15 point buy, why does it appeal to you?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think one of the issues I have with 15 PB is that for most of the history of The Brand, I and everyone I knew created characters with 4d6 drop low, for stats.

In practice, "4d6 drop low" generates character arrays that average around 20 PB. It's just that occasionally you get the equivalent of a 7 PB or a 42 PB. It's definitely a bigger discrepancy to have a party whose stats are a PBE of 42, 33, 17, and 7 than it is to have SAD classes mixed with MAD classes.

The issue is that by going to a 15 PB, I'm getting a character with lower stats than what my average character had when I was playing back in AD&D, 2e, 3e, 3.5e etc. A 15 PB is closer to 3d6 strict in terms of average stats, and I don't know anybody who liked things that way.

yeah i remember one time i was rolling 4d6d1 and i rolled bad stats 3 times in a row, the GM ended up writing 1s in front of a 3! and a 7 so i had a 13 and 17 to use.


WormysQueue wrote:

The thing why I prefer rolling the dice is that it brings me out of my comfort zone. With PB, I intuitively tend to optimize a bit which means that if I build two characters of the same class, they tend to share more similarities as I probably intended beforhand. If I roll, I have to make with what I get, so I use the dice more as an inspiration help than as anything else.

This is what I was saying earlier, using dice for stats inspires you to build a character that you may not otherwise build, and reinforces the roleplay feeling that this person wasn't born with exactly the right stats to become exactly this class... you're born with the body you have.. some people are born with 18 int, some have 18 str, some have 2 Cha... why should heroes be any different?


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*Thelith wrote:
WormysQueue wrote:

The thing why I prefer rolling the dice is that it brings me out of my comfort zone. With PB, I intuitively tend to optimize a bit which means that if I build two characters of the same class, they tend to share more similarities as I probably intended beforhand. If I roll, I have to make with what I get, so I use the dice more as an inspiration help than as anything else.

This is what I was saying earlier, using dice for stats inspires you to build a character that you may not otherwise build, and reinforces the roleplay feeling that this person wasn't born with exactly the right stats to become exactly this class... you're born with the body you have.. some people are born with 18 int, some have 18 str, some have 2 Cha... why should heroes be any different?

Because this is not the common reaction. Many players would rather suicide a character and roll up a new character than play a character they feel is gimped. This was such a prevalent issue that many GMs had rules to penalize players for dying and coming in with a new character.

Example: 1 level behind.


So? If you suicide you're either out of the game for x amount of time, or re roll and you're a lower level or you inherit the NPC healer or whatever the case may be in your situation, and you could possibly have a character 1 level lower with insane stats. The rare gem of rolling stats outweighs the possible lumps of coal for me... and is far better than the guaranteed turquoise of point buy.


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*Thelith wrote:
WormysQueue wrote:

The thing why I prefer rolling the dice is that it brings me out of my comfort zone. With PB, I intuitively tend to optimize a bit which means that if I build two characters of the same class, they tend to share more similarities as I probably intended beforhand. If I roll, I have to make with what I get, so I use the dice more as an inspiration help than as anything else.

This is what I was saying earlier, using dice for stats inspires you to build a character that you may not otherwise build, and reinforces the roleplay feeling that this person wasn't born with exactly the right stats to become exactly this class... you're born with the body you have.. some people are born with 18 int, some have 18 str, some have 2 Cha... why should heroes be any different?

Because to some people, this game is an escape from the unfair "rolls" of life. If I was stuck with a single digit point buy mook, I too would put points into Proffession Game Design and invent a chance based story telling system so he could vicariously live out his own heroic fantasies.

*Thelith wrote:
So? If you suicide you're either out of the game for x amount of time, or re roll and you're a lower level or you inherit the NPC healer or whatever the case may be in your situation, and you could possibly have a character 1 level lower with insane stats. The rare gem of rolling stats outweighs the possible lumps of coal for me... and is far better than the guaranteed turquoise of point buy.

So.... you suicide in a system that gives a 1 level penalty for it, implying your initial rolls were THAT BAD to begin with. Unless your new character has godly stats (low probability) you'll feel tempted to eat another level to roll again. We call that a Death Spiral.

And I would never, ever force the H-word on a player who got borked in the rolls. I may as well invite hem to the game, but only allow them to cook dinner for the other players and wipe off the map when we're done.


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*Thelith wrote:
So? If you suicide you're either out of the game for x amount of time, or re roll and you're a lower level or you inherit the NPC healer or whatever the case may be in your situation, and you could possibly have a character 1 level lower with insane stats. The rare gem of rolling stats outweighs the possible lumps of coal for me... and is far better than the guaranteed turquoise of point buy.

Again, your reaction is not the common one. Most people are not interested in playing a useless character in a group of decent to super-powered characters.

Even the idea of playing an 'average' character adjacent to super-powered characters is anathema to most people. Point buy solves this problem.


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Gauss wrote:
*Thelith wrote:
So? If you suicide you're either out of the game for x amount of time, or re roll and you're a lower level or you inherit the NPC healer or whatever the case may be in your situation, and you could possibly have a character 1 level lower with insane stats. The rare gem of rolling stats outweighs the possible lumps of coal for me... and is far better than the guaranteed turquoise of point buy.
Again, your reaction is not the common one. Most people are not interested in playing a useless character in a group of decent to super-powered characters.

Reminds me of the time I tried playing a Barbarian in a group with a Wizard, Druid and Cleric :P


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Gauss wrote:
*Thelith wrote:
So? If you suicide you're either out of the game for x amount of time, or re roll and you're a lower level or you inherit the NPC healer or whatever the case may be in your situation, and you could possibly have a character 1 level lower with insane stats. The rare gem of rolling stats outweighs the possible lumps of coal for me... and is far better than the guaranteed turquoise of point buy.

Again, your reaction is not the common one. Most people are not interested in playing a useless character in a group of decent to super-powered characters.

Even the idea of playing an 'average' character adjacent to super-powered characters is anathema to most people. Point buy solves this problem.

Point buy doesn't solve the problem, it moves the super-powered to SAD classes, particularly caster based ones and average to useless to any class that requires more than 2 different stats to function well.


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Gauss wrote:
*Thelith wrote:
So? If you suicide you're either out of the game for x amount of time, or re roll and you're a lower level or you inherit the NPC healer or whatever the case may be in your situation, and you could possibly have a character 1 level lower with insane stats. The rare gem of rolling stats outweighs the possible lumps of coal for me... and is far better than the guaranteed turquoise of point buy.

Again, your reaction is not the common one. Most people are not interested in playing a useless character in a group of decent to super-powered characters.

Even the idea of playing an 'average' character adjacent to super-powered characters is anathema to most people. Point buy solves this problem.

Point Buy isn't fair it just trims off the extreme examples (something you could do with creative rolling methods anyway). For example would you be happy playing a 15 pb character while your more optimizing buddy got a 23 pb character? That is the difference between the optimizer buying down 2 stats and the non-optimizer who doesn't want to go below a 10 anywhere.

If you want PERFECT fairness just pick whatever stats you want. Everything else is unfair to someone.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

How does the 'pick what you like' work in groups opposed to rolling due to PC imbalance?

I would have thought it would lead to an arms race (or an agreement to all choose some particular pointbuy). My thinking was that if you dont like rolling because you dont want to be worse than everyone else you'll choose very high stats. Or is it more the extreme disparity rather than inequality itself? Would 'roll and take pointbuy if you dont like the result' alleviate some of those concerns?


It's perfectly fair to roll for stats, if someone gets better stats one time then next time you might have better. It's not like you make one character and have to live with it forever. I always want to roll 1d20 reroll 1's :)

Picking stats is silly. Who wouldn't take 18*6? But "fair"? yes... " Realistic"? no.


Steve Geddes wrote:

How does the 'pick what you like' work in groups opposed to rolling due to PC imbalance?

I would have thought it would lead to an arms race (or an agreement to all choose some particular pointbuy). My thinking was that if you dont like rolling because you dont want to be worse than everyone else you'll choose very high stats. Or is it more the extreme disparity rather than inequality itself? Would 'roll and take pointbuy if you dont like the result' alleviate some of those concerns?

I'd say pick one or the other per player, don't let someone fall back on point buy...rolling is high risk high reward, taking the risk away undermines that


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Yeah but you like it (as do i).

I'm ore curious to hear from people who disagree with me.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Gauss wrote:
*Thelith wrote:
So? If you suicide you're either out of the game for x amount of time, or re roll and you're a lower level or you inherit the NPC healer or whatever the case may be in your situation, and you could possibly have a character 1 level lower with insane stats. The rare gem of rolling stats outweighs the possible lumps of coal for me... and is far better than the guaranteed turquoise of point buy.

Again, your reaction is not the common one. Most people are not interested in playing a useless character in a group of decent to super-powered characters.

Even the idea of playing an 'average' character adjacent to super-powered characters is anathema to most people. Point buy solves this problem.

Point buy doesn't solve the problem, it moves the super-powered to SAD classes, particularly caster based ones and average to useless to any class that requires more than 2 different stats to function well.

And I have disputed that several times and shown it, to which other people have shown counter-examples.

PB isn't perfect, but it is a far cry better than rolling up garbage stats while your fellow gamers have god-like stats.

At least with PB, assuming we go with the disparity that people say exists between MAD and SAD, the disparity is very small.

Again, personally, I think such disparity is pretty minor and the smaller number of weaknesses in a MAD character outweighs the SAD character's higher ability in one area.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
How does the 'pick what you like' work in groups opposed to rolling due to PC imbalance?

"Pick whatever stats you like" is appropriate for people who want to portray a character they have in mind (someone more well thought out than "invincible sword princess) and to experience a story in which that character plays a part. Especially for people who feel obligated to RP their stats (I'm guilty here) you'll find people with a "pick what you like" approach regularly choosing at least one stat with a negative modifier or leave a stat their character depends on lower than it probably should be because it fits the character. My last "pick whatever" character was a changeling monk with a 10 strength, 11 constitution, and a 14 charisma. As a GM who regularly plays this way, I just ask people to pre-clear their character sheets and if someone's chosen stats are way out of line with the rest of the party I would make a note to that player.

It's not a good approach for a group that sees Pathfinder as more of a tactical board game where you fight monsters, or for a group that's not interested in playing characters that are conceived of before the game, or a group that wants to play characters primarily defined by being good at things.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
It's not a good approach for a group that sees Pathfinder as more of a tactical board game where you fight monsters, or for a group that's not interested in playing characters that are conceived of before the game, or a group that wants to play characters primarily defined by being good at things.

It *can* be, if that group is educated on the expectations of the GM.

Alternatively, everybody starts with 14 across the board and can exchange stats on a 1-1 basis, no stat under under 10 before applying racials or over 18 after applying racials.

EDIT: as a note though, characters defined by being good at things is fine so long as it's defined what 'things' those are. Everybody's entitled to a few shticks that they excel at.


I'm definitely in the point buy camp. Rolling stats or playing in game the way Thelith suggests it would lead to me becoming a serial killer and replacing people's eyes with the d6s that gave me bad rolls.

Also I just really care about the characters I'm creating and don't want to leave their characteristics to random chance. I don't need to get inspiration from crappy rolls, I already have the idea in my head of what I want to create. The random chance that I want affecting their development is the course of the campaign, the people they meet and the battles they win/lose.

I see no point in letting a single set of dice rolls lead me to a character I may not have wanted to try before, because very often that character idea is going to suck compared to the awesome ideas I already had. I don't like re-rolling characters either, I make characters to be an integral part of the campaign. They aren't inter-changeable.

And I just like the control over the concept I get. If I have a high Intelligence its because I wanted it there. I know it often leads to Charisma dumping, and I do that all the time, but hey, I've gotten really good at playing a low-Charisma character in interesting ways.

Actually just rolled a different set of stats for a favored character, with 4d6 drop lowest: 12, 8, 13, 18, 15, 15. A better spread than I have right now, I'd have a higher Strength and Con for my Front-Line Melee Man, but I'd still hate it because I didn't choose where the stats went. That lowly 8 Charisma would just be a fluke, and not a sacrifice made for the greater good of the Intelligence score I wanted. An untenable idea.


That is just an upgraded version of point buy. I personally believe if someone wants to roll instead of *insert alternative point buy system* they should have that right...it is a dice rolling game after all.


I prefer stat arrays. Sometimes I will roll a few up for my players and they can choose one (multiple players can choose the same array). Or you can go the 5th edition route and restrict the highest stat one can have before racial modifiers (5th edition caps it at 15 with point buy, and 20 overall). With my game of newbies, I went with the stat array of 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 9. I think with the next game, I might roll up some stat arrays myself and let them choose.

But like I said earlier in the thread, I have no problem with "weaker" characters that have a 15 PB. I prefer the "average joe rises up to be a hero" or "joe schmoe gets caught up in conflict and rises to the occasion" type characters. That's the feeling 15 pb gives me. But for me, I personally prefer stat arrays. Everyone starts with the exact same stats, with the only deviation being racial bonuses.

Of course, I don't care about "I must have a +5 in my main stat or my character is a steaming pile of horse poo", and am completely fine with my main stat being 16 (or even 15, and going with a "non-optimized" race/class combo). I know it isn't everyone's cup of tea, which is more than fine. What isn't fine is calling someone else's character a POS waste of time because they didn't inflate 1-2 numbers to absurd levels.

I may still be bitter about my last run-in with a Pathfinder game, so I apologize


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Less than +4 in a primary stat tends to result either in surgeon casters who metagame or knowledge skill/ divination their way into always targetting the enemy's weakest save or no-save just suck casters OR buffbots supporting martials who did get good rolls.

What less than +4 in the primary stat does not support is a character who makes many active rolls (such as any martial)

edit: as a note, adjule is right, +5 is unnecessary


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
How does the 'pick what you like' work in groups opposed to rolling due to PC imbalance?

"Pick whatever stats you like" is appropriate for people who want to portray a character they have in mind (someone more well thought out than "invincible sword princess) and to experience a story in which that character plays a part. Especially for people who feel obligated to RP their stats (I'm guilty here) you'll find people with a "pick what you like" approach regularly choosing at least one stat with a negative modifier or leave a stat their character depends on lower than it probably should be because it fits the character. My last "pick whatever" character was a changeling monk with a 10 strength, 11 constitution, and a 14 charisma. As a GM who regularly plays this way, I just ask people to pre-clear their character sheets and if someone's chosen stats are way out of line with the rest of the party I would make a note to that player.

It's not a good approach for a group that sees Pathfinder as more of a tactical board game where you fight monsters, or for a group that's not interested in playing characters that are conceived of before the game, or a group that wants to play characters primarily defined by being good at things.

I wonder if this is a significant factor in the PB vs rolling crowd. I'm extreme in that I prefer to roll my stats in order and then choose my class, so I'm definitely in the latter camp.

I think I could still work with 'pick what you want'. I'd just go for an array (like 16 15 14 12 10 8 or something I thought would be middle-of-the-road for the group) and randomly allocate those prechosen stats.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
*Thelith wrote:
That is just an upgraded version of point buy. I personally believe if someone wants to roll instead of *insert alternative point buy system* they should have that right...it is a dice rolling game after all.

I think it depends on the group - I don't think a player has the right to dictate how their PC should be generated if the group as a whole has strong ideas. Everyone has a right to input into how the game will be run and if there are two strongly held, diametrically opposed views it at least gets sorted before anyone goes to the trouble of putting in too much work. (One or other of the extreme views will need to compromise to some degree or to go somewhere else).

FWIW, I've played in a couple of PBPs recently where the DM wanted us to use pointbuy instead of rolling. I found it easy enough to generate the randomness I like - one of the DMs found a list of every possible array, I randomly chose from those 55 or whatever options and then randomly allocated the resultant array (Str is the 1d6th number, Int is the 1d5th remaining number, etcetera...)


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Steve Geddes wrote:
I wonder if this is a significant factor in the PB vs rolling crowd.

I think this is one of the very clear distinctions between common play styles. Some people want to know who their character is before they play, or indeed before writing anything on a character sheet, and when making a character they try to use the game mechanics to best model their vision of their character. These people will sometimes be disappointed because the game mechanics sometimes won't let them perfectly recreate their vision, and sometimes may feel their stats are too low given a PB constraint. I generally have about a dozen pages of notes on a character regarding their history, worldview, and personality before I write anything on a character sheet.

A lot of other people figure out who their character is after finishing up the character sheet, or indeed they find out who their character is through the process of playing them. This isn't something I can really do personally (I wouldn't know how to respond to simple questions if I didn't already know who my character was), but I understand it's common.


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Gauss wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Gauss wrote:
*Thelith wrote:
So? If you suicide you're either out of the game for x amount of time, or re roll and you're a lower level or you inherit the NPC healer or whatever the case may be in your situation, and you could possibly have a character 1 level lower with insane stats. The rare gem of rolling stats outweighs the possible lumps of coal for me... and is far better than the guaranteed turquoise of point buy.

Again, your reaction is not the common one. Most people are not interested in playing a useless character in a group of decent to super-powered characters.

Even the idea of playing an 'average' character adjacent to super-powered characters is anathema to most people. Point buy solves this problem.

Point buy doesn't solve the problem, it moves the super-powered to SAD classes, particularly caster based ones and average to useless to any class that requires more than 2 different stats to function well.

And I have disputed that several times and shown it, to which other people have shown counter-examples.

PB isn't perfect, but it is a far cry better than rolling up garbage stats while your fellow gamers have god-like stats.

At least with PB, assuming we go with the disparity that people say exists between MAD and SAD, the disparity is very small.

Again, personally, I think such disparity is pretty minor and the smaller number of weaknesses in a MAD character outweighs the SAD character's higher ability in one area.

Even as someone who dislikes the lower point buy I can't say you're objectively wrong or right and make some good points in there, so I'll try to give my thoughts on this disparity.

To me I'm actually alright with getting a bad roll on a die for stats more than I am for point buy. Point buy feels like I HAVE to have crappy stats. Especially with my distaste of negatives. It enforces a mentality of "I'll have to deal with being the same as the last character I made" in the cases I've played in games with it. Add in my dislike of the entire magic system and it's bias toward casters in general and the disparity FEELS a whole lot bigger, but I concede that in reality it's only a problem in a vacuum. Not every wizard is an optimizer and not every barbarian is a moron and what not.

When I roll bad stats however it's more a feeling of "I just didn't get lucky. I think i can work with that in a character". And I'll play the guy who's tagging along the heroes. It gives me liberty to just do off the walls stuff succeed or fail because hey, I've got nothing to lose so lets give it a shot. Is it always as fun? No, but my DMs are usually reasonable people and give one or two rerolls on stats that are REALLY s#+#ty if I'd already had a class in mind.

Now I can say that in the point buy games I've played the disparity between SAD and MAD HAS been pretty noticeable. The SAD characters rarely have to work for rewarding play as hard our MAD teammates, who have to manage more restrictive options. It's more a flaw of the system than of Point Buy however, so I personally can't begrudge it for that aspect. It happens less in our rolling stats game purely because we get a higher stat average and this usually means our MAD players are pretty well off, so they don't notice the disparity, they are having more fun and don't bother.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I wonder if this is a significant factor in the PB vs rolling crowd.

I think this is one of the very clear distinctions between common play styles. Some people want to know who their character is before they play, or indeed before writing anything on a character sheet, and when making a character they try to use the game mechanics to best model their vision of their character. These people will sometimes be disappointed because the game mechanics sometimes won't let them perfectly recreate their vision, and sometimes may feel their stats are too low given a PB constraint. I generally have about a dozen pages of notes on a character regarding their history, worldview, and personality before I write anything on a character sheet.

A lot of other people figure out who their character is after finishing up the character sheet, or indeed they find out who their character is through the process of playing them. This isn't something I can really do personally (I wouldn't know how to respond to simple questions if I didn't already know who my character was), but I understand it's common.

Honestly I'm a little of both myself. Sometimes I'll have a character in mind just waiting in the back of my head fleshed out and ready to go if the stats I get present themselves or can be gained, where as others I just make up whatever is good for the setting at hand and the other player's classes. In either case though I try to leave things up to change as the game progresses. I think character development is more fun than a static mindset.


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*Thelith wrote:

It's perfectly fair to roll for stats, if someone gets better stats one time then next time you might have better. It's not like you make one character and have to live with it forever. I always want to roll 1d20 reroll 1's :)

Picking stats is silly. Who wouldn't take 18*6? But "fair"? yes... " Realistic"? no.

Some people want to play Conan... others might be trusted with a more reasonable concept.


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Steve Geddes wrote:

How does the 'pick what you like' work in groups opposed to rolling due to PC imbalance?

I would have thought it would lead to an arms race (or an agreement to all choose some particular pointbuy). My thinking was that if you dont like rolling because you dont want to be worse than everyone else you'll choose very high stats. Or is it more the extreme disparity rather than inequality itself? Would 'roll and take pointbuy if you dont like the result' alleviate some of those concerns?

If your group is used to fighting against the limits of Point Buy or Rolling then the first time you give them 'pick any stat' they will go hog wild and you will end up with a VERY high PBE game. But this is good, they WANT to blow off some steam. Just adjust the monsters stats upward to compensate and the game plays just fine. And the next time they get 'pick any stat' they will largely back off of the unnecessary high stats. They will probably still have somewhat generous stats but no more than they need for their character concept. The clever ones at my table even gamed my system a little and took low stats just to lower the averages the monsters were using. But these were the groups optimizers; the groups role players just took what they felt their character should be like.

It actually STOPS being an arms race. There is no need at all to compete with the guy/girl across the table if you already have everything you want.


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In my lower powered games I like to offer a choice between array, point buy, or rolled. Pick the method you prefer and take the results. I scale them against each other so that each has benefits and weaknesses. Rolled is 4d6drop1 BUT rolled 'in order' your stats are rather random INCLUDING placement. Array is the Elite NPC Array which is a solid set of scores which includes a bought down stat and a total PB of 15. Point Buy is 15 PB with NO points for buying down stats.

- the rolled advantage is that they will typically (but not always) have higher PB values than the other two methods, the disadvantage is that you have NO CONTROL of the values or placement of those stats. (I call this the Fluke of Nature method: every so often nature produces a rare gifted individual out of seemingly normal stock. This is you.)

- the elite array advantage is a good set of scores with a buy down included and the freedom to assign those scores as you see fit. The disadvantage is there is NO FLEXABILITY those scores are all locked at a preset value. (I call this the Trained for Greatness method. History has proven you can train children for greatness by focusing their studies on the desired outcome and avoiding unnecessary distractions. This is you.)

- the point buy advantage is BOTH complete control over the values AND placement of your scores. The disadvantage is that they have a LOWER POTENTIAL in PBE than the other two methods. (I call this method the Breeding Program. Whether through natural selection or deliberate breeding pairs your ancestors always sought out the best partner in terms of attributes. This has left you without weakness and perfectly suited for the role your family intended for you. This is you.)

The Exchange

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One system I really liked was character stat generation with the Three Dragon Ante set discussed in one of the old Dragon Magazines. Basically you had a point buy value guaranteed, but the single values were still randomly created. And additionally, you could even take inspiration from the tarot-like card reading for the creation of your character background, if you were so inclined.

This system was less random as dice rolling but it still ensured that if you played two human fighters (just an example), those would end up with different stats. So I still use it if playing in a campaign, where PB is the system of choice.


Okay, I'm gonna chime in for the pro-point buy crowd again. I was fiddling around with the point buy and I noticed that the difference between 16 and 18 on the point buy scale is 7 points, nearly half of your points.

All that gets you is an extra +1 at an expense of more stats. Most mad classes I see are martials and, I believe, they can get by without an 18 in an attribute. In fact, I'd say that the magic items (or bonuses, if you use an alternate system) actually more than compensate for any weakness there. They benefit from bonuses on weapons and armor a lot more than casters.

Dark Archive

Personally I wouldn't offer a point buy any lower than 20, and normally I would go with 25 as the campaigns I'd prefer to run is high fantasy yet with no score above 16 and none below 8 before racial modifiers.. admittedly I don't honestly really like Point Buy but if it was insisted on by my players I would begrudgingly allow it.

Yet if they were interested and were willing to try a different method I would also offer they toll 4d6, reroll 1s and 2s once, drop the lowest. Another method I wanted to try is from The Way of the Wicked campaign setting, a slight variant on their Focus and Foible.


Albatoonoe wrote:

Okay, I'm gonna chime in for the pro-point buy crowd again. I was fiddling around with the point buy and I noticed that the difference between 16 and 18 on the point buy scale is 7 points, nearly half of your points.

All that gets you is an extra +1 at an expense of more stats. Most mad classes I see are martials and, I believe, they can get by without an 18 in an attribute. In fact, I'd say that the magic items (or bonuses, if you use an alternate system) actually more than compensate for any weakness there. They benefit from bonuses on weapons and armor a lot more than casters. [/QUOTED]

The difference between 16 and 18 at the start of the game is +1... at level 1 that is 33% better.... that is a huge difference. At level 20 with tons of magic having 38 instead of 40 is ~7% better. Which is still a noticeable difference, and it's a +1 that you can NEVER get back. If a +1 is no big deal no one would ever take weapon focus, or a trait giving +1 to x skill/ability...


*Thelith, your %'s are overly simplistic. It would be better to do a DPR comparison and use those %'s instead.

The numbers may show that there is more, or less of a difference than you state, but either way your %'s are not the final product.


+1 damage/to hit/skills/carrying capacity is invaluable. And that's just strength.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
*Thelith wrote:
WormysQueue wrote:

The thing why I prefer rolling the dice is that it brings me out of my comfort zone. With PB, I intuitively tend to optimize a bit which means that if I build two characters of the same class, they tend to share more similarities as I probably intended beforhand. If I roll, I have to make with what I get, so I use the dice more as an inspiration help than as anything else.

This is what I was saying earlier, using dice for stats inspires you to build a character that you may not otherwise build, and reinforces the roleplay feeling that this person wasn't born with exactly the right stats to become exactly this class... you're born with the body you have.. some people are born with 18 int, some have 18 str, some have 2 Cha... why should heroes be any different?

by build i wouldn't otherwise play i hope you mean a cheese wizard, because bad stats = me going full into magic as long as i can get 11 int.

you don't choose your character's stats, you choose who you're playing as from a variable multiverse of possibilities. the character didn't choose his stats either, thats why this argument doesn't hold water.

*Thelith wrote:
So? If you suicide you're either out of the game for x amount of time, or re roll and you're a lower level or you inherit the NPC healer or whatever the case may be in your situation, and you could possibly have a character 1 level lower with insane stats. The rare gem of rolling stats outweighs the possible lumps of coal for me... and is far better than the guaranteed turquoise of point buy.

which i think we can agree is not a good game. they'll still do it though, because 1 bad session is better than 10 bad sessions.


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Steve Geddes wrote:

How does the 'pick what you like' work in groups opposed to rolling due to PC imbalance?

I would have thought it would lead to an arms race (or an agreement to all choose some particular pointbuy). My thinking was that if you dont like rolling because you dont want to be worse than everyone else you'll choose very high stats. Or is it more the extreme disparity rather than inequality itself? Would 'roll and take pointbuy if you dont like the result' alleviate some of those concerns?

it's more of a shame game than an arms race, people an embarrassed to be "that guy" who got 2 18s and what not. beyond that you have everyone discuss the stats at session 0 so they all figure out what they should get.

it's more of an arms race when it's dice, since you know, you can reroll, also you're mostly racing the dice.

reasons i don't like rolling for stats: I don't like gambling.

"yada yada, then why roll at all" you don't gamble as much as you think beyond character creation, because for me at least I go for high chance to win rolls anyway, and combat you throw out so many dice your DPR is always around average.


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*Thelith wrote:

It's perfectly fair to roll for stats, if someone gets better stats one time then next time you might have better. It's not like you make one character and have to live with it forever. I always want to roll 1d20 reroll 1's :)

Picking stats is silly. Who wouldn't take 18*6? But "fair"? yes... " Realistic"? no.

it's fair across a population, it's not fair from person to person, almost ever.

I NEVER got an 18 when i actually rolled for stats 4d6d1 the first time. we ALWAYS had multiple rerolls, sometimes it was because you had an 18 but also had a 4, and what not, but my general average is probably below "fun levels" for all my first time tries.

and if you're going to reroll, just cut out the middleman and use PB to make the process go quicker.


25 point buy to me is basically choose your stats with a don't go crazy on the end which is my default. My group just talks about what sort of game we want this time and goes with it. Like we've been talking about a all 18's game (chosen by destiny given perfection by the gods kind of thing.) and for horror games we like lower point buy.

We used to use rolls I like to joke with one of my players who spent 2 hours rolling up different sets of stats till he got something stupid high. I told him after he was done and your the reason were doing point buy now. (Hes not but its funny to mess with him.) 15 is unsatisfying to me when I built a character I have negative score aversion anyways unless it fits the concept.


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Bandw2 wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

How does the 'pick what you like' work in groups opposed to rolling due to PC imbalance?

I would have thought it would lead to an arms race (or an agreement to all choose some particular pointbuy). My thinking was that if you dont like rolling because you dont want to be worse than everyone else you'll choose very high stats. Or is it more the extreme disparity rather than inequality itself? Would 'roll and take pointbuy if you dont like the result' alleviate some of those concerns?

it's more of a shame game than an arms race, people an embarrassed to be "that guy" who got 2 18s and what not. beyond that you have everyone discuss the stats at session 0 so they all figure out what they should get.

Cheers. How do you think they'd go with "roll for stats with an agreed upon 'floor'"?

I'm not trying to persuade or anything, I'm just curious whether that would remove the main issue of rolling crap whilst others roll well.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:

25 point buy to me is basically choose your stats with a don't go crazy on the end which is my default. My group just talks about what sort of game we want this time and goes with it. Like we've been talking about a all 18's game (chosen by destiny given perfection by the gods kind of thing.) and for horror games we like lower point buy.

we do choose your stats because well, sometimes you want lower than a 7, or you want to use that lower PB for a SAD class or an insane PB for an extremely MAD concept.

with PB you feel obligated to use all points for some reason.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

How does the 'pick what you like' work in groups opposed to rolling due to PC imbalance?

I would have thought it would lead to an arms race (or an agreement to all choose some particular pointbuy). My thinking was that if you dont like rolling because you dont want to be worse than everyone else you'll choose very high stats. Or is it more the extreme disparity rather than inequality itself? Would 'roll and take pointbuy if you dont like the result' alleviate some of those concerns?

it's more of a shame game than an arms race, people an embarrassed to be "that guy" who got 2 18s and what not. beyond that you have everyone discuss the stats at session 0 so they all figure out what they should get.

Cheers. How do you think they'd go with "roll for stats with an agreed upon 'floor'"?

I'm not trying to persuade or anything, I'm just curious whether that would remove the main issue of rolling crap whilst others roll well.

as mentioned, we actually primarily did this to 1 remove randomness and 2 restrictions for both ends.

PB doesn't mean much if you're just a wizard and can definitely make an 18, but what if you also wanted 18 strength for no reason other than flexing magic at the enemy. etc.

7 10 10 18 12 7 on a wizard is to me equal to 18 16 16 14 12 10 on a fighter, which is ALSO equal to 18 10 10 18 12 7 on a wizard. no PB or rolling is going to handle such a complex system, just like most of the game we decided to let human brains do the balancing instead of a system.


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I've seen a few 'pick your stats' games and can appreciate the advantage. I'm mainly just curious as to mindest, but figure it would be good to have options in my back pocket in case I'm ever in a group who are averse to rolling. (It seems to me that if the fear is just "I don't want to roll crap" then a 20PB option after rolling or something would prevent that. If it's more "I want everyone to be the same, then 'choose what you like' doesn't seem to fit the bill either).

In a 'choose your stats' game I'm golden - I can just roll in order and choose that. When I play with people who prefer pointbuy though I have to be more flexible, so the more options I've heard of the better.


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Bandw2 wrote:

PB doesn't mean much if you're just a wizard and can definitely make an 18, but what if you also wanted 18 strength for no reason other than flexing magic at the enemy. etc.

7 10 10 18 12 7 on a wizard is to me equal to 18 16 16 14 12 10 on a fighter, which is ALSO equal to 18 10 10 18 12 7 on a wizard. no PB or rolling is going to handle such a complex system, just like most of the game we decided to let human brains do the balancing instead of a system.

Would you see a big difference if the second 18 was CON instead of STR?

(I'm wondering if a superior pointbuy system would make buying different stats cost more or less based on your class).


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Bandw2 wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:

25 point buy to me is basically choose your stats with a don't go crazy on the end which is my default. My group just talks about what sort of game we want this time and goes with it. Like we've been talking about a all 18's game (chosen by destiny given perfection by the gods kind of thing.) and for horror games we like lower point buy.

we do choose your stats because well, sometimes you want lower than a 7, or you want to use that lower PB for a SAD class or an insane PB for an extremely MAD concept.

with PB you feel obligated to use all points for some reason.

You gave me an idea Allow players with excess point from point buy to use them to buy traits just a matter of figuring out how many points for a trait.


I am curious how '18' became equal to 'heroic' and <18 is not heroic (hero).

Commoners have a 13 in their highest stat (pre-race). Based on that a 16 is plenty heroic.


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Back in first edition AD&D we wanted an 18 four our most important stat it probably varies game to game but you seem to be on some tall steed that players should be more then happy with 16's but really it varies from game to game and person to person. Its not like there is some inalienable absolute that works for everyone. Really what someone calls heroic is probably more of a matter of semantics anyways.


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Steve Geddes wrote:

I've seen a few 'pick your stats' games and can appreciate the advantage. I'm mainly just curious as to mindest, but figure it would be good to have options in my back pocket in case I'm ever in a group who are averse to rolling. (It seems to me that if the fear is just "I don't want to roll crap" then a 20PB option after rolling or something would prevent that. If it's more "I want everyone to be the same, then 'choose what you like' doesn't seem to fit the bill either).

In a 'choose your stats' game I'm golden - I can just roll in order and choose that. When I play with people who prefer pointbuy though I have to be more flexible, so the more options I've heard of the better.

like i said, my option is beyond that, it gives the player consistency in that he knows he's playing something he's willing to play. Then the group talks to each other and everyone changes a bit of this or that. while at the same time not limiting it to just a specific power level like PB.

basically there were issues with both systems so we decided to drop both systems, as simple as that.

to elaborate:
dice too random
PB too limiting/not actually balanced


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:

PB doesn't mean much if you're just a wizard and can definitely make an 18, but what if you also wanted 18 strength for no reason other than flexing magic at the enemy. etc.

7 10 10 18 12 7 on a wizard is to me equal to 18 16 16 14 12 10 on a fighter, which is ALSO equal to 18 10 10 18 12 7 on a wizard. no PB or rolling is going to handle such a complex system, just like most of the game we decided to let human brains do the balancing instead of a system.

Would you see a big difference if the second 18 was CON instead of STR?

(I'm wondering if a superior pointbuy system would make buying different stats cost more or less based on your class).

it definitely wouldn't be equal in every respect, but but i'm feeling it's more or less a slight advantage over the fighter than a huge one. you can still stop them just by trying to keep them threatened.

to be clear, con is needed to apply DPR/CC safely, if you can't apply that DPR/CC then your amount of con doesn't change MUCH, obviously you still are harder to kill in the end and can have more chances to apply your DPR and CC safely, but a fighter can stand next to an enemy and apply DPR all day, the wiz cannot.

if you never get close enough to stop the wiz's DPR/CC then the amount of con he has doesn't matter either.


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Gauss wrote:

I am curious how '18' became equal to 'heroic' and <18 is not heroic (hero).

Commoners have a 13 in their highest stat (pre-race). Based on that a 16 is plenty heroic.

but that' just your common commoner.


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Bandw2 wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:

PB doesn't mean much if you're just a wizard and can definitely make an 18, but what if you also wanted 18 strength for no reason other than flexing magic at the enemy. etc.

7 10 10 18 12 7 on a wizard is to me equal to 18 16 16 14 12 10 on a fighter, which is ALSO equal to 18 10 10 18 12 7 on a wizard. no PB or rolling is going to handle such a complex system, just like most of the game we decided to let human brains do the balancing instead of a system.

Would you see a big difference if the second 18 was CON instead of STR?

(I'm wondering if a superior pointbuy system would make buying different stats cost more or less based on your class).

it definitely wouldn't be equal in every respect, but but i'm feeling it's more or less a slight advantage over the fighter than a huge one. you can still stop them just by trying to keep them threatened.

sorry to keep plaguing the board but your conversation gave me another idea what if stats started pretty flat like all 10 (or 12 with a little bit of flex to move around) then certain classes just gave you automatic points as you leveled up in them so like every class level bumped a important stat by one. It would make multi-classing less effective unless you stayed in classes that had the stats you wanted but otherwise could work. I need to just write my own optional rule book.

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