Rolling For Ability Scores: Still An Option?


Prerelease Discussion


1 person marked this as a favorite.

"Roll three of these D6 six times, add them together, arrange the results however you want, then add or subtract your modifiers. Simple."

That was the first thing the first DM I ever played with told me about building my character. I've used other ways to generate ability scores since, but have always preferred rolling to any other method. It's simple, random, and far more enjoyable than just being given a Standard Array. In newer editions of tabletop games however, rolling for ability scores is seemingly frowned upon, being shoved into the back of the book with the optional rules. But not everyone prefers using the same method, and in my group we usually have a mix of characters created via rolling, point buy, and a Standard Set, and we all end up at roughly the same power level.

I know rolling for ability scores will be optional in the new edition, but will it be a viable option with its own set of modifiers? Or will it be just a scrap tossed to those who still want to do things, as one much younger player put it, "the old people way."

Liberty's Edge

They've said there'll be a rolling method, yeah.

What it'll be who knows, but it'll exist.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

They've said there'll be a rolling method, yeah.

What it'll be who knows, but it'll exist.

Yes, I am interested to see how it interacts with the ancestry/background/class ability increases.

Liberty's Edge

I've already thought of a few different options for that, but all are completely speculative. I've got no idea what one they'll use.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
I've already thought of a few different options for that, but all are completely speculative. I've got no idea what one they'll use.

Me too, one is simply dropping the Background and/or Class increases.

Liberty's Edge

Weather Report wrote:
Me too, one is simply dropping the Background and/or Class increases.

My current...call it suspicion, I guess is that it actually isn't that.

One way to do it would be to turn all bonuses (and penalties) into +1s (or -1s) rather than +2s, and give Ancestry, Background, and Class bonuses as normal (but not the other four bonuses that finish out normal chargen).

That's give a total of +6 bonuses in +1 increments and a single -1. That's a trifle higher than PF1, but then, the default point-buy equivalent is a tad higher as well.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Me too, one is simply dropping the Background and/or Class increases.

My current...call it suspicion, I guess is that it actually isn't that.

One way to do it would be to turn all bonuses (and penalties) into +1s (or -1s) rather than +2s, and give Ancestry, Background, and Class bonuses as normal (but not the other four bonuses that finish out normal chargen).

That's give a total of +6 bonuses in +1 increments and a single -1. That's a trifle higher than PF1, but then, the default point-buy equivalent is a tad higher as well.

I like that, as I dig class-based ability score increases. And I limit starting ability scores to 15, before increases.

At one point in the 5th Ed playtest, classes granted a choice of ability score increase: fighter - Str, Des, or Con, etc, so lame they dropped it.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Me too, one is simply dropping the Background and/or Class increases.

My current...call it suspicion, I guess is that it actually isn't that.

One way to do it would be to turn all bonuses (and penalties) into +1s (or -1s) rather than +2s, and give Ancestry, Background, and Class bonuses as normal (but not the other four bonuses that finish out normal chargen).

That's give a total of +6 bonuses in +1 increments and a single -1. That's a trifle higher than PF1, but then, the default point-buy equivalent is a tad higher as well.

I’d expect them to leave the rest of the system as unaltered as possible. Rolling a pure 3d6 would give close to the same starting point, “on average” as all tens. Then the remainder of the process can proceed as usual.

Liberty's Edge

Steve Geddes wrote:
I’d expect them to leave the rest of the system as unaltered as possible. Rolling a pure 3d6 would give close to the same starting point, “on average” as all tens. Then the remainder of the process can proceed as usual.

This is possible, but makes for a lot more variation among characters than 4d6 drop the lowest, as well as allowing starting scores of at least 22, which seems a tad high.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I’d imagine a “no stat above 18” cap, a la Starfinder’s rolling option.

Definitely swingy (though as a roller, that’s a feature not a bug for me).


Yeah, I imagine (or at least hope) they'll still hard cap stats at character creation at 18 (including any modifications).


I wish they would scrap ability scores and just use mods (which mechanically they have). In this new version you could just roll 2D6 and end up with -1 up to +4. Then at levels 5, 10, 15, you could just add +1s to 4 mods. /claps dust off his hands


How do you roll 2d6 and get a range of -1 to 4?


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Abilities rolled with 2d6+6 go from 8 (modifier –1) to 18 (modifier +4).


Ah see that makes much more sense.


Or,

1-2 = -1
3-4 = 0
5-6 = 1
7-8 = 2
9-10 = 3
11-12 =4


Planpanther wrote:
I wish they would scrap ability scores and just use mods (which mechanically they have). In this new version you could just roll 2D6 and end up with -1 up to +4. Then at levels 5, 10, 15, you could just add +1s to 4 mods. /claps dust off his hands

Rolling 2d6+6 will give you results between 8 and 18, true, but you'd still get odd scores half the time.


Planpanther wrote:

Or,

1-2 = -1
3-4 = 0
5-6 = 1
7-8 = 2
9-10 = 3
11-12 =4

You can't get 1 on 2d6... Not to mention, you're skewing in favor of high scores compared to the old methods. Going from 2d6+6 stats to mods would give:

2-3 => 8-9 => -1
4-5 => 10-11 => 0
6-7 => 12-13 => +1
8-9 => 14-15 => +2
10-11 => 16-17 => +3
12 => 18 => +4


We know they're still using ability scores, unfortunately, even if they're finally and thankfully ditching odd numbered scores. But you can still roll up exclusively even ability scores. (1d6+3)×2 would produce even scores in the range of 8-18, the same as the default method. (2d3+3)×2 produces a more average / less swingy spread in the range 10-18.

If they want ancestry modifiers to apply when rolling but no other modifiers, with the highest score still capped at 18 after ancestry mods, the method to use is (1d2+1d3+3)×2. That produces a base range of 10-16, which ancestry then lowers to 8 or raises to 18.


Khudzlin wrote:
Planpanther wrote:

Or,

1-2 = -1
3-4 = 0
5-6 = 1
7-8 = 2
9-10 = 3
11-12 =4

You can't get 1 on 2d6... Not to mention, you're skewing in favor of high scores compared to the old methods. Going from 2d6+6 stats to mods would give:

2-3 => 8-9 => -1
4-5 => 10-11 => 0
6-7 => 12-13 => +1
8-9 => 14-15 => +2
10-11 => 16-17 => +3
12 => 18 => +4

1D12?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Another "rolled" method would be to randomly determine the increases that you would get at each step. For example, at the background step, you could roll 2d6 (rerolling one of the dice if they roll doubles). That roll determines which two ability scores are boosted by your background.


David knott 242 wrote:

Another "rolled" method would be to randomly determine the increases that you would get at each step. For example, at the background step, you could roll 2d6 (rerolling one of the dice if they roll doubles). That roll determines which two ability scores are boosted by your background.

I like it.

Liberty's Edge

Khudzlin wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

Another "rolled" method would be to randomly determine the increases that you would get at each step. For example, at the background step, you could roll 2d6 (rerolling one of the dice if they roll doubles). That roll determines which two ability scores are boosted by your background.

I like it.

I like it as well and even recommended it in another thread, but I doubt it will be official.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

I hope rolling for stats gets a small paragraph at the back of the book and is never mentioned again. I'd prefer it to not be used at all, but this is an acceptable compromise for such a bewilderingly popular sacred cow.


Arachnofiend wrote:
I hope rolling for stats gets a small paragraph at the back of the book and is never mentioned again. I'd prefer it to not be used at all, but this is an acceptable compromise for such a bewilderingly popular sacred cow.

Might be a sacred cow but I can see the pros and cons of all the possible systems I suppose. But end of the day, DM should come down and say "We're using this system". Hopefully after talking with the players and seeing what people want to do but DM gets final say as usual.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I believe the game of Pathfinder has evolved beyond the useful interpretation of rolling for ability scores.

Most die rolling methods produce results that are interpreted on a curve, while the game is built around linear progressions

90 percent of character development is placed completely in the hands of the player with many choices that can be made to define and explain the character and how it works, and the remaining 5 percent is the question of "Did the player roll the ability scores and generate them arbitrarily, or did he build them?"

When players build ability scores, character creation becomes nearly 100 percent under player control - give them fixed hit point increases at each level and the character creation process becomes 100 percent divested from arbitrary rolls.

The nature of luck and what the dice do or do not do for you in the playing of the game is always going to be a factor of the Pathfinder formula, but as so much player choice has been built into class/feat/skill selection it seems that the game really should place rolling ability scores in the "optional" rules section


Dont yall forget about me...


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I feel like "generate stats using literally any system everybody in the game agrees on" is the single easiest thing to bolt on to a game like this that there is.

But for the playtest,it's best if everybody uses the ABC method, since that avoids "x is too weak/too strong" false positives from non-standard stat generation methods.


When you're just rolling 3d6, rolls between 9 and 13 are just about seventy percent of all rolls. Threes and eighteens are vanishingly rare.

It seems to me like it'd be possible to just roll 3d6 and use the results as the base stats that class and race and whatnot adjust. Because of the bell curve, you'll mostly get +1s and -1s to your modifier anyway.

But, the people are already frenetically typing, isn't the entire point of replacing rolling so that we don't have exceptions? So that one person doesn't wind up starting with naught but eighteens while their comrades roll s!*!? However, I think that problem is already solved. See, in 2.0 it's easy for everyone to start with an 18, from what I've heard. Since you can't go over 18, rolling three sixes doesn't actually do much to increase your power; it'll be going right into a tetiary stat. Likewise, if you have at least one stat that's a ten or higher, if you pick a sensible ancestry, background, and class you'll get that all important eighteen in your primary stat.

This, I think, preserves both the old school feel of rolling for stats while keeping the playing field level for everyone at the start of the game.


It might be nice to have PB and rolling methods that ignore ABC.

Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Pathfinder Playtest Prerelease Discussion / Rolling For Ability Scores: Still An Option? All Messageboards
Recent threads in Pathfinder Playtest Prerelease Discussion