3d6 Ability Rolls. Weigh In!!


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I always get confused by these threads. When exactly were "the old days" where everyone rolled 3d6 iron man backwards uphill both ways in the snow with no saving throw?


Gnoll Coward wrote:
I always get confused by these threads. When exactly were "the old days" where everyone rolled 3d6 iron man backwards uphill both ways in the snow with no saving throw?

The most accurate answer for that is "During raw D&D and 1st Edition AD&D when we also measured weight in 'coins' and were lucky to make it to 7th level". Seriously ... level 9 was when you basically got a kingdom and retired.

My most epic character from 'the old days' is level 11. That's also max level for the character (yes, characters -- especially non-humans -- had max levels back then). That character is also still one of my favorite 2-3 characters ever played.


mem0ri wrote:
The most accurate answer for that is "During raw D&D and 1st Edition AD&D when we also measured weight in 'coins' and were lucky to make it to 7th level". Seriously ... level 9 was when you basically got a kingdom and retired.

Kind of my point I guess. The implication always seems to be that it was RAW in 1st Edition, which it wasn't.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Gnoll Coward wrote:
mem0ri wrote:
The most accurate answer for that is "During raw D&D and 1st Edition AD&D when we also measured weight in 'coins' and were lucky to make it to 7th level". Seriously ... level 9 was when you basically got a kingdom and retired.
Kind of my point I guess. The implication always seems to be that it was RAW in 1st Edition, which it wasn't.

Isn't it? That's how we always played AD&D. What was the default stat generation method?


Steve Geddes wrote:
Gnoll Coward wrote:
mem0ri wrote:
The most accurate answer for that is "During raw D&D and 1st Edition AD&D when we also measured weight in 'coins' and were lucky to make it to 7th level". Seriously ... level 9 was when you basically got a kingdom and retired.
Kind of my point I guess. The implication always seems to be that it was RAW in 1st Edition, which it wasn't.
Isn't it? That's how we always played AD&D. What was the default stat generation method?

Oddly enough, there wasn't one until the DMG came out listing methods I-IV.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I dont remember that. I thought the options came out with unearthed arcana. Funny how one remembers the way we did it as "correct".

I still much prefer it, but it doesn't seem feasible for the later editions or PF.


Steve Geddes wrote:

I dont remember that. I thought the options came out with unearthed arcana. Funny how one remembers the way we did it as "correct".

I still much prefer it, but it doesn't seem feasible for the later editions or PF.

I don't have much of a preference either way really. Having said that, I can see how being forced to play a 5 Con Illusionist because it's all you qualify for might not be everyone's cup of tea.


Gnoll Coward wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I dont remember that. I thought the options came out with unearthed arcana. Funny how one remembers the way we did it as "correct".

I still much prefer it, but it doesn't seem feasible for the later editions or PF.

I don't have much of a preference either way really. Having said that, I can see how being forced to play a 5 Con Illusionist because it's all you qualify for might not be everyone's cup of tea.

Bright side, being a squishy with a bad con score means you probably won't be playing it very long


Thomas Long 175 wrote:
Bright side, being a squishy with a bad con score means you probably won't be playing it very long

You would think that wouldn't you?


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Gnoll Coward wrote:
mem0ri wrote:
The most accurate answer for that is "During raw D&D and 1st Edition AD&D when we also measured weight in 'coins' and were lucky to make it to 7th level". Seriously ... level 9 was when you basically got a kingdom and retired.
Kind of my point I guess. The implication always seems to be that it was RAW in 1st Edition, which it wasn't.

It was "RAW" in original D&D. You rolled 3d6 in order (Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, Charisma -- different order back then). 1st edition AD&D introduced things like roll 4d6 drop the lowest place as desired.

Scarab Sages

Fake Healer wrote:
Aranna wrote:

Yeah normal 3d6 is the equivalent of 3 Point Buy I think.

Yup, 10.5 is the average roll...obviously you can't roll a 10.5 but you could roll 3 10's and 3 11's so if your rolls are absolutely as close to the base average as possible it would be a 3 pt buy.

I like 3d6 but it really would be hard to do in todays game. I usually do a 3d6+2 or the regular 4d6 drop lowest. I wish stats and magic weren't such a huge part of the game.....so sick of people running around with stats in the mid 20s by 10th level....really breaks my immersion in the game. PCs should be capped at 20 or 22....

Yeah, 3 points in Pathfinder when things got inflated again. In 3.5, it was 15 points.

And yes, humanoid ability scores should be capped at 20, regardless of magic enhancements. Something like a belt of frost giant strength (Strength 28) should be commensurately more expensive and rare.


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R_Chance wrote:
You rolled 3d6 in order (Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, Charisma -- different order back then).

An I the only one who still puts them in this order?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Anlerran wrote:
R_Chance wrote:
You rolled 3d6 in order (Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, Charisma -- different order back then).
An I the only one who still puts them in this order?

Some of my older friends do when handwriting stats. There are some retro-style character sheets with them in that order, but those are usually less functional than other sheets.


Anlerran wrote:
R_Chance wrote:
You rolled 3d6 in order (Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, Charisma -- different order back then).
An I the only one who still puts them in this order?

Cool, this thread is making me feel young. It was never the default way when I started... I think. 2nd edition was fun, but got crazy when they started adding race books and optional alternative stuff.

Was someone complaining about only qualifying as an Illusionist... back in those days I think the stat minimums kept Illusionist as a very rare club of highly skilled magic users. Or was that just 2nd ed? I only played 1st ed a couple times... not enough to really learn it well.

Grand Lodge

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Old school here from when the class list looked like this:

CHARACTERS:
There are three (3) main classes of characters:
Fighting-Men
Magic-Users
Clerics

and the races were human, dwarf, elf, halfling.

this is how it was done for stats:

DETERMINATION OF ABILITIES:
Prior to the character selection by players it is necessary for the referee to roll three six-sided dice in order to rate each as to various abilities, and thus aid them in selecting a role. Categories of ability are: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, and Charisma. Each player notes his appropriate scores, obtains a similar roll of three dice to determine the number of Gold Pieces (Dice score x 10) he starts with, and then opts for a role.

NOTE: the the REFEREE rolled your stats! lol.

Anyone seen my glasses and my teeth? I left 'em round heres somwhur...


I've been toying with something like this for a new campaign. It has lots of room for improvement.

Alternate Character Generation Method

5d6 drop highest and lowest 6 times, assign in any order. Modify stats based on race.

Roll % dice for all 'Prime' Stats for your class, so that your stats look like this: 12(57%). Prime stats for each class are as follows:

Barabarian: Str, Con, Dex (Cha or Wis; choose one)
Bard: Cha, Dex, (Str or Int; choose one)
Cleric: Wis (Str or Cha; choose one)
Druid: Wis, (Str or Dex; choose one)
Fighter: Str, Con, Dex, (Wis, Int or Cha; choose one)
Monk: Str, Dex, Wis, Con, (Int or Cha; choose one)
Paladin: Cha, Con, (Str or Dex; choose one)
Ranger: Str, Dex, Con, Wis
Rogue: Dex, Int, Cha, (Str or Con; choose one)
Sorcerer: Cha (Dex or Con; choose one)
Wizard: Int (Dex or Con; choose one)
(etc etc for prestige and apg/uc classes)

Every hour of playtime, roll 1d10 for every prime stat and add it to your current stat. If it reaches 100%, you go up a point, so a stat of 14(97%) that rolls a 6 after an hour of play becomes a 15(03%).

Once a stat reaches 18, it can no longer go up from % increases (racial mods and every four level stat gains modify this number, so max of 20 for a racial +2, 16 for a racial -2, not counting the +5 you get from leveling 1-20 which could take you as high as a 25).

In this way everyone starts out 'weak' but become paragons of stats later in their careers. The stat choices are imbalanced on purpose, but that's off the top of my head. They can certainly be improved upon while still making the martials get more and more buff via stats while the full casters are more limited.

If you multiclass, you stop advancing in prime stats not shared by the new class.


In the last couple of years, I've found that I switch. I'll allow point-buy for one-session games where players won't ever play the characters again. But for a long-term campaign, 3d6, reroll 1s once, assign as you wish.


Dean A wrote:

Here are the requested stat rolls.

STR/DEX/CON/INT/WIS/CHA
rogue - elf

4/17/10/11/5/15

dwarf - cleric

7/11/18/9/14/7

human - ranger

11/12/11/12/11/11 (the muscle - he will be opening all the jars)

I use point buys in PF, usually either 15 points or 20 but you can't buy down stats. I've played in a few rolled-stat games, but due to power disparity they weren't nearly as much fun as point buy games. I'm ok with everyone being low-powered or everyone being high-powered. I'm not ok with one guy having a PB of ~10 and another having ~40.

Any time the NPC elite stat array is significantly better than what your PCs rolled, you have a problem.

Realistically, most people aren't adventurers. They don't have the base ability for it (stats) and never try or train for it. Your ranger, for example? S/he's not going to be very good at anything and will probably die a horrible death, like most average people who try to do very dangerous things. If that sort of verisimilitude is what you're going for, then mission accomplished! But it's not a game I'd likely have fun with.

If you want to make it a little more difficult, why not force the PCs to use the elite NPC array? 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 in any order ensures a viable character can be made but prevents a lot of optimizing of stats. You can even force them to roll randomly for which stat goes where, if you prefer.


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CrankyRWMage wrote:

Old school here from when the class list looked like this:

CHARACTERS:
There are three (3) main classes of characters:
Fighting-Men
Magic-Users
Clerics

and the races were human, dwarf, elf, halfling.

this is how it was done for stats:

DETERMINATION OF ABILITIES:
Prior to the character selection by players it is necessary for the referee to roll three six-sided dice in order to rate each as to various abilities, and thus aid them in selecting a role. Categories of ability are: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, and Charisma. Each player notes his appropriate scores, obtains a similar roll of three dice to determine the number of Gold Pieces (Dice score x 10) he starts with, and then opts for a role.

NOTE: the the REFEREE rolled your stats! lol.

Anyone seen my glasses and my teeth? I left 'em round heres somwhur...

True, but we always let the players roll their own dice. Less whining that way :) And I still have my own teeth!

Liberty's Edge

It all comes down to having fun. I can and will play any edition that someone is running. Reading over many of your comments I see than most of you have never played "old school" gaming and are mystified. If ran properly it can really be a great experience. Just be prepared to die.

Always the feeling of danger and death around the corner. Stay with me I have ADD!

As CrankyRWMage described from the OD&D book from 1974 (or Swords and Wizardry Whitebox which is FREE to download!)

http://www.swordsandwizardry.com/WhiteBox3p.pdf

There were only three classes. In some version the Dwarf, Elf, and Halflings were Race as Class.

I know many of you are saying "Why would I want to play some old worn out system that has not been in print since the 70s and 80s?"

Why do people fix up and drive vintage cars? Because they, although "outdated" have a certain charm and can go VROOM!

The thing is on an index card or piece of paper you can whip up a character in five minutes or less and start playing. Also roll up at least three characters. You play one at a time but they die easily.

Make sure and hire at least five NPCs per player for cannon fodder. In old school games it was easy for a DM to run huge combats with five players that have 10-20 NPCs hired against a huge room full of 30 goblins and never slow down.

Sniff Cry SO SO many NPCs have died!

Granted not as detailed as a Pathfinder but it's a different style of play.

If you have not tried old school then try it. Look up A Quick Primer for Old School Gaming. How did anyone survive without a thief? I started with the original Red Box so we had thieves so this was a cool read for me!

http://www.lulu.com/shop/matthew-finch/quick-primer-for-old-school-gaming/e book/product-3159558.html

It's free as well. Don't stop playing Pathfinder though.

I suggest you find some old neckbeard grognard and let him run a game for you. You might be surprised how good it is but in a different way than Pathfinder.

There are other Old School clones that are free PDFs as well such as OSRIC which is AD&D. Labyrinth Lord which is Basic D&D (A.K.A. The REAL Red Box!) and a few others if you look around.

Me, I enjoy the evolution that has occurred from simple to the very finely tuned D20 (After Pazio got a hold of it and made it so much better that 3.5) and I hope to see it constantly evolving BUT I also like the quick and dirty simpler rules with the flow.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Since you posted the Primer to Old School Gaming, I must post a counterpoint.

Rules vs. Rulings.


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I don't mind dying that much. I dislike it for many other reasons, such as sucking before I die.

Scarab Sages

TriOmegaZero wrote:

Since you posted the Primer to Old School Gaming, I must post a counterpoint.

Rules vs. Rulings.

I think Justin's missed a key point - a ruling will be viewed situationally (though I agree they absolutely must be consistent), and that everyone learns and remembers as the game goes on. A rule is something that has to be considered before play even begins. Not knowing a rule could mean the difference between life and death of a PC, since the rules are hard-coded into the difficulty and presumed challenges for each level.

For example, let's say there is a manticore at the top of a slippery, muddy ledge. The party must rescue a hostage. The old-school player would improvise on the spot. From then on the group has a general expectation of how difficult climbing under duress will be handled.
The new school party (and DM) must have taken the Climb skill into account when making their characters (and the adventure), which means extra planning, familiarity with rules, and consideration of alternatives.

Huge difference. I think a better way to say it than "rules, not rulings" would be "mechanical prep or creative prep". What do you want to spend your time doing before a session: thinking up interesting encounters (or character ideas), or making sure everything is balanced (or character creation).

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

I've never had to worry about making things balanced before a game, so I'm not getting where you're coming from.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
MagiMaster wrote:
I'd like to see that.
Synthesist archetype.

What does that have to do with point buy though?

My basic complaint about different stat methods is that having significantly higher or lower stats than what's assumed by the game designers means a lot of extra work on the part of the GM who has to alter encounter CR to match. I know a lot of people are used to it and don't think it's that much work, but notice all the threads on here asking for CR adjustment advice.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
MagiMaster wrote:
What does that have to do with point buy though?

Point buy down your physical scores, point buy up your mental scores. Replace physical scores with eidolon physical scores.

Liberty's Edge

Melissa Litwin wrote:
I use point buys in PF, usually either 15 points or 20 but you can't buy down stats. I've played in a few rolled-stat games, but due to power disparity they weren't nearly as much fun as point buy games. I'm ok with everyone being low-powered or everyone being high-powered. I'm not ok with one guy having a PB of ~10 and another having ~40....

I have not found that wide discrepancies in power generated by dice rolls to be fun either. One person could be anything / do most anything while another was "stuck" in a very basic role. This was fun for the "star" of the party (very high scores) but rarely much fun for the rest (low to poor scores).

We switched to point buy quite a while ago. People actually get to think and design their characters rather than being limited by random roll of the dice. I have no desire to go back in time, so I only play in point buys now.

Every DM and their players make the rules thou. The important part is to play the game in a way that is fun for you. If that means rolling stats for both the GM and the players, then roll away.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
MagiMaster wrote:
What does that have to do with point buy though?
Point buy down your physical scores, point buy up your mental scores. Replace physical scores with eidolon physical scores.

That'll get you [16,16,16,8,7,7] or [17,16,15,8,7,7]. That's not particularly worse than most of the rolls I've seen, assuming you're ignoring the physical stats in any case.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm not sure of your point. He asked if you could still do shenanigans like in 3.5. Are you disputing that you can, or are you going on about something I'm not saying?


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CrankyRWMage wrote:

Old school here from when the class list looked like this:

CHARACTERS:
There are three (3) main classes of characters:
Fighting-Men
Magic-Users
Clerics

and the races were human, dwarf, elf, halfling.

this is how it was done for stats:

DETERMINATION OF ABILITIES:
Prior to the character selection by players it is necessary for the referee to roll three six-sided dice in order to rate each as to various abilities, and thus aid them in selecting a role. Categories of ability are: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, and Charisma. Each player notes his appropriate scores, obtains a similar roll of three dice to determine the number of Gold Pieces (Dice score x 10) he starts with, and then opts for a role.

NOTE: the the REFEREE rolled your stats! lol.

Anyone seen my glasses and my teeth? I left 'em round heres somwhur...

Ah fighting-men. I remember going over the old books from my childhood recently.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
I'm not sure of your point. He asked if you could still do shenanigans like in 3.5. Are you disputing that you can, or are you going on about something I'm not saying?

The question, if I read it correctly, was could you break the game using point buy. I assumed that was in comparison to other methods for stat generation (and that 4d6 is the most common other method). It doesn't really make sense to simply state that "yes, you can break the game with 20 points" when doing exactly the same thing would break the game regardless of the stat generation method.

Liberty's Edge

TriOmegaZero: Good articles and good points. Looking around I did not realize that the Primer had caused such a debate. Many good points but GM Fiat and GM Rules all work great if the GM does not suck. Each play style has it's well style. Not defending any just saying try them all.

Alceste008: I have rolled many totally terrible throw away characters but I played them anyway and was the star of the show many times. One character in the 2nd edition era was named Veenger. He had all low rolls except a Str of 11. His Cha was like 8. ALl other rolls were average to below average.

HE also rolled the lowest you could roll on money.

HE had a barrel of pickled herring, a sword, and leather armor maybe a few other items. He talked like Dorff.

The two other fighters had 18/45 and 18/87 both fairly rolled in or sight btw. With my weak sniveling fighter I had more fun calling the two fighters corn fed and beef fed wenches! They tried to kill me or make "accidents" happen to me but I always survived. This loser made it all the way to around 4th level before banging on a Wizard's door too hard setting off explosive runes that killed him.

Scarab Sages

TriOmegaZero wrote:
I've never had to worry about making things balanced before a game, so I'm not getting where you're coming from.

It's the difference between "let's see how they handle this" and "if I put this in there, can the party objectively have a way to bypass it?"

Take the Alexandrian example of the 2ft ledge. The old-school DM can throw that in and expect the players to come up with a solution (or not, the onus of success/failure is on the players). The new-school DM must be aware there is a set DC with expectations as to what will happen under certain conditions while a character is balancing/climbing. That means a 2ft-ledge is only suitable as a challenge for certain characters or certain levels. It's one more detail the DM has to reference before designing a scenario. The onus of success/failure is on the rules.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

I don't see a problem with that. If the characters can't succeed, they can't succeed. If they can't fail, then they can't fail.


Rolling 3D6 in order leads to 1 thing in my 33 years of gaming. It leads to dead character till one is rolled that is suitable. So why bother, just go point buy and get what you want. I remember rolling bad stats as one of the big reason you end up stuck at 1st level for so long. But sometimes you got lucky off the start and had much higher stats than everyone else and ended up a level or two higher because you didn't die repeatedly. Though I have experienced the good stat roll with lab rat party that end in TPK.

I hate 3D6 is in order for any serious game. I find 4D6 kick out the lowest and place the stats where you want works better. Point buy works the best for balance though.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Just curious voska, but what do you consider a 'serious' game?


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Just curious voska, but what do you consider a 'serious' game?

Funny, but the same question popped into my mind when I read the post.

Whatever the rolls or method, the player is more important than the rolls. Good stats help, but in the end the "player" in player character trumps them.

As for methods, I say let the dice fly (4d6 drop the lowest and arrange to suit these days). I played plenty of 3d6 characters back in the day and that was OK too. Different expectations and system back then. The original point to 4d6 drop the lowest (in 1st edition AD&D) was not so much to give a superior character as it was to cut down on the lower end characters. Stats weren't as important in 1E.

Given the range of classes, races etc. and the basic inequalities there I don't think the idea of point buy being equal is overwhelmingly important. The game is supposed to be cooperative and another players good fortune benefits you too. And any given class / character is going to be able to do things that others can't.

And then there's luck. I've seen the best characters (in die rolls) fall by the way side and some "not so good" ones survive to higher levels. In the end, you can give players choice and equality of opportunity but you can't guarantee the outcome.


Melissa Litwin wrote:
Realistically, most people aren't adventurers.

How many campaigns do people run where the characters are "officially" adventurers? I think I've done that ... twice ... maybe three times ... in over 20 years of gaming.

Most of the campaigns I've played in or DM'd, the concept is that "normal" people are called up to do extraordinary things ... or that a few farmers get together and decide to start treasure hunting. There has rarely ever been the "I'm a professional adventurer" gig going on.

That said ... even with the "I'm a professional adventurer" thing, I don't buy that tons and tons and tons of weaklings/idiots wouldn't try it. How many inept high school kids try out for the football team hoping to make the NFL? There is no "league selection process" with adventuring ... other than dying during an adventure. So, most of the --high level-- adventurers will be strong and/or lucky, but level 1 ... I could see almost anyone trying it. Especially someone dumb and/or desperate. How many smart people are gonna say "Dude, let's go check out the zombie infested crypts and try to find some cash!"?

Finally ... I've had characters with a highest score of 14 do very well ... and characters with a lowest score of 14 do very poorly. A good DM adjusts the power of an adventure to the power of the party ... and a lucky dice roll or two can make a low-stat character a hero. Similarly, a bad dice roll or two can result in Mr. Shiny-Armor straight 18's dying a horrible death by lucky goblin critical hit (it's happened before, I've seen it).


Gnoll Coward wrote:
I always get confused by these threads. When exactly were "the old days" where everyone rolled 3d6 iron man backwards uphill both ways in the snow with no saving throw?

Back in the days when people naturally rolled several 18s per character. Probabilities were different back then.

As for me, back in the early 80s I didn't mind rolling 3D6 for characters...because I made a BASIC program that rolled up batches of several thousand characters at once. Eventually I would come across a decent character. If the GM ordered me to play them in order, then well, my characters simply suicided until I got to a good one.

In fact, it's possible to use this method to game the 3D6 system. If you get a lousy character, will all your gold to the other characters and suicide. Repeat until you get a good character, and the players have a couple hundred gold each. Use that money to buy lots of henchmen and war dogs. THEN storm the dungeon.


Gnoll Coward wrote:
I always get confused by these threads. When exactly were "the old days" where everyone rolled 3d6 iron man backwards uphill both ways in the snow with no saving throw?

They lasted approximately a week after the launch of the game. The AD&D 1e Dungeon Master's Guide included several variants:

  • Method I: 4d6k3, arranged to taste.
  • Method II: Straight 3d6 twelve times, keep six best scores, arrange to taste.
  • Method III: Roll 3d6 six times, keeping best rolls, for each ability score in order.
  • Method IV: Roll 3d6 in order, ironman style, for twelve characters. Pick one.

Yeah. If you think old-school D&D was all ironman hardcore, try rolling up a couple of characters using Method III. Now you understand why roughly 114% of Fighters had Exceptional Strength and the percentile roll was the only one that mattered. (I never trusted the damned things muself, so my Fighters were always Yetis or Half-Ogres who could just get a flat 19. Or Thri-Kreen, because Dark Sun rules were less stupid and you didn't even need 18/00 when you were throwing 17/2 attacks.) I seem to recall some even crazier variants, but I thought they were in Unearthed Arcana and I can't find them now. There was one that gave you a giant pool of dice that you split up between all of your stats, and then you just kept the best three out of each separate pool.

When I learned AD&D in 1991, our group was 5d6k3 unless you got four or five of a kind. Never saw anyone roll a 30 and had no idea what we'd do if it happened, but I rolled a 24 once and had several 20s out of a couple dozen characters. Actually a pretty good way of modeling the freakish outliers that exist in real-life humanity (assuming PF scale instead of AD&D scale) but it doesn't strike me as good for a balanced game.

If you want an organic, ironman sort of game without leaving everything entirely up to the whims of the dice, you could always take the lowest point buy value from the core roles and set those as your ability minimums-- before racial adjustments-- and then roll 3d6 in order, keep the better of the two scores. People won't be able to choose high stats, and they'll have unexpected strengths, but they'll still be able to ensure they've got a character they consider playable.


Out of curiosity: AnyDice comparing 3d6 versus 3d6 min 7 versus 3d6 reroll less than 7. Just saying anything less than a 7 becomes a 7 doesn't actually change the average much. Rerolling until you get at least a 7 raises it a bit more.


Viktyr Korimir wrote:


Gnoll Coward wrote:

I always get confused by these threads. When exactly were "the old days" where everyone rolled 3d6 iron man backwards uphill both ways in the snow with no saving throw?

They lasted approximately a week after the launch of the game.

The DMG for AD&D was released in 1979. D&D originated in 1974. 3d6 in order was standard until then (1979). 4d6 drop the lowest and arrange as desired became the default "Method I" at that point. Iirc, we used it before the DMG... back when the Players Handbook came out (1978?). The original Monster Manual was released in 1977 iirc. The game slowly mutated from original D&D to AD&D over several years (for our group and I imagine many others). The DMG is the only one I keep handy, the rest are boxed up to save shelf space. The wife seems to think we need something besides game books, science fiction and fantasy on the shelves :D

Viktyr Korimir wrote:


The AD&D 1e Dungeon Master's Guide included several variants:

  • Method I: 4d6k3, arranged to taste.
  • Method II: Straight 3d6 twelve times, keep six best scores, arrange to taste.
  • Method III: Roll 3d6 six times, keeping best rolls, for each ability score in order.
  • Method IV: Roll 3d6 in order, ironman style, for twelve characters. Pick one.

Yeah. If you think old-school D&D was all ironman hardcore, try rolling up a couple of characters using Method III. Now you understand why roughly 114% of Fighters had Exceptional Strength and the percentile roll was the only one that mattered. (I never trusted the damned things muself, so my Fighters were always Yetis or Half-Ogres who could just get a flat 19. Or Thri-Kreen, because Dark Sun rules were less stupid and you didn't even need 18/00 when you were throwing 17/2 attacks.) I seem to recall some even crazier variants, but I thought they were in Unearthed Arcana and I can't find them now. There was one that gave you a giant pool of dice that you split up between all of your stats, and then you just kept the best three out of each separate pool.

Oddly enough, in the beginning what you call "iron man hardcore" pretty much was the norm. The other stuff you're talking about came later. We went with Method I when that new fangled AD&D came along...

Viktyr Korimir wrote:


When I learned AD&D in 1991, our group was 5d6k3 unless you got four or five of a kind. Never saw anyone roll a 30 and had no idea what we'd do if it happened, but I rolled a 24 once and had several 20s out of a couple dozen characters. Actually a pretty good way of modeling the freakish outliers that exist in real-life humanity (assuming PF scale instead of AD&D scale) but it doesn't strike me as good for a balanced game.

If you want an organic, ironman sort of game without leaving everything entirely up to the whims of the dice, you could always take the lowest point buy value from the core roles and...

3D6 was meant for an older edition of the rules when individual characteristics weren't as important as they are in 3.x. If you're going to roll dice in a 3.x game I'd say 4D6 drop the lowest and arrange as desired works just fine. As it did for 1E and 2E. My 2 cp.


Yeah, but those rules had to come from somewhere. I don't believe for a minute that Mr. Gygax made them up specially for AD&D-- those were house rules that people were using in their standard D&D games.

Scarab Sages

I've always liked the idea of rolling up several characters and choosing the one you want to play - gives you a roster to choose from later.


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Viktyr Korimir wrote:


Yeah, but those rules had to come from somewhere. I don't believe for a minute that Mr. Gygax made them up specially for AD&D-- those were house rules that people were using in their standard D&D games.

I didn't say that nobody was using alternative rolling methods. In the beginning (say 1974-7) I don't remember any group I played with or knew doing so. I recall us using 4d6 drop the lowest in order in about 1978. A year before the DMG made it "Method I" (although we did it in order not place as desired). As for house rules, they were -- Gygax's and I'm sure other people from TSR and, maybe, a handful of playtesters. They didn't hold big playtests in those days. Essentially AD&D was D&D Gary's way. And ONLY his way. I remember being irked by the "On High" attitude about AD&D. Then I shrugged and went on houseruling as needed / desired.


Yeah, game designers aren't gods. Change the game how you wish, implement the good ideas you or other dms have.

It is a fantasy game, change what you need, what seems right, what will be cool.

Liberty's Edge

MagiMaster wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Eldrad wrote:
I have seen players use the rules especially with point buy make some pure min maxed characters that were great for them but buy the rules broke the game for the GM and the rest of the players. Granted this was in 3.5 D&D. Question! Can you do the dame thing in Pathfinder?
Yes.

I'd like to see that. On a 20 point buy, you can barely manage one 18, which already eats 17 of your 20 points, and you can only buy stats down to 7. To get 2 18s you'd have [18,18,8,7,7,7], which isn't particularly good for any class.

Also, crunching the numbers, 3d6 gives between a 3 and 5 point buy, depending on how you price scores below 7. 4d6 gives about 19 points in any case since such scores are much rarer. So a 20 point buy will, on average, be a slightly better deal than rolling 4d6, though there's always someone that will roll really well.

Our group actually used 20 point buy for our next game since it'll be an AP. The time before that we had everyone roll 4d6 then we could all choose whichever of those sets we wanted. (Of course, everyone took the one really good roll. I don't have the numbers on me, but it was probably worth 30+ points.)

Oh sorry I left that was along with the ability to buy magic items as well below the GP limit. These same said players did an all encompassing break the game by using the rules fairly as written. I at least see it harder to do that in Pathfinder. BUT some players like to only max their characters out at the expense of the story.

3d6 or point buy the point is to have fun.


I am not sure the OP intended this but shouldn't, if you are forcing them to take the stats in order as they fall, pick there classes after they roll considering they may say I want to play a wizard and have a 4 int. As I recall the old school methods had you consider what you could make with the stats you rolled not force you to play a str 3 fighter with an 18 charisma.

I think point buy 20 or 4d6 (dropping the lowest) make for most well rounded characters.


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Gnomezrule wrote:

I am not sure the OP intended this but shouldn't, if you are forcing them to take the stats in order as they fall, pick there classes after they roll considering they may say I want to play a wizard and have a 4 int. As I recall the old school methods had you consider what you could make with the stats you rolled not force you to play a str 3 fighter with an 18 charisma.

I think point buy 20 or 4d6 (dropping the lowest) make for most well rounded characters.

Yep. In the "3d6 rolled in order" days we rolled first then decided on class and race. I still roll before I decide on the class and race. I'm not wedded to one role ahead of time... I've always enjoyed the game no matter what I played.


Six strength fighter? Hmmm, defensive turtle it is!

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