Point buy vs. 4d6 drop the low


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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.


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?

That would depend entirely on the level of point buy. I believe 4d6 inorganic is equivalent in power to a 20-point point buy. I imagine that any deviation in preference therefrom would be dependent upon personal opinion of rolling versus point buy. Some people enjoy the player to player balance, or standardization, that point buy represents, and some players love the random factor of rolling.

Quote:
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".

To be honest, this statement is true within all point buys. All players, unless a player purposefully or ignorantly makes terrible point-buy choices, will have the same relative power level, as far as their stats go.

Quote:

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).

That's why I personally greatly prefer point buy, myself. :)


We always use Point Buy because it's fair on everyone.

There are extra rules that can be tagged on like limiting the min or max score you can have in a stat if the DM wants more "realistic" characters rather than "one stat wonders freaks" but that's a personal thing and will vary from game to game.


Some recent threads on the topic:
Rolling Your Stats And Letting The Dice Gods Decide
Does Anyone Actually Roll Stats?

Long story short: some people like surprises, some don't.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I quote the petunia...

"Oh not again!"


I'd prefer point buy.

That said, when I play with veteran players that are more into ROLEplaying than rolePLAYING, we usually set whatever stats we want, more or less. The DM okays it as long as we try no fun stuff. That group is as far from power-gaming as a group can be, so there's no harm done.

When playing with more rolePLAYING groups, I prefer point buys or arrays.


I don't like the fairness of the point buy, it sucks.


Why is there such a vehement hatred of "powergamers" when it seems (if you take a look at the way everyone on boards such as this describes their group) that no such people exist?


Moro wrote:
Why is there such a vehement hatred of "powergamers" when it seems (if you take a look at the way everyone on boards such as this describes their group) that no such people exist?

Because powergamers* are a plague that are to be avoided, and thus, few groups actually contain them?

*in this context, when I say powergamers I don't mean optimizers or tactical players but munchkins that'd do more or less anything to get higher numbers.


stuart haffenden wrote:
"one stat wonders freaks"

I personally think that's far more a weakness than a strength. If you're running a 15 point buy and decide to have 18 strength, well . . . I hope you enjoy being dominated. Or sniffing Ungol Vapor. It's a glaring weakness that any enemy should be willing to exploit, and happily.


Brogue The Rogue wrote:
stuart haffenden wrote:
"one stat wonders freaks"
I personally think that's far more a weakness than a strength. If you're running a 15 point buy and decide to have 18 strength, well . . . I hope you enjoy being dominated. Or sniffing Ungol Vapor. It's a glaring weakness that any enemy should be willing to exploit, and happily.

You're quite right but the monsters don't necessarly know what the DM does ;)


I know of about four or five 4E groups, and another half a dozen PF groups. None of them use point buy except for PFS play. The general feeling is too 'cookie cutter'. One thing that isn't usually mentioned is that in the standard 15 point buy, you have no minuses at all. Everything starts at 10. Bland.

Stats do not make the character. A bard with only a 12 charisma can still do bardsong, and numerous other buffs to the party. A fighter with a lousy 14 str still has weapon training and specialization to add to his damage. It's more about the role you fill in the party, than whether your stats are better than someone else. In a party of three fighters, a rogue, wizard and cleric, each of the single classes will have many moments to shine, regardless of their stats.


I prefer 4d6. But I hate (or dislike) being the one who rolled the worst set of stats... One of my friends who's an excel-wiz conjured up a point-buy system that gave out a number of points calculated from from the guy who rolled the best set of stats so the others could level their stats up to almost his (the guy with the best stats) level. That is fairly fair... :)

Edit: You still kept what you had rolled, but added to it with the points you got and you cannot lower a score...


Let the war begin anew!!! 4d6 drop the lowest forever! POINT BUY NEVER!!!!!!!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have said it in at least one of the other threads mentioned above, but yea I miss 4d6. My group doesnt roll anymore because of 2 things. Time constraints and hard feelings. We generally dont like to have to make characters at the table as its hard to get everyone together in the first place, so we want everyone showing up to the table with their character ready. And rolling away from prying eyes provides way to much temptation to cheat, and too much temptation for people to assume your good roll was cheating.

Also, it is inevitable that in my group that is fairly large, when we roll, one or more persons will roll very well, and one or more will roll poorly. If either has to re-roll you defeat the entire purpose of rolling (the risk/reward), but it also can drag on the patience of those who didn't roll well and have to struggle on with their max of 14 while senior triple 18's over there is stomping through the first few levels.

So, we use pointbuy. Usually pathfinder 20, or 3.5 28 (depending on the system).

Sovereign Court

I despise rolling for stats, but if I have to I'm not going to wuss out and do the 4d6 drop the lowest thing, I'm going to do 3d6 straight down the line (because I get better stats doing that 90% of the time.)

That said I am a very big fan of the point buy method. It allows me to come up with a concept for a character and actually use it rather then end up with crazy all over the damn place stats. Plus it's easier to GM for a group of people who are all on equal footing.


Quote:
I know of about four or five 4E groups, and another half a dozen PF groups. None of them use point buy except for PFS play. The general feeling is too 'cookie cutter'. One thing that isn't usually mentioned is that in the standard 15 point buy, you have no minuses at all. Everything starts at 10. Bland.

That's interesting, because all the group's I've seen for the past several years (obviously excluding tournament or con play), have favored point buy over rolling. Also, Pathfinder does allow you to shift a stat as low as 7, or 5 with a racial penalty, if you want "realistic."

I, personally, find it more "realistic" that the adventurers that managed to survive four, five, or fifteen levels, are the ones that don't have such glaring weaknesses.

stuart haffenden wrote:
Brogue The Rogue wrote:
stuart haffenden wrote:
"one stat wonders freaks"
I personally think that's far more a weakness than a strength. If you're running a 15 point buy and decide to have 18 strength, well . . . I hope you enjoy being dominated. Or sniffing Ungol Vapor. It's a glaring weakness that any enemy should be willing to exploit, and happily.
You're quite right but the monsters don't necessarly know what the DM does ;)

No, but a properly prepared BBEG will. ;-)

And any clever critter with a Will save vs. Dominate is going to hit the fighter or rogue, not the caster or cleric.

And any semi-clever critter can tell that the drooling, semi-autistic fighter probably has a low will save.

>.>

<.<

Quote:
I'm going to do 3d6 straight down the line (because I get better stats doing that 90% of the time.)

Speaking in terms of probability, that's an . . . odd statement. Borderline superstitious, I'd say. ;-)

Quote:
That said I am a very big fan of the point buy method. It allows me to come up with a concept for a character and actually use it rather then end up with crazy all over the damn place stats. Plus it's easier to GM for a group of people who are all on equal footing.

That's why we like it. We often offer up an option between point buy and rolling, however, with the two set at the same power level. In theory, the same power level, at least.


I prefer 4d6 to 20 points, the risk is worth taking. But I would take 25 over 4d6.

The main problem with dices are some players that won't play with low or average rolls, they will kill their character in the first encounter in order to roll again until they get high stats. It makes the game harder for the GM, doesn't help roleplaying and is insult for other players.
Rolling 4d6 many times isn't part of the game, thus in those cases I prefer point-buy or serious penalties for new characters. I had also used some semi-random system, but you know, something that nobody likes a lot is something that nobody wants.

Lantern Lodge

Our groups usually run a comprise between the two systems. Players can roll 4d6-drop lowest OR use a point buy system. To reward those who choose to roll (and take the chance of rolling a really terrible set of scores) we use the standard 15 point buy instead of the equivalent 20 point buy. It's worked well for our group as some people choose to take the sure bet and use the point buy system, while the more adventurous ones choose to get luck decide.

Interestingly in my current Rise of the Runelords campaign, everyone chose to roll their ability scores. I have 3 players very new to DnD and 3 old school players that have been around since 1st or 2nd edition. The old players rolled because of the nostalgia, hearkening back to days where your scores were 3d6 rolled in order, while the new players (who up to this point had only played in a handful of RPGA or pathfinder society events with a point buy system) were very exited by the idea of being able to roll their scores, and let their dice decide.

From a personal level, I always prefer to roll my ability scores. There's nothing like the jubilant excitement of rolling an 18, or the heart crushing despair of rolling a 3. Looking back at all my characters over the years, I think some of the most fun characters I've ever had have come from POORLY rolled ability scores. They forced me to be very creative with the character concept and design, and usually result in a character with one or two interesting flaws that made the character unique and fun to play. (the elderly knight with a 5 dexterity who had a bad back and knees, the Neanderthal (human) barbarian with a 4 intelligence who used stone tools, and acted more ape than human, to name a few)


I've participated in some of these discussions before, and there isn't much new to be said, but it is a fun topic.

We always roll stats. I could quote all the classic reasons for them such as liking the randomness, creating unique stat lines that aren't cookie cutter (so you can occasinally have a fighter who is both strong and smart), the willingness of all of our players to play a wide variety of characters rather than coming to the table with a single concept in mind, that point buy can be abused more easily by powergaming min-maxers, etc. However, in truth, it's most likely because more than half our table is a bunch of old codgers who have been doing it that way for thirty years, and we're set in our ways and not about to change now! Especially since it works well for us.

There are a couple of issues I would comment on, however. I'm surprised how many people raise the issue of jealousy/hard feelings arising at the table from disparate stat rolls. Is that really that common? Is there really that much competition between players? In pretty much all the tables I've played at the emphasis has been on teamwork and cooperation and everybody was happy when the dice gods smiled and someone rolled a powerhouse character. It meant your group was going to be more successful. I admit, people would always prefer to roll better stats, but on those occasions when they don't, they are adept at finding supporting roles in the party that help the team and make them valuable. Sometimes these lower stat characters, through skillful play, become the most memorable and successful of all. We've never felt anyone, just by the fact they have lower scores, was a burden to the party or couldn't pull their weight. The only characters that bother me are the ones, regardless of their stats, that are played stupidly or aren't team players. It just seems to me reading the posts that a lot of games are more competitive player vs. player than they are cooperative, and some people seem to think they can "win" by having the most powerful character rather than by achieving the party's goals.

Strangely enough, at our table the dice gods tend to even things out as the less skillful/experienced players tend to have better luck rolling characters than our more experienced optimizers, so it balances in the end. some day it will probably happen that relatively weak/inexperienced player will also roll the lowest stats, but hasn't been a problem yet.

The other thing I would comment on is that a lot of the preference for one over the other lies in how much control you want/need over character creation. Certainly those who come to the table with a single character concept in mind that they want to play above all others are probably going to be happier with point buy. Those, like myself, who have a thousand or so concepts we've never had a chance to play rolling around in our heads enjoy the randomness of dice rolling. As I've said before on other threads, it's like unwrapping presents on Christmas morning when you roll dice. What are the dice going to give you? A nice shiny paladin? A devilishly handsome rogue? A brutal barbarian? A scholarly cleric? It's all good, and all fun for me, even if I roll poorly.

I do understand the argument that point buy allows less time to be "wasted" on character creation, as people can do it at home and come to the game ready to play. My only rebuttals would be that I don't consider this time wasted as I really enjoy character creation, and also that I think the character creation process works best when the GM is involved in the process, helping the player fit his concept into the GM's world. so I actually prefer to do it at the table.


I personally think point buy encourages "dump stats" too heavily. I very rarely ended up with stats below 10 when I did 4d6 drop the lowest (we also allowed rerolling of 1s and had 3 columns, and we get to place each stat in a given column where we want). With a point buy, having a 7 and an 8 is almost mandatory if you want your primary stats to be good.

I prefer to play heroic heroes, thank you very much.


I like the point buy, but I don't feel any of the point amounts they list are enough to make the kind of characters I like to play or run. I go with 50 points for my game.


I much prefer 4d6, sometimes allowing 1's to be rerolled (depending on the campaign). It makes the character more personal. Yes, sometimes one person will roll better than anyone else but that's how life is. Not everyone is created equal. Never had anyone complain about someone that rolled really well. Point buy is fair and even but makes life kinda boring.

PathfinderEspañol wrote:
The main problem with dices are some players that won't play with low or average rolls, they will kill their character in the first encounter in order to roll again until they get high stats.

Funny, I had a character that had the worst rolls (using 4d6 drop lowest). 13 was his highest stat. This was 1st Edition so he had no bonuses at all. It never even occurred to me to get him killed so I could reroll! I don't know why. It makes perfect sense NOW. Back then it just....didn't.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Steelfiredragon wrote:

I don't like the fairness of the point buy, it sucks.

Not sure I understand where you are coming from. Why would you hate being fair?

That is why our group likes to use point buy system. So we are all on equal footing. Also, I always come up with a character concept before doing ability scores and the point buy system lets me craft or sculpt where I want the points, so they aren't just thrown in their randomly, or, I get a number that is useless to me.

Dark Archive

Hobbun wrote:
Steelfiredragon wrote:

I don't like the fairness of the point buy, it sucks.

Not sure I understand where you are coming from. Why would you hate being fair?

That is why our group likes to use point buy system. So we are all on equal footing. Also, I always come up with a character concept before doing ability scores and the point buy system lets me craft or sculpt where I want the points, so they aren't just thrown in their randomly, or, I get a number that is useless to me.

I have noticed (at least in the groups that I have played with) that the point buy built characters have a tenancy to be more thought out. This means that there is more background and personality to the character then with the 4d6 drop the 1. This is even with the same players.


Hobbun wrote:
Steelfiredragon wrote:

I don't like the fairness of the point buy, it sucks.

Not sure I understand where you are coming from. Why would you hate being fair?

That is why our group likes to use point buy system. So we are all on equal footing. Also, I always come up with a character concept before doing ability scores and the point buy system lets me craft or sculpt where I want the points, so they aren't just thrown in their randomly, or, I get a number that is useless to me.

Well, let's face it- the world is neither a fair nor equitable place, and forcing a concept of equality upon it results in something that really doesn't fit in to the world around it. It's why in my experience point buy characters either dominate or are horribly torn asunder en masse unless all the other characters in that world(NPCs) are point buy as well with similar totals. Even then, fights/skill based competition turn into roll offs because everyone has more or less the same stats. To some people, that's fairness. To me, it's a flatline.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Freehold DM wrote:


Well, let's face it- the world is neither a fair nor equitable place, and forcing a concept of equality upon it results in something that really doesn't fit in to the world around it. It's why in my experience point buy characters either dominate or are horribly torn asunder en masse unless all the other characters in that world(NPCs) are point buy as well with similar totals. Even then, fights/skill based competition turn into roll offs because everyone has more or less the same stats. To some people, that's fairness. To me, it's a flatline.

Please take no offense at this, but you are kidding, right? I mean really, who cares how unfair the world is? We are talking about playing a game here. I play this game to get away from the realities of life. Most people do not like that the world is unfair, but the clichéd statement of ‘that is life’ rears its ugly head. Basically, you can’t do anything about it.

But with this, you can be on even footing when starting out. Are you saying the classes should not balanced or the DM should play favorites towards someone because that is ‘how life is?’

Although, I can see your argument on everyone (or at least the same starting classes) might have the same stats. My answer on that is sometimes people will have a character concept where they might have a Sorceror with a high Constitution, or a Fighter with a good Intelligence. Sure, if everyone builds their characters for optimization, a lot of times you will find stats in the same areas for the same classes.

But even then, sometimes players will decide to take their character in a different direction than the other Wizard in the group, or they might be decide to purchase an extra book of learning, or they could permanently lose a stat during the campaign. That’s what’s fun about the whole thing, just because two classes “might” start out the same at 1st level with point buy, doesn’t mean at all they will follow the exact same path.


PathfinderEspañol wrote:


The main problem with dices are some players that won't play with low or average rolls, they will kill their character in the first encounter in order to roll again until they get high stats.

I love when players try that on me. "Alright, you guys are making your way through the dungeon. Suddenly, you hear a plea for help from the side. You can barely make out what appear to be prison bars, and a naked dwarf with no possession inside, dying from thirst." Bob, you're coming in with no gear, and you're severely damaged from thirst and starvation. -6 to all physical stats.

And then he coincidentally never finds treasure that works well for him. Oh darn.

Seriously, though, I dislike players that play like that and ruin it for everyone.

I'm also just being facetious about the above. Mostly. Sort of.

Also, 50 point buy? Holy smokes.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I believe that the 4d6 drop lowest is supposed to correlate with the standard 15 point buy, not the heroic 20 point buy. Math fiddliness indicates that it corresponds to a roughly 15-18 point buy, depending on other options, like the rule in 3.0/3.5 about having bonuses too low allowing for rerolls. To sum up, 20 points is statistically better than 4d6 drop lowest.

That being said, go with what your group likes. Both methods have their attractions. I prefer point buy for the time savings and the inherent fairness in ensuring all players start with the same resources (although the different starting cash for the classes always bugged me, its ultimately a very minor thing).

Except for Admiral Jose Monkamuck. 50 points? Geez, what is the spread there, 16,16,16,16,16,10? Well, if that's what you like then go for it. Not for me, though.

Also, 14 may be considered a terrible stat for a prime, but a 14 in the real world is intended to correspond with someone in the top 10% of that ability. A 16 is someone in the top 2%. An 18 or 20, statistically you have so few peers you may as well be considered among the best of the best in the world. I realize that these heroes are just that, and should be a cut above the average, but we should remember that even with a 15 point buy or 4d6 dropping the lowest that the resultant characters are near supermen. A 50 point character is like unto a god.


I'd do a 20 point buy if everything cost 1 for 1... but not the way they have it set up now.

ElCrabofAnger wrote:
A 50 point character is like unto a god.

A 50 point god who can still get dropped in one critical hit from a stinking orc.

Attributes are nice, but level is far more important.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

If it was just me as a player in a solo game, I'd be happy with whatever the dice threw at me. I like a little randomness to help inspire a little.

As a GM, I prefer point buy, because I consider it to be the most fair to everyone. I have seen far, far too many times where people rolled stats and there's one character with 3 18s and another with nothing over 11 (even with generous rolling methods). Not only is that frustrating for at least some of the players involved, it's hell on a GM for trying to come up with challenges for the party that won't be cake for all 18s guy and won't instantly kill all 11s guy. Smart party/class build can help overcome some of this, but why worry about this kind of balance issue when it can be easily avoided?

I absolutely see the other POV--that working with what you rolled challenges you not to make the same build over and over again--but as a GM I would prefer that vastly over trying to make 18s guy and 11s guy work in the same party.

I've thought about seeking out "best of both worlds" scenarios, as I've seen some people do--something along the lines of mostly point buy, but then stats get altered by a d3 roll or something. That makes it a complicated affair though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dork Lord wrote:

I'd do a 20 point buy if everything cost 1 for 1... but not the way they have it set up now.

ElCrabofAnger wrote:
A 50 point character is like unto a god.

A 50 point god who can still get dropped in one critical hit from a stinking orc.

Attributes are nice, but level is far more important.

Level is more important in the LONG run. Starting at first level, you rely on attributes. And 50-points is way way high for a first level character. There's a reason that 25 points is called epic. And yeah, that stinkin' orc crit will drop Mr. 50 pts, but it'll drop anyone at 1st level (on average, except the Con 20 Barbarian with toughness, raging or no) but it's the non-flukey shots you have to balance against. And even in the long run, higher attributes do make a big difference, especially as pertains to feats, spell DC's, extra spells, and ability checks.

I agree, though, that level matters plenty. But I have to say, if attributes matter so little (which is not what you said, I know), why does everyone want more points than the standard? Why so many gamblers looking for the jackpot?

Play what makes you happy, and have fun doing it. My wishes for everyone.


I like point buy because it allow you to make a Character with out the DM needing to watch you roll. As a DM I can say to my players via a email that they should make up Character for the Next AP using 20 Point buy and when we next game everything is ready to go. The character they make won't be over power or underpowered that way.

Now my player hate point buy as they always want higher stats than point buy allows. I let them roll for CoT AP and they basically walked through that AP with ease due to their high stats. I find high stats for homebrew games works just fine as I am designing the encounters. If I have AP that I'm running I don't want to have to modify all the encounters to make them a challenge.

As well when I play I like point buy because I can make Character at home with out worrying about the DM questioning my stats as I can show them how I spent my points. If I roll lucky it's hard to justify the stat to DM by just saying I'm lucky, which generally I am. I kind of roll extremes of either really good or really bad.


Dork Lord wrote:


A 50 point god who can still get dropped in one critical hit from a stinking orc.

Only if that orc is also using a 50 point buy. o.o

And ElCrabOfAnger summed up everything I was going to say but was too lazy to type out with his first post. Bravo. :)


My regular group uses 2d6+6. For higher power games, we sometimes do 5d6 drop the lowest two.

But then, we don't do Pathfinder Society play, and like a more cinematic high adventure game anyway. I roll NPC stats using the same general guideline. All it means is that everyone in the setting is all around more competent.


Brian Bachman wrote:
There are a couple of issues I would comment on, however. I'm surprised how many people raise the issue of jealousy/hard feelings arising at the table from disparate stat rolls. Is that really that common? Is there really that much competition between players?

I wouldn't say "hard feelings", but I've certainly seen stat rolls that resulted in several happy players and one disappointed player.

For instance, I remember one 2E campaign where a fighter ended up with no real bonuses at all (e.g. 14 Str, 13 Con, etc.), whereas my cleric rolled an 18 Str. He was a bit bummed out, like there was nothing special he could point to on his character sheet.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Since all people are not creattd equally I assume the same for PC's WE never use point buy it is far more unrealistic (lol) than the reality of life, some people ARE stronger, faster and smarter than others. The point buy system seems to be the neo-socialist answer to equality in gaming. I think the idea of the game is to play HEROIC characters, and though the occasional heroic character in literature has a physical flaw far and away the majority have personality flaws, and even those are absent in some of the more popular stories from which the genre was born. I fully support the Rolling method over the point buy because it has a chance to create the epic hero of story and legend while leaving room for the normal to rise above his ability and become the hero as well. The point buy leaves you with pigeon holed characters in traditional rolls. Almost every fighter has an 8 CHA, almost every Wiz/Sorc has an 8 STR, etc... One word for this...BORING... I quite enjoy my absurd 6'6" Wiz with the 17 Str, and I know one of my players loves his Ftr with the 16 INT and 14 CHA... imagine that... a FTR that can lead troops...who'd have thought of that.. honestly the drive for character balance is silly, people are not equal except in the eyes of the law and the opportunities available... and those are subjectto debate as well.

Liberty's Edge

Rolling stats seems to me an affectation at this point, as if a randomly generated character is more authentic than a point-buy one.

It's a holdover from when the game was different and a spectacularly average or even gimped character might still be fun to play in an old school, DM's discretion, improvisational storytelling kind of game.

But, like it or not, Pathfinder is more mechanical than that, and what you are doing with 4d6 is ensuring that the players who got lucky at stat generation time will have a mechanical advantage throughout an entire campaign in a game system in which mechanics matter.


Dragonsage47 wrote:
I quite enjoy my absurd 6'6" Wiz with the 17 Str, and I know one of my players loves his Ftr with the 16 INT and 14 CHA... imagine that... a FTR that can lead troops...who'd have thought of that..

I find it interesting that your examples ignore the distinct possibility of having a bunch of mediocre rolls.


hogarth wrote:
Dragonsage47 wrote:
I quite enjoy my absurd 6'6" Wiz with the 17 Str, and I know one of my players loves his Ftr with the 16 INT and 14 CHA... imagine that... a FTR that can lead troops...who'd have thought of that..
I find it interesting that your examples ignore the distinct possibility of having a bunch of mediocre rolls.

Wasn't my example of course, but in that case, I just let the mediocre rollers reroll until they get something more in line with the rest of the group.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think there is something of a generational thing at hand as well: in terms of character creation, I just instinctively think the first thing you do is pick up 3d6, then remember to add that 4th.

It's also a planning thing. PFRPG (and the 3.X in general) is much more geared towards pre-structuring your characters many levels ahead. That (plus the fairly generous attribute bumps) make point buy to get something just right much better. On the other hand, if you're less certain, the process of rolling out stats is an opportunity for character development in and of itself.

Something I've wanted to toy around with (stolen other games) is a roll w/point tolerances: do a 4D6 w/drop lowest, then tally the scores to see what it would have been if it was a point-bought character. As long as the points fall within a certain range, you're fine, but if the points go too low (or too low or too high, depending) you get make up points to bring you to at least average (or get a complete re-roll, depending).


If I was a college player who gathered with his pals 4 or 5 times each week to play, I'd prefer rolling; because obviously we had more time to try out many different character concepts, and inequality between players wouldn't be so lasting.

But since I hardly play once a week for a particular group, I prefer point-buy. I don't want to lose time with stats rolling at the table when I have character backgrounds to help on. I prefer my players ready once they arrive at my place. Moreover; since games such as these last long (A year or so) I prefer the players to customize character concepts they are fit and willing to play until they bit the dust.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dragonsage47 wrote:
Since all people are not creattd equally I assume the same for PC's WE never use point buy it is far more unrealistic (lol) than the reality of life, some people ARE stronger, faster and smarter than others. The point buy system seems to be the neo-socialist answer to equality in gaming. I think the idea of the game is to play HEROIC characters, and though the occasional heroic character in literature has a physical flaw far and away the majority have personality flaws, and even those are absent in some of the more popular stories from which the genre was born. I fully support the Rolling method over the point buy because it has a chance to create the epic hero of story and legend while leaving room for the normal to rise above his ability and become the hero as well. The point buy leaves you with pigeon holed characters in traditional rolls. Almost every fighter has an 8 CHA, almost every Wiz/Sorc has an 8 STR, etc... One word for this...BORING... I quite enjoy my absurd 6'6" Wiz with the 17 Str, and I know one of my players loves his Ftr with the 16 INT and 14 CHA... imagine that... a FTR that can lead troops...who'd have thought of that.. honestly the drive for character balance is silly, people are not equal except in the eyes of the law and the opportunities available... and those are subjectto debate as well.

This is escapist gaming, you know. And if we're going to talk about realism, maybe we should exclude the meteor throwing demon summoning wizards from the discussion. I know you meant this as tongue-in-cheek, but then I get to take your argument in the same tone as well. Play what makes you happy. It appears to me, however, you have some kind of political axe to grind here. maybe I'm wrong.

As far as pigeonholing, that's a question of player choice and game incentive. The game does not incentivize Fighters with high Charisma if they're not planning to lead. The drive for character balance is not silly - it is vital to the structure of any game to equalize the initial playing field. Who would want to play Monopoly if your opponent started out with more money and free deeds because he was born richer? Or Settlers of Catan if your opponent started with 4 settlements instead of 2 because his settlers got there first? The game implicitly assumes that there are smarter, faster, smarter people in the world - the player's characters are them, and this is accounted for with as little as a 15 point buy, which is a major cut above the average. The point is, game balance is absolutely vital to a good play experience.

Please also note that game balance, as is commonly understood, is absent from D&D anyway. The game is designed to favor the players right out of the box, without any help from generous DMs. Which is fine, if you like that. Or not. I argue for or against no opinion, in the general sense, on die-rolling vs. point buy, as a preference. I strongly disagree that character balance is unnecessary.


hogarth wrote:
Brian Bachman wrote:
There are a couple of issues I would comment on, however. I'm surprised how many people raise the issue of jealousy/hard feelings arising at the table from disparate stat rolls. Is that really that common? Is there really that much competition between players?

I wouldn't say "hard feelings", but I've certainly seen stat rolls that resulted in several happy players and one disappointed player.

For instance, I remember one 2E campaign where a fighter ended up with no real bonuses at all (e.g. 14 Str, 13 Con, etc.), whereas my cleric rolled an 18 Str. He was a bit bummed out, like there was nothing special he could point to on his character sheet.

But did that feeling last as the game went on? Did he continue to feel outshined all the time by his genetically gifted teammate? Or did he find, as has been my experience, that stats only tell a small part of the story, and that how the character is built, and most importantly how it is run, determine the success of the character? I can fully understand being disappointed when your rolls are mediocre or worse. Everybody wants to be genetically blessed. What I am struggling with is the sense that characters all have to have equal stats to keep everybody happy, and even worse the feeling that characters with lower stats aren't worth playing and are only a hindrance to the party.


ElCrabofAnger wrote:
Dragonsage47 wrote:
Since all people are not creattd equally I assume the same for PC's WE never use point buy it is far more unrealistic (lol) than the reality of life, some people ARE stronger, faster and smarter than others. The point buy system seems to be the neo-socialist answer to equality in gaming. I think the idea of the game is to play HEROIC characters, and though the occasional heroic character in literature has a physical flaw far and away the majority have personality flaws, and even those are absent in some of the more popular stories from which the genre was born. I fully support the Rolling method over the point buy because it has a chance to create the epic hero of story and legend while leaving room for the normal to rise above his ability and become the hero as well. The point buy leaves you with pigeon holed characters in traditional rolls. Almost every fighter has an 8 CHA, almost every Wiz/Sorc has an 8 STR, etc... One word for this...BORING... I quite enjoy my absurd 6'6" Wiz with the 17 Str, and I know one of my players loves his Ftr with the 16 INT and 14 CHA... imagine that... a FTR that can lead troops...who'd have thought of that.. honestly the drive for character balance is silly, people are not equal except in the eyes of the law and the opportunities available... and those are subjectto debate as well.

This is escapist gaming, you know. And if we're going to talk about realism, maybe we should exclude the meteor throwing demon summoning wizards from the discussion. I know you meant this as tongue-in-cheek, but then I get to take your argument in the same tone as well. Play what makes you happy. It appears to me, however, you have some kind of political axe to grind here. maybe I'm wrong.

As far as pigeonholing, that's a question of player choice and game incentive. The game does not incentivize Fighters with high Charisma if they're not planning to lead. The drive for character balance is not silly - it is vital to the structure of any game to equalize the...

No offense, but I absolutely loathe the "you want realism? Ok, so throw out magic and monsters" argument. I see it way too often on these boards, especially when Huge Sized-Greatsword wielding Barbarians swinging their 15 foot long weapons in a 10 foot corridor with no penalties (or similar) discussions come up. Someone will invariably chime in with "just let it go. Pathfinder has dragons and Wizards, so realism has nothing to do with it". That argument makes me want to pull my hair out. Just because magic exists doesn't mean other -basic- facts such as physics should be thrown out the window. A DM should use common sense... I've said it before and I'll say it again. Just because the rules don't say you can't do something doesn't mean it should be possible.

That said, my beef isn't really with the argument at hand, just that particular aspect of the argument that was used.


Brian Bachman wrote:
hogarth wrote:
Brian Bachman wrote:
There are a couple of issues I would comment on, however. I'm surprised how many people raise the issue of jealousy/hard feelings arising at the table from disparate stat rolls. Is that really that common? Is there really that much competition between players?

I wouldn't say "hard feelings", but I've certainly seen stat rolls that resulted in several happy players and one disappointed player.

For instance, I remember one 2E campaign where a fighter ended up with no real bonuses at all (e.g. 14 Str, 13 Con, etc.), whereas my cleric rolled an 18 Str. He was a bit bummed out, like there was nothing special he could point to on his character sheet.

But did that feeling last as the game went on? Did he continue to feel outshined all the time by his genetically gifted teammate? Or did he find, as has been my experience, that stats only tell a small part of the story, and that how the character is built, and most importantly how it is run, determine the success of the character? I can fully understand being disappointed when your rolls are mediocre or worse. Everybody wants to be genetically blessed. What I am struggling with is the sense that characters all have to have equal stats to keep everybody happy, and even worse the feeling that characters with lower stats aren't worth playing and are only a hindrance to the party.

Bear in mind this was over 15 years ago, so I might be a bit fuzzy on the details. But I think he felt he was unlucky.

However, it's one thing to unfortunately put on a Belt of Masculinity/Femininity (which he was hoping was a Belt of Giant Strength to make up for his mediocre strength) on one particular occasion, and it's another thing to be unfortunately stuck spending an entire year missing more frequently (because he didn't have an 18 Str) and getting hit more often (because didn't have an 18 Dex) and spending more time unconscious (because he didn't have an 18 Con) than other players.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Perhaps this has already been pointed out. For my home games, i like 4d6 and drop the lowest one. Everyone gets excited with good rolls.

For the Pathfinder society games, or what i shall call a public game that meets in a game store, where you don't know the people you are playing with, or who is going to show up, I prefer the point buy.

just my two cents. they both have their good points, and i like having a choice of creation methods just as i like the three experience tables in the pathfinder core rule book

just my two cents


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Honestly, I prefer 4d6 drop lowest. To avoid the 'Oh god I rolled 4 sevens in a row' scenario, or the 'We want to be done before the game starts' issue, I usually do the following :

1) As GM, I roll all stats myself and e-mail them to the players a week ahead of time.
2) I roll 3 sets of stats for each player, and they choose which set they want to use.

This usually results in everyone having good stats. I dont' mind this. I usually start the game at the 3 to 5 level. Good stats are great at 1-7, but beyond that your items and feat choices are more important.

I don't like point buy systems because there's always someone who goes 18/18/8/8/8/8 to play autistic barbarians or something.

Shadow Lodge

I generally like rolling (not specifically 4d6) over point buy, as it is not actually fair, in my opinion. Some classes require more higher stats than others. Cleric, in my opinion, is the worst, but Monk, Paladin, and Favored Soul are all bad. While Wizards/Sorcerer/Psionic, Fighter, Barbarian, Rogue, and a few other classes can really dump a stat or two without undermining the basic idea and role of the class. So in that sense, Point buy is actually the most unfair and unbalanced stat system.

I personally like a few different ways.

One is just a straight up 80 point buy, 1:1, and all stats start at 0
(you want a 18 Str, you just spent 18 of your 80 points). Might go as far as 90 for a high powered game or 74 for low.

Another is 2d6 + 6 (prevents really low numbers).

Another a Dm has done for me is have a set number (like 10), and give a (nerdy) quiz before the initial game, awarding bonus points for correct answers.

But personally, outside of two groups that have a nasty habit of cheating on dice rolls, I really detest Point Buy.


I prefer rolling. In my old group almost 10 years ago, the only time rolling became a problem was when one player had his pre-selected 'hot-dice' for character generation. But it only happened once, and then the DM made everyone roll from his dice, and the dice gods were equally blessing and punishing in the rolls again. Like some others have expressed, some of my favorite characters were ones with weak stats(Shadowmancer) or had misplaced stats(Paladin with an 18 Dex). We used fixed place 4d6 reroll 1s.

I just recently got back into Pathfinder, I had a brief dip into 3.0 and 3.5 but they didn't last long. I am beginning to think that Pathfinder may experience a similar fate to me. My current groups are all point buy and I agree with Dragonsage47 in that almost every character that comes to our table has an 8 CHA, unless it is a core ability for the class. It just seems painfully cookie cutter to me.

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