Just took my first look at the playtest packet

Just took my first look and I was happy right off. Two of the things I detested about 4e were changed! Rolling ability scores appears to be the accepted norm rather than the (to me) extemely irritating "standard arrays" and real alignments are back! So, do these things make anyone else happy?
Makes no sense to use 4d6-drop-lowest as the default. Besides all the arguments for why point buy is better (it is), 4d6-drop-lowest isn't even a very good rolling method, as others have shown it makes wildly unbalanced arrays. There are other methods (2d6+4) to make arrays that look more like the standard array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8). 4d6-drop-lowest can make super characters with 18s (unreachable with standard array) and unplayable characters with multiple stats lower than 8 (also unreachable).

I'm okay with alignments. I disliked that 4e dropped the law/chaos axis in favor of "Super Good, Good, Neutral, Evil, Super Evil." As long as all the most irritating parts of the alignment system are removed, like the paladin's Detect Evil, I would be fine going forward.
I enjoy a bit of randomness or chance in my character creation and it's nice to at least have a possibility of great scores instead of everyone being mediocre. I'm in complete agreement with you on alignment though.
As long as they don't include alignments in hard-coded mechanics, they can do whatever they want with them. I'll just continue to ignore all references to alignment.

And as long as they keep the tables in there for point buy, I also don't mind if they include rolling as an option as well. Again, I'll never use it in my games, but that doesn't mean I don't think anybody should be able to.

Also, what do you mean "mediocre"? You can start with a 17 easily using point buy. Just because your 1st level character can't be literally the strongest/fastest/smartest mortal in existence by having a 20 score doesn't make them mediocre. A 10 is a mediocre ability score. With even a 12, you're already better than the majority of normal people. If you take a closer look at the math of the system, you don't need an 18 in your primary stat just to survive anymore. I've played a Fighter with a 14 Strength, Dexterity and Consitution and still been a badass.

And if you want to be a bit more strategic about your stats, take a simple Human Fighter; you can easily get Strength 16, Dexterity 14, Constituion 16, Intelligence 9, Wisdom 12 and Charisma 12. That gives you well above average Strength and Constitution, making for a solid warrior, and the best Dexterity to take advantage of Scale Mail. Go with sword-and-board and you've got 13 HP, 18 AC and a basic longsword attack for +4/1d8+3. That makes for an incredibly solid combatant in Next, and one who is also not bad at perception and social stuff (including Intimidate).

You're acting like D&D Next is still based on old-school math... it's not.

And that's not even considering the fact that rolled stats can give you a complete crap build just as often as they'll give you a great one. You want to talk about "mediocre" stats with poitn buy? Try rolling up an array of 11, 9, 8, 8, 7, 3 a time or two.
I enjoy a bit of randomness or chance in my character creation and it's nice to at least have a possibility of great scores instead of everyone being mediocre. I'm in complete agreement with you on alignment though.



I agree with you. Just because point buy can give you an overall better selection of scores doesn't mean its "better." I have actually had some pretty enjoyable characters that started with some poor stats, and I have friends who have said the same. It was challenging to level those characters up and made it that much better when they grew more powerful.
I enjoy a bit of randomness or chance in my character creation and it's nice to at least have a possibility of great scores instead of everyone being mediocre. I'm in complete agreement with you on alignment though.



I agree with you. Just because point buy can give you an overall better selection of scores doesn't mean its "better." I have actually had some pretty enjoyable characters that started with some poor stats, and I have friends who have said the same. It was challenging to level those characters up and made it that much better when they grew more powerful.



Yes, exactly. I've only made one point buy character and felt no attachment to the character at all. I will always roll my stats, and it should always be Method I.

I enjoy a bit of randomness or chance in my character creation and it's nice to at least have a possibility of great scores instead of everyone being mediocre. I'm in complete agreement with you on alignment though.



I agree with you. Just because point buy can give you an overall better selection of scores doesn't mean its "better." I have actually had some pretty enjoyable characters that started with some poor stats, and I have friends who have said the same. It was challenging to level those characters up and made it that much better when they grew more powerful.



Yes, exactly. I've only made one point buy character and felt no attachment to the character at all. I will always roll my stats, and it should always be Method I.


Most of my players who had very low stats via rolling quickly became dispondent of miss after miss and fail after fail while watching the 20 stat charcters wipe the floor with enemies, I'm all for having an option for random but my experience has been that sooner or later the vast chasm of stat difference just kills players enjoyment.
On the other hand, I've never had a point buy group complain that there abilities were too low or too high.
Most of my players who had very low stats via rolling quickly became dispondent of miss after miss and fail after fail while watching the 20 stat charcters wipe the floor with enemies, I'm all for having an option for random but my experience has been that sooner or later the vast chasm of stat difference just kills players enjoyment.
On the other hand, I've never had a point buy group complain that there abilities were too low or too high.



As a rule of thumb, most people who support point buy are able to look at (and care about) the entire group of characters and see the bigger picture.  Whereas most people who support rolled stats care primarily about their own character.  That's evidenced here.  The people who support rolled stats talked about their own experiences.

At the same time, forcing a person to care about other people at their table is an innately challenging endeavor.  Having rolled stats as the default is ok, because it is easier.  It creates a lower start-up cost.  And it is easy enough for people who have regular gaming groups to ignore it.
I enjoy a bit of randomness or chance in my character creation and it's nice to at least have a possibility of great scores instead of everyone being mediocre. I'm in complete agreement with you on alignment though.



I agree with you. Just because point buy can give you an overall better selection of scores doesn't mean its "better." I have actually had some pretty enjoyable characters that started with some poor stats, and I have friends who have said the same. It was challenging to level those characters up and made it that much better when they grew more powerful.



Yes, exactly. I've only made one point buy character and felt no attachment to the character at all. I will always roll my stats, and it should always be Method I.


Most of my players who had very low stats via rolling quickly became dispondent of miss after miss and fail after fail while watching the 20 stat charcters wipe the floor with enemies, I'm all for having an option for random but my experience has been that sooner or later the vast chasm of stat difference just kills players enjoyment.
On the other hand, I've never had a point buy group complain that there abilities were too low or too high.



If you allow them to reroll a useless character, that problem goes away. In my games it's not roll to see if you get a good character or not, it's roll until you get a workable one, and everyone ends up with randomized stats but all comparable to each other.

I enjoy a bit of randomness or chance in my character creation and it's nice to at least have a possibility of great scores instead of everyone being mediocre. I'm in complete agreement with you on alignment though.



I agree with you. Just because point buy can give you an overall better selection of scores doesn't mean its "better." I have actually had some pretty enjoyable characters that started with some poor stats, and I have friends who have said the same. It was challenging to level those characters up and made it that much better when they grew more powerful.



Yes, exactly. I've only made one point buy character and felt no attachment to the character at all. I will always roll my stats, and it should always be Method I.


Most of my players who had very low stats via rolling quickly became dispondent of miss after miss and fail after fail while watching the 20 stat charcters wipe the floor with enemies, I'm all for having an option for random but my experience has been that sooner or later the vast chasm of stat difference just kills players enjoyment.
On the other hand, I've never had a point buy group complain that there abilities were too low or too high.



If you allow them to reroll a useless character, that problem goes away. In my games it's not roll to see if you get a good character or not, it's roll until you get a workable one, and everyone ends up with randomized stats but all comparable to each other.




In addition to that approach, as a DM, I've also decided to take the "drop the lowest" one step further to the ability scores themselves (if a player wants to). Do the normal 4d6-drop lowest, but do it 7 times intead of 6, and drop the lowest resulting ability score so you get to keep the best 6 generated scores.
"i like it random" and "reroll if dislike" does not go together in my book...either you have random or controll. Lawful or chaotic, you cant choose both!

 There has been countless loooong topics of roll vs static. They always boil down to:
 I want to roll and see what my character becomes
 or
I want to play X conxept, I cant be sure to play that with roll
 
 So its all down to how you like to make chars, at my table we have both types of people so to make both options fair 2d6+4 and std array are good options to have side by side. Its nice to have the options printed out... however opposite the OP I think its disgusting that one option is "the standard method", what happened to modularity and bringing together all editions?

2e Planescape is my favourite setting and I love alignments are back and would love to see an option of using it in as many mechanics as possible

4d6 drop the lowest place as you wish means that you can always play the character concept you want. However, the "awesomeness" of that character is not defined. Due to "drop the lowest" the probability of low stats isn`t high, but you can still get them. Characters in the party are of different power level, and that`s what`s fun. Of course "reroll if dislike" shouldn`t be an option if you want it to be truly fun, however there may be a treshold of a "too weak" character where you can either reroll or automatically take high stats. I`ve heard of a funny houserule that if all your rolled stats are single-digit you get all 18s (= not high probability of that, really. Anyway, you don`t have to keep really sucky rolls, but you have to accept if you are weaker than other party members. And it`s fun.


Between chaotic and lawful there`s neutral, and it doesn`t have to mean neither. It can mean both. That`s the problem a lot of people have with alignment system :P


4d6 drop the lowest place as you wish means that you can always play the character concept you want. However, the "awesomeness" of that character is not defined. Due to "drop the lowest" the probability of low stats isn`t high, but you can still get them. Characters in the party are of different power level, and that`s what`s fun. Of course "reroll if dislike" shouldn`t be an option if you want it to be truly fun, however there may be a treshold of a "too weak" character where you can either reroll or automatically take high stats. I`ve heard of a funny houserule that if all your rolled stats are single-digit you get all 18s (= not high probability of that, really. Anyway, you don`t have to keep really sucky rolls, but you have to accept if you are weaker than other party members. And it`s fun.


Between chaotic and lawful there`s neutral, and it doesn`t have to mean neither. It can mean both. That`s the problem a lot of people have with alignment system :P




Neutral usually means not forcing your way of thinking on others. What might be fun for you sounds like a nightmare for others. ;) (I SO love alignments, they are so descriptive)

 4d6 could give an array of 14, 14, 14, 14, 14, 14. If I want to play a dumb weightlifter that is not possible, equally I could get 18,18,18, 6, 6, 6 and want to play average Joe, again it is not possible. Neither of the above are unplayable, they are actually quite decent stats mechanically. So people who write a background story, then decide what to play, and THEN roll stats are better off using point buy and shouldnt be viewed as "abnormal" which they will be if the "normal" way of acquireing stats is dictated as either rolled or static.

 The reason 2d6+4 is the better way of rolling stats in Next currently is becuase it corresponds statistically the best with the Stat Array and Point buy system that is in place (it has been proven elsewhere). 4d6 is statistically the far superior choise to the array/pouint buy as it is, so either can be changed to accomodate the other, I think the 4e point buy is rather close to 4d6 for instance. Anyway, as long as one is not touted as "the normal way" I am happy, so that each player on the table can chose for themselves what is fun.

I don't have to pick one or the other, I'm a Neutral character maker. I know exactly what character I want to make before touching a pencil, but I still roll my stats. Because what does it take to play a certain class? Two, three good stats at most. If I get all 9s, I'm obviously not keeping that even though I rolled it randomly. If I get a 17, 15 and 14, that's staying, and I'll see what else I get. Maybe I'll get a 5, that's always fun. My girlfriend has a very wise Cleric of Pelor with an intelligence of 7, he knows nothing about his faith but is the most devout follower you've ever seen. Maybe I'll get another 14 and I happen to be an unusually intelligent Barbarian, or an oddly strong Sorcerer. Those are the kinds of things you don't see a lot with point buy or standard array.

That's my reasoning. I do think point buy needs to be an option in the game. I think there should be many options like 1st and 2nd edition offered, but it's my opinion that the default method should be 4d6 highest 3. And whatever method you use, it's important that every character in the party is on the same caliber. If you let one person use a bunch of 11s next to someone with three 18s, the game will have issues.
I still dont see the need for a default. If all options are equal, why make one "more equal" than the others?
I still dont see the need for a default. If all options are equal, why make one "more equal" than the others?



One has to be listed first, though, people will take that as the default.
2d6+4 does not work, it gives you a max potential of 16, when point buy max is 15
Not to mention the average of 2d6+4 is 10, when the average of point buy is 12.5


3d6+3 drop the lowest, reduces the max potential to 15, which matches point buy
and it increases the average to 11.5, which is closer to point buy
The chances of rolling 6 or 7 with this system is about 2%, and the chance of getting a 15 is about 7% (14 is 20%)


Another good system is 4d4+3, as it also sets the max potential to 15, and also places the average around 11.5
The chances of rolling 6 or 7 with this system is about 2%, and the chance of getting a 15 is about 5% (14 is 17%)

I don't have to pick one or the other, I'm a Neutral character maker. I know exactly what character I want to make before touching a pencil, but I still roll my stats. Because what does it take to play a certain class? Two, three good stats at most. If I get all 9s, I'm obviously not keeping that even though I rolled it randomly. If I get a 17, 15 and 14, that's staying.



So your reasoning is to keep trying until you get the ability scores you actually want?
Sure it might still be 'random' but its the worthless part of random

Like going to a Casino and when youre dealt a bad hand in Poker, you ask the dealer for a new hand (for free) and keep asking for one until you get a winning hand

If you are playing Random Generated Characters, you get 1 shot, if your character ends up with 4/4/4/4/4/4, well then All I must say is good luck, and I hope you enjoy your game with the guy sitting next to you who managed to get 18/18/18/18/18/18

If you keep rerolling character stats until everyone is balanced, then there was no point to rolling for stats
Just took my first look and I was happy right off. Two of the things I detested about 4e were changed! Rolling ability scores appears to be the accepted norm rather than the (to me) extemely irritating "standard arrays" and real alignments are back! So, do these things make anyone else happy?



I personally dislike rolling for hit points, but I'm glad that both options (rolling and point buy) are in the game, so people can use whichever one they prefer.

As for alignments, I'm very glad that they have no mechanical weight (other than the alignment requirement on the Paladin in this packet, which hopefully is going to be removed). Spells that protect from or detect evil now work against fiends and undead instead, not any character that happens to have an evil alignment. This solves the problem with Paladins and Clerics ruining plots and entire adventures by identifying the villian with ease. I think this will also encourage more people to play good characters, since all of the spells that used to exist that punished people for playing good characters (like blasphemy) no longer work on humanoids.

Alignments should be there as a way of describing your character and as a roleplaying tool, not as a straight jacket to force people to play a certain way or to ban certain character concepts, IMO.
Not to mention the average of 2d6+4 is 10, when the average of point buy is 12.5



If you're going to make a post about math, it's good to get your math right.  It may be a minor error, but in this case, a minor error made me stop reading the rest of your post.  You may wish to utilize the edit button.
4d6 drop lowest is obviously a bow to tradition. But folks will always make their own sandwiches their own way. I think we might use 3d6, assign as desired. Bring on the death!:-)
Neutral usually means not forcing your way of thinking on others. What might be fun for you sounds like a nightmare for others. ;) (I SO love alignments, they are so descriptive)

Not necessarily. Neutral can be very very forcing, it`s just that the way they are forcing is somewhere in between (= (I love them too)


And I don`t say that making one way more official than the others is the right thing to do. It`s just that something has to be listed as default, and 4d6 drop lowest is good for that. I`ll elaborate below.



 4d6 could give an array of 14, 14, 14, 14, 14, 14. If I want to play a dumb weightlifter that is not possible, equally I could get 18,18,18, 6, 6, 6 and want to play average Joe, again it is not possible. Neither of the above are unplayable, they are actually quite decent stats mechanically. So people who write a background story, then decide what to play, and THEN roll stats are better off using point buy and shouldnt be viewed as "abnormal" which they will be if the "normal" way of acquireing stats is dictated as either rolled or static.

Well... getting that much disparity or that much equality is not very probable. That`s what you can get with a Point-buy, but 4d6 usually means that your character is somewhere around 10 in his worse stats and higher in his better stats but unlikely to get 18. Not an average Joe, but also not absurdly min-maxed creep.


I don`t really get into that much detail when planning a character. I usually have some general concept in mind, but backstory gets fleshed out after / in the process of choosing skills, feats, specialties, whatever. More fun that way, to me.



I don't have to pick one or the other, I'm a Neutral character maker. I know exactly what character I want to make before touching a pencil, but I still roll my stats. Because what does it take to play a certain class? Two, three good stats at most. If I get all 9s, I'm obviously not keeping that even though I rolled it randomly. If I get a 17, 15 and 14, that's staying, and I'll see what else I get. Maybe I'll get a 5, that's always fun. My girlfriend has a very wise Cleric of Pelor with an intelligence of 7, he knows nothing about his faith but is the most devout follower you've ever seen. Maybe I'll get another 14 and I happen to be an unusually intelligent Barbarian, or an oddly strong Sorcerer. Those are the kinds of things you don't see a lot with point buy or standard array.

That's my reasoning. I do think point buy needs to be an option in the game. I think there should be many options like 1st and 2nd edition offered, but it's my opinion that the default method should be 4d6 highest 3. And whatever method you use, it's important that every character in the party is on the same caliber. If you let one person use a bunch of 11s next to someone with three 18s, the game will have issues.



I think that having a bunch of 11s when someone else has a bunch of 18s is exactly what makes game feel more interesting. Balance is a good thing in the system, but isn`t needed that much in a game itself.


A short time ago my friend was making her first character ever. She rolled good, but one stat was 8. We put it into Charisma, and she described a wise and intelligent archer girl who was a hunter and spent most of her life in the woods or with her small and close circle, has no experience with an "outside world" and is rather quiet, calm and reserved. Now we have a quest hook about what exactly made her leave her native forest... three pages of backstory. Without rolling system it would all be just min/max, and the great story would never be told.


Probably to experienced players who know exactly what they want beforehand and only need character creation process to express their concept in mechanical terms point buy is better. But for new players who start the game without the slightest idea what their character can be or have a great personality idea but are not sure how this will translate into mechanics 4d6 is very useful.



And you always have class and race bonuses to fix it a bit. You don`t have to put them into your best stat to boost it to 18, you know.

2e Planescape is my favourite setting and I love alignments are back and would love to see an option of using it in as many mechanics as possible


Death to all alignment mechanics and good riddance.  May their memory be erased from the cosmos as the worst idea for a game ever.

Paladin:  "I detect evil."
DM:  "The King's advisor has an aura."
Paladin:  "I kill him!"
DM:  "Adventure over." 
I like point buy with a random pool size.

6d6-1 points in pool for point buy : range 5 to 35 with an average of 20

I use it for Pathfinder. 

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I like point buy with a random pool size.

6d6-1 points in pool for point buy : range 5 to 35 with an average of 20

I use it for Pathfinder. 



I feel like two conversions is one too many for most people.  You're using a dice result to determine a total number of points, then converting those points back to attributes.  Which you could have just done by letting the dice result be the attributes.  Cut out the middle man.

Don't get me wrong, point buy is my preferred system.  I'm just not sure I'd try to marry a weighted system and a random system in this way.

Also, if you want to be on-topic to DnDNext, it's worth reminding yourself that the existing point buy system here defaults to 27.  You'd probably prefer 6d6+6.
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