# Generating Ability Score Methods - Which is the best option?

### Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Dragonchess Player wrote:
If you calculate the point buy equivalent of straight 4d6 drop one generation (without allowing re-rolls for "bad" arrays), it averages around an 18 point buy equivalent (slightly over, to be more precise). However, a slightly lower number of guaranteed points for ability scores, that could be adjusted (not just arranged), was selected as the "other standard."

Just checked. Average point buy for 4d6 drop one is 20.7. This ignores the 36 entries that generate a stat < 7. Average number for the stat is 12.44 (for valid point buy) or 12.24 for all 1296 possibilities.

/cevah

True, but the Standard method doesn't ignore scores below 7.

Since the CRB does not indicate point buy for stats < 7, I cannot calculate a true average since those 36 entries are undefined.

/cevah

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Cevah wrote:

Since the CRB does not indicate point buy for stats < 7, I cannot calculate a true average since those 36 entries are undefined.

/cevah

But you can't calculate a true average without them, since they exist.

Since the table follows a consistent pattern, it's easy to extrapolate.

6 => -6
5 => -9
4 => -12
3 => -16

You could also simply count them as 7s, which would be inaccurate, but closer.

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Raynulf wrote:
The above table may well explain some of why the 4d6 drop lowest is so very much preferred by so many players over a point buy that will usually give you significantly lower stats.

I don't know if that's fair, especially as most people I know that like rolling the dice, still would rather roll the dice than accepting higher PBs. And in my experience, most PB partys go for a higher PB anyways, so I don't think that that is en explanation that can be generalized.

The better explanation for at least some of us dice rollers might be the already mentioned difference between those that come with a mostly finished character concept they want to realize vs. those that are happy developing their character during the creation process.

I certainly belong to the second group. When creating a new character I have my own class and race tables that I use to roll for those parts of my stories. I've experimented with the Three Dragon Ante method as well, and I especially like then inherent possibility to use the spread to create the character's background. I've also experimented with the background creation from Ultimate Campaign and other similar concepts.

All those random tables and generators challenge me to flesh out a character I probably wouldn't have thought up if I had it completely created by intentional design. It keeps things fresh for me and that's also the reason why I like to roll the dice even if I could get crappy stats.
But if point buy, I actually prefer methods that give you a bit more randomness (like the aforementioned 3DA creation method that guaranteed a PB while spreading the attribute results in a randomized way. And if that's not allowed, I'd much rather go for PB 15 than for higher PBs, and I'll still play MAD characters without stat dumping more than absolutely necessary.

So no, for me it's 4d6 over any kind of PB. Just because I like to roll the dice.

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There is that basic motivation that rolling the dice and hoping for a good outcome is *fun* (it's basically what the hobby is predicated on) while allocating points from a pool then checking against tables is more like *work*.

It's not the case that work now might not result in more fun later, and that there aren't risks involved in fun, but fun is fun and more fun than work.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
There is that basic motivation that rolling the dice and hoping for a good outcome is *fun* (it's basically what the hobby is predicated on) while allocating points from a pool then checking against tables is more like *work*.

Well, the "work" I put into my character is mostly unrelated to the mechanics, so to me, that thought doesn't matter too much. The difference is, that in the one case, I have the dice results to inspire me, while in the second case, I don't have that. Even with point buy, I still can use all those other possibilities I mentioned, so it's no real dealbreaker (for example, the 3DA readings depend on you knowing which point buy to use beforehand), but yeah, I have more fun with even rolling for those attributes.

It's not the case that work now might not result in more fun later,/QUOTE]

As far as I'm concerned I really doubt that, especially as I much prefer not to put too much planning in my character before actually playing them. No matter the character generation method I normally only explain how my characters came to be the person they present as at the start of any campaign. The rest mainly depends on what happens during the game.

Not that I sometimes not have a character concept.But that's nearly never anything mechanic but mostly story-oriented, so it doesn't really depend on the attributes of said character.

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Personally, as I've said before, aesthetically I prefer rolling, because it gives me less opportunity to fuss around trying to decide whether to take another point out of her to bump up a main stat or whatever. Given a fixed array, it's usually pretty obvious to me where I want the numbers to go.

I dislike rolling for the broad variance it often brings to a party.

Cevah wrote:
Dragonchess Player wrote:
If you calculate the point buy equivalent of straight 4d6 drop one generation (without allowing re-rolls for "bad" arrays), it averages around an 18 point buy equivalent (slightly over, to be more precise). However, a slightly lower number of guaranteed points for ability scores, that could be adjusted (not just arranged), was selected as the "other standard."

Just checked. Average point buy for 4d6 drop one is 20.7. This ignores the 36 entries that generate a stat < 7. Average number for the stat is 12.44 (for valid point buy) or 12.24 for all 1296 possibilities.

/cevah

But then, how meaningful the rolled stats are depend on the class. A roll of 18, 18, 18, 18, 18, 18 is about as meaningful as a roll of 18, 18, 18, 18, 10, 10 for most classes. Counting dump stats in your point buy calculation will unfairly inflate your numbers.

I thought I'd mention that, since I didn't see you address that. Of course, I'm not sure how much that will inflate the numbers.

 RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Suggestion: roll 22d6, and collect the best 18 of them into six 3d6 stats. There's some constraints there, but you generally get something reasonable.

Example, hoping to play a human wizard: 22d6 ⇒ (4, 5, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 4, 3, 2, 4, 2, 5, 2, 6, 4, 4, 4, 2, 2, 3) = 70

6
5, 5
4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4
3, 3, 3, 3
2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2
1, 1

STR {4, 3, 3} = 10
DEX {4, 3, 3} = 10
CON {5, 4, 2} = 16

INT {6, 5, 4} + 2 =17
WIS {2, 2, 2} = 6
CHA {4, 4, 4} = 12

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

I just had a thought on an alternate rolling method: "Texas Hold 'em."

Basically, each player rolls two ability scores for their character and the the GM rolls five ability scores for the group (using 4d6 drop lowest, 4d6 reroll 1's, etc. as the group desires to generate each score). Players choose any six scores they want out of the five "common" scores and their two "hole" scores.

All the PCs have mostly the same scores (at least four from the "common" pool), but there is some variation (at least one score from the "hole").

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Dragonchess Player wrote:

I just had a thought on an alternate rolling method: "Texas Hold 'em."

Basically, each player rolls two ability scores for their character and the the GM rolls five ability scores for the group (using 4d6 drop lowest, 4d6 reroll 1's, etc. as the group desires to generate each score). Players choose any six scores they want out of the five "common" scores and their two "hole" scores.

All the PCs have mostly the same scores (at least four from the "common" pool), but there is some variation (at least one score from the "hole").

Nice idea. You can construct all kinds of variations based on that kind of thinking.

Maybe something random that guarantees everyone has at least the same number of points:

Assign a value to each stat, Str=1, Dex=2, etc.

Roll a number of d6s equal to the number of points you want.

Collect all the 1s and put them in Str, all the 2s and put them in Dex, etc.

Maybe works better as (each point=flat stat) than point buy complications.

For example 20d6 characters I just rolled to test:
(1,1,1,2,2,3,3,3,3,3,3,4,5,6,6,6,6,6,6,6)= Here is someone with 13 str, 12 dex, 16 con, 11 int, 11 wis, 17 cha. Clearly a sorcerer or oracle.

(1,1,1,1,1,2,2,3,3,3,4,4,4,4,4,4,5,6,6,6)= Now someone with 15 str, 12 dex, 13 con, 16 int, 11 wis, 13 cha. Maybe a buff magus here.

(1,1,1,1,2,2,3,3,3,3,4,4,4,4,5,5,5,5,6,6)= Oh my, captain average has 14 str, 12 dex, 14 con, 14 int, 14 wis, 12 cha. Could do ok at anything after racial modifiers?

You can add more dice and start adding from lower bases than 10 if you want the chance of some penalties. Introducing crippling weaknesses might be hard, though.

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Making sure everyone ends up with the same number of points or "fair" and comparable stats requires you to balance all the classes, which they are not and never will be in PFRPG.

This is mathematically demonstrable.

Balance is an illusion, if you're worried about balance, give different classes different PBE's and don't allow multiclassing.

master_marshmallow wrote:

Making sure everyone ends up with the same number of points or "fair" and comparable stats requires you to balance all the classes, which they are not and never will be in PFRPG.

This is mathematically demonstrable.

Balance is an illusion, if you're worried about balance, give different classes different PBE's and don't allow multiclassing.

I do not understand how this applies to the thread. Are you advocating for letting players just pick whatever stats they want? That was brought up earlier and would certainly give everyone playable characters.

master_marshmallow wrote:

Making sure everyone ends up with the same number of points or "fair" and comparable stats requires you to balance all the classes, which they are not and never will be in PFRPG.

This is mathematically demonstrable.

Balance is an illusion, if you're worried about balance, give different classes different PBE's and don't allow multiclassing.

It doesn't require you to do anything of the sort. I'm not sure where you get the idea that it's an attempt to create perfectly balanced characters.

Attempts to balance stat generation are an attempt to create a fair starting point from which people can build - in some cases by then choosing more or less powerful options, removing the balance.

This particular method doesn't really appeal to me: I don't see "same number of points" as a particularly useful criteria. There's a reason point buy charges more for a single 18 than for two 14s. As I understand it, this method ignores that. Though 18s will still be less common, right?

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thejeff wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

Making sure everyone ends up with the same number of points or "fair" and comparable stats requires you to balance all the classes, which they are not and never will be in PFRPG.

This is mathematically demonstrable.

Balance is an illusion, if you're worried about balance, give different classes different PBE's and don't allow multiclassing.

It doesn't require you to do anything of the sort. I'm not sure where you get the idea that it's an attempt to create perfectly balanced characters.

Attempts to balance stat generation are an attempt to create a fair starting point from which people can build - in some cases by then choosing more or less powerful options, removing the balance.

This particular method doesn't really appeal to me: I don't see "same number of points" as a particularly useful criteria. There's a reason point buy charges more for a single 18 than for two 14s. As I understand it, this method ignores that. Though 18s will still be less common, right?

I don't think you're really grasping it.

Classes with SAD would have 15, 2AD+ would get 20, and fully MAD classes should get 25.

The classes are designed with rolls in mind. Point buy was afterwards. The only pathfinder consideration for reducing MAD was with the paladins spells keying to charisma in place of wisdom.

master_marshmallow wrote:
thejeff wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

Making sure everyone ends up with the same number of points or "fair" and comparable stats requires you to balance all the classes, which they are not and never will be in PFRPG.

This is mathematically demonstrable.

Balance is an illusion, if you're worried about balance, give different classes different PBE's and don't allow multiclassing.

It doesn't require you to do anything of the sort. I'm not sure where you get the idea that it's an attempt to create perfectly balanced characters.

Attempts to balance stat generation are an attempt to create a fair starting point from which people can build - in some cases by then choosing more or less powerful options, removing the balance.

This particular method doesn't really appeal to me: I don't see "same number of points" as a particularly useful criteria. There's a reason point buy charges more for a single 18 than for two 14s. As I understand it, this method ignores that. Though 18s will still be less common, right?

I don't think you're really grasping it.

Classes with SAD would have 15, 2AD+ would get 20, and fully MAD classes should get 25.

The classes are designed with rolls in mind. Point buy was afterwards. The only pathfinder consideration for reducing MAD was with the paladins spells keying to charisma in place of wisdom.

No, I can grasp that approach. I just didn't see the relevance to the post you seemed to be replying to.

I'm not sure that the current classes work any better with rolls than with point buy. There's nothing to keep the one player who rolls extra high from playing the SAD class - even the wizard does better with high Constitution and wisdom at least.

I wonder if just making the point buy formula steeper would help?

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thejeff wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
thejeff wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

Making sure everyone ends up with the same number of points or "fair" and comparable stats requires you to balance all the classes, which they are not and never will be in PFRPG.

This is mathematically demonstrable.

Balance is an illusion, if you're worried about balance, give different classes different PBE's and don't allow multiclassing.

It doesn't require you to do anything of the sort. I'm not sure where you get the idea that it's an attempt to create perfectly balanced characters.

Attempts to balance stat generation are an attempt to create a fair starting point from which people can build - in some cases by then choosing more or less powerful options, removing the balance.

This particular method doesn't really appeal to me: I don't see "same number of points" as a particularly useful criteria. There's a reason point buy charges more for a single 18 than for two 14s. As I understand it, this method ignores that. Though 18s will still be less common, right?

I don't think you're really grasping it.

Classes with SAD would have 15, 2AD+ would get 20, and fully MAD classes should get 25.

The classes are designed with rolls in mind. Point buy was afterwards. The only pathfinder consideration for reducing MAD was with the paladins spells keying to charisma in place of wisdom.

No, I can grasp that approach. I just didn't see the relevance to the post you seemed to be replying to.

I'm not sure that the current classes work any better with rolls than with point buy. There's nothing to keep the one player who rolls extra high from playing the SAD class - even the wizard does better with high Constitution and wisdom at least.

I wonder if just making the point buy formula steeper would help?

I think a more sensible approach would steal from 5e, and let your rolled/ PBE stats reach a cap of 15(16?), then have each class feature a bonus to said stats, anywhere from +1 to +3. It would enable classes with MAD to function, so they can take advantage of their class features which is what matters to me.

Sounds reasonable. How does providing different PB to different classes work out on the table?

PT.B=The Devil wrote:
Sounds reasonable. How does providing different PB to different classes work out on the table?

Same as rolling where players can swap stats, people end up with characters they enjoy and function according to their mechanics.

I understand working within point buy feels more like skill to some players, as an actual facet of the game, but it doesn't change the class design.

master_marshmallow wrote:

I don't think you're really grasping it.

Classes with SAD would have 15, 2AD+ would get 20, and fully MAD classes should get 25.

Arbitrarily giving some people more point buy than others might seem weird, but like everything, as long as your players are fine with it. The question it raises is what do you do about multiclassing? Add or subtract stat point retroactively? Ban people from doing at all?

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master_marshmallow wrote:
PT.B=The Devil wrote:
Sounds reasonable. How does providing different PB to different classes work out on the table?

Same as rolling where players can swap stats, people end up with characters they enjoy and function according to their mechanics.

I understand working within point buy feels more like skill to some players, as an actual facet of the game, but it doesn't change the class design.

See, I don't find that with rolling - even with arrange in order. I've been plenty frustrated with rolls that don't let me play what I was interested in or with huge swings of power between characters - often exaggerating the imbalance between classes.

Different point buys might fix that, but I dispute the idea that the class design naturally works better with rolling.

thejeff wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
PT.B=The Devil wrote:
Sounds reasonable. How does providing different PB to different classes work out on the table?

Same as rolling where players can swap stats, people end up with characters they enjoy and function according to their mechanics.

I understand working within point buy feels more like skill to some players, as an actual facet of the game, but it doesn't change the class design.

See, I don't find that with rolling - even with arrange in order. I've been plenty frustrated with rolls that don't let me play what I was interested in or with huge swings of power between characters - often exaggerating the imbalance between classes.

Different point buys might fix that, but I dispute the idea that the class design naturally works better with rolling.

Also, my experience unless the rolling method is extremely generous as in keep doing it until you get what you want generous.

Blind Monkey wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

I don't think you're really grasping it.

Classes with SAD would have 15, 2AD+ would get 20, and fully MAD classes should get 25.

Arbitrarily giving some people more point buy than others might seem weird, but like everything, as long as your players are fine with it. The question it raises is what do you do about multiclassing? Add or subtract stat point retroactively? Ban people from doing at all?

Gonna take my 25pt monk then go straight to druid after 1st level [/example]

Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
Blind Monkey wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

I don't think you're really grasping it.

Classes with SAD would have 15, 2AD+ would get 20, and fully MAD classes should get 25.

Arbitrarily giving some people more point buy than others might seem weird, but like everything, as long as your players are fine with it. The question it raises is what do you do about multiclassing? Add or subtract stat point retroactively? Ban people from doing at all?
Gonna take my 25pt monk then go straight to druid after 1st level [/example]

I don't normally reply when people blatantly ignore parts of the post, but come on I specifically said no multiclassing....

Lem the hunter wrote:

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

I do that as well, although i usually use 3 standard and 3 heroic. I also quite like dice pools though.

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