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No Dump Scores


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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so As I see it there is no way to build a character without dumping one or more scores. Am I wrong? To my mind most epic heroes to not always have one or two areas that the normal or average person is better than them. To me that shows a normal person that has lost say dexterity in favor of strength training. not epic, just due able with determined training.

Thus I roll all my characters randomly.


I almost never build a character with a negative. If I do there is a good reason for it, like my "raised by wolves" character having an 8 Charisma because he's got a predatory feel.

Heroes should be epic for what they do, not because all of their scores are high. Easier said than done sometimes, I know, but still something to try for.


There are plenty of ways to build a character without dump stats. I am assuming that you mean any stat that provides a negative is a dump stat. Rolling your characters doesn't change that and in fact gives you less control over whether or not you have a dump stat. With point buy, you can choose to not have several high scores and avoid a dump stat. With rolling you take what you get. That means you can roll a 3. With point buy, that will never happen.

Osirion

You're not wrong, point-buy tends to encourage min/maxing simply because it allows it. But nothing forces you to min/max, you could easily make a human wizard with Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 18, Wis 10, Cha 10. No dump stats. Unless you consider 10 a dump, in which case a 12,12,12,16,12,12 array would work.


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If normal humans use 3d6 to generate scores, roughly 30% are "raised by wolves". Also, about 53% of dwarves are as well.


Normal humans use the NPC array of, I think 10 10 10 10 11 11. I don't know if those numbers are exact, but they're close I think.


Seems like someone is using my words against me in an unintended manner.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Yes you are wrong. You can play a character perfectly well with a 14 in his core stat or with a 20 in his core stat.

I have played a character with a wisdom of 4. It did not invalidate the character in any way.

People over obsess when it comes to stats. It doesn't matter that much. Your concept is far more important.


Uhp, nope, I'm wrong. Basic NPC numbers are 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, and 8.

Cheliax

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Jal Dorak wrote:
You're not wrong, point-buy tends to encourage min/maxing simply because it allows it. But nothing forces you to min/max, you could easily make a human wizard with Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 18, Wis 10, Cha 10. No dump stats. Unless you consider 10 a dump, in which case a 12,12,12,16,12,12 array would work.

Can we get away from the 'point-buyers min-max more' fallacy?


Tels wrote:
Normal humans use the NPC array of, I think 10 10 10 10 11 11. I don't know if those numbers are exact, but they're close I think.

NPCs use 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8 (3 point buy).

Heroic NPCs use 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 (15 point buy).


Dump score = 09 or less
Human average = 10
Above average = 11 - 14
Epic 15 - 18

Yes this is overly simply.

Unless you are building a Hercules know for just strength styled character
I am having trouble allotting the points for a character. I would love a more balanced character.

It has been my luck with a four 4d6 rolling to either have mostly above tens or mostly below tens. I can normal find a way to build the character if numbers are above tens. I can normal convince the GM to let me restart the character if they are mostly below tens


Hmm, I usually average between 12 - 16. I've got a couple friends who have rolled up characters, in front of me no less, that averaged 16 - 18.

I cried when they were unleashed in my campaign.


I wouldn't call 15 epic. Normal, non-heroic NPCs with a racial bonus put in their highest stat (which is usually the case) have a 15.

15 is the minimum for general competence in an area, if it's routine for level 1 commoners to have 15 for whatever it is they do.

Osirion

Mergy wrote:
Jal Dorak wrote:
You're not wrong, point-buy tends to encourage min/maxing simply because it allows it. But nothing forces you to min/max, you could easily make a human wizard with Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 18, Wis 10, Cha 10. No dump stats. Unless you consider 10 a dump, in which case a 12,12,12,16,12,12 array would work.
Can we get away from the 'point-buyers min-max more' fallacy?

I didn't write that "people who use point buy min-max more", I stated that point-buy encourages min-maxing. When you have control over each ability, it is easier (and thus more tempting) to adjust things to make your character fit your concept (whether that is The Juggernaut, or Smiley McTalkyFace).

Of course, ANY adjustments to ability scores in an effort to better the character (either for numerical or RP reasons) is min-maxing. If you've ever decided whether to put that last 14 into Dex or Con, you've min-maxed. Rolling in order bypasses that, but of course you can still min-max to a lesser degree by picking a suitable race/class combo.

Osirion

Umbral Reaver wrote:

I wouldn't call 15 epic. Normal, non-heroic NPCs with a racial bonus put in their highest stat (which is usually the case) have a 15.

15 is the minimum for general competence in an area, if it's routine for level 1 commoners to have 15 for whatever it is they do.

This is another reason why Pathfinder inflation irks me somewhat. Having a 15 used to mean something, now it's the primary ability score for EVERY humanoid in the game.

From a world-building perspective, that means that all task-based DCs need to be boosted by 1-2. Otherwise an untrained farmer can grab a set of tools and make a morningstar with no effort.


Azten wrote:
Seems like someone is using my words against me in an unintended manner.

Mostly because I don't think an 8 represents some sort of physical or mental handicap. An 8 is very common, so common that using the NPC array, the vast majority of humans have one 8. Using the elite array, the vast majority still have one. Lowering a stat to 8 doesn't make you some sort of freak, which is often the implication that people opposed to "dump stats" make about people who use point buys and do that.


It's not a physical or mental handicap though. It's just the feeling people get from him. Again, it's a predatory vibe. He's even got ranks in Intimidate.

Cheliax

Jal Dorak wrote:
Mergy wrote:
Can we get away from the 'point-buyers min-max more' fallacy?

I didn't write that "people who use point buy min-max more", I stated that point-buy encourages min-maxing. When you have control over each ability, it is easier (and thus more tempting) to adjust things to make your character fit your concept (whether that is The Juggernaut, or Smiley McTalkyFace).

Of course, ANY adjustments to ability scores in an effort to better the character (either for numerical or RP reasons) is min-maxing. If you've ever decided whether to put that last 14 into Dex or Con, you've min-maxed. Rolling in order bypasses that, but of course you can still min-max to a lesser degree by picking a suitable race/class combo.

I still say you're wrong. Min-maxers will do so no matter how they are getting their scores. Whether I roll or use points, I'm still likely dumping charisma.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Thorin2011 wrote:
Dump score = 09 or less

Note that every random NPC on the planet has a pre-racial 8 somewhere, and all the non-heroic ones also have a 9 in addition to the 8.

This means that one-sixth of the entire dwarf race has a CHA of 6, one-sixth of the entire gnome race has 6 STR, etc.


Irontruth wrote:
Mostly because I don't think an 8 represents some sort of physical or mental handicap. An 8 is very common, so common that using the NPC array, the vast majority of humans have one 8. Using the elite array, the vast majority still have one. Lowering a stat to 8 doesn't make you some sort of freak, which is often the implication that people opposed to "dump stats" make about people who use point buys and do that.

Exactly. Heck, dwarves have a -2 to Charisma just for being dwarves, and yet they manage to actually interact with each other and have a society.


I have to my amazement watched my wife roll a straight 18 character one. I also have a friend that as a DM I never let the "Dice" decide stuff for. He can roll high almost every time with any dice. some people just have dice luck. I suppose I am making a case for point buy but I am really not.
I am making the point the stats are not everything. I just like a high dex and str with deal able int or wis.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Thorin2011 wrote:

I have to my amazement watched my wife roll a straight 18 character one. I also have a friend that as a DM I never let the "Dice" decide stuff for. He can roll high almost every time with any dice. some people just have dice luck. I suppose I am making a case for point buy but I am really not.

I am making the point the stats are not everything. I just like a high dex and str with deal able int or wis.

Just use really liberal rolling rules or increase to 25+ point buy no dumping necessary.


Azten wrote:
It's not a physical or mental handicap though. It's just the feeling people get from him. Again, it's a predatory vibe. He's even got ranks in Intimidate.

And there's nothing wrong with that. I was just pointing out that one stat at 8 is actually the norm for the majority of the population on Golarion.


I'm getting the feeling we aren't even disagreeing, just misunderstanding what the other is saying...


Not to be argumentative or anything, and I know that this may not be normal, but typically if I attempt to roll stats instead of using a point buy, I end up with what translates to above a 30 point buy.

My group likes to play pretty high-powered games, with 25-point buy being the norm, but that's just because we like being distinguished in one or more abilities without having to dump anything to 8 or lower without reason.

What I might suggest, though, is that you do what we did for a while: Develop characters based on 10 points of modifiers, with a maximum modifier before racial bonuses for any one stat as a 4. Take a stat and make it equal to the lower number which qualifies for that modifier (e.g. +4=18, or +2=14). It can allow for optimizing (on the high end, you end up with almost a 40 point buy), but I've found that eventually my group has started to even out their stats (thus lowering total equivalent point buy) in favor of characters who can be talented in multiple areas as opposed to getting two 18's and a 14.

We did that for a while, and mainly dropped back to 25 point buy because we ran a couple of Paizo AP's and didn't want to be too completely overpowered. Ymmv, of course.

Andoran

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I, personally, like dump stats.To me, over coming weaknesses is as much of what makes a hero a hero as their strengths. I mean what would Raistlin or Elric have been like if they didn't have a dump stat?


Two methods of attribute generation are all that is permitted at my tables...Method 1: Roll 3d6, assign as you see fit;

Method 2: All attributes begin at 11, add in racial modifiers, you may manipulate numbers up or down as follows: you may lower an attribute by 1 in order to increase an attribute by 1 up till the increased attribute hits 13; increasing an attribute to 14 (from 13) requires lowering one attribute by 2 points or lowering 2 attributes by 1 point; 15 or better are increased at the same ratio as moving from 13 to 14. No attribute may be lowered to below 6.


Gendo wrote:

Two methods of attribute generation are all that is permitted at my tables...Method 1: Roll 3d6, assign as you see fit;

Method 2: All attributes begin at 11, add in racial modifiers, you may manipulate numbers up or down as follows: you may lower an attribute by 1 in order to increase an attribute by 1 up till the increased attribute hits 13; increasing an attribute to 14 (from 13) requires lowering one attribute by 2 points or lowering 2 attributes by 1 point; 15 or better are increased at the same ratio as moving from 13 to 14. No attribute may be lowered to below 6.

Method 2 sounds more or less like 6 point buy.


The typical way to roll ability scores is 4d6 drop the lowest, yes? Just as an example...

4d6 ⇒ (4, 2, 6, 1) = 13 12
4d6 ⇒ (4, 4, 5, 4) = 17 13
4d6 ⇒ (4, 6, 6, 4) = 20 16
4d6 ⇒ (5, 5, 5, 1) = 16 15
4d6 ⇒ (4, 2, 1, 5) = 12 11
4d6 ⇒ (6, 1, 2, 2) = 11 10

and

4d6 ⇒ (4, 3, 6, 6) = 19 16
4d6 ⇒ (5, 3, 4, 5) = 17 14
4d6 ⇒ (6, 5, 2, 3) = 16 14
4d6 ⇒ (3, 5, 3, 3) = 14 11
4d6 ⇒ (5, 3, 1, 6) = 15 14
4d6 ⇒ (1, 5, 2, 1) = 9 8

The first is a 23 points while the second is a 24. Dice rolling is a funny thing sometimes.


4d6 ⇒ (6, 6, 2, 6) = 20 18
4d6 ⇒ (3, 2, 4, 2) = 11 9
4d6 ⇒ (1, 2, 2, 5) = 10 9
4d6 ⇒ (2, 3, 3, 6) = 14 12
4d6 ⇒ (1, 2, 1, 3) = 7 6
4d6 ⇒ (1, 6, 1, 3) = 11 10

Huh. I'd never seen these dice before. That is, if I do say so myself, a really low point buy (11, I believe). My dice must really love me.

EDIT-- Shadowcat, I see what you mean. I think that Raistlin would have turned out the same either way, but that is neither here nor there.


Your stats do not dictate your ability to role play a character. A perfectly average Joe with 5 levels in any class becomes exceptional regardless of his base scores.

It is a player fallacy that all characters must have 18s in every stat. I've played in games with rolled stats where I had average characters and the game was just as fun as when I rolled high stats.
Point buy generally guarantees at least a couple of decent stats but some folks don't like that option...


i hate dump stats too. but i realize that they are often needed, even with a 25 point allotment. so i will often utilize them anyway.

3 stats i cannot stand dumping unless the concept calls for it

Dexterity. i hate building characters who have to wear plate to get a decent Armor class. i also love myself a bit of initiative and reflex saves.
Constitution. i needs mah hit points
Intellegence. i needs mah skill points. i can't get enough, even with a rogue

the first stat i will dump should the class accomodate it?
charisma. unless i play some form of spontaneous caster who uses this stat. expect me to dump it to hell and back. skill points easily make up for charisma penalty, and the only worthwhile charisma skills are UMD and diplomacy, short of a few niche builds. the only other way you won't see me with a charisma of 7 is some absurdly generous generation method like 50 point buy or whatever.

if dumping charisma to 5 gets me more skill points like a proposed human mod with +2 any 2 stats -2 any third stat for example. expect me to exploit it.

Andoran

Hubris wrote:
EDIT-- Shadowcat, I see what you mean. I think that Raistlin would have turned out the same either way, but that is neither here nor there.

In the story line, maybe he would have ended up at the same place, but how you get there is the worthier part. And honestly, if he hadn't had the dump stat, he would've been utterly forgettable, like every super smart wizard in forgotten realms (and before someone tries to correct me, I know Raistlin isn't from forgotten realms, that's not the point here). Instead, he's a blood coughing up mess who has to depend on his dim-witted brother (who isn't really dim-witted except by comparison) for so much.

And on that topic, if Raistlin hadn't had the dump stat, Cameron would've been utterly forgettable as well.

Shadow Lodge

It depends upon your style of play and your need for balance. As pointed out above, many die roll characters have very high point equivalents. They are also frequently uneven. Thats absolutely fine if your group are happy with that. You will still "dump" your lowest stat into what you don't need, unless you use a fixed place rolling system (your stats are rolled in order).

Point buy will always encourage dumping stats, but some players don't like to dump at all and will ensure they have at least a 10 in every stat. Frequently they are then out shone in encounters by the min-maxed characters, but they don't have such obvious weaknesses.


I hate dumping scores and not wanting to dump stats is why I prefer the point-buy method of stat generation to dice rolling.

When you dice roll, you don't control what stats your character gets and you could be forced to have one or two or more dump stats against your will (imagine a poor sod who wanted to play anything, but his abysmal rolls kept him from rolling anything higher than a 12). With point buy, I can at least consciously choose not to cripple my character in some area.


Thorin2011 wrote:

I have to my amazement watched my wife roll a straight 18 character one. I also have a friend that as a DM I never let the "Dice" decide stuff for. He can roll high almost every time with any dice. some people just have dice luck. I suppose I am making a case for point buy but I am really not.

I am making the point the stats are not everything. I just like a high dex and str with deal able int or wis.

You might not be intending to make a case for it, but you really are. Random fluctuations are a nice part of the game. But when dealing with such permanent things like stats or hps, I don't care for streaks of luck in either direction.

The nice thing about point buy is that it is a level playing field. Likewise I prefer average+ hps (rounded up, ie d8=5hps) rather than rolled. But this is likely because ages ago I played a cleric named Digit and my first PC was a 1st level magic-user with 1hp.

It's nice to have a bit more level a playing field when dealing with what would otherwise be very telling permanent random die rolls.

But if you don't think that stats matter so much, then it should be very easy to do without them. However, it reads more like that you'd like more than your share so to speak in stats. If this is true then they do matter to you. Perhaps decide upon a given stat array instead?

-James


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FallofCamelot wrote:

Yes you are wrong. You can play a character perfectly well with a 14 in his core stat or with a 20 in his core stat.

I have played a character with a wisdom of 4. It did not invalidate the character in any way.

People over obsess when it comes to stats. It doesn't matter that much. Your concept is far more important.

You had a 4 wisdom and it didn't invalidate him in any way? You didn't play your character right and your dm didn't enforce anything.

Andoran

Dump scores aren't "necessary". Not having a 20 in a stat doesn't mean you can't play effectively.

Besides, with most decent DMs having a painfully low scores is going to burn you at some point along the road.

Osirion

Mergy wrote:
Jal Dorak wrote:
Mergy wrote:
Can we get away from the 'point-buyers min-max more' fallacy?

I didn't write that "people who use point buy min-max more", I stated that point-buy encourages min-maxing. When you have control over each ability, it is easier (and thus more tempting) to adjust things to make your character fit your concept (whether that is The Juggernaut, or Smiley McTalkyFace).

Of course, ANY adjustments to ability scores in an effort to better the character (either for numerical or RP reasons) is min-maxing. If you've ever decided whether to put that last 14 into Dex or Con, you've min-maxed. Rolling in order bypasses that, but of course you can still min-max to a lesser degree by picking a suitable race/class combo.

I still say you're wrong. Min-maxers will do so no matter how they are getting their scores. Whether I roll or use points, I'm still likely dumping charisma.

Again, you're conflating min-maxers with the process of min-maxing. All min-maxers min-max, not everyone who min-maxes (which is pretty much everybody) is a min-maxer. Know what I mean, Vern?

But, I fail to see how one min-maxes 3d6 rolled in order (what can be argued as the only "correct" way to roll).


Gebby wrote:
FallofCamelot wrote:

Yes you are wrong. You can play a character perfectly well with a 14 in his core stat or with a 20 in his core stat.

I have played a character with a wisdom of 4. It did not invalidate the character in any way.

People over obsess when it comes to stats. It doesn't matter that much. Your concept is far more important.

You had a 4 wisdom and it didn't invalidate him in any way? You didn't play your character right and your dm didn't enforce anything.

Exactly.

I understand people's desire to emphasize the role over the roll, and wholeheartedly support developing a character creatively as part of gameplay, but there seems to be some exaggeration at work if those same people don't acknowledge that severely "low" stats can limit a character's ability to perform consistently.

Concept is important, yes, but the character with a 4 Wisdom (or Con or Dex, etc) ain't going to be ALIVE long enough to develop and contribute to the group, unless there's some hand waving going on by the DM in order to generously keep a conceptual character alive.

Our group uses 4d6, drop the lowest and reroll ones. High-powered? Maybe. But are our characters, with deep backstories and exploring a campaign dating back to the mid 1990's, achieving their conceptualized goals ? Yes.

Certainly we all have anecdotal evidence to support both sides of the argument, but I just can't see stridently adhering to the "lousy stats make for more interesting characters" stance or the "more than 3 stats over 14 make you a powergamer" idea.

And no, nobody here has directly made those statements; I was just paraphrasing for emphasis. And because I've had too much coffee. :)


Jal Dorak wrote:
But, I fail to see how one min-maxes 3d6 rolled in order (what can be argued as the only "correct" way to roll).

Choose the class that most benefits from the rolls you have.


Jal Dorak wrote:


But, I fail to see how one min-maxes 3d6 rolled in order (what can be argued as the only "correct" way to roll).

Depends, did you pick your class before or after you rolled?

Andoran

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I just don't like seeing negatives on my sheet. I like a minimum of 10 in all my scores.


I'm a pessimist, so I see everything as a negative.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, I see the word 'Fighter' on a sheet and it just brings me down.

Taldor

Having, in front of others, rolled a NEGATIVE point buy on 4d6 drop the lowest, I'll stick with point buy.

Not everyone can roll the dice well. Me, Fate acts like my ex-wife after a messy divorce.

As for dump stating. People will do it no matter what teh method of determining scores.

I perfer not dump stating myself. Unless the character concept calls for it.

Osirion

Atarlost wrote:

Choose the class that most benefits from the rolls you have.

Irontruth wrote:
Depends, did you pick your class before or after you rolled?
Jal Dorak wrote:
...but of course you can still min-max to a lesser degree by picking a suitable race/class combo.

Point-buy allows more control over the actual scores, therefore there is greater freedom to min/max. It's not possible to argue otherwise.


Thorin2011 wrote:

Dump score = 09 or less

Human average = 10
Above average = 11 - 14
Epic 15 - 18

Using those definitions, it's trivial to come up with a point buy that involves no dump scores (e.g. just set a minimum of 10 for each stat).

Contrariwise, using those definitions, it's trivial to come up with a rolling system that generates lots of dump scores (e.g. roll 2d4 for each stat).


Point buy actually rewards slightly above average characters more than min-maxed ones, due to the scaling of the cost of stats above 13. A 20 point buy human can be:

16, 14, 14, 14, 10, 10.
14, 14, 14, 14, 13, 10.
16, 14, 14, 13, 12, 10.

You could argue this approach is 'min/maxing' as well, given how you're trying to get the most out of your limited attribute points (all above arrays give +9 total bonuses). YMMV, but I'd rather have my character not suck horribly at anything than be super-exceptional at one thing.

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