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Maelstrom
01-24-2008, 03:03 PM
What methods do you use to generate the ability scores for your players? Point buy? Rolling?

Here is my method:
Players can choose to roll however many dice they want to for each ability score, as long as the total dice rolled is not above 24. For each score, only the highest 3 dice are used. They then assign the 6 generated ability scores to whichever stat they'd like.

I like this method, as it allows the player a choice to have an all around decent character (4 dice per ability score) or focus on a couple powerful abilities.

For an example of the latter, the player could choose to use 6 dice for one score because they really want a good strength ability. They could choose to roll 4 dice for three other abilites, and 3 dice for the last two.

After the scores are rolled, I look over them. My philosophy is that each character should have one good ability score and one poor ability score (for more interesting roleplaying), so if the character does not have a high or low stat I will change some of the scores as I need to.

Drohem
01-24-2008, 03:04 PM
I use point-buy now. It cuts down on the rolling stats forever, and some players mysteriously always having at least one 18, if not more. :rolleyes:

Maelstrom
01-24-2008, 03:11 PM
Yeah, point buy is more fair, but I just can't get away from rolling stats since that's always been a part of a game. There's just something about starting fresh with a new character and picking up those dice.

DrAwkward
01-24-2008, 04:00 PM
I use a 28 point-buy.

By my calculations the "4d6 best three" method works out (on average) to about 32 points. But using that for a point buy gets better than usual characters due to the ability to Min/Max. 28 points puts them about where I want them.

Unless I'm doing a gestalt munchkinfest, then it's 35 points.

Riftwalker
01-24-2008, 04:01 PM
Riftwalker thinks: Point-buy is better when the player has a character idea already in mind. Dice rolling or other randomness injected into the process is better/more interesting when the player doesn't, or is seeing how that turns out before finalizing the character concept.

I can't imagine using dice while rolling up a character because I usually have an idea for what I want the character to be before numbers really enter into it. That said, rolling stats probably produces more interesting characters.

DrAwkward
01-24-2008, 04:15 PM
About the point buy...

I was considering doing the following the next time I start a campaign:

You start with a 16, 21, or 26 point buy, for low, medium, or high power games, respectively.
You do not get a stat bump every 4th level.
You do get a "point buy point" every level.
The point buy chart gets expanded in a logical manner to buy stats higher than 18, but you can only pass 18 with the points from leveling, not character generation.
Your racial adjustments and inherent bonuses take you past the usual starting caps, and don't ever count for calculating how much it costs to bump a stat.Does this sound reasonable? Abusable? Overpowered?

The way I see it, first level characters start off with less than impressive stats, and then grow quickly as they level up. It makes it a little harder to get very high stats, (you fall behind the normal method when you try to buy over 20) but easier to make sure none of your stats really stink. I think this makes it easier on the Stat-Madness classes like paladin, rogue, and most mutli-class builds.

Opinions?

Riftwalker
01-24-2008, 04:32 PM
It seems like it makes low-level play more challenging, though eventually (after a few levels) the system could catch up to the normal one. I've always thought that low-level characters are already pretty wimpy and if anything, could use something to make them *more* powerful rather than less powerful, though that may just be personal taste.

As you say, it certainly does penalize characters that emphasize one or two exceptional stats when compared to those that require many stats. I wonder if the party dynamic would change a bit, or if the difference would be in the noise of usual character differences.

Shadow Dweller
01-24-2008, 04:43 PM
The DM I play with atm does this for stats:

1 FREE 18 at character Generation
4d6, keep best 3 dice
no dolled stat can be less than 10, re-roll a nything 9 and belowBasicaly lets you get at least 1 important stat to really great levels early, possibility of more, plus it keeps inherently -mods to start.

MortonStromgal
01-24-2008, 05:33 PM
32 pt buy

I also give max (HP+CON Mod)x2 at 1st level and 1/2+1+CON Mod each additional

DrAwkward
01-24-2008, 05:43 PM
32 pt buy

I also give max (HP+CON Mod)x2 at 1st level and 1/2+1+CON Mod each additional

Ah, right -- thats another one I picked up from convention play --- static HP.

First time I've seen double HP at first level. Not a bad idea.
I have seen everyone get a "bonus feat" of X number of extra HP.

rabkala
01-24-2008, 05:45 PM
Most frequently, I use the countdown method. 18,17,16,15,14,13 ; but I have also allowed all 18's for everyone. Better than anything I have ever seen anyone roll in front of me and best yet fair. The players are happy with the incredible characters, until they realize I have bumped up all the monster scores as well.
:eek:

I once allowed them to use a character generator program on the computer. Only one player actually took the first roll to make his character, while the others all re-rolled hundreds of times.

I remember using the hardcore 3d6 method in several of the first games I played in. Hardcore = 3d6, assign them in the order rolled. I am glad to see nobody would think of using it now.

I don't think I have even met a player who liked point buy. :rolleyes: The last couple future games I ran I used a super heroic point buy.

One good way to find those with the greatest power - gamer streak is to tell them to generate their abilities on their own. There is always somebody who rolled miraculously. 'Oh look, all 18's ... really!' Then when they show you their super character, you hand them a previously generated weakling to play instead and see if they walk.

rabkala
01-24-2008, 05:52 PM
32 pt buy

I also give max (HP+CON Mod)x2 at 1st level and 1/2+1+CON Mod each additional

In high power games, I like to give everyone the same boost so they are survivable characters. Give everyone max and an extra 15 (or whatever) hit points at first level. That way, even the wizard with no con bonus can survive along with the super constitutioned barbarian.

Think about it, more fair?

DrAwkward
01-24-2008, 05:56 PM
It seems like it makes low-level play more challenging, though eventually (after a few levels) the system could catch up to the normal one. I've always thought that low-level characters are already pretty wimpy and if anything, could use something to make them *more* powerful rather than less powerful, though that may just be personal taste.

Yeah, L1 characters are pretty fragile. Deliberately so, I think. If I want the game to start where the party is ready for a real adventure, I'd start them at third level (or higher) rather than tweak the rules to make them tougher at level 1. Personal taste, though. I can see how the level progression of first through third could be fun to play though, if you were a little tougher.

Farcaster
01-24-2008, 06:01 PM
It really depends on the type of game I am running. If it is a particularly challenging game, like "The Damned," that I started recently, then I use:

4d6, keep the best 3, reroll 1s ad infinitum, and assign to any ability.



No rolled stat can be less than 10, re-roll a nything 9 and below

Mmmm.. See, I like having a character with a weakness every once in a while.

Shadow Dweller
01-24-2008, 06:42 PM
Yes, but my group has a couple VERY whinie players, and it's easier to do it this way I think for the DM. Personaly with that problem I'd just bump anything <9 to a base 10. That way you don't have the inheriant weeklings, but you also don't have the ad-infinitium rolling. :-/

DrAwkward
01-24-2008, 07:03 PM
One method I've used to generate random, but balanced, characters is you roll 4d6, take the best three. Take those four dice and turn them all over to the opposite side, and pick the best three. Each roll generates two stats.

Do this twice more, for a total of 6 stats.

For example, if they roll "1, 1, 1, 3" its a 5. But the other side gives them "6, 6, 6, 4" for an 18.

I guess you could still let them re-roll 1's, so long as they understand that if they use a "6" they have to keep the "1" when they flip the dice, and if they re-roll the "1" they've just lost a "6" on the other side.

Theis gives either a bunch of mediocre stats (bah, reroll) or en even mix of great stats and lousy ones (yay)

DrAwkward
01-24-2008, 07:25 PM
The cheesiest Rolling method I've seen is when you tell the player "4d6 best 3"
and they roll the dice one at a time.... and huck thier dice at previous bad rolls to knock them to a better side.

Digital Arcanist
01-24-2008, 07:53 PM
It really depends on the type of game I am running. If it is a particularly challenging game, like "The Damned," that I started recently, then I use:

4d6, keep the best 3, reroll 1s ad infinitum, and assign to any ability.



That's what I use and what my DM's use as well. All dice must be rolled in front of me and with my undivided attention. If a player rolls horribly then I either have them start over or just fix a few scores myself.

rabkala
01-24-2008, 08:08 PM
here is the previous thread dealing with character attribute generation,
http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2628&highlight=character+generation

tesral
01-24-2008, 11:06 PM
Standard 4d6 six times and assign. If someone gets a truly awful character they can reroll. I like the casino dice for this. One tends to get good rolls.

Mulsiphix
01-25-2008, 02:06 AM
You talk about casino dice an awful lot tesral. I'm curious, are any of them "loaded" or are they just flashy?

upidstay
01-25-2008, 06:18 AM
I've used a variety of methods over the years. 3 to 5d6, reroll 1's. Point buys of start with a 10 and get 26-40 pts to add. 70-86 pts, highest score is an 18, lowest is a 6, cost more points to go above 16. There was a method in the original Unearthed Arcana that gave you heroic proportion pc's. Each class had different number of dice for different stats. Fighters rollded 8d6 (best 3) for strength, 6d6 for constitution. Mages rolled 8d6 for intellignce, etc.

fmitchell
01-25-2008, 07:56 AM
You talk about casino dice an awful lot tesral. I'm curious, are any of them "loaded" or are they just flashy?

I think the point of "casino dice" is that they're the "fairest", most random dice around. Since casinos pay out actual money for die rolls, casino dice lack any and all imperfections that might bias the dice to roll a certain way.

Mulsiphix
01-25-2008, 10:29 AM
I think the point of "casino dice" is that they're the "fairest", most random dice around. Since casinos pay out actual money for die rolls, casino dice lack any and all imperfections that might bias the dice to roll a certain way.I didn't know dice were that problematic when it came to be fair. Good to know. I'll have to pick some up :)

Maelstrom
01-25-2008, 10:52 AM
So am I alone in enforcing at least one low ability score? With point buy methods you may get a low score if someone wants to save their points for a high stat, but the worst you could get is a -1 penalty on something (-2 with a race penalty included).

Drohem
01-25-2008, 11:11 AM
Well, I'm necessarily enforcing a low stat, but depending on how they spend their points they may have a low stat.

DrAwkward
01-25-2008, 11:12 AM
So am I alone in enforcing at least one low ability score? With point buy methods you may get a low score if someone wants to save their points for a high stat, but the worst you could get is a -1 penalty on something (-2 with a race penalty included).

Enforcing? Yes, probably alone. Most of my players tend to Min-Max thier point buys, so have an 8 here or there without needing to be encouraged. The one that plays the rogue usually avoids having less than a 10 in any stat, but thats his playstyle.

I kinda figured you'd like my dice flip (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showpost.php?p=19834&postcount=16)method, since it gives a perk for rolling a low stat.

Mulsiphix
01-25-2008, 11:14 AM
I kinda figured you'd like my "dice flip" method, since it gives a perk for rolling a low stat.I actually like it very much ;)

Maelstrom
01-25-2008, 01:51 PM
Agreed, the dice flip is interesting

rabkala
01-25-2008, 08:20 PM
I kinda figured you'd like my dice flip (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showpost.php?p=19834&postcount=16)method, since it gives a perk for rolling a low stat.

It is definitely unique, I have never seen such a thing. I'm not sure if I like it or not. (Needs to stew longer)

tesral
01-25-2008, 09:19 PM
You talk about casino dice an awful lot tesral. I'm curious, are any of them "loaded" or are they just flashy?

Fair is the reason. The average gaming die is not. I have measured "good" gaming dice that were out of true as much as 0.007 of an inch. They are reasonably good for games, but they are not precision instruments. The dice used by casinos are less than 0.0005 inch out of true on any side. As said, casinos pay real money based on die rolls. They have precision instruments.

I don't use the dice for day to day rolling. They are too fragile for the average gaming table. A nice box of Chessex d6 does fine for damage. However watching the Munchkin get weak kneed over not rolling his new PC with his best "cheaters" is worth every penny I paid for the things.

I'm a machinist by profession. Micrometers are my friend.

Malruhn
01-27-2008, 11:52 AM
I like that idea!

I have been using a 36 point-buy for that last couple years. I like PCs that are heroic in their nature, and this facilitates the process.

Oh, and stat boost magics are exceedingly rare in my campaign... so odds are, you are stuck with what you started with (with bumps every 4 levels).

Grinnen Baeritt
01-27-2008, 01:26 PM
I always use a random dice roll method, even if the DM is using a point buy system. So for D&D (4d6 drop low), then tot up what points value in stats I did get then modify downwards if I rolled high and spend the extra points if I rolled low.

I prefer not planning what stats I get, cos I always end up mini-maxing. Besides I then choose the class after rolling...so adds a bit of variety to my class selection.

Drohem
01-28-2008, 11:47 AM
I have always like rolling random dice for character creation; it's old school and holds a certain place in my heart. However, I noticed that, even in my gaming circle of close friends, a person's concept of what are heroic, average, and useless character abilities vary greatly. Some people see that a minimum of one 18 is necessary to even have a playable character. Some people believe that to even play a warrior, you need an 18 strength; otherwise there's no point.

I am the black sheep in my gaming group when it comes to ability scores. I can be happy with any set of abilities for a character and breath life into the character through role-playing. I don't define the character's abilities and contributions solely on his ability scores. However, it seems that most gamers do exactly that: they define the character and their ability to be effective solely on their ability scores.

I've seen characters in my gaming circle that have 3 18's and nothing below 14. This is egregious to me. I don't think I've seen an ability score below 10 in many years; i.e. nothing with a negative modifier.

Therefore, even though I love random generation, I have moved to the point-buy method. It simply eliminates a multitude of issues in character generation: rolling endlessly to get the 'sweet' stats, outright cheating, ability scores 'cold war', ability score 'inflation', etc.

Maelstrom
01-28-2008, 12:00 PM
Agreed. Getting away from allowing some lower stats can hurt the game. When people are so focused on getting high stats across the board, I think they lose some of the role playing elements that make the game more interesting, and really differentiates it from the PC/Console RPGs.

The thing with point buy that gets me is that it is outright min-maxing from the get go. You are strongly encouraged to choose abilities based on the mechanics of the character rather than roleplaying, because you only have so many points to use.

I'd prefer to have some kind of method to do one set of die rolls watched by the DM (thus eliminating min-maxing by cheating/rerolling endlessly) and then allowing you to change increase stats at the expense of others for those that like to customize.

Drohem
01-28-2008, 12:16 PM
I'd prefer to have some kind of method to do one set of die rolls watched by the DM (thus eliminating min-maxing by cheating/rerolling endlessly) and then allowing you to change increase stats at the expense of others for those that like to customize.


This method has been used in many RPGs as well. Also, I've read that many House Rules do something similiar as well.

Specifically with 3.5 D&D and point-buy: you could do something like roll ability scores and then tally what the point-buy cost for those abilities would sum up. If the the sum is less than a set bar of points, then you could spend points up to that limit.

Example:
The campaign has a point-buy total of 36 points.
The PC rolls abilities and then sums the point-buy cost for those generated abilities. The point-buy total for those abilities adds up to 33 points.
Then the PC can spend 3 points and improve his abilities until they total 36.
Another PC roll abilities and the total adds up to 41 points, then the PC does not get to adjust their ability scores.

DrAwkward
01-28-2008, 12:54 PM
I have always like rolling random dice for character creation; it's old school and holds a certain place in my heart. However, I noticed that, even in my gaming circle of close friends, a person's concept of what are heroic, average, and useless character abilities vary greatly.

The main reason I use point buy is because it makes sure the characters are balanced with respect to each other. You don't have a guy that happened to honestly roll a sweet set of attributes overshadowing the guy that just rolled "ok". When I play, I'm typically the guy that just rolls "ok", and it definitely has an impact on party dynamics.

As a player, I couldn't care less what the point total is; give me 15 points and start me with a level in commoner if you want. As long as the PCs are created equal and we are survivable for the challenges the DM has in mind, it's all good.

I do miss players with odd attributes, however. Thats why I like to give odd point buy amounts.

Maelstrom
01-28-2008, 12:57 PM
A lot of math, but that seems like a reasonable compromise. Evens the stats amongst the players, allows customization, and still has the aura of randomness so that min-maxing isn't as blatant. I like it.

[Edit: This was in response to Drohem's proposed method above.]

Drohem
01-28-2008, 01:21 PM
A lot of math, but that seems like a reasonable compromise. Evens the stats amongst the players, allows customization, and still has the aura of randomness so that min-maxing isn't as blatant. I like it.

[Edit: This was in response to Drohem's proposed method above.]

Well, to simplify the math so that you don't have to convert ability scores into point-buy costs, you could:

Just set the campaign ability total as a sum of the six ability scores, and then players can add ability score points to equal that total.

Example:
The campaign ability score total is 77.
PC rolls ability scores and sums them up.
If the total is 77 or greater, then there are no adjustments.
If the total is 76 or less, then PC can add points to abilities until 77 is reached.

Mulsiphix
01-28-2008, 02:01 PM
When I play 4E I planned no using a point pool system. It is important to me that the characters are balanced to each other as DrAwkward mentioned. At least for long term campaigns. Short adventures and modules would probably just be standard rolling as D&D specifies.

Riftwalker
01-28-2008, 02:16 PM
I thought WotC was making point-buy the standard way of generating characters' abilities in 4E.

Mulsiphix
01-28-2008, 02:31 PM
I thought WotC was making point-buy the standard way of generating characters' abilities in 4E.If they are then add one more thing to the growing list of confirmed features I look forward to in 4E. Can anybody confirm this info?

Maelstrom
01-28-2008, 02:36 PM
All right, here's my new proposed method.

24 dice divided amongst 6 abilities, with highest 3 of any given roll counting towards the ability score.
Each score can be assigned to abilities as the player decides.
Each player looks up the point buy cost for each ability according to the point buy chart (which I will print out so it is available)
Each player totals the point buy values.
If the value is less then 32, the player may buy additional ability scores according to the point buy rules.
If the value is greater then 32, the player must reduce scores so they total 32 in point buy.
If, after this process, a PC has a - on at least one ability score, they get a 1.5x as much gold for their starting character for initial equipment.Homework: If 4d6 drop 1 is used for each ability, the expected point buy value for each roll is 4.8 (after a bunch of math crunching). Using this as a base, someone that rolls 4d6 for all stats would on average be comparable to a point buy character with about 28 points.

I know some will cringe at this method, but I think it fits perfectly into my style. Can't think of any additional drawbacks other then complexity, since it meets my criteria of randomness and controlled min-maxing, while encouraging people to take a hit on one score for some role-playing fodder (and also encouraging teamwork as they will have to help each other's weaknesses).

Drohem
01-28-2008, 03:14 PM
All right, here's my new proposed method.

24 dice divided amongst 6 abilities, with highest 3 of any given roll counting towards the ability score.
Each score can be assigned to abilities as the player decides.
Each player looks up the point buy cost for each ability according to the point buy chart (which I will print out so it is available)
Each player totals the point buy values.
If the value is less then 32, the player may buy additional ability scores according to the point buy rules.
If the value is greater then 32, the player must reduce scores so they total 32 in point buy.
If, after this process, a PC has a - on at least one ability score, they get a 1.5x as much gold for their starting character for initial equipment.Homework: If 4d6 drop 1 is used for each ability, the expected point buy value for each roll is 4.8 (after a bunch of math crunching). Using this as a base, someone that rolls 4d6 for all stats would on average be comparable to a point buy character with about 28 points.

I know some will cringe at this method, but I think it fits perfectly into my style. Can't think of any additional drawbacks other then complexity, since it meets my criteria of randomness and controlled min-maxing, while encouraging people to take a hit on one score for some role-playing fodder (and also encouraging teamwork as they will have to help each other's weaknesses).

That seems reasonable. So if you want to load up dice on one ability score, then you can. The 24 dice kind of reminds of the AD&D Unearthed Arcana methods, LOL.

DrAwkward
01-28-2008, 04:11 PM
If 4d6 drop 1 is used for each ability, the expected point buy value for each roll is 4.8 (after a bunch of math crunching). Using this as a base, someone that rolls 4d6 for all stats would on average be comparable to a point buy character with about 28 points.

3 of 4d6 works out to an average of 32 points, by my calculations. (assuming that if you go below 8 you get points at 1:1)
EDIT: just re-did the math and it does work out to 28. Wonder what I did wrong last time...

EDIT2: I remember, I also accounted for rolling up these in sets of six, and throwing away the rolls that the PHB says to automatically reroll (no stat over 14, or a total bonus of less than +1). Apparantly these two caveats bump the average "playable" rolled character to 32 points.

I'd need to play around with the ability to move dice around to see how that changes the numbers. I presume that you choose the number of dice to be rolled for an attribute before you roll at all (you can't look at your roll and add dice one at a time)

upidstay
01-29-2008, 07:44 AM
I have a great idea. How about a tru "Point buy" system?

Every point above 12 will cost you $5, payable to the DM in cash prior to game play?

Maelstrom
01-29-2008, 09:57 AM
I'd need to play around with the ability to move dice around to see how that changes the numbers. I presume that you choose the number of dice to be rolled for an attribute before you roll at all (you can't look at your roll and add dice one at a time)

Yeah, you choose how many dice for each of 6 rolls, then you roll them. 5d6 take 3 has an average score of 13.4 and expected point buy value 6.3, and 3d6 has an average score of 10.5 and expected point buy value of 2.7. So if a player choose to roll 5 4 4 4 4 3, their expected point buy is 28.2 vs 6 x 4 which is 28.8. Thus a true min-maxer would go 6 by 4 for better overall expected point buy value, but in the end it doesn't matter because of the last couple steps in this new statting method (evening out all scores).

I can't remember the dice rerolling rules... these calculations are when there are no rerolls.

Maelstrom
01-29-2008, 09:59 AM
I have a great idea. How about a tru "Point buy" system?

Every point above 12 will cost you $5, payable to the DM in cash prior to game play?

Sounds good to me! Then you can offer attack miss re-rolls for $1 and opponent critical re-rolls for 2$... I could be a full time DM!

MortonStromgal
01-29-2008, 11:09 AM
First time I've seen double HP at first level. Not a bad idea.

I used to do just a flat + 10 HP then I noticed all the fighter/rogues that started at level 2 or higher took rogue at first lvl for the skill pts. Its not perfect but now they think twice about it. ;)

Drohem
01-29-2008, 11:47 AM
In my buddies campaign, he adds the CON score at 1st level to Hit Points. His games are grim-and-gritty, so it comes in handy. ;)

tesral
01-29-2008, 04:35 PM
I used to do just a flat + 10 HP then I noticed all the fighter/rogues that started at level 2 or higher took rogue at first lvl for the skill pts. Its not perfect but now they think twice about it. ;)

I give all classes the same number of skill points, problem solved.

I am still using 0 hit points as dead. To counter too quick a kill at 1st leven I give all critters one half their con as bonus hit points. If you have a con of 12 you get +6 hit points. I ditched the d4 as a hit die and all characters get maximum hit points at first level.

rabkala
01-29-2008, 05:59 PM
I have a great idea. How about a tru "Point buy" system?

Every point above 12 will cost you $5, payable to the DM in cash prior to game play?
I like this method. My players might not.
I have actually played with guys when I was younger who bribed DM's!

Mulsiphix
01-29-2008, 08:17 PM
I like this method. My players might not.
I have actually played with guys when I was younger who bribed DM's!*shutters at the idea of the average Ragnarok Online private server*