. Now things are fun and engaging, but I'm stuck having to re-write every statblock in order to keep it that way.

So I find myself wondering, if the stats had been closer to the "standard" would I have the appropriate level of challenge with less work?

My players aren't asking for more points during the game, just at character creation they want more points. If my players were begging me for less crappy scores all the way through 9th level, yes then I would be a draconian jerk. But instead, we've hit the balanced "fun" mark, and it happens to require paperwork from me.

Shadow Lodge

Michael Gentry wrote:
You're arguing in circles. There's no reason why you have to tweak CR. Leave the CRs the way they are, let the players be slightly more effective, everyone's happy.

If you do this with a pre-generated adventure or use the encounter tables in the book to generate appropriate level encounters your players will almost never be challenged (ie, at risk of character death).

If your players like that then it's fine, my group likes a bit grittier style of play where players are worried about getting killed every once in a while.

Scarab Sages

Eh not like it's hard to bump up any encounter even on the fly, Add I critter or max the HP of them. Works to make it harder every time.

Shadow Lodge

Evil Lincoln wrote:

My statements do come from experience. My game languished for a period before I had the courage to crank up the challenge. Now things are fun and engaging, but I'm stuck having to re-write every statblock in order to keep it that way.

So I find myself wondering, if the stats had been closer to the "standard" would I have the appropriate level of challenge with less work?

I am currently in this boat also. When I am in the mood to tinker it's kind of fun but when I'm up against the wall time wise the characters just blow through stuff.

Right now my group has some seriously high stats due to a goof on my part at character creation and they are just blowing through everything in Rise of the Runelords. I'm debating curtailing their wealth until they are back in line with the normal power level or having a pow-wow and just having them rebuild with a 20 point buy.

Star Voter 2015

I've got a reputation at the local FLGS as the go to guy for effective characters. Please note I said effective... not over powering.

I prefer the 20 point buy.

Is it because it makes it easier?

No.

Most effective characters can be made just fine with a 15 point buy. Yes even the monk.

So why a 20?

Because in order to be effective with 15 you have to strip everything else out. No that monk can't afford a 10 Cha... probably not even a 10 Int honestly. He needs those points else where if he wants to contribute.

Is this a problem? Yes and no. For the character -- not so much, he/it can do what is needed and contribute meaningfully and still survive. For the player however it really does matter. That 7 Int and 7 Cha is going to bug him. He wanted his monk to be more than an idiot savant. He wanted a likable guy that might be a little slow on the up take but wasn't at a 7 Int. What do those extra 5 points go into? The role play parts. That's what gets spent to give the character a 14 cha for his monk -- or a decent strength for his wizard. It's what keeps the cleric from dumping dex. It's why the paladin can afford to have a wisdom score other than 7 (the bard too for that matter).

Those extra points are what gives the character flavor -- style -- they are what sets him apart from every other fighter with a strength of 16, Dex of 14 con of 14. He needs them to have the extra skill point to represent that internship his father got him on the merchant ship, the fact that he paid for his wizarding school through breaking and entering and selling the goods from that.

It's not that "Oh wow I can have an extra high strength!" You can do that anyways -- a 15 point buy doesn't prevent this. It doesn't "stop optimiziation" it doesn't, "Make things a challenge". It strips out the padding for the player.

IF you are relying on the numbers to challenge your players you are doing both them and yourself a huge disservice. The challenge should be from the situation and the extras -- not the fact that they do or don't have a +1 from extra points to build their character. The GMs people remember are those that didn't care what point buy was used because they new the game would be memorable from their talent -- not from the "challenge" they could present with the numbers.


I like 15 point buy with a limited rolling option as well. They're both tight and force players to make tough decisions about PC development. To compensate, I let ability score increases happen every other level instead of every 4 levels with cap of +5 to any one score from your original.

I agree with the OP, in that if you let the PCs start with high scores, you get into an arms race with the monsters, and have to keep revving them up to compensate.


0gre wrote:
Right now my group has some seriously high stats due to a goof on my part at character creation and they are just blowing through everything in Rise of the Runelords. I'm debating curtailing their wealth until they are back in line with the normal power level or having a pow-wow and just having them rebuild with a 20 point buy.

Heh, I'm having a similar problem in Runelords, except I've got a crafter in the party so hanging back on treasure isn't an option.

What I have done is stretch out the levels (they level up at story points) so they're running a whole level behind. It seems to be working. Since they're very well equipped, I am thinking of holding back another level (spread out over the next few, of course). If you use XP, you could gradually switch to a slower track for the same effect.

I hope everyone can bear in mind that I do the above things to ensure that the players are entertained. I'm not an adversarial GM, I don't run my own PC in the party. Everything I do, I do for them. But there is truth in this: High ability scores mean that the GM has to do some statblock surgery. That can be fun, but I would prefer it not be mandatory.

I'm frankly surprised at the strong opinions upthread, but it makes for an interesting conversation!


HalfOrcHeavyMetal wrote:

Personally, every game I've run since I got my hands of Pathfinder, I've given the players an option of either a 20 point buy, so their characters are Heroic, or allowed them to roll.

15 point buy .... forces players to make characters with at least two or more scores in the negatives. While this can be said to bring 'character' to the characters, it also leads to min-maxing and in turn gimping the characters in a way that I find disturbing.

20 point buy .... we're not talking earth-shaking change here. People who want to max out a single stat will still do that, they've just got more points to spread around so their Wizard can't die if the Gnolls look at him funny or a Fighter who is so culturally inept he offends other people just by breathing. At the same time, people who prefer well-rounded or balanced characters, and classes such as the Paladin (Str, Con, Cha, Wis), Monks (Dex, Con, Wis) and Bards (Dex, Int, Cha) are not classes that must be played only by the most adept players for mechanical reasons now, something I have always loathed.

Roll 4D6 dice and use the three highest rolls .... granted this can lead to massively powerful characters but if the DM lets a Fighter into the game that has rolled 4 18's and 2 12's, he's doing so at his own risk. Dice-Rolled Characters are unique. It is almost impossible to get the same rolls twice, wherein just about every cleric will have the same scores under a point-buy system, making them all the g*#!!~n same, in which case why not go play WoW? Admittedly the GM must also step in if a player rolls very low, getting nothing but six very low, sub-optimal scores, in which case the DM might give the PC a chance to reroll, but in doing so makes it very clear this is a once off. Next roll, the Players takes his dice-roll, numbers be damned. No rolling until you get a full six 18's!

I to prefer to roll, hate homogenized characters in the name of parity...at least if I have to buy give me enough points to be able to build against type.

Shadow Lodge

seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Eh not like it's hard to bump up any encounter even on the fly, Add I critter or max the HP of them. Works to make it harder every time.

Sure, you could just apply the advanced template to every creature on the fly, it's easy enough using the quick rules. But what's the point? Build them right from go and save yourself the effort later on. In the end they are no more or less effective, you are just making more work for yourself.


Abraham spalding wrote:

I've got a reputation at the local FLGS as the go to guy for effective characters. Please note I said effective... not over powering.

I prefer the 20 point buy.

Is it because it makes it easier?

No.

Most effective characters can be made just fine with a 15 point buy. Yes even the monk.

So why a 20?

Because in order to be effective with 15 you have to strip everything else out. No that monk can't afford a 10 Cha... probably not even a 10 Int honestly. He needs those points else where if he wants to contribute.

Is this a problem? Yes and no. For the character -- not so much, he/it can do what is needed and contribute meaningfully and still survive. For the player however it really does matter. That 7 Int and 7 Cha is going to bug him. He wanted his monk to be more than an idiot savant. He wanted a likable guy that might be a little slow on the up take but wasn't at a 7 Int. What do those extra 5 points go into? The role play parts. That's what gets spent to give the character a 14 cha for his monk -- or a decent strength for his wizard. It's what keeps the cleric from dumping dex. It's why the paladin can afford to have a wisdom score other than 7 (the bard too for that matter).

Those extra points are what gives the character flavor -- style -- they are what sets him apart from every other fighter with a strength of 16, Dex of 14 con of 14. He needs them to have the extra skill point to represent that internship his father got him on the merchant ship, the fact that he paid for his wizarding school through breaking and entering and selling the goods from that.

It's not that "Oh wow I can have an extra high strength!" You can do that anyways -- a 15 point buy doesn't prevent this. It doesn't "stop optimiziation" it doesn't, "Make things a challenge". It strips out the padding for the player.

IF you are relying on the numbers to challenge your players you are doing both them and yourself a huge disservice. The...

Well said sir!

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