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Hexapuma
2014-07-02, 11:43 AM
Everyone knows the basics for rolling character stats. 4d6 and drop the lowest, 3d6 if you're feeling masochistic, points buy etc. I'm just wondering what other systems are there out there in use? Has your group got its own systems? Do you ban computerised rollers?

A DM I've played under has his own system. The 6x6 rule. Draw up a 6x6 grid and roll 3d6 36 times. Working left to right and top to bottom, populate the grid. You can now pick any one line (top to bottom, right to left, diagonal etc.) as your stats but you have to take them in order. Just as an example, I rolled up a 2nd Ed. Cleric using this system that came out as Str 17, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 15, Cha 15 (It was my best line).

It's a good set up if you want a semi-random outcome but don't want your players complaining about absolutely terrible stats.

I have my own, slightly more laissez-faire system which is basically 'Roll up your stats using 4d6 (drop the worst) in front of me. You can now tweak your stats if you want to fit your character better, but if I think you're trying it on then I'll wipe your scores and create my own.' It lets people have higher power characters if they want, or they can drop powers to make things interesting without worrying about the players running amok.

So... What do you do?

Yora
2014-07-02, 11:48 AM
I use 2d6+6 and placing them as you want. It results in quite beefy characters, but you still get as many 8s and 9s as 17s and 18s, and if you roll really low it still doesn't really hurt. Just being a bit untalented in certain things.

Millennium
2014-07-02, 12:02 PM
The grid rule is very interesting, but I worry about it being time-consuming. You're rolling 36 times, but 30 of those rolls are never going to be used. But you could use a computer to render this moot, as long as you trust the computer's RNG.

I heard about a system that gives characters an 18 in their primary stat and a 16 in a secondary stat, but only allows 3d6 for the other four abilities. I let my players try this in my most recent campaign, though only two players took me up on it. The campaign only started recently, but I'm already starting to look at the numbers askance. We'll see how it works going forward. It certainly doesn't eliminate the risk of suck -one of the two players has CON 7- but it does seem to reduce it perhaps too much. Then again, if five of my players were afraid of that risk, then maybe I don't have to worry about it being misused.

Dragon #346 featured a really interesting method involving a Three-Dragon Ante deck. It's based off of point buy, but emulates fortune-telling: you deal out a spread of 3DA cards (one card per ability, I think it was) and then distribute your points based on which cards come up in which positions. Points that the cards leave unallocated (or mis-allocated) can then be spent as the player desires. I'd be interested to see how it works in practice: I always offer it to my players, but no one has taken it yet.

SethoMarkus
2014-07-02, 12:27 PM
I use 2d6+6 and placing them as you want. It results in quite beefy characters, but you still get as many 8s and 9s as 17s and 18s, and if you roll really low it still doesn't really hurt. Just being a bit untalented in certain things.

I may have to try this system myself in the future.

The first campaign I ever played was a group of all new players except for the DM. He had us roll 5d6, keep the best 3, for each stat. We were allowed to arrange them as we'd like as well. It created fairly powerful characters, but since we were all new it helped balance things out some.

illyahr
2014-07-02, 12:39 PM
A DM I had played 1d8+10. It kept an even spread and no one ended up with underwhelming stats.

ElenionAncalima
2014-07-02, 01:11 PM
I haven't tried it (I usually use point buy), but The Way of the Wicked AP for Pathfinder suggests a method called Focus and Foible.

You automatically get an 18 and an 8. You then roll 1d10+7 for each remaining stat. I would think your character end up pretty beefy, though...especially since that is before racial modifiers.

tomandtish
2014-07-02, 01:35 PM
We've had some fun with the idea I came up with for heroic but flawed characters. Everyone starts with an 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, and 8. If you play a race with an ability adjustment (and all allowable races have equivelant positive and negative adjustments), you can assume that this includes the adjustment or you can add the adjustment. However, if you add the adjustment, the positive has to go in one of your top 3 scores, and the negative has to go in your one of your bottom 3. So a dwarf could stick with the 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8; or he could add his +2 to the 18, 16, or 14, and his -2 to the 12, 10. or 8.


A DM I had played 1d8+10. It kept an even spread and no one ended up with underwhelming stats.

I'm not surprised. No one has a chance to have a negative stat at all before racial modifiers since worst you can do is 11.

DonEsteban
2014-07-02, 01:38 PM
An evergreen that comes up at least once a month...

I've tried many methods. I don't like point buy. I just don't. Here are some of my favorites:

* roll 3d6 7 times
* pick 6 values
* adjust two values (increasing or decreasing) until you reach desired PB value


* for n players roll n+x sets of stats with your favorite method
* for example for 4 players roll 6 sets of 7x4d6 best 3
* every player may choose any set


* from a deck of 18 cards (1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, J) draw 6 sets of 3 cards. The added card values give your 6 stats. The joker (J) doubles the higher of the other two cards' values. This apparently results in stats averaging somewhere close to PB 30.


* roll stats with your favorite method
* you are granted one action point (per level) for every sub-standard stat
* for example, roll 4d6, best 3; every value below 8 adds one action point, every value above 16 costs 1 AP; or you get (32-PB value)/4 additional action points

FreakyCheeseMan
2014-07-02, 04:02 PM
Let me see how that grid thing treats me...


3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6
3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6
3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6
3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6
3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6
3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6


3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6
3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6
3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6
3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6
3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6
3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6


3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6
3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6
3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6
3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6
3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6
3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6-3d6

Edit: Well, that didn't work at all. :P

Jormengand
2014-07-02, 04:21 PM
Edit: Well, that didn't work at all. :P

You can't roll in this forum section.

BWR
2014-07-02, 04:23 PM
My preferred technique for rolling is the "three shake underhand towards the center". Sometimes with an extra spin from the wrist.

Also, 3d6 in order is fun, if not very good for d20.

Thrudd
2014-07-02, 04:40 PM
Everyone knows the basics for rolling character stats. 4d6 and drop the lowest, 3d6 if you're feeling masochistic, points buy etc. I'm just wondering what other systems are there out there in use? Has your group got its own systems? Do you ban computerised rollers?

A DM I've played under has his own system. The 6x6 rule. Draw up a 6x6 grid and roll 3d6 36 times. Working left to right and top to bottom, populate the grid. You can now pick any one line (top to bottom, right to left, diagonal etc.) as your stats but you have to take them in order. Just as an example, I rolled up a 2nd Ed. Cleric using this system that came out as Str 17, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 15, Cha 15 (It was my best line).

It's a good set up if you want a semi-random outcome but don't want your players complaining about absolutely terrible stats.

I have my own, slightly more laissez-faire system which is basically 'Roll up your stats using 4d6 (drop the worst) in front of me. You can now tweak your stats if you want to fit your character better, but if I think you're trying it on then I'll wipe your scores and create my own.' It lets people have higher power characters if they want, or they can drop powers to make things interesting without worrying about the players running amok.

So... What do you do?

Have you not seen the 1e AD&D DMG? It has several other rolling methods. Method II roll 3d6 12 times, pick the best 6 and arrange in any order. Method III, roll 3d6 six times for each stat, keep the best. Method IV, roll 3d6 in stat order enough times for 12 characters, pick the one you want.

Unearthed Arcana proposes a method designed to allow you to get any class you want. You select your class first, and depending on your choice you get a different number of dice for each ability score. You will be almost guaranteed to get high scores in your requisites, or at least meet the requisites for classes like paladin and monk. The maximum is 9d6 keep the best 3, the minimum is 3d6. So a fighter gets to roll 9d6 for strength, only gets 3d6 for Int. Magic User is the opposite. Thieves roll 9d6 for Dex, 3d6 for Wis, and so on. (Unearthed Arcana introduced a 7th ability, comeliness, and that was included on this method as well.)

Adapting this directly to a more flexible system, you could start with a dice pool of 36 d6. The player gets to assign any number of dice to each ability score, to a maximum of 9d and minimum of 3d, keeping the best 3. This will give very high scores across the board and make it likely they will qualify for whatever they want. That's a bit too high powered for me, but some people might like it. You could easily reduce the dice pool to whatever you want.


2e has a point-buy like system as well which still has a random element. It is much closer to the 3e style point buy, but with randomness. You start with 8 in every ability. Roll 7d6 and add the results of each individual die roll to any ability score you want. You are not allowed to exceed 18, and you must use the total amount on each die.

Arbane
2014-07-02, 05:13 PM
Personally, I prefer point-buy.

One idea I heard that sounds interesting is rolling 3d6 three times. That's three of your stats.
Then, subtract those rolls from 25, 23, and 21, highest to lowest. Those are the other three stats.
Arrange in whatever order you like.

Jay R
2014-07-02, 07:55 PM
The last time I ran a game of original Dungeons and Dragons, people rolled 3d6 six times, in order. You can read from the bottom of the dice or the top. (So either use the six numbers you rolled, or use 21 - each number.) Now they go into your stats in order, either from the top or the bottom. That gives four possibilities, with two of them guaranteed to be average or better. (The only really bad roll is all 10s and 11s.)

So I just rolled 13, 9, 8, 7, 6, 12. I can use either that or the converse: 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 9. Now they go in like this:

STR: 13, DEX 9, CON: 8, WIS: 7, INT: 6, CHA: 12

STR: 8, DEX 12, CON: 13, WIS: 14, INT: 15, CHA: 9

STR: 12, DEX 6, CON: 7, WIS: 8, INT: 9, CHA: 13

STR: 9, DEX 15, CON: 14, WIS: 13, INT: 12, CHA: 8

The second is a usable magic-user, and the fourth is a credible thief.

This method guarantees at least an average character, and provides some ability to adjust, while sticking to the original game's premise that who you are is who you are, not some construct you built from scratch.

Hexapuma
2014-07-03, 03:11 AM
Have you not seen the 1e AD&D DMG? It has several other rolling methods. Method II roll 3d6 12 times, pick the best 6 and arrange in any order. Method III, roll 3d6 six times for each stat, keep the best. Method IV, roll 3d6 in stat order enough times for 12 characters, pick the one you want.


I must admit I haven't. I've got the players handbook for 1st Ed. but not the DMG. I'm working on having all the systems to hand but it takes time and mortgages are expensive.



The grid rule is very interesting, but I worry about it being time-consuming. You're rolling 36 times, but 30 of those rolls are never going to be used. But you could use a computer to render this moot, as long as you trust the computer's RNG.


It's actually not too bad. Compared to the time people take selecting equipment, feats and skills etc. it only takes about 5 minutes. Obviously if someone insists on shaking the dice for half an hour before each roll it'll take longer...

I actually had a DM who refused to allow computerized dice rollers in any game he ran because he didn't trust the Pseudorandom number generation. He would acccept them, however, if you could prove they were true random numbers. I have my prototype roller around here somewhere that I built for his game with a true RNG built in.

Let me see if I can set up a grid on here...



13
10
15
13
11
14


7
18
10
13
12
12


9
10
12
14
6
15


8
6
6
12
14
8


15
11
11
11
8
10


11
16
9
13
14
13



There we go! 36 rolls, only took a couple of minutes. The top row's pretty good but there's nothing stellar in there. The is an 18 available but if you want it you'll have to accept a 6, 7 or 8 in a stat.

I guess any rolling strategy comes down to what you want out of a game. If your players are going to be saddened by below-average characters then use whatever method you want to make sure they get high scores. If they like low powered characters because of the challenge they present then go the othe way.

Yora
2014-07-03, 05:11 AM
Personally, I prefer point-buy.

One idea I heard that sounds interesting is rolling 3d6 three times. That's three of your stats.
Then, subtract those rolls from 25, 23, and 21, highest to lowest. Those are the other three stats.
Arrange in whatever order you like.
Point buy is best, but it doesn't really work for pre-3rd Edition D&D. Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma offer basically nothing unless you're a wizard or cleric and putting points into an ability score really only benefits you if you set it really high.
Other than wanting an equal spread of numbers, there is no reason not to make a character with 18, 17, 16, 8, 8, 8.
10s, 12s and 14th don't really make a difference most of the time.

elliott20
2014-07-03, 09:42 AM
another alternative I've seen to generate some pretty beefy characters is to do the progression rolling method.

1st and 2nd roll = 3d6 average 9.5
3rd and 4th roll = 2d6 + 6 average 13
5th and 6th roll = 1d6 + 12, average 15.5

gives you much stronger characters over all.

BrainFreeze
2014-07-03, 11:01 AM
The oddest one that I have used was to give the players 18d6 and have them assign the dice to their stats before rolling them. This was for a superhero/fairytale style game in D20.

Str: 4d6
Dex: 3d6
Con: 4d6
Wis: 2d6
Int: 2d6
Cha: 3d6

It came out with some odd characters, but they fit the theme well.

Halbaradkenafin
2014-07-03, 12:49 PM
Normally we use 5d6 keep the best 3 (although we say 4d6, reroll the lowest and then keep 3 but it's the same either way, just feels a little better this way). The next game we have coming up the DM decide to go for extra powerful characters with 5d6 keep the best 4, cue a psion with 23 in Int and some other numbers which aren't as important. I expect this game to be interesting.

Segev
2014-07-03, 01:19 PM
The method described in the OP is what I use when I run D&D, except I have them roll 4d6 drop low for each element. (Take any row, column, or one of the two complete diagonals you like.)

It results in higher-end PCs, but nothing too unusual considering how optimization usually goes. And it tends to be more fun for the players.

One variant I've never tried but could be fun if you get everybody together to build their PCs at the same time: Have them roll up such a 6x6 matrix of stats, with each row/column/diagonal usable only once, but all of the PCs come from the same matrix. (There are still, in theory, 14 different possible stat lines in this, which is bigger than any party I've seen successfully run in a game.)

Pex
2014-07-03, 10:22 PM
Something I learned on the internet.

27-25-23

1) Roll 4d6 drop lowest three times, minimum of 7. These are your first three scores.

2) Take any score and subtract it from 27 for your fourth score, max 18 so no 27 - 7 for 20.

3) Take another score and subtract it from 25 for your fifth score.

4) The remaining number is subtracted from 23 for your sixth score.

5) Add 2 to any one score

6) Arrange as desired and apply racial modifiers.

Example: Wanting to play a human paladin in a Pathfinder game.

1) Rolled 16, 13, 13

2) 27 - 13 = 14

3) 25 - 16 = 9

4) 23 - 13 = 10

5) 14 + 2 = 16

6) 16, 13, 13, 9, 10, 16, human + 2 to ST for final array of

ST 18 DX 13 CO 13 IN 9 WI 10 CH 16

Level 4 ability increase to CO. Take Toughness feat and favored class bonus as hit points. Have equivalent of 18 CO hit points. Level 8 ability increase to DX. Plan on getting a CH boosting item. Level 12 bump to Intelligence and use the retroactive skill points to good use. Alternative, bump CH at levels 4 and 8. Live with the 13 CO until level 12. Toughness and favored class give equivalent to 16 CO hit points which isn't bad. I have Lay On Hands to compensate.

Wanting to play a human Wizard

1) Rolled 13, 13, 8

2) 27 - 13 = 14

3) 25 - 8 = 17

4) 23 - 13 = 10

5) 13 + 2 = 15

6) 10, 15, 14, 17, 13, 8 human +2 to DX for final array of

ST 10 DX 17 CO 14 IN 17 WI 13 CH 8

Obviously level 4 ability score bump goes to Intelligence. Will probably always increase Intelligence, but campaign circumstances might allow for DX and/or WI.

Edit: Notice, I effectively rolled 16, 13, 13, 13, 13, 8 using the traditional 4d6 drop lowest method. This system provides for more interesting arrays and an easier way to roll the character you want the first and only time you roll.

JusticeZero
2014-07-03, 11:02 PM
You don't actually need to roll with that. Last game, it was "Pick three numbers between 7-18. I care not how. The other three are those numbers minus 25." I quite like that method. You do need to be comfortable with the idea of having a dump stat, though. That can be fixed if needed by using '23, 25, 27' instead with a max of 18 on any number.

Gildedragon
2014-07-04, 01:08 AM
I personally go for 30-36 pb as my favored method.
however I have players that are quite fond of rolling for stats, in that case I go:
4d6b3, if you like someone else's numbers you can copy them, or turn them into pointbuy points and rearrange them as you see fit.

falloutimperial
2014-07-04, 09:47 AM
Unearthed Arcana proposes a method designed to allow you to get any class you want. You select your class first, and depending on your choice you get a different number of dice for each ability score. You will be almost guaranteed to get high scores in your requisites, or at least meet the requisites for classes like paladin and monk. The maximum is 9d6 keep the best 3, the minimum is 3d6. So a fighter gets to roll 9d6 for strength, only gets 3d6 for Int. Magic User is the opposite. Thieves roll 9d6 for Dex, 3d6 for Wis, and so on. (Unearthed Arcana introduced a 7th ability, comeliness, and that was included on this method as well.)


Could you give a page number on that? It sounds interesting, but I can't find it.

Angelalex242
2014-07-04, 10:45 AM
Here's an idea I tried once.

"You are all genetically modified superbeings of your race. Don't bother rolling stats, you have 18s across the board, modify for race as normal."

Strangely enough, 18s across the board amounts to about ECL+1, over all. It wasn't as OP as you'd think it'd be. Other then some better saving throws in traditionally weak saves and actual SKILL POINTS on the melee types, not much changed.

Jay R
2014-07-04, 10:49 AM
4d6b3, if you like someone else's numbers you can copy them, or turn them into pointbuy points and rearrange them as you see fit.

If your description of the method is complete, then this method has an unintended (and probably unnoticed) side effect. The person who rolls the best set of numbers is slightly handicapped compared to the others, since she apparently has to use those numbers, while anybody else can take the total and re-arrange as they see fit.

Storm_Of_Snow
2014-07-04, 10:51 AM
Could you give a page number on that? It sounds interesting, but I can't find it.
It's at the front - can't remember the page number off the top of my head, but it's within the first 3-4 pages IIRC (right after Comeliness I think).

It's (the infamous) Method V - not only do you get all those dice rolls, but if you miss the minimums for the class you want, you get them anyway...

Personally I go with best 3 of 4d6 and rearrange.

Gildedragon
2014-07-04, 02:23 PM
If your description of the method is complete, then this method has an unintended (and probably unnoticed) side effect. The person who rolls the best set of numbers is slightly handicapped compared to the others, since she apparently has to use those numbers, while anybody else can take the total and re-arrange as they see fit.

Not quite, they can copy someone who copied them.

BeerMug Paladin
2014-07-04, 02:49 PM
A lot of people I game with don't mind doing several rerolls in character generation in case the 4d6 strategy doesn't yeild nice enough numbers. Personally, I find that 3d6 plus a d8, capping it at 18 and dropping the lowest yeilds a slight boost to stats (enough to discourage a reroll) in the form of slightly biasing the average to be higher than normal without completely eliminating low numbers.

I've used it for a while to generate NPCs in games I run so I don't have to do the 4 or so rerolls my players are usually eager to do in order to develop an equivalently powered NPC.

Jay R
2014-07-06, 10:39 AM
Not quite, they can copy someone who copied them.

That solves it, but it still adds an amusing (though highly unlikely) scenario.

"Hey, would you copy my numbers so I can re-arrange them and get more Strength?"

Mark Hall
2014-07-06, 07:48 PM
Hackmaster uses 3d6, in order, 7 times (for the 7 attributes of Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution Looks and Charisma). If you leave them in order, you get a bonus of 50BP (which more than doubles your build points, and the only way to get some rarer class/race combinations). If you switch two stats, you get 25 bonus BPs (which I've done a few times, because it is cheaper than buying up your stats). If you rearrange to taste, you get no bonus BPs. Shopkeeper stats (2 stats 5 or under, or nothing above 13) don't count.

My last GM had a slightly different system. Instead of 40 base BPs, you got 43... and you could use the 3 extra points to buy completely bonus rerolls... a fresh set of 7 stats. Each of those cost 1 BP. If you get a good roll at first, you get the measly few extra points. Or you can roll up to 3 more times, each time sacrificing a point, to get a decent set. Once again, shopkeeper stats don't count.