## Point Buy fix to not make even numbers min/maxy

30 posts / 0 new
Joined Oct 2007
110 Posts
Okay, so the current point buy values are this
STAT . . POINT COST
8 . . . . . 0
9 . . . . . 1
10 . . . . 2
11 . . . . 3
12 . . . . 4
13 . . . . 5
14 . . . . 6
15 . . . . 8
16 . . . . 10
17 . . . . 13
18 . . . . 16

It toally favours even numbers because the cost increase occurs after you've just bought an even, "increased by +1 mod" stat but before you've bought a odd and not "increased by +1 mod" stat. The current formula is...
if x E W (whole number system) and x is the paid point buy cost then
(note: L is the floor function, round down to the nearest whole number)
f(x) = L ( x + 8 ), if 6>= x >= 0
f(x) = L ( 1/2x + 11 ), if 10 >= x > 6
f(x) = L ( 1/3(x-1) + 13) , if 16 >= x > 10

I think the cost SHOULD be changed to reflect that ew are trying to favour odd numbers as well and not have have point buy characters any more min-maxed than rolled character stats.
STAT . . POINT COST
7 . . . . . 0
8 . . . . . 1
9 . . . . . 2
10 . . . . 3
11 . . . . 4
12 . . . . 5
13 . . . . 6
14 . . . . 8
15 . . . . 10
16 . . . . 13
17 . . . . 16
18 . . . . 20
stats costs 1 point each up to 13, 2 additional cost for a 14 or a 15 in a stat, 3 additional points for a 16 or a 17, and 4 additional points for an 18 in a stat. And in the example here, the stats start at 7 (a -2 modifier) and not 8; but that "starting stat" is debate and much less the central concern.
Formulas would be...
f(x) = L ( x + 7 ), if 6>= x >= 0
f(x) = L ( 1/2x + 10 ), if 10 >= x > 6
f(x) = L ( 1/3(x-1) + 12) , if 16 >= x > 10
f(x) = L ( 1/4(x-4) + 14) , if 24 >= x > 16
I mean, if we ever needed a reason to, we could buy stats even higher (think about those stat changing rituals that use point-buy alterations or maybe higher levels PCs or monsters)
f(x) = L ( 1/5(x-9) + 16) , if 34 >= x > 24
f(x) = L ( 1/6(x-16) + 18) , if 46 >= x > 34
f(x) = L ( 1/7(x-25) + 20) , if 60 >= x > 46
f(x) = L ( 1/8(x-36) + 22) , if 76 >= x > 60
f(x) = L ( 1/9(x-49) + 24) , if 94 >= x > 76
f(x) = L ( 1/10(x-64) + 26) , if 114 >= x > 94

If this change does happen, they should determine what the new "averager", "high power", and "low power" point buy stat totals are. I'd suggest...
low 27, average 36, high 45

This might also relate to what the "Elite Array" (or any set of pre-gen stats) are. For reference, I think the Elite Array is 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8. Under this system, it would be worth 10 + 8 + 6 + 5 + 3 + 1 = 33pts.
Joined Oct 2007
110 Posts
does no one give a damn about the balance of point buy?
Another_Gnome
Joined Jun 2002
386 Posts
I don't give a damn about point buy to begin with, but you make a good point.

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

makeshiftwings
Joined Nov 2001
2598 Posts
First, a lot of people do take odd numbers in point buy. If you're rolling a level 1-3 character, and you think you've got a good chance of surviving to level 4 before things get hard, you can put an odd score like 17 in your primary stat and then raise it to 18 when you hit level 4. That lets you put an extra 3 points in a secondary stat, which means at level 4, the character who took the 17 is more powerful in every way than the character who took the 18. Plus, feats always require an odd number if they have an ability requirement, usually 13.

Second, who cares if the numbers are even? Is it just an aesthetic thing, that you don't like seeing a row of even numbers? The actual gameplay is not changed much at all if you "force" people to have a 15 instead of a 14.

Third, if a min/maxer doesn't see any good reason to put an odd number in a score, he's not going to waste a single point in it, regardless of how cheap you make it. In your alternative system, I would still leave all my scores even unless I was planning on statting one up at level 4 or taking a feat, regardless of the fact that odd numbers are cheaper. I would rather have one score at 16 and all the rest at 10 than have one score at 15 and all the rest at 11.
Joined Oct 2007
110 Posts
1) A higher stat is a higher stat. I realize that characters created at higher levels can then decide to put stat boosts into a stat later and that will come into there min-max plans. But a higher stat is a higher stat. If a player or DM knew, "you will get to X level and no higher", you could min-max even more. But that's not the case; in your example, the character gets a lower to buy elsewhere.
Maybe your mis-understanding my point; I think character should have to pay more, point buy wise, for higher (more specialized) stats, and less for more moderate and broadly spread stats. You actually prove a point for me; it should sometimes be worthwhile to some PCs to slightly drop a high stat from being quite as high as it could be to boost some other stats instead.

2) Who cares?!! The stats themselves grant higher modifiers at the even numbers. 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26... these are the numbers people want their PCs' stats to have. The gameplay is changed very much by these modifiers. The required stats for feats doesn't change much; the biggest that comes to mind is the TWF tree and req dex score. I don't think I've ever seen it be a problem for any other feat(s). Ever.

3) I'm really not sure what your argument is here. Yes, PCs will buy the stats they want... correct. If you as a player and the specific characters/builds you are playing mean you still don't buy odd numbers, that's your choice. But these Point Buy costs would more accurately gauge your power by way of stat purchases. You don't have to do a damn thing differently if you choose. However, under these costs, odd numbered stats are less undesirable than before.

I don't want to appear like a nasty, aggressive board troll. That being said, I feel these statements bring to light some useful counter-arguments and things to note.
runestar
Joined Jul 2004
3473 Posts
I don't think you are a troll. Your concern is not an illegitimate one, but I am not sure if it is worth making a fuss over. Yes, the current point buy system can be "optimized" to let you get maximum bang for your buck. But I see nothing wrong with that.

This is one of the minor details I am perfectly willing to close one eye about...:P
tequila_sunrise
Joined Feb 2006
1568 Posts
I've got a better idea--drop the 'two scores per modifier' BS. 6 to 14 works just as well as 3 to 18--then nobody can complain about even numbers meaning more than odd numbers and it's simple enough to create a rolling system for it for those who don't like point buy.
Joined Oct 2007
110 Posts
Well, changing modifiers would change a lot of things...
Tequila Sunrise, you think it's a good, HELPFUL idea to do this. SO, you want stat with their mods to look like...
STAT . . MOD
2 . . . . . -8
3 . . . . . -7
4 . . . . . -6
5 . . . . . -5
6 . . . . . -4
7 . . . . . -3
8 . . . . . -2
9 . . . . . -1
10 . . . . 0
11 . . . . +1
12 . . . . +2
13 . . . . +3
14 . . . . +4
15 . . . . +5
16 . . . . +6
17 . . . . +7
18 . . . . +8

... Can you elaborate a bit more on why you think this helps things? You realize, because the range and current way modifiers are built into so many sub-systems of the game, changing stat modifiers would change many many things... class abilities, racial stat changes, spell buffs, item buffs, average DCs for various effects, stat boosts for advancing character levels. I have a hard time see this as constructive.

This also seems like a side-step to the idea at hand; "do the current values for Point Buy stats need changing/balancing?"

Why do I always get no posts excepts responding to my own posts except the one guy with short-sighted, wigged out ideas that feels more like we're more talking at each other than having a helpful dialog.
makeshiftwings
Joined Nov 2001
2598 Posts
Maybe your mis-understanding my point; I think character should have to pay more, point buy wise, for higher (more specialized) stats, and less for more moderate and broadly spread stats.

You actually prove a point for me; it should sometimes be worthwhile to some PCs to slightly drop a high stat from being quite as high as it could be to boost some other stats instead.

But that's how it already works. You do pay more points for specializing, and it is sometimes worthwhile to boost other stats (this really depends on what class you're playing, not on whether odd numbers are cheaper than even).

2) Who cares?!! The stats themselves grant higher modifiers at the even numbers. 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26... these are the numbers people want their PCs' stats to have. The gameplay is changed very much by these modifiers. The required stats for feats doesn't change much; the biggest that comes to mind is the TWF tree and req dex score. I don't think I've ever seen it be a problem for any other feat(s). Ever.

No, I mean why does it bother you to see a lot of even numbers? Do you think the odd numbers feel left out? You're right that odd-numbered abilities are mostly unimportant, but so what? That's how it was designed.

3) I'm really not sure what your argument is here. Yes, PCs will buy the stats they want... correct. If you as a player and the specific characters/builds you are playing mean you still don't buy odd numbers, that's your choice. But these Point Buy costs would more accurately gauge your power by way of stat purchases. You don't have to do a damn thing differently if you choose. However, under these costs, odd numbered stats are less undesirable than before.

I guess this goes with my previous statement: why is it important for people to desire odd stats? The game works fine the way it is; and I don't think there's a barrel of fun to be gained by seeing a 13 instead of a 12 written on a piece of paper when it hardly makes any mechanical difference.
sphyre
Joined May 2003
1054 Posts
I don't give a damn about point buy to begin with, but you make a good point.

That would have to be my response as well.
sirtodd
Joined Oct 2005
12 Posts
If you altered the cost table your using to the following they wouldn't need to rebalance the point buy levels:

9-15 = 1 pt each
16-17 = 2 pts each
18 = 3 pts

It would drop the overall cost of an 18 by 2 but you're far more likely to see 15s and 17s, than with the current system. Making a 17 a cheaper alternative to that 18 but quickly remedied by level 4. But it also allows for a strong primary stat (15) without the need to waste points.
nom
Joined Jan 2004
2095 Posts
By and large, an odd numbered score is "half way to the next even numbered score". Which is why it makes more (not less) sense to have them pointed as they are.

There are a few advantages to having 15 over 14 (TWF, I'm looking at you), but by and large it's the same thing. For the most part, the real value in a 15 is that you are that much closer to 16. Making the odd score increment cost less won't encourage most people to buy them (paying half price for something you won't use isn't actually a bargain), but will make things cheaper for people using them as a stepping stone to the score they do want.

The argument has nothing to do with mechanics and everything to do with misplaced aesthetics. There's nothing inherently more or less "balanced" about a threshold effect quantised on even values than on every value. You might as well ask "what sort of magic sword can I get for 5000 gp?" The answer: "the same as for 2000 gp, except that you're that much closer to 8000gp when you can afford a better one".
jergker_dup
Joined Jun 2004
5 Posts
Of all the complaints I have about the 3.x edition of D&D, this is not one of them. If even number point bought stats bother you, then change it in your game.

As for myself, I'd prefer that the developers not spend a single minute re-considering the point buy system and spend all their efforts making sure they get the actual game mechanics as near-perfect as possible.

Jergker
tequila_sunrise
Joined Feb 2006
1568 Posts
Well, changing modifiers would change a lot of things...
Tequila Sunrise, you think it's a good, HELPFUL idea to do this. SO, you want stat with their mods to look like...
STAT . . MOD
1 . . . . . -9
2 . . . . . -8
3 . . . . . -7
4 . . . . . -6
5 . . . . . -5
6 . . . . . -4
7 . . . . . -3
8 . . . . . -2
9 . . . . . -1
10 . . . . 0
11 . . . . +1
12 . . . . +2
13 . . . . +3
14 . . . . +4
15 . . . . +5
16 . . . . +6
17 . . . . +7
18 . . . . +8

Yep, that's what the stats and mods would look like. I guess I didn't make clear the other important difference--that starting stats would only range from 6 to 14. So the actual mods wouldn't change, they'd still range from -4 to +4. So point buy would look something like this:

STAT . . Cost
9 . . . . . 0
10 . . . . 1
11 . . . . 2
12 . . . . 3
13 . . . . 5
14 . . . . 8

Standard point allotment would be 12. Low powered would be 6 and high powered would be 18. Does that help?
Stuntman
Joined Sep 2001
3592 Posts
I think the cost SHOULD be changed to reflect that ew are trying to favour odd numbers as well and not have have point buy characters any more min-maxed than rolled character stats.

If your intention is to make min/maxers more likely to choose odd numbered ability scores over even numbered ones, this change will not accomplish that. No one who min/maxes will waste points on odd numbered abilities unless they are trying to qualify for feats or have other specific reason to pick an odd numbered stat. If you really want min/maxers to choose odd numbered stats more often, you need to give some better incentives for odd numbered scores. Right now, a 14 and a 15 in a stat is for the most part the same. The only advantage of a 15 over a 14 is if you want to qualify for a feat or if you plan to increase the stat later. This is such a small advantage that most players will not bother putting points in for a 15 whether it is 1 or 2.

Point buy will always suffer from the even-stat issue as long as there is little incentive to make a stat odd. If the stat bonuses do not change in 4E, point-buy characters will always have a lot more even numbered stats than rolling. Although it costs less to get an even numbered score for the higher scores, players will still save up those points to boost a score to an even number.

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\>tuntman

evilcouch
Joined Jan 2006
99 Posts
Alternatively, they could just scrap the whole division between stat numbers and the bonuses they give.

Make the ability score be the value. No need for an extra 6 numbers on your character sheet. No "dead" numbers for ability score progression. It reduces newbie confusion between scores and modifiers, simplifies math, reduces point buy hangups on evens and clarifies the whole thing.

If I were in their shoes, I'd do it. There's really no reason not to except legacy issues.
delkie
Joined Dec 2007
1 Post
Spot on! I was going to post the same comment. Why are we holding on to vestigial attributes? Just use the bonuses/penalties to describe the stats and move on.
Joined Aug 2007
134 Posts
Legacy issue, otherwise they would have gone the True20 way and have abilities between -4 and +4 (just the modifier).
neobahamutdragon
Joined Oct 2007
9 Posts
I have been using a very strange thing during my D20 games so far. I am using 25 points and i am giving 1 point for each level up which the player has to use according to point buy system. Players who want to be strong hold on this some points those who want to be balanced can use it immediately. It adds a very strange taste to the game.
srgrvsalot
Joined Dec 2007
57 Posts
One thing though, stat bonuses are attained at even numbers, but most feat prerequisites are odd. A min-maxer doesn't actually gain that much by favoring even numbers. This is doubly true when you figure that putting an even value to starting attributes forces you to waste one or more of your ability increases.
DavidArgall
Joined Dec 2007
1956 Posts
Now the overwhelming tendency to have even stats was obvious from the moment the basic system was announced. [We were told that the odd numbers were going to get advantages too, which didn't happen to any serious degree.] And it should be fixed. However this adjustment to point buy won't do this. Even numbers will still be a lot more useful than odd.

Instead, we must improve odd numbers. Just as we are talking of benefits at every level, we need to talk of benefits at every improvement in stats. Say instead of +1 to hit and damage from 12 str, we give +1 to hit at 11 and +1 to damage at 12 [or vice-versa]. There are a variety of such systems, but the essential is that having an odd number is clearly better than having the lower even number.
sfdragon
Joined May 2004
8 Posts
I dont like the weighted point buy anyway so......
a mask everyone has at least two of, one they wear in public and another they wear in private.....
Burrytar
Joined Nov 2007
285 Posts
Burrytar
Joined Nov 2007
285 Posts
shamurai7
Joined Feb 2007
532 Posts
it would be much simpler,...and simpler is the goal, to have attributes set up as in the above table (tequilla sunrese's table).. there is absolutely NO reason to give modifiers at every even number. It makes things more confusing to new players and was a RETARDED IDEA to begin with...

i strongly agree that 1 point of attribute should be worth 1 point of modifier.
in this case a score of 14 would be an excellent score. and 10 remains average.

what reply do you give a new gamer who asks "why is it every other point and not every point that gets a bonus? isnt that just needless complexity?"

4th edition is supposed to remove unnecessary complexities, and this should be one removed..

those of you still clinging to it are likely the same people that refuse the metric system and insist that water should freeze at the random number of 32 rather than 0.

where is that 32 coming from? did the person who made it up just have a dartboard with random numbers and throw a dart and say..." ok so i guess water freezes at 32.

this senseless even sacred cow needs to be butchered.
celebrist20
Joined Dec 2007
175 Posts
characters are head and shoulders above the rest of the population. therefore, i allow 80 points of total ability with only one stat allowed below 10. this makes monks, paladins and multi ability dependent classes viable while allowing the fighter to be a hulking mass of muscle. typical denizens get 65, 'upgraded' npcs get 70 and the named villans get 75. this lets the characters begin life as something of a stud and lets face it by the time you get into the higher levels the difference of +1 on an ability is not going to be a game breaker. besides, everyone likes their character to have nice stats.
Stuntman
Joined Sep 2001
3592 Posts
I don't know what the big issue is with having a min/maxed character having only even numbered stats. Even if you get rid of the 3-18 abilities and replaced them with the -4 to +4, you will be able to tell a min/maxed character from one that isn't. What exactly would be the benefit of having characters with odd numbered abilities other than it may look a little more asthetically pleasing than all even numbers to some people?

If you want more even numbered abilities, then just roll for them instead of using point-buy.

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\>tuntman

Joined Oct 2007
110 Posts
Okay, I think some people are really misunderstanding this thread. My original idea was to re-cost Point Buy stats to less favor even numbered stats. A lot of people seemed to not really care or say changing stat "costs" won't change the way people choose to buy their PCs stats.

Then another guy said we should keep starting stats at -4 to +4 modifiers, but with each number (not every 2 numbers) changing the modifier. So 6 to 14 stats, as I recall.

Now other people are talking about alternatives to point buy, like giving someone a straight stat total that buys for 1-to-1 always. The previous guy was saying how me powered his various NPCs by this straight stat total.

***
Let me restate a few key points of my argument and why I perhaps would choose it above other systems.

1) Even numbered stats are the stats that change the modifier of the stat (ie. 15 str is still +2, but a 16 increases the modifier to +3). Point Buy also favor even number because the cost goes up at odd numbers (ie. the 14th point costs +1, the 15th point is +2). I think the Point Buy costs should change so that the costs go up on the even numbered stats (ie. so, for example, the 13th point costs +1, the 14th point costs +2).

2) I think a Straight Point Total (ie. make an 80pt character) is less fair because it does not take into account the power associated with specializing into fewer, higher stats.

Remember that the 3 rules for an "abysmal" character are...
a) negative modifiers equal or outweigh positive mods (net mods <= 0 )
b) 3 or more negative stats
c) highest stat is a 13 or lower

To illustrate how say 80pt Straight Stat Total is imbalanced, I'm going to create two sets of stats. Here they are
STRING A: 15, 13, 13, 13, 13, 13 (80pts, +7 net mods)
STRING B: 18, 18, 16, 10, 10, 8 (80pts, +10 net mods)
I say string B is far more powerful. Not just does it have a higher total net modifiers, it has much more deviation between stats (anyone taken stats). I mean this as a bonus, extreme higher highs and lows. In fact, I'll make a third string also made with all even stats to illustrate this:
STRING C: 14, 14, 14, 14, 12, 12 (80pts, +10 net mods)
String B, even with the same net mods, is the best string to choose.

Basically, costs (whether Point Buy or Straight Point Total) should reflect the central tendency of stats. In that way, higher deviation (very high and very low) should not be rewarded, meaning lowering stats below "average" should give only a marginal gain while buying stats well above average should have weighty costs. It actually for this very keenly sensitive mechanics of Point Buy that it would be the only system I'd trust in allowing PCs to have starting stats above 18- say 19 or 20 or 21... and this is because THEY PAY FOR IT. Buying a "20" with Point Buy sets your character back in many other areas; allowing characters to have a starting 20 with a Straight Stat Total is still just a 1-for-1 trade off (ie. dropping a 12 to a 10 to make an 18 into a 20 is NOT balanced, or even a 16 to an 18).

***
From the sounds of things about "Tournament Legal Play" and the influence of intercommunity balance and the RPGA, we're going to be seeing more of Point Buy because it is currently the MOST BALANCED SYSTEM. If you like "4d6 reroll 1s", or "80pt straight stat total", fine. But don't try to get my validation with a purely emotional argument that your stat system is more balanced than Point Buy.
celebrist20
Joined Dec 2007
175 Posts
what you dont mention in your example with all of the 13's is how each stat can become a 14 every 4 levels (if desired) whereas the all even stat buy gets a boost every 8 levels.
also, what is wrong with the fighter that has two really good stats and the paladin who has all decent stats? the fighter should be a better "pure" fighter since he is , well, a fighter and the paladin will have good combat abilities as well as the options available from other respectable stats. with the current system (IMHO) the multi ability classes are extremely hampered and the single stat dependent classes are minimally affected.

i understand where you are coming from and agree with you that if there is a sliding scale on point buy that the "kicker" as it were should be on the even points. i was just stating how i have handled that inequity (yes i noticed it to) in my campaign.
Stuntman
Joined Sep 2001
3592 Posts
Okay, I think some people are really misunderstanding this thread. My original idea was to re-cost Point Buy stats to less favor even numbered stats. A lot of people seemed to not really care or say changing stat "costs" won't change the way people choose to buy their PCs stats.

I understand that you want to cost things more appropriately. However, the bottom line is that if players won't change they way they choose their stats changing the point buy costs won't really accomplish anything. If with the existing point buy my stats are 16, 14, 13, 10, 10, 8 and it is the same (or very close) with your system, what is really gained?

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\>tuntman