3d6 Ability Rolls. Weigh In!!


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I am in the process of creating a series of adventures for my gaming group, where the party must first choose a Race, apply ability bonuses, and then roll down the line 3d6 for ability scores (STR, DEX, CON ETC....)

It created some surprising reactions from one of them, something similar to a toddler tantrum.

My goal is to create a open adventure, starting the group off as slaves, with no gear or wealth, where their first task is escaping and then returning across country to their home.

Typically the group rolls 3d6 plus 6 dropping the lowest. I myself and old school and prefer the randomness of low score characters, finding a way to survive and exist with abilities that may include a strength score of 4 (I include this because one of them actually rolled this stat.)

So, I would like to hear from the community.

1. How do you roll your stats and why?

2. Have you ever played with standard 3d6 stat rolls? What is your opinion of it?

<Also I plan on opening up the trait list, so that they can gain additional traits as the adventures progress. (Ex. When they escape they will all gain the Freed Slave Andoran trait.) They also start with additional traits from their years of slavery - (Ex.Indentured Blacksmith) **** Address this as an additional topic if you would like but do not include this in your statement about ability rolls. *This is not an argument for or against just something I have added, as I wanted to hear a few opinions of it.>


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I have my players roll 2d4+10 I like them having High stats, they are the main characters of my story afterall.


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1. Point buy, because playing what is akin to a 10 PB, while another is a 39 PB royally sucks.

2. Yes. My opinion is that if you are lucky, you have more fun. The reverse may or may not be so true, but not everyone plays the same.

Dark Archive

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I wouldn't have fun playing like that, but I'm glad you do.


3h4d6, 20, or 25 point buy work for me. Everyone lies when they roll 3d6 away from others' eyes.


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Oh, I thought this thread was about using 3d6 for ability checks :(


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

1. I've actually taken to using 2d6+5. Has a good average (12) and a low chance of getting a horrible stat, but keeps that organic feel of getting random stats. The issue of power level discrepancy is much lower, but still existent. Only once have I had someone roll pretty much all 13s except one 15.

2. I prefer 2d6+5, but admittedly I still like point buy the best, preferably 20 point buy. I'm actually in a game that had 21 point buy and it is enough of a difference where I didn't have to worry about min maxing a fairly MAD character.


Sounds like you've already had them roll stats. I'm interested to hear how that turned out. What are the results?

Sczarni

Someday I want to try a campaign where you roll for your point buy. I have no idea whether or not it would work.

Oddly, my group is repulsed by point buy systems. When given the choice of a standard array or the uncertainty of the dice, they go for the dice every time. My group is evidently full of adrenaline gamers.

Once I tried rolling 5d4 for stats, assign them where you choose. My group liked the idea because the minimum and maximum are higher. Nobody noticed that rolling five dice instead of three sharpens the bell curve, lowering the odds of having a score farther away from the average of 12.5. I'd recommend the 5d4 system for when the players like to roll for stats but live in fear of the 3, and when the GM would rather his players be uniformly above average than minmaxed.


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1. I do point buy, because I don't like a few bad rolls turning a hero of the campaign into a weakling. I don't even have them roll for hit points, letting them take the average.

2. I have played with the 3d6 many, many times. I do not care for it as I have terrible luck (or lopsided dice), and being a Fighter with fewer hit points and less skill with a sword than the party's Wizard gets tiresome.

I'm all for letting people play their own way, but it's not my style for character generation.

Dark Archive

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10 or 15 point buy, because heroes are made through acts and actions, not born.


1) I usually use best 3 of 4, assigned by player, although point buy is not uncommon

The big problem for most players is that random attribute assignment forces them to make characters they really don't like - if the dice gods give a high charisma and a low strength the only effective class option is a sorcerer, which can suck if the player isn't up on magic and bloodlines. A player might find they actually enjoy a class they think they dislike, but it won't make them like being forced in the first place.

That said there is also the unbalance problem with luck, although that can be handled. Total the attribute point and if the total is less than some number then the character is considered helpless and the player can re-roll. If tough minded the GM can also say that too high a total can be excluded as unlikely to be an adventurer.

2) Done 3d6 without any control over the assignment of attributes and it is OK upon occasion. I think you will have to persuade your players to look upon it as a challenge to make a viable character in order to get them invested in their characters. It is just much easier to come up with a character concept and fit the attributes to it than it is to take a bunch of attributes and make a character.

Dark Archive

I give my players set stats and 3 points to spend on them.

The stats I usually go with are 16, 14, 14, 12, 10 & 8 (assigned to what they want)
And the points are 1 point for +1 attribute (you cant raise the 16 higher than 18)

This puts it somewhere between 23-29 point buy based on where they spend their 3 points.

Its a bit overpowering but I'm also a bit cruel in my games so I try to give them every advantage before the dice start rolling.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

4d6 drop the lowest and player arranges the stats. I have been using this this 3e came out.


1) When I do roll stats (whether I do so varies from campaign to campaign) I have the players do 4d6 drop lowest, because it gives a very nice spread of possible scores while still giving a good average.

2) I've never used 3d6 for ability scores in a D&D/Pathfinder game. I've used it in other games though and I think that 3d6 is a good method for certain campaigns. If you're going for a story of chosen heroes fighting for destiny and GREAT JUSTICE, 3d6 is probably a bad plan. If you're going for a story of a ragtag band of good-for-nothings overcoming their problems and weaknesses, 3d6 can work very well.


I've played with 3d6 in the past, but it's important to remember where it came from; when 3d6 was considered the standard method, you didn't get bonuses or penalties to nearly as many things as you do now, and you needed much more extreme stats to get them. (Stats just weren't as important.)

Other people have brought up the important points of rolling for stats, namely that it leads to stronger and weaker party members, and the greater difficulty (especially with strict, non-arranged rolling schemes) of playing the character you want to play. Both of those are much more acceptable for very short adventures, but the games I play run in the years and... as someone who rolls spectacularly bad for stats [1], let me tell you that it gets tiresome to be ever-helpless.

I'm planning a new game, and I'm thinking of letting the players have the option of rolling 3d6 strict as a base for twelve point buy. They get to roll... they LOVE to roll... but they still should be able to tweak somewhat. If they choose not to roll, they get standard 15 point buy.

[1] Recently, I decided to forgo resurrection of a PC who'd died three times in two weeks. With a rather lenient rolling scheme, after two or three tries with not getting a "viable" character, my DM finally let me to use point buy for my new PC.


i've almost always used 4d6 drop lowest, arranged to taste - since 2nd ed.

3d6 in order is appealing in some ways, but i find that the results are generally not.

having a 4 in any stat is very crippling


What cnetarian said is right to the point. 3d6 is a pretty harsh way to get the raw stat scores, but if you prefer a low-power campaign, go for it. But, not allowing the players to choose which stats their highest rolls go to is taking away most of their choice on which class to play. What if everyone rolls terribly on everything except intelligence? Are you going to have a party of all wizards, even though your players probably want to have more variety than that?


3d6 is a pretty brutal way to roll in modern terms. There's no out for a bad dice roll.

I've played characters with some low rolls before and it can be fun to try and manage a cleric with a low charisma score, for example, but there were a lot of other party members in the group, so it wasn't a campaign ender.

If I was going to roll, I'd prefer 4d6 and drop the lowest, with allowing characters to assign their rolls to the stats they needed, rather than doing 3d6 starting with Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, and Cha. The arrangement of attributes that way, from top to bottom, is more from habit, at his point in time, as opposed to having some scientific basis.

I therefore don't see the point in forcing people to roll starting with Str and going to Cha.


I don't care for rolling. I care for rolling stats "down the line" even less since the stats will dictate what classes you can reasonably choose.

Every time someone rolls supercharacter, and someone is barely above a commoner. I am normally the one that rolls well, but I still don't like it.

I have never played with 3d6 only.

The point of the game is to have fun for everyone. If the GM likes it, but the players hate it I would suggest he change it to something more compromising for both parties.

Dark Archive

I like 20 point buy- all PC's are equal.

However, rolling stats should change for the types of campaign and I've often thought of doing this (start everyone with 3d6) myself.

Because randomness will always have winners and losers, my plan was to work their stats up to 20 point buy over several games, as the PCs become mighty heroes.


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I'm a convert to the d4 over the d6 in terms of rolling for stats.

I'll post up comparisons using anydice for a few methods. It'll show average roll, standard deviation, and provide graphs and tables for those interested:

3d6 vs. 2+4d4: Link

4d6 drop lowest vs. 2+5d4 drop lowest: Link

Combination of various methods: Link

What I've found is that the 4d4 method gets rid of the nasty problems of the d6 method of yielding a stat below 6. It also has a lower standard deviation, for those less mathematically inclined means less character power disparity between attributes where one player might roll a 30+ equivalent point buy while another rolls a below 15 point equivalent point buy.

It's average is only slightly higher than a d6 methods and it produces more well rounded attributes with higher probabilities of rolling 12-17 and a slightly lesser chance of rolling an 18.

Personally I prefer a point buy, but if it's a choice of rolling methods I prefer a d4 based dice pool or 5d4 drop lowest +2. 3d6 roll in order is a bit archaic and takes a ton of power away from the player during character creation.

I do think the d4 deserves more note in character creation rolls as opposed to the more prolific 4d6 drop lowest method.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Dean A wrote:

I am in the process of creating a series of adventures for my gaming group, where the party must first choose a Race, apply ability bonuses, and then roll down the line 3d6 for ability scores (STR, DEX, CON ETC....)

It created some surprising reactions from one of them, something similar to a toddler tantrum.

My goal is to create a open adventure, starting the group off as slaves, with no gear or wealth, where their first task is escaping and then returning across country to their home.

Typically the group rolls 3d6 plus 6 dropping the lowest. I myself and old school and prefer the randomness of low score characters, finding a way to survive and exist with abilities that may include a strength score of 4 (I include this because one of them actually rolled this stat.)

A question: as a GM, if a player is really struggling because his/her rolled stats are abysmally lower than the others, and even while doing his/her best to be a good sport and roleplay and be clever with what s/he's got, s/he never has a chance to really shine or help the party.... what do you do?

Quote:


So, I would like to hear from the community.

1. How do you roll your stats and why?

I prefer point buy, vastly. As a GM I find it frustrating to deal with PCs that have vastly disparate ability scores, let alone is it annoying as a player. And while I myself have never rolled bad stats in other groups, I have been in games where one person rolls nothing over 10 and another person has 3 18s and things do get a bit silly--and I feel sorry for both of them, because people resent the guy who rolls 3 18s (even if they try to be good sports, people are only human) and pity the under 10 person.

I get the appeal of randomness, and heck--I even like the challenge of being handed a set of stats and being told to make the best of them. Like, if we all made a bunch of 15 point buy arrays and then handed them out blindly to people--so it's "random" but everyone has the same "pool" of stats. Or maybe something like everyone does a 10 or 15 point buy build but then you roll 1d3 6 times, then flip a coin for positive or negative numbers for each of the 6 numbers--then raise or lower the scores accordingly. I don't know.

Quote:


2. Have you ever played with standard 3d6 stat rolls? What is your opinion of it?

There was a fighter I generated with the Red BECMI box that I played the solo adventure that came in that box with. That was with 3d6.

IIRC everything else was some variant of 4d6 (or even 5d6) and keep best, put in the stats of your choice, from AD&D onward.

Quote:


<Also I plan on opening up the trait list, so that they can gain additional traits as the adventures progress. (Ex. When they escape they will all gain the Freed Slave Andoran trait.) They also start with additional traits from their years of slavery - (Ex.Indentured Blacksmith) **** Address this as an additional topic if you would like but do not include this in your statement about ability rolls. *This is not an argument for or against just something I have added, as I wanted to hear a few opinions of it.>

I think that's a cool idea!

And I think trying to play a challenge like the limited/random die roll system you are using could be interesting--but I think it might have been a good idea to share it with the players and make sure they were onboard with it first, rather than just declare that's how it was going to be at character creation. Some players really dig that kind of thing, others, it's really not their bag. If you find players willing to... well... roll with it, it could be a really awesome and challenging campaign.


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Everything that follows is, of course, my personal opinion. You don't have to read it, you don't have to agree with it.

Before I start, a bit of advice: yes, you're oldschool. Are your players? That's the important thing. You're running the game for them to have fun. If they don't want to roll abilities, it won't be fun for them. I'm not saying that you should let them have 35 or more pointbuy, but don't stifle their freedom just because of a personal opinion of yours. If their using point buy really ruins your fun, I would reconsider why you're running a game.

That said... I go with 20 point buy. I don't like the statistical irregularities of dice for character creation. PFS uses 20 point buy. It's a nice middle of the road. I don't play with people who want to start with especially powerful or weak characters. No one has complained about the 20 point buy yet. So I keep things simple in terms of stats and take the middle-of-the-road approach. My games are focused on roleplaying more than combat, so those high stats won't help you much anyway. For some, that makes me a boring GM. That's fine. There's plenty of other games out there.

I have created a character using traditional (2nd ed, even) 3d6 rolling. It created a character dramatically different from what I envisioned. I feel that having players roll stats is sort of like telling them to eat their vegetables: yes, it can be good for them in terms of character development (unless what you rolled doesn't let you select the class you want... too bad, maybe next game*). But they don't want to do it. Why not? Most folks who come to the table have a preconceived notion of the kind of character they want to play, either in terms of mechanics or backstory/personality. And why shouldn't they? This is a roleplaying game. It's all about pretending to be someone else. Having a preconceived notion of who you want to be is entirely the point. Random die rolls interfere with that. I wanted to be a charismatic silver-tongued rake. But the dice didn't let me. As has been said above, the game is supposed to be fun. To continue the vegetables analogy, it's supposed to be like the sweets at the top of the food pyramid: it's supposed to be fun. I see fun as the system not interfering with how I want to express the person I am pretending to be.

I am decidedly oldschool in my gaming. I let my players use any skill they can think of in a situation. Want to use Perception to have the guard not arrest you for murdering his buddy? Sure. Roleplay it. Battlemaps? Fooey (until my players asked for them, anyway). But I will not force rolled stats on my players. Forgive the heresy, but this is something I really think Dave and Gary got wrong.

* So glad 3E got rid of stat-based class restrictions.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Waltz wrote:

I'm a convert to the d4 over the d6 in terms of rolling for stats.

I'll post up comparisons using anydice for a few methods. It'll show average roll, standard deviation, and provide graphs and tables for those interested:

3d6 vs. 2+4d4: Link

4d6 drop lowest vs. 2+5d4 drop lowest: Link

Combination of various methods: Link

What I've found is that the 4d4 method gets rid of the nasty problems of the d6 method of yielding a stat below 6. It also has a lower standard deviation, for those less mathematically inclined means less character power disparity between attributes where one player might roll a 30+ equivalent point buy while another rolls a below 15 point equivalent point buy.

It's average is only slightly higher than a d6 methods and it produces more well rounded attributes with higher probabilities of rolling 12-17 and a slightly lesser chance of rolling an 18.

Personally I prefer a point buy, but if it's a choice of rolling methods I prefer a d4 based dice pool or 5d4 drop lowest +2. 3d6 roll in order is a bit archaic and takes a ton of power away from the player during character creation.

I do think the d4 deserves more note in character creation rolls as opposed to the more prolific 4d6 drop lowest method.

That's pretty nifty. Kinda glad to see my version comes the closest in terms of standard deviation :) I guess I'll have to give these caltrops a try next game I play.


I hope that you're kidding about the 3d6+6 drop lowest roll in order.


I prefer point buy due to the disparate scores you usually end up with. I always roll horribly as a player, so always had to reroll a couple of times anyway. One of the people I play with always rolls insanely high scores. It made it difficult at times for everyone to feel like they could contribute the same if one or more PCs are underpowered.

In order to do score as the original post listed, you would need to have the correct mix of players. They would need to be players that could play any class and are open to any challenge. Otherwise, the players won't be happy nor have any fun. And, the reason we all play is to have fun.

Sczarni

For some reason, point buy is never even suggested in my group. Either our usual DM is afraid we'll all minmax or nobody wants to deal with the weird math that arises from it.

Sometimes we'll be given an "array" to choose from. Our current campaign our DM gave us the option of a [18,16,14,12,10,8] array. Nobody took it, though on further contemplation maybe I should've. There's something about rolling your own stats that's just more satisfying.


Jarl wrote:

1. Point buy, because playing what is akin to a 10 PB, while another is a 39 PB royally sucks.

2. Yes. My opinion is that if you are lucky, you have more fun. The reverse may or may not be so true, but not everyone plays the same.

We have always used a PB system for this reason... we've tried two methods - the first a 25 point buy and the second a 15 point buy, but we doubled the attribute bonuses at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th (i.e. +1 to two attributes instead of 1). Both have met with favor by the players. The only thing they didn't like was a wide disparity between characters due to luck.

I think I'm liking the idea of adding traits as you advance - maybe a 20 point buy and every 4th level you add +1 to an attribute and select a new trait?


Silent Saturn wrote:

For some reason, point buy is never even suggested in my group. Either our usual DM is afraid we'll all minmax or nobody wants to deal with the weird math that arises from it.

Sometimes we'll be given an "array" to choose from. Our current campaign our DM gave us the option of a [18,16,14,12,10,8] array. Nobody took it, though on further contemplation maybe I should've. There's something about rolling your own stats that's just more satisfying.

That is one powerful array. To achieve the same with point buy, you would need 32 points.


I use 4d6 drop the lowest in order currently. I've considered letting players arrange stats (and probably will on any new PCs they generate). I played 3d6 for years (from OE through 2E). I switched to the 4d6 drop the lowest method with 3E. The emphasis on stats made 3d6 rougher than it was in the older editions. It's playable (3d6) but a lot of players will find it difficult (especially players who love to tinker / optimize their chracters) and it does restrict player choice a bit. I say a bit because not every PC needs a 16+ in their primary stat imo. Ymmv.

What occurs to me is the difficulty of playing a Wizard in your game... but then a Sorceror should do fine.

Silver Crusade

Your method of 3d6 take the lowest and add 6 is a lot better than the 4d6 method.

Having run from the old red box set to 4th edition and then to pathfinder here is what I have found.

- Random characters only work with players who want to play random characters...

- point buy, while complex has the least complaints of all the character creation systems I have used.

If you whole game campaign was based on the premise that the character were normal men or NPC class i.e. commoner depending on game version. Then you'd have to have agreement from the players that they will discover their class as they play.

I have even had one that their actions in game determined their stats, having a background session where players played their character growing up and the events that lead to them being who they are. That was a lot of fun for my group at the time, but a lot of work for the GM to make it sound reasonable. i.e. which option increased which stat.

I have allowed dice rolled characters in my game, with the provision that the player rolls in front of everyone, and takes that character, including all hp rolled.

With the option of all the others having 25 point buy, max first level hit points and new levels having half plus one hit points. This is for a high magic, high fantasy setting. Major villains also have 25 points, minor villains and companions have 20 points and everyone else (minions and followers) has 20 points. I find this works well.

One game with a rolled character vs. a point buy character and converted all my hard core gamers.

So yes I have used the 3d6 and 4d6 variants, even with the restriction on attribute, and found that it was more fun with point buy and playing the character you want to instead of the one your forced to.

Silver Crusade

I generally use point buys with 25 points but your lowest stat can only be 8 after racials.

In my current game I had them make 3 characters using different generation methods. 25pt buy for their main, 4d6 in order, 3d6 in order. They hated taking the rolls in order but I got some real interesting characters out of it and they had to make choices to make up for some of their bad rolls. I let them reroll if their bonus totals were less than zero.


So far I have been giving my players the option of either a 15 point buy or 4d6, drop lowest arrange how you like.

Almost everyone chooses the point buy.

I originally did not like the point buy, but over time I have grown to find it to be the best way to keep PCs balanced. I am currently contemplating a 20 or even 25 point buy for our next campaign.


In my current campaign, I've used 2d4+10, 2d4+9, 2d4+8, 2d4+7, 2d4+6, 2d4+5, arrange as desired. Averages are, of course, 15 14 13 12 11 10 with very little chance of an 18 and nothing below 7. It's worked well, with 4 powerful characters and one average, though I did throw out one who was almost useless. I wasn't particularly concerned about inter-PC balance, as it's a solo.

In the past I've offered point-buy or best 3 of 4d6 with a bonus range of +3 to +7. So far everyone's taken the random rolls. I personally wouldn't, but I don't get to play enough and wouldn't want the risk of ending up with something I didn't want.

You might want to offer a 2 for 1 buy-point exchange to balance characters up. IMC the hottie sorceress has every stat odd: 7 15 15 9 13 17+2. So while that's a 25 point buy, it's only +6 stats. She'd happily drop a point of Dex for 1 Int, just to have some hope at skills like Spellcraft. Conversely the fighter (14+2 13 14 10 12 10) is 15-point for +7.


Dean A wrote:

I am in the process of creating a series of adventures for my gaming group, where the party must first choose a Race, apply ability bonuses, and then roll down the line 3d6 for ability scores (STR, DEX, CON ETC....)

So, I would like to hear from the community.

1. How do you roll your stats and why?

2. Have you ever played with standard 3d6 stat rolls? What is your opinion of it?

1. How-do-you-roll-stats-for-new-characters

2. For a 1 shot game, I would be ok rolling 3d6 in order. For anything longer, I would not use it, and if that was the method you insisted we use, I would not play. I have never understood the attraction of rolling for stats.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ya' damn kids with your "point buys" and "drop the lowest"! Why back in my day, this had to be nineteen-hundred and seventy-eight, we rolled 3d6 and took the results in order (and we had to make the dice ourselves out of dried buffalo dung). That's how I ended up with "Fearless Ferd" - intelligence of 3. Last anyone saw of Ferd is he was holding the bridge against an orc horde while the others "went to get help."

Come a long way since though. Back in second edition days I played with a group that rolled 4d6, drop the lowest and reroll ones. Then they bumped it to 5d6, drop the lowest two. It was insane. If I wanted to play a gol-danged superhero I'd switch to Synnibar.

Now we just have a system where you take the daytime high temperature in six European capital cities, divide by 6 and Bob's your uncle, you got scores (works better if you do it in summer and don't tell the others your using Farenheit).


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Dean A wrote:

I am in the process of creating a series of adventures for my gaming group, where the party must first choose a Race, apply ability bonuses, and then roll down the line 3d6 for ability scores (STR, DEX, CON ETC....)

It created some surprising reactions from one of them, something similar to a toddler tantrum.

As others have said, this is an old school method of character creation (although for real old school, you roll ability scores before choosing race). If your players aren't used to (or hate) old school character creation, then they will not like "being forced" into playing a character that's different than what they want/were expecting.

Additionally, the scores will probably be lower than they may be used to, which may lead some to complain about having to play "weak" characters. 3d6, especially "in order," can lead to some really poor score distributions.

Dean A wrote:

My goal is to create a open adventure, starting the group off as slaves, with no gear or wealth, where their first task is escaping and then returning across country to their home.

Typically the group rolls 3d6 plus 6 dropping the lowest. I myself and old school and prefer the randomness of low score characters, finding a way to survive and exist with abilities that may include a strength score of 4 (I include this because one of them actually rolled this stat.)

For a gritty "heroes by chance" type of game, 3d6 in order can work. However, if the players were expecting something more "typical," getting their buy-in may be tough. Unless your group is in to this sort of thing, it will probably work best as a short adventure arc or the start of a series of related episodes parallel to/as a periodic break from the "normal" campaign.

This is especially the case if the characters are starting as commoners. You didn't state that, but starting as slaves makes it likely. Unless they get a "good" set of rolls, many players will not want to play a character in a long campaign; it was actually something of a bad joke in 1st Ed AD&D where players would have their characters commit suicide or put themselves into no-win situations so that they'd have a chance of rolling a better character.

Dean A wrote:
<Also I plan on opening up the trait list, so that they can gain additional traits as the adventures progress. (Ex. When they escape they will all gain the Freed Slave Andoran trait.) They also start with additional traits from their years of slavery - (Ex.Indentured Blacksmith) **** Address this as an additional topic if you would like but do not include this in your statement about ability rolls. *This is not an argument for or against just something I have added, as I wanted to hear a few opinions of it.>

This can help, somewhat; however, even "accomplishment traits" will probably not interest those who are uncomfortable with this method. They will see it a minor benefit compared to actually playing the character they want.

Dean A wrote:

So, I would like to hear from the community.

1. How do you roll your stats and why?

2. Have you ever played with standard 3d6 stat rolls? What is your opinion of it?

1. Normally, I use point buy (typically 15-points). This is the default power level for the game and is enough to make at least a decent character from pretty much any concept. If I want something a little more "random," I prefer the 3.x Organic Method (4d6 in order, reroll one score, may swap one score with another); this generally allows the player to at least choose where the highest score goes (or lets them move the lowest score so that it doesn't cripple the character, such as a high-Str/low-Con result), but can still spark some interesting "non-standard" characters.

2. Yes; I started with 1st Ed AD&D and BECMI D&D. Generally, I prefer point-buy because it makes it easier to judge power levels and prevent a big difference beteen members of the party (no one likes being the sidekick with no scores above 12 to the PC who rolled a 14+ in everything). 3d6 generates "average folks," which may clash with some players' preconception of "heroic adventuring." Also, "in order" generation methods, while they can help stretch a person's system mechanics and role-playing skills ("How would a character with these scores have grown up? What profession/class/archetype would they have chosen? What would their personality be like?"), can also seriously restrict the party's effectiveness (what if no one rolls more than a 12 in Int, Wis, and Cha?). There was a reason that party sizes in 1st Ed were typically 6-8 PCs: smaller parties had difficulty ensuring that they could cover all of the basics (arcane magic, combat, divine magic, etc.) unless they used more forgiving character generation methods.


I dont like them. I think rolling stats just leads to an arms race of cheating or rerolling. Someone always resents their stats. Someone always brags about playing a useless character. Usually everyone has really high stats because players either ask for more favorable rolling methods or just keep rolling stats until they get a spread they like. Point buy kills all that.

Personally, I thing 3d6 straight down the line is very appealing; especially in high mortality games, but I'm usually alone in this.


I love it, you can't help how you're born, and this emulates that exactly.
In fact I was already decided to do that (just for my character) for the next one-timer that introduced a new player.
I'll take my 4d6 drop lowest however.

And if I really do get a 4 Strength, I hope my GM will tell me to write in a 6, but I won't ask, and play my 4 Strength if I have to, even if it has to be a wizard floating around on Tensers ... Paizos floating disk, then I'll call him Professor Z.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dean A wrote:


2. Have you ever played with standard 3d6 stat rolls? What is your opinion of it?

Not even in my old AD&D 1E days. Sure some folks have fun doing it that way. Some folks also have fun beating their heads into a wall. Just never my cup of tea.


Dnd has enough randomness. 40 years ago, this was okay, 40 years later it's about as old as a monochrome monitor.

I've done either point buys or arrays for a while. Recently i've eliminated the wide array of hit point totals buy having every player roll a d6 at level and add the difference between 4 and their base die.

Scarab Sages

Usually 4D6,drop lowest, plus one free re-roll, though the result must be kept, even if lower.

I also do 25 Pt or 20 Pt buy, depending on the feel of a particular game/Campaign.

I have done 3D6, in order... with a couple of friends back in 3.5

The other 3 folks had gone home early from our regular game, and there were 3 of us left hanging out in my Game Room (I pay a fortune in rent , here in San Francisco, so as to not have a roomie...and I have a Game Room). I suppose I could ditch my stuff and pay about 800 less a month, but I digress...).

Anyways, my highest star was a 12 Int, so I was the Wizard (Snicker).
2 of us had negative Dex scores, and we House-Ruled that we had a better AC when Flat-Footed. :D If we were unaware, we couldnt lean into the blows... My Dex was a 7.

We rolled a totally random dungeon, and one guy died 3 times. He was playing a Bard, and he would just have another Bard show up, same stats.
He bought it from a pit trap, a darkmantle, and some kind of Swarm.

I also rolled my spells randomly, and didnt get anything awesome.
Obviously, we were just goofing around, but the memory is still one of the most hilarious Game moments that I can recall.

Dark Archive

Jarl wrote:

1. Point buy, because playing what is akin to a 10 PB, while another is a 39 PB royally sucks.

2. Yes. My opinion is that if you are lucky, you have more fun. The reverse may or may not be so true, but not everyone plays the same.

Too True! I play with a large group and we use to do 4d6 drop the lowest but it got to be some character were so far under the power curved compared to others that we went to Point buy in. For Pathfinder we usually use 20 points. We tried 15 points but the death count really went up and 25 points was a bit too much.


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Since there are a few debating the process, and I knew it would happen, I ask what is the appeal to having higher than average stats. It takes away from the occasionally exceptional rolls. I personally enjoy the randomness of character creation, the challenge of SURVIVING a battle using strategy and teamwork vs supercharged heroes.

In my experience, when characters have higher ability stats all the GM/DM does is increase the same stats on the creatures.

The group I play with know the books inside and out, backwards and forwards. Sometimes it seems that there is no challenge in battles except avoiding the crushing NAT 20 rolls from the creatures.

All methods are good, but I think all experienced role players should step back occasionally and generate characters that are random and difficult to play. You may find the experience rewarding, and give you a little reminder of the first time you rolled your first character sheet. (I was a ranger)

What is the worst that can happen? Your imaginary character may die.
Or you may have the most unlikely lvl 20 character. Are we not rolling heroes. Isn't that what heroes are? People who face adversity with so much stacked against them that there seems to be no likely hood for victory.


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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)


Difficult is not the issue. The issue is not playing the character you want to play because random rolls made it nigh impossible. If the group wants a harder game they can ask the GM to up the ante, and while still using a 15, or at most 20 point buy. Agreeing on a certain stat array is also an option. That way you get to play what you want, and get a more difficult game all at once.

The PC's facing adversity, and me as a player facing a different adversity due to random rolls are not synonymous.


Wraithstrike,

This is not about PCs facing adversity, who cares about the pcs. its about challenging players. It is always about players. There are plenty of options, yes, like mine. Like point buys. But, don't you find it occasionally mundane to make your character exactly right, drawing the most out of every stat, every single game? Having them planned from LVL 1 to 18. With feats pre-selected to make them the most effective killing machine they can be.

You can play any character you want anytime you want. If you want to play a wizard in an adventure with an 8 int, go ahead. He will suck on ice but he's there with the worst possible spell casting this side of the mississippi. (that such a fun word to spell)

And why the need of escalation, increasing the str of both sides seems pointless. I never understood that.

Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

In my campaigns, each player 3d6 six times for each stat and keeps the highest. They roll the stats in order, but can shift one pair (so they can play the character class they want to). This method does lead to high stats, but as I run a low-magic campaign I am fine with that. It also leads to interesting characters - the fighter with a high intelligence or the wizard with a high strength have both featured in recent campaigns.

Personally, as you m ay guess, I am not a fan of the dump stat/design process of character building.

;-)


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Dean A wrote:

Wraithstrike,

This is not about PCs facing adversity, who cares about the pcs. its about challenging players. It is always about players. There are plenty of options, yes, like mine. Like point buys. But, don't you find it occasionally mundane to make your character exactly right, drawing the most out of every stat, every single game? Having them planned from LVL 1 to 18. With feats pre-selected to make them the most effective killing machine they can be.

You can play any character you want anytime you want. If you want to play a wizard in an adventure with an 8 int, go ahead. He will suck on ice but he's there with the worst possible spell casting this side of the mississippi. (that such a fun word to spell)

And why the need of escalation, increasing the str of both sides seems pointless. I never understood that.

Players can be challenged without frustrating them. That is what random dice rolls seem to do, and they don't guarantee a challenge if everyone rolls well. PB can be use to give them 10PB if low rolls are what the group see as a challenged.

I am going to get the most out of stat whether I have 10 or 25 point buy. No, I don't find it mundane. Every game brings its only challenges, that is my variety.

You can not play any character you want whenever you want. Well you can try, but if you roll down the line, and get a 10 in intelligence then you can't really be a decent wizard, and if you are not decent at what you do it kills verisimilitude when you happen to not die. Nothing short of dice fudging or lucky rolls every session is going to save you then.

An 8? That is worst than a 10. He can't even cast cantrips. I don't mind being challenged, but I at least want to play the character I want to play within reason, and I still get to be the hero especially if the GM does not fudge rolls for me. I am the first to say I only want the opportunity to be a hero.

It is not about escalation. By the GM making things harder or at least scaling it up or down to match the players he can make things difficult without having people be uphappy due to bad luck. I see no upside to dice rolls. Anything that can be done by rolling dice can be done with pb or a stat array.

PS:I did not read the entire post so that 8 was surprising after I had used a 10.

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