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D&D 3E
Gameplay question... 
22nd-Jul-2006 10:20 pm
Soth
Or should I say, character creation question. No, i am not looking for deep meanings in release schedules or the like, but what everyone's opinion is on the character generation method below...

  STR DEX CON
INT 14 STR 14 INT 10
WIS 17 WIS 12 12 CON
CHA 17 CHA 17 DEX 12

*Borrowed from Invisible Castle*

Now, this will allow for some higher scale PC's, obviously (above was created with 4d6, drop the lowest) but what do YOU think? Would you allow this type of stat generation? Is this over the top as far as power goes? I showed my DM this and he was a bit taken back by the whole method... The pros I can see in this would be more choice, you aren't saddled with just six rolls but nine. The negatives are that it will allow for situations like the above with three 17's or even MORE, depending on the rolls.

Feel free to discuss, I am curious to get some feedback on this.
Comments 
23rd-Jul-2006 05:57 am (UTC)
It depends whether you can assign each roll to whatever cell you want. It's interesting if you can't, because then you have both more choices--more rolls overall--and fewer choices--fewer per individual ability score.
23rd-Jul-2006 06:31 am (UTC)
Well, according to what they have it programmed as, that first cell is EITHER STR or INT, but nothing else. The next cell was STR or WIS, but nothing else... So each cell is restricted to two choices...
23rd-Jul-2006 01:53 pm (UTC)
If everyone uses the same stat generation, then it is in theory balanced. Everyone has the same chance to get really high scores and stuff. I mean, theoretically you can get those rolls with the normal 4d6 method, so using such high numbers in your example doesn't really make it a penalty.

My question would be... why? It seems rather complicated (in that it took me a few minutes to even understand the chart), and I'm not sure what you gain from it. (Question: Do you assign numbers to the boxes in any particular order? Or do you roll 9 numbers, and then assign them how you want?)

Well, let see...
- Normally the first stat gets 6 choices, but then the second gets 5, the third gets 4, and so on until the 6th stat only has a single choice.
- With this system, let's assume that you assign the stats in order. STR gets 3 choices. DEX gets 3 choices. CON gets 3 choices. Then INT gets 1-3 choices, WIS gets 1-3 choices, and CHA gets 1-3 choices, with the total choices between INT,WIS,CHA being equal to 6. So either they have 3,2,1 [66% of the time] or 2,2,2 [22% of the time] or 3,3,0 [11% of the time].

Oops! There's a problem What happens if I wanted to put the 14 in STR, the 14 in DEX, and the 10 in CON? I now have no choices for INT. Does that mean such an assignments are not allowed? Because that reduces the total number of choices--assigning STR and DEX restricts CON to possibly 2 options.

So in theory this has the potential of giving more options to those last stats, but at the price of reducing the number of options for the first stats assigned. And really, it vastly more likely that those last three stats assigned are still going to have 3, 2, and 1 options.

So overall the system seems complex without giving any more flexibility. Now if you want to restrict the possibilities for ability scores this might help, I guess, but there are easier ways to do that. And since it retains everything I don't like about the 4d6 method, I'm sure I wouldn't consider using it.

Hope that helps.
23rd-Jul-2006 04:51 pm (UTC)
Well, that is the thing... It doens't HAVE to be a 4d6, drop the lowest. It could be 3d6 and that is it, it could be a division of points if you are into the horrid point buy system...

The way the site breaks it down is there are two choices for one number, if you completely use every option for INT for the other choices (DEX, CON and STR) then you can't do that. You HAVE to make a choice that covers all options, so that does semi-limit it.

The value for the PC is they have more options but less choices. If they have all 17's across the board and 9's everywhere else, it is tough pickings...

As far as easier ways to do it, you are right. I hate point buy with a passion though so that rules that out. Dice rolling is my thing...
23rd-Jul-2006 05:09 pm (UTC)
If you have less choices, then you have less options. There may be more numbers to pick from, but you have much less of a choice in how you pick those numbers. Therefore you have fewer options for what your abilities are.

It doesn't semi-limit it, it REALLY limits it. Instead of having 6 choices for your primary stat, you have 3. And then 3 for the next instead of 5, then 2 for the next instead of 4, and then 3,2,1 options for the rest. So you lose choices by using this system. It limits options instead of expanding them.

So why use this system instead of 4d6, or 3d6, or the point-buy system, or any other stat generation system? It takes the base syste (4d6 in this case) and limits what you can do with it in a complicated way.

I personally like the point-buy system, but I understand the arguments against it so I won't bring that up here. For customization with rolling, I like the systems of assigning 24 dice among the stats. So if you really wanted a high str, you could asssign 6d6 to STR (and then pick the best three), but you could only assign 3d6 to some other stats. It sets up rolling, but increases the chances of having the kind of high or low stats you want.
23rd-Jul-2006 05:19 pm (UTC)
I like that division of dice idea, it makes it easier if you have a concept before rolling, to at least have a better chance of getting to it.
23rd-Jul-2006 11:03 pm (UTC)
You are thinking that this is limiting, but it isn't as limiting as you think it is... Then again you and I are destined to butt heads on probably almost everything, I feel. This is one of those systems where if you have something in mind that you want to play, then this will give you more of a chance to play it.

Point buy or dice assigning is more limiting in my opinion because it isn't really putting fate in the PC's hands and just more being quite normal in a supernatural setting. This gives you more options to be a little bit better than your NPC peers, as you should be. Then again, I like being a little bit more powerful and special... Go figure.
24th-Jul-2006 12:02 am (UTC)
Butting heads alright as long as it stays civil and generates interesting discussion :)

There seem to be two things going on here:
1) The chances of a system giving you the character you want. And I'm arguing that this does not increase your chances. Say you want to play a character with a high STR. The normal 4d6 method gives you 6 chances to get a high STR, whereas this system only gives you 3. And that goes for every stat; no matter which order to prioritize, you have less options for what goes in that stat.
2) The range of abilities. For example, should ability scores range from 10-16 or from 12-18? This is personally preference. This system may possibly give you a slightly higher range because you have more numbers rolled to choose from, but I doubt it because choosing one number limits the rest of the numbers you can choose. And as I've said, this system generates a range of numbers identical to the "base" system, whether that's 4d6 or whatever.

I have no problem with the range. I see a problem in that it makes it harder for someone to play the kind of character they'd want to play.

I'm willing to agree to disagree at this point, and wait for the next issue to come up ;) I will say though, that it is a lot nicer discussing things with you than some other people :)
24th-Jul-2006 04:01 am (UTC)
A good way to gauge whether or not it's balanced is to calculate how many "points" you would have to spend to get the same score using standard point-buy.

Str 14: 7 points
Dex 17: 14 points (I think? Maybe 15--is 15->16 two or three?)
Con 12: 4
Int 14: 7
Wis 17: 14 points
Cha 17: 14 points

That comes to 60 points. 63, if 16's take three points instead of two. That is ridiculously overpowered, since most DM's only allow 30 points at character generation, and some stick to 25.

Then again, I'm not sure I understand your little table there--I've just gone by which number scores are labeled with stat letters.
24th-Jul-2006 04:05 am (UTC)
*sigh* Point systems blow, in my opinion. Point systems take the fantasy out of it and transplant real world mechanics instead. If you want point buy system, this isn't for you, as I have said earlier. This is more options for ROLLS, not point buys.

It is supposed to be fantasy and the DM's are supposed to create that, not transplanting regular joes to be heroic people. If I want that, i will watch a movie or something. Much like the "lazy DM'ing post", if you are too lazy to create a fantastic world, then that is your thing. I have walked away from more point buy systems for games than I can remember because they are just not fun... They are the hallmark of a lazy DM, as far as I can see
25th-Jul-2006 12:12 am (UTC)
Ah, ok.

But in the past, we've had parties where some people rolled obscenely well (I had a 22 Dex at fifth level--rocks to be an elf!--and everything else also strong) and some people rolled pretty poorly compared to it (8 cha, highest stat was a 15). In cases like that, the DM "awarded" the unlucky die-rollers with four or five ability points, to put where they wished. It provided for game balance.

It's fine and dandy and wonderful to make players adjust to low stats. (I have a bard with a Str 7 from rolls. And a 20 Cha.) But when players have different levels of power from each other, it's just unfair to the ones with bad die luck. There has to be some sort of balancing system, so that one player doesn't feel sad and useless compared to the other high-powered ones.
24th-Jul-2006 05:49 pm (UTC)
There's a trade-off with point-buy systems. If you're willing to tolerate low scores, you can get just the high scores you like. And if you don't like low scores, you never have to take them.

Rolling systems offer the potential for really dramatic characters. (You've got to put that roll of 5 somewhere.) You can look at the higher average statistic as a compensation for that.
24th-Jul-2006 05:56 pm (UTC) - There's an aspect that people are missing here.
...and that is, aside from how many choices a player has, is how well can they avoid a really bad stat roll.

Some people like the role-playing opportunity to deal with a character with some cripplingly low statistic. After a while, it wears thin on many players.

If you roll 4d6 and take the sum of the highest three dice, you can still generate a pretty low roll. (You still have a 1 in 1296 chance of generating all 1's.) In the "assign the six statistics as you please," where do you assign it?

In Lief's version, you can leave the low score as one of the three unchosen entries.

There's more to it than just "how many choices do you have?"
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