Stat distribution "play it where it lies"


Advice

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I like the randomness of rolling. It is just the issue of one player rolling great and another rolling poorly that I dislike.

For me, role-playing versus "roll-playing" doesn't enter into it.

Grand Lodge

KahnyaGnorc wrote:

I like the randomness of rolling. It is just the issue of one player rolling great and another rolling poorly that I dislike.

For me, role-playing versus "roll-playing" doesn't enter into it.

Seems lots of players haven't gotten the memo yet. Instead of respecting the differing point of views, they're smugly sneering at. At least your approach is better even if I still disagree.


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Way of the Wicked uses an interesting system to generate stats:

Focus and Foible
Choose a Focus, an ability score at which you excel. You receive an 18 in that score. Choose a Foible, an ability score that is your weakness. You receive an 8 in that score. The other four, roll 1d10+7 four times in order. There are no rerolls or moving of ability scores. Those are your other four scores.

The main attraction is that you can pick your low and high scores so you won’t get stuck playing a wizard when you wanted to roll a barbarian. There’s very little risk of bad rolls, though, so it might not suit your motivations. None of the characters in the game I participated in were min/max monstrosities however; the players took the opportunity to make unusual and more roleplay focused choices in the low risk environment of such generous stats.


I’d go with
(1) roll all six scores one by one.
(2) allow players to switch one out for a 16.

This way you get some good sets, some bad sets, your players will consider some strange alternate builds, but end of the day everyone will be able to make something very playable and if they really want something specific, they can probably do it.

With a straight weak rolling system, you probably end up with a bunch of synthesis summoners, which is kind of the opposite of what I imagine the intent is.


If you want your randomness to be "fair", I'm sure someone by now has come up with a random X-point buy array generator (plug in X). If not, I might be able to throw something together in my spare time.

That does rather take away the excitement of getting some abnormally high scores.


I feel like there are two separate issues to consider here.

First is that all forms of random stat generation will create imbalance at the table. If you're playing what amounts to a 11 point build and somebody else rolled a 40 point build, you're going to feel less potent.

Separate from this is that all forms of stingy stat generation put a big focus on choosing a specific race and class build. Pick a race with perfect stat mods, and pick a class/archetype with minimal stat dependency. Off-type race/class combos (gnome barbarians, dwarf bards) become even harder to pull off, and odds are you're not playing any kind of martial.

Doing both at once, I feel, is a gimmick.


Heh. I like how the original method for generating ability scores for a D&D-family character is now a gimmick.

/not saying you're wrong though


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I feel like there are two separate issues to consider here.

First is that all forms of random stat generation will create imbalance at the table. If you're playing what amounts to a 11 point build and somebody else rolled a 40 point build, you're going to feel less potent.

Separate from this is that all forms of stingy stat generation put a big focus on choosing a specific race and class build. Pick a race with perfect stat mods, and pick a class/archetype with minimal stat dependency. Off-type race/class combos (gnome barbarians, dwarf bards) become even harder to pull off, and odds are you're not playing any kind of martial.

Doing both at once, I feel, is a gimmick.

The group I've been playing with for the past few years now I feel has a pretty fair method. Everyone at the table rolls 4d6, drop the lowest. Then players nominate one or more to roll however many extra times are needed to generate a single stat array of 7 values with the lowest getting dropped. Everyone at the table then uses the same stat array, placing the numbers however they wish. In this way no one has an advantage over anyone else statwise, everyone has contributed and if one player's dice happen to be rolling hot that night everyone benefits.

The last character I made had the following stat array
18, 14, 14, 13, 12, 11

the one before it was
18, 16, 16, 14, 13, 11

For the 2nd array I was coming into the game late and replacing an existing character and was simply given the same stat array everyone else was already using.


Toolbag wrote:

Ok. Here's the bottom line even though it will be a very unpopular opinion.

When rolling characters straight up like this, everyone will have a difficult time optimizing and power gaming. Even with a lucky set of rolls.

This is very obvious if you look through the posts and consider the tone and attitude used. Most people are complaining because they think that any character with beginning stats lower than 14 are "Nerfed".

An array of 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11 is a fine character. Especially once you add normal race bonuses. But why can't the array be 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9 and modified by race bonuses?

I'll tell you why. Because hack and slash type of power gamers think this character is a turd that couldn't slaughter a level 1 kobold in one attack.

Personally, I like the idea of rolling characters straight up because it forces the player to figure out inventive ways to make the character work while actually ROLEPLAYING. Sure, I wouldn't want to make every character that way but it throws some of that old school play into the mix if you do it once in a while.

I apologize for the ranting and raving along with my long winded ways.

Bold of you to assume that rolling in the manner dictated in the OP will necessarily come up with arrays as reasonable as these. How about an actual array that a player in a game I'm in actually rolled last week, using almost the same ruleset (the difference being that you may select one score to be an auto-18 and one to be an auto-8):

STR 13
DEX 8
CON 9
CHA 18
WIS 8
INT 8

So yeah, given s$&* like this happened it should come as no surprise that the group decided I was right all along and we should just run a point buy.

Sovereign Court

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A number of us who do not like the method the OP brought out is because we suck at rolling.

I've rolled arrays of 4d6, drop the lowest and then totaled it for point buy.

I've had a few in the 30s sure. Most come out in the teens (at best), and the most memorable was a -3 point buy.


Arachnofiend wrote:

STR 13

DEX 8
CON 9
CHA 18
WIS 8
INT 8

Seems like it would make a perfectly adequate Gnome Sorcerer or similar?


Tim Statler wrote:

A number of us who do not like the method the OP brought out is because we suck at rolling.

I've rolled arrays of 4d6, drop the lowest and then totaled it for point buy.

I've had a few in the 30s sure. Most come out in the teens (at best), and the most memorable was a -3 point buy.

Sheesh, what the heck did you roll for a -3?

Personally, I wouldn't mind rolling too much. But I have a slew of characters that I can pick from. If the stats don't match one character, I can play another. But if the stats are truly horrible, I doubt my character would be lasting long.


But why do you want to roll for status?

If the goal is to increase character diversity why not having your players roll for their class rather than their stats? If the goal is to avoid min maxing you could just do character creation in reverse order, First you have then make and asign their stats and after that have they roll randomly to select a class.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

STR 13

DEX 8
CON 9
CHA 18
WIS 8
INT 8
Seems like it would make a perfectly adequate Gnome Sorcerer or similar?

Playing a Sorcerer sounds like a good way to get killed with 8 dex and 9 con. You're right that it would be possible to play a sorcerer like this; the thing is that two other people had also ended up with arrays where the only reasonable high stat they had was a single mental score. Ironically the only one who got a good array for playing anything other than a full caster was me, and my array was utterly insane, getting a 16 or higher in all three physical scores.

It was universally decided that everyone being forced to play a full caster that cannot survive a single round in melee except for myself was not very fun.

Shadow Lodge

Rolling stats in order is a way to generate characters quickly. You roll some stats, pick a class based on where the numbers landed and you're ready to go. So if you're playing a game that is intended to be short and you want to whip up characters and get right into it, then this is a great way to go. If you are doing anything else, then I strongly suggest not using this system for character generation.


wow this really took off which is great.

To answer a few questions that popped up.

1. While i love the concept, in any execution I've done of this in the past It's turned out sub par. I'm the GM, but it's one of my players that wants to give this a try and I'm trying to be open minded about it.

2. Our normal method, which I prefer is to roll an array of stats, and everyone uses that array, arranging stats to taste. Sure some times groups are stronger or weaker, but everyone is on the same page and things can be adjusted to match.

3. The dislike of some of my folks with point buy is it's always the same. yes the fighter could for RP reasons bump is cha, but my group is very mechanically driven and would see that as a waste when you could leave that to your team to handle. I'm sure they would put it as playing your role in a team game.

4. Someone mentioned that this is an attempt to get freebie points in stats without paying for it, judging from my above comment that probably isn't wrong, Though I'd optimistically like to think that it is for honest diversity, though I have a feeling it would result in things falling apart when folks are forced to play sub par with effectively wasted stats.


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I think a hybrid method might work. Give out an array, then have each player roll to randomize where each number ends up.


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
I think a hybrid method might work. Give out an array, then have each player roll to randomize where each number ends up.

That... could actually be interesting, if the purpose is to build characters you wouldn't normally. Might be interesting for a hyper lethal dungeon romp where attachment to the backstory and personality of your hero-for-the-day is unwarranted.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Talcrion wrote:
3. The dislike of some of my folks with point buy is it's always the same. yes the fighter could for RP reasons bump is cha, but my group is very mechanically driven and would see that as a waste when you could leave that to your team to handle. I'm sure they would put it as playing your role in a team game.

Our solution to that:

25 point buy. No more than one stat above 17 after racial adjustments. No stats below 10 after racial adjustment.

That prevents dumping, prevents excessive max/min, provides an even playing field, and provides enough points that players don't feel the need to even try. So having a fighter with high Int or a wizard with high Str is totally a thing that happens at my table. It's also great for MAD classes while not breaking SAD classes.

By providing points and placing upper and lower limits, it allows variety without exploitation.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Heather 540 wrote:
Tim Statler wrote:

A number of us who do not like the method the OP brought out is because we suck at rolling.

I've rolled arrays of 4d6, drop the lowest and then totaled it for point buy.

I've had a few in the 30s sure. Most come out in the teens (at best), and the most memorable was a -3 point buy.

Sheesh, what the heck did you roll for a -3?

Personally, I wouldn't mind rolling too much. But I have a slew of characters that I can pick from. If the stats don't match one character, I can play another. But if the stats are truly horrible, I doubt my character would be lasting long.

IIRC the highest I rolled was a 14, and I had either a 6 or 4 rolled, and 2 8s.


I'm actually doing a 5e Game of Undermountain where the PC's all rolled up random characters on fastcharacter.com

Its fun to sometimes let things go and play what life gives you.


Talcrion wrote:

wow this really took off which is great.

To answer a few questions that popped up.

1. While i love the concept, in any execution I've done of this in the past It's turned out sub par. I'm the GM, but it's one of my players that wants to give this a try and I'm trying to be open minded about it.

2. Our normal method, which I prefer is to roll an array of stats, and everyone uses that array, arranging stats to taste. Sure some times groups are stronger or weaker, but everyone is on the same page and things can be adjusted to match.

3. The dislike of some of my folks with point buy is it's always the same. yes the fighter could for RP reasons bump is cha, but my group is very mechanically driven and would see that as a waste when you could leave that to your team to handle. I'm sure they would put it as playing your role in a team game.

4. Someone mentioned that this is an attempt to get freebie points in stats without paying for it, judging from my above comment that probably isn't wrong, Though I'd optimistically like to think that it is for honest diversity, though I have a feeling it would result in things falling apart when folks are forced to play sub par with effectively wasted stats.

Since it's coming from the player side you might try the dice pool method.

Generating Ability Scores wrote:
Dice Pool: Each character has a pool of 24d6 to assign to his statistics. Before the dice are rolled, the player selects the number of dice to roll for each score, with a minimum of 3d6 for each ability. Once the dice have been assigned, the player rolls each group and totals the result of the three highest dice. For more high-powered games, the GM should increase the total number of dice to 28. This method generates characters of a similar power to the Standard method.

this gives the feeling of rolling 3d6 while providing a buffer that helps mitigate bad rolls.

The proposed method is fine if everyone is onboard and no one is stuck with the character long term. Sure, the guy that rolled 3 18s is having a blast, but the person who wasn't able to roll anything higher then a 14 probably isn't. Especially since when they agreed to the method, they probably figured they would get at least a couple 16s and instead they're now annoyed/disappointed. How much that annoyance/disappointment will impact their enjoyment depends on the player. You know your players best. How will they react if the dice go against them?


KujakuDM wrote:

I'm actually doing a 5e Game of Undermountain where the PC's all rolled up random characters on fastcharacter.com

Its fun to sometimes let things go and play what life gives you.

That is far more doable with such a rules sparse system like 5e and the handy online generator certainly expedites the already simple (by comparison) process. Pathfinder kinda requires careful planning for even the most straightforward characters.


Toolbag wrote:

But why can't the array be 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9 and modified by race bonuses?

I'll tell you why. Because hack and slash type of power gamers think this character is a turd that couldn't slaughter a level 1 kobold in one attack.

Let me offer an alternative.

Say you want a Fighter who is smart enough to use the various Int 13 feats. You also want enough Dex to use your Armor Training class feature (so 14 needed).

Highest stat should be strength, so that's the 14 and then hopefully add 2 from racial, or 16.

You need 13 int so there's the 13.

Next stat up is 12 -- so already we can't use Armor Training properly if we put that in Dex, a core class feature. But it's the best we've got.

Now we have Con modifier of 0 as a front line melee fighter, that's not good.

Then Wisdom of 10 and Charisma of 9 which are both good enough.

So that stat array fails. We really want a minimum of the following (without racials):

Str 15
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 13
Wis 10+
Cha anything

It doesn't need to have multiple 16s (or higher) or anything, but feats and class features do assume you have a minimum of some stats.


Dirty Fighting obviates the need for the 13 Int, and dumping CHA to 7 damn near gets you to the stat array you're asking for though (16 point buy equivalent)


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Toolbag wrote:

But why can't the array be 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9 and modified by race bonuses?

I'll tell you why. Because hack and slash type of power gamers think this character is a turd that couldn't slaughter a level 1 kobold in one attack.

You're trolling, right? That's a 10 point buy. It's below Paizo's recommended default.

I'd like to play an inquisitor. Unless I'm railroaded into very specific race choices, I'm going to end up with roughly one ability at 16 and everything else as you've produced your array, or worse. If I'm melee or ranged, my 16 needs to go into Str or Dex. That leaves me 6th-level casting with DCs that are oh... 20% less likely to work than someone with recommended point-buy, significantly reduced skill points to use my class ability to identify creatures, and significantly reduced utility to my ability that adds Wis to my initiative rolls. As in, I'm now verging on "just play a fighter".

MAD is a thing. Flatlined arrays make those classes playable but not worth playing because they - by design - have shifted success into abilities that assume you don't have +0 or +1 in their modifiers.

Quote:
Personally, I like the idea of rolling characters straight up because it forces the player to figure out inventive ways to make the character work while actually ROLEPLAYING.

Roleplaying is what you do with a character sheet, regardless of the numbers on it. Roleplaying is not what you do despite the numbers on the sheet. "Well, my character isn't diplomatic, knowledgeable, perceptive, acrobatic, stealthy, intimidating, or good at climbing. But... I've got Survival, so... 'I point out which way is North. Again.'"

Numbers enable roleplay. Roleplay being - typically - the part of the game that happens when you're not busy trying to do damage to another statblock. I mean, unless you have a fetish for "I missed again" being your style of roleplay.


JiaYou wrote:
Dirty Fighting obviates the need for the 13 Int, and dumping CHA to 7 damn near gets you to the stat array you're asking for though (16 point buy equivalent)

Dirty Fighting didn't come out for like 6 years after the CRB was published, so that's not a reasonable solution at a minimum.

Also, you're not allowed to dump stats in an array, that's part of his whole point.

Note that even the Elite Array (15/14/13/12/10/8) comes close to what I said...you wind up with 1 Con mod rather than 2 which is less than ideal but otherwise you actually get the stats needed.


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Anguish wrote:
Quote:
Personally, I like the idea of rolling characters straight up because it forces the player to figure out inventive ways to make the character work while actually ROLEPLAYING.

Roleplaying is what you do with a character sheet, regardless of the numbers on it. Roleplaying is not what you do despite the numbers on the sheet. "Well, my character isn't diplomatic, knowledgeable, perceptive, acrobatic, stealthy, intimidating, or good at climbing. But... I've got Survival, so... 'I point out which way is North. Again.'"

Numbers enable roleplay. Roleplay being - typically - the part of the game that happens when you're not busy trying to do damage to another statblock. I mean, unless you have a fetish for "I missed again" being your style of roleplay.

Absolutely this. Pathfinder is a very mechanical game, and what your character can and cannot do is dictated strictly by the math.

Right now I'm playing a character with a supernatural aptitude for martial prowess due to her deadbeat angelic father; she's an ignorant and uneducated country bumpkin who gets through life by instinct, but has somehow stumbled into being an inspiration to the people around her through her rustic and sincere charm and instinctive desire to do good.

The chances of coming rolling an array that makes this character reflect the idea I have for her background are extremely slim. I need her physical stats to be far above the average, I need her charisma and diplomacy rolls to be well beyond consistent, and her intelligence needs to be a major dump stat. If I had rolled for stats rather than constructing my point buy in a way that fit the vision of the character I wanted to play, this character simply would not exist.


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Wait you’re telling me you can plan a character, give it a personality and a backstory for that character. Whilst also caring about stat distribution and making the character functional?

Well blow me down and call me munchkin you’ve cracked the code.


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Hang on. Is someone actually arguing that "play it where it lies" arrays are compatible with pre-existing character concepts? Bahahahahahaha! That . . . isn't exactly a strength of that particular ability score generation method.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

One way you could ensure balance among randomly rolled characters is to take a starting array of ability scores (such as the standard heroic 15/14/13/12/10/8) and then randomly roll to determine which attributes go to which stat. No matter how the rolls come out, the result is a 15 point buy character (albeit one whose base ability scores might not be where the player wants them to be).

If you want to restore a degree of player control, you could permit the player to assign the highest and/or lowest ability scores as he likes.

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