What's your favorite method of stat generation?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I tend to use point buy in my games, but random methods have been growing on me lately. What about the rest of you guys? How do you balance the thrill of rolling for stats with the need for balanced gameplay?

Relevant bonus comic.


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Using the 4d6 generation method, once (once!) I rolled a perfect 18 character. I had to make it a monk. It had to be done. He died at second level.

Seriously though, rolling dice sucks. Point buy so everybody can make something reasonable and nobody gets shafted or accused of cheating.


I like rolling for stats, but PF just isn't suited to it. Ability scores have too big an impact on the first several levels of play. Even with point buy the difference between a 15 point character and a 20 point character is significant; random stats just make it worse.

Rebalancing the game for a party of randomly overpowered/underpowered PC's is usually more work than it's worth, IMO


2d20 per stat drop the lowest. yay


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

4d6 per stat, drop lowest (with some house rules to make it even swingier- straight sixes is a natural 19, straight ones is a natural 2).

Point buy sticks in my craw for essentially arbitrary and logically indefensible reasons, but it's way, way better than assigning an array...


I never find point buys sufficient.. OTOH, I like my characters to be truly strong and heroic. so I generally go for roll each stat twice on 4die leave 1, and assign the set as you see fit... granted, I got a complex dating back from when I was playing AD&D and was desperate to get a character with sufficient stats to play a bard (4 15's required).

To boot, since D&D3 put bonuses on stats from 12 up and penalties from 9 down, I'm positively allergic to weak/dump stats.


I used to be all-in on rolling--one of my favorite characters from 2E went straight 3d6-in-order and had a 9 as her highest score. But now I'm point-buy all the way. I still love wacky randomness in my games, but not if I have to live with it for the entire campaign with no say in the matter. (I reserve the right to switch back to rolls for one-shots, especially We Be Goblins!)


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By the way, DRD1812, your comic is a treasure. : D

Liberty's Edge

I always roll dice for stats.
I've just never been a fan of point buy


I use a very very generous rolling method, primarily because
A. I personally have terrible dice karma.
B. Point Buy Systems always feel really restrictive.

4d6, re-rolling 1s, drop the lowest number after re-rolls
special: if you roll 3 1s on your first throw it counts as a 18.
special: if you roll 4 1s or 4 6s on your first throw, it counts as a 19.

repeat this 6 times to get 1 set of stats
repeat to get 4 sets of stats

pick the set you like best

using this method everyone tends to get fairly good stats and no one feels like what they rolled won't support the type of character they had in mind.

The only downside is that it means everyone's stats have to be generated on the first session, but the first session of any game tends to be a character building session anyway; This player forgot to buy gear, this player lost their character sheet and this player couldn't decide what they wanted to play before hand.


I prefer Point-buy.

The common roll method my group used in the past is to roll three sets, then pick which one you want. Each set is made of seven rolls, drop lowest. Each attribute is 4d6, drop lowest. Seems like a lot of work to avoid poor sets.

I'm in a rolled-game at the moment, and sitting at a 30pb equivalent, while our Rogue had to be given a set by the DM after being given four chances to roll a set of attributes, because they were so poor.


Forgot to mention:

A method I have used in the past when rolling is to have the group as a whole roll several arrays, then allow each player to select which array they like (dupes allowed). Most of the time there was an obvious winner that everybody used--this method allowed score assignment as well--but occasionally a player would take an array with a lot of decent scores over an array with one or two excellent scores and one or two terrible ones. I also informed the group that major NPCs would use the same arrays. : )

A method I'd considered using is having people roll then providing boons to players with sufficiently subpar stats to make up for it, such as more advanced race selection or bonus feats. It sounds difficult to balance reliably, though.


A thing I've toyed with is creating one or two arrays of stats for the players to pick from.
Another is have everyone roll for stats but then everyone uses one persons rolls.


Point buy. I like MAD characters and always roll poorly when generating stats from dice. Point buy lets me balance the character on a known quantity.


My group does a 6x6 grid. It balances out bad rolls from players by the fact that they all have the same options.

Generally higher modifiers like 4d6 drop the lowest or reroll 1s make it so you have to take the stats in-order and can't change them.


I like the everyone roll arrays, then people pick the array they use option mentioned several times already.


I prefer the 4D6 method. Never liked point buy.
The randomness of rolling is part of what I enjoy.


For my games I have my players the 4d6 drop lowest.

For my self (when I'm playing) 3d6, straight down the sat block. And yes I talked to the GM who runs the games I'm a part of before I started this.


blahpers wrote:
By the way, DRD1812, your comic is a treasure. : D

Cheers, blahpers! One of the great pleasures of writing the silly thing is having an excuse to talk shop on the boards.

Craziest s$%* recently... One of my buddies decided to use 4d6, reroll 1s and 2s until they're aren't 1s and 2s, drop lowest. My Occultist has shenanigans for stats: 17 / 14 / 15 / 18 / 12 / 12. That's the equivalent of a 46 point buy, and I'm on the low end of the spectrum!


Standard 4d6 drop lowest
however, to keep the group from having bad stats as some do, the GM came up with a system
After you roll the dice, look at your modifiers. Let's say I rolled 9, 11, 8, 15, 10 & 13. I add the modifiers up and get 1.
The system starts with 11 and you subtract your total modifiers from that. In my case it would be 10. I would have 10 points to spend on my stats.
What to do with those points:
4-13 is 1/2 pt.
14-16 is 1 pt.
17 is 2 pts.
18 is 4 pts.


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I like to make characters for the sheer fun of making characters, even if I don't use them in a game. So when I'm creating a character for the first time, I use point buy. If I have to roll the stats when I do use a character in a game, I can easily adjust.

In my current game, the GM has us roll the stats. But he lets us pick which stat to put them in, reroll the ones under 10, and gives us one 18.


20 pt buy
-or-
array of 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 8 arrange how you want, pre-racial
-or-
everyone at the table rolls a set of stats (4d6 drop 1 most likely) and anyone can use any set that anyone rolled


Roll 4d6, reroll 1's, drop the lowest, repeat 4 times to make 4 arrays. Then players may trade arrays.


another cool idea I've heard and thought was good that might not have been mentioned.

everyone had like 10 + 1d8 or 6 + 2d6 or 10+2d4 etc. This helps set a minimum baseline for stats and also allows for some randomness in the stats.


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I tend to roll well and as I am the GM my players get shafted by that so i have them roll 4d6 drop the lowest 7 times drop the lowest for 6 stats. If they got crap stats i give them a second try at the 7 rolls and pick which stat line they prefer.


DRD1812 wrote:

I tend to use point buy in my games, but random methods have been growing on me lately. What about the rest of you guys? How do you balance the thrill of rolling for stats with the need for balanced gameplay?

Relevant bonus comic.

Point buy. I will never do anything else for my games.


Zhayne wrote:
DRD1812 wrote:

I tend to use point buy in my games, but random methods have been growing on me lately. What about the rest of you guys? How do you balance the thrill of rolling for stats with the need for balanced gameplay?

Relevant bonus comic.

Point buy. I will never do anything else for my games.

Lokl at the relevant comic... I will admit that I'm an adept of the cooked at home characters, with random char abilities being used, then switched and altered as needed to fit the concept (no, I've never made a character on a Conan array)... point buys are really something I destest, the array given in D&D5 (15,14,13,12,10,8) has been used, but I mislike it because to make an effective character with such an array demands that you choose a race that fits with your class project (for instance, a cleric must come from a race with a wisdom bonus)... in the end, I find it restrictive and weaksauce, many as your best carac at start is 17, and that is no better than a 16... and with any character worth his salt you're aiming for your principal ability to reach 20 ASAP, meaning lvl 8 (except for fighters)D&D5 works with arrays rather than points, but it ends up the same


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Absolutely, positively point-buy, but we're generous...

My games are 25-point with the stipulations that I don't want to see more than one stat at 18, and I don't want to see any stat below 10 (after racial adjustment). That generally allows us all to have a character with a maxed-out key stat, and a mixture of lesser stats. We often have fighters with Int 14 because they can afford it.


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blahpers wrote:

Forgot to mention:

A method I have used in the past when rolling is to have the group as a whole roll several arrays, then allow each player to select which array they like (dupes allowed). Most of the time there was an obvious winner that everybody used--this method allowed score assignment as well--but occasionally a player would take an array with a lot of decent scores over an array with one or two excellent scores and one or two terrible ones. I also informed the group that major NPCs would use the same arrays. : )

That's the method I use and the other GM has moved to it as well.

It has two advantages I like.
No one is disadvantaged through bad dice rolling.

You don't get cookie cutter characters because there are optimal point buys for various character types.


I usually go with 2d6+6 or 3d6, replace lowest with 6.

I have contemplated 3d4+6, and have considered dice pools with caps based on MAD. MAD being determined by your favored class selection.


For my current homebrew campaign we wanted characters to have some pretty high stats, so we decided on 1d10+8 to generate stats, but you have to keep what you roll, with the exception of rerolling ONCE to replace a stat of your choice, but you have to stick with the new roll no matter what it is.

I've used 3d6 over the years and for most of the time we used the old 4d6 drop one method.


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

I prefer point-buy. It makes judging the effectiveness of the PCs (both in relation to the campaign and within the party) much easier*.

However, my favorite random method is a modification of the 3.x "Organic Characters":
1) Roll 4d6, drop lowest in order; re-roll any 1's
2) Swap one score with another one, if desired
3) Re-roll one score, if desired

I started with D&D (Red Box)/AD&D (1st Ed) where the standard was "3d6 in order, no re-rolls" unless the character didn't qualify for any class. If I'm going to go with a random method, then (IMO) the distribution of ability scores shouldn't be completely within my control.

*- The entire CR system is designed around a party of 4 PCs using 15 point-buy and balanced WBL; the farther the PCs stray from that, the harder it is to balance encounters


We roll 6x 5d6, dump the 2 worse each time. Then we assign each number to the ability we want so we do not get a 4 force for someone who wanted to make a barbarian.

Or we point buy.

I personnally do prefere point buy. It's clearer and more fair for everyone. Especially if you're going for a campaign that will potentially last for weeks / months, you don't want to be stuck with a character with poor abilities because you were unlucky on rolls.


When it comes to rolling stats, I've not practiced the rolling in order method for years, because I often have a type of char I want to play before I start rolling... rolling in order requires you be ready to accept the kind of character random chance drops upon you... and that can make for a very imbalanced party (like 3 fighting men [fighter, ranger, paladin, barbarian...] and no cleric or major spellcaster)... but if you're open minded and ready to play with the random array, it can be fun...


oh, and do anybody remember the infamous 'method V' from AD&D : choose your abilities order, and roll respectively 9d6 8d6,7d6, 6d6, 5d6, and 4d6, always keeping the 3 best from each throw... that method made for some sweet tanks and was devised specially for those who wanted paladins and other characters with high ability requirements.


A method we will often use, take 18 cards (values 1 to 6), adding up to whatever power level the DM wants. We do about 72 total (12 average).
step
1- randomly divide cards between 6 stats, in order
2- add up each stat
3- add 1 to a stat and 4 (max 18)to another stat
3.5(optional) switch any 2 stats (to allow a specific class/concept)
4- adjust for race
The 1 is to make an odd stat even.
The 4 can make a moderate stat good (or a poor stat moderate), if you really want to play a specific class/concept.
It is fair (everyone gets the same overall total).
It is organic (random distribution).

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

I've seen some crazy systems out there. I've seen roll 24d6, choose three dice for each ability score. I've seen 4d6, reroll 1s and 2s, drop lowest. Anyone remember the 2e method of roll 7d6, all scores start at 8, and assign dice to each stat?

Nowadays I use either 15 point buy(it's plenty), or a rolling system where your final roll must be between 10 and 20 point buy.


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Take a guess :)


PT.B=The Devil wrote:
Take a guess :)

If your handle means what I think it does, then I am completely in agreement. LOL


Well, even if we take that name as a base, what kind of dice rolling method does he favor?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

One idea I've toyed with is: you get to assign 2 or 3 scores from a fixed array and then roll the rest. That way you get some randomness, but don't get screwed on your important stats by a bad roll.

Silver Crusade

I prefer the 4e method. Translated into PF terms: 20 point buy, min 10, except one stat can be as low as 8 (pre-racial).


1d20, six times, in order.


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I like point buy. I strongly dislike the idea that my character is stronger or weaker for reasons that have nothing at all to do with any decisions I've made. I realize that to some degree that's how reality works, but it's not (in my opinion) a good setup for a game.

If I was DMing a game and I announced at the beginning of the first session that I had rolled some dice some characters would be awarded powerful invisible slotless untransferrable stat-boosting magic items that stacked with everything and that other characters would be forced to wear and never remove some equivalent cursed items that lowered their stats, and that furthermore these items were not a set up for anything - they're just there to arbitrarily make some characters worse - I think many people would rather reasonably call foul on that. But if I announce that we're rolling for stats, which is perfectly equivalent in every way, most players will go along with that.


Usually we do point buy, this newest campaign has been a modified version, 24 add to the base of 10, so most have ended up with 2 18s and nothing below 10. Also done 5d6 drop the lowest 2, that made for a group that was moderately balanced, had 1 guy who rolled great, and me who rolled average at best (I had 1 18, 12, 12, 13,11, 10).


20pt-buy.

-- If you're a GM, and your player(s) insists on die-rolling, tell them straight up that if they roll low, they're stuck with that character with his stats in the order they were rolled ("What's the point of random if it's not random?"), and if it dies, they're out of your campaign for one year minimum from the date of death. Oh, and the biggest monsters always go after the guy with more than one stat above 16 at creation, because, you know, more meat on the carcass.

You will see those recalcitrant players leap into point-buy with considerably renewed enthusiasm.


Slim Jim wrote:

20pt-buy.

-- If you're a GM, and your player(s) insists on die-rolling, tell them straight up that if they roll low, they're stuck with that character with his stats in the order they were rolled ("What's the point of random if it's not random?"), and if it dies, they're out of your campaign for one year minimum from the date of death. Oh, and the biggest monsters always go after the guy with more than one stat above 16 at creation, because, you know, more meat on the carcass.

You will see those recalcitrant players leap into point-buy with considerably renewed enthusiasm.

Seriously! Whatever.

Most groups I've been in if the GM acted like that the GM would be the person booted from the game.


Sure. Because GMs just rain out of the sky and you can pick them up for free.


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Good GMs are rare.

But GMs who say things like, "If you die you're out of the campaign," aren't worth the effort.


Matthew Downie wrote:

Good GMs are rare.

But GMs who say things like, "If you die you're out of the campaign," aren't worth the effort.

Agreed.

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