gkathellar

2011-07-04, 07:06 AM

A bit of backstory:

So I was looking at Legend, the product of people who seem to hate 3.5 on this very forum, and I noticed that for character generation one of the options for ability score generation was point buy. "Ah, interesting," said I, and proceeded to look for the accompanying table, where I would learn how much each progressive ability score increase would cost out of your 26 points. It took me a few seconds to realize this table didn't exist.

And that was when I realized that point-buy, as written, makes no sense at all.

The problem, essentially, is the uneven cost per bonus. Why does going from 14 to 16 cost 4 points, but going from 16 to 18 cost 6? The increase provides exactly the same numerical bonus: a +1 increase to a relevant modifier.

The Rationale:

Yes, higher scores allow you to qualify for feats more easily, but since you can use enhancement bonuses to help you qualify for those, that can't really be taken seriously. Perhaps the intent is to enforce some kind of statistical average, but we're talking about a game in which the standard method of ability score generation is "roll some dice, see what happens."

Or, theoretically, the object could be to discourage players from overspending in one or two ability scores so that they won't end up with 8s in the others. But the increased costs actually encourage this! You dump as many stats as you can, because you need the spare points to the ability scores your actually value up past mook levels.

Moreover, they create a kind of "prestige" to higher statistics that they don't mathematically deserve. An 18 was the coolest thing ever in 2E because you got bonuses magnitudes above what a 17 would offer you, and because without any point buy around and 3d6 for rolls your odds of getting one were half a percent. In 3.X, an 18 is just another +1.

If higher scores cost less, players will feel more comfortable spending points on "dump" stats, since they'll be able to reach acceptable levels more easily. This especially important in a game where a whole half of the ability scores are supposed to inform significant aspects of your PC's personality and identity, and where those very scores are the most common dump stats.

I'm strongly considering removing the bloated costs for higher scores, and just handing them to people on a 1-for-1 basis. Since it's a pretty universal thing, I'm edging toward allowing it generally in other d20 games as well. What kind of game effects will this have that I'm not considering? How do people feel about this idea in general?

So I was looking at Legend, the product of people who seem to hate 3.5 on this very forum, and I noticed that for character generation one of the options for ability score generation was point buy. "Ah, interesting," said I, and proceeded to look for the accompanying table, where I would learn how much each progressive ability score increase would cost out of your 26 points. It took me a few seconds to realize this table didn't exist.

And that was when I realized that point-buy, as written, makes no sense at all.

The problem, essentially, is the uneven cost per bonus. Why does going from 14 to 16 cost 4 points, but going from 16 to 18 cost 6? The increase provides exactly the same numerical bonus: a +1 increase to a relevant modifier.

The Rationale:

Yes, higher scores allow you to qualify for feats more easily, but since you can use enhancement bonuses to help you qualify for those, that can't really be taken seriously. Perhaps the intent is to enforce some kind of statistical average, but we're talking about a game in which the standard method of ability score generation is "roll some dice, see what happens."

Or, theoretically, the object could be to discourage players from overspending in one or two ability scores so that they won't end up with 8s in the others. But the increased costs actually encourage this! You dump as many stats as you can, because you need the spare points to the ability scores your actually value up past mook levels.

Moreover, they create a kind of "prestige" to higher statistics that they don't mathematically deserve. An 18 was the coolest thing ever in 2E because you got bonuses magnitudes above what a 17 would offer you, and because without any point buy around and 3d6 for rolls your odds of getting one were half a percent. In 3.X, an 18 is just another +1.

If higher scores cost less, players will feel more comfortable spending points on "dump" stats, since they'll be able to reach acceptable levels more easily. This especially important in a game where a whole half of the ability scores are supposed to inform significant aspects of your PC's personality and identity, and where those very scores are the most common dump stats.

I'm strongly considering removing the bloated costs for higher scores, and just handing them to people on a 1-for-1 basis. Since it's a pretty universal thing, I'm edging toward allowing it generally in other d20 games as well. What kind of game effects will this have that I'm not considering? How do people feel about this idea in general?