Point buy vs. 4d6 drop the low


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I really like rolling stats, however in practice, I can't seem to make it work. It's not the low-stat characters that are the problem, it's the high stat.

With 6+ players there's always at least one character with stats like: 18 17 17 16 15 13

Even if most other characters look like: 15 14 14 13 11 8. Those stats are better than the standard array but I still can't provide challenges that will challenge both characters equally.

If I allow rerolls or such, it pushes everyone's scores up, including the ridiculously high ones. If I boost everyone's stats to be in line with the high roller, I might as well just point-buy with 60 points and run an insanely high powered game.


I'd like to add an observation I have made. It seems that among those that favor point buy there is a claim that dice stacking (methods to reduce low rolls) defeat the purpose of rolling (randomness) and if you do that you should just switch to point buy. Oddly, I find these methods a way of implementing one of the few things about point buy that I like - a hard minimum on stats. In PF point buy you cannot drop a stat below 7.

As a tangent to this, I've noticed that one of the arguments frequently made in favor of point buy it is reduces the disparity in character stats. I find it odd that when an attempt to reduce this disparity in rolled stats is applied (dice stacking to raise minimum stats) it is decried as being wrong, but limiting the potential to achieve high stats with point buy is touted as an enlightened solution. In other words, it's wrong to raise the minimum but perfectly acceptable to lower the maximum.

Most of the problems with rolling vs point buy are rooted in the scale. The d20 stats scale from 1-18+ (a 1 is technically possible with a low die roll and high negative racial modifier) This creates an illusion that an 8 is pretty bad compared to an 18. However in game mechanics terms the actual difference between that 8 and 18 is 5 points of stat mod. Not all that much, and equal to 25% chance on a d20 roll. The entire modifier scale goes from -4 to to +4(+) which is a range of 40% on a d20 roll. (I think my math on those is right, but if I'm off it's going to be by 5%)

All the numerical blabbering in the preceding paragraph boils down to the perceived difference in the stats is not the same as the mechanical difference in the stats.

I tried d20 point buy once and will not go back to it. That's not to say I haven't been happy using point buy in other systems. My problem with d20 point buy is that it is locked and isolated. Other point buy I have used and liked has either used one point pool for stats, skills, and abilities, given a pool of free points that could be spent on stats, skills, or abilities in addition to a fixed stat point pool, or had a priority system where you could vary the point pool by prioritizing it against other options like race, ability to use magic and wealth.

As a side note, as a DM I am not in favor of re-roll 1s. I do however have minimum stat rules. No stat can be below a 7 after racial modifiers and a minimum total (of all 6 stats) modifier of +2 before racial modifiers is required. The modifier minimum not being met results in a complete re-roll of all 6 stats.

As for the "vs" issue, the play style you prefer is the right one for you.


I like rolling for the stats too. What our group does is roll 4d6 re-roll 1's and everyone does 1 column. Then take one of those columns and use that for everyone. The DM has the right to not allow a Column if one person rolled like 3 18's or something crazy (Standard DM power LOL). All in all it makes it so that its like a point buy were everyone has the same start. With the bonus of rolling. I find that works well. With the campaign were playing now 5 people rolled and the stats they chose were 18 16 14 12 12 12 making it high powered but not crazy. Though we prefer higher stats but not crazy.

Just my 2 cents.

Liberty's Edge

High rollers are kind of the bane of stat-rolling games, and it's hard to know what to do next. If you have a player who rolls some ridiculously high array like 18 17 17 16 15 13, may I make a suggestion or two?

Allow that player to trade with the others (or allow all players to trade). Maybe the guy who rolled well just wants to keep an 18 for his wizard, and couldn't care less about what the other numbers are. That's cool. I bet somebody else would be glad to have a 17 or 16 for their character. If you trade attributes, then the players kind of build up their sense of party and their characters before the game ever starts. It helps create a unified group.

You can also, instead of trading stats around to make the party better, take the flag of natural inequality and run with it. Make the all-star stat guy the main character of the game. Make the big enemies target him first because he's so famous. Challenge him more than any other character. Either the rest of the group will rush to his aid (and they'll feel great about Mr. High Stats needing their help) or they won't (and Mr. High Stats dies, so you can start afresh).


Prefer the 2d6 + 6 system to roll up characters. Above avenger score, but still a factor of randomness.


RMR wrote:
The DM has the right to not allow a Column if one person rolled like 3 18's or something crazy (Standard DM power LOL).

This bothers me.

If you're doing dice rolling, you've already accepted that some people are going to have high stats and others are going to have low. If you're going to DM fiat out the lows and highs, why even bother rolling them? Especially if you're just fiating out the high rolls? That's rediculous.


I prefer dice rolling. I have several reasons: I think it's much quicker (although it can't be done at home), it's more varied and interesting, and I don't like character builds and similar characters with the same dump stats (low CHA etc.).

My ideal system would be players roll 3d6 (or 4d6h3) in order, then swap two stats around to suit the class you want to play. Unfortunately, this really doesn't work well with the d20 system, since the modifiers are reasonably large (-4 to +4) and you really need them in the range +1 to +3 for powering class abilities. If I was going to change the game, I'd change how the modifiers were used, rather than the way of generating them.

Early D&D didn't really use modifiers the same way, and you only got a minor bonus for having a good ability score; this meant that a STR 9 fighter and a STR 18 fighter were really pretty on par, and most of your actual power came from the class rather than the stats. Suddenly 3d6 in order doesn't really matter so much, and you don't have to panic if you didn't roll well. This didn't mean that having a high ability score was not worthwhile, just that it wasn't critical to your success.

As for character builds... the truth is that I'm just no good at it, and I spend ages stressing over whether I've made the right choice (same reason I don't like most feats). Rolling removes all the worrying, and helps to differentiate characters. If I wanted a high powered game then I'd go for 6+2d6, which would probably work well with PF's requirements.

Incidentally, if you want randomness and fairness with rolling, then you can do something like the following: roll 2d6, and then subtract that number from 14, giving you a pair of numbers between 2-12, that add up to 14. You can then add 6 to them to get something between 8-18. E.g. 2d6 gives 5, then 14-5=9, giving you 11 and 15. Repeat 3 times, and you have 6 randomly generated numbers that add up to an exact number, same as point buy.

Silver Crusade

This is about the millionth time this topic has come up.

Some people like point buy, some like rolling.

Rollers like it because it adds an air of excitement to character gen and they like the randomness of it.

Point buyers like the fairness that point buy brings.

Rollers dislike point buy because it can produce samey characters with no weaknesses.

Point buyers dislike rolling because it can produce wildly different power levels within a group.

Both systems are equally valid.

Can we discuss something else now please?


Just ran a test on the various dice rolled methods and as a former die roll advocate I may have to eat my words on how it is more fun, but I still can see the merit.

Single d20 blew. I cannot see any plausible way person could run with these stats: 1,13,3,3,6,1. Ouch. Only if the character is a wise cricket.

4d6 drop low: 9,11,13,8,17,12. Roughly the same as a 20 or so buy. A very playable with open possiblity, but maybe not the best spread. He is healthy,extremely wise, and quite charismatic. Should have spent a little more time in the books and under the weights as a kid though.

3d6 straight: 9,4,11,8,12,10. You will need to be in a pretty unheroic campaign for this one. this probably what most people look like in the real world,lol.

2d6+6: 11,16,14,11,18,15. This seems too open to overpowered characters. While random, it seemed to favor high stats or balanced or low possibles. This would have made an amazing set for any wis based character. I would have used it for a ranger, monk, or cleric. This before any modifiers for race have been added,so this guy would pretty unreal depending on what the focus was to be.

Was kinda fun to put them to side by side test.


FallofCamelot wrote:

This is about the millionth time this topic has come up.

Some people like point buy, some like rolling.

Rollers like it because it adds an air of excitement to character gen and they like the randomness of it.

Point buyers like the fairness that point buy brings.

Rollers dislike point buy because it can produce samey characters with no weaknesses.

Point buyers dislike rolling because it can produce wildly different power levels within a group.

Both systems are equally valid.

Can we discuss something else now please?

I would add one more thing:

A player who has no qualms about assigning his character a 7 Cha in a point buy system would also have no qualms about assigning his character a 7 Cha in a dice rolling system.

Liberty's Edge

Happler wrote:

I am just curious on what peoples opinions are. Which would you rather have for character creation; Point buy or 4d6 drop the low? Also, why?

Personally I like the point buy with 20 points. I feel that it makes for a nice balanced party where all players can easily have their time in the sun, without 1 character being the "lead" and everyone else feeling like "support cast".

I say this as I have been in too many games where dice roll was used and (after calculating everything out) one or two characters had point buy equivalents in the 40+ while some others where in the 10-20 range (due to poor rolling).

As I said, just curious.

4D6 only. We've been using that rule since AD&D. Party loves it because it adds flavor to a character. I once had a player who had a cleric with a 4 dexterity. Turned out to be one of the best PC's ever in my campaign. He used that 4 dex as a reason for his character having a club foot - which led to NPC's calling him demon tainted (funny considering he was a LG cleric of St Cuthbert)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Just an added note, I've seen some other methods of rolling stats, so here's all the ones I can remember, and what the min/max/average is (or tends to be).

3d6 straight up
Averages 10.5 (3.5*3)
Minimum is 3 (1 in 216 chance)
Maximum is 18 (1 in 216 chance)

4d6 drop lowest
Average is about 12.2 (very complex math)
Minimum is 3 (1 in 1296 chance)
Maximum is 18 (1 in 62 chance, approximately)

3d6 reroll ones
Averages 12 (4*3)
Minimum is 6 (1 in 125 chance)
Maximum is 18 (1 in 125 chance)

4d4+2 straight up
Average is 12 (2.5*4+2)
Minimum is 6 (1 in 256 chance)
Maximum is 18 (1 in 256 chance)

So, as you can see from the above, the reroll 1's is actually pretty borked, it shrinks down the range of values, and it skews the average up by 1.5 points.

The 4d6 drop lowest is also fairly skewed, as it turns it from a bell curve (which all the others are) into a sloped curve (you're much more likely to get a high roll than a low roll using this method). Also, note that it's much easier to get an 18 than a 3 in that method. There's 21 ways to get an 18 on 4d6 drop lowest, but only one way to get a 3.

To me, the best method is the 4d6+2. It's a straight bell curve that's had it's midpoint raised from 10.5 to 12. That means your stats will be peppered evenly around 12, and most will be in the 10 to 14 range, with a few in the 8 to 16 range, and rarely an 18 or an 6.


ProfessorCirno wrote:
RMR wrote:
The DM has the right to not allow a Column if one person rolled like 3 18's or something crazy (Standard DM power LOL).

This bothers me.

If you're doing dice rolling, you've already accepted that some people are going to have high stats and others are going to have low. If you're going to DM fiat out the lows and highs, why even bother rolling them? Especially if you're just fiating out the high rolls? That's rediculous.

I agree with this.

If you're going to roll, well, you're gonna get great rolls and some really bad ones. Something I might do, would be to make 7 the minimum. Still, that would mean someone could be looking at an array with three 7s...

I do like PB, then I at least know where the low stat is going :)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
loaba wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
RMR wrote:
The DM has the right to not allow a Column if one person rolled like 3 18's or something crazy (Standard DM power LOL).

This bothers me.

If you're doing dice rolling, you've already accepted that some people are going to have high stats and others are going to have low. If you're going to DM fiat out the lows and highs, why even bother rolling them? Especially if you're just fiating out the high rolls? That's rediculous.

I agree with this.

If you're going to roll, well, you're gonna get great rolls and some really bad ones. Something I might do, would be to make 7 the minimum. Still, that would mean someone could be looking at an array with three 7s...

I do like PB, then I at least know where the low stat is going :)

That's my biggest gripe with PB. I keep seeing PB builds wehre people play say, a fighter, and have 18 STR, 18 CON, 12 DEX, 6 CHA, 6 INT, and 8 WIS. Or a 6 STR 6 INT, 18 CHA sorcerer.

If you have two or more stats at 6, you wouldn't be an adventurer. What you're playing when you do that is playing a character who couldn't function from day to day in the real world. Want an example of someone with a 6 str 6 dex but 18 int and wisdom? Steven Hawking comes to mind. As much as I admire Mr. Hawking, he's not able to go out and slay dragons or adventure.

When the array is more balanced, say 16/14/14/12/10/8 I'm ok with that. But I've had too many players in my 23 years of GMing who use a sliderule to maximize their main ability by minimizing their secondary abilities to the point of being unrealistic. Even setting a minimum doesn't work if they're going to minimize 3 stats to boost 2 others.

And before you say it, yes, you can get three 6's rolling stats. I generally don't let a character start with those stats, because they're unplayable. I generally have the reroll.

PS : Not a flame at the person I replied to, just that he was the most recent one to make the comment.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've been doing 20 point-buy for some time, although I still remember the AD&D/AD&D2E days of random rolling. Lately, I've been thinking of trying something a little different: all the players roll a set of stats (4d6, drop the lowest) and decide which roll-up they like the best. All the players get the same array based on the roll-up they jointly decided was "best", arranging the scores as desired. Randomness+equality=interesting possibility . . .

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

My group recently made the jump from 4d6 drop the lowest to point buy (20 point) and I have to say I like point buy more in general after getting used to it.

I've had some flat out disgusting characters because of rolling, but I've also ended up with something that would just not be enjoyable.

A fighter with 18/18/18/14/14/14 (HobGob)after racial bonuses were applied.

A rogue with the highest stat of a 10 :x.

20 point means you can get your core stat and a secondary up "good enough" without being OP, and you normally don't have to sacrifice much.

Scarab Sages

Why require them all to use the same array? Players of MAD classes might prefer an array with two 16s as the highest stats over an array with an 18 and a 13 as the two highest stats (assuming the other 4 stats were the same or at least functionally equivalent in both arrays), even though both pairs have the same point-buy cost. I think it would be better to have everyone roll and then let each player choose any array--something that has been suggested and seconded by several people already in this thread.

Rhys Grey wrote:
I've been doing 20 point-buy for some time, although I still remember the AD&D/AD&D2E days of random rolling. Lately, I've been thinking of trying something a little different: all the players roll a set of stats (4d6, drop the lowest) and decide which roll-up they like the best. All the players get the same array based on the roll-up they jointly decided was "best", arranging the scores as desired. Randomness+equality=interesting possibility . . .


mdt wrote:

That's my biggest gripe with PB. I keep seeing PB builds wehre people play say, a fighter, and have 18 STR, 18 CON, 12 DEX, 6 CHA, 6 INT, and 8 WIS. Or a 6 STR 6 INT, 18 CHA sorcerer.

If you have two or more stats at 6, you wouldn't be an adventurer. What you're playing when you do that is playing a character who couldn't function from day to day in the real world. Want an example of someone with a 6 str 6 dex but 18 int and wisdom? Steven Hawking comes to mind. As much as I admire Mr. Hawking, he's not able to go out and slay dragons or adventure.

When the array is more balanced, say 16/14/14/12/10/8 I'm ok with that. But I've had too many players in my 23 years of GMing who use a sliderule to maximize their main ability by minimizing their secondary abilities to the point of being unrealistic. Even setting a minimum doesn't work if they're going to minimize 3 stats to boost 2 others.

And before you say it, yes, you can get three 6's rolling stats. I generally don't let a character start with those stats, because they're unplayable. I generally have the reroll.

PS : Not a flame at the person I replied to, just that he was the most recent one to make the comment.

This isn't a point buy gripe, though.

If that fighter had rolled three high numbers and three low numbrs, they'd go right in the same place.

This is a D&D gripe due to the game over-rewarding specialization. It's why it's been growing more popular for people to decry "Death to ability scores," because, as they are now in just about every edition, you're outright punished for making a well rounded character.

Liberty's Edge

This is why I'm trying to figure out how to eliminate ability score modifiers completely, and still have a great game. The modifier system seemed so logical and so awesome when 3.0 first came out, but it really does reward specialization more than need be.


In my campaign I looked for both variety and option AND randomness, thereforefore I created six separate bell curves where you can only use a single bell curve on a single stat, and you have to decide ahead of time. This way you will get a good score on your most favored stat BUT can still get a great stat on your 'dump' attribute. (Dump attribute bell curve is a straight 3d6.)

You get to create stats for two characters and to pick one to use.

Each ability score for your character is rolled using a different method. Use each method below once for a single ability; this way each ability has a different bell curve.

1.3d6 (six times) use highest roll (range = 3-18)
2.4d6 (highest 3 dice, reroll the 1’s) (range = 6-18)
3.3d6 (four times) (reroll the 1’s) (range = 6-18) Ave 12
4.3d6 (two times) (+2) (reroll the 1’s) (range = 6-20) Ave 14
5.3d6 No Modifiers (range = 3-18) Ave 10.5 – Minimum “6”
6.3d6 (“6”=”7”) (range = 3-21) Ave

If I roll for my players or watch them roll, then they get max HP. If I ever get a really, bad set of six stats, then the second character is obviously better (although I can throw out a bad second character without letting the Player know I gave him a break in order to give him better options.)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
ProfessorCirno wrote:


This isn't a point buy gripe, though.

If that fighter had rolled three high numbers and three low numbrs, they'd go right in the same place.

This is a D&D gripe due to the game over-rewarding specialization. It's why it's been growing more popular for people to decry "Death to ability scores," because, as they are now in just about every edition, you're outright punished for making a well rounded character.

That's a straw man argument, sorry.

Let's look at it this way. If I roll 3 good stats and 3 bad stats, yes, the 3 bad stats will go in the fighter's 'dump' stats. However, it is VERY unlikely that I'll end up randomly with :

16/16/16/7/7/7

The chances of getting that stat array (assuming a straight 3d6 roll) are 2.78% * 2.78% * 2.78% * 6.94% * 6.94% * 6.94% (Chance of rolling a 16 on 3d6 is 6 in 216, and of rolling a 7 is 15 in 216) which is to say 0.000000718146% (Or damn near 0).

The chances of me getting that same stat array in a PB if I say Minimum is 7, Maximum is 16, is darn near 100%.

So really, the argument that 'if you rolled that, you'd see the same distribution' is a strawman. The point is, people who min-max their stats will almost always end up with stats that blow the idea of a bell curve to heck and back.

If I roll randomly, and I expect a bell curve average, I should get something like 15, 13, 11, 9, 8, 7 if I average the scores in order from largest to smallest. That is, if I roll 100 sets of stats, and average the highest roll across them all, I expect something like 15. If I average the lowest I expect something like 7, and so on.

PB exacerbates the issue of dump stats, and you almost always end up with cookie-cutter characters who have almost identical unrealistic stats.


mdt wrote:

Let's look at it this way. If I roll 3 good stats and 3 bad stats, yes, the 3 bad stats will go in the fighter's 'dump' stats. However, it is VERY unlikely that I'll end up randomly with :

16/16/16/7/7/7

I don't know what to tell you, Señor -- I'm playing in 5 games: four using point buy to generate characters and one using dice rolling. Guess which character has a 7 Charisma...


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
hogarth wrote:
mdt wrote:

Let's look at it this way. If I roll 3 good stats and 3 bad stats, yes, the 3 bad stats will go in the fighter's 'dump' stats. However, it is VERY unlikely that I'll end up randomly with :

16/16/16/7/7/7

I don't know what to tell you, Señor -- I'm playing in 5 games: four using point buy to generate characters and one using dice rolling. Guess which character has a 7 Charisma...

:)

Then you are blessed with players who concentrate on Role and not Roll.

I've had an even mix, and the problem occurs when the ROLLs min/max and the ROLEs keep feeling like they can't be of any use because they have a 14 str instead of an 18.


Lyrax wrote:
This is why I'm trying to figure out how to eliminate ability score modifiers completely, and still have a great game. The modifier system seemed so logical and so awesome when 3.0 first came out, but it really does reward specialization more than need be.

I'm not sure how it would work, since d20 currently relies on a strong interaction between positive ability modifiers and class abilities, but you're unlikely to have all the +s you really want across the board.

I would aim for something along the lines of needing a 9 in a relevant ability to do class things, and a 13 (probably no more than that!) to do more interesting things, but the actual number of rounds or uses per day of anything being fixed. The whole thing suddenly becomes much simpler to keep track of, but less prone to abuse, and still maintains the flavour (perhaps even more so as it is less numerical).

Shadow Lodge

mdt wrote:
Want an example of someone with a 6 str 6 dex but 18 int and wisdom? Steven Hawking comes to mind.

I think you're vastly overestimating his STR and DEX scores. And I doubt his WIS is really much above average.


Kthulhu wrote:
mdt wrote:
Want an example of someone with a 6 str 6 dex but 18 int and wisdom? Steven Hawking comes to mind.
I think you're vastly overestimating his STR and DEX scores. And I doubt is WIS is really much above average.

I don't know about his WIS, but he is STR 0, DEX 0, considering that he can't move at all (STR may be higher, since the problem is that his nerves can't communicate to his muscles).

Also, I remember reading an essay somewhere (on the Alexandrian perhaps?) that discussed Einstein, and showed that it was quite possible that he was a only level 4 or 5 expert, since he could reach knowledge (physics) 8 (skill ranks) + 3 (skill focus) + 4 (ability mod) = 15, thus allowing him to answer difficult questions every time, and take 20 to produce groundbreaking research (DC 35?) Stephen Hawking is probably the same, and only has 5 HP due to his rubbish CON and some bad rolls. Surprising when you think about it.


Chovesh wrote:


1.3d6 (six times) use highest roll (range = 3-18)
2.4d6 (highest 3 dice, reroll the 1’s) (range = 6-18)
3.3d6 (four times) (reroll the 1’s) (range = 6-18) Ave 12
4.3d6 (two times) (+2) (reroll the 1’s) (range = 6-20) Ave 14
5.3d6 No Modifiers (range = 3-18) Ave 10.5 – Minimum “6”
6.3d6 (“6”=”7”) (range = 3-21) Ave

This method just yielded the following...

17
16
15
16
17
8

That 8 looks so out of place. If these stats were in order, then I guess it would be right at home. I dunno, but I feel dirty just looking at this kind of spread.

Sovereign Court

I see the "cookie cutter" attacks are back in full force. A low score does not obligate someone to play their character "retarded." A 6 is very doable not necessarily a desired stat score but you can do this. There is an entire thread going on right now about this. Is it cheesy? Yeah I think so. Personally I never take a score below 8 myself and usually only one. The game system however devotes a lion's share of the rules to tactical combat. I can hardly blame players for wanting to do this.

As for "cookie cutter," so rolling stats, (which for the majority of folks out there is the only random part of their character), is random and somehow not cookie cutter? Do you roll for age, sex, race, class too? The class abilities, skills, feats all rolled on as well? Sorry I am just not buying it. Most stat rollers have so many back doors in place to ensure good stats that its not really all that random. I have taken the stance with games now that if the players and GM want to roll its gotta be all or nothing.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Pan wrote:

I see the "cookie cutter" attacks are back in full force. A low score does not obligate someone to play their character "retarded." A 6 is very doable not necessarily a desired stat score but you can do this. There is an entire thread going on right now about this. Is it cheesy? Yeah I think so. Personally I never take a score below 8 myself and usually only one. The game system however devotes a lion's share of the rules to tactical combat. I can hardly blame players for wanting to do this.

As for "cookie cutter," so rolling stats, (which for the majority of folks out there is the only random part of their character), is random and somehow not cookie cutter? Do you roll for age, sex, race, class too? The class abilities, skills, feats all rolled on as well? Sorry I am just not buying it. Most stat rollers have so many back doors in place to ensure good stats that its not really all that random. I have taken the stance with games now that if the players and GM want to roll its gotta be all or nothing.

There is a difference between 'similar' and 'nearly cloned'.

With rolling, the numbers don't always end up being the same. That is, PB for a fighter tends to look something like 16/14/16/8/10/6. If you survey 30 PB fighters, you'll find that most of them have 2 stats (usually mental) below 10. Why? Because then you can force your physical stats up. With rolling, you will still find the lower scores in the mental stats, but, it is less common to see multiple stats below 10, and rarely will the stats be the same numbers.


In the game I'm running I had the players use 4d6 drop the lowest, assign as you please. I allowed rerolls if the total modifiers were +2 or less. This allowed for moderately powerful stats and gave players the option to pick the class they wanted to play. It's supposed to be a world saving heroic campaign, without resorting to 25+ PB or it's equivalent. I agree that most people who support rolling their stats have so many back doors for not ending up w/ crap rolls, that they might as well just pick their stats. That's why I limit rerolls.

In the game I just started playing in (Serpent's Skull AP), the GM had us roll 4d6, drop the lowest, 8 times. We could drop any two rolls we wanted, but they had to be placed in order otherwise. For example, this is what I got (besides lucky): 8, 16, 15, 14, 16, 11, 12, 15. I wanted to play a human Rogue/Fighter, so I dropped the 8 and the 11, added my +2 to dex and ended up with 16, 17, 14, 16, 12, 15. Not too shabby. In fact, I was surprised, it really didn't fit my character concept, and I didn't want to outshine the fellow players so I voluntarily dropped my Int to 15 and my Cha to 13. Still way above average, but a little more balanced ( not by much, I'll admit).

Shadow Lodge

spaceLem wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
mdt wrote:
Want an example of someone with a 6 str 6 dex but 18 int and wisdom? Steven Hawking comes to mind.
I think you're vastly overestimating his STR and DEX scores. And I doubt is WIS is really much above average.
I don't know about his WIS, but he is STR 0, DEX 0, considering that he can't move at all (STR may be higher, since the problem is that his nerves can't communicate to his muscles).

Perhaps early on, but given that he hasn't actually used his muscles in more than a decade, it's a safe assumption that they've all atrophied away to nothing.

Sovereign Court

mdt wrote:
Pan wrote:

I see the "cookie cutter" attacks are back in full force. A low score does not obligate someone to play their character "retarded." A 6 is very doable not necessarily a desired stat score but you can do this. There is an entire thread going on right now about this. Is it cheesy? Yeah I think so. Personally I never take a score below 8 myself and usually only one. The game system however devotes a lion's share of the rules to tactical combat. I can hardly blame players for wanting to do this.

As for "cookie cutter," so rolling stats, (which for the majority of folks out there is the only random part of their character), is random and somehow not cookie cutter? Do you roll for age, sex, race, class too? The class abilities, skills, feats all rolled on as well? Sorry I am just not buying it. Most stat rollers have so many back doors in place to ensure good stats that its not really all that random. I have taken the stance with games now that if the players and GM want to roll its gotta be all or nothing.

There is a difference between 'similar' and 'nearly cloned'.

With rolling, the numbers don't always end up being the same. That is, PB for a fighter tends to look something like 16/14/16/8/10/6. If you survey 30 PB fighters, you'll find that most of them have 2 stats (usually mental) below 10. Why? Because then you can force your physical stats up. With rolling, you will still find the lower scores in the mental stats, but, it is less common to see multiple stats below 10, and rarely will the stats be the same numbers.

Similar or exact clones makes no difference. When it comes down to RP I have never seen two fighters alike. And if I did it would be because they do not RP. Divorce your stats from your RP friend. You will be much better off.


Me and my Players switched over to point buy a little while ago, and they were against it at first, but eventually they grew into it, now they enjoy the ability to build a character to exact specifications. We even use a variant health system where health goes up based on Hit Die in Descending Order


I kinda love the thrill of rolling the dice myself. I mean its a bit of a rush I feel. As I reflect on all the characters I have rolled up over the last 25+ years of gaming the ones I have enjoyed playing the most were not the ones with power stats. My fighter with the freakish 18/00 strength was fun for sure but the best ones were the oddball characters.

Currently we have a sorcerer in our party with a freakish 20 strength. Thats both fun to play and ... well ... more interesting.

I vote roll!


I've said it before and I will say it again, I prefer dice rolling. Players will produce significantly more powerful characters in my experience using even a 15 point buy than they will rolling my prefered method (3 sets, 4d6, pick best set). They are less likely to have a 20, reducing their peak power, but their low stats are likely to be higher, producing more survivability. I did an experiment with my players, having them make characters with 25, 20, 15 point buy and my rolling. Only 1 character came out with a better set of stats rolling than the 20 point buy, but point ranges are from 19 to 38 points, with most in 23-28 range. And all the players were happier with their rolled stats.


I've also said it before and will say it again: I love to roll for stats. Point buy just bores the bejesus out of me. I don't want to be able to pick and choose what my strengths and weaknesses are going to be. I don't want to have every character look pretty much the same, depending on what class I'm playing. And knowing that everyone is the group is using the same method, and will therefore be maximizing on the stats most important to that class always makes me feel like I need to do the same thing in order to effectively participate.

Sure, it sucks if you roll a truly pitiful character with only 1 bonus modifier but I'd never play with a DM who'd force me to stick to those rolls, especially if others did really well. Besides, the most interesting PCs I've ever played or seen played were those who had to figure out ways to deal with their shortcomings.

Unfortunately, I'm increasingly in the minority on this opinion and it's getting harder and harder to find a group at all, much less one that's willing to deal with rolled up stats.


Krallek wrote:

I kinda love the thrill of rolling the dice myself. I mean its a bit of a rush I feel. As I reflect on all the characters I have rolled up over the last 25+ years of gaming the ones I have enjoyed playing the most were not the ones with power stats. My fighter with the freakish 18/00 strength was fun for sure but the best ones were the oddball characters.

Currently we have a sorcerer in our party with a freakish 20 strength. Thats both fun to play and ... well ... more interesting.

I vote roll!

I think the player makes the character interesting more so than the dice does.


Wander Weir wrote:

I don't want to have every character look pretty much the same, depending on what class I'm playing. And knowing that everyone is the group is using the same method, and will therefore be maximizing on the stats most important to that class always makes me feel like I need to do the same thing in order to effectively participate.

That is a group/person thing, not a dice thing. You(anyone) can choose a concept and base the point buy around the concept. You can have an intelligent fight by giving up a little strength and con. He could be RP'd as thinking violence is for savages, but at the same time knowing that he must stoop to their level at times to get a point across.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think people should try 4d5, drop nothing. You get a nice even bell curve, and the stats are between 4-20, with either extreme being a fairly rare event.


I see strengths and weaknesses in both systems. Dice rolling incorporates too much variance which can lead to strife in groups when one PC has wildly better stats than the statistical average and the rest of the group. This problem has been reduced as I've aged but it was significant issue when I was younger.

Point-buy is arguably more fair but like other people have said it tends to reward specialization over talented generalist especially when you factor in the increased benefit of placing your racial bonus on your highest stat. This is heightened by the relative imbalance between ability scores where a low constitution is a significant burden on player longevity but many players can effectively short circuit the negatives of a low intelligence or charisma (wisdom being central to arguably the most important save is less easy to dump).

I'm actually beginning to come around to generating a standard array (although I don't particularly care for the standard 15-point array as it has too many uneven scores) or a choice of 3 arrays for the PCs to choose from ala 4e. That way you are less likely to see extreme specialization in PCs at the cost of some customization.


Why is specialization frowned upon? In our world those who get degrees, and keep going to school are specializing. It also makes sense within the game to do so. That does not mean you have to make the most powerful character you can, but if you are on my team in anything I would like to know I have someone I can depend on.


I prefer point buy when I have specific concept in mind. I know that I'll be optimizing it to a certain degree and I can tailor my image accordingly (e.g., I know my fighter will necessarily be reckless since I'm dumping Wisdom in favor of Strength). Rolling dice can be fun but I hate the disparity when one player has high scores and I don't (knowing this, I prefer to not know everyone else's scores).


I really don't grasp the statement of "I love rolling stats it's so random! And if you get low stats the DM lets you reroll!" You are literally stating "I love random! I love even more when it's not completely random!"


ProfessorCirno wrote:
I really don't grasp the statement of "I love rolling stats it's so random! And if you get low stats the DM lets you reroll!" You are literally stating "I love random! I love even more when it's not completely random!"

It's because variety in your "dump stats" (i.e. not your "prime requisite" stats) is more interesting than variety in your main stat.


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wraithstrike wrote:
Why is specialization frowned upon? In our world those who get degrees, and keep going to school are specializing. It also makes sense within the game to do so. That does not mean you have to make the most powerful character you can, but if you are on my team in anything I would like to know I have someone I can depend on.

I don't mind specialization to a certain degree but the d20 system by it's very nature tends to reward hyper-specialization (higher DCs, better defenses, better skill checks, more DPR)and punish the talented generalist (the converse of the above). Yes extreme ability score require a ton of points under a point buy system but the core design is that many of the best classes can excel with only one or possibly two ability scores.

For example the Mage character gets a ton of benefit for boosting starting intelligence to 18 or 20 and while his other scores take a hit many of them have limited impact on his functionality within the game. In contrast the talented generalist that has a 14 intelligence and bunch of 12s is decidedly inferior even though it is a perfectly valid choice within the fantasy genre to have a wizard with strength 12 or charisma 14.

The problem is essentially tied to the risk vs rewards of specialization. Because the specialist is always assumed to be traveling in a pack with other specialists it's assumed that even though you might be deficient in one area that another character can cover your weaknesses in another area. As such there is only limited penalties for being a specialist and collectively big penalties for playing a generalist (a team of 4 specialists with overlapping strengths and weaknesses is much stronger than 4 generalists).

Now some of this is done to reinforce party roles and class niches but I'm not sure that should be pervasive to the point of ability scores. I think it's gotten to the point where it actually constrains player creativity because there is an arms race to be the most effective specialist. Niche protection should be more of a function of class abilities rather than ability scores. That way you can justify a wider variety of character concepts without forcing them to be deliberately substandard mechanically.

Random generation has a ton of inherent problems but it also produced a more interesting collection of ability scores especially when you go with some of the alternative generation methods. You often get more organic character than the race to the bottom encouraged by point buy.


ProfessorCirno wrote:
I really don't grasp the statement of "I love rolling stats it's so random! And if you get low stats the DM lets you reroll!" You are literally stating "I love random! I love even more when it's not completely random!"

I take it to mean that people like random generation as long as there is some accepted floor to how inept the PC can be. Having sat through old school 1e campaigns where players would b$&&! endlessly about "abyssmal scores" and "unplayable characters" often to the point of intentionally suiciding characters (even if it meant screwing the rest of the party) I can definitely see why some DMs set a floor to how low the scores can go.

Personally I think they should also be willing to set ceilings on how good the PC can be (using z-scores and everything ;)) but people like getting stuff they don't like losing stuff and people also like the allure of winning the lottery.

Basically a floor is giving them a chance to win the lottery while insuring that they don't lose their shirt in the process.

From a player psychology perspective it makes perfect sense to me :D


vuron wrote:
points about players specializing more than he likes

I think it is better to use an array if that is an issue for you. It keeps everyone even, as much as possible, and without resorting to point-buy.

Normally unless there the generalization is very extreme then both types can play together. I have had players that have tried to be good at everything, and resulted with them being good at nothing.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Had to roll up this past weekend, first time in years: 18, 17, 17, 16, 14, 13. 51 pts! Campaign rules allow me to adjust to 18, 17, 16, 16, 14, 14. The best anyone else did was a 35 pt character. Two players were under 20 pts.

Still prefer point buy...


As a DM I don't really care if two characters are built identically so long as they are roleplayed differently.

I have seen two characters with different stats and even of different classes, roleplayed effectively identically. So much so that in memory, I sometimes forget which was involved in which parts of the adventure and at times forget that it wasn't just the first guy the whole way through.

Saying that point buy makes characters identical or that rolling makes them diverse does not fly with me. I've seen enough evidence to the contrary.

Sovereign Court

ProfessorCirno wrote:
I really don't grasp the statement of "I love rolling stats it's so random! And if you get low stats the DM lets you reroll!" You are literally stating "I love random! I love even more when it's not completely random!"

+1

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