Suggestions on stat generation for campaign?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Disclaimer: if you feel this would better fit in a different section of the forums, feel free to flag this. I don't usually venture outside the PFS boards.

So, this upcoming fall I'm hoping to run Reign of Winter for some local folks. It'll be my first foray ever into running a full-scale campaign: I've run PFS quite a bit, and have almost finished running The Dragon's Demand (if only one of my players would come back from vacation so we could finish up, haha). I've also only played one long-term continuous campaign - we recently finished the first book of Curse of the Crimson Throne. So understandably, I'm more than a little nervous about getting stuff right for an AP that people have been wanting to play ever since it started publishing.

My problem is that since I have very limited experience with campaigns, I'm unsure of what route to take with character stat generation. My players have been planning characters for a few months now - I originally meant to start this campaign over the summer, but since Demand ended up getting postponed so much I moved it to the fall - and I would prefer a method that allows them to construct stats that fit the characters they have in mind. However, I'm very bored of 20-ptb, since I've dealt so much with PFS and so have my potential players. Therefore, I'd like to hear various other methods I could use for chargen, and their pros and cons.

I intend to have four or five players for the campaign, and am being quite flexible when it comes to sources - pretty much anything Paizo-published is a go, and I am willing to consider third party material if my players really insist on it.


The best suggestion I've seen for stat generation (that I will be using for my own future campaigns, as my most recent started with point buy just before I found this suggestion) is to have each of your players roll for their stats using whatever method you choose (3d6 in order, 3d6 out of order, 4d6 drop lowest in order/out of order, etc.) and then allow your players to use whatever set of rolls they choose from amongst the group of rolls, this allows randomness from rolling while keeping it fair because even if someone rolls insanely high stats, everyone gets a fair shot at them as well. You can choose your rolling method based on what point-buy equivalent you'd like them to be approximately, if you're running a pre-made adventure path I'd suggest rolling 7 sets of 3d6 and drop the lowest of those rolls, since 4d6 drop the lowest with 7 sets tends to make pretty tough characters without the roll-sharing.

Liberty's Edge

Personally, I'm a big fan of 25 point-buy, but no stat over 16 before racial mods, only one stat below ten and that one no lower than 8 also before racial mods.

That allows a good, heroic, stat spread without either allowing or encouraging too much dumping. For APs (which are designed with 15 point-buy in mind) it also results in about the same highest three stats as highly optimized point-buy on non-SAD classes (and powers down SAD classes a little...which is a nice side benefit), thus not messing with the game's power level assumptions too much.

Some people might complain about the restrictions, but IME, it being 25 point-buy quiets those complaints pretty well.

I also recommend against rolling. It can be fun if you and your players are all into it, but if you're all mostly familiar with PFS and point-buy, I suspect the experience would not be good (especially for whoever rolled lowest). Even if using x9ss's suggestion, there's a very real danger of the stat spread in question throwing off the game's math and requiring extensive re-working...which is bad for a first campaign.


IIRC, the APs are designed around a 15 point buy, so you coudl always use that.


x9ss wrote:
The best suggestion I've seen for stat generation (that I will be using for my own future campaigns, as my most recent started with point buy just before I found this suggestion) is to have each of your players roll for their stats using whatever method you choose (3d6 in order, 3d6 out of order, 4d6 drop lowest in order/out of order, etc.) and then allow your players to use whatever set of rolls they choose from amongst the group of rolls, this allows randomness from rolling while keeping it fair because even if someone rolls insanely high stats, everyone gets a fair shot at them as well. You can choose your rolling method based on what point-buy equivalent you'd like them to be approximately, if you're running a pre-made adventure path I'd suggest rolling 7 sets of 3d6 and drop the lowest of those rolls, since 4d6 drop the lowest with 7 sets tends to make pretty tough characters without the roll-sharing.

I'd like to second x9ss's suggestion. Each player rolls stats, which generates four or five sets of stats to choose from (if I'm reading it correctly). Each player can choose any of the sets of stats, so if one player gets great rolls everyone can use that set of stats. Or if one player gets a 17 or 18 and a few 13-14s and another player gets two 16s, players can choose which fits their character concept better.

There is an occasional discussion on the merits of point buy, which I'm not a huge fan of- players who optimize can use it to their advantage(nothing wrong with that), but players who don't optimizeoften end up having to choose between 'fun concept' and 'optimal stats.'

Sovereign Court

Something I want to try:

Take some playing cards: 3x4, 3x6, 3x8, 3x10 and 3x9. That's 12 cards.

Shuffle, then make six random pairs of cards. Add the cards in the pairs. Now you have your ability scores.

What's special about this? Everyone's "rolled" ability scores are much closer to each other in how well they "rolled". Not so many extreme highs or lows.


I was always a fan of base 10 roll d8's and assign ability scores.

Stat range 11 - 18.


I mostly run for players that are into old school randomness. We use 4d6, roll 7 numbers and place 6 where you want. If your set looks too dull you may ask the DM for a reroll. The reroll is somewhat subjective and I tend to scale it to what the others are sticking with. A necessary component of this working is a group that won't abuse it and a good social dynamic at the table.


Depends on what the players want.

If you want it to be intense and difficult, relying on the system mastery of the players, give them the Heroic NPC array (15 14 13 11 10 8).

Myself, when I run games I am a fan of 2d6+6.

Point Buy is the devil.


Thanks for the feedback, guys. I'll be giving all of these a test run with one of my potential players (who is my roommate, conveniently) and seeing what sorts of spreads we end up with.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

there's also rolling combos, like 2 3d6, 2 4d6d1, 2 5d6d2.

there's also rolls dependant on class, where needed stats get a 5d6d2, useful stats get 4d6d1, and dump stats get 3d6.

so a monk gets 5s on wisdom and strength, 4s on con and dex, 3s on int and chr. obviously be flexible, is a fighter wants to go and finesse everything allow him to get his 5 on his dex instead of str.

meanwhile wizards just get 1 5d6d2, and maybe 1 4d6d1 and rest 3d6.

edit: this type of rolling was invented when classes still has stat requirements.

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