Rolling vs Point buy… in 4th edition.

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To start off, I’ll admit. I’m a point buy advocate. But I wonder what the “default” character creation method be in 4th edition? Will the game designers finally give up the proud nail from 1E of randomly generated stats? Will the DMG’s section on controlling player power level talk of how many points to give for different settings (and will published adventures say “for 6th level characters, high power campaign,” for that matter.) Perhaps having adventures that “high-powered” characters blaze through and not even find interesting, while low-powered characters might not even make it through.

Or will the game designers choose to keep that classic 1-E feel of a barely playable character teamed up with superman, because one got uber lucky and you rolled minimum.
I'm hoping for point buy as the standard creation technique.
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Ditto, on the point buy. Pick an "official" power level, that the game can be adjusted to, and have a point buy... Even if it is a 25 pt. buy.
Even if they don't use point buy, I will.
At least I have my proper avatar now, I guess. But man is this cloud dark.
I personally favor a set starting array for all (modified by racial choice, of course). That keeps the playing field level for all so you don't get the wimp plus the superman problem. Whether someone stands out or fails then becomes a matter of the choices they make, rather than everything hinging on the luck of a few dice roles made before play actually even starts. The problem with point buy is an experienced player could min/max while a novice might choose less wisely thus creating a wimp with no playing experience and a veteran superman -- the problem is exacerbated...
I personally favor a set starting array for all (modified by racial choice, of course). That keeps the playing field level for all so you don't get the wimp plus the superman problem. Whether someone stands out or fails then becomes a matter of the choices they make, rather than everything hinging on the luck of a few dice roles made before play actually even starts. The problem with point buy is an experienced player could min/max while a novice might choose less wisely thus creating a wimp with no playing experience and a veteran superman -- the problem is exacerbated...

Not really, even if you have a munchkin and a newbie making the decisions, you're still based on the same number of points with point buy. The newbie could still just as easily gimp his wizard by putting his lowest stat into intelligence and highest into strength. You haven't (and really can't) fix the power levels if players make poor character creation choices, regardless of what their intent was. A standard array merely keeps anyone from having too high or too low of stats.
Not really, even if you have a munchkin and a newbie making the decisions, you're still based on the same number of points with point buy. The newbie could still just as easily gimp his wizard by putting his lowest stat into intelligence and highest into strength. You haven't (and really can't) fix the power levels if players make poor character creation choices, regardless of what their intent was. A standard array merely keeps anyone from having too high or too low of stats.

true, as does the point buy method -- I was allowing my own personal preferences to cloud my judgement there. Still, either method is better than rolling for just that reason. It seems every time I have sat down with even two players rolling up characters one will get s**t scores and the other well above what should be statistical averages, and this has been pretty much my experience since I started gaming back in 1980.
Back then it was an expected part of the game that you would have one dominate PC who was the toughest and acted as the "caller", basically dictating what the rest of the group was supposed to do! That seemed broken even back then...no group I played in ever did it that way. In a system where all the PCs are expected to contribute roughly equally, rolling no longer makes sense, as the base stats affect pretty much every single crunch aspect of the characters. Small differences in them make far greater difference than in previous editions, and I presume this will continue to be the case in 4e.
Generally, I roll better stats than I can point buy, but I do like the Point Buy option. Saga has both, I'd like to see the PHB have both.
I've rolled characters with tremendous stats, and I've rolled the most incompetent retards you can Imagine. Most Dm's I play with use more generous rolling methods than those printed in the book to eliminate gimped characters. However, this does not wholly eliminate disparity. or the occasional 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 5, set of stats.

I'm all in favor of point buy, and to a lesser degree standard arrays (only because that might make characters seem too cookie cutter) IF Wizards makes more stats important to more characters, you probaly won't see ans many obvious dump stats with certain characters (such as 18 str 18 con 8 cha fighters)
I hope it's like Shadowbane(the MMO)'s system.You use points both to "buy" your race(can be a cost of 0 for standard stuff), traits(like heritage, past occupations, etc, that give bonuses) and stats.

That gives you way more customisation than you have now
Point buy is a step in the right direction. I prefer unweighted point buy though to what is in the book, and I like arrays plus bonuses best. The poll at EN World shows a definite preference for point buy over random ability scores.

I made a separate topic for array plus bonuses but I'll paste it below so you can see what that's about.

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I have a suggestion for making the "Elite Array" ability score generation method more palatable to players. I think this is also more fair than the point buy system as all points cost the same with the array.

The way this works is that bonuses of +1, +2, and +3 that can each be assigned to any one ability score from the array, with no more than one bonus applied to any score.

So, start with 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15. Adding the bonuses could get you:

10, 10, 12, 13, 17, 16 (+2 on 8, +3 on the 14, +1 on the 15)

8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18

8, 10, 12, 16, 16, 16

10, 10, 15, 14, 14, 15

11, 12, 13, 13, 14, 15

And so on. There's quite a bit of variety without going overboard and allowing extremely min/maxed stats like some point buy systems. As you can easily see by the last example, it can be used to make a bell curve (scores average to 13), or as most players will do, stack the stats on the end giving a couple mediocre scores along with a somewhat bad one. With racial abilities on top, you still have the option of taking one score of 6 if you want to be a grumpy dwarf.

This system also lets players have a coveted 18 score with having to give up a lot of other points like in the point buy method. It's hard to say that the character with scores of 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18 is unbalanced compared to any of the other examples I gave. Players seem to find it a fair and balanced way to start the game.

I hope this can be squeezed into the 4E DMG, maybe in place of one of the 5 (!) optional randomized systems.
I really hope PB becomes standard (or at least moved to the PHB). I also hope that hit points are made non-random. Character generation should be determinate. Players should be able to generate/level characters without a DM watching over their shoulder.
What I found as a DM was that to save time I would have my Players arrive with pregenerated characters. Well, if you do that, no matter what method you give the players to use you know that they're going to ditch any set of stats that they think are unplayable or (in the case of AD&D) don't allow the class/race combo that they wanted. The best solution for that is some sort of a point buy system so that players can play what they want and still have a balance among players and the game system.

I want a system that allows the player to play the character he wants without giving one player what seems to be preferential treatment to the other players. (That was what broke the AD&D paladin, allowing a player the stats to play a paladin usually gave them much better stats than the other players.) The only solution I see is a point buy method.
I hope it's like Shadowbane(the MMO)'s system.You use points both to "buy" your race(can be a cost of 0 for standard stuff), traits(like heritage, past occupations, etc, that give bonuses) and stats.

That gives you way more customisation than you have now

Wasn't this tried in the abomination of 2E: Player's Option? Good idea in theory, but with a little twinking you can overclock a level 1 character to get some horribly powerful race.

And honestly, if you make a game in which you have to 'purchase' your background, you get some weird results.

"Yeah, all the nobles in Greyhawk are born with disfiguring diseases. And all the hobos have supernatural abilities."
I usually just give my players a set of scores that they can place wherever. Its sort of a dummy proof Point Buy, I guess.

If they go with point buy, something will need to be done to balance out the MAD classes, though.
I really hope PB becomes standard (or at least moved to the PHB). I also hope that hit points are made non-random. Character generation should be determinate. Players should be able to generate/level characters without a DM watching over their shoulder.

Exactly. Building the character should be entirely based on player decisions. Random rolls are for actual gameplay. Rolling produces stats that are unfair and non-sensical. Ability Scores are too far reaching to be determined randomly.

Also, it's too easy for the dice to mess up your character concept. Your scores need to not only be balance with those of the other characters, they need to make sense for your character.

Regardless of whether your character class needs multiple good scores or only one, it's much better to be able to control where exactly those numbers go. In my experience, 28 point buy is sufficient to represent any character concept. It sometimes forces difficult decisions, but that happens when things are balanced.

I also don't like rolling for HP at each level. What if the Fighter rolls nothing but 1s? We all have houserules to get around that right? Well if every single group is ignoring a rule, then that rule is a problem.

I am aware of the Iron Heroes method, whereby HP are "1d4+3" instead of "1d8" for example, but I would go a step further and replace the random roll altogether. The flat amount granted would be either the same as the current HD (10 for a Fighter) or slightly less than that amount (say, 8 for a Fighter) or determined on a new basis having to do more with the nature of the class in 4E as opposed to 3E.

Rolling HP also makes generating a mid or high level character that much harder to check.

In both the cases, nobody can double check the ability scores or the HP of a character, when that should be relatively easy. This isn't only about the DM being able to check an unscupulous player, it's also about catching honest mistakes. I often mess up something, especially when building a character at 7th level or higher.

I understand that some players think rolling is fun, but I think that it should be an optional rule, and point buy should be the standard.
To start off, I’ll admit. I’m a point buy advocate. But I wonder what the “default” character creation method be in 4th edition? Will the game designers finally give up the proud nail from 1E of randomly generated stats? Will the DMG’s section on controlling player power level talk of how many points to give for different settings (and will published adventures say “for 6th level characters, high power campaign,” for that matter.) Perhaps having adventures that “high-powered” characters blaze through and not even find interesting, while low-powered characters might not even make it through.

Or will the game designers choose to keep that classic 1-E feel of a barely playable character teamed up with superman, because one got uber lucky and you rolled minimum.

Both really need to be there. Point Buy is best for pickup games, as it forces everybody into balance. But it deprives the game of variety.

Joe the Weak, Str 6 fighter didn't last long but he was one of the most fun characters I have ever played.

Jay
Exactly. Building the character should be entirely based on player decisions. Random rolls are for actual gameplay. Rolling produces stats that are unfair and non-sensical. Ability Scores are too far reaching to be determined randomly.

Also, it's too easy for the dice to mess up your character concept. Your scores need to not only be balance with those of the other characters, they need to make sense for your character.

I'd just remind you to include HP rolls in that as well. If I want to play the frontline tank, I shouldn't have to give up that that spot and rework my feat choices to an archer because I've gotten below average HP for the last few levels and now the rogue can tank better than I.
I find rolling fun, and I of course use the rerolling rules which eliminate unplayable characters. And I would always use it for new players, since other wise they'd probably make an unplayable character, with one 18 and every thingh else bad. But I think point buy should be in the PHB.
It takes, like, a paragraph to describe each system. I'd be surprised if Wizards didn't present them side-by-side in the PHB. Preserve the sacred cow while feeding point buy advocates on pork.
I find rolling fun, and I of course use the rerolling rules which eliminate unplayable characters.

The only issue I have with that is unplayable is relative, both to a particular character concept, and everything else in the campaign.

edit: that said, moving them both to the PHB isn't a bad idea.
This was mentioned but I hope they include random dice rolling, point buy and an array in the core book. Then allow us to pick what we want to use for our groups.
I like this...but it probably is considered too "high powered" for many current campaigns...I'll probably be using your method for my own game from now on, though...
I also don't like rolling for HP at each level. What if the Fighter rolls nothing but 1s? We all have houserules to get around that right? Well if every single group is ignoring a rule, then that rule is a problem.

I am aware of the Iron Heroes method, whereby HP are "1d4+3" instead of "1d8" for example, but I would go a step further and replace the random roll altogether. The flat amount granted would be either the same as the current HD (10 for a Fighter) or slightly less than that amount (say, 8 for a Fighter) or determined on a new basis having to do more with the nature of the class in 4E as opposed to 3E.

Rolling HP also makes generating a mid or high level character that much harder to check.

In both the cases, nobody can double check the ability scores or the HP of a character, when that should be relatively easy. This isn't only about the DM being able to check an unscupulous player, it's also about catching honest mistakes. I often mess up something, especially when building a character at 7th level or higher.

Standardized hp also makes it easier to deal with level loss since you don't have to remember so much about what has changed since the last level.

That said, I am actually in favor of some degree of randomization in hp, but I'm not sure if it is worth the disadvantages(inconveniences and balance). I'd hate to see every Joe Schmoe of Class X have the same hp. It will just lead to more cookie-cutter builds, especially if point buy becomes standard.
I'd use rolling (with rolling six stats and then choose which stat gets which number) whatever method would be standard in the game, I have been using that for years and it hasn't let me down yet. You tend to have better characters if you use the reroll method, which is fine with me because mostly we need better then average characters in the games that I play in, and that's the whole point isn't it to play the heroic characters that would save the world/city/village/lone rock in dessert. Besides why would you want to squash the fun of rolling of two really high stats (or more) with one lower.

Though I could understand differences and preferences in play style, I'd say put them both in and be done with it. Use whatever method seems good for you. Ultimately it’s up to you and your fellow gamers to decide which method is fairer and/or more fun, that’s what this game is all about isn’t it to have fun?
I'll stick with rolled, no matter what becomes "standard".
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Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

Lose point-buy systems. Random rolls make for much more fun characters. Had a fighter with an 18 strength, 3 intelligence, and a 4 wisdom about 25 years ago. Lucky Eddie was fun to play.
Lose point-buy systems. Random rolls make for much more fun characters. Had a fighter with an 18 strength, 3 intelligence, and a 4 wisdom about 25 years ago. Lucky Eddie was fun to play.

But a character of a couple of 12's , 11's. and 10's is not gonna be much fun.

I'm not gonna say that rolling is "wrong" but I find the chance of everyone having fun in such a situation to be much lower than with PB, so I won't play in such a campaign.
Point buy's practical, and rolling's romantic. While the sight of multiple 6s and 5s on a stat roll brings shivers of joy, the issues involved have pushed me towards the point buy system. Rolling means that the DM has to watch as stats are generated, a task I'd rather do without.
Point buy is standard for Living campaigns is it not? If so I say leave that be, I can understand people not wanting to be stuck with crap characters in big games like that.

As for a standard though, I would like to see no one particular style be the foundation for how a D&D character should be rolled. Point buy systems are great for speed and balance, so they should be included and there should be multiple point sets for average, powerful and superior builds.

But my players always opt to roll, point buy is available, they just want to roll and see what they get. It's fun for them and who am I to take that away from them? There are so many ways to roll as well and some of them can be so much fun when it's all said and done.

The old school 3d6 straight down the line of ability scores is sure to make an interesting character. And 4d6 drop the low then assign as you will has always been a favorite amongst my players. I just don't see why there should be a standard. WotC should give us a bunch of different options and then let the players pick what they want to use to generate their characters. I let my players choose whatever option they want and they don't always all use the same one, but it works for them and in the end I think that's all that matters.
Ditto, on the point buy. Pick an "official" power level, that the game can be adjusted to, and have a point buy... Even if it is a 25 pt. buy.

Agreed -.-
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I remember a big analysis of point buy vs. rolling on the ENworld site a few years back. If I remember right, the one-standard-deviation spread on 4d6-drop-the-lowest, discard-if-modifiers-sum-below-0 rolling (i.e. standard 3E rolling) was somewhere around 20±10. That is, ~70% of die rolls fall between 10 and 30 point point buy, and ~30% are either higher than 30 or lower than 10.

And I believe the general feeling at the time was that a difference of ten points in point buy was about the equivalent in power to one ECL. So you have a pretty good chance of getting both a Mr. Lucky with 30 point-buy equivalent and Mr. Unlucky with 10 point-buy equivalent sitting down at the table together, and having their characters vary in power by a couple of levels—this is particularly the case at low levels. At higher levels, class abilities become more dominant, but there’s still a big difference between the guy who started with an 18 in his spell-casting stat and the guy who started with a 14, because that was the highest roll he got. If that.


That, along with the fact that point buy can be done at home, instead of having to be done at the table with the DM, got us switched over. And I think it was more because of the statistical analysis of how variable 4d6 drop the lowest really is. Our DM was a die-hard die-roller before that point, and he really couldn’t hold out against the argument.

If stats had a more minor role (say: 10-13 = +0, 14-17 = +1, 18 = +2, instead of 10-11 = +0, 12-13 = +1, 14-15 = +2, ...) then the difference in points would be a lot less severe. More like a one-level difference between the luckiest and the unluckiest guys at the table. And then it might be reasonable to consider. But at the same time, it would only be doing that by decreasing the difference stats can make at any time.

Better to give players the ability to customize their characters—design them to fit a character concept, with constraints to prevent minmaxing. And it ends up working pretty well. Can you sacrifice dump stats to get an 18 in your primary stat with a standard point buy? Sure. Are you hurting yourself more than helping yourself? Absolutely. Much better to take a 15 or 16 in your primary stat so you can have other stats that aren’t wretched than to take an 18 and be a one-trick pony. Even a straight-up melee fighter needs a better distribution of stats than that—especially if he wants to do anything more than Power Attack all day long.
Sign me up for point buy officially replacing rolling. I also prefer fixed hit points to rolled hit dice on leveling up. Both for the same reason: randomness if fun for things within the game itself, but annoying when one roll has a permanent lasting effect on how the game has to be scaled. I played in a group once where the barbarian had a 13 strength and had rolled a 1, 1, and 2 for his hit points at level 2, 3, and 4. The wizard had more survivability than he did even when he was out of spells.
i won't speak of 4, cuz i just don't know it, but to be honest, i use rolls as a way to determine what my Char is. though, as a dm point buy is good, as it let me have Chars that not only have easily measurable power level, but I know thats what everything was balanced against, its easy for an otherwise legit build to become broken if they get 18 18 17 16 14 11 (an actual roll) that said point by really hits MAD Char concepts, and boosts SAD ones. I know for sure if I TPK, I will use 28 or probly 25 point buy for the characters.

I am in favor though, of doing Random roll, I prefer it as a player, though not as a dm
The essential theme song- Get a little bit a fluff da' fluff, get a little bit a fluff da' fluff! (ooh yeah) Repeat Unless noted otherwise every thing I post is my opinion, and probably should be taken as tongue in cheek any way.
I'd be happier with point buy if it started at a default 10 stat instead of 8. Yes its just semantics but I hate blowing 12 of my 25 points just to become average in my stats.

In my games I give the option 28 point buy or 4d6 drop lowest arrange as you want. Just don't ***** to me about bad rolls since you had the choice from the get go you greedy bastich.
I never liked the standard point buy, it makes PC's too average, too me personally a "heroic" character should be HEROIC. Plus the group I play with we tend to be stingy with magic so giving stats a bit more umph seems practical. For truly munchkin run we use a 93 point buy (Starting from zero it can yield 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13 for it stats or some other combination). To each their own.
Sign me up for point buy officially replacing rolling. I also prefer fixed hit points to rolled hit dice on leveling up. Both for the same reason: randomness if fun for things within the game itself, but annoying when one roll has a permanent lasting effect on how the game has to be scaled.

My. How... Orwellian.
No true variance. Thanks to point buy optimization, every fighter at my table will have the same stats and HP. If you are going this far, why not simply have three iconic characters for each class (one per power level) with no rules for character generation and be done with it? It would ensure that people haven't cheated on their rolls and guarantee that each character is playable.

Yes, the PB crowd can deluge me with horror stories about how their gaming experience was somehow sullied because the people at their table had vastly different stats. While I am truly glad that they somehow managed to soldier on through that hardship and managed to survive until the Point Buy system, like a leather-clad Daniel Day-Lewis rescued them in the wilderness, I am somehow fresh faced enough to accept my players at their word when they come to me with a character.

By all means, put both in there. I am not harmed by what system(s) my players use. I allow both in my games currently and will continue to do so.
like a leather-clad Daniel Day-Lewis rescued them in the wilderness

"I will find you!"
To start off, I’ll admit. I’m a point buy advocate. But I wonder what the “default” character creation method be in 4th edition? Will the game designers finally give up the proud nail from 1E of randomly generated stats? Will the DMG’s section on controlling player power level talk of how many points to give for different settings (and will published adventures say “for 6th level characters, high power campaign,” for that matter.) Perhaps having adventures that “high-powered” characters blaze through and not even find interesting, while low-powered characters might not even make it through.

Or will the game designers choose to keep that classic 1-E feel of a barely playable character teamed up with superman, because one got uber lucky and you rolled minimum.

Tough call.

We started using the default 4d6-discard-lowest rolling method, but after a couple of campaigns we switched to point-buy.

However, I wouldn't want the rolling method to completely disappear from the PHB. It is actually better IMHO when creating an NPC, because (1) it is faster and (2) it forces the DM to come up with different characters everytime, instead of always making the evil wizard the same :D

Perhaps the best way is to include both, and design the point-buy so that the typical character is *slightly* worse than the average result of the rolling method. This way, a player can choose between the safe way (point-buy) and the gambling way (rolling) which on the average makes you gain something more but also carries the risk of ending up worse. A player that doesn't want to risk will never be forced to.
If your characters are ending up the same because of ability scores and hit points, you are doing something wrong. You've got feats, skills, spell and power selections, and above all your imagination to define the characters. Character creation and advancement should be about active choices, not dice rolls.
My. How... Orwellian.
No true variance. Thanks to point buy optimization, every fighter at my table will have the same stats and HP.

Yes, because Power Attack and Combat Expertise, the two fighter feat tree foundations, have the same prerequisites ...
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.