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Creation: Rolling vs. Point buy
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Thread: Creation: Rolling vs. Point buy

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    Creation: Rolling vs. Point buy

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    I need a little advice on an upcoming Star Wars campaign I'm running. So far I have told the group to use the point buy system to build their characters. I prefer this system because everyone starts at an even level, no one will feel their characters are lagging behind the others. The only problem is that it is easier to min/max this way.

    However, some of the players have asked to use the rolling method (mostly because they rolled high scores and want to keep them). I am very tempted to simply say that the GM has decided and we are using point buy. But rolling does provide more role playing opportunities with high or low stats and it is more resistant to min/maxing. But it can give a wide range of scores, and some players over a long campaign may notice they do not do as well as their comrades.

    Saga edition is less dependent on high scores than , say, DnD 4th edition, but scores still matter. Is there a way to make point buy resistant to ridiculous stats, or to make rolling a little more even?

    I know that it can be good to have players not all equally proficient, but I don't want some players to be overly dependent on others.

    So far I'm kinda on the fence...

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    A few points for your consideration: The particular point buy system in Saga is balanced extremely well, and tuned to play well in the setting, and to provide some manner of predictability for GMing and encounter building. Also, a player that will min/max with point buy will min/max with rolling, too. He'll put his best stats where he needs them, dump stat the ones he doesn't, and pick a race that boosts his core stat for his class even higher. It's the player's mentality that is the issue, not the system, and no system will address that one. Besides, at exactly what threshold did the player now place 1 too many points in a certain category and is now min/maxing? Do you know? Does anyone but that player know their TRUE motivation for building the way that they did? Also, a min/maxed character can still be roleplayed effectively... the two are not independent. In a different thread, I posed the example of a min/maxed character in a modern setting.... his STR and DEX were in the toilet, his CON was bad, and he was given decent WIS and CHA, but his INT was as high as he could be made. Were this then a system with Disadvantages for more points, toss him in a wheelchair, make him mute, and basically totally paralyze him, then stack his INT even higher... That character would be Stephen Hawking. People of all levels of abilities exist in the real world, and they can exist in your game convincingly. It's all about the players.

    If you're REALLY that worried about it, use the standard array... it more than gets the job done. But my vote will go to the standard point buy every time. And guess what, you can make the standard array with point buy, if that's a route your player wants to take.

    Rolling for stats is great in some settings and games. But for Saga Edition specifically, Point Buy wins.
    Last edited by korhal23; 06-28-2009 at 11:24 PM.

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    Your Hawking idea really sealed things for me. I have been too worried about the lopsided scores and missed that it could still be an opportunity for RP.

    I know that in DnD, at least one of my players has consistently only point any points in his two core stats.

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chavic View Post
    Your Hawking idea really sealed things for me. I have been too worried about the lopsided scores and missed that it could still be an opportunity for RP.

    I know that in DnD, at least one of my players has consistently only point any points in his two core stats.

    Thanks
    Well that's an inherent issue with your player. Perhaps you should nail him with those stats he's weak on. If he dumps strength, have things grapple him a lot. If he dumps Wisdom have him get taken advantage of and surprised a lot. If he dumps Constitution, poison him... etc. Sure, lopsided people exist... but well rounded people are more resilient, typically.

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    I do plan on challenging many stats on all the players in my game, rather than just have them depending on a few, but again, thanks for the advice.

    I will certainly keep it in mind.

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    Personally, I am a fan of roll 3d6 7 times, throw out the lowest score and assign as you wish, with d20 type games. However, that aside, Korhal, you are absolutely spot on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dytrrnikl View Post
    Personally, I am a fan of roll 3d6 7 times, throw out the lowest score and assign as you wish, with d20 type games. However, that aside, Korhal, you are absolutely spot on.
    Thanks. I used to use 4d6 drop 1, typically. That said, my fondness for point buy has grown over the years. I've found it much easier to predict player strengths and therefore create more balanced and fun encounters, even before the players have thought about what class they want to play.

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    I agree, If I went with rolling, I would do 4d6, drop one.

    Just curious korhal23, you mentioned that point buy works well in Star Wars. What are games you would recommend rolling for and why?
    Last edited by Chavic; 06-30-2009 at 06:59 PM.

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    Just to throw it out there, here's what I did for my players during the last Star Wars Saga campaign I ran:

    Players use the standard rolling method to generate a set of scores (4d6, drop the lowest, roll six times and assign). Assuming that the scores rolled don't meet the requirement for a reroll, the player has the option to either use the scores rolled or take the Standard Array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8). In the end, I believe two of my four players went with the Standard Array because they found it to be a more desirable spread than what they rolled.

    I am particularly fond of the Standard Array as (unmodified) your character has two "great" attributes, two "good" attributes, one "average" attribute and one "poor" attribute.
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    My self i use point buy, i find its easier to build a character that you want to play and find it better for everyone playing, all are equal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chavic View Post
    I agree, If I went with rolling, I would do 4d6, drop one.

    Just curious korhal23, you mentioned that point buy works well in Star Wars. What are games you would recommend rolling for and why?
    Rolling is best suited to games where players play the everyman. Just like real life, there's a chance that you'll come out better than others, and there's a chance you'll end up somewhat of a runt, but most people will end up near the average in skills and abilities. Star Wars is not that game. I mean, Heroic Classes and non-heroic people are a very blatant distinction at the core of many of the game's mechanics.

    Aces and Eights is a game where you should roll stats (it's a game where you roll up basically your entire life story... from there you then pick a profession, a much more logical progression of things imo), as is Aftermath! Most games, however, do not feature your character as an everyman... you're either some kind of hero, or some kind of anti-hero, and are thus more suited to point buys.
    Last edited by korhal23; 07-02-2009 at 01:25 PM.

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    Honestly, I'm fairly neutral with regards to Point Buy vs Rolling. My one problem, and this is a problem everybody I've ever gamed with in person has, is the way the higher scores cost more. Honestly, do you know how hard it is to make yourself put an 18 in a stat when it costs 16 out of maybe 25 or 30 to do so? I honestly don't think it's right. A toss of the dice could (and in my case almost always does) give one or more 18, and they expect you to sacrifice so much of your character's other potential to it?

    I play by pointbuy when the DM's mandate it, and I can live with it. But I hate the scaling cost, with a passion. If given the choice of less than 32 point buy or roll 3d6, leave them as they lie, I'd probably take the dice roll.
    --- Merged from Double Post ---
    Edit(yes I know I'm doubleposting, but the auto-merge is easier than edit and its super late and I'm feeling lazy lol):

    I'm AFB right now and in Saga all I've ever done is rolling, so forgive me if that whole tangent on scaling point buy prices doesn't even apply to Saga.
    Last edited by Lucian-Sunaka; 07-02-2009 at 04:25 AM. Reason: Automerged Double Post
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    That makes sense rolling for Everyman type characters, because if you just took a small sample of people, their stats would be pretty random. But in a hero setting, where characters have supposedly trained or worked in their careers, a more focused set of stats makes sense.

    Ok, thanks for all the input everybody.

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    I am all for point buy. I think it is easier to manage and have all the players at the somewhat same power level.

    Concerning min/maxing I think that is what redeems it in the eyes of people who prefer rolling so they can still get the high scores if they really want them.

    To satisfy both parties I use a 30 point buy for my players.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucian-Sunaka View Post
    Honestly, I'm fairly neutral with regards to Point Buy vs Rolling. My one problem, and this is a problem everybody I've ever gamed with in person has, is the way the higher scores cost more. Honestly, do you know how hard it is to make yourself put an 18 in a stat when it costs 16 out of maybe 25 or 30 to do so? I honestly don't think it's right. A toss of the dice could (and in my case almost always does) give one or more 18, and they expect you to sacrifice so much of your character's other potential to it?

    I play by pointbuy when the DM's mandate it, and I can live with it. But I hate the scaling cost, with a passion. If given the choice of less than 32 point buy or roll 3d6, leave them as they lie, I'd probably take the dice roll.
    On the flip side I cannot, CANNOT stand getting a score less than 10. I would pout and scream and jump up and down if I rolled more than one score less than 10. Point buy gives players the OPTION to have scores less than 10 but doesn't FORCE them to keep them like rolling does. If I ever get scores rolled less than 10 (usually in 3.5 D&D) I quickly and fervently point to the other rules in the PHB that state if your total bonuses equal 0 or you do not have a single score over 13 then you are entitled to a reroll. That has saved my butt on several occasions!

    Another option I enacted many many years ago that I have since abandoned since discovering the joys of point buy, is roll 3 sets of ability scores, keep the best set and arrange them as you wish. I personally liked this because it gave me so many more options!

    But I still think 30 point buy is where it is at!
    "I'm afraid it is you who are mistaken. About a great, many things."

    "It is not the rules that make or break a game, it's the GM and the players."


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