Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

RPG Superstar 2015

Setting a maximum limit between differences in starting ability scores. Can this ideal work?


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew

51 to 100 of 190 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>

Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:

To all you guys who require minimum 10 after racials, I bet you don't get a lot of Halflings, Gnomes, or Dwarves at your tables. After all, anyone wanting to play those races would have to spend the points for at least a 12 pre-racial to make a "legal" character, no matter what class they're trying to play. Elves could be on that list too, but I've never seen a character with a Con penalty after racials anyway.

Whenever I make a point buy character I set myself a limit of no more than one stat below 10 before racials and it can't be below an 8.

Almost everyone is saying 10 Min *before* racials, not after.

Star Voter 2013

I have a pet peeve of players who come to the table with Rambo or Gandalf rolled up for 1st level. In my opinion (and it is only my opinion), 1st level characters are nobodies. Squash a spider with a newspaper and you get enough XP to take your first class level. It just grates on me. Go figure.
Anyway, I like TClifford's idea to give/take a feat when players choose which point buy to use. Maybe you could fiddle with the stat boosts to accomplish the same thing. For example, if they choose 15-point buy, they get a stat boost every THIRD level, instead of every fourth. Or if they choose 25-point buy, they get a stat boost every FIFTH level, instead of every fourth.
I haven't thought that through much, but it popped into my head as I was reading. Shred the idea at your whim, board wolves.


Wildebob wrote:

I have a pet peeve of players who come to the table with Rambo or Gandalf rolled up for 1st level. In my opinion (and it is only my opinion), 1st level characters are nobodies. Squash a spider with a newspaper and you get enough XP to take your first class level. It just grates on me. Go figure.

Anyway, I like TClifford's idea to give/take a feat when players choose which point buy to use. Maybe you could fiddle with the stat boosts to accomplish the same thing. For example, if they choose 15-point buy, they get a stat boost every THIRD level, instead of every fourth. Or if they choose 25-point buy, they get a stat boost every FIFTH level, instead of every fourth.
I haven't thought that through much, but it popped into my head as I was reading. Shred the idea at your whim, board wolves.

Really like the idea of making stat gains as the game goes on more frequent...I have only played one char that would have gotten the stat boost at 16 and 20 so usually you only get +3 over 12 lvls...I am not usually a fan of 15 point buys but combine it with a stat point 1 every 2 or 1 every 3 levels and that starts to get interesting...will have to look into this further...


Me and my dump stat are just gonna have to find another table. C'est la vie.

Seriously, why is this level of control necessary for you, OP, to have a good time?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Wildebob wrote:
I have a pet peeve of players who come to the table with Rambo or Gandalf rolled up for 1st level. In my opinion (and it is only my opinion), 1st level characters are nobodies. Squash a spider with a newspaper and you get enough XP to take your first class level. It just grates on me. Go figure.

An understandable preference. I don't completely share it, but it makes sense. For such a preference, might I recommend having everyone start as a level 1 Commoner and "graduate" into their first class level? That way you really get the "zero to hero" feel, you know?


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Mysterious Stranger wrote:

I think you are really limiting your characters by disallowing dump stats. There are so many characters from books and movies that have wide differences in their stats. Elric for example dumped STR and

CON. What you should be doing if enforcing the penalties for the dump stats.

Instead of disallowing dump stats make the players play the stats they have. Use rolls based on the stat more. A good example would be someone who dumped CHA but has enough ranks in diplomacy. This character would be like a used car salesman good and getting people to do what he wants but lousy in a social setting like a party. When he tries to use diplomacy to make small talk it will probably piss people off.

I don't disallow dump stats. I disallow more than one dump stat before racial modifiers. That means that it is possible to have two dump stats or one really bad one or none at all. I won't GM for players that feel some need to come to the table with 3 dump stats because that's their concept. I've gamed with them before and I tire of it. I have never met one that wanted to role play. Every one of them has been out to win the game. Can these characters be role played? Sure. Do I think that a player who only builds characters with multiple dump stats isn't very creative and is not the type of player I want at my table? I sure do.

A truly creative player works within the guidelines give to come up with their concept. There is no concept that requires multiple stats at 18 and several below 10 other than the munchkin concept. It doesn't exist. I've been gaming long enough and with enough people around the country to know this.

Here are a couple of concepts with multiple dump stats.

Classic Wizard dumps STR and CON for INT and CHA (Elric and Rastilin).
Naive Hick Dumps INT and WIS for STR and CON
Manipulative Politician Dumps STR and CON for INT, CHA, and WIS
Clumsy Scholar Dumps STR and DEX for INT
Raised by Animals Dumps CHA and INT for STR, CON, and DEX
Disfigured Thief Dumps CHA and WIS for DEX and INT

I see you missed the part where I said you could end up with 2 dump stats after racial modifiers so I'm not sure what you are arguing.

I also don't see where any of them require multiple 18s. I emphasized that earlier because it is that important. None of those require that the character has two stats that are 18s. All of those concepts are perfectly playable within the confines of what I said before.

The Exchange

One more thought - an 8 isn't really that low, if you think about it. Or, more specifically, if an 8 is low, then a 12 is high. Those should logically all be well within the range of the average person. A 6 or 7 is low, in the sense that a 13 or 14 is high, but not so low that someone with this stat would be completely unable to function in society. Someone with a STR of 6 is a 98-pound weakling, and bullies kick sand in his face at the beach, but he/she can still run around and fight. Someone with WIS 6 is a foolish person who doesn't pick up a lot of what goes on, but he/she isn't necessarily totally oblivious or a complete moron. I've met more than a few people who probably fit the CHA 6 range, but they can still be a fun addition to a gaming group if everyone at the table is fairly open-minded.

Liberty's Edge

Keep in mind, the "average" heroic stat array comes in with an 8, before racial penalties.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Kolokotroni wrote:

The only problem with not allowing 'dump' stats in a point buy is it discourages the classes that have 'mad' issues. Setting a max of 16 is fine in my book. But it create problems for the multiple ability score dependant classes, like the monk, magus, inquisitor, bard, etc. Without being able to significantly lower some less useful stats you end up in a tight spot to make those kinds of classes work (unless you have a very high starting point buy)

With a 20 point buy even MAD characters are workable. I'm running a Magus now with status of 16,14,14,10,10. You don't need Primary Stats of 20 at first level.


ShadowcatX wrote:
Keep in mind, the "average" heroic stat array comes in with an 8, before racial penalties.

And has a 15 as it's highest.

Liberty's Edge

LazarX wrote:
With a 20 point buy even MAD characters are workable. I'm running a Magus now with status of 16,14,14,10,10. You don't need Primary Stats of 20 at first level.

I'm assuming there should be another 10 in there some where. . .

Star Voter 2015

IIRC This has been done in White wolf Vampire:Mascarade. Where no ability score can be double the lowest ability score. If it is you start having issues...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

A pointless house rule.

Lantern Lodge

should we really penalize someone for stat dumping? especially multiple dump stats? they are essentially trading potential versatility for focus.

the fighter who dumped int just lowered his skill points drastically

the wizard who dumped strength just lowered his ability to carry those haversacks.

Liberty's Edge

Here's how I do it if I want PCs to be more well-rounded and less focused: I use the Elite+6 system. (Or Elite+X, with higher values of X meaning better ability scores)

Players start with 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8, and buy UP (only up) according to the following system:

Current score 8-13 costs 1 to increase
Current score 14 or 15 costs 2 to increase
Current score 16 or 17 costs 3 to increase

So, for example, a focused character with Elite+6 will probably end up looking like... (pre-racials)

17 14 14 12 10 8.

That's not bad. Still has a very strong stat in 17 and a strong pair of 14s, but is still well-rounded and will play nice with any other PC, hopefully, using the same system.

By contrast, a "well-rounded" PC using the same system will look pretty similar:

15 14 14 14 11 10 or 16 14 14 14 10 9.


Secane wrote:

I am thinking of implementing a max "limit" between difference in starting ability scores at my table. The ideal is to help make player character more balanced in the party and prevent min-maxing.

For example, if the limit is (8) before racials:

Str 16 - highest ability score
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 10
Wis 12
Cha 8 - lowest possible ability score, difference 16-8 = 8

So in this case, if the character has a 16 in Str before racials, he cannot go lower then 8 in any other ability score.

If the highest in 18 then the lowest is 10 in any other ability score, and so on...

My question is this ideal fair and balanced? Or is this overly restrictive?

From a roleplaying perspective, you can't make characters who are overly human with notable flaws unless you also have less noteworthy characteristics, which seems odd to me. I'm of the train of thought that most people who excel at things tend to have weaknesses in other areas that they try to downplay. Such things are played out in archtypes all over the place. It's half of what character development is about.

From a fair and balanced perspective? Maybe, if you're idea of fair and balanced is making characters pay for statistics that do them little to no good. The game is set up in a way that characters will reap the benefits and drawbacks of their ability scores if you just let the game play out. The dice take care of things. A low ability means a harsher penalty. A 7 might award you slightly more points than an 8, but it also applies a -2 penalty across everything associated.

If your PCs want 16, 15, 15, 10, 10, 7 before racial adjustments, why not? What harm does it actually do?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ashiel wrote:
Secane wrote:

I am thinking of implementing a max "limit" between difference in starting ability scores at my table. The ideal is to help make player character more balanced in the party and prevent min-maxing.

For example, if the limit is (8) before racials:

Str 16 - highest ability score
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 10
Wis 12
Cha 8 - lowest possible ability score, difference 16-8 = 8

So in this case, if the character has a 16 in Str before racials, he cannot go lower then 8 in any other ability score.

If the highest in 18 then the lowest is 10 in any other ability score, and so on...

My question is this ideal fair and balanced? Or is this overly restrictive?

From a roleplaying perspective, you can't make characters who are overly human with notable flaws unless you also have less noteworthy characteristics, which seems odd to me. I'm of the train of thought that most people who excel at things tend to have weaknesses in other areas that they try to downplay. Such things are played out in archtypes all over the place. It's half of what character development is about.

From a fair and balanced perspective? Maybe, if you're idea of fair and balanced is making characters pay for statistics that do them little to no good. The game is set up in a way that characters will reap the benefits and drawbacks of their ability scores if you just let the game play out. The dice take care of things. A low ability means a harsher penalty. A 7 might award you slightly more points than an 8, but it also applies a -2 penalty across everything associated.

If your PCs want 16, 15, 15, 10, 10, 7 before racial adjustments, why not? What harm does it actually do?

But you won;t get that. By buying down a 8 to a 7, you get 2 points. That's enough to raise ONE of the 14's to a 15. (of course you could also lower the 12 to a 10, and get another 15, but you could do that in the OP's system also).

So, the HUGE CRIPPLING BACKLASH causing houserule would net you a 15 instead of a 14 in ONE stat. Yawn. It won;t even get your 16 to a 17.

The issue is more of a PC with
18, 16, 14, 7, 7, 7, which I have seen and it sux. It's not heroic at all. And then the Mix-maxer gets Held and sulks all game because the "DM has it out for me, he knew my will saved sucked so he cheated".


I don't agree that most specialists tend to be flawed in some way and compensate in other ways...most people tend to be average which is 10-11 and have some advantages...If you were building yourself in a game would you give yourself negative stats or most of the people you know(probably not that many and if you did those probably aren't the people you would want to adventure with)...dump stats are a cheap and easy way to have diversity but their a crutch...

The problem I have though is that all stats are not created equal...most melee chars taking 3 points out of int and cha to add to str/con/dex get a huge advantage for little functional penalty...the same goes for a wizard dumping cha and strength...they do little for your build but you reap huge rewards over the characters who are built to resemble real people. So the fighter has less skills and can't speak well that doesn't hurt him much in most games but he now owns lvl appropriate combat encounters because he hits harder, more often, can take more hits, and/or is harder to hit. This wizard buys a hewards handy haversack and lets the rest of the party talk in change for tons of extra spells, a lot of skills and higher DC's on his spells. This is what I mean by being unbalanced. Most players will not fully play the disadvantages while reaping an unjust reward.

If I'm GMing a min/maxer they will have to role play every dump stat and I will insure it comes up. 7 int character playing like he's an average int or better person he is rolling dice to see if his char can actually come up with that. The low strength char is having all the encumbrances checked. A low cha guy is going to be put into situations where he has to interact with people. As long as they are playing their chars well we will get along fine and I will welcome any min/maxer into my game but you pay for what you get.


Chaos_Scion wrote:
I don't agree that most specialists tend to be flawed in some way and compensate in other ways...most people tend to be average which is 10-11 and have some advantages...If you were building yourself in a game would you give yourself negative stats or most of the people you know(probably not that many and if you did those probably aren't the people you would want to adventure with)

Actually, yes, yes I would. I statted myself out thread.

10-11 is the average. Doesn't mean everyone and their neighbor is nothing but strait 10s and 11s. In Pathfinder terms, we normal mortals are built using 3 point buy (it mentions this in the getting started section, and the premade arrays support this idea). That implies that to excel you have to be compensating for something. A guy with an 8 in one thing is going to have a 12 in something else. Almost nobody will have an 18 before racials, unless they are seriously lacking in at least 3 other departments.

Quote:
If I'm GMing a min/maxer they will have to role play every dump stat and I will insure it comes up. 7 int character playing like he's an average int or better person he is rolling dice to see if his char can actually come up with that. The low strength char is having all the encumbrances checked. A low cha guy is going to be put into situations where he has to interact with people. As long as they are playing their chars well we will get along fine and I will welcome any min/maxer into my game but you pay for what you get.

If you're not checking encumbrance for all characters, and only for low Str characters, then you're a bad GM. There, I said it. Bad GM. Either you are fair to everyone or you're not. Singling out one person at the table is a jerk move, and paints a big ugly picture on your GMing credentials. If you intentionally put your PCs into situations to spite them and their build, then I wouldn't want to play with you if I had strait 18s, because I'd rather find someone who didn't act like a jerk.

Sczarni

TClifford wrote:

I do straight point buy with nothing above 18 or below 8 for starting stats before racial modifiers. My point buy is a little different because I allow them some options. If they start with 15 points, then they get a free 1st lvl feat. If they go with 25 points, then they lose their 1st lvl feat. There is not change for a 20 point buy.

That way if they want to make a character that is 'weak', but skilled, they can go that route. If they want a beast that concentrats on their physical over their abilities, they can go that route. If they don't want to be bothered, there is is always the base line.

The mix is usually 50% take the 15pt route, 25% 25pts and 25% the normal route.

This is one of the more interesting ideas I've seen. Do you find this unbalances or changes the game in anyway? Like anything I imagine there are those that could exploit this somewhat as some builds are more feat starved then others...


Ashiel wrote:
Chaos_Scion wrote:
I don't agree that most specialists tend to be flawed in some way and compensate in other ways...most people tend to be average which is 10-11 and have some advantages...If you were building yourself in a game would you give yourself negative stats or most of the people you know(probably not that many and if you did those probably aren't the people you would want to adventure with)

Actually, yes, yes I would. I statted myself out thread.

10-11 is the average. Doesn't mean everyone and their neighbor is nothing but strait 10s and 11s. In Pathfinder terms, we normal mortals are built using 3 point buy (it mentions this in the getting started section, and the premade arrays support this idea). That implies that to excel you have to be compensating for something. A guy with an 8 in one thing is going to have a 12 in something else. Almost nobody will have an 18 before racials, unless they are seriously lacking in at least 3 other departments.

Quote:
If I'm GMing a min/maxer they will have to role play every dump stat and I will insure it comes up. 7 int character playing like he's an average int or better person he is rolling dice to see if his char can actually come up with that. The low strength char is having all the encumbrances checked. A low cha guy is going to be put into situations where he has to interact with people. As long as they are playing their chars well we will get along fine and I will welcome any min/maxer into my game but you pay for what you get.
If you're not checking encumbrance for all characters, and only for low Str characters, then you're a bad GM. There, I said it. Bad GM. Either you are fair to everyone or you're not. Singling out one person at the table is a jerk move, and paints a big ugly picture on your GMing credentials. If you intentionally put your PCs into situations to spite them and their build, then I wouldn't want to...

Lol i don't just check there encumbrance the point I was trying to make is that I make everyone justify there stats and play them in game. If customizing my encounters to challenge all of my PC's(there strengths and weaknesses then I am gladly guilty of it)...if you ignore your parties weakness and only play to their strengths you defeat the challenge of the game...I do not single out any one party member on a consistent basis but I do make sure I test them all in different ways(and let them figure the best way to solve the problem)...now I don't know you and would never call you a bad gm based on a brief segment of a post you made, please do me the same curtsey...


They said "if". :)


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Secane wrote:
My question is this ideal fair and balanced? Or is this overly restrictive?

I think it's overly restrictive, and you're trying to force your players to play the way you see as the best way.


Ashiel wrote:
Chaos_Scion wrote:
I don't agree that most specialists tend to be flawed in some way and compensate in other ways...most people tend to be average which is 10-11 and have some advantages...If you were building yourself in a game would you give yourself negative stats or most of the people you know(probably not that many and if you did those probably aren't the people you would want to adventure with)

Actually, yes, yes I would. I statted myself out thread.

10-11 is the average. Doesn't mean everyone and their neighbor is nothing but strait 10s and 11s. In Pathfinder terms, we normal mortals are built using 3 point buy (it mentions this in the getting started section, and the premade arrays support this idea). That implies that to excel you have to be compensating for something. A guy with an 8 in one thing is going to have a 12 in something else. Almost nobody will have an 18 before racials, unless they are seriously lacking in at least 3 other departments.

Quote:
If I'm GMing a min/maxer they will have to role play every dump stat and I will insure it comes up. 7 int character playing like he's an average int or better person he is rolling dice to see if his char can actually come up with that. The low strength char is having all the encumbrances checked. A low cha guy is going to be put into situations where he has to interact with people. As long as they are playing their chars well we will get along fine and I will welcome any min/maxer into my game but you pay for what you get.
If you're not checking encumbrance for all characters, and only for low Str characters, then you're a bad GM. There, I said it. Bad GM. Either you are fair to everyone or you're not. Singling out one person at the table is a jerk move, and paints a big ugly picture on your GMing credentials. If you intentionally put your PCs into situations to spite them and their build, then I wouldn't want to...

I think I'm a 15 point buy, most people seem to think I'm stronger and smarter than normal, Dex is probably also quite good as without meaning to I keep scaring people by coming up behind them without them noticing me till I speak or they turn around, con and wis are average I think and charisma is probably lower than normal as I have average looks but major difficulty interacting socially. Hmmm maybe a 13/14, 10/11, 12/13, 13/14, 10/11, 8/9 on a str, con, Dex, int, wis, cha scale.


leo1925 wrote:
Secane wrote:

leo1925, I do want players to make playable and efficient characters. What I am trying to avoid is exploitation of the pointbuy to make characters with low ability scores, without justifying why the characters should have so low stats.

Then those stats should do something for the characters and not be nearly useless, anyway what i meant by an array of your own design is to tell your players (for example) you have 16,13,12,12,10,9 arrange as you wish.

Useless compared to what?

I always laugh at the notion that moderate stats are somehow "useless." Compared to real life? It's an abstract simulation of combat for an imaginary game. A character with a small + in more than two stats is a freakin' superhero.

Min/Maxing is fun and all, but before anybody defends it or positions it as anything more worthy than simple fun, they ought to ask themselves if they consider the gold they find in the game to be as real as they obviously consider the power of their characters. Such reflection might lead a person to either get the help they need, or to realize there are actually other important things in the world.

In the end, I think nobody needs to reply to the thread that doesn't have something constructive to add within the OP's request. Applying our own personal anger to whether or not the game the OP wants to run is "useless" is unnecessary.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2015

Morain wrote:
I think it's overly restrictive, and you're trying to force your players to play the way you see as the best way.

Isn't...isn't that sort of what the GM is suposed to do? I mean, set a particular tone and theme for the game and then enforce it? If you're running a heroic game you don't allow CE PCs and all that jazz. Did I miss a memo where that's no longer true? Because I didn't think I had...


There is difference between setting a tone, and only allowing a person to build a character and play it a certain way.

Telling my players I expect for them to be heroic, and brave is setting a tone. Telling exactly how they will do so is dictating control of the character.

Not all heroes are well rounded. If your contribution to the group is stabbing people in the face, and that is all you care about I don't see the issue. On the other hand if you want to be a decent face stabber, but have no weakness that is ok also.

Some people will say you the game is more interesting with flawed characters. Other will say they like for their characters to not have any real obvious weakness.

When the GM decides for the player how he is going to save the day I think he has gone too far.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Morain wrote:
I think it's overly restrictive, and you're trying to force your players to play the way you see as the best way.
Isn't...isn't that sort of what the GM is suposed to do? I mean, set a particular tone and theme for the game and then enforce it? If you're running a heroic game you don't allow CE PCs and all that jazz. Did I miss a memo where that's no longer true? Because I didn't think I had...

yup you must have missed that memo, it said something about the point of playing the game is for everyone to have fun, not just the gm.


Morain wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Morain wrote:
I think it's overly restrictive, and you're trying to force your players to play the way you see as the best way.
Isn't...isn't that sort of what the GM is suposed to do? I mean, set a particular tone and theme for the game and then enforce it? If you're running a heroic game you don't allow CE PCs and all that jazz. Did I miss a memo where that's no longer true? Because I didn't think I had...
yup you must have missed that memo, it said something about the point of playing the game is for everyone to have fun, not just the gm.

What kind of foolishness is this? The only role of players is to dance to my tune as the useless meat puppets they are.


Solution is easy otherwise. You dont igen extra points for dumpint. Your still allowed to do it of you want to.


Also, i dont really like the tone that goes around that of a dm houserules something like this theyre control freaks just because its not in the book. It the standard dumping limit was 3, it would be that dms restricting to 7 was control freaks. The book is not the final authority on what is the "right" way to play. If i want a medieval campaign om not a control freak for banning magic. If i want well-rounded to be the norm and those with handicaps to be flavor exeptions, om not a control freak. If players dont want to play with me, thats their choice - but if i as a dm has to take responsibility for creating a world, a campaign and keeping a game up, i do have the right to decide how that world is, as long as im up front with it.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I just think that if it is a perfectly good roleplaying operatunity to play a character with stats well below 10 if you rolled them with dice, it should be no different with point buy. Just because there is benefit to be had from dumping that doesn't mean it kills roleplay, and only lead to min/maxing, powergaming or optimizing. Not saying those are bad things either, but in the end I think the op's idea is too restrictive and not conductive towards letting people create the characters they want to play in order to have fun.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
ShadowcatX wrote:
Why are you concerned about min maxing? Wouldn't it be better to let your players play the type of characters they want to play rather than what you think they should play?

While I sympathize with your (the OP) plight I have to agree with this. From what I can gather from your (the OP's) opening post it's not the min/max:ing that concerns you, it's the stat dumping without a credible reason. The only reason is to be able to have an higher primary (or secondary, etc...) stat.

What i would suggest is this: Let your players pick their own stats. If you want you can place a maximum and a minimum (like no higher than 16 before racial modifiers or no lower than 8 before racial modifiers). I haven't tried this myself the two campaigns i'm DM:ing are in the middle, although if a character in either dies that's the "character stat rule" i'm going to use.

With this method everyone get's the character they want, and the dump stats are there because the player willingly picked them. The risk you run is that you end up only "18 in everything" characters, but that type of player isn't someone i would want to DM in the first place, regardless of character creating method.


stringburka wrote:
Also, i dont really like the tone that goes around that of a dm houserules something like this theyre control freaks just because its not in the book. It the standard dumping limit was 3, it would be that dms restricting to 7 was control freaks. The book is not the final authority on what is the "right" way to play. If i want a medieval campaign om not a control freak for banning magic. If i want well-rounded to be the norm and those with handicaps to be flavor exeptions, om not a control freak. If players dont want to play with me, thats their choice - but if i as a dm has to take responsibility for creating a world, a campaign and keeping a game up, i do have the right to decide how that world is, as long as im up front with it.

It has nothing to do with houserules. The GM gets to control everything. The player only gets to control their character.

There is a difference between controlling the campaign world, and controlling the PC's character. Before you come up with an example such as a world with only humans, that is a campaign issue, not a PC character issue. The GM has the power to do a lot of things. That does not always mean it is right or good for the group.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I wish that PF hadn't made the 8-7 jump worth two points. As someone who primarily DMs, it's not that I don't want my players to have dump stats - that's their perrogative - it's that I don't want my players to feel like they're weakening their characters by -not- taking stats that they're likely to make a tenth - if not far, far fewer - rolls based off of, and they are. Dump stats are essentially free points if you don't make them matter, and how many Charisma-based checks am I going to make each character make such that they're really going to second guess whether +1 or more to hit and damage with every attack and better CMB and bonuses to things the character loves to do, or +1 skill point/level and extra spells and languages and benefits to spellcraft and knowledge skills and +1 to all their save DCs was REALLY WORTH IT when they could have had +0 to charisma checks instead of -2? It's always going to be really worth it, clearly, blindingly and obviously so unless I force the character to make just an absurd number of charisma checks with significant consequences. Even then, I'd need to make an average of TEN of those happen for every check that that -2 will be making the difference on.

Dump stats are really, really hard to punish (especially Charisma) unless you start wandering pretty far outside the rules. This is partially because it's hard to make a stat that a character is avoiding using matter as much as a stat that they're using a jillion times each combat, and partially because the mechanical difference between a guy with a 7 and a guy with a 10 - regardless of what conventional wisdom says those are supposed to mean (significantly impaired and essentially average is how most people would probably describe it) - is essentially imperceptable. If you make each of those guys do a ton of charisma checks, the 10 guy will do better than the 7 guy a whopping 57% of the time. That's not even perceptable by someone not keeping careful records. Even comparing an 7 guy to a 16 guy only gets the 16 guy a win 70% of the time. That's noticible, but doesn't exactly reflect people's intuitions about what the difference between "one of the most charismatic people you know" and "one of the least charismatic people you're likely to meet." It's even more ludicrious for something like strength. If you devise a test of strength and compare me (8 strength) to a mighty strongman (18 strength), does anyone really expect that one in four times that we compete, I'll put him to shame? I beat him a quarter of the time at arm wrestling. That's not how people think of strength as working, intuitively.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber
Bruunwald wrote:
leo1925 wrote:
Secane wrote:

leo1925, I do want players to make playable and efficient characters. What I am trying to avoid is exploitation of the pointbuy to make characters with low ability scores, without justifying why the characters should have so low stats.

Then those stats should do something for the characters and not be nearly useless, anyway what i meant by an array of your own design is to tell your players (for example) you have 16,13,12,12,10,9 arrange as you wish.

Useless compared to what?

I always laugh at the notion that moderate stats are somehow "useless." Compared to real life? It's an abstract simulation of combat for an imaginary game. A character with a small + in more than two stats is a freakin' superhero.

Min/Maxing is fun and all, but before anybody defends it or positions it as anything more worthy than simple fun, they ought to ask themselves if they consider the gold they find in the game to be as real as they obviously consider the power of their characters. Such reflection might lead a person to either get the help they need, or to realize there are actually other important things in the world.

In the end, I think nobody needs to reply to the thread that doesn't have something constructive to add within the OP's request. Applying our own personal anger to whether or not the game the OP wants to run is "useless" is unnecessary.

I don't think that you get my post, i am not saying that moderate ability scores are useless, i am saying that moderate scores on useless abilities are useless.


I too think low scores can be a good roleplaying opportunity. I dont think dropping str to 5 and letting the big guy carry stuff for you so you can cram some extra out of spells is important to good roleplay. taking a penalty and then all but ignoring it isnt good roleplay. By allowing low scores without getting a bonus those that want to roleplay the harshness of a handicap and the struggle to overcome it can do so and those that want to play heroic dudes that are decent at everything can do so without penalty. I dont see how that hinders roleplay.

If the players want 20 points to spend in stuff that give mechanical benefits to them, just give them 20 points and make handicaps voluntary instead of giving 15 and encouraging dumps.

Yes, there are fictional characters with several dumps. Rarely do i see those dumps being ignored by a simple spell or a skill point, rather they are made important by the story and rarely do i see a whole group of dumped stats-chars in fiction.


We use point-buy with the unspoken rule that only one atttribute can be below 10. It seems to work fine.

Dark Archive

MacGurcules wrote:

I'm sorry to go off topic here and this isn't a criticism, but what is the the source of using the word "ideal" in place of "idea?"

I've seen it in a fair number of places and it seems that the people who do it do it pretty consistently, so I don't think it's a typo. Is it a non-native English thing?

Ideal as .... Ideally.

Unless i'm mistaken of course it's perfectly English ... Unless you have another ideal idea... ;o)


stringburka wrote:
I too think low scores can be a good roleplaying opportunity. I dont think dropping str to 5 and letting the big guy carry stuff for you so you can cram some extra out of spells is important to good roleplay. taking a penalty and then all but ignoring it isnt good roleplay.

Eh, actually I don't see how it's not. It's a defining characteristic of your character. It opens up that little point in the story when you're carrying too much and are struggling to keep up, and then the big Barbarian walks over, lifts your satchel with one hand, or even pick you up to help you out. Suddenly, one thing has led to another. Your weakness has created a friendly event between your ally and yourself.

Quote:
By allowing low scores without getting a bonus those that want to roleplay the harshness of a handicap and the struggle to overcome it can do so and those that want to play heroic dudes that are decent at everything can do so without penalty. I dont see how that hinders roleplay.

Last I checked, the game assumes that a -2 penalty to a variety of things is the correct handicap for a 7 in a statistic. -3 is the correct handicap for a 5 (such as after a -2 racial). Inventing new handicaps, or singling out individuals doesn't strike me as particularly cool. If you made a low-strength high dexterity rogue, it would get really old when all the doors stopped being locked and instead were jammed or barred so as to require a Strength check to open instead of Disable Device checks to pick the locks.


I never worry about my players' scores, except that the further you get from 15 point buy, the less accurate CR becomes.

I run a 20 point buy, which is just enough to make my players feel like special snowflakes (despite the fact that I could, on a whim, give every creature the same scores and they would never know). But I dare not stray too far from 15, because I want stable CR (so that I can screw it up with too much treasure).

Honestly, I don't understand the GM mentality that scores are too high or too low. If you're good at prosecuting the consequences of scores in a simulationist mode, most players will learn to stop "pushing it" once they know you're going to enforce the reality. "Too far" is when the stats are so big or small the player doesn't have the character that they want. That's self-enforcing. You don't have to lift a finger.

Those players that don't learn, well... you know some players enjoy quirky characters with big power and big weaknesses. They are not lesser roleplayers for this fact.

Instead, let them role with whatever scores, and focus on keeping the encounters balanced, challenging, and fun.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2015

Morain wrote:
yup you must have missed that memo, it said something about the point of playing the game is for everyone to have fun, not just the gm.

[sarcasm]Yes, because every GM who hates the Summoner and restricts players from using it, or gets rid of Antagonize* because they feel it's broken and not worth fixing is mjaking the game less fun, just to rain on his or her player's parade.[/sarcasm]

The point of restricting min-maxed builds is to increase the player's fun. I mean, the GM's power is unlimited, he can always just pile on more opposition and make the encounter as a whole challenging, the issue is that not everyone is very good at optimization, or wish to play particularly optimized character types, and if one or two characters are significantly more powerful than the others, they almost invariably steal the spotlight, which has a tendency to make the non-optimized characters' players feel marginalized and useless. It can also make encounter design annoyingly complex, as you effectively need to plan two sets of enemies (one for the optimized, one for the non-optimized) and somehow get the appropriate PCs to deal with each of them, or alternately makes every encounter eiither a cakewalk (as the optimized players destroy everything) or a near-death experience for the less-optimized.

The issue is what's usually referred to as 'spotlight time' and a feeling that your character is effective, that they matter to the outcome of the game, and both are extremely uneven (runing some players' fun) in a radically unequally optimized game.

Now none of this is necessarily an inherent problem with optimized characters, the real roblem is the inequality. And indeed if you have four hardore optimizers and one guy who is playing a Monk/Bard with no score over 14, it is likely the latter who should modify their character somewhat (probably to the Sensei archetype). But let's be honest here, that's not the usual situation, and when it is, it usually requires direct GM intervention ("You might want to have a 16 in your primary stat or this character may be use-impaired."), but the problem of one hardcore optimizer at a table of more casual or concept-focused players? A much more common issue, and one that is sometimes better handled with a House Rule (IME optimizers, myself included, tend to like rules. They are clear, explicit, and not just an unfair restriction on me, since they apply to everybody).

Now often, the situation involves a wide range of player skill levels at creating effetive characters, and in that case it is the GM's job to even them out, so as to preserve the enjoyability of the game for all concerned. This may involve a variety of tactics, from House Rules like these to informing people when they take a Feat that it won't be much use to them ("You're playing a focused Archer, I'm not sure you want Power Attack maybe take a look at Deadly Aim instead."), to simply eyeballing the characters once they've all been made for anything really out of balance.

Alternately, a GM with a different style might allow widely divergent levels of capability and even the characters' capabilities and/or spotlight time out in play (giving the weakest PC an artifact aqnd a destiny ala Frodo, for example) and that's cool, but not everyone's preferred tactic.

You can certainly argue that perhaps the method suggested in this thread isn't the ideal way to achieve this goal, but the goal itself is laudable and worth achieving.

*Note: I do neither of these things, though I have House Ruled Antagonize.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't see why people throw fits about 8's. 10 is an AVERAGE score. Most folks ability scores who aren't PCs and/or don't have PC class levels typically have stats all revolving around the 8-14 range. An 8 in STR isn't some frail weakling, they're someone who is just somewhat below average in strength. Those 15+ strength fighters running around are the Lou Ferigno's and Magnus Magnusson's of the world.

An 8 INT, as i like to joke w/ my players, is "He's as smart as a lawyer." You're not stupid by any means, but you probably are deficient in a few fields (mostly represented by your negative modifier on all those knowledge skills you have no ranks in). 8 DEX isn't some paralytic or a guy with a limp, just a bit slower to react. 8 CON isn't some sickly guy with boneitis, but maybe a fat guy or someone who doesn't eat healthy. 8 WIS isn't the drooling idiot, but a slightly gullible butt of jokes. 8 CHA isn't the three eared, six eyed fareeek, but maybe the shy or socially awkward person.

8 isn't a handicap. 8 is a deficiency. 6 might be bordering on handicap (just like a 15 is bordering on amazing), and anything in the -3 mod is definitely out of the ordinary and most likely would need a good representation in character for having that 5 CHA/WIS/DEX dumpstat.

Bottom line, at least in my opinion, is that your players aren't really weaseling their way out of justification for a handicap if they have a few 8's, as there is no handicap at an 8. If they're plying themselves down to 5's and 6's, though, do things like enforce encumbrance, have shopkeepers refuse to serve the guy who looks like a thief, have the town chase the sickly, possibly disease ridden character out of town before they spread their fictional condition to the rest of the town.


Evil Lincoln wrote:

I never worry about my players' scores, except that the further you get from 15 point buy, the less accurate CR becomes.

I run a 20 point buy, which is just enough to make my players feel like special snowflakes (despite the fact that I could, on a whim, give every creature the same scores and they would never know). But I dare not stray too far from 15, because I want stable CR (so that I can screw it up with too much treasure).

Honestly, I don't understand the GM mentality that scores are too high or too low. If you're good at prosecuting the consequences of scores in a simulationist mode, most players will learn to stop "pushing it" once they know you're going to enforce the reality. "Too far" is when the stats are so big or small the player doesn't have the character that they want. That's self-enforcing. You don't have to lift a finger.

Those players that don't learn, well... you know some players enjoy quirky characters with big power and big weaknesses. They are not lesser roleplayers for this fact.

Instead, let them role with whatever scores, and focus on keeping the encounters balanced, challenging, and fun.

<3 Evil Lincoln. :D


Ashiel wrote:
<3 Evil Lincoln. :D

Oh, great, now I need to rethink our status as civil enemies. :)

Lest I be mistaken for coming down on the OP too hard: the players are the part of the game you're not supposed to control directly. Try not to care so much about how they should be according to you and follow the cues your players give. Enjoy the PCs vicariously through your players.

Affixing the ability scores is a minor obstacle that occurs only at the very beginning of the campaign. The "cap" already exists: it is 20. The "miminum" exists also, it is 7. *I presume old age, etc, are off-limits.

If you really want a game with a cap of 16 or 18 and a minimum of 8 or 9, do it. But I recommend you don't even waste the energy on this one; focus on the enormous effort that lies before you.


Ashiel: i never spoke about having extra penalties for low scores. I spoke about low scores. If a rogue wants 18 dex in my game it can have that - whether their strength is 10 or 7 isn't relevant. If they want to play physically weak they may do so, if they dont they dont need to. That way, dumping is done for rp reasons - you want to play weak in arms. I'm not jamming doors extra because of it, and actually, with dumping such an important stat, the char might get an extra skill point in something story-related - but its not standard.

Basically, right now, 7 is the lowest you can get points for but if someone said "hey, i want a challenge and have an idea for a str4 char" most dms would probably say "okay but the game might feel harder to you". Thats the way i do it from 10 and below.

Dump stats are a bit like flaws/strength systems. Say, get a drastic phobia and an extra trait. While it might very well be used for roleplay, the system encourages getting a water phobia in a desert campaign etc. I say no to state dumping for the same reason i would say no to flaws/perks. If someone wants to be physically weak or have aquaphobia, great, a roleplaying hook. If i feel its drastic, they might get a thematic skill point or two. No attack bonuses for being afraid of water though, and no extra disintegrate because you're weakwilled.


stringburka wrote:
Dump stats are a bit like flaws/strength systems. Say, get a drastic phobia and an extra trait. While it might very well be used for roleplay, the system encourages getting a water phobia in a desert campaign etc.

Flash floods. Makes total sense. :)


I think the problem that many of us see is that the players who go for multiple dump stats are not doing it for roleplaying reasons. Sure, they might go out of their way to justify it, but they are only looking at mechanics. That's fine for some groups. It's not fine for mine. I don't take issue with one dump stat or even two because of racial modifiers. I do take issue with the player that always wants two or three stats at 7 so they can squeeze a few extra points into other stats. This is actually bad roleplaying.

I see nothing wrong with a GM setting limits. I do see something wrong with the GM essentially telling the players what they must play. I don't think that anyone is advocating that though.

I have seen many people propose several arrays for the players to use. I don't think that it needs to be that complex but it could help the players that have a hard time figuring out the point buy (they do exist, I've gamed with them). Sometimes it's faster for character creation as well.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

@Bob_Loblaw: I agree with most of what you said, except this:

Bob_Loblaw wrote:
I do take issue with the player that always wants two or three stats at 7 so they can squeeze a few extra points into other stats. This is actually bad roleplaying.

You are wrong. Stat selection is not an act of roleplaying, and therefore cannot be bad roleplaying (or good roleplaying, for that matter).

Roleplaying is what you do at the table, not what's written on your character sheet.

How you assign your stats affects what roleplaying would be appropriate, but is not itself an act of roleplaying.


Jiggy wrote:

@Bob_Loblaw: I agree with most of what you said, except this:

Bob_Loblaw wrote:
I do take issue with the player that always wants two or three stats at 7 so they can squeeze a few extra points into other stats. This is actually bad roleplaying.

You are wrong. Stat selection is not an act of roleplaying, and therefore cannot be bad roleplaying (or good roleplaying, for that matter).

I'm not going to say that either Bob or Jiggy are wrong, but I will say that tanking 3 stats to the tune of -2 is pretty extreme. One stat at -2 is highly survivable and another one at -1 doesn't hurt that much more. But three -2 stats has huge implications for things like skills and saves etc. I'm not saying that you can't do it or that you shouldn't do it; rather I'm saying you're gonna see diminishing returns.

51 to 100 of 190 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew / Setting a maximum limit between differences in starting ability scores. Can this ideal work? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.