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Thread: 4ed Abiltiy Score Methods

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    4ed Abiltiy Score Methods

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    If I'm doing the math right then using permutations:

    With method #1 alone there are 720 different combinations of ability scores. That seems like a nice variety for a party of 4-6 (or even 10) characters to have a unique combination.

    With method #2 there are well over 10,000 different possible combinations of ability scores.
    That seems mind blowing.

    With method #3 (introducing probabilities) there is something like 16 million combinations, with less than a million of those combinations being acceptable for PC's, and far fewer if considering the +4 to +8 Mod range restriction (to prevent glass jaw or superfreak syndrome).

    Did I do the math half way right?

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    Method 2 was not well thought out. Simple would be: You start with six 8's and x points, you may buy one for one to 14, two for one to 16 and three for one to 18. That would be a "standard" point buy.

    Instead, you start with five 8s and a 10, you can buy up a ten for one point each up to 13, but if you start with an 8 then you have to first buy up to ten, then you can...blah, blah, blah...

    Not a big deal since you can easily do what you want, but it does not bode well.
    "Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." - JFK

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    Quote Originally Posted by Engar View Post
    Method 2 was not well thought out. Simple would be: You start with six 8's and x points, you may buy one for one to 14, two for one to 16 and three for one to 18. That would be a "standard" point buy.
    RPGA method. I didn't like it when I first saw it. Too complex. Why not X points and one for one? Simple enough and you will want a balance so you adjust the number of points to fit the balance.

    The RPGA method is weasally. We give you LOTS of points! But we take them away if you want high stats.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    RPGA method. I didn't like it when I first saw it. Too complex. Why not X points and one for one? Simple enough and you will want a balance so you adjust the number of points to fit the balance.

    The RPGA method is weasally. We give you LOTS of points! But we take them away if you want high stats.
    Yup, granted doing it the other way can lead to some fairy high powered characters. With a 32 PB, 1=1 ratio you can have 2 18's, a 14 and the rest 10's...which for some is perfectly fine. I just reintorduced Dice Roll to the group for the first time in years after doing a 36PB at a 1=1 ratio...one guy actually ended up WAY above the curve (18, 18, 18, 16, 14, 11)...all roled in front of me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow Dweller View Post
    Yup, granted doing it the other way can lead to some fairy high powered characters. With a 32 PB, 1=1 ratio you can have 2 18's, a 14 and the rest 10's...which for some is perfectly fine. I just reintorduced Dice Roll to the group for the first time in years after doing a 36PB at a 1=1 ratio...one guy actually ended up WAY above the curve (18, 18, 18, 16, 14, 11)...all roled in front of me.
    Hey it can happen. Random means just that, random.

    As to 32 points being too much at 1:1, lower the point total. That seems easy enough to me. 32 points at 1:1 with a base of 8 yea. I can have three 18s, a 10 and two 8s. That might actually be fun to play.

    My late Wife once rolled a character that was three 18s and three 3s. Statistically crazy. Worse, rolling the stats in order (on the character sheet of the time) Str 18, Con, 18, Dex 18, Int 3, Wis 3, Cha 3. Dudley was a blast. Heck if I am still playing with Mike at the character switch, I might ask to play that one again. It should be interesting with the 3.5 rules.

    You are never going to get a character like that with a point buy, and that really is a shame, because the happy accidents that the random method can give you can be a lot of fun.

    Sure, point buy is fair, but maybe a tad too predicable. People don't tend to build weird stat mixes. They will go for the most effective build for the class they have in mind. I can't blame them, but you lose something in that process.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    You are never going to get a character like that with a point buy, and that really is a shame, because the happy accidents that the random method can give you can be a lot of fun.

    Sure, point buy is fair, but maybe a tad too predicable. People don't tend to build weird stat mixes. They will go for the most effective build for the class they have in mind. I can't blame them, but you lose something in that process.
    And THAT is why I like Rolling. We allow 1 "free" 18 when we roll, just so that your not totaly gimped, especailly if your playing a caster you'll always be good there, but you could be the invilad with a great mind, something PB or Array scores don't allow for.

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    I like rolling too, but tend to temper it. If I remember right, I said two 14's or reroll and any score 5 or less put 4 points to the highest roll (even over 18) as a gifted/cursed scenario.
    "Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." - JFK

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    Here's something else to throw into your calculations: Apart from attribute increases with levels, there is no difference between a 10 and an 11 in any attribute but CON, as far as I can tell. Anyway, you should still have plenty of permutations for a single party, especially since the characters will be using their stats in completely different ways- using CON is very different between Warlocks and Fighters, for instance...

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    Wow...even at 720 possible combinations, that's still very versatile. I don't think between all the D&D games I've been in over the years that our groups have even created a combined total of 720 characters. More likely 50-75 characters or so.

    Both point-buy and random methods have their advantages and disadvantages. When I had my players rolling up characters for my recent Star Wars Saga game I told them that they could roll for their stats using the normal method (4d6 drop the lowest). If they didn't like the stats that generated, they could take the standard array instead. One of the players ended up taking the standard array as he rolled pretty poorly compared to the others (this is the same player who has generally bad dice karma).

    Randomization can lead to some unexpectedly interesting characters, but it can also lead to occasionally feeling let down when your rolls don't totally reflect the concept you had in your head. I was playing in a 3.5 Dark Sun campaign once and I wanted to play the Half-Giant strong man of the group. The thing was, after rolling attributes, placing my highest stat in Strength and applying racial modifiers...my Half-Giant fighter still had 3 points less in Strength than the Mul rogue who was half his size and we had about the same Con. Needless to say, I was underwhelmed. It still could have been fun (the game didn't last very long) but it definately stole my thunder a bit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webhead View Post
    Wow...even at 720 possible combinations, that's still very versatile. I don't think between all the D&D games I've been in over the years that our groups have even created a combined total of 720 characters. More likely 50-75 characters or so.
    But how many arragments are worth anything? you have 720 possible, but do you have 720 usable? And again, no happy accidents, ever.


    Quote Originally Posted by Webhead View Post
    Randomization can lead to some unexpectedly interesting characters, but it can also lead to occasionally feeling let down when your rolls don't totally reflect the concept you had in your head. I was playing in a 3.5 Dark Sun campaign once and I wanted to play the Half-Giant strong man of the group. The thing was, after rolling attributes, placing my highest stat in Strength and applying racial modifiers...my Half-Giant fighter still had 3 points less in Strength than the Mul rogue who was half his size and we had about the same Con. Needless to say, I was underwhelmed. It still could have been fun (the game didn't last very long) but it definately stole my thunder a bit.
    I have yet another method of creating characters. Sell it to me. Come to me with the stats you want and the reason. You get a chance to make your case. The better the stats the better the case had better be.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    I have yet another method of creating characters. Sell it to me. Come to me with the stats you want and the reason. You get a chance to make your case. The better the stats the better the case had better be.
    And this method is supposed to be better or just different?

    I am pretty sure that most players are smart enough to accomodate their stats to their character concept with a "Point-Buy" system.

    Some people is just not happy with the so called "happy accidents"; Playing Professor X over Conan is a matter of personal taste not of role-playing skill level.

    If we purely discuss the reasons behind WotC preferring “Point Buy” vs “Random” is my impression that they had Data to backup their decision.
    Saluti
    Carlos

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimthar View Post
    And this method is supposed to be better or just different?
    It's special. And can encompass stat mixes you couldn't get with the point buy. It's only come up twice.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dimthar View Post
    If we purely discuss the reasons behind WotC preferring “Point Buy” vs “Random” is my impression that they had Data to backup their decision.
    I really don't care about their reasons. I like my dice. I also note that rolling for it is not gone. They are not total fools, yet.

    Given a choice of rolling for stats or buying stats, I'll get out the Honest Dice.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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    I just like rolling because I tend to start with an empty slate for my character. Rolling gives me somewhere to begin. Either wow, this guy was gifted from an early age, except nothing seemed a challenge... or maybe, the village knew him only for his strength, but when it came time for a hero... I do it to start my character concept.

    I even once played "mediocre man". All nines to twelves (in 2e). It was a bad idea because I set a bad premise (I am not above getting pissy about scores either), but he still had a personality over several sessions (then I did in fact get tired of his statistical plainess and he died heroically). Hey, there are limits. He was also made of stuff the rest of party wiped from their heels (had all of us been on par, it might not have been so bad).
    "Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." - JFK

    "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
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    It would be fair to say that:

    1) "Point-Buy" Method appeals to players who arrive to the character creation process with a pre-generated “Character Concept” they want to play.

    2) “Random” Method challenges players to create a concept around the results of the dice.

    3) When none of the above is satisfactory, there is always the option of presenting one’s case to the GM who will judge and rule if "the request” is worth trying and fair to the other players.

    4E favors Method #1 since it allows enough diversity and uniqueness of PCs and still appear fair and balanced by taking out “Bad Luck”. Players with "Bad Luck" while rolling stats and who do not like the results of their dice may become grumpy or unsatisfied. It is likely that good market research showed this was very common.

    .
    Saluti
    Carlos

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    I just think it's good that D&D 4e includes multiple options for generating your ability scores so that players can choose which best suits their needs. Rather than say "here's how to generate scores and everything else is wrong", they say "here's 3 ways you can do it, pick the one you like". This way, fans of the random roll, fans of the point-buy, and fans of the "pick-and-choose" get acknowledgement from the game.

    Very encouraging.
    HARRY DRESDEN — WIZARD
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