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Is there an "average" power level for games?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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I'm consistently astonished at how many people it seems use 15-20 PT buy for their games, as well as feeling the need to follow estimated wealth by level pretty closely. I'm just curious what others experiences are regarding these sorts of basics, as my games tend to run towards the super-powered end of the spectrum in comparison.

For example, average stats tend to be equivalent of 40-50 pt buy, but I prefer it that way, as I like players to feel definitively better than the average joe.

I also enjoy tinkering with and boosting encounters a lot though, so maybe that's just me. The more powerful the PCs are, the more I can go nuts with what I try to kill them with.


A 15 point buy produces characters that are "definitively better than the average joe." A 20 point buy is obviously even better. A 40 point buy produces super-human results, not merely "definitively better" than average.

When you boost the PC power and then boost the enemy to match them, you're just making the numbers bigger, the result is the same.

We typically play with a 15 point buy for most characters and a 20 point buy for MAD classes. Our games feel plenty epic already, so we don't feel a need to boost all the stats.

My suspicion is that you've gotten to the point that you consider a 15-20 point buy "average" when an actual "average" human would be a zero point buy.


Well I don't do straight up point buy usually, that's just how the math works out from the few times recently I ran it out of curiosity. We use classic 4d6 drop the lowest with optional rerolls based on who did best. Usually it ends up with everybody having one 17 or 18 before racial mods, with a range from 12 to 16 or so for the rest of their stats.


Not to say we don't have the occasional 8 or 9 dump stat for RP reasons; and I'm well aware that average human stats are straight up ten. *shrugs*

I also use a fair number of house rules that make combat tend to last a little longer while also being potentially more dangerous though. I'm an admitted simulationist when it comes to those sorts of things.

PCs (and certain NPCS/Villains) have Con score + hit die as first level HP, armor provides damage reduction (which is bypassed by crits and certain weapon types), and I use an alternate massive damage and dying system, where massive damage saves happens more often, but instead of being instagib causes status effects and ability damage; and there aren't negative HP, once you hit 0 you start losing Con. Goes nicely with the fact that things that automatically die at 0 don't have Con scores, and makes it so that getting dropped is always going to suck, even if you get revived/healed immediately.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

A 15 point buy produces characters that are "definitively better than the average joe." A 20 point buy is obviously even better. A 40 point buy produces super-human results, not merely "definitively better" than average.

When you boost the PC power and then boost the enemy to match them, you're just making the numbers bigger, the result is the same.

We typically play with a 15 point buy for most characters and a 20 point buy for MAD classes. Our games feel plenty epic already, so we don't feel a need to boost all the stats.

My suspicion is that you've gotten to the point that you consider a 15-20 point buy "average" when an actual "average" human would be a zero point buy.

17/16/17/15/17/15 were the rolled-in-order stats (using a generous method) of a fighter I am currently playing.

63 point buy, I think it would work out to.

Are they better stats than those of the average Joe? Most certainly! But are you superhuman with that array? Not until leveling up makes you so.

He's as strong as any 20 point buy fighter might be, he just happens to be exceptional in other areas as well. The end result of better scores and more challenge isn't really the same, because the high across the board abilities give him breadth, not depth of power. He's as good in a combat as any optimized 20 point buy fighter (if he's better, it's maybe by a point or two here or there), and he doesn't have to sit around sucking his thumbs when the group is at a high society party, or trying to solve a mystery and piece together clues, or he can solve some of those extra challenges with diplomacy.

There's plenty of perfectly good tropes of such a character. A fairy tale third son, an Arabian Nights adventurer, a classic chivalric knight, a paragon in an Icelandic family saga, a hero of old. Beowulf gets remembered for being a barbarian with max Str and Con, but he was an inspiring leader too, possessed of great insight and wisdom, and even a canny politician able, as a few nights' guest, to notice and accurately identify the hidden undercurrents of internal Danish politics.

Which isn't to say that I don't enjoy playing under a more standard point buy as well, and being the super strong kindly manchild, or the naïve beginner with 7 Wis who expects adventuring to be like one of those stories (without having paid too much attention to the nasty spots), and then has to bear up under adversity and be a hero despite his flaws, or the would-be hero who breaks things in his hubris and then must struggle (or not) to set them right. Those stories are neat to tell too sometimes. The hero of old is fun to play, it doesn't have to be what you play all the time.


He looks stronger than most 20 point buys who dump things to me. Guy has more skillpoints and will than avarage! dropping the lowest and taking the highest he still has a point buy of nearly 40(3 17's, 3 10's).

That said, most of my games before I started using point buy had a point buy of about... 45ish using a generous rolling. The DMs always took advantage of it to make the game harder though, I don't I'd survive on 20 point buy unless I rolled well. Found that out the hard way becuase he was so used to higher scores.

I much prefer 20 point buy and avarage hp to keep everyone closer in balance and to keep anyone from falling behind due to bad rolls.


I dislike point buy because the costs are weighted, even though the game's math is linear. Every +1 to a roll is exactly as beneficial as the last +1, so there's no reason having 4 +1s to a single roll should be more valuable than +1 to four separate rolls.

I also dislike rolling because it creates too much character disparity. It is unfair, and I do not like that.

However, I do not want the PCs to be even close to average. They are heroes--above and beyond common people from birth. When I run games, then, I use one of two methods.

My lazy method is choosing from one of two arrays:
18, 16, 14, 13, 12, 10
or
16, 16, 16, 14, 12, 10

My more complicated method is rolling 36 times (usually 4d6 drop lowest) and putting the numbers in a 6x6 grid, giving the grid to all the PCs and allowing them to choose any line on the grid to take their stats from (so, there are 14 possibilities). This creates more variety than the lazy way, but still gives everyone the same opportunity, making it fair.

But then, I don't really run the game "correctly." I prefer E6, I generally don't use any magic items at all, and my groups generally hate spellcasting in D&D because it's tedious, so I have to throw CR out the window regardless.

I have only ever found one GM willing to run D&D other than me, though (people around me seem to hate it and prefer die pool games), and he rolls stats: 4d6 six times, reroll 1s, drop the lowest (after rerolls) with the option to scrap one set of rolls entirely and reroll the whole thing once.

I don't like it, even though it has benefitted me in the past (my current character had two 18s and a 17 in her starting stats), because characters are of wildly different power levels, and I know I'd be miserable if someone else were walking around with stats that significantly better than mine.

But, yeah, it's the only game in town (other than my own), and it doesn't bother me enough to not play, so "oh well."


Coriat wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

A 15 point buy produces characters that are "definitively better than the average joe." A 20 point buy is obviously even better. A 40 point buy produces super-human results, not merely "definitively better" than average.

When you boost the PC power and then boost the enemy to match them, you're just making the numbers bigger, the result is the same.

We typically play with a 15 point buy for most characters and a 20 point buy for MAD classes. Our games feel plenty epic already, so we don't feel a need to boost all the stats.

My suspicion is that you've gotten to the point that you consider a 15-20 point buy "average" when an actual "average" human would be a zero point buy.

17/16/17/15/17/15 were the rolled stats (using a generous method) of a fighter I am currently playing.

63 point buy, I think it would work out to.

Are they better stats than those of the average Joe? Most certainly! But are you superhuman with that array? Not until leveling up makes you so.

He's as strong as any 20 point buy fighter might be, he just happens to be exceptional in other areas as well. The end result of better scores and more challenge isn't really the same, because the high across the board abilities give him breadth, not depth of power. He's as good in a combat as any optimized 20 point buy fighter (if he's better, it's maybe by a point or two here or there), and he doesn't have to sit around sucking his thumbs when the group is at a high society party, or trying to solve a mystery and piece together clues, or he can solve some of those extra challenges with diplomacy.

There's plenty of perfectly good tropes of such a character. A fairy tale third son, an Arabian Nights adventurer, a classic chivalric knight, a paragon in an Icelandic family saga, a hero of old. Beowulf gets remembered for being a barbarian with max Str and Con, but he was an inspiring leader too, possessed of great insight and wisdom, and even a canny politician able, as a few nights' guest, to...

Exactly! I failed to quite reach that point previously. I find that better all around scores helps players avoid falling into stereotype traps by giving them more flexibility with their builds, and letting them try to do things that would normally not be good ideas for their classes. (as a note, I also bump 2 skill point classes up to 4)

Meanwhile, knowing that everyone has at least one primary stat in the 18-20 range at start lets me know I can have a little more leeway with encounter design. The jump is more noticeable at low levels, since by mid to high levels the extra +2 or 3 from good starting stats isn't as big a difference.

In the Jade Regent game I'm prepping for, for example, I have reasonable confidence that my players will be able to deal with a CR 5 at 2nd level. I'm using the Slow XP track though, so adding extra/tougher encounters doesn't affect the overall pace of the game really, as long as I make sure to account for it and add it where appropriate and needed.


My guess is that a 15 point buy is "below average" for most Pathfinder games. The 40+ (and 60+!) versions here I think would be way, way, way "above average" for most Pathfinder games. My guess is that if you looked at standard deviations the 15 point buy would end up 1 standard deviation below normal but the builds being described here would end up 3 or more standard deviations above normal.

My guess is that 20-25 point buy is probably "average" for today's gamers.


PFS is 20, AP's are built for 15 if I remember right.


Our group is soon to start an elite array (which is 15 point buy) game as well.

Quote:
He looks stronger than most 20 point buys who dump things to me.

Heh, I actually meant stronger as in Str.

However, taking a quick look at Rogue Eidolon's old guide to fighters, he recommends 17/14/14/7/14/7 for a 20 point buy fighter.

That suggests that my assessment is about right. My fighter was equal in Str, had no higher than +1 better modifiers on other combat relevant stats (dex, con, wis), and the largest difference was in the stats that made the least difference to a fighter's combat prowess, Int and Cha. So rather than supercharging his primary competency, fightering, the rolls more facilitate him participating in areas where a typical 20 point buy fighter might not.

It's worth noting that I generally prefer a high power dice roll to a high power point buy, though. I'd prefer 10 point buy over 3d6 or 15 over 4d6 drop lowest, but I'd prefer our dice rolling method (a rollbox, which involves rolling multiple times for each ability score and picking one result) over 63 point buy.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
MrSin wrote:
PFS is 20, AP's are built for 15 if I remember right.

Yes you are right, in addtion modules are also built for 15 point buy.


Coriat wrote:
Heh, I actually meant stronger as in Str.

Oh! As in just the strenght stat? Yeah, hard to go higher than 17 without murdering your other stats in a point buy though. I'd say I have a problem with your other stats not suffering, but fighters need help as is. Imagine a caster or MAD class with that. Cleric or wizard, or possibly even druid.


MrSin wrote:
Coriat wrote:
Heh, I actually meant stronger as in Str.
Oh! As in just the strenght stat? Yeah, hard to go higher than 17 without murdering your other stats in a point buy though. I'd say I have a problem with your other stats not suffering, but fighters need help as is. Imagine a caster or MAD class with that. Cleric or wizard, or possibly even druid.

When you are playing at the level we play at, which is currently 15th, it doesn't much matter if your wizard has 17 Str. His Int, which is what he really cares about, is no higher than it would have been. He gets some benefits out of a marginally higher Con and Dex than would otherwise be expected, much like the fighter does.

If he has 17 Str, maybe he can play the Elminster and carry a sword around for cool without being totally incompetent with it, but it isn't really going to improve his sheer combat power much. Even if he shapeshifts into a Huge dragon, he'll still be pretty crappy at martial attacks due to his base attack bonus and due to not likely having invested in improving that 17 Str much over the last 15 levels.

It's true that there are a few classes that would benefit excessively from that array. Paladin, for example, being super-MAD, and they hardly need the help. But nothing is perfect, and most MAD classes are on the weaker end of things.

On a verisimilitude level, why have a problem with other stats not suffering for a high Str? Are muscular people naturally less tough, are wise people naturally less intelligent, are graceful people naturally less charismatic?

(This is why I don't like the high point buy as much as the dice roll, though, since it favors dumping that wizardly 17 Str back to 7 and putting it into 18 Con and Dex and Int)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Coriat wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Coriat wrote:
Heh, I actually meant stronger as in Str.
Oh! As in just the strenght stat? Yeah, hard to go higher than 17 without murdering your other stats in a point buy though. I'd say I have a problem with your other stats not suffering, but fighters need help as is. Imagine a caster or MAD class with that. Cleric or wizard, or possibly even druid.

When you are playing at the level we play at, which is currently 15th, it doesn't much matter if your wizard has 17 Str. His Int, which is what he really cares about, is no higher than it would have been. He gets some benefits out of a marginally higher Con and Dex than would otherwise be expected, much like the fighter does.

If he has 17 Str, maybe he can play the Elminster and carry a sword around for cool without being totally incompetent with it, but it isn't really going to improve his sheer combat power much. Even if he shapeshifts into a Huge dragon, he'll still be pretty crappy at martial attacks due to his base attack bonus and due to not likely having invested in improving that 17 Str much over the last 15 levels.

It's true that there are a few classes that would benefit excessively from that array. Paladin, for example, being super-MAD, and they hardly need the help. But nothing is perfect, and most MAD classes are on the weaker end of things.

On a verisimilitude level, why have a problem with other stats not suffering for a high Str? Are muscular people naturally less tough, are wise people naturally less intelligent, are graceful people naturally less charismatic?

(This is why I don't like the high point buy as much as the dice roll, though, since it favors dumping that wizardly 17 Str back to 7 and putting it into 18 Con and Dex and Int)

Chiming in as the 17 / 18 / 18 / 17/ 14 / 16 base stat Wizard in the party I cannot disagree with anything Coriat said.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Yemeth wrote:

I'm consistently astonished at how many people it seems use 15-20 PT buy for their games, as well as feeling the need to follow estimated wealth by level pretty closely. I'm just curious what others experiences are regarding these sorts of basics, as my games tend to run towards the super-powered end of the spectrum in comparison.

I am always amazed by advocates of dice rolling. I can't tell you how often I have seen players frustrated by low rolls particularly when they are lower than the players around them. And its gets so much worse when the person with the [14,12,10,10,9,8] array has to sit next to the guy with [18,18,18,17,17,16] array. I've seen it break up many a gaming table. Its kind of stupid to have 6 rolls, on day 1 determine that your character is going to be super weak compared to your neighbor for the next few dozen gaming sessions.

--

As to why 15 or 20 point buy. Paizo (or WotC/TSR) had to set some kind of baseline for writers to expect a party to have. Thus the standard array [15,14,13,12,10,8]. And similarly for NPCs [13,12,11,10,9,8]. Because the party with a billion gold pieces worth of stuff can probably do more than the copper party. So they set a guideline how much stuff the PC/NPC is expected to have.

Now if you are writing your own stuff for your own players that's fine. Then you can set whatever stat/gold baselines you want. But a lot of people don't want to invest the time in rebalancing every encounter to account for 4 supermen rather than 4 regular heroes.

And on the message boards people are going to assuming these guidelines hold some resemblance to the starting position of any thread, unless the original posters tell them otherwise.


As a GM for a group half filled with munchkins (myself included), I shudder that the thought of anything above a 20 point buy in. 20 PBI is more than enough to make your character feel like the king of the world, at least when they're doing what they do best.


Maezer wrote:
Yemeth wrote:

I'm consistently astonished at how many people it seems use 15-20 PT buy for their games, as well as feeling the need to follow estimated wealth by level pretty closely. I'm just curious what others experiences are regarding these sorts of basics, as my games tend to run towards the super-powered end of the spectrum in comparison.

I am always amazed by advocates of dice rolling. I can't tell you how often I have seen players frustrated by low rolls particularly when they are lower than the players around them. And its gets so much worse when the person with the [14,12,10,10,9,8] array has to sit next to the guy with [18,18,18,17,17,16] array. I've seen it break up many a gaming table. Its kind of stupid to have 6 rolls, on day 1 determine that your character is going to be super weak compared to your neighbor for the next few dozen gaming sessions.

With most people that roll dice (myself included), you can usually reroll your scores. I have always rolled scores for characters that I play but will often use point buy when making characters for myself. I find rolling does give you a higher avg but also gives you more variety between the characters. When I use point buy I tend to make scores more "formulaic." (for example, the monk always dumps charisma). You don't get a "bonus" for giving yourself a low score.


mplindustries wrote:
I dislike point buy because the costs are weighted, even though the game's math is linear. Every +1 to a roll is exactly as beneficial as the last +1, so there's no reason having 4 +1s to a single roll should be more valuable than +1 to four separate rolls.

It's to give the same "statistics" as rolling. Having 4 "at least 12s" is more likely than having one 18.

e.g. I don't know if i did this right, but i think (using 4d6-drop-lowest), you are 16x as likely to get a 12 or 13 as to get an 18. 38x as likely to get at least a 12.

These are the percentages that i get:

3 : 0.07725
4 : 0.30773
5 : 0.77441
6 : 1.61806
7 : 2.91942
8 : 4.78131
9 : 7.03113
10 : 9.42423
11 : 11.4184
12 : 12.8915
13 : 13.2734
14 : 12.3488
15 : 10.1036
16 : 7.25154
17 : 4.15835
18 : 1.62085

12 or 13: 26.1649
12 or higher: 61.648

Sczarni

mplindustries wrote:
I dislike point buy because the costs are weighted, even though the game's math is linear. Every +1 to a roll is exactly as beneficial as the last +1, so there's no reason having 4 +1s to a single roll should be more valuable than +1 to four separate rolls.

Ah, but that's only true if you take a very naive look at what an extra +1 bonus to a stat is worth. For a fighter with a two-handed sword, an extra +1 strength is worth far more than a +1 charisma. Going from a 17 str to an 18 str means not only that you have a +1 to hit, but that's also an extra +2 to damage. Having a higher attack roll also means you can afford to power attack more often, so even more damage. You can carry more, climb better, swim better, break things better, and so on. What does a +1 to charisma buy you? Slightly better social skills that you're terrible at anyway because you don't have enough skill points to focus on them?

It's worth even more to spellcasters. Going from a 17 to an 18 in your primary casting stat not only increases your saving throw DCs but also gives you an extra fourth level spell per day, which is huge. No wizard is ever going to choose having an 11 strength over being able to cast an extra Black Tentacles.

Having the stat costs be weighted ensures that characters have at least slightly rounded stats instead of absurdly lopsided ones. If stat costs were one-to-one, why not play a sorcerer who has a 40 charisma and 8 in every other stat? Sure, you could set an arbitrary cap on each stat, but that won't stop people from pumping their important stats up to 18 and lowering the others as much as possible.

To be fair, even with weighted stats, it still encourages min-maxing a bit. People pump up their primary stats and dump their low ones as low as they think they can get away with, which still leads to fairly lopsided characters. Personally, I think rolling dice leads to more interesting characters, because they tend to have stats allocated in ways that nobody would ever choose when min-maxing a character; I think it leads to characters that are more interesting to roleplay because they don't have the exact same stats as every other character with that class.

Some die rolling methods are better than others, though. I used to like 4d6 drop lowest a lot, but that has a huge amount of variance, and it tends to lead to situations where a few players have amazing stats and a few have terrible stats -- unless you let players roll multiple sets, in which case you tend to have situations where everybody has amazing stats.

Lately I like 4d4+2 a lot; the average is slightly lower than 4d6 drop lowest, but the minimum isn't as low, and the variance is a lot lower, so you end up with far fewer amazing or terrible sets. 2d6+6 is also fun; there's a lot of variance there, but it also prevents anybody from having a stat lower than an 8.


jerrys wrote:
It's to give the same "statistics" as rolling. Having 4 "at least 12s" is more likely than having one 18.

I understand that it matches the statistics of rolling, but that doesn't mean it makes sense with the actual math of the game.

Yomiko Yukishiro wrote:
Ah, but that's only true if you take a very naive look at what an extra +1 bonus to a stat is worth. For a fighter with a two-handed sword, an extra +1 strength is worth far more than a +1 charisma.

Except every +1 to strength is worth the same to him as every other. Perhaps I was not clear enough in my complaint.

Yomiko Yukishiro wrote:
Going from a 17 str to an 18 str means not only that you have a +1 to hit, but that's also an extra +2 to damage. Having a higher attack roll also means you can afford to power attack more often, so even more damage. You can carry more, climb better, swim better, break things better, and so on.

Yes, but going from a 13 to a 14 carries the exact same increase: +1 to hit, +2 damage, more ability to afford power attacking, carrying more, climbing better, swimming better, breaking things more often, all with exactly the same increase.

So, if they give the same increase why does going from 13 to 14 cost half as much as going from 17 to 18?

Yomiko Yukishiro wrote:
What does a +1 to charisma buy you? Slightly better social skills that you're terrible at anyway because you don't have enough skill points to focus on them?

I think you're arguing a point I never addressed. Your argument is less "higher attributes should be weighted to cost more than lower attributes," and more "attributes that are more useful to a class should be weighted and cost more than attributes that do not help the class."

I don't actually think your argument could work because multiclassing would muck it all up (I bought Charisma cheap by starting with a Fighter level then going Sorcerer for my Eldritch Knight), but that's probably an issue for another thread.

Yomiko Yukishiro wrote:
It's worth even more to spellcasters. Going from a 17 to an 18 in your primary casting stat not only increases your saving throw DCs but also gives you an extra fourth level spell per day, which is huge.

Again, every +1 does exactly the same thing as the +1 before it, and the +1 after it.

Yomiko Yukishiro wrote:
Having the stat costs be weighted ensures that characters have at least slightly rounded stats instead of absurdly lopsided ones.

Again, you seem to want "better" stats to cost more than others. That has little to nothing to do with higher stats being more expensive than lower stats.

Yomiko Yukishiro wrote:
Sure, you could set an arbitrary cap on each stat, but that won't stop people from pumping their important stats up to 18 and lowering the others as much as possible.

Nothing stops them from doing that now.

But if you notice, my solution wasn't to change how point buy works and make stats cost 1:1--my solution was to use arrays.

Yomiko Yukishiro wrote:
Lately I like 4d4+2 a lot; the average is slightly lower than 4d6 drop lowest, but the minimum isn't as low, and the variance is a lot lower, so you end up with far fewer amazing or terrible sets. 2d6+6 is also fun; there's a lot of variance there, but it also prevents anybody from having a stat lower than an 8.

If you like rolling, a friend of mine way back in college had a "stat die" that she bought on line. It was a six sided die that went from 13-18, and she preferred using that for stat rolls. I was ok with it, as long as all the players used the same set of rolls, or had the same choice of arrays rolled by the stat die.

Ultimately, I want all the players to have equal opportunity for power. If everyone has all 18s, I'm ok with it, just as I am ok with everyone having all 10s or anything in between.

I don't like dump stats, though--some people actually are just better at everything. Being really smart doesn't make you less charismatic or strong--plenty of people are in great shape mentally and physically. So, my preferences will always be for PCs whose stats are all above average.


I favor the 25 point buy, but I really don't care for the whole 'dump stat' concept. So, my house rule would be: 25 point buy. No score lower than 10. This is after racial modifiers. So if you're playing a dwarf you would need to pump your Chr up to 12. Racial mod makes it a 10.

The above is based on my belief that charisma is not a viable dump stat. If you have an eight charisma, you server at the tavern, is probably spitting in your food and drink on a regular basis. Do you really want to role-play a character like that?

Actually, I don't think any of the abilities are suitable for dumping. A wizard needs to be strong enough to pack his own books.

A rogue needs to be able to recognize when she is being conned.(Wisdom.)

A cleric should be able to operate a doorknob. (Dexterity.)

Etc, etc.


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Waterhammer wrote:


The above is based on my belief that charisma is not a viable dump stat. If you have an eight charisma, you server at the tavern, is probably spitting in your food and drink on a regular basis. Do you really want to role-play a character like that?

I'm sorry but you do realize that is one below average? I really hope no one is spitting in someone's food because they are slightly less charismatic then average. You wouldn't even nessacarily be ugly, you might just have a soft voice or don't make eye contact. I understand your premise but I think you have taken it to an extreme.


Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
I'm sorry but you do realize that is one below average? I really hope no one is spitting in someone's food because they are slightly less charismatic then average. You wouldn't even nessacarily be ugly, you might just have a soft voice or don't make eye contact. I understand your premise but I think you have taken it to an extreme.

To an extreme? Yeah, probably so.

In a similar vein, with a -2 Chr mod, children throw rocks at you.

With a -3 Chr mod, adults throw rocks at you.

With a -4 Chr mod, you throw rocks at your self.

Kidding aside, if we look at a Grimli from LotR; that character did not have a negative Chr mod. Gruff? Sure he was, but with a sense of humor that made me smile. So, a charisma that was +0 or better, yet he could still hold his own in a throw-down.


Negative Charisma doesn't automatically mean people hate you. It means you have a difficult time inspiring/motivating/manipulating them.

Gimli may or may not have a negative cha, I couldn't say for certain. What I can say is that some of the more fun characters I've seen in campaigns had negative charisma.

Heck, in one online campaign I watched on youtube my favorite character in the whole thing was a 7 charisma catgirl ranger.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Waterhammer wrote:

I favor the 25 point buy, but I really don't care for the whole 'dump stat' concept. So, my house rule would be: 25 point buy. No score lower than 10. This is after racial modifiers. So if you're playing a dwarf you would need to pump your Chr up to 12. Racial mod makes it a 10.

The above is based on my belief that charisma is not a viable dump stat. If you have an eight charisma, you server at the tavern, is probably spitting in your food and drink on a regular basis. Do you really want to role-play a character like that?

Actually, I don't think any of the abilities are suitable for dumping. A wizard needs to be strong enough to pack his own books.

A rogue needs to be able to recognize when she is being conned.(Wisdom.)

A cleric should be able to operate a doorknob. (Dexterity.)

Etc, etc.

Apart from hugely houseruling the abilities and skills in your games (which is your right, as long as your players know it in advance), do you realize that with your rules on 25 point buy you are actually giving them 20 point buy? maybe less than 20.

Silver Crusade

kyrt-ryder wrote:

Negative Charisma doesn't automatically mean people hate you. It means you have a difficult time inspiring/motivating/manipulating them.

Gimli may or may not have a negative cha, I couldn't say for certain. What I can say is that some of the more fun characters I've seen in campaigns had negative charisma.

Heck, in one online campaign I watched on youtube my favorite character in the whole thing was a 7 charisma catgirl ranger.

Was this campaign of an.. anime-sort.. if so I believe its quite good.


Peter Stewart wrote:
I cannot disagree with anything Coriat said.

I'm Coriat, and I endorse this sentiment.

(:P )


If by average you mean what most people are playing, I would bet it is 20 point buy and slightly below wealth by level tables on average with peaks and valleys that put you slightly above or even more below at times.

That seems to be the pulse I get from reading the boards. 15 and 25 PB are outliers and any die rolling methods tend to break the curve due to being random often times silly high or silly low. Wealth is similar in that you have outliers that are no magic games and games where everyone is super twink. But most of the time the game rolls along pretty organically and the tendancy on these boards is to go just a tad under WBL with the occasional strong bump to push the party up to where the DM believes the right power level should be if a party lags behind.

Personally since I never Min/Max I strongly prefer 25 points if I am forced to play point buy. Firstly because it makes MAD classes more valid, secondly it helps me resist the urge to aquire stat bump items in favor of more fun stuff, and third I like a well rounded character...Fighters with skill points, and Monks who can hit and have a decent AC are fun.

WBL I could care less, as long as the DM has an experienced hand at manipulating the enemies to compensate for his tastes. I refuse to play in games that heavily feature DR if we cant afford even silver. Or tons of Ghosts but you wont allow even one ghost touch weapon in the party. I have no issues with low magic or no magic, but it better not be just the party that isnt allowed access.


Waterhammer wrote:

I favor the 25 point buy, but I really don't care for the whole 'dump stat' concept. So, my house rule would be: 25 point buy. No score lower than 10. This is after racial modifiers. So if you're playing a dwarf you would need to pump your Chr up to 12. Racial mod makes it a 10.

The above is based on my belief that charisma is not a viable dump stat. If you have an eight charisma, you server at the tavern, is probably spitting in your food and drink on a regular basis. Do you really want to role-play a character like that?

Actually, I don't think any of the abilities are suitable for dumping. A wizard needs to be strong enough to pack his own books.

A rogue needs to be able to recognize when she is being conned.(Wisdom.)

A cleric should be able to operate a doorknob. (Dexterity.)

Etc, etc.

This is super wrong IMO. You probably pass a bunch of people on the street who would have an 8 charisma, you just don't notice because 8 is just slightly below average, and you know, they have 8 charisma. A person with an 8 int for example is just not the sharpest tool in the shed. They wouldn't be developmentally handicapped or even particularly challenged in life, just slow.


Assuming the original 3d6 roll, which resulted in the 3 to 18 range with an average of 10.5, for any given ability score 70% of all people fall into the 8 to 13 range, or having a modifier from -1 to +1.

For the 6 to 15 range, it's even 91%.

Having a modifier of -3 or lower or +3 or higher applies to only 4.5% each.
For -4 and +4, it's under 0.5%.

Shadow Lodge

I'm part of the .5%.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

From personal observation, the 20 point buy seems to be the average for most of the GM's that I know. My Monk that I am currently playing in Erie's Jade Regent Campaign is a 20 point buy.

Personally, I prefer the 15 point buy in my games. The reason for this is I have observed that in CR appropriate encounters characters built with 20 or more points have a much easier time making saving throws against powers and abilities that target their low save. By keeping the 15 point buy it increases the usefulness (and value) of the Lightning Reflexes, Great Fortitude and Iron Will feats.

Andoran

This thread is just another example of min-max munchkinism; players wanting to have unrealistic or God-like stats and priviledges from the get-go. It's always more of an adventure and challenge when you start out with a normal stat array and are able to complete difficult adventures and grow your character along the way. My groups have always used 4d6 (no re-rolls) and don't whine if they get a stat under a 10. I'm proud to be very old school; and my groups have been playing together for years, so I guess I must be doing something right. But, for those who wish to take the road of entitlement and priviledge, that's your right. I hope all of us will have fun in our own way.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
This thread is just another example of min-max munchkinism; players wanting to have unrealistic or God-like stats and priviledges from the get-go. It's always more of an adventure and challenge when you start out with a normal stat array and are able to complete difficult adventures and grow your character along the way. My groups have always used 4d6 (no re-rolls) and don't whine if they get a stat under a 10. I'm proud to be very old school; and my groups have been playing together for years, so I guess I must be doing something right. But, for those who wish to take the road of entitlement and priviledge, that's your right. I hope all of us will have fun in our own way.

Wow. Seriously?


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Since I mostly run low-level games, stats are not really that important. Starting a sorcerer with Charisma 12 or 13 is perfectly viable since you can increase it to 14 by the time you get 4th level spells. If you ever get to 8th level.
Having two more points in an ability only means a +1 to a save, 4 or 5 additional hit points, one extra skill rank, and so on. With PB 15 you have enough room to customize your character, though the game would be perfectly playable with even less.
Games with superhuman characters don't really interest me. Seeing what people can accomplish by being smart and not having abilities far above the common people is much more interesting.


Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
This thread is just another example of min-max munchkinism; players wanting to have unrealistic or God-like stats and priviledges from the get-go. It's always more of an adventure and challenge when you start out with a normal stat array and are able to complete difficult adventures and grow your character along the way. My groups have always used 4d6 (no re-rolls) and don't whine if they get a stat under a 10. I'm proud to be very old school; and my groups have been playing together for years, so I guess I must be doing something right. But, for those who wish to take the road of entitlement and priviledge, that's your right. I hope all of us will have fun in our own way.

Congrats...must be a relaxing life being so comfortable in the fact your better than everyone.


Yora wrote:

Since I mostly run low-level games, stats are not really that important. Starting a sorcerer with Charisma 12 or 13 is perfectly viable since you can increase it to 14 by the time you get 4th level spells. If you ever get to 8th level.

Having two more points in an ability only means a +1 to a save, 4 or 5 additional hit points, one extra skill rank, and so on. With PB 15 you have enough room to customize your character, though the game would be perfectly playable with even less.
Games with superhuman characters don't really interest me. Seeing what people can accomplish by being smart and not having abilities far above the common people is much more interesting.

Well, the extra low level spells are nice, perhaps not as much for a Sorcerer as a Wizard. If you're using attack spells, the higher DC from the casting stat helps.

Similarly for the other primary stats. Attack & Damage if you're martial.
It's not so much that you get more benefit by going from 16->18 than you do by going from 12->14, but that most characters get more benefit from boosting 1 stat than from spreading it out. High stats cost more to reflect that.

I'd rather use a higher point buy with more restrictions on dumping. Or a higher value array. The goal being to get more rounded characters, without allowing the extra points to just pump the primary stat(s) even higher.


Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
This thread is just another example of min-max munchkinism; players wanting to have unrealistic or God-like stats and priviledges from the get-go.

I am the GM 95% of the time, and I am the one that wants my PCs to have high stats because it makes MAD classes more viable, and keeps the PCs more distinct.

Honestly, though, it is far more important to me for them to have equal opportunity to good stats.

Your method wouldn't bother me because their stats might be low (that just means no hybrid style classe)--it bothers me because it won't be fair.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Martin's post is an excellent April Fool's post.

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I let each player roll a d6 to determine how many points they get to use during point buy.

1-2 = 10 points
3-4 = 20 points
5-6 = 30 points

It gives exactly the same median, mean, and standard deviation as 4d6 drop lowest. My players don't seem to like it, but they are all whiny brats who should be playing Harry Potter RPG.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Pathfinder sets its own average for characters which the challenge rating system is set to. This relates to stats, wealth and class choices.

If you have higher stats, you will normally find it easier to defeat an appropriate threat, if you have better gear likewise.

How you like to play is up to you. Some player like heroic, high stat, high wealth games, some like gritty, tough games. It all depends what threats your GM throws at you.

If you have a 40-50 point character, you can probably handle up to CR of APL+4. Drop in extra gear you might make APL+5 CR creatures as your "Epic" encounters, but they might have abilities or powers that you can't handle at that level.

By contrast you are unlikely to feel a threat from an encounter of equal CR and APL if you have high stats and high power gear.

The CR of monsters can easily be broken as has been shown in numerous threads, and min-maxed characters can perform very well against certain kinds of threats, so even with "average" characters you may not have balanced encounters. The game is generally set up to create an appropriate challenge for your characters however, so the more you mess with the average, the harder it can be to set an appropriate threat.

How you like to play the game is up to you and your group, but I would say the "average" power level is a 15 point buy with average wealth by level. Whether thats the way most people play is another thing, even PFS has a 20 point buy build.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Gimli may or may not have a negative cha, I couldn't say for certain.

I'd say not, considering that he was Lord of the Glittering Caves and eventually sailed into the Undying Lands.


Jaelithe wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Gimli may or may not have a negative cha, I couldn't say for certain.
I'd say not, considering that he was Lord of the Glittering Caves and eventually sailed into the Undying Lands.

What do either of those things have to do with low charisma? If you actually do meaningful things it mitigates low charisma. It doesn't matter if your CHA is 8 if you're a famed member of the Fellowship.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It kinda does, since you'll always be the one whose name no one remembers.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
It kinda does, since you'll always be the one whose name no one remembers.

Put it this way, Erwin Rommel probably wouldn't have a high charisma in pathfinder, If I remember correctly he wasn't even that well liked by his men, and was described as not very likable when met in person, yet he was a national hero and is still remembered today because of his prowess and accomplishments as a soldier and commander, not because he had charisma.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Pawns Subscriber

The method Waterhammer described for 25 point buy is the current one I am using for our Reign of Winter game; I usually do 15 point buy with only one dump stat allowed, and the dump stat cannot drop below 8 even it is a racially modified one.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Not very likable, but they remembered him. I'm sure there were plenty of other excellent commanders who did not get remembered.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Not very likable, but they remembered him. I'm sure there were plenty of other excellent commanders who did not get remembered.

I'm not sure about that. I don't think that there were many axis commanders equal to Rommel, my understanding is that he was something of a military genius who excelled as a soldier in WW1 and revolutionized mechanized combat and modern desert warfare in WW2. Remembered for ability, not personal magnetism.

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