New Attribute Point-buy Rules - bad for the game


Alpha Release 3 General Discussion

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Elite array is equal to 'standard fantasy', which is seriously a problem because its what we just hand random NPC adversaries. Low fantasy is completely unplayable.

The increase in points for high ability scores is also brutally punitive for anyone wanting to play a character that needs multiple stats (ie, martial classes), and bad for the game because it encourages '1-stat' classes even more than 3.5 (ie, Druid, Wizard).

Seriously, blowing 2/3rd your points for a 16 in a 'standard game' forces hyperspecialization, and is going to generate fairly one-dimensional characters.


Apologies for the double post - i thought it ate my first one.

It should also be noted that the new point buy is completely incompatible with 3.5 point buy.


Squirrelloid wrote:
It should also be noted that the new point buy is completely incompatible with 3.5 point buy.

I can't speak to the new point buy method (stupid firewall...), but the D&D point buy isn't covered by the OGL so there's a strong incentive to do something at least slightly different (just like they did with XP).

It doesn't sound like they improved it, though.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It's similar with what I've been house ruling for years.

We start with all scores at 10 then use a 28 point buy. My score values are a bit lower than in Alpha 3:

11 – 1
12 – 2
13 – 3
14 – 4
15 - 6
16 - 8
17 - 11
18 - 14

Usually it creates pretty good scores. Nothing too powerful, most end up with a least a couple of 14s, a 16 or 17, and some 10s, 12s, 11s ect. At the most it gives two 18's and all 10s. It's worked well so far, and my group loves it.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

Well, this system is similar in some regards to others like it. This system is not for everyone however, which is why we are including 4 different systems for you to use. Purchase is only one of them.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Well, this system is similar in some regards to others like it.

I like this sentence.

:)

Sovereign Court Contributor

My only concern with the new point buy is that a lot of players will go for the super-dump of 7 in their low stat so that they get the extra bonus points. Inevitably for 80% of characters that will be charisma.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

Rambling Scribe wrote:
My only concern with the new point buy is that a lot of players will go for the super-dump of 7 in their low stat so that they get the extra bonus points. Inevitably for 80% of characters that will be charisma.

A few encounters with charisma-draining undead should cure that in your group's SECOND characters :)


Rambling Scribe wrote:
My only concern with the new point buy is that a lot of players will go for the super-dump of 7 in their low stat so that they get the extra bonus points. Inevitably for 80% of characters that will be charisma.

An as a Dm you should start having your npcs recacted to said 7 aka -2 on all social skills Ex price should climb ,negitve reactions from NPCs, , them not finding vital clues out(bad Diplomacy checks),to out right lack of trust of the PCs.

Dont get me wrong playing a low stat can be fun but if your players do it on a regular basis then by all means make the pay for it,


Russ Taylor wrote:
Rambling Scribe wrote:
My only concern with the new point buy is that a lot of players will go for the super-dump of 7 in their low stat so that they get the extra bonus points. Inevitably for 80% of characters that will be charisma.
A few encounters with charisma-draining undead should cure that in your group's SECOND characters :)

I take your point Russ, but a GM shouldn't have to resort to that sort of stuff.

I struggle with this issue a lot, because I really hate munchkinism, and discourage it every chance I get. The problem is, I often don't always have a good rationale for saying no to a dump stat, because the player can turn around and reasonably argue "the system doesn't reward me with anything (or anything of comparable value) for putting any points in that attribute. Why shouldn't I allocate to where it will help me."

That might be one of the underlying flaws of diced systems however that might be largely unavoidable.

Liberty's Edge

After reading through the point buy section, and comparing it with my own experiences with playing as well as DMing various games I find that I like it and do not feel that it is underpowered.

The game assumes that the average score is 10, and you get that score for free. Then you can take your points and increase several abilities. Even at the low fantasy level you can get some respectable scores, considering that even the most powerful people in a town or village would not have a score higher than a 12 or a 13. It also emphasizes how rare those people are who are powerful enough in two ability scores, or even three, to be able to represent the classes which rely upon more than one ability.

Don’t forget, you can also gain more points by lowering some of your abilities below 10. This will allow the creation of some very interesting characters with respect to role playing. Still, even without these points a low fantasy character can start with an ability score of 16, and that places this character among the best and the brightest in their kingdom or country right away. And that’s with no negatives. Throw in a few negatives, some character flaws, and you could have a character starting out with a score of 18 in one ability. This is an excellent system for creating powerful but also flawed heroes.

I like this as an option. I may not always use it, I like rolling dice, but it is a good one to have and I like the way that it is put together.

Sovereign Court Contributor

Oh, I know how to punish my players, and my players are less inclined to pull stuff like that anyways. I was just thinking that the game will eventually be supporting PFS and I'll assume that point-buy will be the core creation method for that. And I'll be playing and DMing with anybody and everybody who signs up for those.

Scarab Sages

I disagree with critiques on subjects like the included point-buy system. There are a few simple answers to your concerns.

A) Use your own method and ignore what is included.
B) Pre-gen your players characters for them if they can't be trusted to make characters in an acceptable way.
C) If you don't pre-gen them, tell your players not to min-max. Add rewards like better starting equipment if they choose to make decisions that are based in characterization and roleplaying instead of basic mathmatics.

These are simple and direct solutions. If my post seems snarky, its unintentional, but I feel like certain criticisms are baseless. If you don't like something or feel like your campaign is better off without it, change it!


It should be noted that complete equivalence with the 3.5 system could have been done by:

Everyone starts with 10s

Same relative costs as 3.5 (ie, everything is 2pts cheaper).

You can reduce to 9 to gain 1pt or 8 for 2pts.

Point buy levels are 16 (low powered), 20 (moderate), 24 (high)

That is precisely equivalent to 3.5 point buy, it just starts you at 10 instead of 8.

(and its a different algorithm, so its not even plausibly covered by copyright).

Sovereign Court Contributor

Squirrelloid wrote:

It should be noted that complete equivalence with the 3.5 system could have been done by:

Everyone starts with 10s

Same relative costs as 3.5 (ie, everything is 2pts cheaper).

You can reduce to 9 to gain 1pt or 8 for 2pts.

Point buy levels are 16 (low powered), 20 (moderate), 24 (high)

That is precisely equivalent to 3.5 point buy, it just starts you at 10 instead of 8.

(and its a different algorithm, so its not even plausibly covered by copyright).

I had been thinking the same thing.


EndVision wrote:

I disagree with critiques on subjects like the included point-buy system. There are a few simple answers to your concerns.

A) Use your own method and ignore what is included.
B) Pre-gen your players characters for them if they can't be trusted to make characters in an acceptable way.
C) If you don't pre-gen them, tell your players not to min-max. Add rewards like better starting equipment if they choose to make decisions that are based in characterization and roleplaying instead of basic mathmatics.

These are simple and direct solutions. If my post seems snarky, its unintentional, but I feel like certain criticisms are baseless. If you don't like something or feel like your campaign is better off without it, change it!

I don't take offense, but the reason for these threads is to discuss them, and highlight concerns. You're advocating just fixing things to taste and not talk about them.

You're shutting down the conversation. And let me be clear, you're absolutely correct in what you wrote above, every one of your solutions is good and valid. We could all do what we feel is most comfortable and be done with it.

But that's not why we're here. We are here to have this very dialogue.

Sovereign Court Contributor

I agree with Watcher, and further reiterate that this game will one day support an extensive organized play system in which the rules will require consistency. I'd like those rules to be as good as possible across the board.


First off, I'd like to say that I don't use a point-buy system, but since it is optional, I have NO problem with one being included.

My chief gripe is the rather useless reason for the negative modifiers. One of the things I like about the 4e rules is that they are moving away from negative numbers, so what was the reasoning behind using them here, when it was COMPLETELY unneccessary?

Add four to each point cost, renedering a '7' score as a point buy of '0'.

Now add twentyfour points to each category, from low fantasy to epic. That does exactly the same thing, and you don't have to worry about the above mentioned scenario of people padding useless attributes (for them) with a '-7' buy - end of argument.

The only thing I have changed is how people look at the system - EVERY stat now has a positive cost. The simplest solution is often the best.

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

Another thing to consider with the new point buy is that races now have an extra +2 to an ability score, so your point buy 14 can be a 16, point buy 16 can be an 18 etc.

I think in general, point buy is used in games where more well rounded characters are desired, instead of ones with all good ability scores, etc. since point buy rewards spreading our your points more (using the current or 3.5 costs.) That's just my take, I'm sure many groups do things differently.


JoelF847 wrote:

Another thing to consider with the new point buy is that races now have an extra +2 to an ability score, so your point buy 14 can be a 16, point buy 16 can be an 18 etc.

I think in general, point buy is used in games where more well rounded characters are desired, instead of ones with all good ability scores, etc. since point buy rewards spreading our your points more (using the current or 3.5 costs.) That's just my take, I'm sure many groups do things differently.

My real problem with the Paizo system is the Wizard will mortgage as many stats as necessary to buy an 18 int (->20 with human, elf, or half-elf), while the poor fighter who needs Str, Dex, and Con at a minimum is faced with really tough choices about how to invest his points, and heaven help him if he wants to drop some points in Wis or Int.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

Squirrelloid wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:

Another thing to consider with the new point buy is that races now have an extra +2 to an ability score, so your point buy 14 can be a 16, point buy 16 can be an 18 etc.

I think in general, point buy is used in games where more well rounded characters are desired, instead of ones with all good ability scores, etc. since point buy rewards spreading our your points more (using the current or 3.5 costs.) That's just my take, I'm sure many groups do things differently.

My real problem with the Paizo system is the Wizard will mortgage as many stats as necessary to buy an 18 int (->20 with human, elf, or half-elf), while the poor fighter who needs Str, Dex, and Con at a minimum is faced with really tough choices about how to invest his points, and heaven help him if he wants to drop some points in Wis or Int.

Purchase systems have always had this problem. The Wizard might get his high Int, but will have poor HP, a lousy AC (at low levels anyway), and few other bonuses. The fighter might not get that extra +1 to hit from Str, but he is more rounded. You can play these sorts of number games with just about every class.

The purchase method is not for everyone and I'll be the first to admit that I generally do not use it in my home games. That said, I am not going to table the option, because I am pretty sure that a lot of folks do use it.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


Squirrelloid wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:

Another thing to consider with the new point buy is that races now have an extra +2 to an ability score, so your point buy 14 can be a 16, point buy 16 can be an 18 etc.

I think in general, point buy is used in games where more well rounded characters are desired, instead of ones with all good ability scores, etc. since point buy rewards spreading our your points more (using the current or 3.5 costs.) That's just my take, I'm sure many groups do things differently.

My real problem with the Paizo system is the Wizard will mortgage as many stats as necessary to buy an 18 int (->20 with human, elf, or half-elf), while the poor fighter who needs Str, Dex, and Con at a minimum is faced with really tough choices about how to invest his points, and heaven help him if he wants to drop some points in Wis or Int.

wizards do that with point buy now. Over all this system is no worse then 3.5 15 points works out just like 25 points in 3.5

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

Squirrelloid wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:

Another thing to consider with the new point buy is that races now have an extra +2 to an ability score, so your point buy 14 can be a 16, point buy 16 can be an 18 etc.

I think in general, point buy is used in games where more well rounded characters are desired, instead of ones with all good ability scores, etc. since point buy rewards spreading our your points more (using the current or 3.5 costs.) That's just my take, I'm sure many groups do things differently.

My real problem with the Paizo system is the Wizard will mortgage as many stats as necessary to buy an 18 int (->20 with human, elf, or half-elf), while the poor fighter who needs Str, Dex, and Con at a minimum is faced with really tough choices about how to invest his points, and heaven help him if he wants to drop some points in Wis or Int.

I think that SOME players will use point buy that way, while others won't. I don't know if that's really a problem. If the wizard does cripple some of his other stats, they will show up to haunt him. One low stat isn't a big deal, but beyond that, it's tough to go through an adventuring career and not have it hurt you.

Personally, I think the best stat generation method varies by group, and it's up to the DM to pick a good one for their group, which is why there's options. If you feel that your group will abuse the point buy method (however it's structured), then use a generous die rolling method.

Also, BTW, using a random generation method, I had a blast playing my 5 Wisdom 17 Int wizard - so not everyone picks Charisma as their dump stat. I find it a lot more fun to role play a low wisdom character than a low charisma one.


What, exactly, do you mean by 'negative modifiers'?

If you mean, for example, a strength of 8 giving a -1 modifier to strength based stuff, go play 4e and leave us alone, because Pathfinder is not for you. Reverse compatability is the phrase of the day around here, and ditching negative modifiers for stats isn't.

As to your suggestion for a point buy method, I don't much like it. It isn't hard to subtract. I am used to old pt. buy though, so I'd recommend the suggestion above that is statistically identical w/o risk of copyright infringement.

Liberty's Edge

I actually don't mind the new Purchase system in A-3. If used, it'll create characters more unique to themselves! Players will have to think on how they will arrange their points, which as we all know will have a huge impact on how their character develops all the way through to epic! Be it Fighter, Wizard, etc... Creating a character not along the norm makes for better roleplaying IMHO. Anyone can be the tank or the spell flinger from hell (had one myself), but its those unique characters that make into legend and fable! The New Purchase System will be for those characters... again if used!


seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Squirrelloid wrote:


My real problem with the Paizo system is the Wizard will mortgage as many stats as necessary to buy an 18 int (->20 with human, elf, or half-elf), while the poor fighter who needs Str, Dex, and Con at a minimum is faced with really tough choices about how to invest his points, and heaven help him if he wants to drop some points in Wis or Int.
wizards do that with point buy now. Over all this system is no worse then 3.5 15 points works out just like 25 points in 3.5

Its the scaling nature of the costs that are the problem - 3.5 PB doesn't penalize you nearly so much for a 16, which the fighter should be able to count on for his favorite stat pre-racial modifiers.

Its not that wizards aren't going to mortgage their stats for an 18 in any system you propose - they are, you can't fix that. Assume it and move on. Its enabling the multi-stat classes that should be the key concern, and that means the wizard gets his 18 int and some side benefits (which in the long run he'll benefit less from the side stats than other classes), and the fighter can actually play with decent stats.

In the current system at 10 PB the following Wizard build seems perfectly playable:

7Str
11 Dex
12 Con
18 int
8 Wis
7 Cha

The wizard's high will save balances out the wisdom penalty to a reasonable degree, and you could even arguably get away with dropping to 7 wisdom for more dex or con.

And as PB levels go up, it just gets better for the wizard, as he only really cares about 3 stats total, and one of them is truly the best investment for him.


Aaron Whitley wrote:


So what is the big deal with the 18 INT?

You don't play wizards, do you? Its ok if you don't, its just you might be less aware of the fundamental fact of a wizard's existence. A wizard lives or dies by his spellcasting, and Int is the best way to improve that spellcasting (outside of gaining levels).

Int improves his save DCs. Each +1 int mod is a +5% chance that a monster fails a given save.

Int gives him bonus spells, and there are clear break points. A 12 int caster starts play at 1st level casting one more level 1 spell per day than usual, which means either more longevity or more versatility in his spells memorized. A 20 int wizard (18 from PB +2 race) starts with *2* extra level 1 spells per day. As ignoring intelligence the wizard only has *1* level 1 spell per day at first level, that multiplies his effectiveness by 300%. (He'll also net bonus 2-5th level spells when he acquires those spell levels without needing to do any work pumping his int - and you better believe he's going to pump his int every chance he gets).


Skjaldbakka wrote:

What, exactly, do you mean by 'negative modifiers'?

If you mean, for example, a strength of 8 giving a -1 modifier to strength based stuff, go play 4e and leave us alone, because Pathfinder is not for you. Reverse compatability is the phrase of the day around here, and ditching negative modifiers for stats isn't.

As to your suggestion for a point buy method, I don't much like it. It isn't hard to subtract. I am used to old pt. buy though, so I'd recommend the suggestion above that is statistically identical w/o risk of copyright infringement.

You have absolutely no idea what I was talking about, do you?

Read it CAREFULLY - what I meant is that a '7' in an attribute cost you '-4' point buy - that is NOT neccesary. by adding 4 to EVERY single attribute cost, you ELIMINATE any negative modifiers (to your point buy, NOT the attributes themselves). Then you add 24 to all of the point-buy categories, and the system works EXACTLY the same way it does in Paizo's print, except I just got rid of the negative numbers.

I've been telling everyone at all my other boards how friendly the folks here are - thanks for proving me wrong.

And please read a post carefully before spewing vitriol - I dislike 4e, thats why I'm here.


I have to get used to these boards editting feature - another accidental DP, sorry.


Squirrelloid wrote:

It should be noted that complete equivalence with the 3.5 system could have been done by:

Everyone starts with 10s

Same relative costs as 3.5 (ie, everything is 2pts cheaper).

You can reduce to 9 to gain 1pt or 8 for 2pts.

Point buy levels are 16 (low powered), 20 (moderate), 24 (high)

That is precisely equivalent to 3.5 point buy, it just starts you at 10 instead of 8.

(and its a different algorithm, so its not even plausibly covered by copyright).

Eek, for some reason I was thinking 28pt buy is low powered, so 32 and... 36?

Those should be 13 (low), 16 (mod), 20 (high). I suppose 24 would make a great epic power version.

Regardless, the math is easy to do (assuming you're starting with the right numbers... la la la), so feel free to check my math or do your own.


MarkusTay wrote:


One of the things I like about the 4e rules is that they are moving away from negative numbers

It's one of my biggest gripes with 4e. No negative stuff, no penalties, no nothing. Feels like they think we were taking the short bus to school.

The numbers generally work out between Pointbuy (3.5) and Purchase (PF). I have made several test scores (with my handy Point Buy Excel Spreadsheet I converted over to Pointbuy/Purchase hybrid mode to tell me both costs at the same time), and with several High powered Point Buy scores (32 PB), especially those where I wanted an 18, I got 25 point PF Purchase. In some other random sets of stats, one or the other is off a bit, but generally, a certain Point Buy value will result in a Purchase Value of comparable power level.

And I like how this one sets the price increases at the even levels (which are more important than odd ones).

The only thing I might change would be the lowest mods. Maybe 7 should be -3 and 6 -4, but it's not such a big deal.


My chief gripe is the rather useless reason for the negative modifiers. One of the things I like about the 4e rules is that they are moving away from negative numbers, so what was the reasoning behind using them here, when it was COMPLETELY unneccessary?

The above is what made me think you were referring to negative numbers in general. It is pretty obvious I read you're whole post, given the direct comments on your proposal that I made. Pot, meet Kettle.

Like I said, subtracting ain't hard. I hate 4e, and so whenever someone says something like "we should do X the way 4e does" it gets under my skin.


Squirrelloid wrote:
Squirrelloid wrote:

It should be noted that complete equivalence with the 3.5 system could have been done by:

Everyone starts with 10s

Same relative costs as 3.5 (ie, everything is 2pts cheaper).

You can reduce to 9 to gain 1pt or 8 for 2pts.

Those should be 13 (low), 16 (mod), 20 (high). I suppose 24 would make a great epic power version.

Regardless, the math is easy to do (assuming you're starting with the right numbers... la la la), so feel free to check my math or do your own.

Your (new) numbers aren't wrong, except that you're listing standard point buy as "low". While I'd agree that I pretty much would never use lower than that personally, "low" in 3.5 is 15 points, or the equivalent of 3 in the system you propose. So it would be something along the lines of:

3 (low), 13 (mod), 20 (high) (16 for the more common 28 point buy equiv.)

Now.. I should mention that a point-buy almost exactly like this was described in a thread specifically made to come up with a non-copyrighted system that was roughly the same. Putting the break points of "buy cost increases" at the odd stats was an idea to encourage them, instead of the endless all-even stat characters.

However, for comparison purposes let's swap things to an 8 base, and just deal with the scaling topic you don't like. This makes:

22 (low), 27 (mod), 32 (high), & 37 (epic). 27 is supposed to be equivalent to standard 25, so that's two extra points to start with.

From 8 to 13 the system scales the same, 1 for 1.
At 14 the cost is bumped by one from the early change to 1 for 2.
At 16 the cost is bumped another one from early change to 1 for 3.
And at 18 the cost is bumped by a total of 3 from the change to 1 for 4.

So as you pointed out, a Wizard ends up being down 1 after paying for his 18. Sacrificing one stat down to a 7 basically neutralizes that.

Now for a fighter: 3.5 Standard point buy: Str 16, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 8?
Pathfinder Standard: Str 16, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 8. A net loss of 1 to Wisdom. Back Dex to 13, and Wisdom goes to 10.

*Plus* +2 racial increase. Human can take an 18 strength or do: Str 16, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 8. Or even: Str 18, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 7, Wis 7, Cha 7.

These seem *very* equivalent. You start with a 2 surplus and every even stat level over 13 costs an extra one. Dropping stats down to 7 nets an extra 1-2 (depending on how you look at it). I wouldn't say the racial bonus changes should be counted as extra points (otherwise not really a change), but they do allow more manipulation without paying the extra cost of a higher stat.

I like it.

Liberty's Edge

Does it really matter what the book says? I mean, aren't we (DMs running PRPG) all going to use whatever our favorite system is anyway? I mean, my favorite system is to assign everyone the Elite Array and place to suit. I hardly expect anyone to

Why even bother fretting over what it says in the book? Especially when it's just an OPTIONAL rule. If you don't like and think some other system would work better, then just freaking use it already.


I think the concern was that itf there was some kind of "Living Pathfinder", it would use the point-buy system, and thus the interest in making it suitable and something you would want to use. Also, my results are 50/50 pt. buy/rolled stats for games I've been in.

Interestingly enough, also for games I've run. Also, most DMs in my region will assign a minimum pt. buy value to determine if a roll 'gimps'.

Dark Archive

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Squirrelloid wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:

Another thing to consider with the new point buy is that races now have an extra +2 to an ability score, so your point buy 14 can be a 16, point buy 16 can be an 18 etc.

I think in general, point buy is used in games where more well rounded characters are desired, instead of ones with all good ability scores, etc. since point buy rewards spreading our your points more (using the current or 3.5 costs.) That's just my take, I'm sure many groups do things differently.

My real problem with the Paizo system is the Wizard will mortgage as many stats as necessary to buy an 18 int (->20 with human, elf, or half-elf), while the poor fighter who needs Str, Dex, and Con at a minimum is faced with really tough choices about how to invest his points, and heaven help him if he wants to drop some points in Wis or Int.

Purchase systems have always had this problem. The Wizard might get his high Int, but will have poor HP, a lousy AC (at low levels anyway), and few other bonuses. The fighter might not get that extra +1 to hit from Str, but he is more rounded. You can play these sorts of number games with just about every class.

The purchase method is not for everyone and I'll be the first to admit that I generally do not use it in my home games. That said, I am not going to table the option, because I am pretty sure that a lot of folks do use it.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

You know, our PF playtest campaign is the *first* time we *are* going to use point-buy system in my group. My players were actually *relieved* and happy about it, because random ability score creation methods tend to result in some PCs being underpowered while others may end up with several scores over 16. That being said, my players were content that for once they'll know that *everyone* will have equal number of points in ability scores. :)


I don't mind point buys, though I wouldn't always choose them.

From a cherry-picking point of view, however, I contend that it is a extreme failure of a GM if all stats aren't equally useful in the game.

In fact, I think if you'll think about it, most of us (admittedly not killing goblins all day_ make a lot of INT, WIS, and CHA-based checks in a given day and few of the others.

In fact, in most Paizo APs to date if *someone* doesn't have an obscenely high CHA/Diplomacy it's going to be a real short trip. In Savage Tide you were basically screwed hard if you didn't.

Now, to an extent groups of adventurers form to cover each others' weaknesses with strengths - so the weak smart guy has a strong dumb guy along, the social guy handles the face time, etc. But everyone talks to people (Cha), everyone has to climb down those holes (Str), etc. Assuming any kind of minimal role-playing where the party isn't running around together like a SWAT team all the time, individual people are gonna want to make Wis, Int, Cha, and other skill/ability checks. If you're not doing that, you're doing it wrong.


Ernest Mueller wrote:

I don't mind point buys, though I wouldn't always choose them.

From a cherry-picking point of view, however, I contend that it is a extreme failure of a GM if all stats aren't equally useful in the game.

In fact, I think if you'll think about it, most of us (admittedly not killing goblins all day_ make a lot of INT, WIS, and CHA-based checks in a given day and few of the others.

In fact, in most Paizo APs to date if *someone* doesn't have an obscenely high CHA/Diplomacy it's going to be a real short trip. In Savage Tide you were basically screwed hard if you didn't.

Now, to an extent groups of adventurers form to cover each others' weaknesses with strengths - so the weak smart guy has a strong dumb guy along, the social guy handles the face time, etc. But everyone talks to people (Cha), everyone has to climb down those holes (Str), etc. Assuming any kind of minimal role-playing where the party isn't running around together like a SWAT team all the time, individual people are gonna want to make Wis, Int, Cha, and other skill/ability checks. If you're not doing that, you're doing it wrong.

Oh yes, i'm assuming the party has a Face (Sorceror or Rogue - probably Rogue) who handles social interaction tests and they don't dump Cha. They dump something else instead. I'm not worried about 'we need one of these in the party' stat roles. I'm worried about classes that seriously need multiple attributes to do what they're supposed to do, and thus being at a disadvantage relative to the classes that only really need 1 attribute.


I think the reason for the mixed reviews of the point-buy system is that both sides are right to a certain extent. The Pathfinder purchase system gives you a higher average score than standard 3.5 point buy, but it also puts a bigger premium on high scores, since the rate of cost increase starts rising at 14 instead of 15.

For example, a wizard built with 25 points under the 3.5 point-buy system can get an 18 by putting a 9 in one stat and accepting 10 in all the others. In PF's purchase system, the price for an 18 is an 8 if you want to accept 10 in your other scores.

I have to agree with squirreloid that the biggest problem here isn't screwing the wizard a little more. The biggest problem is that if you belong to a class that *needs* good scores in multiple abilities, you're screwed even more than the wizard. This is further exacerbated by the fact that, at higher levels, spellcasters can use magic to buff their physical stats, while the classes dependent on multiple abilities still have a problem.

I think one big problem is that the purchase system seems to assume that the "elite array" from 3.5 (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8) is the standard for a heroic fantasy campaign. Unfortunately, this adds up to 25 points under the 3.5 point-buy system, while the average array using the 4d6 method is actually between 27-28, IIRC.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Here are two sets of stats I generated yesterday. I used both the old 32 point buy and the new 20 point buy to generate similar stats. The new system forced both sets I made to be slightly lower.

These stats do not include racial adjustments.

Remake of old Barbarian/Sorcerer
Old 32: Str 15, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 14
New 20: Str 15, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 7, Cha 13

Wizard who dumps everything but Dex, Con, and Int
Old 32: Str 8, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 18, Wis 8, Cha 8
New 20: Str 7, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 18, Wis 7, Cha 7

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Jason, or Nick Logue,

The Alpha-3 rules have four ways to assign character attributes. How do you expect attributes to be assigned in Pathfinder Society organized play?


Skjaldbakka wrote:

The above is what made me think you were referring to negative numbers in general. It is pretty obvious I read you're whole post, given the direct comments on your proposal that I made. Pot, meet Kettle.

Like I said, subtracting ain't hard. I hate 4e, and so whenever someone says something like "we should do X the way 4e does" it gets under my skin.

Fair enough - lets start over.

As far as 4e goes, I do not like it (having just defected from the WotC boards), buuuut... the reason why Paizo is building it's system on the bones of 3e is in ANSWER TO 4e, and therefore, as in any war, we must know our enemy, so as to be superior to it. ;)

And among the hundreds of things they are changing, there are one or two halfway decent ideas in there.

KaeYoss wrote:
It's one of my biggest gripes with 4e. No negative stuff, no penalties, no nothing. Feels like they think we were taking the short bus to school.

I don't want anyone here to think I am an advocate of the 'new & improved' way of thinking that every PC should be a super-powered muppet. The idea that heroes are "born better" then everyone else rubs me the wrong way on so many levels. Heroes are made, and arise from the masses - starting out better then the rest of the world doesn't prove anything, except that you were born with a 'silver spoon' in your mouth.

Anyhow, my point was really that, in something artificial - like a game system - the negative numbers/modifiers can simply be avoided, by moving the centerpoint of the numeric sequence FORWARD. I have no idea how WotC plans on handling this in 4e, but If I wanted to get rid of all the negative 'adds' to char generation, for instance, I would take the LOWEST one, and use the as my baseline - so if some race gets -2 in an attribute, then instead increase everyone elses attribute by that same amount (2), and generate numbers between 3-16, rather then 3-18. It will appear like the that race doesn't get any negatives, and the others all get huge bonuses, but in reality it works out pretty much the same, accept you do eliminate some of the truly obnoxious results, like a 3 Int, which is acceptable for PCs - I don't want them to be 'super', but I don't want them to get any unplayable results either, which several of the systems also do.

Thats just one example, but it is possible to get rid of all the negative modifiers in the game WITHOUT changing the probabilites, simply by making an equivalent change across the board. In my above example, an Elf would then get +4 to Int, rather then +2 - when you roll 3D5+1 (re-roll 6's), you generate an average number of 8.5, meaning your Elf will usually have an Int of 12-13, which is above average, but not game breaking, and certainly well-within the norms for an Elf.

Thats just an example, BTW, and I certainly don't expect people to generate numbers between 3-16 - especially since that would mean using a +1 modifier, which is equally obnoxious. I would probably jack up the base line another four points and generate numbers 2-12 instead, which would eliminate any inferior stats, but keep average ones intact (the lowest a human can get would be 8 Int, in that case). An Orc would then get a +4 to Int (rather then the negative), and his highest Int would still only be 14 (but the lowest would be 6, which is fine).

Its simply another way of looking at things, is all. Many of the alternate methods normally used generate much higher stats then what I'm talking about here - I only altered the low-end a tad.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Chris Mortika wrote:

Jason, or Nick Logue,

The Alpha-3 rules have four ways to assign character attributes. How do you expect attributes to be assigned in Pathfinder Society organized play?

I think you can take it for granted that any league of organized play will not have characters with randomly generated ability scores.


It is a fair assumption, since random factors in character generation lead to unbalanced gameplay in a League type scenario. Also, it is advantageous to have non-random character generation when travelling to a game, to speed up the time it takes to register a character.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Zynete wrote:

Here are two sets of stats I generated yesterday. I used both the old 32 point buy and the new 20 point buy to generate similar stats. The new system forced both sets I made to be slightly lower.

These stats do not include racial adjustments.

Remake of old Barbarian/Sorcerer
Old 32: Str 15, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 14
New 20: Str 15, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 7, Cha 13

Wizard who dumps everything but Dex, Con, and Int
Old 32: Str 8, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 18, Wis 8, Cha 8
New 20: Str 7, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 18, Wis 7, Cha 7

Thanks for the crunch, Zynete. It really puts things in perspective for me. Question though: Are those scores all listed prior to adding racial bonuses? If they are human, the old system would get no adjustment, but the new system gets to add a +2 to something. Maybe you already factored that in, I don't know.

Personally, I've always insisted on point-buy in the games I run. I'm not entirely sure I understand what the concern about the point-buy is. That's not a criticism of the complaint mind you; I'm just not sure whether the complaint is about how the point-buy is resolved or that there is a point-buy at all.

If the complaint is that the new system is not good, well, I understand. Though I admit I've grown comfortable with the standard 3.5 system, I'm really not sweating the difference in the two. One seems to be about as good as the other.


Zynete wrote:

Here are two sets of stats I generated yesterday. I used both the old 32 point buy and the new 20 point buy to generate similar stats. The new system forced both sets I made to be slightly lower.

These stats do not include racial adjustments.

Remake of old Barbarian/Sorcerer
Old 32: Str 15, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 14
New 20: Str 15, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 7, Cha 13

Wizard who dumps everything but Dex, Con, and Int
Old 32: Str 8, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 18, Wis 8, Cha 8
New 20: Str 7, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 18, Wis 7, Cha 7

The one thing I notice is that you're still optimizing to even stats. That does indeed cost more, an extra one at each even stat starting at 14. With 32 point buy you have a lot more points going in, kinda forcing them up higher. 25 and 28 point buy are much closer in PF than 32 for that reason.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Shaun Kelso wrote:
Thanks for the crunch, Zynete. It really puts things in perspective for me. Question though: Are those scores all listed prior to adding racial bonuses? If they are human, the old system would get no adjustment, but the new system gets to add a +2 to something. Maybe you already factored that in, I don't know.

As mentioned above the numbers, I didn't add the racial modifiers at that point (Although I built the first assuming that he would be a half-orc, and I really didn't think about what the second would be). I believe I added them up right.

The Barbarian/Sorcerer was an example character that wants multiple high stats and few stats that are low. I still needed Dex for AC with light armor, high Int because after the -2 Intelligence from Half-orc I still wanted more than a single skill point from sorcerer levels, the other stats needed pretty good scores so all I had to drop to minimum was Wisdom.

For the other character all I was trying for was a character that focused on one stat and only cared about a couple others.


drashal wrote:
Rambling Scribe wrote:
My only concern with the new point buy is that a lot of players will go for the super-dump of 7 in their low stat so that they get the extra bonus points. Inevitably for 80% of characters that will be charisma.

An as a Dm you should start having your npcs recacted to said 7 aka -2 on all social skills Ex price should climb ,negitve reactions from NPCs, , them not finding vital clues out(bad Diplomacy checks),to out right lack of trust of the PCs.

Dont get me wrong playing a low stat can be fun but if your players do it on a regular basis then by all means make the pay for it,

I have a small group of players and is quite difficult to find more in my area, if I were to pull something like this they will just stop comming to play, its not fun to anyone if the DM starts acting like this.

I like to climb in the wagon of people that dont like the new point buy system.

Silver Crusade

I like the point buy. Seen too many fights between the player who rolled well, and the person who didn't.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Majuba wrote:
The one thing I notice is that you're still optimizing to even stats. That does indeed cost more, an extra one at each even stat starting at 14. With 32 point buy you have a lot more points going in, kinda forcing them up higher. 25 and 28 point buy are much closer in PF than 32 for that reason.

For the second one I think that it was just an artifact of me dropping three stats to minimum and raising one to maximum. With 32 point buy I guess I could have made the Dexterity and Constitution to 15, but I really didn't feel like the person creating a character full of dump stats would leave these two at odd numbers. With the new 20 point that was one of my only options to spend that last 15 points. I could have made them a 17 and a 12, but I was shooting for a more even combination.

The Barb/Sorc, yeah. The 32 point buy I think pushed me toward the even stats. The 20 point was better in this manner I think.

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