Ability distribution thus far and the possibility of dumping a stat


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Silver Crusade

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So from what we’ve been able to glean thus far stat generation is done through various +2s at each step (Ancestry, Background, Class, then Level 1), allowing a wide range of stat distribution that isn’t as finicky as Point Buy.

However we haven’t seen (or rather I haven’t seen) any hints on whether you will be able to dump stats, and just as importantly, whether you can get recompense for doing so*. While this was mostly seen as a tactic of min-maxers it was just as often done by those who genuinely wanted their characters to have flaws, and allowed them to do so without suffering table pressure for making a flawed character (which I’ve been hearing is an issue in Starfinder).

So, going off this assumed system I’d like to offer the suggestion of the ability to add an additional +2/-2 at the end of character creation, to allow characters to play a character with a flaw if they choose.

*aside from playing an Ancestry that has a penlty (such as an Elf’s Con), if Human and Half Elf/Orcs follow the pattern from 1st Edition then they won’t have any stats below 10.


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I expect you won't be allowed to dump a stat and that the ancestry penalty is as close as you're going to get. D&D 4th ed followed much the same philosophy in that you could only have 1 ability score at 8 (although you got to choose which ability score).

I don't see anything wrong with this personally. Everyone dumping the least useful stat for +1 to the most useful stat wasn't exactly a fair trade. I would be open to -2 to one stat for a +2 to another stat (although it cannot be used to increase the stat above a 14). That'd be a fairer trade off.


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I don't think I'm on board for this, UNLESS that additional +2 is given in conjunction with the 4 +4s at the final step. Meaning, it can only be add to a FIFTH stat, not boosting a high priority stat even higher. So the Monk's Wis, Str, Dex, and Con stay the same with the optional dump stat, but INT or CHA can go a little higher at the expense of the other.

Even then, I think people would more often use it for min max reasons than a genuine desire for a flawed character, unless Paizo somehow makes dumping any 1 stat about equally as bad for all characters, which seems unlikely. Which isn't to say that people won't do it for genuine role play, but if that really is their motivation than they can either accept they can either role-play as being worse at something than their number suggests. (Having high charisma matters doesn't mean you can't choose to make an inappropriate joke at a funeral, and being able to carry a lot of weight doesn't mean you have to if you are just lazy.)

Or, just take the hit and be worse at something with no benefit. You are incentivized not to do it, but in the old system you were incentivized to dump a stat. You just have the shoe on the other foot this time.


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While the concept of a character with an ability flaw has a lot of merit when roleplayed right, I'm afraid the mechanical effect of your proposal is min-maxing by definition: You minimize something (-2) and maximize another (+2) of your choice.

To avoid this result and still allow for flawed characters, I think we'd have to reduce the maximizing side of this equation. So, if a player comes to me asking for a -2/+2 as you suggest, I would houserule this: After all other ability bonuses are factored in, you can add a -2 to your lowest ability and a +2 to your second- or third-lowest ability.

This way, you get a flaw, but you can't take advantage of it to get a starting ability of 20, or two 18s.

EDIT: Looks like while I was writing this, two others already posted ideas to more or less the same effect.


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Captain Morgan wrote:


Or, just take the hit and be worse at something with no benefit. You are incentivized not to do it, but in the old system you were incentivized to dump a stat. You just have the shoe on the other foot this time.

That's how Starfinder does it and frankly works fine by me. You really want Grog the Barbarian to be an int 7 savage, then shine on you crazy diamond. Of course $5 says if that gets implemented all the "roleplayers" clamoring for dump stats will "Just make do" with 10s.

Liberty's Edge

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I like the idea of an optional rule that, at the end of the process, you can get a single score from 10 to 8 in exchange of getting either a 8 to 10 or a 10 to 12.

No score getting lower than 8 and no more than two 8s


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:


Or, just take the hit and be worse at something with no benefit. You are incentivized not to do it, but in the old system you were incentivized to dump a stat. You just have the shoe on the other foot this time.

That's how Starfinder does it and frankly works fine by me. You really want Grog the Barbarian to be an int 7 savage, then shine on you crazy diamond. Of course $5 says if that gets implemented all the "roleplayers" clamoring for dump stats will "Just make do" with 10s.

I imagine a certain amount of them will, yes. I won't quite be cynical enough to say they all will, but certainly not everyone is honest about their intentions with stuff like this.

And again, it's very easy to limit make yourself act dumb for any mental stat or not utilize your strength or dexterity effectively. Pretty much the only thing you can't role play into the dirt is CON, and it is pretty rare that anyone takes that below an 8-10.

Liberty's Edge

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Yeah, I'd be cool with the final step being your choice of either 4 +2s, or a -2 and +2 to all other stats. That seems fine.

Other versions get weird and close to mandatory to be optimal, but that one gives you something but not anything overly powerful.


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One other reason not to do this: It simply adds another step to character creation. Paizo really wants generating ability scores to be easy and quick, and adding an optional 5th step doesn't jive with that.

The ease of generating ability scores is a huge selling point for me and I don't really want that compromised.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:


Or, just take the hit and be worse at something with no benefit. You are incentivized not to do it, but in the old system you were incentivized to dump a stat. You just have the shoe on the other foot this time.

That's how Starfinder does it and frankly works fine by me. You really want Grog the Barbarian to be an int 7 savage, then shine on you crazy diamond. Of course $5 says if that gets implemented all the "roleplayers" clamoring for dump stats will "Just make do" with 10s.

I imagine a certain amount of them will, yes. I won't quite be cynical enough to say they all will, but certainly not everyone is honest about their intentions with stuff like this.

And again, it's very easy to limit make yourself act dumb for any mental stat or not utilize your strength or dexterity effectively. Pretty much the only thing you can't role play into the dirt is CON, and it is pretty rare that anyone takes that below an 8-10.

Oh you can roleplay minimal con by constantly playing up how weedy and sickly your person is. Granted as you said no one (read: most everyone, I'm sure someone had a Con 7 person somewhere) actually dumps con because HP and Forts are handy things to have to not die, but still.

As for my prior statement, I'm mostly referring to folks on these boards. I have far less overall cynicism for the general population of Pathfinder players than I do for the general population of Pathfinder players who frequently post on these boards.

Sovereign Court

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Deadmanwalking wrote:

Yeah, I'd be cool with the final step being your choice of either 4 +2s, or a -2 and +2 to all other stats. That seems fine.

Other versions get weird and close to mandatory to be optimal, but that one gives you something but not anything overly powerful.

I would prefer the optional penalty in the background step instead of the first level up. This offers a little more flexibility to the background step (some backgrounds could have it built in even) and maintains the consistency between the level 1 ability boost and level 5/10/15/20.


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Much as it sounds like a good idea, as an unashamed optimiser I know I would absolutely take advantage of it.

The only way to implement this is for it to be an actual choice for RP reasons, with little or no mechanical advantage.

Liberty's Edge

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KingOfAnything wrote:
I would prefer the optional penalty in the background step instead of the first level up. This offers a little more flexibility to the background step (some backgrounds could have it built in even) and maintains the consistency between the level 1 ability boost and level 5/10/15/20.

This is a thematically tempting notion, but mechanically causes a huge problem in that it makes doing this necessary to optimize.

For example, it would allow an 18, 16, 16, 12, 10, 6 (or 18, 16, 14, 14, 10, 6). That's the equivalent of 23 or 25 point buy and significantly higher than other options. It becomes necessary to dump a stat in order to be an optimal character. And that's bad and why we lack dump stats so far, IMO.


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Honestly, I'm starting to hope people find themselves spreading their ability boosts around once they get past level 1, rather than just putting everything into the same stats over and over again. It would be cool if a wizard actually felt the sting of having being able to carry less bulk, and saw a direct benefit to moving strength from a 10 to a 12 at higher levels. I hope skills are cool enough for a cleric to occasionally want to bump INT even though it is already pretty MAD.

Liberty's Edge

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Captain Morgan wrote:
Honestly, I'm starting to hope people find themselves spreading their ability boosts around once they get past level 1, rather than just putting everything into the same stats over and over again. It would be cool if a wizard actually felt the sting of having being able to carry less bulk, and saw a direct benefit to moving strength from a 10 to a 12 at higher levels. I hope skills are cool enough for a cleric to occasionally want to bump INT even though it is already pretty MAD.

I tend to agree. Though I'm not sure Clerics are meaningfully MAD this edition. They need Cha for heals and either Wis for Save DCs and Spell Points or Str for attacks. That's three stats at most even if you want to do it all, while you get 4 every time you gain additional stats.


While they probably won't because it would be an extra step, they could say that in exchange for -4 to one stat or -2 to two stats you get a bonus feat, instead of another +2. It's not optimal and it shouldn't be. But it does give /something/ to those people who legitimately want to role play a more flawed character, or those minmaxers dedicated enough to their concept.

As an aside, while excessive minmax is not desirable for many reasons, including making other people at the table feel less effective, I don't think optimization is inherently bad. Within a certain threshold, I actually generally find the players who are better at optimization are ALSO my best roleplayers and the best at portraying their characters and separating player / character knowledge. But maybe I've just been lucky.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:

While they probably won't because it would be an extra step, they could say that in exchange for -4 to one stat or -2 to two stats you get a bonus feat, instead of another +2. It's not optimal and it shouldn't be. But it does give /something/ to those people who legitimately want to role play a more flawed character, or those minmaxers dedicated enough to their concept.

As an aside, while excessive minmax is not desirable for many reasons, including making other people at the table feel less effective, I don't think optimization is inherently bad. Within a certain threshold, I actually generally find the players who are better at optimization are ALSO my best roleplayers and the best at portraying their characters and separating player / character knowledge. But maybe I've just been lucky.

Absolutely. I tend to optimize pretty hard myself. It's part of the fun for me. But I appreciate not being incentivized to dump stuff quite as hard.


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I like the idea of "reduce your lowest attribute by 2 in order to increase your 2nd lowest attribute by 2".


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If the objection is to humans etc having minimum stats of 10, then here is a simple fix.
Optionally they can have an extra +2/-2 to abilities of their choice, so they start with an elf/dwarf -like array of 12,12,12,10,10,8.


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I suspect no, and I like Starfinder for that.

I hope it turns out to be true.

*Remember that Starfinder you can dump as much as you want to, you just don't get a benefit for doing so. I believe that this is important. If you want to play a character with a flaw, that's fine. But you don't get a reward for it.


Claxon wrote:

I suspect no, and I like Starfinder for that.

As long as nothing else, but wow, did SF seem to not take care of any of the problems that PF1 didn'tr attempt back in 2007/8.


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I prefer Starfinder’s approach rather than buying bonuses elsewhere by taking a hit to one stat.

One possibility might be “take a -2 to a stat and gain an extra feat” particularly if there are feats tied closely to story/campaign world.


I agree, that the take a hit to an ability score to gain a bonus elsewhere is lame, just breeds the usual.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
As an aside, while excessive minmax is not desirable for many reasons, including making other people at the table feel less effective, I don't think optimization is inherently bad. Within a certain threshold, I actually generally find the players who are better at optimization are ALSO my best roleplayers and the best at portraying their characters and separating player / character knowledge. But maybe I've just been lucky.
Absolutely. I tend to optimize pretty hard myself. It's part of the fun for me. But I appreciate not being incentivized to dump stuff quite as hard.

Optimization is fine in my book, finding cool combos and impressing the table with them is huge fun. The problem is when it leads to everyone adopting the same optimized solution: That's boring, and you get to the point that you can't create cool combos because someone has found the ultimate combo making all others uncool (like the magus with Shocking Grasp + Intensified Spell + Magical Lineage).

In PF1, if your PB allows for a 20 score at the cost of a 7 or 8 score elsewhere, then this is the optimal solution for pretty much all characters. Situations like this should be avoided in PF2 if at all possible.


gwynfrid wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
As an aside, while excessive minmax is not desirable for many reasons, including making other people at the table feel less effective, I don't think optimization is inherently bad. Within a certain threshold, I actually generally find the players who are better at optimization are ALSO my best roleplayers and the best at portraying their characters and separating player / character knowledge. But maybe I've just been lucky.
Absolutely. I tend to optimize pretty hard myself. It's part of the fun for me. But I appreciate not being incentivized to dump stuff quite as hard.
Optimization is fine in my book, finding cool combos and impressing the table with them is huge fun.

That lasted very briefly for me, sort of mildly amusing at some point during your what-have-you, but after that it's all foregone conclusions and cheese.


Wont be long until its established that dumping and getting that 20 is a no brainer. /not signed


I'm... torn.

On the one hand I like just being free to set up stats and being able to abhorrently cripple myself in order to build a certain character concept, but on the other hand... PF has always looked, to me, the kind of game where the "narrative traits" of your character either grow up as you play or are mostly made up by the player since the beginning, rather than being built into it during character creation. A PF character sheet only gives you a measure of how good is your character at things, where other games have disadvantages that directly affect the rules about how your character does those things or outright create problems for you where any other character wouldn't have them. So I think I'd rather leave the option of excessive self-crippling for other systems or variant rules.


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I think it's quite understandable why many people wouldn't be enthusiastic about the Starfinder method of dumping stats for no benefit. People are used to the give and take, even if it doesn't make logical sense. The big dumb brute should narratively be stronger than the average intelligence brute, because if they're not then that's just sad for the dumb brute. The system is already set up this way, if you want to be better at one thing then you have to accept not being as good in another.

Sure, dedicated roleplayers might not mind playing a character that's objectively worse than others because it fits their concept, but let's not pretend that just because other roleplayers like getting a boon along with their flaw they're not roleplayers.


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WatersLethe wrote:

I think it's quite understandable why many people wouldn't be enthusiastic about the Starfinder method of dumping stats for no benefit. People are used to the give and take, even if it doesn't make logical sense. The big dumb brute should narratively be stronger than the average intelligence brute, because if they're not then that's just sad for the dumb brute. The system is already set up this way, if you want to be better at one thing then you have to accept not being as good in another.

Sure, dedicated roleplayers might not mind playing a character that's objectively worse than others because it fits their concept, but let's not pretend that just because other roleplayers like getting a boon along with their flaw they're not roleplayers.

It's not so much that they are not role-players, or even that role-play may be a secondary consideration behind mechanical optimization for them. It's that the dump stat point buy incentivizes players to make less diverse, less interesting characters. It doesn't force players to dump a stat as hard as possible, but it sure does encourage it.


Captain Morgan wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

I think it's quite understandable why many people wouldn't be enthusiastic about the Starfinder method of dumping stats for no benefit. People are used to the give and take, even if it doesn't make logical sense. The big dumb brute should narratively be stronger than the average intelligence brute, because if they're not then that's just sad for the dumb brute. The system is already set up this way, if you want to be better at one thing then you have to accept not being as good in another.

Sure, dedicated roleplayers might not mind playing a character that's objectively worse than others because it fits their concept, but let's not pretend that just because other roleplayers like getting a boon along with their flaw they're not roleplayers.

It's not so much that they are not role-players, or even that role-play may be a secondary consideration behind mechanical optimization for them. It's that the dump stat point buy incentivizes players to make less diverse, less interesting characters. It doesn't force players to dump a stat as hard as possible, but it sure does encourage it.

Exactly. If you want to make an interesting character for RP purposes, then the RP should be the reward. You don't need to be rewarded by having extra points to spend on the stats you do care about by ignoring the ones you don't care about.

It's about like the characters that used the aging rules to start with Venerable Wizards.

If they could get past the early levels the had spells that literally allowed them to ignore the aging penalties while still benefiting from the stat bonuses. If you want to RP an old wizard that's fine. But you don't need stat bonuses to do so.


Claxon wrote:

Exactly. If you want to make an interesting character for RP purposes, then the RP should be the reward. You don't need to be rewarded by having extra points to spend on the stats you do care about by ignoring the ones you don't care about.

It's about like the characters that used the aging rules to start with Venerable Wizards.

If they could get past the early levels the had spells that literally allowed them to ignore the aging penalties while still benefiting from the stat bonuses. If you want to RP an old wizard that's fine. But you don't need stat bonuses to do so.

Exactly. I always houseruled that ability changes due to age applied at all times except character creation, for that reason. If you find it cool to play an older character, no problem. But that RP choice shouldn't give you any mechanical bonuses (or penalties, for that matter).


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Add me to the list of people who would prefer not to incentivize stat-dumping. I don't like feeling forced to dump stats for optimization purposes. It really rubs me the wrong way to see class guides recommending a 7 Cha in a point-buy array. I wouldn't be opposed to allowing a player to dump stats if they want to (which people seem to be saying is how it works in Starfinder), but adding an incentive for dumping stats encourages min-maxing too much for me.


What the pretty goat lady above me said


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Not a fan of stat dumping in general.

Silver Crusade

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*looks over thread*

Neat.

(I made this this thread as a suggestion for an optional thing, not a case of "this is something that has to be in, fight me!", soooooo sorry for anyone that was hoping for drama :3)

That being said,

Thebazilly wrote:
It really rubs me the wrong way to see class guides recommending a 7 Cha in a point-buy array.

I despise Class Guides too -_-

Although with Resonance the dumping of Cha is probably not gonna happen as rampantly (save for Alchemists and possibly Wizards *shakes fists*)

Thebazilly wrote:
I wouldn't be opposed to allowing a player to dump stats if they want to (which people seem to be saying is how it works in Starfinder), but adding an incentive for dumping stats encourages min-maxing too much for me.

The thing about that though is I'm hearing from Starfinder groups is that table pressure is making it rather difficult to flaw your character since you don't get anything for it, which was my main concern about this and why I started this thread.

I'm under no delusion that dumping stats to get more points isn't de fact minmaxing thing, and I like a couple of the alternative options people have brought up.

Basically, how can players build flawed* characters without getting shunned at the table?

*with the Proficiency system I can see this situation cropping up more often.


I question how willing people have been to allow stat dumping. Or stats in general.

Usually I set a limit of 8 is as low as you can go and 18 is usually as high as you can go. This seems reasonable to me as depending on what you're doing, Ability damage can quickly kill you if you go lower than 8.

PF2 with that threat gone hmm, I don't see any outright reason to not dump something. More HP means Mages don't need CON that much as a buffer. Even with Resonance, Pretty sure you can get by with an 8 if you just use whatever the safest, broadest and most standard Magic items. Or get someone on the team to activate them for you.

So yeah not a fan. But after testing it for awhile people will probably figure out what they can dump anyway. If not dump then slightly lower to buff their main stat/build.


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Rysky wrote:


]The thing about that though is I'm hearing from Starfinder groups is that table pressure is making it rather difficult to flaw your character since you don't get anything for it, which was my main concern about this and why I started this thread.

I'm under no delusion that dumping stats to get more points isn't de fact minmaxing thing, and I like a couple of the alternative options people have brought up.

Basically, how can players build flawed* characters without getting shunned at the table?

*with the Proficiency system I can see this situation cropping up more often.

I think it's very hard to make the "table pressure meter" swing one way or the other. Theoretically, it might be possible to create a perfect balance where there's no empirically better option, but that's got to be hard to achieve.

If dumping a stat makes me better at my job, I will feel pressure to do it. If dumping a stat makes me worse my job, I will feel pressure to not do it. So you gotta ask which is better for the health of the game.

I will say that if I want to have a flaw, I can accomplish that pretty easily through role-play. Smart people make dumb mistakes. Charismatic people put their foot in their mouth. Very durable people can still be cowards who flee from taking damage.

But if I want to have the extra spell slot at 1st level that a 20 Intelligence gets me, I can't role-play that into existence.

Grand Lodge

The issue I have with rules like "dump the 6th stat to boost the 4th and 5th stat" is that it doesn't allow me to play my Dwarf Wizard with 18 STR and 16 INT by dumping CON and WIS.

I don't know about PFS, but the rest of us can just work with our DMs. I can't imagine a rule that is flexible enough for the "Roleplaying Min/Maxers" that won't be abused by the "Powergaming Min/Maxers".


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The argument I keep seeing here is, "If it is possible to get a 20 everyone HAS to get a 20."

This is NOT true. You don't NEED a 20 (or whatever the stat cap should be) to be an effective character. This sounds like min-maxxers projecting their feelings onto others.

It adds SO much more flavor to the game to be able to get a 20 in a stat because you are playing an especially gifted member of a race known for being above average in a particular stat.

"But it's not fair that if I want to play a 20 DEX character, I have to play a Halfling or an Elf."

No, that's perfectly fair. That's part of what makes halflings and elves special. The most dexterous human is NOT going to be a dexterous as the most dexterous elf. Human's don't have the genetics. (This is coming from a guy who thinks humans should have NEVER gotten a free +2 to a stat, and that the 2 +2s that races get should have had to have been picked between.)

The reason why dumping for no benefit is not an acceptable solution is that nobody in their right mind would adventure with the guy who is just plain weaker than everyone else.

Granted, I have played a character that would have made sense with slightly dumped stats. He was a "fish-out-of-water" bard, who ended up with higher DEX and CON than I really wanted him to have, because I had extra points to spend. If I had played the stats I wanted, the party would have suffered for it. (Though the group liked the character more for RP reasons, so they may have put up with it.)

The "big dumb brute" is a common fantasy trope, either as the bad guy's muscle or the endearing protective friend. (Think Hodor from Game of Thrones, Sloth from the Goonies, or even Hulk.)

The "big dumb brute" is almost always stronger than even the trained warriors, and usually dumber than everyone else as well. It makes sense that the "big dumb brute" archetype would be able to hit a higher STR score than the average warrior, at the cost of a lower INT(and perhaps WIS) than the average person.

The biggest problem I have with PF2 is that 18 is the cap AND an 18 in your preferred stat is easily obtainable by almost everyone, to the point that the game basically tells you to do so.

If 18 was the cap, but you HAD to play a race with a SPECIFIC bonus in that stat to get there, then I wouldn't care as much, as 18 is just the new 20.

This "fix" that everyone is claiming will prevent everyone from playing the same character is just going to make everyone's character feel the same, even though they are "supposedly" different.

(Sure, you will have different Ancestry Feats, but those appear to be HIGHLY situational and fairly weak.)

As far as the trade-off of 20 in your primary stat for a lower dump stat not being balanced, that's a design issue. EVERY stat should be important for EVERY character. A character who plays with a 6 should FEEL it. If your fighter dumps CHA to 6 for a 20 in STR, he needs to be forced into social situations. If you wizard dumps STR for more INT, he needs to be put into situations where Brains aren't a substitute for Brawn.


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I don't really buy the 'prevents cookie cutter'/'prevents pressure from peers' arguments. Whether the max stat is 18 or 20 there will be an optimal way to build any particular character. IF there is pressure to be optimal, reducing the maximum a stat can be won't change that.

The only way to prevent that is to homogenise everything to where everything is identical, which doesn't really solve anything.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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I'm also a fan of flawed characters, and like some of the suggestions here - especially if the bonus +2 was limited to be your lowest ability score not penalized, or one of the 2 lowest, so it wouldn't contribute to a 16 or 18 going higher.


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thflame wrote:

The argument I keep seeing here is, "If it is possible to get a 20 everyone HAS to get a 20."

This is NOT true. You don't NEED a 20 (or whatever the stat cap should be) to be an effective character. This sounds like min-maxxers projecting their feelings onto others.

It adds SO much more flavor to the game to be able to get a 20 in a stat because you are playing an especially gifted member of a race known for being above average in a particular stat.

"But it's not fair that if I want to play a 20 DEX character, I have to play a Halfling or an Elf."

No, that's perfectly fair. That's part of what makes halflings and elves special. The most dexterous human is NOT going to be a dexterous as the most dexterous elf. Human's don't have the genetics. (This is coming from a guy who thinks humans should have NEVER gotten a free +2 to a stat, and that the 2 +2s that races get should have had to have been picked between.)

The reason why dumping for no benefit is not an acceptable solution is that nobody in their right mind would adventure with the guy who is just plain weaker than everyone else.

Granted, I have played a character that would have made sense with slightly dumped stats. He was a "fish-out-of-water" bard, who ended up with higher DEX and CON than I really wanted him to have, because I had extra points to spend. If I had played the stats I wanted, the party would have suffered for it. (Though the group liked the character more for RP reasons, so they may have put up with it.)

The "big dumb brute" is a common fantasy trope, either as the bad guy's muscle or the endearing protective friend. (Think Hodor from Game of Thrones, Sloth from the Goonies, or even Hulk.)

The "big dumb brute" is almost always stronger than even the trained warriors, and usually dumber than everyone else as well. It makes sense that the "big dumb brute" archetype would be able to hit a higher STR score than the average warrior, at the cost of a lower INT(and perhaps WIS) than the average person....

I will give you that this is a balance problem, but it is a tough one to fix.

Also, this idea that "no one in their right mind would adventure with someone just plain weaker than everyone else" rings hollow to me.

First off, adventuring parties aren't fortune 500 companies hiring CEOs. There usually aren't try outs or aptitude tests. Fate brings you together for one reason or another. Adventure calls, and you take whoever answers. You might as well say "no one low level party in their right mind would try and save this town; they would wait for backup from high level NPCs." If anything, it's entirely arbitrary that party members always seem to wind up the same level as each other.

Ability scores aren't even a great indicator of, well, ability. PF1, you could easily have two characters with the same ability score array and vastly different performance levels. PF2 is gonna rein that in a little, but it won't go away. Good feat selection will still matter, for example. Plus, with d20 rolls dictating what happens, a character might wind up looking bad regardless of their build. Let's assume aptitude tests are a thing. What do you do when your wizard rolls a nat 1 and bombs the written portion? When the Bard botches the interview?

Also, let's say I have two barbarians applying to join my party. Both do equally well in the physical exam, having 18 strength. But one does significantly better on the written portion, because he has 10 Int and the other has 6 Int. I already have an alchemist with 18 Int. Why do I care if the Barbarian can't read if the rest of the party can? In fact, why am I only taking the one barbarian? Surely 1 tank+ 3 other people is less safe than 2 tanks + 3 other people. The only reason I can think of is if the Barbarian is dumb enough to give away our position while sneaking or something, in which case I wouldn't pick them even if they had 20 strength.

The only other thing is money, I guess. It is one more share when you split loot, but if the person is just gonna get themselves killed anyway you get their share back. If this is one of those parties that gets hired by someone with a finite budget-- well, I guess the 18 STR 10 Int barbarian didn't think that reward was worth being the meat shield. Barely covers the healing costs. But that 6 Int barbarian barely seems to know math... Pretty sure we can get him to do it.

What I'm saying here is you are holding a lens up to the conventions of the genre while divorcing yourself from the specific narrative reasons this stuff happens. Why would a party adventure with a subpar member? Because they were there and the story demands it.


Or, if you like, you could ask any adventuring party tries to save the world with only 4 people, and they wait until juuuust after someone dies before they hire a new one. Because players choose their characters, not parties.


Captain Morgan wrote:

I will give you that this is a balance problem, but it is a tough one to fix.

Also, this idea that "no one in their right mind would adventure with someone just plain weaker than everyone else" rings hollow to me.

First off, adventuring parties aren't fortune 500 companies hiring CEOs. There usually aren't try outs or aptitude tests. Fate brings you together for one reason or another. Adventure calls, and you take whoever answers. You might as well say "no one low level party in their right mind would try and save this town; they would wait for backup from high level NPCs." If anything, it's entirely arbitrary that party members always seem to wind up the same level as each other.

There is a difference between low level adventurers not being ready for a task and average civilians being hired on to go on a dungeon raid.

People with a stat total much lower than the average adventurer, aren't cut out to be adventurers.

I'm not going to wheel 18 INT granny with her spells out to a dungeon wih her 6 in STR, CON, and DEX. Now, if Granny had a 20 in INT as well as awesome WIS and CHA scores, I'd be more willing to consider it, as granny is going to be great is social situations, a pretty good person to keep watch while she knits her Mittens of Dexterity, and an awesome mage.

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Ability scores aren't even a great indicator of, well, ability. PF1, you could easily have two characters with the same ability score array and vastly different performance levels. PF2 is gonna rein that in a little, but it won't go away. Good feat selection will still matter, for example. Plus, with d20 rolls dictating what happens, a character might wind up looking bad regardless of their build. Let's assume aptitude tests are a thing. What do you do when your wizard rolls a nat 1 and bombs the written portion? When the Bard botches the interview?

They why are you so worried about specific races having a potential for a 20 in a stat?

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Also, let's say I have two barbarians applying to join my party. Both do equally well in the physical exam, having 18 strength. But one does significantly better on the written portion, because he has 10 Int and the other has 6 Int. I already have an alchemist with 18 Int. Why do I care if the Barbarian can't read if the rest of the party can?

To use your up page example, what if the Alchemist botches an INT roll? Do you want to fall back on 6 INT barbarian or 10 INT barbarian?

Furthermore, what if the Alchemist is MIA?

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In fact, why am I only taking the one barbarian? Surely 1 tank+ 3 other people is less safe than 2 tanks + 3 other people. The only reason I can think of is if the Barbarian is dumb enough to give away our position while sneaking or something, in which case I wouldn't pick them even if they had 20 strength.

If he was THAT dumb, sure, but if the difference was 20 STR and 8 INT vs 18 STR and 10 INT, the choice becomes a lot more difficult.

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The only other thing is money, I guess. It is one more share when you split loot, but if the person is just gonna get themselves killed anyway you get their share back.

In honorable parties, the PCs share of loot would go to his next of kin. (In my games, PCs don't get to loot the other PC's corpses and keep the stuff. They will either pay for it later or be given an in-game reason as to why that loot doesn't belong to them. That's how you upset character wealth balance.)

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If this is one of those parties that gets hired by someone with a finite budget-- well, I guess the 18 STR 10 Int barbarian didn't think that reward was worth being the meat shield. Barely covers the healing costs. But that 6 Int barbarian barely seems to know math... Pretty sure we can get him to do it.

So you would take the dumb barbarian in this case because you could stiff him some gold, as opposed to telling the dumb barbarian to take a hike so you could have the better barbarian? Yeah, I hope there aren't any Good aligned characters in that party.

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What I'm saying here is you are holding a lens up to the conventions of the genre while divorcing yourself from the specific narrative reasons this stuff happens. Why would a party adventure with a subpar member? Because they were there and the story demands it.

True, but there is another facet to this.

If the party starts in a big city, then adventuring with Sub-Par Sammy makes no sense, when they could reasonably have a character with intended stats.

Even if they don't, the PLAYERS are going to know that Sub-Par Sammy is sub-par, because his Player wants to RP a weakness. That puts a burden on Sammy's player, as the rest of the party knows that he is intentionally gimping his character for no benefit just to RP a character that is a liability.

What sucks even more is that Sub-Par Sammy's Player didn't want to just play an average fighter, but dumber, he wanted to play a Hulk/Sloth/Hodor-like character, but the game makes these guys impossible, so all he's left with is a dumb version of the average fighter.

It's yet ANOTHER instance of Paizo stripping out player choice and preventing a fairly common fantasy trope character.


So, I want to make sure I understand your position Rysky...your position is that we should entertain the idea of adding some sort of compensation for stat dumping because people are getting "attacked" at SFS tables for bringing it characters with "flaws" by virtue of voluntarily reducing their stats (without benefit)?

And you see this as a situation wherein the other players are crying foul for a character being created that is purposefully weaker than necessary...

I mean to me that's the point of the character, isn't it?

Perhaps the problem is that it's just an inappropriate thing for Society play, since it wont necessarily mesh well with the "random group" setting. Just as many character concepts don't really work well in such a setting.


never been a fan of dump stats


thflame wrote:

The argument I keep seeing here is, "If it is possible to get a 20 everyone HAS to get a 20."

This is NOT true. You don't NEED a 20 (or whatever the stat cap should be) to be an effective character. This sounds like min-maxxers projecting their feelings onto others.

It adds SO much more flavor to the game to be able to get a 20 in a stat because you are playing an especially gifted member of a race known for being above average in a particular stat.

"But it's not fair that if I want to play a 20 DEX character, I have to play a Halfling or an Elf."

No, that's perfectly fair. That's part of what makes halflings and elves special. The most dexterous human is NOT going to be a dexterous as the most dexterous elf. Human's don't have the genetics. (This is coming from a guy who thinks humans should have NEVER gotten a free +2 to a stat, and that the 2 +2s that races get should have had to have been picked between.)

The reason why dumping for no benefit is not an acceptable solution is that nobody in their right mind would adventure with the guy who is just plain weaker than everyone else.

Granted, I have played a character that would have made sense with slightly dumped stats. He was a "fish-out-of-water" bard, who ended up with higher DEX and CON than I really wanted him to have, because I had extra points to spend. If I had played the stats I wanted, the party would have suffered for it. (Though the group liked the character more for RP reasons, so they may have put up with it.)

The "big dumb brute" is a common fantasy trope, either as the bad guy's muscle or the endearing protective friend. (Think Hodor from Game of Thrones, Sloth from the Goonies, or even Hulk.)

The "big dumb brute" is almost always stronger than even the trained warriors, and usually dumber than everyone else as well. It makes sense that the "big dumb brute" archetype would be able to hit a higher STR score than the average warrior, at the cost of a lower INT(and perhaps WIS) than the average person....

I would note that in Starfinder, it's easy to start at 18(the cap), but it's not necessarily optimal. Diminishing returns on level up stats means that its arguable better to start at 16.

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Claxon wrote:

So, I want to make sure I understand your position Rysky...your position is that we should entertain the idea of adding some sort of compensation for stat dumping because people are getting "attacked" at SFS tables for bringing it characters with "flaws" by virtue of voluntarily reducing their stats (without benefit)?

And you see this as a situation wherein the other players are crying foul for a character being created that is purposefully weaker than necessary...

I mean to me that's the point of the character, isn't it?

Perhaps the problem is that it's just an inappropriate thing for Society play, since it wont necessarily mesh well with the "random group" setting. Just as many character concepts don't really work well in such a setting.

*sigh*

That is one of the pitfalls of Society play and why I avoid it, but for some it’s all they got. I like making characters with flaws. I’m not the only one. So for people playing PFS2 I’d like to allow them to play the characters they want. The “you’re playing it wrong*” pops up the most from the PFS threads I’ve seen. Sorry I’m rambling at this point.

*obviously I see a clear distinction between someone dumping a stat as a flaw that doesn’t necessarily cripple them vs say a wizard with an 8 Intelligence


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johnlocke90 wrote:
I would note that in Starfinder, it's easy to start at 18(the cap), but it's not necessarily optimal. Diminishing returns on level up stats means that its arguable better to start at 16.

Not a fan of diminishing returns in Starfinder.


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Id like to see ways outside of stat dump and pump to showcase outlier characters. A flaw-boon feat system could do it. The feat gives you sometype of draw back, but also a bonus to make up for it. This way its a more tangible choice than just rocketing your primary for little penalty.

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