Getting tired of point buy


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Sovereign Court

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I've been looking over the PCs from several of my previous campaigns that I ran, and all of them had one thing in common. Very very similar ability scores.

While, yes, point buy is there to mitigate injustice and make PCs relatively similar in ability, it gives them a sort of uniformity which is beginning to annoy me.

I am seriously considering of going back to the old system of roll 4d6, drop the lowest, 6 times than distribute as desired. Re-rolling all of them if the combined bonus of all the stats is +3 or less.

I am not cruel enough to go for roll 3d6, or even words, roll 3d6 in order.

Any thoughts?


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That's one of the things I've never liked about points buy i always roll stats gives you a more organic feel to your character as we are not all made equal some people are just stronger or smarter or quicker that's just life is it fair no but that's the way it is and you learn to use what you have to get on in life

The Exchange

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If you make cookie cutter characters then it is your choice. If you roll but put them in the same order what is the difference aside from hoping to get higher numbers?

Grand Lodge

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Or you can do a point spread ala (15, 14, 12, 12, 11, 9) etc. We use a 20 point 1-for-1 buy, starting with a base score of 10. Slightly beefy in stats but it alows us to make the type of character we want.

Assuming you're taling non-pfs games, which would mean you can do whatever you want. I've never understood why so many people think point-but is mandatory for Pathfinder.

Sovereign Court

It's not mandatory, it's fair.


My group has always been most fond of 4d6, drop lowest and reroll 1s. What we're planning to do for the next game on top of that is to show all the arrays to the GM, s/he picks one, and everyone arranges that array to their choice.

Silver Crusade

I used to hate point buy but after using it for so long I prefer it...it helps with balance issues in a game that already has significant balance issues.


I've used a combined roll+ point buy before. In other words, for example, you have a lower numbered point buy with a certain cap, say you cap at 14 as an example, then you add d4 to each stat. Lets you ensure certain stats aren't out of range for what you want to play, but somewhat randomizer the rest. For example, something you dumped to seven might end up an 11 instead.

Or the "dice pool" method. You have a pool of dice. You assign them to specific stats in whatever number. You roll.


I don't like RNG during character creation. I don't want a player to be permanently stuck with less than anyone else, just because they rolled badly once. Same reason I'm moving away from rolling for hitpoints. I am still running a campaign where i had everonye roll HP, although i had them roll twice and choose higher, just to reduce the randomness at least slightly, but the next campaign i start will have full 1st and average HP on every level therafter.

So I also never had my players roll for Ability scores, aside from potentially screwing (or overpowering) their total powerlevel it also takes away control from the player, over just how exactly they want their character to be like.

Sovereign Court

We use point buy exclusively and despite similar arrays our characters are always unique. Stats for the most part are under the hood and only come into play when mechanics call for it. Guess I am lucky my group doesn't have the "cookie cutter" hang up.

Problem with rolling fail-safes is nobody ever accounts for Mr. 50 point buy equivalent they just protect people from the getting a 10 point buy fail boat. The discrepancy between power rolling affords is too much for me to handle at the table as GM. My advice adjust your perspective bringing back rolling is too much of a headache.

Grand Lodge

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I've never seen any complaints at the table for the most part. If I were going to change anything, I'd get rid of the point scale and just have the players pick their stats.


I have done "arrange your stats so this it the total amount of pluses you get, negatives don't give you more pluses." before and it worked fairly well.


Hama wrote:

I've been looking over the PCs from several of my previous campaigns that I ran, and all of them had one thing in common. Very very similar ability scores.

While, yes, point buy is there to mitigate injustice and make PCs relatively similar in ability, it gives them a sort of uniformity which is beginning to annoy me. ...

I have heard this mentioned before. It kinda baffles me actually. I've never seen it nor understood it. With all the umpteen thousand possible builds and dozens of different roles a character can have within a party, why should the stats end up the same.

Looking through the lists of character I've made and what I can remember seeing in my groups, very few of them were very similar to any of the others.

Ok, when I was trying to figure out the best way to do X with several different class combinations, they were similar. But that was because the character concept was similar. (Example: making a natural weapon combatant as a barbarian, ranger, and bloodrager.)

Other than that, most of them are very different from each other. Well, at least as different as you can get with numbers in the small range of 7-18 at any rate.
But your method of generating scores isn't going to change that much except for a slight chance of getting something significantly worse.

Hama wrote:

... I am seriously considering of going back to the old system of roll 4d6, drop the lowest, 6 times than distribute as desired. Re-rolling all of them if the combined bonus of all the stats is +3 or less.

I am not cruel enough to go for roll 3d6, or even words, roll 3d6 in order.

Any thoughts?

I don't see the need for it, but also don't have a problem with it.

IF you are willing to but a stop to anyone having/getting to play with a PC that is substantially worse/better than everyone else.


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

Low point buys can make some character concepts very difficult, but high point buys usually work well.

The game I am in used a 30 point buy, and all the player characters have in common with one another is that they are generally superior to NPCs of equal level.


Andrew R wrote:
If you make cookie cutter characters then it is your choice. If you roll but put them in the same order what is the difference aside from hoping to get higher numbers?

The difference is that you usually have to kamikaze a few PCs before getting those higher numbers. ;)


Hama wrote:
Any thoughts?

I'm of the opinion that stats don't make the character.

Players can get themselves into mental ruts -- particularly we who post on gamer forums and are aware of charop mentalities like "I must have a 20 in my prime stat!" But I'd rather get out of that rut by finding/writing some random chargen tables -- random personality traits, random parentage, random quirks, random appearance, etc..

Roll a few random traits, and then work out how they all fit together!


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I've never used point buy. I'm too much of a dice freak.

Liberty's Edge

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Me too. In all the many years I've played the game, and all the different people I've played with, I've actually never, *ever* seen anything but some form of true roll your stats character creation!

I like rolling way too much. That sense of randomness, anticipation and excitement from rolling stats is just too much a part of the game's fabric for me to ever want to give point buy much serious consideration

So, to the OP I say absolutely ditch point buy and give rolling a shot.

Grand Lodge

Hama wrote:
It's not mandatory, it's fair.

Says you. My group's never had an issue without it, and the PC vs. enemy encounters are far from stacked in our favor.

Shadow Lodge

That...doesn't refute his statement.

Grand Lodge

You're right, it doesn't, neither does his opinion validate itself.

Shadow Lodge

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Ah, well as long as we're just throwing out unvalidated opinions then.


Hama wrote:

I've been looking over the PCs from several of my previous campaigns that I ran, and all of them had one thing in common. Very very similar ability scores.

While, yes, point buy is there to mitigate injustice and make PCs relatively similar in ability, it gives them a sort of uniformity which is beginning to annoy me.

I am seriously considering of going back to the old system of roll 4d6, drop the lowest, 6 times than distribute as desired. Re-rolling all of them if the combined bonus of all the stats is +3 or less.

I am not cruel enough to go for roll 3d6, or even words, roll 3d6 in order.

Any thoughts?

Maybe you could construct some kind of mix - like give the players a reduced point buy total to purchase four stats of their choice, then they roll 3d6 for the last two (or 2d6+6 or 4d4 or ... whatever you wanted to set it at).


Maccabee wrote:
Hama wrote:
It's not mandatory, it's fair.
Says you. My group's never had an issue without it

Your alternate system is also fair though. It's the inequity arising from random generation that Hama was suggesting was unfair. (ie when using your method or the regular point buy method there's no risk of being forced to have nothing above a twelve when another PC has nothing below it).

Grand Lodge

Steve Geddes wrote:
Maccabee wrote:
Hama wrote:
It's not mandatory, it's fair.
Says you. My group's never had an issue without it
Your alternate system is also fair though. It's the inequity arising from random generation that Hama was suggesting was unfair. (ie when using your method or the regular point buy method there's no risk of being forced to have nothing above a twelve when another PC has nothing below it).

In that case, good point. I must have read it wrong.


Hama wrote:

I've been looking over the PCs from several of my previous campaigns that I ran, and all of them had one thing in common. Very very similar ability scores.

While, yes, point buy is there to mitigate injustice and make PCs relatively similar in ability, it gives them a sort of uniformity which is beginning to annoy me.

I am seriously considering of going back to the old system of roll 4d6, drop the lowest, 6 times than distribute as desired. Re-rolling all of them if the combined bonus of all the stats is +3 or less.

I am not cruel enough to go for roll 3d6, or even words, roll 3d6 in order.

Any thoughts?

What I started doing is a random d6 roll and then boosting the corresponding stat by 1d3 (or 1, if the stat is either the highest or a dump stat) for any characters in games I run.

I missed seeing things like the stronger wizard, smarter priest, and characters with bonuses in stats that would otherwise be low. We haven't gone back to the full rolling since we don't want to have the equivalent of a 15 point buy character in the same group as a 35+ point buy character due to wildly different dice rolls.

Liberty's Edge

For our home games, we've always used the roll 4d6 ( drop the lowest ) method, even though the resultant players stats might not be of equal power level for each player. I've always felt that this was more of a challenge; and that it encourages role play and teamwork over optimization.

The Exchange

Roll: 17d6+5 inches for that full range of human height potential.

I'm sure troy verner (the actor who plays mini-me) is thrilled to be too short to be a halfling.


My group uses 2d6+6. Mitigates the problems of minimal rolls, but I also look at nearly every set rolled and say "That's playable" or "Eeww." And sometimes I say "Crap that's awful," and the player will go "Yeah, but I think I'll play it anyway." We also tend towards higher-powered campaigns as a general rule, so the 2d6+6 works well for that.

Silver Crusade

While I'd never accuse anybody of cheating, I will point out that unsupervised random characters have a VERY strong tendency to get significantly above expected results.

I admit that I get a bit tired of seeing all the 7 Str wizards and 7 cha fighters but I hate far more seeing characters being essentially a level or 2 higher than others because of dice rolls.

The best compromise I've seen is to use point buy but roll to inspire yourself. So, if you roll STR 14 for a wizard decide if you like the idea. If you do, you build an EK instead. If not, ignore it. Ie, encourage but don't force people to break the optimized norms.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
If I were going to change anything, I'd get rid of the point scale and just have the players pick their stats.

I don't see why this is unreasonable, if the players possess some maturity.

Grand Lodge

That's about how I feel. In my home games, I can adjust the encounters upwards, so all they are doing is telling me how dangerous a campaign they want. :)

Silver Crusade

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Everyone will have an opinion about what they prefer die rolling for statistics or a point buy.

Through playing lots of PFS i have gotten used to a 20 point buy.

However for my home games I still prefer rolling 4d6, re rolling 1s, and assigning as desired.

Each way of character generation has its merits.


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

After going through 1st and 2nd edition with no options but rolling stats, I saw stat arrays and point buy as a welcome relief. I guess I am showing my age here.


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Rolling is very fun.

Two methods that I recommend are:

1- My favorite; Organic. This is where you roll 4d6drop in order and afterwards you can swap one stat with another (this keeps most concepts playable). It also means you might end up with a strong wizard or a charismatic fighter.

2- Everyone rolls a set of stats and you can pick the set you wish to use from among everyones sets. This IS even fairer than point buy and is perhaps the fairest method I have ever seen.

and 3- combine the two methods above for completely fun and totally fair play.


Hama wrote:

I've been looking over the PCs from several of my previous campaigns that I ran, and all of them had one thing in common. Very very similar ability scores.

While, yes, point buy is there to mitigate injustice and make PCs relatively similar in ability, it gives them a sort of uniformity which is beginning to annoy me.

Any thoughts?

One of the most heard complaints about the Point Buy system is cookie cutter stats. That is if the concepts are similar the characters will probably have identical stats. This is because there is an optimal set of scores for each concept and THAT is what you have to buy if you wish to play that concept.

The Exchange

Try 2d6+1 per stat roll and play as zero level normal humans...

Let players earn one stat point per level.


yellowdingo wrote:

Try 2d6+1 per stat roll and play as zero level normal humans...

Let players earn one stat point per level.

This is horrible advice. you would need roughly 12 levels just to get to straight 10s... More likely everyone would just play SAD characters and pile that one stat and leave the rest at around 8 (the average of that method).


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Let one player roll stats and have everyone use those stats. By that you get non-optimised stats while still having the same kind of fairness as point buy.

Or have every player roll a set and everyone gets to choose which set to use.

But I have to say that the PCs I build tend to have rather different stats. So I am a little surprised that your players had such similar stats over several games.


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Aranna wrote:
Hama wrote:

I've been looking over the PCs from several of my previous campaigns that I ran, and all of them had one thing in common. Very very similar ability scores.

While, yes, point buy is there to mitigate injustice and make PCs relatively similar in ability, it gives them a sort of uniformity which is beginning to annoy me.

Any thoughts?

One of the most heard complaints about the Point Buy system is cookie cutter stats. That is if the concepts are similar the characters will probably have identical stats. This is because there is an optimal set of scores for each concept and THAT is what you have to buy if you wish to play that concept.

There are two statements here ...

There is an optimal set of scores for each concept.
True.

But you don't have to have just that optimal set of scores in order to play the concept. The game doesn't self destruct if a character is not the one optimal set of scores.

The Exchange

Aranna wrote:
yellowdingo wrote:

Try 2d6+1 per stat roll and play as zero level normal humans...

Let players earn one stat point per level.

This is horrible advice. you would need roughly 12 levels just to get to straight 10s... More likely everyone would just play SAD characters and pile that one stat and leave the rest at around 8 (the average of that method).

I once allowed the players to roll up a collection of stats six pieces of paper from each player with single stat on each and negotiate who gets what scores in trade for what at a later date...


RDM42 wrote:
Aranna wrote:
Hama wrote:

I've been looking over the PCs from several of my previous campaigns that I ran, and all of them had one thing in common. Very very similar ability scores.

While, yes, point buy is there to mitigate injustice and make PCs relatively similar in ability, it gives them a sort of uniformity which is beginning to annoy me.

Any thoughts?

One of the most heard complaints about the Point Buy system is cookie cutter stats. That is if the concepts are similar the characters will probably have identical stats. This is because there is an optimal set of scores for each concept and THAT is what you have to buy if you wish to play that concept.

There are two statements here ...

There is an optimal set of scores for each concept.
True.

But you don't have to have just that optimal set of scores in order to play the concept. The game doesn't self destruct if a character is not the one optimal set of scores.

Yes and no. By going suboptimal you are accepting a character who won't perform as well. Not many people want to be less effective. So you are kind of stuck with the optimal set.


"Less" effective doesn't equal to "unable to play or contribute".

And many builds that I've seen people call optimal would no be so for every campaign under every assumptions. Individual games do not take place under laboratory conditions.

Sczarni

I have started using a system of 20 point buy +1 where they do the normal 20 points but taking an ability below 10 will not give more points and they get an additional skill point before racial bonuses.

For hit point rolls, I have changed to give them the choice between the pfs method of half plus 1 and rolling the dice. If the player decides to roll and gets a 1, they took the risk.

Sovereign Court

Nobody wants to be a burden on the party.

Sometimes I wish that the entire group of players I run my games for were role-playing optimizers.

Smoothest game ai ever played was in this kind of group.

What i get though:
An optimizer who thinks he's role playing
A dude who makes crap builds even though he's been playing as long as us (spell focus illusion on a dagger wielding rogue, because he took ghost sound as a talent)
A guy so afraid of failure, he always plays support characters
A guy who makes relatively ineffective pun chaeacters
A new guy wh's still learning but plays ok.


The point is that a sistem with the flat advancement during levels actually punishes you heavily if you don't minmax your character during character creation and leveling up. Wether point buy or rolling won't make a difference. Sure, with point buy i can dump strenght from my wizard. You think that rolling will make a difference? You can be sure the lowest stat rolled will get to strenght. Doesn't matter what it will be. It's a stat i won't ever use, it will always be my dump, it matters nothing if there's written 7 or 14.

If you wan't to make people try unusual concept don't force them to take something with no reason other than "random"; rather encourage them: make raising low scores easier than higher scores (a point buy going on as the character gains levels), give more stat advancement with limits on what they can be spent (something like: at 2, 6, 10, 14 and 18 you get a +1 to one of your 3 lowest ability scores) or something else like that... Or at least give them something to use that stat for that mash well with the concept: why would i ever make a 14 strenght wizard, if i won't ever be in a situation where being that strong actually has a purpouse? If it will just be a number on a sheet of paper that won't ever come up in play, it can even be a 1 or a 20, it won't ake any difference, i wil always stay in the back and cast spells...

Don't take away options, take away punishment and give good things. Players always like good things.

Grand Lodge

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Aranna wrote:
Yes and no. By going suboptimal you are accepting a character who won't perform as well. Not many people want to be less effective. So you are kind of stuck with the optimal set.

But not everyone agrees on what is optimal. There may be an optimal set, but plenty of people disagree with that set for one reason or another. They may be wrong about it but that is irrelevant to the fact that their disagreement will make them choose differently than the optimal set.

I personally can't stand having stats below 10 on my characters. So while it might be optimal to drop my warrior's Cha and Int to 7, I will never do it. Other people will. So our cookie cutters will be different.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I hate that as well. You ain't alone.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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It's interesting to read "point buy makes PCs too same-y" when all NPCs with PC class levels have identical sets of scores (not to mention that I had the PCs in my current campaign use the same set). The characters don't feel the same at all to me.

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