View Full Version : a 5-point buy group: doable?

07-25-2010, 02:03 PM
Hi Guys,

We are a group that is used to high powered characters in 3.5 edition D&D. Now we want it changed.

We started to dislike the high powered characters that are nigh unbeatable persons in almost any urban environment. We are starting a campaign that is mostly urban in nature and should invoke a certain feeling of awe and vulnerability. The characters are part of a trade-guild that is it's benefactor and curse in the same time. The characters don't have much choice really; te surrounduing city is dangerous and the guild provides protection. The guild in question is corrupt, though.

To invoke a sense of vulnerability, we are thinking start a 5-point buy group. (another reason is that PF characters tend to be a bit more powerfull then their 3rd ed counterparts)

Do you think this is doable? (also using the Bestiary)

Thanks !

07-27-2010, 12:42 AM
Full disclosure, I'm not a fan of point buy (stat buy is another story, and is a little better, but the inverse pyramid point buy is horrible, alas that is a debate for another day).

In my experience, lower point buys tend lead to different optimal class/race combinations. For example, with a 15 point buy, I would argue that a human (or half variety thereof) would be the best choice for a cleric, as you have the points to raise both Wis and Cha without a penalty, and the racial bonus just maxs one of them. With less points, an Aasimar becomes a better choice as it's the only way you can get both high enough (with 5 point buy, you can have an Aasimar Cleric with 14 in both, not amazing, but playable). The same setup could be argued with a full-Orc fighter, a Drow Rogue, or a Teifling Wizard.

Because it costs more to get scores higher, point buy intrinsically favors races with multiple bonuses, which is only amplified by lowering the point allotment.

Also, I'd point out that not all classes scale evenly with stats. If you took 2 or 4 points off of everything in the game's stats, most melee combatants would equalize. You'd have a lower hit bonus, but baddies would have lower AC, you'd do less damage, but they'd have less HP, etc. The same isn't true with casters. Many rolls a caster has to make (such as concentration DCs) only include stats on one side of the equation, so insanely high or low stats can tip the scales accordingly. As melee classes level, their stat requirements do not change, where a casters does (a 15th level fighter with a 12 strength is still capable, by the rules, of using all his classes abilities and full attack progression; a 15th level wizard with a 12 intelligence is NOT capable, by the rules, of casting anything past first or second level spells).

07-29-2010, 03:11 PM
to give you an idea of what this could look like, these are some examples of 5-point buy characters:

cha 7
int 14 becomes 16
dex 12
con 12
str 10
wis 10

int 7
cha 13, (becomes 14 at 4th)
wis 10
str 12 becomes 14
con 12
dex 12

dex 12
wis 10
int 10
cha 14, becomes 16
str 7
con 12

dex 14, becomes 16
con 11 (becomes 12 at 4th)
wis 11 (becomes 12 at 8th)
str 12
cha 7
int 10

Monk (difficult!) – AC 14
Wis 14 (5) becomes 16
Str 12 (2)
Dex 12 (2)
Con 10 (0)
Int 10 (0)
Cha 7 (-4)

we thought that was still okay. Agreed?

07-29-2010, 10:16 PM
It greatly depends on what kind of game this is and if the players all agree on the atmosphere.

If it was more roleplay, the stats would be less important. Players would invest in their social and knowledge skills and abilities.

If you were expected to have combat encounters typical of a pathfinder game, it may prove to be frustrating, unless the GM is flexible on how the PC's resolve conflicts (like setting up foes to fight each other).

Right now, all I am really seeing is a larger dump into charisma for all of the players, which is not very ideal for a mostly roleplay game.

There is the possibility of have the PC's roll 3d6 for their stats, allowing the fate of the gods to determine what they will be good at. Or giving them an standard low power array.

Typically, I don't mess around with standard character creation methods (it becomes more of a "can I have this" faire) Instead, if I want the world to be more challenging, I make the foes more powerful.

08-02-2010, 09:28 AM
Anything is doable for a flexible DM, but be prepared to be REALLY flexible. I think what wizarddog said is valid, probably better to make the baddies stronger than the heroes weaker. Now, if the PCs are not supposed to be heroes, then by all means give them hinderences. IT has to be about world balance too (a world where the monsters are all full strength, and there are no PC quality good guys....).

I don't think tension, risk, drama or difficulty are built into character creation. If the past games have been "too easy" it most likely has very little to do with the stats of any given PC. At the same time, if you have a few people who min-max and know how to get the most out of their gnome wizard with 20 int at level 4, and others who ask what die to roll everytime you need a skill check, then you need to consider how to balance the table.

Anyway, long answer short - yeah anything can be done, the question is SHOULD it be done?