Generating Ability Score Methods - Which is the best option?


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So we just wrapped RotR AE this afternoon & our group is ready to move on to CotCT.

My players expressed discontent with the Epic Fantasy Purchase method we used last time, so I'm curious to hear from other GMs & players which of the other four methods presented in the Core Rulebook (Standard/Classic/Heroic/Dice Pool) are thought to be popular & balanced?

For me as GM, I like balance which is why I've trationally been a fan of the Purchase method. My newer players didn't like how daunting that was for them last time when they didn't know the game well enough & felt by ~10th level that it hurt optimizing their characters. We may have 1-2 new players again with this next campaign so I wouldn't want to see that happen again. My experienced players said while it's great for specialist classes (aka single ability score focused), the hybrid classes (aka multi-ability score focused) don't fair as well & aren't as fun to play. I'm fine with changing the method since my #1 concern is that my group is having fun. However, while they presented a few homebrew options I'm a little hesitant to try those when the Core Rulebook still does offer four other methods.

What say thy forums? I appreciate any input. We have two weeks until our new character creation session so I want to think about the pros & cons of the options out there long & hard before we roll dice on New Years Day. Thanks all!


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If you ran with the typical "rolling of dice," you're going to end up with characters that are extremely overpowered (ever have a player roll a bunch of 16's-18's in the classic versions of D&D?), extremely underpowered (there's also those characters who roll 1's and 2's all the time), or straight-jacket their character choices based on whatever numbers they rolled for attributes.

I'm not saying that it's guaranteed, but between multiple players, you're bound to have at least one or two players that will suffer from this deficiency, and I can assure you that, chances are, they will dislike that system even more than the one they used prior.

In my opinion, the best thing for you to do (since the players hated the purchase method since it was a little daunting, but you like it for balance reasons) is to implement a static Attribute Array, since that's the closest thing you're going to get in terms of compromise.

As GM, you take whatever point buy you are comfortable with (most APs assume 15 point buy, and you were running a 25 point buy, which is overkill for what you were running), and then set the 6 numbers in accordance to the point buy you've chosen. The players then assign those numbers to the attributes they desire the most; this takes the whole "optimization" worry out of the players, but gives you the ideal balance you're looking for.

The most obvious thing to do would be to have an average spread across the attributes, resulting in the assumed 15 point buy you'd come across. However, I'd suggest throwing out a few different kinds of arrays, and let the players choose one of the arrays that they like the most to base their character around. Two of the most common ones are 16, 14, 12, 10, 10, 8, and 14, 14, 12, 12, 11, 10, in accordance to 15 point buy, so I'd pitch those two (or even more) towards the players to see which one they take. They can then assign those points to whatever attributes they wish, whether they want to shore up their racial penalties, enhance their racial bonuses, and so on.


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4d6 drop the lowest.
roll 18 times keep the highest 6
because point buy is unnecessarily stupid


I would suggest 4d6, drop lowest (reroll 1s if you want to be extra nice). Write each set of six scores on a piece of paper, then let every player choose which set of rolls they want to use. That prevents the lucky/unlucky roll disparity.


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I would just give them a good stat array. They dont have to worry about someone having super hero stats while another looks like a commoner. It also removes the problem they have with point buy.

I would also look into whether the stats were the real cause of their problems. It could have been poor builds or bad tactics.


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Seems like a good place for me to plug the attribute generation method I put together a couple weeks ago, especially considering that CotCT was the introduction of the Harrow Deck.

However, it seems likely that the players you had that were dissatisfied with point buy may be just as (if not moreso) dissatisfied by my method (though it certainly takes pressure and confusion out of a newer player's hands by taking attribute generation out of their control.)

Personally, we've done them all: various dice-rolling methods, arrays, point buy, and my linked method. They all have their place. Your experienced players seem to be requesting an array.

In that case, I'd personally probably go with something like a: 16, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8 (equivalent of 27 point buy, which is very generous, two very good stats, max of 18's with racial bonuses limit it somewhat.)


I second or third or whatever just using an array.
16, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 Is what I like.

Or you could do the "smart" thing, and just roll 18 times until you get what you like :)


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

We've used 2 methods in the groups I play with:

1) Roll 4d6, drop lowest die. Do this 6 times then roll a 7th. You can either swap one of your first 6 for that 7th roll or trash them all and roll 6 times.

2) Roll 4d6, drop lowest die, in two sets of 6. Pick which set you prefer.

In both cases, players have been able to play the general PC they wanted. Nobody's felt short-changed on their stats. While optimization differences have come up between players though play and equipment choices, I can't recall any time in which stat disparities have been an issue.


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1d4 + 14
1d6 + 12
1d8 + 10
1d10 + 8
1d10 + 8
1d12 + 6

Arrange to taste. Anyone at the table can use anyone's array.

Silver Crusade

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Randomess in character generation is bad IMO.

So, any method that does NOT allow one character to be way better than others. Point Buy is simplest but does kind of lead to cookie cutter characters (almost all wizards are weak and ugly, etc). So if you don't like that then some method where at least all the players get to chose from the same set of stats.


Scythia wrote:
I would suggest 4d6, drop lowest (reroll 1s if you want to be extra nice). Write each set of six scores on a piece of paper, then let every player choose which set of rolls they want to use. That prevents the lucky/unlucky roll disparity.

+1 to letting anyone choose whichever set rolled they want.

Sovereign Court

pauljathome wrote:

Randomess in character generation is bad IMO.

So, any method that does NOT allow one character to be way better than others. Point Buy is simplest but does kind of lead to cookie cutter characters (almost all wizards are weak and ugly, etc). So if you don't like that then some method where at least all the players get to chose from the same set of stats.

Focus on your character's personality and leave stats under the hood and the "cookie cutter" problem dissipates.

One random method that attempts fairness is to have all players and GM roll a set of stats using favorite method (4D6 drop lowest, etc) The group chooses one set for everyone to use from the results.


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I suggest 20 point buy because it's the sweet spot where any class is reasonably viable (though the MAD classes will have to dump a little). But if you *must* use the 4d6 (drop lowest) version, the ONLY way to make it fair is to let anyone choose any set rolled - ANYTHING else involving random stat generation is inherently unfair, and should not be used.


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WeekendWarriors wrote:

So we just wrapped RotR AE this afternoon & our group is ready to move on to CotCT.

My players expressed discontent with the Epic Fantasy Purchase method we used last time, so I'm curious to hear from other GMs & players which of the other four methods presented in the Core Rulebook (Standard/Classic/Heroic/Dice Pool) are thought to be popular & balanced?

It's been my experience that folks who don't like a 25 point buy are those who are experts in being amazingly "lucky" in point rolling.


The problem with arrays is that one person plays a concept that works best for one big stat. Another person plays somebody that has to have two big strengths, and a third person's concept is somebody who needs all of their stats a little above average. If you provide multiple arrays, it then becomes little different than a point-buy.

Randomness is bad for people who want to build to a concept. It's the same problem as arrays, but each person gets their own array. It also means a probable difference in what people get. Almost all random systems I've seen have weird things to mitigate the random factor. "You end up with things like 4d4 (keep 3) +six, roll seven times and drop the lowest roll. If your total stats are less than a 13 point buy, you can reroll the whole thing."

BigDTBone wrote:

1d4 + 14

1d6 + 12
1d8 + 10
1d10 + 8
1d10 + 8
1d12 + 6

Arrange to taste. Anyone at the table can use anyone's array.

Interesting, I just did six sets on a spreadsheet to see what I'd get

17 16 16 18 16 10 - 60 point buy
17 18 12 18 9 9 - 47 point buy
16 18 14 10 17 18 - 62 point buy
18 17 12 10 13 10 - 35 point buy
17 17 13 14 13 14 - 42 point buy
15 17 12 9 17 10 - 34 point buy

When you look at what you get with this system, average rolls rounded down gives you 30 points. Rounded up is 43 points. Out of 100 sets, 44% had one 18, 13% had two, and 6% had three. When you can select the best set it's a powergamer's wet dream.


My first DM had us roll 4d6 drop lowest in three groups of 6. Once we figured up what the totals of the dice rolls were, we would get to select from one group of 6.

I myself point out the point-buy table and say you get 20 points.

With my last group though, I think I should have just given the players a static array because 20 points buys a lot of 13s. 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 10 is my choice.


Philo Pharynx wrote:

The problem with arrays is that one person plays a concept that works best for one big stat. Another person plays somebody that has to have two big strengths, and a third person's concept is somebody who needs all of their stats a little above average. If you provide multiple arrays, it then becomes little different than a point-buy.

Randomness is bad for people who want to build to a concept. It's the same problem as arrays, but each person gets their own array. It also means a probable difference in what people get. Almost all random systems I've seen have weird things to mitigate the random factor. "You end up with things like 4d4 (keep 3) +six, roll seven times and drop the lowest roll. If your total stats are less than a 13 point buy, you can reroll the whole thing."

BigDTBone wrote:

1d4 + 14

1d6 + 12
1d8 + 10
1d10 + 8
1d10 + 8
1d12 + 6

Arrange to taste. Anyone at the table can use anyone's array.

Interesting, I just did six sets on a spreadsheet to see what I'd get

17 16 16 18 16 10 - 60 point buy
17 18 12 18 9 9 - 47 point buy
16 18 14 10 17 18 - 62 point buy
18 17 12 10 13 10 - 35 point buy
17 17 13 14 13 14 - 42 point buy
15 17 12 9 17 10 - 34 point buy

When you look at what you get with this system, average rolls rounded down gives you 30 points. Rounded up is 43 points. Out of 100 sets, 44% had one 18, 13% had two, and 6% had three. When you can select the best set it's a powergamer's wet dream.

Maybe. There are only two sets with a Constitution of 14+. Most "optimizers" will point out how a constitution below 14 is unworkable.

Also, a 25 point buy will get you

18 16 14 10 7 7

...to arrange any way you'd like. That will get you reliable power and a general lack of downsides. Point buy is a powergamer's wet dream.

What we're getting at is that you're severely punished for making sub-optimal stat choices on point buy. On stat roll (without arranging), you can have interesting but (relatively) meaningless options like the 17 strength wizard or 18 charisma fighter.

Edit: I got the following rolls after arranging the rolling methods to taste, then rolling. Calculated randomness, I guess.

17 18 14 18 10 8 -- fighter = 43
14 16 14 14 17 15 -- rogue = 45
18 12 14 18 16 11 -- wizard = 52
10 18 18 10 16 14 -- cleric = 49


One mitigating factor is limits on what point buy can do. For example, a GM might say "Nothing higher than 18 after Racial, and only one stat can go down to 8".


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I'm a strong proponent of "Think of a character and what they're like, now write down whatever stats you think best describe that character. Nothing above 18 post-racial mods, check with the GM when you're done to make sure every character is about the same power level" as a stat generation method.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
WeekendWarriors wrote:

So we just wrapped RotR AE this afternoon & our group is ready to move on to CotCT.

My players expressed discontent with the Epic Fantasy Purchase method we used last time, so I'm curious to hear from other GMs & players which of the other four methods presented in the Core Rulebook (Standard/Classic/Heroic/Dice Pool) are thought to be popular & balanced?

It's been my experience that folks who don't like a 25 point buy are those who are experts in being amazingly "lucky" in point rolling.

Agreed.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I'm a strong proponent of "Think of a character and what they're like, now write down whatever stats you think best describe that character. Nothing above 18 post-racial mods, check with the GM when you're done to make sure every character is about the same power level" as a stat generation method.

That would also be pretty cool. If you played with reasonable people.


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GM Rednal wrote:
One mitigating factor is limits on what point buy can do. For example, a GM might say "Nothing higher than 18 after Racial, and only one stat can go down to 8".

Hate that. If I want to put all my points into a stat who cares.


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

10 point buy.

14 13 12 11 10 9

Pathfinder: Hardmode.

Seriously though, just give them an array. It's easy and avoids huge dumps or the "luck" roller having massively overpowered stats.


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4d6 reroll 1s and 2s drop lowest 6 times for 2 sets of stats let them chose what one they want out of the two this generates stats that are 9-18 so you shouldnt have crippled heros


Lemartes wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I'm a strong proponent of "Think of a character and what they're like, now write down whatever stats you think best describe that character. Nothing above 18 post-racial mods, check with the GM when you're done to make sure every character is about the same power level" as a stat generation method.
That would also be pretty cool. If you played with reasonable people.

For less reasonable people you can try the variant where each player submits a backstory and description of their character, and then the GM tells them their stats based on that information. It's a bit like homework though (for everybody, I've gotten 30 page backstories before when doing this).


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I'm a strong proponent of "Think of a character and what they're like, now write down whatever stats you think best describe that character. Nothing above 18 post-racial mods, check with the GM when you're done to make sure every character is about the same power level" as a stat generation method.
That would also be pretty cool. If you played with reasonable people.
For less reasonable people you can try the variant where each player submits a backstory and description of their character, and then the GM tells them their stats based on that information. It's a bit like homework though (for everybody, I've gotten 30 page backstories before when doing this).

I usually have 10+ page backstories. Well for GM's that like that type of thing.

I might try this method next time I DM...maybe. But I think for those that have lesser scores I might give hero points or more hero points or something to offset the lower scores.

Myself I like the 25 point build and max hp on level 1, 75% thereafter. Background skill points and hero points.

Also I should note(to the entire thread) that character builds do not denote how hard the game is...the DM does that. So low point or high point the DM adjusts. So you could have low points and have the DM go easy on you...or not. Or high points and have it be a cake walk or a meat grinder.


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25pts, no pts for dumping.

Or roll 5d6, reroll 1s drop 2dice, take in order.

or 3d6, 1=3, 2=4.


@Lemartes: That said, the further characters are from the base expectations of the game, the more work the GM has to do to create the kind of game they want to run. XD It really does help if the players are mostly within the system's expectations.


Kitty Catoblepas wrote:

Also, a 25 point buy will get you

18 16 14 10 7 7

...to arrange any way you'd like. That will get you reliable power and a general lack of downsides. Point buy is a powergamer's wet dream.

two 7s?!? That's two huge gaint downsides.

I dont liek point buy as it encourages dumping by min-maxers.

That sort of thing can hurt the party. We had two guys dump Wis. They laughed when their PCs got Dominated and they got to carve up the party.

Or when a guy dumps Cha and thinks that's his excuse to sabotage every important Diplomatic encounter.

Or when a guy dumps Int and thinks it fun to pull the red lever that everyone knows is a trap.


GM Rednal wrote:
@Lemartes: That said, the further characters are from the base expectations of the game, the more work the GM has to do to create the kind of game they want to run. XD It really does help if the players are mostly within the system's expectations.

Fair enough.

Table variance as well.


DrDeth wrote:
Kitty Catoblepas wrote:

Also, a 25 point buy will get you

18 16 14 10 7 7

...to arrange any way you'd like. That will get you reliable power and a general lack of downsides. Point buy is a powergamer's wet dream.

two 7s?!? That's two huge gaint downsides.

I dont liek point buy as it encourages dumping by min-maxers.

That sort of thing can hurt the party. We had two guys dump Wis. They laughed when their PCs got Dominated and they got to carve up the party.

Or when a guy dumps Cha and thinks that's his excuse to sabotage every important Diplomatic encounter.

Or when a guy dumps Int and thinks it fun to pull the red lever that everyone knows is a trap.

Stat dumping is fine. Being an idiot is not. And I mean as a player not you.

I've played an int 5 character and he was dumb but not a tactical moron...he did have ranks in professional soldier. Super fun character to play. Also I think people think that anything below int 8 is too dumb to turn a doorknob which is nonsense.


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DrDeth wrote:
Kitty Catoblepas wrote:

Also, a 25 point buy will get you

18 16 14 10 7 7

...to arrange any way you'd like. That will get you reliable power and a general lack of downsides. Point buy is a powergamer's wet dream.

two 7s?!? That's two huge gaint downsides.

I dont liek point buy as it encourages dumping by min-maxers.

That sort of thing can hurt the party. We had two guys dump Wis. They laughed when their PCs got Dominated and they got to carve up the party.

Or when a guy dumps Cha and thinks that's his excuse to sabotage every important Diplomatic encounter.

Or when a guy dumps Int and thinks it fun to pull the red lever that everyone knows is a trap.

An Int/Cha or Str/Cha dump is standard powergamery. Dump charisma? Take Student of Philosophy and/or Pragmatic Activator. Dump intelligence? Be a Human for the extra skill points. Dump Strength? Get someone else to carry your stuff.

Compare the 52-point wizard I rolled above with a 20-point buy wizard. Is the 52-pointer significantly more powerful? Or are you just more likely to concentrate the low point-buy's skills and other resources to capitalize on your high Intellect? Does the high-point of the roll encourage you to spread out your resources (maybe some strength-based or wisdom-based skills)?

18 12 14 18 16 11 -- 52
9 12 14 18 12 7 -- 20

That's why I don't understand point buy as a mitigation for power. It's not going to stop the powergamer from powergaming. It's most likely only going to limit the people who aren't going over the top in the first place.

Point Buy's point, in my opinion, is that it's a verifiable method (to defeat/mitigate cheating).


Kitty Catoblepas wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
Kitty Catoblepas wrote:

Also, a 25 point buy will get you

18 16 14 10 7 7

...to arrange any way you'd like. That will get you reliable power and a general lack of downsides. Point buy is a powergamer's wet dream.

two 7s?!? That's two huge gaint downsides.

I dont liek point buy as it encourages dumping by min-maxers.

That sort of thing can hurt the party. We had two guys dump Wis. They laughed when their PCs got Dominated and they got to carve up the party.

Or when a guy dumps Cha and thinks that's his excuse to sabotage every important Diplomatic encounter.

Or when a guy dumps Int and thinks it fun to pull the red lever that everyone knows is a trap.

An Int/Cha or Str/Cha dump is standard powergamery. Dump charisma? Take Student of Philosophy and/or Pragmatic Activator. Dump intelligence? Be a Human for the extra skill points. Dump Strength? Get someone else to carry your stuff.

Compare the 52-point wizard I rolled above with a 20-point buy wizard. Is the 52-pointer significantly more powerful? Or are you just more likely to concentrate the low point-buy's skills and other resources to capitalize on your high Intellect? Does the high-point of the roll encourage you to spread out your resources (maybe some strength-based or wisdom-based skills)?

18 12 14 18 16 11 -- 52
9 12 14 18 12 7 -- 20

That's why I don't understand point buy as a mitigation for power. It's not going to stop the powergamer from powergaming. It's most likely only going to limit the people who aren't going over the top in the first place.

Point Buy's point, in my opinion, is that it's a verifiable method (to defeat/mitigate cheating).

And it allows you to be creative and not a slave to die rolls.

Plus I play high str arcane casters. ;)


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Scythia wrote:
I would suggest 4d6, drop lowest (reroll 1s if you want to be extra nice). Write each set of six scores on a piece of paper, then let every player choose which set of rolls they want to use. That prevents the lucky/unlucky roll disparity.

This is probably the best method.


Good luck - there are subjects more polarising than stat generation, but not many!

Point buy for me if I have a choice.
I'd be hoping for 4d6 drop lowest re-roll 1's if I have to roll
The option to pool rolls and choose a set to suit is actually tempting. I wouldn't necessarily look to re-roll 1's if I went that route.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Just tell them to pick reasonable numbers, and that you will be approving all stat lines. To hell with over-complicated stat generation.


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Rolling dice is of the devil!

#20pointbuy4life


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Short answer: Whatever works for your group.

Longer answer: They all have pros and cons. Some enjoy the "luck" aspect of rolling and it can be used to spark inspiration if the player hasn't completely settled on a concept (especially using an "in-order" or "in-order, limited swaps/adjustments" method); however, rolling will at some point lead to (sometimes large) power disparities, either between PCs or with the GM's (or the players') expectations. Point buy allows for PCs that fall within a fairly predictable power range (making it easier for the GM to prepare encounters and other challenges), but also grants players a fairly large amount of customization (within the limits of the point-buy's power range) for players to model a firm concept (again, within the limits of the power range); however, some feel that it "promotes" (it doesn't, it just allows) a high level of min/max optimization and/or "cookie-cutter" characters (although, with the number of options available, there are still plenty of combinations of race, class, archetype, multi-classing/prestige classes, etc. to make this a somewhat overblown concern, IMO). Arrays can help prevent power disparities from rolling and the more extreme min/max of point buy; however, it is less able to model as wide a range of concepts as point buy (actually being more likely to promote "cookie-cutter" characters, since the available ability scores don't change; the players just have the option to put them in a different order) and can be considered just as "boring" to those who like rolling.


Idea: let the players rank their stats in order of importance, ABCDEF. Then once everyone's picked, give them an array with the highest number going to the A slot, next highest to B, etc.

The Exchange

I use the high fantasy technique and sometimes i also use 4 standards and 2 heroics.

The Exchange

unintended for the double post


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Constitution below 14 is viable for any class. Obsession over 18s and near 18 scores are the main reason people dislike point buy, and imo, it's an unhealthy obsession. Adventures paths are balanced around 15pb. For eveything else, the balance is wholly in the hands of the GM. Character weakness and strength are 100% relative to the challenges the GM props up. Arrays with 3 scores of 16 or above and none under 10 are just ridiculous.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Goblin_Priest wrote:
Obsession over 18s and near 18 scores are the main reason people dislike point buy, and imo, it's an unhealthy obsession.

You might want to be careful about ascribing that sentiment too widely. There are quite a few reasons people might prefer rolling characters including:

1) You get to discover the PC as you roll rather than just building

2) Character classes often balance better against each other with rolled stats than point buy, particularly multiple attribute dependent classes compared to single attribute classes

3) It makes for a fun session 0 to generate PCs together, cheer each other's high rolls, jeer each other's poor rolls

4) Each stat is an independent variable without a high value mandating a dumped value elsewhere to pay for it, something that makes it easier to get a PC with quirky stat distributions that would show up as a major boost in point buy totals but will have a relatively small impact on actual character power


Goblin_Priest wrote:
Adventures paths are balanced around 15pb.

I believe that's a thing that was said, but is also a thing that's not true. The stats they assume to balance APs and the standard CRs in the various bestiaries are a lot closer to 20 points than 15.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Goblin_Priest wrote:
Adventures paths are balanced around 15pb.
I believe that's a thing that was said, but is also a thing that's not true. The stats they assume to balance APs and the standard CRs in the various bestiaries are a lot closer to 20 points than 15.

Experienced players have romped through APs with 10 point buy characters. Balance is as much about how your players work together and understand the system as it is about the numbers. A group of 18 in every stat characters that all split up or don't work together will do very poorly vs. a group that has a set of strategies and tactics to always tanglefoot an armored foe, and make sure to flank, etc.


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I can not believe nobody has mentioned Justisaur's 27-25-23 Ability Score Generation. I'm using it in my campaign right now, and loving it.

Decent, well rounded characters yet characters that aren't all the same either.


Bill Dunn wrote:
Goblin_Priest wrote:
Obsession over 18s and near 18 scores are the main reason people dislike point buy, and imo, it's an unhealthy obsession.

You might want to be careful about ascribing that sentiment too widely. There are quite a few reasons people might prefer rolling characters including:

1) You get to discover the PC as you roll rather than just building

2) Character classes often balance better against each other with rolled stats than point buy, particularly multiple attribute dependent classes compared to single attribute classes

3) It makes for a fun session 0 to generate PCs together, cheer each other's high rolls, jeer each other's poor rolls

4) Each stat is an independent variable without a high value mandating a dumped value elsewhere to pay for it, something that makes it easier to get a PC with quirky stat distributions that would show up as a major boost in point buy totals but will have a relatively small impact on actual character power

Insert "in my experience" somewhere in there, then, and "your table(s) may differ".

Cheering and jeering for 5 minutes to then suffer the luck of the rolls for dozens of hours if not more hardly seems like a good investment. In my experience, to avoid utterly brutal low scores, these are allowed to be rerolled... which just leads to overly high averages. Not to mention sentiments of unfairness between those who had different luck at the dice.

The only downside to point buy imo is its strength, its uniformity. Makes it really rare to have wizards with good str or fighters with good cha, for example.

I could consider allowing players to replace dump stats with 1d10+5 for example in a point buy system. But the only randomness that is appropriate in character generation imo is over non vital attributes .


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

As a repeated beneficiary of the dice, I prefer the point buy. I have been the target of snide remarks even with people watching my rolls like a hawk.


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Looking back at my own experience from many moons ago, die rolls depend mostly on how much of a character I had in my head walking into it. When I had a class had style in mind, I was far more likely to ask for rerolls when things didn't look like I could pull it off. Jealousy at the table was mostly a nonfactor thanks to differing players; one of us was a powergamer, one was an optimizer, the rest of us made common things that are less overwhelming. (Sword & board fighters, blaster wizards, heal clerics)

side track:
The worst time I had was a "super low magic" 3.5 game. Like, by 12th level we each had one or two minor wonderous items. Our party included a battle cleric, a druid, a barbarian who had spell like abilities from their magical sword, and me as a rogue. And the DM heavily nerfed Feinting because he thought Sneak Attack was overpowered and did too much damage.

I feel as though this die roll disparity is a problem, but it gets too much spotlight time when you look into the ups and downs of rolling for stats. Group dynamics are a key, the DM's methods are a huge factor, and the Class Tier merits a mention as an off-the-cuff measurement as well.

One particular rolling method has caught my eye was as follows:
1) Create a 6x6 grid
2) For each square, roll to create a stat.
3) I forget if it was 3d6 or 4d6 drop lowest. Use one or the other for lower/higher stats I suppose.
4) Select one line or column. Those numbers are your ability scores, in order or in reverse order.


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I prefer rolling, but I think it's worth checking first that everyone is happy to risk being 'the sidekick'.

For many, disparity between PC abilities is a fun-killing issue and a risk with rolling is that one PC will visibly outperform another. If that's likely to bother anyone, go with an array (or maybe a choice of two arrays - one single-stat focussed and one with the points spread more widely).

FWIW, I think the DM's view on 'balance' between PCs isn't really relevant to the decision.

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