Less than 8? More than 20? What are the absolute starting ability limits in 4e?

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I realize that D&D allows for anything to house-ruled.

However, by the 4e rules, can a character start with two 8's?   How about a 6?  

In the Method 2 version in the PHB, it says to start with 8, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10 and 22 points to spend.   Below that, it talks about a -1 going from 10 to 9 or 9 to 8.   Could a character then start with 8, 8, 10, 10, 10, 10 and 24 points to spend?   If you made an 8 into a 6, could you then have 26?
I realize that D&D allows for anything to house-ruled.

However, by the 4e rules, can a character start with two 8's?   How about a 6?  

In the Method 2 version in the PHB, it says to start with 8, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10 and 22 points to spend.   Below that, it talks about a -1 going from 10 to 9 or 9 to 8.   Could a character then start with 8, 8, 10, 10, 10, 10 and 24 points to spend?   If you made an 8 into a 6, could you then have 26?



No.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Only if you use the dice method.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
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Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
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Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
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Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
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my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

You don't get extra points for lowering a stat.

AFAIK, there is nothing that allows a character to reduce their stats like that, and all of the stat-boosting stuff (other than the racial modifier) is reserved for epic tier, so 8-20 is the limit at the outset.
18 is the upper limit at level 1, before racial bonuses. To get a stat of 19 or 20, you have to roll/buy the stat at 18, then get a +2 racial bonus to get to 19 or 20. For instance, an elf gets +2 Dex, and +2 to either Int or Wis. That means that, as an elf, you only have the possibility of having a 20 in those 3 stats at level 1.

As far as lower limit. With the point-buy method(method #2), it's not saying you can buy a stat from 10 down to 9 for -1. It's saying that a stat value of 10 costs 0 points. A stat value of 9 cannot be directly bought. If your stat is 8, then you can spend 1 to bring it up to 9, or 2 to bring it up to 10, at which time you can then improve it again(ie. 2 points to bring 8 up to 10, then 3 points to bring it up to 13).
That's not correct.  You can buy (sell?) a single stat down to 9 or 8, and this gives you back a point each time - you can't buy more than one stat down below 10, though.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
I think you start with five stats at 10 and one stat at 8.
You are not getting points back, you are simply not spending points to bring your self up to 10. 
The sea looks at the stabillity of the mountian and sighs. The mountian watches the freedom of the sea and cries.
True, I suppose it depends how you look at it.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
You still have to spend the points to get up to 10.
you start with 10,10,10,10,10,8. You can't buy any of them down from there.
9   -(1)    means you can't buy down to 9, but you can buy the 8 up to 9 for 1 point. the - and the (1) are different numbers, not the same as -1.
10  0(2)   means that the 10s cost nothing. it costs 2 t obring the 8 up to 10. from there, you can buy the stat up again.