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Stegyre
2011-01-17, 01:44 PM
I am toying with the following idea for ability scores in an E6 game and would appreciate feedback (“good idea”; “terrible idea”; “did you consider . . . “; etc.)

1. Determine all abilities using a 28 point buy.

2. Once all the points are allocated – and before racial adjustments – roll 6d6; for each 1, decrease an ability -1; for each 5 or 6, increase an ability +1. The player may choose which ability is modified by which die, with the following constraints:

a. No ability may be raised above 18 or reduced below 8; and

b. No ability may be raised or lowered by more than 1 (so a player may use a 5 or 6 to offset a 1 – he need not apply one die to every ability score – but he cannot use two 5s or 6s to increase an ability +2).

3. Additional ability score increases will be granted every even level, rather than every fourth level, so by 6th character level, a character will have gained three +1 increases, instead of the usual one.

4. Characters may also increase ability scores by taking a new feat for that purpose. Essentially, each iteration of this feat grants +1 to an ability score, and the feat may only be taken once for each ability (i.e., once for +1 to Strength, once for +1 to Dexterity, etc.)

Analysis: On average, a character should net +1 to one attribute at creation (assuming one 1, two 5s or 6s, and three other); judiciously applied, this should result in an equivalent of at least a 30 point buy (raising an attribute 14 or higher by +1). With three additional increases from levels, the “final” (6th level) character should be equal to a point buy of 32 to 40. (For comparison, a starting 32-point buy character, gaining only one attribute increase, would have a final point buy value of 33 to 35.)

One obvious problem: what to do for characters who get “sucky” rolls (anything resulting in a net decrease – more 1s than 5s or 6s)? A corresponding problem is how to discourage players from simply rerolling the 6d6 until they gain a disproportionate number of 5s and 6s.

One possibility would be to grant a bonus feat for a net negative roll. (In an extreme case, perhaps one bonus feat for each net negative, so a character with three 1s and no 5s or 6s would start with three bonus feats.)

Another possibility would be to raise the cap on increasing abilities for such characters: they may start lower but may ultimately progress higher, but this comes at the opportunity cost of taking other feats.

Yora
2011-01-17, 01:57 PM
The real question is: Why?

I guess everything you mentioned could be done. But how does it improve the game for your group?

Stegyre
2011-01-17, 02:26 PM
The real question is: Why?
Principally, it's a way of mixing a point buy with die rolling.

Each method has its merits and demerits:

Point buy is consumately "fair" but can also be painfully predictable, repetitive and boring.

Rolling presents the contrasting traits: it is "exciting" (in large part because it is unpredictable); who has not been particularly attached to that "lucky" character? But by the same token, it's horribly unfair: who wants to play the character with no attribute above 16, palling around with the character with three 18s? (Not that this can't be done, but many people would view this as little different than palling around with the DMPC.)

Nothing is really going to reconcile those two extremes, and this may be a vain attempt, but the virtues (as I see them) are (1) some variability around a core; and (2) instead of expressing that variability as "good" versus "bad" (i.e., high rolls versus low rolls), it is expressed as alternative "goods": either higher attribute scores or extra feats.

I wish I could answer the real question, "how does it improve the game for your group?" But I don't have a group. That's part of why I'm canvassing our GitP experience: how would it strike you guys?