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Meepo_
2015-09-16, 06:31 PM
I've always wondered what the best way to roll your D&D/d20 stats was. I've played with the first edition rules; you roll 3 six-sided dice (3d6), add them up, and those are your stats. You used to even roll them order: Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, and Cha. It was brutal: I thankfully rolled a 17 for intelligence (and bumped it up to an 18 by sacrificing a few points of strength) to make a bad-ass wizard as my first character. But the variation between power levels of characters was way too much: you were just as likely to be an absolute genius (18) as you were to be only slightly smarter than your average bear (3).

Now I'm all for point-buys. You get exactly what you want, and your stats aren't any better or worse than the next guys'. But after I read 5e, and noticed how it attempts to return to the roots of D&D where fun > optimization, I also realized that rolling your character stats is just about the most D&D-like way to build a character. Later editions attempted to make characters a bit better. All editions from Advanced on have allowed the player to choose which numbers go where. Alternate stat rolling methods began to surface to make adventurers better than normal people. The first alternate way I learned how to roll stats was to roll normally, and re-roll any 1s (3d6r1). The more widely accepted method is to roll 4 six-sided dice, and to add the best 3 (4d6b3). The first removes tiny stats, while the second makes all one's stats better on average. I was faced with a question: which method is the best?

It probably doesn't matter that much, but I just had to know. Mathematically speaking, the average roll on a d6 is 3.5, so the original method yields average stats of 10.5. Re-roll the 1s and the new average per die is 4, so the average stat would be 12. But what is the average stat when you take the 3 best of 4 rolls? If the first 3 rolls are all 6s the method doesn't matter. All 4s and there is a 33% chance of improving the stat with another roll: all 3s and the fourth roll boosts the total 50% of the time. But if you get three 1s, the fourth roll has an 83% chance of boosting the total, whereas if you re-roll your 1s each die has a 100% chance of improving. The 3d6r1 method makes terrible rolls nearly impossible, and the 4d6b1 method makes all your rolls slightly better. But I know no way of mathematically calculating the average of 4d6b1. So I did the only logical thing a D&D nerd would do: I built an experiment.

It takes hundreds of die rolls to produce accurate, average results, and I had no interest in spending my weekends rolling dice [alone and without an awesome story to be a part of], so I coded a nifty program to do it for me. It uses Java (please don't hate), and lets me roll any number of stats, using all three methods, and then calculates the mean of each almost instantaneously. I won't post the code unless anyone cares to see it, and I'll spoiler the results of the first trial so you don't have to scroll past a wall of numbers. But without further ado, here are the results:


Trial # and roll amount
Trial 1: (100)
Trial 2: (100)
Trial 3: (100)
Trial 4: (1000)
Trial 5: (10000)
Trial 6: (1000000)
Trial 7: (1337)
Average of Trials 1 - 3

3d6 (Control)

10.04
10.76
10.29
10.54
10.4957
10.498284
10.477187733732237
10.363333


3d6r1
11.81
12.31
11.77
12.099
12.0322
11.998569
12.051608077786089
11.96333


4d6b1
12.1
12.14
11.73
12.129
12.2332
12.248802
12.100224382946896
11.99



If you really want to see the actual numbers rolled, this spoiler contains the full output of Trial 1:
3d6: 3d6 reroll 1: 4d6 best 3:
11 14 14
11 14 15
8 12 9
9 14 13
11 17 12
9 13 15
11 10 15
12 12 8
6 13 15
9 11 14
16 12 13
16 12 10
14 11 11
11 9 13
10 11 10
8 11 12
6 8 3
4 15 13
7 12 11
8 11 6
7 13 16
10 14 15
10 6 11
9 10 10
6 15 8
11 15 11
9 11 17
11 11 10
11 12 11
7 14 10
8 7 15
9 10 13
9 17 16
12 13 13
11 12 13
11 8 8
17 9 17
10 8 11
18 7 17
9 10 15
10 13 13
7 13 15
9 14 12
10 10 17
9 12 13
9 10 13
8 13 8
13 13 8
12 13 14
14 15 16
9 12 11
8 9 14
13 7 9
8 10 14
5 17 15
6 13 12
7 13 9
10 9 12
9 13 13
10 11 12
14 8 11
4 13 11
9 9 10
8 18 13
13 12 15
12 10 11
11 13 10
7 11 11
8 12 10
11 12 11
11 13 9
12 13 14
13 9 12
11 10 14
11 16 12
17 12 16
7 12 13
8 13 13
7 11 11
7 14 13
14 11 9
7 12 14
8 9 14
10 11 9
9 8 8
15 12 10
10 9 13
10 12 10
13 11 11
11 13 14
9 9 12
11 14 12
8 13 11
11 12 15
10 15 10
11 12 15
11 14 14
12 13 11
11 11 5
14 15 14
Mean:
10.04 11.81 12.1

I started out with three trials of 100 rolls each and obtained the average, but the results were inconclusive. Sometimes 3d6r1 would be better than 4d6b1, and other times it would be the reverse. To get more accurate results I rolled the stats 1,000 and 10,000 times. I then got bored and decided to see what 1,000,000 rolls would be like (took a few minutes, which is a lot by computer standards), and what 1337 would give me (besides more decimal places). It seems to me that the two rolls are not really that different, but the 3d6 had an overall average close to 10.5, the 3d6r1 had an overall average close to 12.0, and the 4d6b1 had an overall average closest to 12.25.

I guess rolling four times and taking the best three is in fact slightly better than rolling three times and re-rolling ones. The superior method is included in the core books, after all. I can't say this wasn't a fun little project- its pretty cool to watch all those numbers scroll by on my screen faster than a CN Rogue to a dragon's hoard. I'll appreciate anything anyone has to say about my experiment: where I screwed up, what I could have done better, whether there are other rolling methods that I should test, or that I should get a new hobby.

Anyways: I bid you all farewell, and may you be blessed with many a powerful character!

Solaris
2015-09-16, 07:05 PM
I often have them use 3d6+6, drop low. In essence, it's like the regular 4d6 drop low with one of them automatically being a 6. It produces a lot of 14s and 15s.

Meepo_
2015-09-16, 07:31 PM
I often have them use 3d6+6, drop low. In essence, it's like the regular 4d6 drop low with one of them automatically being a 6. It produces a lot of 14s and 15s.

Huh, never heard of that one.

Ran it 300 times, mean is 14.63- I could see this in some highly high-powered games.

10,000 rolls later and the average is 14.4907.

Eldan
2015-09-16, 07:34 PM
I don't like a lot of the higher-rolling methods. I guess I don't see why PCs have to be above average in everything and even one-in-a-thousand in one or two things. I even less see the absolute panic some players seem to have over every stat under 10, much less stats under 8. Remember: a 7 is as "bad" as a 14 is "good". I've played quite viable characters with a 5 in unexpected places, it can work. (There was the wizard with 6 dex, and the druid with 5 charisma...).
Now, I see why too much randomness can be bad and ruin a build, but on the other side, I just find that having an unexpected weakness can really help me give some personality to a character.

D+1
2015-09-16, 07:42 PM
Want some more ways to roll stats? Try this on:
http://home.earthlink.net/~duanevp/dnd/stat_generation.htm
I sorta stopped adding to it because there really isn't much limit to the variations and I think people's eyes just start glazing over after the first half dozen or so.

Eloel
2015-09-16, 07:43 PM
Let me get something straight. You can code. You see 4d6, and your first response is to try 100 times, multiple sets, instead of simply exhaustively going through the whole 1296 of them?

Meepo_
2015-09-16, 07:47 PM
Let me get something straight. You can code. You see 4d6, and your first response is to try 100 times, multiple sets, instead of simply exhaustively going through the whole 1296 of them?

Umm... yeah... it was for science...?

Eloel
2015-09-16, 07:48 PM
Umm... yeah... it was for science...?

Science doesn't experiment when results can be theoretically proven with no room for error. I think.

Eldan
2015-09-16, 07:50 PM
I did 4d6b3 exhaustively once, years ago. (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DNxkEmxcXRlPy0Tbc-BZwk4d7O3qXtIh0j7Mds4zF2k/edit?usp=sharing) By hand, though. With averages.

Solaris
2015-09-16, 07:55 PM
I don't like a lot of the higher-rolling methods. I guess I don't see why PCs have to be above average in everything and even one-in-a-thousand in one or two things. I even less see the absolute panic some players seem to have over every stat under 10, much less stats under 8. Remember: a 7 is as "bad" as a 14 is "good". I've played quite viable characters with a 5 in unexpected places, it can work. (There was the wizard with 6 dex, and the druid with 5 charisma...).
Now, I see why too much randomness can be bad and ruin a build, but on the other side, I just find that having an unexpected weakness can really help me give some personality to a character.

'Cause being average doesn't play well into the power fantasy that is D&D. We can do mediocre in real life, why do it in a game?

Meepo_
2015-09-16, 07:56 PM
Science doesn't experiment when results can be theoretically proven with no room for error. I think.

Guess I overthought that one. But I'll never have to manually roll stats again! (I still will, it's too satisfying)

Meepo_
2015-09-16, 07:58 PM
I did 4d6b3 exhaustively once, years ago. (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DNxkEmxcXRlPy0Tbc-BZwk4d7O3qXtIh0j7Mds4zF2k/edit?usp=sharing) By hand, though. With averages.

Looks like you did what Eloel suggested. At least we got similar results.

Aetol
2015-09-16, 08:31 PM
Let me get something straight. You can code. You see 4d6, and your first response is to try 100 times, multiple sets, instead of simply exhaustively going through the whole 1296 of them?

Damn, I was going to say that.

Besides, coding is the lazy way out. A real man does the math by hand. And not just for 4d6b3, but for XdYbZ.

LadyFoxfire
2015-09-16, 08:36 PM
Most of my DMs use the 4d6 drop lowest method. I hate rolling my stats in order though, I like to pick my class myself rather than letting the dice do it for me.

Aetol
2015-09-16, 08:39 PM
I heard the argument that rolling your stats is only worthwhile if you do it in order. Basically, rolling then changing the order is the worst of both world : it has neither the wacky randomness of rolling in order, nor the even power level of point buy.

YossarianLives
2015-09-16, 09:00 PM
'Cause being average doesn't play well into the power fantasy that is D&D. We can do mediocre in real life, why do it in a game?
Actually I've always wanted to play a character that is average or slightly above average. In many ways, I think a story about average folks overcoming terrifying beasts and horrifying sorcery through their own luck and wits is far more interesting than a story about larger-than-life heroes who battle gods and save the cosmos.

That said, one of the best campaigns I've ever played in was quite high-powered and involved the PCs performing ridiculous and implausible stunts.

Arbane
2015-09-16, 09:13 PM
'Cause being average doesn't play well into the power fantasy that is D&D. We can do mediocre in real life, why do it in a game?

Being forced to play an inept wimp due to bad die-rolls is good for ROLEPLAYING.

I prefer point-buy, personally.

Aetol
2015-09-16, 09:42 PM
Being forced to play an inept wimp due to bad die-rolls is good for ROLEPLAYING.

Oh right, that old "powergaming and roleplaying are mutually incompatible" notion. :smallannoyed:

I get why some would find the "I don't get to chose what character I play" kind of game. That's basically how you tell the game "surprise me". But that's not for me, either.

Draconium
2015-09-16, 09:56 PM
Oh right, that old "powergaming and roleplaying are mutually incompatible" notion. :smallannoyed:

Erm, I think he was being sarcastic... that's what another color (usually blue) tends to mean. Unless he's using purple to be evil, like Red Fel does. Either way, I'm pretty sure he wasn't serious.

Remedy
2015-09-16, 10:25 PM
Erm, I think he was being sarcastic... that's what another color (usually blue) tends to mean. Unless he's using purple to be evil, like Red Fel does. Either way, I'm pretty sure he wasn't serious.
Even when we don't look the part, Evil is always serious.

... I mean, uh, even when they don't look the part. Yeah.

Pex
2015-09-16, 11:25 PM
Here I go again. :smallsmile:

27-25-23

Step 1: Roll 4d6, best 3, three times. These are your first three scores. If a roll is less than 7 count it as 7.

Step 2: Take one score and subtract from 27 for your 4th score. Ideally force a max 18, so no 27 - 7 = 20 for a score.

Step 3: Take another score and subtract from 25 for your 5th score. Note that 25 - 7 = 18.

Step 4: The third score is subtracted from 23 for the 6th score.

Step 5: Add +2 to any one score. Ideally force a max 18.

Step 6: Arrange the 6 scores as desired and apply racial modifiers.

Example, wanting to play a human paladin in Pathfinder

Step 1: 16, 13, 8

Step 2: 27 - 16 = 11

Step 3: 25 - 8 = 17

Step 4: 23 - 13 = 10

Step 5: 16 + 2 = 18

Step 6: Apply racial modifier +2 to Con where the 13 will go.

ST: 18 DX: 11 CO 15: IN: 8 WI: 10 CH: 17

Plans: Level 4 increase CH to 18. Level 8 increase CO to 16.

5E variant human paladin, same scores:

ST: 18 DX: 12 CO: 14 IN: 8 WI: 10 CH: 17

Plans: Take Heavy Armor Master to get ST to 19. Level 4 increase ST to 20 and CH to 18. Definitely more powerful than 5E Point Buy, but that to me is a feature because I loathe 5E Point Buy. However, that's a different topic.

Drynwyn
2015-09-17, 12:02 AM
For 3.5, I'm okay with rolling and point buy. For 5e, though, I'm honestly flabbergasted that they would suggest die rolls as the "default" method- stats are simply too important in 5th edition, due to the smaller non-stat bonuses, to be left to chance- you can end up with characters of DRAMATICALLY different power levels.

goto124
2015-09-17, 12:20 AM
So, why roll stats? Why not just go point buy or stat array?

Especially when I wanted to play a STR-based character, and I end up rolling a 5 on STR? If I can change my rolls to suit my chars, why waste time rolling and just go straight for point buy? Why not have all the numbers in place before coming to the table, instead of having to rush through character generation and finish in 5 min to give enough time for the actual game?

Mrs Kat
2015-09-17, 12:30 AM
You should post standard deviation as well as mean. Otherwise your results aren't really meaningful.

A histogram or probability plot of each method would be interesting, too. I imagine 3d6 is a bell curve, and 4d6 drop lowest is a really skewed bell curve.

tgva8889
2015-09-17, 01:21 AM
If I am playing a game where stats are a relevant part of a large number of game mechanics (like D&D), I much prefer standardized stats. That is, no randomness between players, everyone has the capability to produce identical stats. I've played in games where we roll for stats and let me tell you, rolling the worst on stats makes it really frustrating to play because the game expects you to rise to the same level as everyone else.

In 5e the effect is super-magnified, so I'd just always suggest any sort of standardized array.

Fri
2015-09-17, 04:46 AM
So, why roll stats? Why not just go point buy or stat array?

Especially when I wanted to play a STR-based character, and I end up rolling a 5 on STR? If I can change my rolls to suit my chars, why waste time rolling and just go straight for point buy? Why not have all the numbers in place before coming to the table, instead of having to rush through character generation and finish in 5 min to give enough time for the actual game?

The thing that I found recently and I can't believe I never thought of it before, is simply having one stat freely as "bonus" to be assigned.

If your game want randomly rolled stat instead of point buy, just, roll your stats with low stat array or whatever, but have one "free" above average stat as bonus to be freely assigned (and maybe make a ruling that if you have 3 above average stat you can't have this free above average stat or something).

This means you can have your randomly stated character, but you can also still have most of character idea you're thinking.

Aetol
2015-09-17, 04:58 AM
The thing that I found recently and I can't believe I never thought of it before, is simply having one stat freely as "bonus" to be assigned.

If your game want randomly rolled stat instead of point buy, just, roll your stats with low stat array or whatever, but have one "free" above average stat as bonus to be freely assigned (and maybe make a ruling that if you have 3 above average stat you can't have this free above average stat or something).

This means you can have your randomly stated character, but you can also still have most of character idea you're thinking.

But that only really works for SAD characters. If I want to play a MAD character and roll poorly in more than one stat you need, your fix won't do much good.

Anonymouswizard
2015-09-17, 05:19 AM
Want some more ways to roll stats? Try this on:
http://home.earthlink.net/~duanevp/dnd/stat_generation.htm
I sorta stopped adding to it because there really isn't much limit to the variations and I think people's eyes just start glazing over after the first half dozen or so.

I disagree with most of the reasoning here, but mainly the one used for why the 3.5 standard array is bad. The idea was to just let you give the character an average roll (I think I once saw the claim that it was a statistical average of what set you'd get if you rolled 4d6b3, but I think it sacrifices the most likely for a bit of variety). Otherwise, kinda interesting, but not my cup of tea (that would be tea).


'Cause being average doesn't play well into the power fantasy that is D&D. We can do mediocre in real life, why do it in a game?

I can see a handful of reasons, but I've come to the view that a system that forces someone to start at the same level as the rest of the party is bad. In GURPS, if I (for some reason) want to play Sidekick Man then I don't have to spend all my Character Points, and if I do get bored of being weaker I can spend a session or two boosting my stats and powers to get to the party's level,


So, why roll stats? Why not just go point buy or stat array?

Especially when I wanted to play a STR-based character, and I end up rolling a 5 on STR? If I can change my rolls to suit my chars, why waste time rolling and just go straight for point buy? Why not have all the numbers in place before coming to the table, instead of having to rush through character generation and finish in 5 min to give enough time for the actual game?

I agree with this, but then I also have a loathing for strongly classed systems as well (which is why I prefer Dark Heresy to D&D, the classes are looser). Either stop whinging and generate every last scrap of your character, or actually give the players the ability to play Bob Sir Knight if they don't want to play Wizard McFireball but rolled 18 Int and 4 Str.

goto124
2015-09-17, 08:00 AM
Either stop whinging and generate every last scrap of your character, or actually give the players the ability to play Bob Sir Knight if they don't want to play Wizard McFireball but rolled 18 Int and 4 Str.

Er... this may be a problem if stats have great impact on making your character remotely competent at doing anything (consider the amount of effort to make a 4 Str Warrior that can contribute decently). Or if the random rolling results in big gaps in a set of roles (there're no healers/social skillers/etc), forcing the GM to redesign the entire adventure at the last minute.

System-dependant, I suspect.

I personally don't see the purpose of randomness in character generation. Especially when I end up trying to adjust a lot of things that will affect me for the rest of the campaign*... 3 minutes before the game starts. At best a day, and my ideas of 'I get to play Bob Sir Knight who does this and that which requires 15 Str' are shattered.

*Or the rest of the character's life. Wait... must I roll for my second character as well?

Anonymouswizard
2015-09-17, 08:06 AM
Er... this may be a problem if stats have great impact on making your character remotely competent at doing anything (consider the amount of effort to make a 4 Str Warrior that can contribute decently). Or if the random rolling results in big gaps in a set of roles (there're no healers/social skillers/etc), forcing the GM to redesign the entire adventure at the last minute.

System-dependant, I suspect.

Sorry, the intention was to imply that they'd be able to change to the stats they want, because I find rolling stupid (I've only ever pulled it out to stop people from playing the same character for the umpteenth time).

FabulousFizban
2015-09-17, 09:24 AM
the best way to roll your stats is to use point buy :P

DigoDragon
2015-09-17, 09:57 AM
I often have them use 3d6+6, drop low. In essence, it's like the regular 4d6 drop low with one of them automatically being a 6. It produces a lot of 14s and 15s.

I used that once! It was high-powered, but great for folks like me that seem to have cursed dice that love rolling low (I saved those cubes for GURPS skill checks, hee hee).

Lvl 2 Expert
2015-09-17, 09:58 AM
Another fan of point buy here. This is one point at which a single die roll can screw up everything you'll ever do before you even started. Being saddled with bad scores in character creation simply isn't a lot of fun.

Big exception: going old school and rolling your stats in order (or maybe using an array and assigning those scores to attributes at random), getting a random blank person for who you then pick a career based on what they have to work with. But most of the time I'll have some sort of cool character concept in my head and I like to be able to use it.

Millstone85
2015-09-17, 10:00 AM
No one mentioned standard values.
Is such an approach mocked?

Eldan
2015-09-17, 10:12 AM
I just don't get it. I don't want to play a flawless superman. Sure, above average and all that. Even a genius, absolutely. But why do you have to have average or above scores in everything? Isn't a character with at least one weakness a bit more interesting than one who is just better at everything than the average person?

In stat spreads, I'd just say that a 12/12/14/14/16/18 is just a lot less interesting to me than, say, a 6/10/12/14/16/18. And not every character has to have an 18 either. A 16 in a casting stat is still plenty enough, most of the time.

Aetol
2015-09-17, 10:31 AM
I too vastly prefer point buy. I'm just not confortable with the idea of the result of a roll impacting my character forever. Rolled low on the attack or the damage ? I can keep hitting next round. Got hit ? I can get healing. Failed a save and died ? Resurrection exists. But randomness better stays out of my character building.

I don't roll for max HP either.


In stat spreads, I'd just say that a 12/12/14/14/16/18 is just a lot less interesting to me than, say, a 6/10/12/14/16/18. And not every character has to have an 18 either. A 16 in a casting stat is still plenty enough, most of the time.

That's what the point budget is for.

You realize that rolling your stats might also give you a "boring" superman, right ?

Anonymouswizard
2015-09-17, 10:35 AM
the best way to roll your stats is to use point buy :P

Because that's how we roll? :smallcool: no, not sorry


No one mentioned standard values.
Is such an approach mocked?

Do you mean the standard array? (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8)

In my case it's because I think of it as a point buy-variant, it's just the points have been spent for you. Although I do prefer options in my choice of array, instead of having to have the standard.


I just don't get it. I don't want to play a flawless superman. Sure, above average and all that. Even a genius, absolutely. But why do you have to have average or above scores in everything? Isn't a character with at least one weakness a bit more interesting than one who is just better at everything than the average person?

In stat spreads, I'd just say that a 12/12/14/14/16/18 is just a lot less interesting to me than, say, a 6/10/12/14/16/18. And not every character has to have an 18 either. A 16 in a casting stat is still plenty enough, most of the time.

I'm another deficient character supporter. I won't mock you if you aren't willing to dumpstat below a 10, maybe an 8, but I will consider you a perfection seeker (as in 'I have no flaws' perfection). I've played in a game where my character had one stat at the low end of capable, and another at low average, just to push his intellect and magic stat up to great (ironically, despite it being the same stat as magic I dumped social skills for more powers).

In another adventurer abilities went from 5/6 (basically disabled) to 14/15 (make sure you spend time to keep it that high). Four characters had dump stats.

Our Nun dumpstatted Strength hard, plunging it down to a 6, and then took a disability flaw to make the included disability even worse. She had to give up her specialty to be able to climb stairs without rolling.
The Kook (me) had 7 Strength, but my real dumpstat was the derived stat of Damage Modifier. As this was a playtest a new rule came into being that allowed me to do damage with anything less than a sword (I would have rolled 1d6-6 if I attacked with a Knife).
The Priest (temporary character while the Kook was indisposed) dumped health and HP. Although it was fun to work out how to get him down to 4 HP, I don't recommend putting this stat anywhere below 'low' for permanent characters.
The investigator dumped Faith, which made him susceptible to temptation (I think) and also lowered the power of magic cast on him.

These were the most interesting characters capability wise, although one character made up for it by being really weird. The ninja who 'dumped int' (read, did not have an above average score) was just dull.

In D&D I'd recommend having a dump stat. It doesn't have to be a 5, but be willing to roll with a 7 or 8 (I got turned off running 5e when one of my players said 'I've got 7 Strength, that's like, really low for a ranged warlock, right?')

Lvl 2 Expert
2015-09-17, 10:46 AM
In D&D I'd recommend having a dump stat. It doesn't have to be a 5, but be willing to roll with a 7 or 8 (I got turned off running 5e when one of my players said 'I've got 7 Strength, that's like, really low for a ranged warlock, right?')

O, I agree, even if just because roleplaying is a team game, different characters have different strenghts, a team of "I can do everything" characters gets boring. But I still like to be able to choose my own weaknesses and how weak they are.

I participated in a freeform online roleplay ones that did not have any RPG mechanics but did have stats. The characters were all transformers (as in autobots and decepticons), my firepower was a 2 out of 10. In my opinion that build was way more interesting than going 6's and 7's in everything, but it's also a build I couldn't have made if I had had to generate my stats randomly in some way and wouldn't have gotten anything below a 4 or 5.

A ranger with wisdom 3 could be awesome, but it's such an important part of the character that I'd only like to have that weakness if I came up with a cool concept on how to use it.

Aetol
2015-09-17, 10:48 AM
In D&D I'd recommend having a dump stat. It doesn't have to be a 5, but be willing to roll with a 7 or 8 (I got turned off running 5e when one of my players said 'I've got 7 Strength, that's like, really low for a ranged warlock, right?')

Incidentally, the point-buy method of 5E doesn't let you have less than 8 in any stat.

TheIronGolem
2015-09-17, 10:50 AM
I won't mock you if you aren't willing to dumpstat below a 10, maybe an 8, but I will consider you a perfection seeker (as in 'I have no flaws' perfection).

And you'll be objectively wrong. A character doesn't need a dumpstat to be flawed.

Millstone85
2015-09-17, 10:53 AM
No one mentioned standard values.
Is such an approach mocked?Do you mean the standard array? (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8)

In my case it's because I think of it as a point buy-variant, it's just the points have been spent for you. Although I do prefer options in my choice of array, instead of having to have the standard.Sorry, yes, that's what I meant. Except that I am familiar with the fourth edition one (16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10).

And your answer makes sense. I guess using a standard array was good for a beginner like me but I will go with a more open point buy method next time.

Anonymouswizard
2015-09-17, 11:00 AM
O, I agree, even if just because roleplaying is a team game, different characters have different strenghts, a team of "I can do everything" characters gets boring. But I still like to be able to choose my own weaknesses and how weak they are.

I participated in a freeform online roleplay ones that did not have any RPG mechanics but did have stats. The characters were all transformers (as in autobots and decepticons), my firepower was a 2 out of 10. In my opinion that build was way more interesting than going 6's and 7's in everything, but it's also a build I couldn't have made if I had had to generate my stats randomly in some way and wouldn't have gotten anything below a 4 or 5.

A ranger with wisdom 3 could be awesome, but it's such an important part of the character that I'd only like to have that weakness if I came up with a cool concept on how to use it.

All good points. I do agree that a character who is weak in an area is far more interesting.


Incidentally, the point-buy method of 5E doesn't let you have less than 8 in any stat.

I'd asked specifically for players to roll in order because two players had the habit of playing the exact same archetypes. The thing that annoyed me is that he had 18 Charisma and the best Con of the group, plus as a ranged character he wouldn't have needed to get anywhere he was in danger of being hit. His array was: 7, 10, 14, 14, 14, 18. He whined because he had a score below 8/10 (I'm not sure which),


And you'll be objectively wrong. A character doesn't need a dumpstat to be flawed.

*facepalms* Let me try again.

If a character is not below average in something, it's boring. Whether this is Legend of the Five Rings where all my stats begin at average and I have to represent this using skills (not that hard actually, you get enough XP that you can be rolling 4+ dice on things that aren't your weak area), or D&D and where I can do so for a category easily by dropping a Stat (psst, AEG, can I have a rule that lets me dump an attribute to 1 for 8 XP? Just put a limit on how many stats can be dropped). But if my character has to be decent at everything the GM is at my mercy to have a way to challenge me fairly, and it's just 'and bob the guy with no weaknesses participates again'. Having a dump stat makes it easy to see where a character is flawed and apply it to the game, rather than relying entirely on the player to roleplay it.

Thrudd
2015-09-17, 11:00 AM
Rolling stats to see what kind of character you can make was part of the game. Like laying hexes to set up the map of the galaxy in Twilight Imperium. Sometimes you get shafted with all single planet systems, and some jerk puts a supernova near your home system. It just means you need to plan carefully, think outside the box, and if you succeed your victory is that much sweeter. Like when you win Civilization(AH) playing as Crete.

If you end up with poor or mediocre ability scores, it is that much more rewarding when you succeed. Also, characters are generally disposable and replaceable. Or, you could get a high score in something you didn't expect, which is fun, too.

I agree that in newer editions where ability scores dictate almost everything your character does and have a big impact on all rolls, using a strict random method isn't good. But some variety is still fun, and getting to deal with unexpected weaknesses is not a bad thing, and having really high scores be rare is preferable to me. The idea that every character needs to have the maximum score in one ability is not a rule, though people seem to treat it that way.

So I would say, use a modified rolling method that gives better average results, so your arrays looks similar to the standard or point buy, but are actually random.
******

There is a hybrid of point buy and rolling, which is derived from an idea in 1e unearthed arcana, where you have a pool of dice instead of points, and assign a number of dice to each ability. For instance, for a moderately powered campaign, you have maybe 27 d6 to assign. The max you can put in one ability score is 9d6 b3, the minimum is 3d6. If you spread the dice evenly between all scores, you get 4d6 b3 on three scores, and 5d6 b3 on three scores. But if you know you really want an awesome fighter, put 9d6 in Str to try to get that 18.

You still get random scores, and might get lower or higher than you expect on some rolls, but you have much more control and can pretty reliably get what you want if you want a specific class.


Other 1e rolling methods that were not mentioned, which I like:

Roll stats in order, but roll 3d6 six times for each ability and take the best result. This tends to get higher overall results than 4d6b3, though you don't choose where scores go.

Roll 3d6 in order twelve times and take whatever array you like.

I have done a variant of this where I do 4d6b3 in order six times and pick which one you want. Or do 4d6b3 in order twelve times, and keep three sets of scores for three different characters you can use at any time. I like having players roll up multiple characters when they do scores in order, so they have something to choose from and backups ready when someone dies.

Amphetryon
2015-09-17, 11:05 AM
If a character is not below average in something, it's boring. Whether this is Legend of the Five Rings where all my stats begin at average and I have to represent this using skills (not that hard actually, you get enough XP that you can be rolling 4+ dice on things that aren't your weak area), or D&D and where I can do so for a category easily by dropping a Stat (psst, AEG, can I have a rule that lets me dump an attribute to 1 for 8 XP? Just put a limit on how many stats can be dropped). But if my character has to be decent at everything the GM is at my mercy to have a way to challenge me fairly, and it's just 'and bob the guy with no weaknesses participates again'. Having a dump stat makes it easy to see where a character is flawed and apply it to the game, rather than relying entirely on the player to roleplay it.

As phrased, the bold portion is, again, objectively wrong, because what you find boring is not what every other person in the world - let alone every other gamer in the world - finds boring. You're phrasing it as an objective fact, rather than a personal opinion. As an objective fact, it's objectively wrong.

Eldan
2015-09-17, 11:14 AM
That's what the point budget is for.

You realize that rolling your stats might also give you a "boring" superman, right ?

Poitn buy can't really give you weaknesses. By the standard rules, you can't get below an 8, which is barely noticeably below average.

Aetol
2015-09-17, 11:35 AM
Poitn buy can't really give you weaknesses. By the standard rules, you can't get below an 8, which is barely noticeably below average.

You can always change the point buy method. If you want a really low-powered game, you could have something like "stats start at 6, rank 12 and above cost double, you have 21 points". This gives arrays like 11/11/11/8/8/8, 12/12/12/6/6/6, 14/11/11/6/6/6. Maybe it's a little too underpowered...

There could be a way of rolling stats "in order" by combining point buy with dice roll. That's something I just came up with, unless I don't rememember seeing it somewhere else.
1. Chose your point buy method and your point budget.
2. Roll as many d6 as points in your budget.
3. Sort the d6s by result.
4. Assign to STR as many points as there are 1s.
5. Assign to DEX as many points as there are 2s.
6. ...

That way, you have a random stat distribution and you get to play a character you didn't expect, which I understand is the appeal of rolling in order. At the same time, since you're using a point buy system, there won't be any real power difference between players.

Mystral
2015-09-17, 12:26 PM
Nevermind, please ignore.

Pex
2015-09-17, 12:36 PM
I just don't get it. I don't want to play a flawless superman. Sure, above average and all that. Even a genius, absolutely. But why do you have to have average or above scores in everything? Isn't a character with at least one weakness a bit more interesting than one who is just better at everything than the average person?

In stat spreads, I'd just say that a 12/12/14/14/16/18 is just a lot less interesting to me than, say, a 6/10/12/14/16/18. And not every character has to have an 18 either. A 16 in a casting stat is still plenty enough, most of the time.

Since players aren't perfect their characters are inherently not perfect. A flaw can also be a personality trait. A character's ethics and morals also provide disadvantages in terms of actions not willing to take and consequences of actions taken. It is not necessary nor a requirement for a character to have a low stat. I totally agree with you not every character needs to have an 18, but only if you totally agree with me not every character needs to have an 8. In any case, I refuse to apologize for liking to have a character with an 18 even if I end up playing a character without one.

Drynwyn
2015-09-17, 12:48 PM
I just don't get it. I don't want to play a flawless superman. Sure, above average and all that. Even a genius, absolutely. But why do you have to have average or above scores in everything? Isn't a character with at least one weakness a bit more interesting than one who is just better at everything than the average person?

In stat spreads, I'd just say that a 12/12/14/14/16/18 is just a lot less interesting to me than, say, a 6/10/12/14/16/18. And not every character has to have an 18 either. A 16 in a casting stat is still plenty enough, most of the time.

I *love* characters with dump stats. I routinely take one or more <8's when I use point buy. (And you can get below an 8 using point buy, either via a racial modifier or the Pathetic flaw!) The trouble with rolling isn't that you can end up with characters who have a 3 in something- it's that you can end up playing Bob McNothingAboveA14. Characters with strengths AND weaknesses are great- characters with slightly-above-averages and weaknesses are not.

Even just playing BobMcTwo16'sAndFour5's in the same game as Urist McFive18's can be hugely frustrating. Especially if Urist McFive18's is a barbarian, but is still smarter than Bob the Wizard.

TheIronGolem
2015-09-17, 01:18 PM
If a character is not below average in something, it's boring. Whether this is Legend of the Five Rings where all my stats begin at average and I have to represent this using skills (not that hard actually, you get enough XP that you can be rolling 4+ dice on things that aren't your weak area), or D&D and where I can do so for a category easily by dropping a Stat (psst, AEG, can I have a rule that lets me dump an attribute to 1 for 8 XP? Just put a limit on how many stats can be dropped). But if my character has to be decent at everything the GM is at my mercy to have a way to challenge me fairly, and it's just 'and bob the guy with no weaknesses participates again'. Having a dump stat makes it easy to see where a character is flawed and apply it to the game, rather than relying entirely on the player to roleplay it.

Lots of characters are decent at everything. In D&D, that's practically what defines the Bard class. Yet you'd be hard-pressed to make a case that bards are hard for a DM to challenge. The same goes for any other Tier 3 class, most of which can be described as "decent at everything, really good at one or two things".

More to the point, your entire line of reasoning here is based on the assumption that the only way to challenge a character is to target their weaknesses. It isn't, it's just the most obvious way.

You can't get an accurate picture of a character just by looking at their stats. Declaring that a character must be "boring" or "lacking in weaknesses" because he doesn't have any dump-stats is every bit as silly (and in fact, comes from the same kind of fallacious thinking) as declaring that they must be some kind of high-op munchkin because they do have them.

Thrudd
2015-09-17, 01:43 PM
The point of rolling stats isn't to make sure you will get low stats, because you can't guarantee that you will. The point is to make random characters as part of the game experience. Sometimes you roll high, sometimes you roll low, most times you're in the middle. You get to play different types of characters based on what you roll, as well. The character picks you, instead of you picking a suite of abilities you want and then assigning points to optimize the use of those abilities. It's more like the random chance involved in a person being born into this fantasy world. You've been born, here are your natural proclivities, what profession will you select?

Millstone85
2015-09-17, 02:17 PM
You've been born, here are your natural proclivities, what profession will you select?I do not know if this is an issue specific to D&D4e but the character creation process goes:
1. Choose Race.
2. Choose Class.
3. Determine Ability Scores.

So it is more like: You've been born, here is your job, pray you do not suck at it.

Raimun
2015-09-17, 02:28 PM
4D6, drop lowest is usually the best method. That is, if the GM allows the players to roll all six stats again, if the array is too low or even if it's too average (stats are about 10-12).

Of course it all depends on what you are trying to do with the game. If it's a gritty D&D-adventure about some random nobody peasants who just happen to try adventuring, high stats are not expected.

However, if it is a story about The Heroes who save the world in a world of high fantasy and grand adventure, there's no room for the average dude. If you really want to play a "Bilboesque" everyman-character, their averageness should be an informed ability, not reflected by their decent to high stats.

Of course, it should be noted that Gandalf basically chose Bilbo as the burglar for Thorin's company because he most likely had the most optimal attributes to become one. One, he was a hobbit and they're all stealthy and agile. Two, as part Took, he was naturally adventurous and suited to that kind of life better than most hobbits. Three, compared to most hobbits, he was well read, clever, curious and had plenty of common sense. He was also rather wealthy even before he met the dwarves, so he had plenty of time to do stuff that most hobbits just don't do. It's quite clear that Bilbo wasn't an average hobbit and in D&D terms it's likely he had above average stats, even if his personal preference was to live in the Shire.

Thrudd
2015-09-17, 02:33 PM
I do not know if this is an issue specific to D&D4e but the character creation process goes:
1. Choose Race.
2. Choose Class.
3. Determine Ability Scores.

So it is more like: You've been born, here is your job, pray you do not suck at it.

Yeah, that's not how it works normally, must be 4e. In 1e, races and classes all have minimum ability scores to qualify for them. Which is the primary purpose of the ability scores, to determine what kind of character you can have.

Aetol
2015-09-17, 03:05 PM
Yeah, that's not how it works normally, must be 4e. In 1e, races and classes all have minimum ability scores to qualify for them. Which is the primary purpose of the ability scores, to determine what kind of character you can have.

That's how it works in every character creation where you don't roll in order.

Thrudd
2015-09-17, 03:13 PM
That's how it works in every character creation where you don't roll in order.

Not really. You are still limited by what you rolled, even though you can arrange them. You have more options, but there still may be things you can't qualify for depending on the scores you have. In later editions without prerequisites, rolling can still inform what sort of character you might make, based on if you have one good score and the rest lower, or two or more decent scores, or no real high scores and need to pick a class that won't be hurt too badly by mediocre abilities.

Breltar
2015-09-17, 03:19 PM
After playing multiple games with rolled stats in 5E and then a few recently without, I'm going back to standard array for the games I run.

As much as it is fun to have that bounding accuracy, when one player gets rolls below the average of the group their character can feel very underwhelming to them. On the flip side I had a rogue that rolled perfect and assigned it to dex and was already planning on taking an elf.... so they were very powerful at the beginning and that didn't really change as the campaign continued.

I like the standard array.

Nifft
2015-09-17, 03:20 PM
IMHO the important thing is ensuring that all the characters are able to contribute, so all the players can have fun.

Rolling sometimes achieves that result; point buy more often achieves the desired result.

Rolling can be fun, and can inspire me (if I don't already have an idea for my character); point buy is convenient if I already have an idea of what I want to play.


The best idea I've seen on this forum for rolling is: let everyone roll, and then put up the roll results publicly. Anyone can make a character based on any of the rolled arrays (putting the numbers in any order). This means that if one person rolls ridiculously well, everyone can enjoy those ridiculous stats.

TheIronGolem
2015-09-17, 03:38 PM
Of course, it should be noted that Gandalf basically chose Bilbo as the burglar for Thorin's company because he most likely had the most optimal attributes to become one. One, he was a hobbit and they're all stealthy and agile. Two, as part Took, he was naturally adventurous and suited to that kind of life better than most hobbits. Three, compared to most hobbits, he was well read, clever, curious and had plenty of common sense. He was also rather wealthy even before he met the dwarves, so he had plenty of time to do stuff that most hobbits just don't do. It's quite clear that Bilbo wasn't an average hobbit and in D&D terms it's likely he had above average stats, even if his personal preference was to live in the Shire.

Just goes to show, Bilbo was really just a dirty cheating optimizer making up convenient backstory excuses for his munchkinned stats.

DigoDragon
2015-09-17, 03:40 PM
The best idea I've seen on this forum for rolling is: let everyone roll, and then put up the roll results publicly. Anyone can make a character based on any of the rolled arrays (putting the numbers in any order). This means that if one person rolls ridiculously well, everyone can enjoy those ridiculous stats.

That's pretty fair. Though if everyone rolled terrible... :smallbiggrin:


In a one-shot adventure, the GM had us roll all 18d6 at once. Then we arrange the cubes in groups of 3s and those were our stats.

Lvl 2 Expert
2015-09-17, 04:14 PM
Has anyone here ever tried to up the randomness by rolling their stats for say D20 by using... a D20?

That would give some mad characters. Still 10-11 on average, but no bell curve.

Amphetryon
2015-09-17, 04:27 PM
Has anyone here ever tried to up the randomness by rolling their stats for say D20 by using... a D20?

That would give some mad characters. Still 10-11 on average, but no bell curve.

The closest I've seen to that is one of my current DMs, who allows Players the option to take the number he secretly rolls on a d20, sight unseen, in place of their lowest rolled stat. This has resulted in a Character with a 1 CON.

Yes, he rolls separately for each Player.

Lvl 2 Expert
2015-09-17, 05:21 PM
The closest I've seen to that is one of my current DMs, who allows Players the option to take the number he secretly rolls on a d20, sight unseen, in place of their lowest rolled stat. This has resulted in a Character with a 1 CON.

Yes, he rolls separately for each Player.

Ouch. Nice way to get to the amateur statisticians amongst the players, I'd fall for it too.

Aetol
2015-09-17, 05:26 PM
The best idea I've seen on this forum for rolling is: let everyone roll, and then put up the roll results publicly. Anyone can make a character based on any of the rolled arrays (putting the numbers in any order). This means that if one person rolls ridiculously well, everyone can enjoy those ridiculous stats.

What's the point of rolling if everyone is going to use the same array ? These method make me think you people would be just as happy using point buy (or a standard array, same difference) but... "aaargh, D&D must have randomness !"

SkipSandwich
2015-09-17, 05:34 PM
What about combining Point Buy AND Rolling? Say players buy stats with a low point buy total of say, 18/24/30 points, where each stat starts at a value of 1 and 1 point is +1 to base stat. Once all points are spent each player will then apply a +xd6 bonus to each stat based on the value (value 1-6= +2d6, 7-12= +1d6, 13+, no bonus)

30 point buy is basically the same as 2d6+6 if all points are divided evenly under this method.

Aetol
2015-09-17, 05:46 PM
What about combining Point Buy AND Rolling? Say players buy stats with a low point buy total of say, 18/24/30 points, where each stat starts at a value of 1 and 1 point is +1 to base stat. Once all points are spent each player will then apply a +xd6 bonus to each stat based on the value (value 1-6= +2d6, 7-12= +1d6, 13+, no bonus)

30 point buy is basically the same as 2d6+6 if all points are divided evenly under this method.

You're heavily normalizing your results with this method. Plus it has unintended consequences : putting 13+ in a stat is a waste, better put 12 and hope for a good roll. That kind of thing.

SkipSandwich
2015-09-17, 06:16 PM
You're heavily normalizing your results with this method. Plus it has unintended consequences : putting 13+ in a stat is a waste, better put 12 and hope for a good roll. That kind of thing.

I thought of that and came to the conclusion that because of that, the system actually works better with a lower point buy. You could go as low as 15 point buy if you wanted, which would be like assigning a spread of 6,5,4,3,2,1 to the stats of your choice then rolling +2d6. In fact, assigning a spread like that is probably the best way to use a hybrid generation system.

Amphetryon
2015-09-17, 07:46 PM
What about combining Point Buy AND Rolling? Say players buy stats with a low point buy total of say, 18/24/30 points, where each stat starts at a value of 1 and 1 point is +1 to base stat. Once all points are spent each player will then apply a +xd6 bonus to each stat based on the value (value 1-6= +2d6, 7-12= +1d6, 13+, no bonus)

30 point buy is basically the same as 2d6+6 if all points are divided evenly under this method.

The group for which I DM uses a 'roll for point buy' method, where 6 stats are generated by everyone rolling some fraction of those six stats (varies a bit with group size). Once those stats are generated, they're converted into points via any point buy calculator; the resulting point buy total is used by everyone at the table to create Characters.

In this way, random chance still plays a hand, but Chris isn't restricted in Character concepts more than Pat, Robin, or Kim, simply by how well each one of them rolled.

Meepo_
2015-09-17, 07:49 PM
I have a question to all the supporters of flawed stats: what happens when your PCs take the flaws a bit too seriously?

Like when everyone but the bard dumps charisma and when they first meet, they get into an argument and nearly kill each other?

Or when someone dumps Int and Wis and then plays a Chaotic Stupid character, attacking authority figures in lawful towns and attempting to- I kid you not- stand in a closet for half an hour (in-game) trying to find another way out.

I only speak from experience here- this stuff has happened to me as both a player and a DM.

Excession
2015-09-17, 08:18 PM
For 4e D&D I'm occasionally tempted to use the 4e Gamma World method: put an 18 in the primary stat of your class, a 16 in your secondary stat, then roll 3d6 straight down for the rest. I'm not sure what I'd do with racial stat boosts.

Aetol
2015-09-17, 08:25 PM
I have a question to all the supporters of flawed stats: what happens when your PCs take the flaws a bit too seriously?

Like when everyone but the bard dumps charisma and when they first meet, they get into an argument and nearly kill each other?

Or when someone dumps Int and Wis and then plays a Chaotic Stupid character, attacking authority figures in lawful towns and attempting to- I kid you not- stand in a closet for half an hour (in-game) trying to find another way out.

I only speak from experience here- this stuff has happened to me as both a player and a DM.

The first thing to do is remind your players of what the abilities actually mean. Charisma is strength of personality ; a character with low CHA would be shy or abrasive, and a doormat either way. A character with low INT would be forgetful and struggle with complex ideas. A character with low WIS would be oblivious and weak-willed.

Neither of these character would be stupid the way you are describing.



For 4e D&D I'm occasionally tempted to use the 4e Gamma World method: put an 18 in the primary stat of your class, a 16 in your secondary stat, then roll 3d6 straight down for the rest. I'm not sure what I'd do with racial stat boosts.

That's actually very good. Your main stats are covered, so no bad surprise, and you still have an otherwise randomized character.

The figures you give are pretty powerful though. Maybe it's fine for 4E. For 5E it should probably be something like 15, 14, 4x 2d6+3.

Meepo_
2015-09-17, 08:34 PM
The first thing to do is remind your players of what the abilities actually mean. Charisma is strength of personality ; a character with low CHA would be shy or abrasive, and a doormat either way. A character with low INT would be forgetful and struggle with complex ideas. A character with low WIS would be oblivious and weak-willed.

Neither of these character would be stupid the way you are describing.

Makes sense, I'll have to let him know (it was actually the same player in all three situations...).

But wouldn't an abrasive person who was oblivious to signs of authority and naturally violent still attack people he probably shouldn't? He did it for the fancy magic item the princess was carrying.

Pex
2015-09-17, 08:36 PM
That's actually very good. Your main stats are covered, so no bad surprise, and you still have an otherwise randomized character.

The figures you give are pretty powerful though. Maybe it's fine for 4E. For 5E it should probably be something like 15, 14, 4x 2d6+3.

No, an 18 and 16 would do just fine in 5E as well.

5E does not forbid an 18 at first level. The Point Buy variant does, but not 5E.

Vrock_Summoner
2015-09-17, 09:32 PM
I like rolling stats, but I don't like rolling stats entirely in order, even in systems where that's the assumption. No amount of "but randomness makes things more interesting and promotes verisimilitude!" will make a guy whose stats leave Magic-User as the only valid class have fun if he hates playing Magic-Users.

(And yes, I do mean valid from a rules perspective, not valid from an optimization perspective. Prime Requisites are a thing in some systems; Basic Fantasy, otherwise one of my favorite systems of all time, has irked me to the point of houserule with its restriction against characters with negative requisite stats, such as weak Fighters, which as I recall is a direct carry-over rule from AD&D.)

Thrudd
2015-09-17, 10:27 PM
I like rolling stats, but I don't like rolling stats entirely in order, even in systems where that's the assumption. No amount of "but randomness makes things more interesting and promotes verisimilitude!" will make a guy whose stats leave Magic-User as the only valid class have fun if he hates playing Magic-Users.

(And yes, I do mean valid from a rules perspective, not valid from an optimization perspective. Prime Requisites are a thing in some systems; Basic Fantasy, otherwise one of my favorite systems of all time, has irked me to the point of houserule with its restriction against characters with negative requisite stats, such as weak Fighters, which as I recall is a direct carry-over rule from AD&D.)

That's a thing the group should talk about with the DM in the beginning. The DM should present expectations for the game, such as rolling for characters and making sure everyone is ok with playing any sort of character that comes up. There are plenty of compromises that can be made so both DM and players should be happy. That's what all the different rolling methods are for.

I would have players roll up several stat arrays and make multiple characters they can choose from or switch out from adventure to adventure. I've allowed players to trade arrays/characters with each other. If everything you roll is truly statistically terrible, I've let people have a mulligan (but it has to be really, ridiculously bad). It's an alterable process intended to create fun random results, not make people suffer or feel competitive with eachother.

It isn't ideal or appropriate for every system or type of game. The later editions of D&D altered the system such that ability scores had far more impact on everything the characters do, and linear adventure paths from level 1-20 and story games are the default assumption for many people. It's understandable that point buy is preferable for that.

Also, how weak of a fighter do you want? AD&D had 9 as the minimum Str for fighter (same with the prime attributes for each of the main four classes).

AceOfFools
2015-09-17, 10:28 PM
Anydice.Com can be used for all your dice odds predicting needs complete with pretty pictures.

I have taken to using a "Pick one of these arrays" method for DnD, typically 4. The goal being to minimize 7 Str 7 Wis 7 Cha wizards and similar abuse cases, because that's how many of the people I play with roll (I only have myself to blame, I taught them how to munchkin and then heavily incentivused doing so).

The balanced arrays (for multi-atribute builds) have a higher point value than more single-atribute focused arrays in any of the point buys I've seen, because a single-attribute focused builds are intrinsically advantaged by needing less stat boosters and getting more out of stat buff and increases.

I like the idea of rolling stats if the assumption is that characters are temporary. If I'm going to invest years in a character (my default style)... the disadvantages of random rolls become too problemattic.

goto124
2015-09-17, 11:41 PM
a random stat distribution and you get to play a character you didn't expect, which I understand is the appeal of rolling in order.

Now I understand why I don't like rolling!

I personally don't want to suddenly grab a character concept based on what I roll at the last minute.

I go by this:


Rolling can be fun, and can inspire me (if I don't already have an idea for my character); point buy is convenient if I already have an idea of what I want to play.

The whole idea of 'randomness in stats, which will stick with the rest of the life of the character' is kind of funny, at least to me. Does this thread accept 'best standard arrays' and 'best point buy systems'?

Pex
2015-09-18, 12:18 AM
A common conceit is to assume with dice rolling you're enslaved by what you roll. The inherent luck factor is known, and there's nothing wrong or hypocritical to adjust what is rolled or simply reroll. A player is not stuck with a terrible array. If it's truly bad while another player has something really good, just let him reroll. The player with a really good array is not slighted. He still has his really good array that's not going anywhere. The unlucky player rerolls to get something decent, not reroll until it's better than the other player's really good array to rub it in his face he got to reroll. Fine tuning can also be done if the unlucky rolls isn't that bad just lacking in comparison to the really good array. There's Ye Olde 1 for 1 and 2 for 1 whereby you decrease one score to increase another. DM can just fiat one score into a higher number just so the array is good enough in comparison to the other player's really good array. Exactly equal isn't necessary, just good enough. Dice rolling is there. It allows for interesting arrays you can't get with point buy due its inherent zero sum.

Point buy is not itself a terrible idea. I like the concept. It's always been its implementation that I despised with 5E being the worse offender. It's full subjective bias, but I've almost always found the "suggested" value (including default array) or whatever many DMs in these forums use are deficient. I loathe 5E's precisely because it forbids an 18 at first level. I don't demand to have one. I object to its outright forbiddance. Likewise, to be decent in your class's prime, it practically forces an 8 as do many point buys. I don't object to having an 8 at 1st level. I've even chosen to have one in some characters. I object to the forcing of it.

D&D is notorious because scores start at 8 and you have to "lose" 2 points anytime you want to get rid of one. Pathfinder, by contrast, starts all scores at 10 and you get points if you choose to have a lower score. In 3E I was only ever comfortable with 32 points, but "everyone" always advocated 28 or worse 25 that just irked me. In Pathfinder, it did take awhile, but I have become acclimated to the 25 point value, even 20 points because racial modifiers compensate. I would not want to play at the 15 point value. It can work but forget about playing a monk or paladin or warrior type cleric or druid. Point buy inherently hurts MAD classes. The lower the value the worse it gets.

Ironically for me because I never played the game, the only "suggested" value I actually did like was 4E's version. It worked because of how the system worked. With every class being dual-ability dependent and saving throws using the better of two scores, the suggested value gives you a decent array for the system where the math of the game mechanics does not screw you over. You'll have your weaknesses, but they aren't glaring.

I will repeat again I don't have a problem with having an 8 or a minus number to a roll or whatever game mechanic weakness. The only thing I object to is the forcing of it. More, I dislike any advocation that I must have a low score in order to properly play a character in whatever the advocater deems "properly". That's Stormwind Fallacy right there. If I use dice rolling and happen to roll an 8, that's not "forcing" me. I accept that luck factor. That 8 could have been a 12 or 15 or 18, but yes, if I roll 8, 9, 9, 11, 12, 14, I'm going to want a reroll.

Vrock_Summoner
2015-09-18, 12:19 AM
Also, how weak of a fighter do you want? AD&D had 9 as the minimum Str for fighter (same with the prime attributes for each of the main four classes).
It's less that I want a lower minimum and more that I don't like it on principle. It plays far too strongly into the "hard work hardly works" trope, which I get enough of from the concept of EXP already. We're already on the topic of dice rolling vs arrays or point-buy, so I'd like to say that my verisimilitude is broken far less by professional adventurers reliably having stats supporting their chosen profession than it is by the idea that a guy with a negative strength mod is literally physically incapable of learning to fight competently with a weapon.

(Also prime requisites rather than stat mods for races making it impossible for an elf to be less intelligent than an average human without changing the actual distribution or range of intelligence between the two races, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms.)

TheOOB
2015-09-18, 01:05 AM
In my opinion, unless you're rolling for stats in order, rolling for stats is a terrible idea. If you're allowed to assign your stats where you want to, then rolling is just deciding how powerful you are in relation to the other players, and except in very specific systems and situations(ie rarely if ever D&D) that's never good.

If you roll in order then your stats partly determine what kind of character you are playing, and make you play characters you might not otherwise have done, and create unusual or unique party compositions. A party that rolls with 2 rogues, a cleric, and a druid is very different from the standard fighter/made/thief/cleric set up.

Anonymouswizard
2015-09-18, 02:32 AM
As phrased, the bold portion is, again, objectively wrong, because what you find boring is not what every other person in the world - let alone every other gamer in the world - finds boring. You're phrasing it as an objective fact, rather than a personal opinion. As an objective fact, it's objectively wrong.

Sorry, I forgot that people actually found Superman to be an interesting character. :smallannoyed:

I spent quite a bit of time doing creative writing, so a character with no flaws is, story-wise, as boring as ****. I'll explain why this applies to games later in the post, but let me just say that, outside of games and Superman, a major character (e.g. a PC) is generally considered more interesting and easier to work with when they have an area that is below average. In stories this can easily be a personality trait, but it generally is vaguely equivalent to a stat (normally int/wis/charisma, although occasionally str/dex/int).

In response to the bolded part, I come across opinions phrased all that way. In everyday life. Because opinions are normally phrased that way, and if it uses a word that makes it obvious it's an opinion (like say boring) there is generally little reason to have to go HEY GUYS, THIS IS AN OPINION. Especially if, like things being boring, it can't be objectively wrong.

Go on, objectively show me that a character without a dump stat is not boring. That is what it will take for me to be objectively wrong.

I'll just go and start the Wheel of Time. Should be able to get to book 6 at least.


Lots of characters are decent at everything. In D&D, that's practically what defines the Bard class. Yet you'd be hard-pressed to make a case that bards are hard for a DM to challenge. The same goes for any other Tier 3 class, most of which can be described as "decent at everything, really good at one or two things".

Who said I was talking about in D&D? But talking about bards, a bard who decided to dump a stat, e.g. Strength or Wisdom, well become fairly bad at things associated with it unless he put in a lot of work (like O-Chul, rubbish Charisma, and couldn't intimidate his way out of a wet paper bag, but lots of ranks in diplomacy). I like the bard because he can choose what he's bad at.


More to the point, your entire line of reasoning here is based on the assumption that the only way to challenge a character is to target their weaknesses. It isn't, it's just the most obvious way.

Sorry, bad phrasing. Give a character a greater challenge in comparison to the other party members. I can just send Bob the average one up against people who are above average in this particular area, but when the Barbarian gets escorted out of one ball for nearly insulting a noble, but then uses his poor social skills at a later ball to cause a distraction, that's interesting and a drawback just became an advantage. But he'll stil occasionally cause minor problems for the party. Meanwhile, Bob the guy who is not below average at anything can't do this, compared to the wizard using his low dex to justify accidents (I'm so sorry I bumped into the porter and smashed the cursed vase of kingdom destroying), or the rogue with low Wis.


You can't get an accurate picture of a character just by looking at their stats. Declaring that a character must be "boring" or "lacking in weaknesses" because he doesn't have any dump-stats is every bit as silly (and in fact, comes from the same kind of fallacious thinking) as declaring that they must be some kind of high-op munchkin because they do have them.

Sorry, here's what I mean:

'If a character has a weakness or flaw on their character sheet (not necessarily a dump stat, but that is the example I have used) then the group can expect that weakness to come up, compared to a character that only has a weakness through roleplay. I there declare having a weakness on your sheet to be the path to more interesting characters, because I find characters with weaknesses more interesting and have experience with people only giving themselves a weakness if it's on the sheet, and playing 'perfect' characters otherwise.'

Lvl 2 Expert
2015-09-18, 03:22 AM
The group for which I DM uses a 'roll for point buy' method, where 6 stats are generated by everyone rolling some fraction of those six stats (varies a bit with group size). Once those stats are generated, they're converted into points via any point buy calculator; the resulting point buy total is used by everyone at the table to create Characters.

In this way, random chance still plays a hand, but Chris isn't restricted in Character concepts more than Pat, Robin, or Kim, simply by how well each one of them rolled.

I wouldn't like this very much personally. All of the fun surprises that rolling stats offers are taken out, you can distribute everything the way you like, but the dice still force you to play a less piowerful character then the rest of the table because you rolled badly. At this point, why not just give everybody a fair chance?


I thought of that and came to the conclusion that because of that, the system actually works better with a lower point buy. You could go as low as 15 point buy if you wanted, which would be like assigning a spread of 6,5,4,3,2,1 to the stats of your choice then rolling +2d6. In fact, assigning a spread like that is probably the best way to use a hybrid generation system.

I'd remove the "take a value higher than 7 and get penalized bit entirely, just have a point buy system and then add the same bonus roll to every stat. Either you can plain forbid players to buy more than a certain value (over 12 if the bonus is 1D6 for instance) or you just make it clear beforehand that any points they gain over 18 will be scrapped but they can still choose to take that "risk" in order to have more certainty of getting a good stat. I think I'd like to try something like a 40 point buy (starting from 0, so on average 6 and 2/3 per stat) with a 2D4 bonus (5 points on average), or something similar using "small" dice so that most of the rolled stats will turn out about as good as people wanted, with still a few surprises here and there.

Amphetryon
2015-09-18, 05:19 AM
I wouldn't like this very much personally. All of the fun surprises that rolling stats offers are taken out, you can distribute everything the way you like, but the dice still force you to play a less piowerful character then the rest of the table because you rolled badly. At this point, why not just give everybody a fair chance?

What? Everyone rolls the single set of stats that determine the point buy used by everyone. How is anyone forced to play any more or less powerful a Character? In fact, I explicitly listed avoiding this outcome (one Player getting shafted by bad dice luck) as a benefit of the method used.

Aetol
2015-09-18, 05:55 AM
What is the point of randomly deciding the point budget ? The DM should have decided already if he's going to run a super-powered campaign or a low-key one. This is randomness for the sake of randomness.

Lvl 2 Expert
2015-09-18, 07:31 AM
What? Everyone rolls the single set of stats that determine the point buy used by everyone. How is anyone forced to play any more or less powerful a Character? In fact, I explicitly listed avoiding this outcome (one Player getting shafted by bad dice luck) as a benefit of the method used.

Ah, my apologies, I got it wrong. I thought everyone rolled their own points for point buy.
In that case there might be something to it, you could end up having a few points more or less to spend than with any standard method, thus bringing a little more variation to character creation in the long run.

Solaris
2015-09-18, 08:33 AM
Sorry, I forgot that people actually found Superman to be an interesting character. :smallannoyed:

I spent quite a bit of time doing creative writing, so a character with no flaws is, story-wise, as boring as ****. I'll explain why this applies to games later in the post, but let me just say that, outside of games and Superman, a major character (e.g. a PC) is generally considered more interesting and easier to work with when they have an area that is below average. In stories this can easily be a personality trait, but it generally is vaguely equivalent to a stat (normally int/wis/charisma, although occasionally str/dex/int).

***

'If a character has a weakness or flaw on their character sheet (not necessarily a dump stat, but that is the example I have used) then the group can expect that weakness to come up, compared to a character that only has a weakness through roleplay. I there declare having a weakness on your sheet to be the path to more interesting characters, because I find characters with weaknesses more interesting and have experience with people only giving themselves a weakness if it's on the sheet, and playing 'perfect' characters otherwise.'

Huh. I didn't think people still believed that the you needed a statistical weakness to have good roleplaying (http://community.wizards.com/content/forum-topic/2861636).

"Average" is a relative term. Even if we accept the premise that you need to reflect anything interesting with a statistical modifier, +1 or +0 in an ability modifier, even a +2 or +3, with no skill ranks in it will result in a character who isn't going to be very good in the skill compared to the person with a +3 or +4 modifier and maximum ranks. In fact, they're not terribly likely to succeed at anything but the most routine of tasks.
I, however, reject that premise. You don't need a dump stat, you just need to be a good writer/actor/storyteller. You need to be a good roleplayer to play an interesting character; after all, a poor roleplayer handed a statistically flawed character would not play him in an interesting way, while a good roleplayer handed a statistically strong character would.

I saw monks and paladins mentioned - in D&D, it's a real PITA to try getting scores that support playing one of those classes by methods that don't skew high.

Roderick_BR
2015-09-18, 09:05 AM
My group mixes the two styles OP uses: Roll 4d6, reroll any 1's (only once), drop the lowest die, and sum the 3 remaining. Specially good for 5e that doesn't allow (by default rules) to point buy higher numbers and makes characters depending on good stats (since by-level progression bonus is lower)

Additionally, I use this rule for hit dice: Roll normally. If the result is lower than the proposed average (fighters get 7HP for example), you keep the average, if you roll higher, you keep the lucky higher roll. I have a friend that when he DMs he just tell everyone to put up full HP anyway too.

Nifft
2015-09-18, 10:11 AM
Huh. I didn't think people still believed that the you needed a statistical weakness to have good roleplaying (http://community.wizards.com/content/forum-topic/2861636).

As an aside, someone ought to save such rants and move them to a more secure location.

sleepy hedgehog
2015-09-18, 10:17 AM
My favorite stat generation method is:

Each player has the option to roll, in order, 3d6 or 4d6 drop 1.
Then if that array is less than 32 point buy up to 32, using those rolled numbers as the minimums

It adds a little bit of randomness into character creation, while keeping all the characters on a similar stat level.

Aetol
2015-09-18, 10:39 AM
As an aside, someone ought to save such rants and move them to a more secure location.

It's here (http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Stormwind_fallacy) on 1d4chan, and probably in a lot of other places too.

Anonymouswizard
2015-09-18, 10:40 AM
Huh. I didn't think people still believed that the you needed a statistical weakness to have good roleplaying (http://community.wizards.com/content/forum-topic/2861636).

It's not the Stormwind Fallacy. A character can be optimised as **** and be more interesting than a less optimised character because they have a flaw/weakness, while the opposite can be true.


"Average" is a relative term. Even if we accept the premise that you need to reflect anything interesting with a statistical modifier, +1 or +0 in an ability modifier, even a +2 or +3, with no skill ranks in it will result in a character who isn't going to be very good in the skill compared to the person with a +3 or +4 modifier and maximum ranks. In fact, they're not terribly likely to succeed at anything but the most routine of tasks.
I, however, reject that premise. You don't need a dump stat, you just need to be a good writer/actor/storyteller. You need to be a good roleplayer to play an interesting character; after all, a poor roleplayer handed a statistically flawed character would not play him in an interesting way, while a good roleplayer handed a statistically strong character would.

Maybe where you live most people are great roleplayers. Unfortunately, in my experience, 90% of people are going to miss any character flaw or weakness not written on the character sheet, and transform their characters into people who are bad at nothing.


I saw monks and paladins mentioned - in D&D, it's a real PITA to try getting scores that support playing one of those classes by methods that don't skew high.

Yeah, and I love Paladins. :smallfrown:

Aetol
2015-09-18, 10:51 AM
It's not the Stormwind Fallacy. A character can be optimised as **** and be more interesting than a less optimised character because they have a flaw/weakness, while the opposite can be true.

You said that having no dumpstat (mechanical consideration) makes a character uninteresting (roleplaying consideration). How is that not the Stormwind fallacy ?

In fact, you're using the same word "flaw" to mean either mechanical flaws or character flaws, as if it was the same thing.

Anonymouswizard
2015-09-18, 10:58 AM
You said that having no dumpstat (mechanical consideration) makes a character uninteresting (roleplaying consideration). How is that not the Stormwind fallacy?

'Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa.'

There's the fallacy. My view is not based on if a player optimises or not (you could make the argument that my view favours optimisers). It simply says 'if a player intentionally tries to build a character with no weakness, I consider him not interested in playing a character with weaknesses, and therefore consider his character less interesting'.


In fact, you're using the same word "flaw" to mean either mechanical flaws or character flaws, as if it was the same thing.

No, I'm using the word 'flaw' for both because that is the correct word. Sometimes a flaw is both kinds. Sometimes it is neither. But I find a flaw which includes mechanical factors is less likely to be ignored than a roleplay only flae.

Lvl 2 Expert
2015-09-18, 11:00 AM
My favorite stat generation method is:

Each player has the option to roll, in order, 3d6 or 4d6 drop 1.
Then if that array is less than 32 point buy up to 32, using those rolled numbers as the minimums

It adds a little bit of randomness into character creation, while keeping all the characters on a similar stat level.

Interesting choice. 4-1d6 gives a better chance of a score over 32, but 3d6 gives a better chance that you get to spend some points just the way you like them. As a player you're aiming to get as far away as possible from those 32 points, in either direction.

Aetol
2015-09-18, 11:19 AM
'Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa.'

There's the fallacy. My view is not based on if a player optimises or not (you could make the argument that my view favours optimisers). It simply says 'if a player intentionally tries to build a character with no weakness, I consider him not interested in playing a character with weaknesses, and therefore consider his character less interesting'.

No, I'm using the word 'flaw' for both because that is the correct word. Sometimes a flaw is both kinds. Sometimes it is neither. But I find a flaw which includes mechanical factors is less likely to be ignored than a roleplay only flae.

You're saying mechanical considerations affect roleplaying. That this is wrong may not be the letter of the Stormwind fallacy, but it's certainly the spirit.

Again : I don't think mechanical weaknesses contribute meaningfully to an interesting character. The physical stats have little to no relevance to roleplaying. The mental stats have some you might portray your character as forgetful, or easily distracted, or gruff. Or use your dump stat (any three) as a cheap excuse to act critically stupid chaotic.

But what make a character truly interesting are weaknesses such as greed, or pride, or stubbornness, or softheartedness. These traits can make or unmake a character, drive a plot, but they have nothing to do with the game's mechanics.

Nifft
2015-09-18, 11:32 AM
You're saying mechanical considerations affect roleplaying. That this is wrong may not be the letter of the Stormwind fallacy, but it's certainly the spirit.
The Stormwind Fallacy would be relevant if he said that roleplaying and mechanics were mutually antagonistic, and that roleplaying decreases as optimization increases.

That's not his point at all -- instead, he's proposing a type of mechanic which he thinks is helpful for roleplaying.

In some ways, what he's saying is the opposite of the Stormwind Fallacy.

In other ways, it's orthogonal -- the existence of a character flaw is not indicative of maximum optimization, nor of minimum optimization. The existence of a flaw is largely independent of optimization.


Again : I don't think mechanical weaknesses contribute meaningfully to an interesting character. The physical stats have little to no relevance to roleplaying. The mental stats have some you might portray your character as forgetful, or easily distracted, or gruff. Or use your dump stat (any three) as a cheap excuse to act critically stupid chaotic.

But what make a character truly interesting are weaknesses such as greed, or pride, or stubbornness, or softheartedness. These traits can make or unmake a character, drive a plot, but they have nothing to do with the game's mechanics.
Well, the flaws you mention certainly can interact with the game's mechanics.

For example, your first flaw: greed.

I can think of PCs in games I've run who exhibited this flaw, and their treasure-hoarding and treasure-seeking behavior certainly did have mechanical representation in the game, as well as flavor representation in the story narrative.

IMHO, game mechanics and roleplaying can support each other.

Raimun
2015-09-19, 01:10 AM
A common conceit is to assume with dice rolling you're enslaved by what you roll. The inherent luck factor is known, and there's nothing wrong or hypocritical to adjust what is rolled or simply reroll. A player is not stuck with a terrible array. If it's truly bad while another player has something really good, just let him reroll. The player with a really good array is not slighted. He still has his really good array that's not going anywhere. The unlucky player rerolls to get something decent, not reroll until it's better than the other player's really good array to rub it in his face he got to reroll. Fine tuning can also be done if the unlucky rolls isn't that bad just lacking in comparison to the really good array. There's Ye Olde 1 for 1 and 2 for 1 whereby you decrease one score to increase another. DM can just fiat one score into a higher number just so the array is good enough in comparison to the other player's really good array. Exactly equal isn't necessary, just good enough. Dice rolling is there. It allows for interesting arrays you can't get with point buy due its inherent zero sum.

Point buy is not itself a terrible idea. I like the concept. It's always been its implementation that I despised with 5E being the worse offender. It's full subjective bias, but I've almost always found the "suggested" value (including default array) or whatever many DMs in these forums use are deficient. I loathe 5E's precisely because it forbids an 18 at first level. I don't demand to have one. I object to its outright forbiddance. Likewise, to be decent in your class's prime, it practically forces an 8 as do many point buys. I don't object to having an 8 at 1st level. I've even chosen to have one in some characters. I object to the forcing of it.

D&D is notorious because scores start at 8 and you have to "lose" 2 points anytime you want to get rid of one. Pathfinder, by contrast, starts all scores at 10 and you get points if you choose to have a lower score. In 3E I was only ever comfortable with 32 points, but "everyone" always advocated 28 or worse 25 that just irked me. In Pathfinder, it did take awhile, but I have become acclimated to the 25 point value, even 20 points because racial modifiers compensate. I would not want to play at the 15 point value. It can work but forget about playing a monk or paladin or warrior type cleric or druid. Point buy inherently hurts MAD classes. The lower the value the worse it gets.

Ironically for me because I never played the game, the only "suggested" value I actually did like was 4E's version. It worked because of how the system worked. With every class being dual-ability dependent and saving throws using the better of two scores, the suggested value gives you a decent array for the system where the math of the game mechanics does not screw you over. You'll have your weaknesses, but they aren't glaring.

I will repeat again I don't have a problem with having an 8 or a minus number to a roll or whatever game mechanic weakness. The only thing I object to is the forcing of it. More, I dislike any advocation that I must have a low score in order to properly play a character in whatever the advocater deems "properly". That's Stormwind Fallacy right there. If I use dice rolling and happen to roll an 8, that's not "forcing" me. I accept that luck factor. That 8 could have been a 12 or 15 or 18, but yes, if I roll 8, 9, 9, 11, 12, 14, I'm going to want a reroll.

Fair points. Forbidding 18s or forcing to have an 8 for all characters do make them a bit too... same-y. And same-y characters aren't that inspired.

As far as Stats are concerned, some characters do have a glaring weakness or two that give them Stat penalties. Some have none and all Stat modifiers are 0 or above. Some are multi-talented and have two 18s and so on. I've made characters with the express purposes to be like all of the above examples (not with the same character, heh) to make them more interesting. Heck, I even once elected to lower one of my rolled Stats to 3 (gaining nothing in return) just because it worked better with my character concept.

FabulousFizban
2015-09-20, 11:38 AM
I just don't get it. I don't want to play a flawless superman. Sure, above average and all that. Even a genius, absolutely. But why do you have to have average or above scores in everything? Isn't a character with at least one weakness a bit more interesting than one who is just better at everything than the average person?

In stat spreads, I'd just say that a 12/12/14/14/16/18 is just a lot less interesting to me than, say, a 6/10/12/14/16/18. And not every character has to have an 18 either. A 16 in a casting stat is still plenty enough, most of the time.

i usually drop wisdom to 8. I figure you have to be a bit stupid & reckless to be an adventurer.

Aetol
2015-09-20, 11:59 AM
i usually drop wisdom to 8. I figure you have to be a bit stupid & reckless to be an adventurer.

Are you kidding ? That's where Spot and Will are !

... I mean, it's hard to be an adventurer when you are unobservant and spineless.

Nifft
2015-09-20, 12:17 PM
Are you kidding ? That's where Spot and Will are !

... I mean, it's hard to be an adventurer when you are unobservant and spineless.

Gandalf: "But it's easy to talk a low-Wisdom Hobbit into becoming your new party Thief."

Frodo: "I feel an urge to put ranks in Sense Motif."

goto124
2015-09-20, 10:33 PM
You're saying mechanical considerations affect roleplaying. That this is wrong may not be the letter of the Stormwind fallacy, but it's certainly the spirit.

Again : I don't think mechanical weaknesses contribute meaningfully to an interesting character. The physical stats have little to no relevance to roleplaying. The mental stats have some you might portray your character as forgetful, or easily distracted, or gruff. Or use your dump stat (any three) as a cheap excuse to act critically stupid chaotic.

But what make a character truly interesting are weaknesses such as greed, or pride, or stubbornness, or softheartedness. These traits can make or unmake a character, drive a plot, but they have nothing to do with the game's mechanics.

Agreed. Let's say your character dumped Strength. Can't do certain things terribly well such as carry more than a few items, or hit terribly hard in melee, etc. This person is probably a wizard, or some other class that doesn't depend on Strength.

Then what?

What's so interesting about the character anyway, besides being unable to perform a number of tasks?

Is it much better if it's a mental stat, such as Int?
Player: Oh, this puzzle? First I do X, followed by Y...
DM: No, your character isn't smart enough to think of that.
Player: What?

This could be fun if the Player had wanted to play a 'dumb' person in this manner. But it does require effort on the Player's part, such as rolling Int checks and giving suggestion for higher-Int chars to act out.

The point is, characters aren't interesting solely due to dump stats. Characters are made interesting by what their players do to give them some sort of personality, that may or may not be related to their stats.

Ashtagon
2015-09-21, 10:36 AM
Has anyone mentioned anydice (http://www.anydice.com/) yet?

Lvl 2 Expert
2015-09-21, 11:36 AM
AWhat's so interesting about the character anyway, besides being unable to perform a number of tasks?

Is it much better if it's a mental stat, such as Int?
Player: Oh, this puzzle? First I do X, followed by Y...
DM: No, your character isn't smart enough to think of that.
Player: What?
Your DM shouldn't have to tell you those things. If they have to start doing that then you've probably just taken a token weakness you don't intend to play so you could spend points elsewhere, rather than coming up with a weakness you liked for this character and statting it out.


This could be fun if the Player had wanted to play a 'dumb' person in this manner.
Exactly. Which is one of the reasons I prefer point-buy: you only get to be dumb if you wanted to be dumb, which can lead to some pretty awesome (http://www.goblinscomic.org/06082015/) roleplaying (http://www.goblinscomic.org/07192015/) opportunities (http://www.goblinscomic.org/09182015-2/). (Yes, that is a minmaxed character, designed for abusing game rules rather than roleplaying, but it works for both of those purposes.)


The point is, characters aren't interesting solely due to dump stats. Characters are made interesting by what their players do to give them some sort of personality, that may or may not be related to their stats.
I agree wholeheartedly, but I also think it's easier to have an interesting team based roleplaying game if people specialize. That doesn't have to be through base stats. A fighter with a two handed sword and an interest in potions with 14 in every stat is an entirely different beasty than a necromancer sorceress out for revenge on the one zombie who ever disobeyed her with those same stats. And on the other end of the spectrum a paladin and an eldritch knight can be pretty similar if they make similar choices in spells, even with different base stats. But base stats can help to create differences, and thus to let everyone shine in some areas, either through being awesome at something, or through roleplaying a weakness well. Which isn't nearly the whole story on what makes roleplaying interesting, but it is part of it.

Anonymouswizard
2015-09-21, 12:29 PM
Basically what Level 2 Expert has said. I find characters to be more interesting when they have a weakness. In D&D that weakness normally has to come from the base stats, because flaws are an optional rule. They can be represented with skills, but in most editions not well until higher levels.

In GURPS a character weakness could be represented by a low Attribute, lack of skills in a particular area, a disadvantage, or any of the above in any combination. In Legend of the Five Rings a weakness will normally be a disadvantage. In Fate a weakness is normally rolled into your Aspects. In Eclipse Phase, despite being all-round better than a modern human, dumping an Aptitude to 5 and not spending CP on it's skills can make you very weak in that area. In Dark Heresy it's less 'what is your weakness' and more 'what area of your character isn't hilariously bad', but the point still stands that past early ranks (where you really need about 5 more skills to be competent) your lower Characteristics and untrained Skills will give you an area your character is weaker in.

This is not the Stormwind Fallacy, because it is saying that I find these mechanics help roleplaying, but other than that the optimisation level of your character doesn't come into it. In some ways optimised characters are more likely to fall into these guidelines.

I still argue for point-buy as the best way to roll, because then you can choose where your weakness is. But would it hurt to be able to lower a stat to a 6 or 7?

TheIronGolem
2015-09-21, 06:10 PM
Sorry, bad phrasing. Give a character a greater challenge in comparison to the other party members. I can just send Bob the average one up against people who are above average in this particular area, but when the Barbarian gets escorted out of one ball for nearly insulting a noble, but then uses his poor social skills at a later ball to cause a distraction, that's interesting and a drawback just became an advantage. But he'll stil occasionally cause minor problems for the party. Meanwhile, Bob the guy who is not below average at anything can't do this, compared to the wizard using his low dex to justify accidents (I'm so sorry I bumped into the porter and smashed the cursed vase of kingdom destroying), or the rogue with low Wis.

Who says he can't? Bob can still cause distractions at the party with his average-or-high social skills if he needs to. That wizard doesn't need a low Dex score to "justify" bumping into someone; maybe he was just lost in thought and not paying attention, and anyone can have an accident. And that rogue can be impulsive or hot-headed even if his WIS score is 100; your ability scores don't dictate your personality, after all.

Coidzor
2015-09-21, 07:29 PM
For D&D legacy rolling systems, 4d6 drop lowest, re-roll 1s, generate 3 arrays and then select whichever one of them you choose.

If you want to be high powered but have everyone be on a more level playing field as far as starting ability scores, then 5d6, best 3, re-roll 1s and 2s then take the best array generated by such by any of the players, reverse engineer it into a point buy value, and then have all the players use that point buy for their characters.


Has anyone mentioned anydice (http://www.anydice.com/) yet?

Needs a section in the documentation that deals specifically with manipulating rolls to keep or exclude certain dice or die values.


I just don't get it. I don't want to play a flawless superman. Sure, above average and all that. Even a genius, absolutely. But why do you have to have average or above scores in everything? Isn't a character with at least one weakness a bit more interesting than one who is just better at everything than the average person?

In stat spreads, I'd just say that a 12/12/14/14/16/18 is just a lot less interesting to me than, say, a 6/10/12/14/16/18. And not every character has to have an 18 either. A 16 in a casting stat is still plenty enough, most of the time.

I don't like sitting on my thumbs during core gameplay experiences, which most dump stats generally mean you're going to be doing a bunch of that unless you specifically play a certain class or another or with a certain set of abilities that you may or may not be able to take due to your dump stats.

Give me a game like FATE where being dumb as a box of rocks doesn't mean I should just pull out my gameboy during social scenes both for my own entertainment and for versimiltude so my character doesn't remember anything and, sure, I'll be happy to play like I'm an Intelligence 1 Fallout character.

Pex
2015-09-21, 07:52 PM
Basically what Level 2 Expert has said. I find characters to be more interesting when they have a weakness. In D&D that weakness normally has to come from the base stats, because flaws are an optional rule. They can be represented with skills, but in most editions not well until higher levels.

In GURPS a character weakness could be represented by a low Attribute, lack of skills in a particular area, a disadvantage, or any of the above in any combination. In Legend of the Five Rings a weakness will normally be a disadvantage. In Fate a weakness is normally rolled into your Aspects. In Eclipse Phase, despite being all-round better than a modern human, dumping an Aptitude to 5 and not spending CP on it's skills can make you very weak in that area. In Dark Heresy it's less 'what is your weakness' and more 'what area of your character isn't hilariously bad', but the point still stands that past early ranks (where you really need about 5 more skills to be competent) your lower Characteristics and untrained Skills will give you an area your character is weaker in.

This is not the Stormwind Fallacy, because it is saying that I find these mechanics help roleplaying, but other than that the optimisation level of your character doesn't come into it. In some ways optimised characters are more likely to fall into these guidelines.

I still argue for point-buy as the best way to roll, because then you can choose where your weakness is. But would it hurt to be able to lower a stat to a 6 or 7?

But you are also saying that if a character does not have a weakness represented by stats that he is not interesting. You are equating a game mechanics disadvantage with the ability to have an interesting character. That is the second part of the Stormwind Fallacy. Having any connection to the necessity of game mechanics and roleplaying is the fallacy. You are right that game mechanics and roleplaying can coalesce. There's nothing wrong with wanting to play a clumsy character and represent that in the character having an 8 dexterity score. It might even strain credulity a player says his character is clumsy but has an 18 for dexterity. What is a problem is to say a character must have an 8 dexterity score or an 8 in any score to be "interesting". For your own personal taste of your own character, have fun, not as necessity for everyone's character everywhere.

Amechra
2015-09-21, 09:39 PM
One I kinda like, but probably wouldn't run with for any edition later than 2nd:

Roll 3d6 7 times, rerolling any 1s once. Drop the lowest roll.
Assign the rolls in order.
Swap any two of your ability scores.

Or, for a really odd one:

Roll 3d6 in order, rerolling any 1s once.
Each player rolls 3d6 once, rerolling any 1s once. Place that roll in front of them at the table.
Each player may swap one of their ability scores with one of the scores sitting in front of someone at the table.
Each player may swap an ability score with one other player.
Each player may swap any two of their ability scores.

I would really only do that with friends, though - you have to have a table where the guy who rolled 5 18s will agree to swapping one of them for a 5.

Then again, I also like rolling HP on level up, so...

FAKE EDIT: Ooh, another idea:

Roll 3d6 7 times, rerolling any 1s once. Drop the lowest roll.
Assign the rolls in order.
Swap any two of your ability scores.
For each ability score you gain a racial bonus to, roll 1d6; you may replace the lowest of the three dice you rolled for that ability score with this new die.

Dornith
2015-09-22, 12:10 AM
What I do is this:
Roll all your stats normally (4d6 keep the best 3)
Then, you can choose to reroll your lowest and highest stat. This allows players who get unlucky (say all stats between 5-12) to improve their position and not have an underpowered character while keeping the players who rolled one mediocre stat from complaining.
It's a lot harder to be upset with a 7 if your DM already established that rerolling it would cost you your 17.

It works pretty well. Most of the time no one chooses to reroll, but occasionally some gets bad luck and they love the opportunity to not be stuck.

Nifft
2015-09-22, 11:30 AM
But you are also saying that if a character does not have a weakness represented by stats that he is not interesting. You are equating a game mechanics disadvantage with the ability to have an interesting character. That is the second part of the Stormwind Fallacy. Having any connection to the necessity of game mechanics and roleplaying is the fallacy.
I think you're using those words incorrectly.

He's not talking about the level of optimization at all.

Stormwind Fallacy is not applicable here.


What is a problem is to say a character must have an 8 dexterity score or an 8 in any score to be "interesting". For your own personal taste of your own character, have fun, not as necessity for everyone's character everywhere.
All he said was that he finds it more interesting.

He never said ~you~ have to do it.

Anonymouswizard
2015-09-22, 12:47 PM
Who says he can't? Bob can still cause distractions at the party with his average-or-high social skills if he needs to. That wizard doesn't need a low Dex score to "justify" bumping into someone; maybe he was just lost in thought and not paying attention, and anyone can have an accident. And that rogue can be impulsive or hot-headed even if his WIS score is 100; your ability scores don't dictate your personality, after all.

Well yes, but I have a tendency to assume that in these hypothetical situations that the characters having a precedent is heavily useful afterwards.


But you are also saying that if a character does not have a weakness represented by stats that he is not interesting. You are equating a game mechanics disadvantage with the ability to have an interesting character. That is the second part of the Stormwind Fallacy. Having any connection to the necessity of game mechanics and roleplaying is the fallacy. You are right that game mechanics and roleplaying can coalesce. There's nothing wrong with wanting to play a clumsy character and represent that in the character having an 8 dexterity score. It might even strain credulity a player says his character is clumsy but has an 18 for dexterity. What is a problem is to say a character must have an 8 dexterity score or an 8 in any score to be "interesting". For your own personal taste of your own character, have fun, not as necessity for everyone's character everywhere.

Wha?

I am not say that a character with no mechanical disadvantages can't be interesting if portrayed by a good roleplayer. I just said I find mechanical disadvantages to generally make more interesting characters, because otherwise I tend to see people make characters with no flaws. This is probably due to the people I tend to play with, but I've seen it enough that I have come to the conclusion that it helps. If your group roleplays well-rounded characters when everybody managed to roll nothing below a 14 that's great, but not every group is even near that level.


I think you're using those words incorrectly.

He's not talking about the level of optimization at all.

Stormwind Fallacy is not applicable here.


All he said was that he finds it more interesting.

He never said ~you~ have to do it.

Basically this.

If your group has fun building and playing characters in whatever way you do, that's fine. It's not wrongbadfun for people to build and play in different ways, and it's not badwrongopinion to believe what I do. It's the Superman fan versus the person who finds Superman boring, neither of us are right, but we likely both have evidence to support our positions.

Meepo_
2015-09-23, 07:45 PM
What I do is this:
Roll all your stats normally (4d6 keep the best 3)
Then, you can choose to reroll your lowest and highest stat. This allows players who get unlucky (say all stats between 5-12) to improve their position and not have an underpowered character while keeping the players who rolled one mediocre stat from complaining.
It's a lot harder to be upset with a 7 if your DM already established that rerolling it would cost you your 17.

It works pretty well. Most of the time no one chooses to reroll, but occasionally some gets bad luck and they love the opportunity to not be stuck.

I'm so doing this next game.

Ashtagon
2015-09-24, 01:04 AM
For D&D legacy rolling systems, 4d6 drop lowest, re-roll 1s, generate 3 arrays and then select whichever one of them you choose.

If you want to be high powered but have everyone be on a more level playing field as far as starting ability scores, then 5d6, best 3, re-roll 1s and 2s then take the best array generated by such by any of the players, reverse engineer it into a point buy value, and then have all the players use that point buy for their characters.



Needs a section in the documentation that deals specifically with manipulating rolls to keep or exclude certain dice or die values.

Did you mean something like output [highest 3 of 4d6], or something else? That's a direct example from the documentation (under "functions library").

Amphetryon
2015-09-24, 05:34 AM
I just said I find mechanical disadvantages to generally make more interesting characters, because otherwise I tend to see people make characters with no flaws.The qualifiers, which I've highlighted, did not appear in your original comments, making them read as absolute fact rather than personal opinion or a locally-observed phenomenon. That's a significant difference.

Anonymouswizard
2015-09-24, 07:22 AM
The qualifiers, which I've highlighted, did not appear in your original comments, making them read as absolute fact rather than personal opinion or a locally-observed phenomenon. That's a significant difference.

Yes, which is why I clarified as soon as I had realised I'd done that (in a stupid post that I should have left at 'I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply it was objective truth').

But people are still treating it as if I was saying it was objectively correct, and ignoring that in most of the posts that the qualifiers are there.

Suichimo
2015-09-26, 09:14 AM
I've managed to convince my last couple DMs to use a method I thought up. You still roll your choice dice setup, 5d6b3 in my case, and then each players adds up their scores and everyone uses the highest pool to buy their stats 1 for 1 up from 0.

I should be starting a new game within the week with stats generated like this, in my case I had the highest pool at 87 points. This method still gives the excitement of rolling but also keeps the level playing field of point buy.

Nifft
2015-09-26, 10:12 AM
I've managed to convince my last couple DMs to use a method I thought up. You still roll your choice dice setup, 5d6b3 in my case, and then each players adds up their scores and everyone uses the highest pool to buy their stats 1 for 1 up from 0.

I should be starting a new game within the week with stats generated like this, in my case I had the highest pool at 87 points. This method still gives the excitement of rolling but also keeps the level playing field of point buy.

1-for-1 throws away the bell curve which is what made 18 exciting (when rolling) or expensive (when point-buying).

You're basically throwing away everything that the other methods used for balance.

Baldur's Gate is not a good mechanical inspiration.

Aetol
2015-09-26, 11:33 AM
I still don't get the purpose of rolling just to get a point budget. And to do so through a method as complex as this.

tgva8889
2015-09-26, 05:05 PM
I guess since I've never myself enjoyed rolling because my luck is terrible compared to other people (though we've often suspected one of my friends cheats), so I guess I'll ask: why do people enjoy rolling compared to a defined array or some sort of point buy? I generally prefer any method which ensures that players won't have unbalanced stats.

Sacrieur
2015-09-26, 05:11 PM
I don't do it for any number of reasons. But do what you want.

Nifft
2015-09-26, 05:24 PM
I guess since I've never myself enjoyed rolling because my luck is terrible compared to other people (though we've often suspected one of my friends cheats), so I guess I'll ask: why do people enjoy rolling compared to a defined array or some sort of point buy? I generally prefer any method which ensures that players won't have unbalanced stats.

Rolling is fun for me in one situation: when I don't have any strong preference for or idea about what I want to play next, the dice results can serve as inspiration.

I use dice the same when when I'm the DM: rolling on tables as a source for inspiration.

Suichimo
2015-09-27, 04:47 AM
1-for-1 throws away the bell curve which is what made 18 exciting (when rolling) or expensive (when point-buying).

You're basically throwing away everything that the other methods used for balance.

Baldur's Gate is not a good mechanical inspiration.

An 18 is still exciting, it becomes a game to see who scores the highest. And an 18 is still expensive, I'm trying to balance my scores so I don't have a terrible dump stat as my DM HATES those. It is a much higher powerlevel, though.

Also, I've never played Baldur's Gate, so I have no clue what you're talking about.


I still don't get the purpose of rolling just to get a point budget. And to do so through a method as complex as this.

Randomness of rolling with the even playing field of point buy. What is complex, though? It is only three steps and there isn't any complicated math to keep track of.


I guess since I've never myself enjoyed rolling because my luck is terrible compared to other people (though we've often suspected one of my friends cheats), so I guess I'll ask: why do people enjoy rolling compared to a defined array or some sort of point buy? I generally prefer any method which ensures that players won't have unbalanced stats.

Honestly, I prefer point buy. However, I learned the game by rolling stats and everyone I know prefers rolling stats. I don't have much of a choice.

Svata
2015-09-28, 01:13 AM
I think my favorite rolling method was the silly one that one of my DMs had us use after he came into some d3s. 8d3 drop the two lowest.

Bucky
2015-09-28, 10:30 AM
There could be a way of rolling stats "in order" by combining point buy with dice roll. That's something I just came up with, unless I don't rememember seeing it somewhere else.
1. Chose your point buy method and your point budget.
2. Roll as many d6 as points in your budget.
3. Sort the d6s by result.
4. Assign to STR as many points as there are 1s.
5. Assign to DEX as many points as there are 2s.
6. ...

You need one more rule to reassign odd points that don't lead to an ability score increase.

I posted something similar in another thread, using raw attribute points instead of point buy:


I prefer the following 'balanced' rolling scheme:
Step 1: Decide on a 'minimum' attribute value (e.g. 6), a 'maximum' attribute value (e.g. 18) and an 'average' attribute value (e.g. 13)
Step 2: #DICE = (average) - (minimum) * 6 (e.g. 30)
Step 3: Roll #DICE d6
Step 4: Strength = minimum + # of 1s rolled, Dex = minimum + # of 2s rolled, etc.
Step 5: Rolls leading to an attribute higher than the maximum value are rerolled until they don't.

That's the traditional procedure. If I were to use it today I might tweak it so that most of the rolls count for +2 and then assign three odd stats, so that everyone has the same total ability modifier and we don't have "13 in all stats vs 12s and 14s" as a mild fail case.

I think any method of rolling for stats where high rolls are much better than low rolls is terrible. It shouldn't be possible for a character to have strictly better attributes than another of the same race at the same table.

Nifft
2015-09-28, 11:09 AM
@Bucky - that's an interesting method.

Your method assumes that every total +X is equally valuable, rather than +4/+0 being more expensive than +2/+2 (which is the standard point buy result).

I'm not sure the standard point buy answer is correct, but it's an assumption which ought to be examined and justified.

Anonymouswizard
2015-09-28, 11:56 AM
You need one more rule to reassign odd points that don't lead to an ability score increase.

I posted something similar in another thread, using raw attribute points instead of point buy:



That's the traditional procedure. If I were to use it today I might tweak it so that most of the rolls count for +2 and then assign three odd stats, so that everyone has the same total ability modifier and we don't have "13 in all stats vs 12s and 14s" as a mild fail case.

I think any method of rolling for stats where high rolls are much better than low rolls is terrible. It shouldn't be possible for a character to have strictly better attributes than another of the same race at the same table.

In that case, halve the number of dice, or you'll end up far beyond the 'average' value for most stats.

Otherwise, sounds like a good system, although I'll stick to standard array or point buy until I have a trustworthy group ('of course I rolled ten 1s, ten 2s, and ten 3s to get this 18/18/18/8/8/8 character, what do you take me for, a cheat?').

Solaris
2015-09-28, 07:18 PM
I think any method of rolling for stats where high rolls are much better than low rolls is terrible. It shouldn't be possible for a character to have strictly better attributes than another of the same race at the same table.

This seems an... odd statement to make. Do you mean it like the sum of their attributes/bonuses shouldn't be different?

Velaryon
2015-09-28, 08:08 PM
My group always plays with rolled stats, and usually some version that results in pretty high stats. Our default is roll 4d6, reroll 1's, drop the lowest due, 7 times and discard the lowest stat. And if you still come out with really terrible stats and don't want to play with them, you can scrap them and roll again. I like this system because I like to play characters with above-average capabilities, and when I'm playing a d20-based game, I am not happy if I don't have an 18 in my starting stats.

I've suggested point buy a couple times because of the balanced nature of it, but when I put it to a group vote at the start of my last campaign, they unanimously voted to roll stats.

One time the DM in a game I was in insisted on the old-school roll stats in order, over the protest of pretty much everyone in the group. We tried it and I at least hated it so much that I refuse to ever generate my character that way again.


I came up with another method once, but I haven't ever actually run a game this way:

1. roll 24d6
2. drop the lowest 6
3. arrange the rest into groups of 3

Not sure how that would average out: it all but guarantees I can have my 18, but the few times I've test rolled it I come out with lower average rolls than the system we default to, even if I include rerolling 1's in the system.

Bucky
2015-09-29, 10:56 AM
This seems an... odd statement to make. Do you mean it like the sum of their attributes/bonuses shouldn't be different?

I mean, you should never have a situation where one human fighter PC has straight 12s, and another human fighter PC has a 13 Dex and straight 12s otherwise.

Thrudd
2015-09-29, 11:02 AM
I mean, you should never have a situation where one human fighter PC has straight 12s, and another human fighter PC has a 13 Dex and straight 12s otherwise.

Why? Some people have better dexterity than others. Some people just have more natural ability overall than another person might.

tgva8889
2015-09-29, 03:52 PM
Why? Some people have better dexterity than others. Some people just have more natural ability overall than another person might.

But we're playing a game. Would you want to play a game where you and I are on the same team but I am just better than you at your job? That's why I don't like rolling.

Knaight
2015-09-29, 06:31 PM
Basically what Level 2 Expert has said. I find characters to be more interesting when they have a weakness. In D&D that weakness normally has to come from the base stats, because flaws are an optional rule. They can be represented with skills, but in most editions not well until higher levels.

It can also come from how you play your character. For instance, the characters I've played recently have included a character who was simultaneously dumb as a bag of rocks and very gullible (she did have a low stat, but it wasn't the rolls that gave her problems but the in-character choices made), another character who is way too trusting for his own good and who can't keep his face shut when he probably should (stats are basically fine), a character who found a unique combination of arrogance, bravado, and acerbity that is quite good at making enemies he can't handle, and a number of NPCs with notable character flaws. D&D can handle this without bringing in flaws, attributes, or skills.

Anonymouswizard
2015-09-29, 07:40 PM
It can also come from how you play your character. For instance, the characters I've played recently have included a character who was simultaneously dumb as a bag of rocks and very gullible (she did have a low stat, but it wasn't the rolls that gave her problems but the in-character choices made), another character who is way too trusting for his own good and who can't keep his face shut when he probably should (stats are basically fine), a character who found a unique combination of arrogance, bravado, and acerbity that is quite good at making enemies he can't handle, and a number of NPCs with notable character flaws. D&D can handle this without bringing in flaws, attributes, or skills.

As I've said, I believe that there are groups that handle this, it's just my experience that people ignore flaws not represented mechanically. It sounds like you're fine, but I've never played with you and so don't include you in my (admittedly small) sample. I know a handful of people I'd trust to play a flawed character without mechanical flaws (at this time of writing it consists of about two people, with a third who would be in the group but plays in the old-school paranoia 'uses OOC knowledge unless there's a reason my character wouldn't know' style, compared to the 'narrative character influenced' style I prefer to run/play). Basically everyone else I know would ignore roleplay flaws when they were inconvenient.

As a side note, some of the second group will pick mechanical flaws that they want for their character, and will do this generally. They might not immediately know what they want their 'problem' to be, but as soon as they do they'll take the flaw. Another is of the 'if I can't do it it's not important' school, which leads him to focus on evocation magic despite necromancy being potentially much more destructive, even after I threatened to pull out the maths behind haste being better than fireball, especially because his view of my summons was 'doesn't matter if it gets hit by a fireball' (which lead to me using 2 3rd level spell slots only to lose the summoned creatures which were my character's thing*).

* I want to bring that character back as a 5e Sorcerer or Conjurer wizard. A half-orc shaman who has left his tribe simply because he's interested in different things. He plans to return to his friends in his tribe with the secrets of the multiverse. He focuses on summons due to having dumped strength and the other physical stats, basically making him reliant on summoned creatures for any type of labour (think STR 6 DEX 6 sort of thing).

goto124
2015-09-29, 07:59 PM
I don't think it helps for the GM to give flaws (mechanical or fluff-wise) to players, when said players are already disinterested in roleplaying those flaws. It'll only result in friction if/when the GM starts saying 'no your character won't do that'.

Having a system to help let players choose flaws (such as DnD 5e's background system) is good. Having a roll-of-the-dice style of choosing stats to force mechanical flaws, not so much.

Personally, if I wanted inspiration, I would (before the game) roll some dice, and write up a character sheet based on that. I can tweak some of the scores if I wanted. Then I can walk up to the group with a complete character sheet.

Anonymouswizard
2015-09-29, 08:37 PM
I don't think it helps for the GM to give flaws (mechanical or fluff-wise) to players, when said players are already disinterested in roleplaying those flaws. It'll only result in friction if/when the GM starts saying 'no your character won't do that'.

Stop making it sound like I force certain flaws on players. I ask players to pick flaws they'd be interested in roleplaying. The mechanical flaw on the sheet is useful as a reminder to stop the player from ignoring their flaw, if a player took a 'compulsive' flaw for their character the agreement is I only use the mechanical aspects if the flaw isn't coming up. You took a flaw that doesn't technically fit your character but is the closest the system has, and you won't find the flaw coming up unless you've ignored it for the last couple of sessions (assuming it would reasonably come up in that session). If you really want to have the easy way out, pick bloodlust for a warrior or kleptomania for a thief, or something similar. It might not be a great character, but it gives me more to plot around (and I believe plots should be built around the PCs as much as possible).


Having a system to help let players choose flaws (such as DnD 5e's background system) is good. Having a roll-of-the-dice style of choosing stats to force mechanical flaws, not so much.

Let me check my list of favourite RPGS

...

Here's the only one that uses random character generation: Dark Heresy. In all honesty, the random character generation is mainly a way to emphasise the harshness of the universe, and from Rogue Trader on you could skip the one part that had to be random in Dark Heresy (although I can't remember if rolling results in a slightly higher average value or not, the game still makes sure you can't get the 'ideal' characteristics for a character without a lot of luck when rolling). I'd throw the point buy characteristic method into DH and make it an option so that you can make a character anywhere from completely random to completely custom (excepting divinations).

Every other RPG I love uses some variety of point buy (or priority for Shadowrun). I find systems where you can customise a character better full stop, and the only reasons I like D&D 5e is because it increases the customisation from 3e (because you get essentially the same number of skills while also getting a background and 'descriptors') and it reminds me of the old red box game in it's simplicity. I have no problem with their point buy only going up to 15, because I own the 3.5 DMG and even then, costs for higher stats shouldn't be hard to make (just continue the trend the table sets). I do prefer a system with individual skill points, but I understand why 5e doesn't do it and respect the fact that the designers knew what style of game they wanted (they didn't achieve it, but that's because the 'roleplay mechanics' needed more crunch, and very few games understand them).


Personally, if I wanted inspiration, I would (before the game) roll some dice, and write up a character sheet based on that. I can tweak some of the scores if I wanted. Then I can walk up to the group with a complete character sheet.

In my games you can do this because I tend to stay away from systems with random generation (shock! horror!). The only time I've used random generation in 4+ years is where I either wanted to see how it worked because I hadn't done it in a while (in short, it sucked, but at least I gave it a go) or because it was Dark Heresy and I didn't know of the point buy system from later titles (or once because it was a CoC one-shot and I wanted to emphasise how outmatched they were*). I require players to have a mechanical flaw, but it's up to them where they put it on their character sheet. Two players could both decide to take the same flaw, but have different mechanical interpretations due to different interpretations of how it should affect their character. When the GM calls for random character generation I go with it, but avoid it as much as I can in my games.

*to be honest, in CoC you can probably just give a player X attribute points and let them spend them, after setting a minimum on APP and a maximum on POW.

Lvl 2 Expert
2015-09-30, 05:33 AM
There could be a way of rolling stats "in order" by combining point buy with dice roll. That's something I just came up with, unless I don't rememember seeing it somewhere else.
1. Chose your point buy method and your point budget.
2. Roll as many d6 as points in your budget.
3. Sort the d6s by result.
4. Assign to STR as many points as there are 1s.
5. Assign to DEX as many points as there are 2s.
6. ...

That way, you have a random stat distribution and you get to play a character you didn't expect, which I understand is the appeal of rolling in order. At the same time, since you're using a point buy system, there won't be any real power difference between players.

I kind of skimmed over this post, but now that Bucky has explained it ones more I think I like it. I'd probably switch to doing it out of order though (which is very much a matter of opinion, I like playing concepts I thought up, rather than what works for the stats I got), letting the players decide which number goes with which stat. That way everyone still gets to play the kind of character they were thinking off, but everyone has the same stat point total, everyone is probably minmaxed to about the same degree and there is still some randomness to the method.


You need one more rule to reassign odd points that don't lead to an ability score increase.
Depending on the system I'm not sure I'd mind some people having more odd numbers than others, after all odd numbers are just opportunities to quickly gain a bonus next time you get a stat point.

If you would want to do something like this I think the system you proposed works well, roll stats 1-3 starting at 3 points, stats 4-6 starting at 4 points, 2 points per roll. It's a good idea anyway for two more reasons: less dice to roll (28 rolls with a minimum of 3 and an average of just under 13 VS 60 for a minimum of 3 and an average of 13 with one point per die) and a larger average variation in stats. It's easier to roll only a single 1 on 28 rolls than it is to roll either 1 or 2 of them in 60 rolls (1.2*10^-3 resp 1.2*10^-5, or a hundred times more likely, if I've got my "do this quick" math correct. Also, yes, I'm making a kind of unfair comparison as starting at 4 means a single toll can give you a 6 in a stat, while rolling 1 or 2 on the other method will give you a 4 or 5, but I think my point is getting across. I also didn't include the odds of rolling no 1's at all). An about one in two hundred chance to get a five or six on any stat still isn't a very big chance, which is why I think it's a good thing to take the more random method you want at least a semi-realistic chance of someone getting a stat close to the minimum, not to mention the maximum. (Side note: Especially with high number of dice any really low score is going to increase the odds of other scores going over 18, forcing re-rolls, further reducing the odds of really low scores, so this method is definitely not too random, for my taste at least.)

So in summary: I'm all in favor. Every number that shows is worth two points, the minimum is 3, use whichever number of dice you like (21 gives an average stat of 10.5, 30 of 13.5), every number that brings a total score over 18 is rerolled, numbers are assigned a stat after rolling. It's a good alternative a (simple) point buy system or an array.

ThinkMinty
2015-09-30, 05:36 AM
Point Buy. Puts every PC on the same footing, and lets you have your primary stat as high as you (not the DM, not the fates, you) feel you need it.

Knaight
2015-09-30, 09:21 AM
As I've said, I believe that there are groups that handle this, it's just my experience that people ignore flaws not represented mechanically. It sounds like you're fine, but I've never played with you and so don't include you in my (admittedly small) sample. I know a handful of people I'd trust to play a flawed character without mechanical flaws (at this time of writing it consists of about two people, with a third who would be in the group but plays in the old-school paranoia 'uses OOC knowledge unless there's a reason my character wouldn't know' style, compared to the 'narrative character influenced' style I prefer to run/play). Basically everyone else I know would ignore roleplay flaws when they were inconvenient.

Maybe this is just my background being mostly not-D&D, but this is the majority of the people I game with. I might take it to more of an extreme than some (for instance, I really enjoyed playing the "Useless hero" archetype in Shotgun Diaries, where your player role is to be that one character that causes problems in zombie movies), but I'd call this expected behavior. At the very least, it's a way to handle flaws, even if it is tragically underutilized in some groups.

Pex
2015-09-30, 09:22 AM
Point Buy. Puts every PC on the same footing, and lets you have your primary stat as high as you (not the DM, not the fates, you) feel you need it.

Not in 5E by default. In other systems depending on value given, at too much of a cost of other stats it's not worth it because you'll cripple your character. Implementation matters.

Nifft
2015-09-30, 10:02 AM
Depending on the system I'm not sure I'd mind some people having more odd numbers than others, after all odd numbers are just opportunities to quickly gain a bonus next time you get a stat point.

If you would want to do something like this I think the system you proposed works well, roll stats 1-3 starting at 3 points, stats 4-6 starting at 4 points, 2 points per roll. It's a good idea anyway for two more reasons: less dice to roll (28 rolls with a minimum of 3 and an average of just under 13 VS 60 for a minimum of 3 and an average of 13 with one point per die) and a larger average variation in stats.
(...)
So in summary: I'm all in favor. Every number that shows is worth two points, the minimum is 3, use whichever number of dice you like (21 gives an average stat of 10.5, 30 of 13.5), every number that brings a total score over 18 is rerolled, numbers are assigned a stat after rolling. It's a good alternative a (simple) point buy system or an array.
Yeah, that's a good system for generating a wide swath of high-variance stats which are overall roughly balanced against each other.

My one addendum idea:
- Start all stats at 3.
- After seeing the stat results, which are all odd, each player can add +1 to 3 different stats.

Puts a TINY bit of control back in the player's hands, and ensures that all characters start with 3 odd, 3 even.

goto124
2015-09-30, 07:47 PM
I've enjoyed many good, nondisruptive games without implementing mechanical and/or roleplay 'flaws'. I just... play and have fun, though I'm more of the beer juice and pretzels kind of gamer.

Do other people find that having players who don't make use of 'flaws' leads to bad games? Or those those players are often disruptive egoists? My experience says no, but I don't know about others.

Nifft
2015-09-30, 07:58 PM
I've enjoyed many good, nondisruptive games without implementing mechanical and/or roleplay 'flaws'. I just... play and have fun, though I'm more of the beer juice and pretzels kind of gamer.

Do other people find that having players who don't make use of 'flaws' leads to bad games? Or those those players are often disruptive egoists? My experience says no, but I don't know about others.

Flaws can inspire.

Rolling stats can inspire.

If you don't like either, that's okay.

Liking or not liking these things doesn't make anyone a disruptive egotist.