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


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew

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Lantern Lodge

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?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Why not just stick to point buy which keeps everyone on the same page balance-wise?

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2015

Not a bad idea. I use 25 point buy but with no score allowed to go above 16 or below 8 (and no more than one score below 10) before Racial Mods to get much the same effect. I find that the 25 point-buy keeps the complaints down somewhat.

Lantern Lodge

Ravingdork wrote:
Why not just stick to point buy which keeps everyone on the same page balance-wise?

I am using pointbuy. The problem is that some players, will often drop their stats way down to 7 or 8 and give a flimsy reason to justify why their characters should have such a low stat. Its plain min-maxing.

-------

Deadmanwalking, your ideal seem pretty good too!

Do you think mine is too complicated?


I think it gets too complicated.

I like using a minimum of 9 before racials. Unless you use a very high point buy, it ensures that those who insist on having 18 in one stat is going to be fairly bad in every thing else.

Other than that, I actually like having a couple of standard arrays to choose from. That way, you can make the balanced arrays more attractive.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

It's overly complicated, if for some reason you don't want your players to make effective characters you can always use an array of your design.

Lantern Lodge

HaraldKlak, by "having a couple of standard arrays to choose from" do you mean something like this?:

The game is 20 pointbuy, but players can chose to use one of the arrays below instead (before racials):

14,14,14,14,13,12 - 25 points
15,14,14,12,12,12 - 23 points
16,14,12,12,12,10 - 21 points

Am I getting the ideal right?

Btw, I like the no less then 9 ideal. It gives some leeway in point spread without being to complicated.

---------------------

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.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber
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.


Secane wrote:

By "having a couple of standard arrays to choose from" do you mean something like this?:

The game is 20 pointbuy, but players can chose to use one of the arrays below instead (before racials):

15,14,14,12,12,12 - 23 points
16,14,12,12,12,10 - 21 points
14,14,14,14,13,12 - 25 points

Am I getting the ideal right?

Something like that, although I might make slightly larger differences.

For a 20 pts level, I would suggest something like:
18,13,12,10,9,9 - 20 pts
16,16,12,10,10,9 - 21 pts
16,15,14,10,10,9 - 22 pts
15,15,14,13,12,10 - 24 pts

It is very much a matter of preference, but it is a way to reward builds focusing on more than simply their casting stat (and avoiding characters starting with a charisma or strength of 5).

EDIT: I think it should be either 'choose from premade arrays' or pointbuy, if you want the intended effect.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber

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.


TClifford wrote:


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

Really?

I would have guessed that almost everyone (including myself), would choose 25 pts over 15 pts + 1 feat.

Star Voter 2013

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I don't get it. Why are you concerned your players are dumping stats, or min maxing?
All that does is give you a weakness to exploit as the DM.
Oh you dumped your str down to a 7 because your a wizard and have your int boosted to a 20. Well say hello to my friend the shadow. Let's see how many rounds you survive.
oh your a warrior and boosted your str to stratospheric numbers, but you ignored your dex? hmmm centipede poison says hi.
It usually only takes one or two encounters for pcs to stop dumping stats and there are a ton of creatures that focus on this sort of thing.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber

Depends on what you are making. The main reason that a the 15pt buy is attractive to my players is that it balances the field a little for races other than Humans. Besides, you can make a pretty good character even on a 15pt buy. 14/14/12/12/12/9 is typical. With the bonuses, you can get it to 16/16/12/12/10/9. That should hold you for a good MAD class.

The first one that used it was an Elf Fighter, speciallizing in bow. She didn't want to go Ranger because she wasn't feeling it. So she used the stats above, was able to start out with Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot and Rapid Fire. Another guy made a Half-Orc inquisitor and wanted Exotic Weapon: Glaive, Ripsaw and Improved Init at first level. One guy did make a Human fighter which started him out at 4 feats.

The Exchange

Why not use a modified point buy, where you only get 1/2 an extra point per point below 10, or make 8 a "hard" minimum (i.e. you can't go below 8 even after racial modifiers) like TClifford suggests? IME, the reason people use dump stats is to boost their good scores even more. Make dump stats less appealing, and you'll see them less often.

Alternatively, provide an additional minor in-game penalty for stats below 8 (but PLEASE let the player know this BEFORE he creates his character!). For example, the CHA 6 character has to roll a DC 10 Diplomacy test during each conversation with an NPC or the NPC simply tunes him out. A WIS 6 character has to make a DC 10 Perception test to remember where he sheathed his weapon, and if he fails it takes a standard action to ready it. Make it a really easy test that any non-dump-stat character could pass by taking 10. This can let the player keep his min-maxed guy, and add a little comic relief to the game, without ruining things for anyone.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Secane wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Why not just stick to point buy which keeps everyone on the same page balance-wise?

I am using pointbuy. The problem is that some players, will often drop their stats way down to 7 or 8 and give a flimsy reason to justify why their characters should have such a low stat. Its plain min-maxing.

One thing that encourages min-maxing is the lack of any real penalty for low scores. Not tracking encumbrance for super low strength is a biggie, campaigns that allow for max hit dice on all levels take a good bite out of a low Con penalty.


This Campaign our GM had us use 20 PB, all stats must be 10-18 AFTER racial mods.

Honestly It's working out fairly well.

Liberty's Edge

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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?


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber
ralantar wrote:

I don't get it. Why are you concerned your players are dumping stats, or min maxing?

All that does is give you a weakness to exploit as the DM.
Oh you dumped your str down to a 7 because your a wizard and have your int boosted to a 20. Well say hello to my friend the shadow. Let's see how many rounds you survive.
oh your a warrior and boosted your str to stratospheric numbers, but you ignored your dex? hmmm centipede poison says hi.
It usually only takes one or two encounters for pcs to stop dumping stats and there are a ton of creatures that focus on this sort of thing.

You are right about the STR and DEX dumps (although i would argue about the STR dumped wizard being owned by a shadow), but what about CHA dumps? CHA is the least useful ability and for most classes it does absolutely nothing, also after a couple of levels it's the skills that matter and not the ability score (for example, on the one hand you have diplomacy as a class skill and you have max ranks in it but you have a CHA 7 and on the other hand you have no ranks to spare on diplomacy, it's not a class skill but you have CHA 10. well the first one has much more chances to succeed than the second one)

What i am trying to say is that some things (especially CHA) should be more useful in order for people to use them and invest in them.

Lantern Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

actually, i have no problems with dump stats. the fact that the character dumped the stat in question is enough of a penalty.

dumped STR? if it's too low you can't take power attack, this greatly hinders damage output, and every last pound you can carry helps

dumped CON? the hit point penalties are enough of an issue

dumped DEX? your initiative is lower and so is your AC

dumped INT? you just lost a whole bunch of skill points, these are the majority of your nonmagical options besides hitting stuff with a stick

dumped WIS? the penalty to perception hurts on it's own, the lowered will saves add insult to injury, and many important wisdom based skills such as sense motive will also suffer

dumped CHA? the desired social skills can easily be compensated for at slightly reduced overall bonuses, the real penalties here are use magic device and being unable to take eldritch heritage. as a martial, eldritch heritage could have given you a fairly massive strength boost at the cost of a bit of multiple attribute dependency.

the eldritch heritage line is enough of a reason to invest in charisma.


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Yar!

ShadowcatX wrote:
Why are you concerned about min maxing?

Just some random thoughts, but...

...possibly because the GM is who controls all other aspects of the world, and needs to find a balance between what is fun and challenging as opposed to a "cakewalk and no fun" or "way to deadly and no fun", and limits such as this help him to achieve that?

...possibly because GM's are PLAYERS TOO! ...and as such need to be able to have fun playing the same game, and if by his personal experiences a character who is min-maxed with no good reason other than to min-max his numbers come in tends to ruin both his and the other non-min-maxed players fun, shouldn't he be able to do something to be able to ensure that everyone (including himself) have fun playing the game too? Such as apply limits to what characters starting stats can be*?

* with the caveat that all such limitations are agreed upon BEFORE the game starts, presumably just as the OP is suggesting doing?

Isn't that part of what the GM does? Adjudicate (and sometimes modify*) the rules in order to better create the world for him and his friends^?

* not applicable to PFSociety play, as houserules are not allowed there.
^ assuming you actually play this game with friends.

Just some random thoughts.

~P


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?

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Secane wrote:
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.

What does this mean? 'Justify'?

Look around the world. Have you never encountered someone who was very intelligent, but not particularly strong? Or vice versa? A Charismatic politician who wasn't particularly wise? A very dextrous acrobat who was kind of frail?

Do players create characters with highly divergent ability scores in order to maximize certain abilities? Absolutely.

Now, why is that 'wrong'? Is it just me or do people in the real world(TM) ALSO tend to play to their strengths?

Frankly, setting everyone into some kind of homogenized 'average zone' for every characteristic is bizarrely unrealistic. Where you see 'min / maxers' I see 'normal people'.

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

If the problem is players taking low stats with flimsy justifications for them, then why are you only looking at the "stat" side of the equation? How about instead of forcing more similar stats, you just teach them how to breathe more life into whatever they build?

Or if you really prefer more even-statted characters over laser-focused one-trick ponies, just make sure you throw a large variety of challenges at them. If people are dumping CHA for STR, put them in situations where they NEED to convince someone to do something. Give them a mysterious enemy who needs to be researched, making them wish they hadn't dumped INT. Etc, etc.


Jiggy wrote:


Or if you really prefer more even-statted characters over laser-focused one-trick ponies, just make sure you throw a large variety of challenges at them. If people are dumping CHA for STR, put them in situations where they NEED to convince someone to do something. Give them a mysterious enemy who needs to be researched, making them wish they hadn't dumped INT. Etc, etc.

Unless you often pull the party apart and do solo-action, this is seldom possible in this kind of game. There is most likely someone else who is a beast concerning charisme, intelligence or whatever you are asking for.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
HaraldKlak wrote:
Jiggy wrote:


Or if you really prefer more even-statted characters over laser-focused one-trick ponies, just make sure you throw a large variety of challenges at them. If people are dumping CHA for STR, put them in situations where they NEED to convince someone to do something. Give them a mysterious enemy who needs to be researched, making them wish they hadn't dumped INT. Etc, etc.
Unless you often pull the party apart and do solo-action, this is seldom possible in this kind of game. There is most likely someone else who is a beast concerning charisme, intelligence or whatever you are asking for.

So a group of people with varied strengths and weaknesses working together to be a stronger whole is... bad?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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)

Honestly, if you dont like minmaxing, roll dice, do something like 2d6+6 (depending on how high you want stats to be) so minmaxing is impossible. Point buy specifically encourages it. And if you take that out, it really doesn't function the way it was meant to.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The reason min/maxing exists is because there are so few consequences for low scores, and GMs (or messageboard posters) who attempt to enforce in-game penalties for stat dumping are routinely accused of being "anti-player" GMs who only ant to restrict player "creativity." The number of "my low int or cha scores don't mean I can't be brilliant or mentally dominating if I want to play my character that way" comments on these boards alone is proof of that.

I don't allow point buy to go below 8 after racial modifiers. My group typically uses a 15 point buy. We end up with perfectly playable characters. However, if you want to roll your stats on a 4d6 drop lowest model, then go ahead and roll, but you will end up playing what you roll (unless it really sucks, then you can reroll).


If you don't like what he's doing tell him why. Lets avoid attacking him though, yes?

to the OP:
Personally I do that to my own characters. No stat below 10 after racials and adjust the rest accordingly.

I therefore wouldn't be adverse to any such system but alot of people will be. I think you need to sit down witht eh group and converse with them about this issue. Its clearly both a math problem and an RP problem that you are dealing with and the boards can't really help you fix that with your group.
It could just be that what you want from the experience isn't the same as what they want. And thats fine.. but you need to find that out before trying to alter the rules to enforce your vision onto their visions.

Neither way is right/wrong/good/bad but .. the DM and the Players need to be on the same page on this sort of thing and that's best done by a solid conversation with the group beforehand.

I would talk to them about why its a problem for you both mathmatically (difficult to challenge them and alter things, etc) and conceptually (they are using flimsy arguments to dump stats down to 7 and then ignore them in Rp and such or whatnot).

You might find a conversation more effective in getting what you really want (whatever that is), than to just tell them "here are the rules, take it or go home".

Just my thoughts.

-S


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It seems like the 8-16 limit is just as arbitrary as the 7-18 limit already in the rules (before modifiers).
Why is it that a score of 7 is min/max'ed while a score of 8 is not?

I don't think there is a problem with the score limit. The problem actually seems to be with the player's weak character concept (apparently), or your perception that they are somehow gaming the system.

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

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Kolokotroni wrote:
Honestly, if you dont like minmaxing, roll dice, do something like 2d6+6 (depending on how high you want stats to be) so minmaxing is impossible. Point buy specifically encourages it. And if you take that out, it really doesn't function the way it was meant to.

Funny how people always seem to associate point buy with min-maxing/powergaming/etc, yet every single time I watch/assist someone who's used to rolling stats making their first PFS (20pt) character, they're appalled at how low-powered they are compared to characters they've rolled.


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I use 20 point buy and the only rule I implemented is that you can have only 1 dump stat before racial modifiers. A dump stat is anything less than 10. Other than that, the players are free to spend their points anyway they want.

As GM I want a game that's fun for everyone. Multiple dump stats aren't optimization, they are munchkin. It's ok for someone to have a weakness but an adventurer should not have half their stats as weaknesses.

If the players don't like this, then they are free to find a game they want to play in. So far no one has complained. I even got some strange looks when I mentioned it because they thought it was silly I had to say anything in the first place.


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.


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I just hate the whole concept of min/max being a BAD thing for some reason.

Building the most effective character you can (As in getting an 18 by stat dumping) makes you a power gamer?

I suppose we should have to write a report on why we took each feat too. Why we choose to take ranks in Perception instead of Profession Basket weaving. At some point it just gets rediculous. Wanting an 18 in a stat and being willing to drop the rest of your stats to make that happen is perfectly fine and within the rules.

Some of us are OCD when it comes to Character design. I personally twitch if I see a Wizard with a 16 int... thats just me. I am still a great role player. I can still be an effective team player.

Same goes for the groups I run. We personally roll stats. Its fun and random. But I give one free 18. They are playing heroes after all.

As to the original question. I dont see it being an issue. Its your game and as long as your players know it going in (Kind of hard not to since its a rule about character creation) then good on you. I personally think its an over reation but your the DM. Good luck with your game.


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.


It’s simple:

1. You may not have more than one ability score under 10, (other than one “8” due to racial mods.) That can only be a minimum of 8.
2. You must have a Roleplaying explanation for that score.
3. Unless you are stupid, you can’t dump INT.

More or less what Bob-Loblaw suggests.

I really don’t care for those super MIN/MAX builds commonly suggested around here. If you can’t build a heroic PC within the points, you’re not trying. I think dump stats are not the best way to play- imho, of course. Mind you, it’s hard to do a Monk without dumping CHA a little, but I allowed for a single 8.

None of my PF characters have had any stat less than a 10, so far. (Except for those with a starting 10, then lowered to a 8 by racial modifiers, which I think we can all agree is not really a “dump stat”).


My problem with min/maxing and dumb stating as a GM is twofold. First is game balance. If all of your PC's aren't min/maxing power gamers it is a huge pain if only 1 or 2 are. I've had this problem before where you can't challenge 1 party member without murdering the rest or specifically targeting their weaknesses(which you don't want to do consistently.)

Second, while there are some experienced players that both min/max and role play in my experience they are a rarity. I play roleplaying heavy games were everything about your char and their backstory needs to be explained. Most min/maxers i play with are either bad roleplayers or they don't value roleplaying at all(play the game like its a video game). Its easy to build a char within the point buys without major dumping as long as your gm doesn't have to up the difficulty in the world to deal with min/maxers(you don't need an 18 spell casting stat in a lvl appropriate low level area.

The truth though is we can fight out the pluses and minus of min/maxing till the end of time. There is nothing wrong with your proposed limitation and it won't break your game. YOu set the rules as the GM and your players have to live with it. That said if a player came to me with a really good roleplaying concept that resolved around dump stats(I'm thinking Minsk from Baulders Gate) let them have it but make him play it and make it a focus of game play.


Secane wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Why not just stick to point buy which keeps everyone on the same page balance-wise?

I am using pointbuy. The problem is that some players, will often drop their stats way down to 7 or 8 and give a flimsy reason to justify why their characters should have such a low stat. Its plain min-maxing.

-------

Deadmanwalking, your ideal seem pretty good too!

Do you think mine is too complicated?

Min-maxing is not necessarily a bad thing a bad thing. If they drop scores like that it just mean they have an obvious weakness somewhere. Some people like played concentrated characters, while others like to be more well rounded. Each has its pros and cons.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Honestly, if you dont like minmaxing, roll dice, do something like 2d6+6 (depending on how high you want stats to be) so minmaxing is impossible. Point buy specifically encourages it. And if you take that out, it really doesn't function the way it was meant to.
Funny how people always seem to associate point buy with min-maxing/powergaming/etc, yet every single time I watch/assist someone who's used to rolling stats making their first PFS (20pt) character, they're appalled at how low-powered they are compared to characters they've rolled.

Well that entirely depends on the dice rolling methods used. I have seen some ludicrously generous dice rolling methods that would inevitably lead to rediculous stats. That ofcourse is a problem. But you are confusing minmaxing with optimization. They are not the same thing. What the op is worried about is droping stats and then trying to ignore their disadvantage (or simply doesn't want retarded, uncooth, stupid, weak, clumsy or fragile heroes). Thats minmaxing. The general power level of a character is outside of that (though related). I can optimize a character with stats that are not minmaxed, and I can minmax stats without doing any real optimization. Heck I could make a 5int charisma soceror and it would be minmaxing, but certainly not powerful.

4d6 drop the lowest averages to between 15 and 20 points, as long as you dont allow rerolls, or modify the dice afterwards somehow, statistically you should have normal characters. Ofcourse its possible to get lucky or unlucky, but unless you are following some kind of re-roll system, or roll 4 sets of stats and pick one, or simply fudging the dice (or having dice that dont roll evenly), you wont have an impression of 'high power' from 4d6 drop the lowest.

Liberty's Edge

If you don't do 3d6 6 times in order, randomly assigned class every level and randomly assigned feats / skill points, you're min / maxing in some way, shape, or form.

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

Kolokotroni wrote:
What the op is worried about is droping stats and then trying to ignore their disadvantage (or simply doesn't want retarded, uncooth, stupid, weak, clumsy or fragile heroes).

I must have missed where he talked about them wanting to ignore the disadvantages. That would be a simple issue of cheating.

As for the parenthetical part, I guess I just prefer characters with flaws/depth.

Scarab Sages

It seems to me like you're trying to tell your players here that min/maxing is bad/wrong/ in your game. Maybe you should just say that to them instead.

Honestly, I think what you're describing here is going to create a much blander party. You're also preventing your players from building certain character types. Of course, I just don't like it when dm's impose limitations on character building above and beyond what's in the book. That's just me though, as a player my character is all I control so I am very possessive of my "right" to build as I see fit. Though if there's a good world reason for, say, not having elves, then I can go with that.

I guess the question you should ask yourself is whether the change will have a big enough effect to warrant the potential backlash.

I'd also suggest that you ask yourself what problems come up during gameplay that you want to see changed. Are the players playing to their stats? If not, that's something you can hold them to, and penalize them for if they don't play to the character's stats.

Or do you personally just not like seeing low ability scores? If that's the case, I'd just set a minimum ability score value. Consider tossing a few more points to the players though.


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


Jiggy wrote:

I must have missed where he talked about them wanting to ignore the disadvantages. That would be a simple issue of cheating.

As for the parenthetical part, I guess I just prefer characters with flaws/depth.

Please. You can have plenty of depth and flaws without a 20 in a high stat, and 6 in two others.

I just had a Inquisitor. 14,14,14, 10,16,11(got a bonus here later, so the net CHA was 13). Local constable. Worked by his “gut” rather than his brain. Very protective of his charges. Had problems reading , writing and “books”, but still gave good advice anyway, but was never brilliant. Liked and respected by others. Hated and overreacted to ‘criminal scum” and Hellknights.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If you are so concerned with flimsy excuses, demand 20 pages of character backgrounds, no double-space, legal sized paper on their character background.

Is that ridiculous? If you said yes, that's the other extreme. Too much fluff also hurts the game. Why care about stats at all? Just set a range for all numbers to fall into. Players are going to get what they want, one way or another. If you stop them here, they'll then try and magic up their stats until you take that away.

Or you can just let the rules go as is. They aren't perfect, but it's better than house-ruling every little thing that you don't like.


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Magicdealer wrote:

It Of course, I just don't like it when dm's impose limitations on character building above and beyond what's in the book. That's just me though, as a player my character is all I control so I am very possessive of my "right" to build as I see fit. Though if there's a good world reason for, say, not having elves, then I can go with that.

I guess the question you should ask yourself is whether the change will have a big enough effect to warrant the potential backlash.

“I just don't like it when dm's impose limitations on character building above and beyond what's in the book.”, So then a game with “20 pt buy, core races only, starting in Varisia, two bonus traits” would cause “backlash” from you? Every campaign has “limitations on character building above and beyond what's in the book’. What are you going to do- insist your PC gets to adventure in Greyhawk instead of Sandpoint with the rest of the party? Or you want a 100 pt buy? Or You want to play the Tarrasque as a PC?

The Op’s suggestions won’t cause a “backlash” and if they did, he’s better off without them.


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Depth is about back story and how you play your char not what your stat sheet says...you don't need a low stat to be unique or different its called imagination...you can play 10 fighters with the same stats and all of them could be nothing alike and have completely different styles and the same goes for any class...


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.


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
To all you guys who reqiure 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 for the 12 pre-racial to make a "legal" character, no matter what class they're trying to play.

I did not see that. If that was a requirement all I would ever play was half-races.


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.

I agree that is a bit extreme but setting it as an 8 minimum(after race) is far more reasonable...You are below average but not to the point of amounting to a disability...if you let them go below that your playing a character that is not just a little frail or damaged in some way but severely disabled(in my mind at least a 7-5 stat would be a crushing disability)...keep in mind the average 10 is not the average of a hero but of a normal person so going much below a normal commoners stats and your in trouble...


We play with the 10 min after racials and we still see quite a few odd races.

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