New Article: Point Buy is Default

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From Mazzanoble's new article:

[indent]Previously, the dice controlled your character’s fate when it came to ability scores, and you often you wound up with a rogue who looked like he dove into a shallow gene pool and chipped his two front teeth. 4th Edition is like creating a “designer baby,” minus the controversy. Move over bad dice rolls, now there’s something meatier: point buy! You start with six base numbers and get to improve them with points you can distribute where you like. I dumped a bunch into Intelligence and Wisdom, and then bumped up Charisma because someone has to sweet talk the minions. If you’re the gambling type and don’t want to mess with science, you can still leave it to the dice -- just start saving your gold now for braces and SAT prep classes.[/indent]

So it appears, point-buy is now default and randomization is the optional method. Interesting...
I makes sense. Playtests will be more accurate with a point buy system rather than trying to balance for random stats.
woot. Good to hear.
I can go either way on this, but from a design point of view, I agree that this makes more sense.
My heart is made glad.
Though I cannot claim the same for my all of my gaming group.

Truthfully, this does 'balance' things much more than the older system. Randomly rolled stats were the defining concept behind 'winning' and 'loosing' charcters in a lot of games, so much that it got to the point a few times where it was "just keep rolling till you got a block you like, just don't be too demanding of it." This thankfully worked with my group...usually. When point buy was brought up (either from DMG or PHB 2, I don't remember) they didn't care for it because it created 'subpar' characters. This meaning they couldn't have an 18 everytime unless they really wanted to take a hit elsewhere.

Though it may cause problems for a while in some groups, I for one am glad that they made the point buy system the standard.
i for one. will still roll my dice. i love rolling dice. the only thing i do not like is the fact that it now is a variant, and that the risk that i would not be allowed to roll, would be dramaticly increased
This is the worst thing I've heard about 4e so far. The idea of picking your ability scores (albeit with restrictions, I understand how it works) is unfathomable to me.

I cannot even bring myself to tell how much I loathe point buy systems. And to avoid simply complaining, I will just state 'I can ignore it'.

i for one. will still roll my dice. i love rolling dice. the only thing i do not like is the fact that it now is a variant, and that the risk that i would not be allowed to roll, would be dramaticly increased

So um...horrible grammar aside, this shouldn't change anything for anyone. I'll be enforcing point-buy on my group, but I was going to do that with my latest campaign anyway. Just talk it over with your group/DM; come to an agreement or at least a consensus and build scores accordingly. If your DM tends to dislike variants on face, just have a mini-referendum of the players. He'll go the way of the group's wishes if he's any decent sort of bloke and you have good reasons for your insistence on rolling for scores.

I feel like people need this emphasized regularly: just because the 'official' rules will be changing immensely for this next edition doesn't mean you can't house rule things about 3e that you preferred. D&D will always (at least I assume it will) be a game driven by the individual.

In response to any dissidents, I would say that there is a good reason to use point-buy over rolling, and it happens to be the very same reason most players prefer to roll. Rolling allows a player to have "better" scores than another player. Many players, several in my group especially, have managed to wrap their ego up into the game and garner some sort of utility from having three 18s while everyone else has one. One might argue that they just like to have high scores period, but if that were the case then most groups would be using an elevated point-buy. Unfortunately, players having stat variance creates discord in the group. The larger the variance, the more a particular player (or sometimes even two or three) will be made unhappy. Put simply: it's just not fun when your character is the weakling and you feel consistently outclassed by your erstwhile friend. From the DM's perspective, it is best to curb this problem and foster as much fun in each player as possible. That goal is why I use point buy in my games. If I want to run a game with more realism, I offer fewer points. For a more classical heroic game, I offer more points. The system works, and the only flaw is that players tend to avoid odd scores (which feel like a waste of points), resulting in ability score blocks that feel manufactured rather than organic. That's a price I'm willing to pay for my players' enjoyment.

Cheers

Kyle
Point buy is by far the best way to generate ability scores. It keeps everything even in the party, and avoids PC bitterness. Besides, in my experience, people who advocate rolling want to do so as long as they can keep re-rolling until they get what they want.
Point buy is by far the best way to generate ability scores. It keeps everything even in the party, and avoids PC bitterness. Besides, in my experience, people who advocate rolling want to do so as long as they can keep re-rolling until they get what they want.

I still roll 3d6, down the line . . . no rerolls (unless there's nothing above 9)


But I suspect I'm in the minority here.
This is the worst thing I've heard about 4e so far. The idea of picking your ability scores (albeit with restrictions, I understand how it works) is unfathomable to me.

I cannot even bring myself to tell how much I loathe point buy systems. And to avoid simply complaining, I will just state 'I can ignore it'.


Well as long as point buy and rolling produce compatible results, it doesn't matter.

My current approach to character creation is everybody rolls up his stats, and after he is finished he may decide if he wants to reroll one stat or use 28pt buy. Until now everybody was happy with that.

Ceterum censeo capsum rubeum esse delendam

So it appears, point-buy is now default and randomization is the optional method. Interesting...

IMAGE(http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa279/LolaBonne/Asiancat-1.jpg)

About bloody time! I've been point-buy-only since I started running 3rd.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
maybe they will get rid of the weighted point buy....
a mask everyone has at least two of, one they wear in public and another they wear in private.....
ive always thought point buy is crap and unless they make HUGE changes to it, i will always continue to think it is crap.

ill stick with rolling my dice, thanks but no thanks.
Just thought you should know. the countdown continues...
ive always thought point buy is crap and unless they make HUGE changes to it, i will always continue to think it is crap.

Could you enlighten us on why you think it's crap?
I hate rolling. I consistently roll 10-20 points lower than the rest of the group. I even once reversed the value of the dice numbers to see if that'll help and I still rolled badly.
So it appears, point-buy is now default and randomization is the optional method. Interesting...

Well, that won't impact my games any, so whatever.
Color me flattered.

LIFE CYCLE OF A RULES THREAD

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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.

Could you enlighten us on why you think it's crap?

For one thing, every increase should be worth one point, whether it's 11-12 or 45-46.

And second, it's not as exciting. I see a lot of this "should one dice roll determine the future of your character" garbage floating around. In my opinion, yes, sometimes it should.
Color me flattered.

LIFE CYCLE OF A RULES THREAD

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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.

Unless this is some really swank version of the point buy, I and my group will do as we've always done: Used our house-ruled system of rolling up stats. (No, it isn't anything like the 'standard' method of rolling.)
Good. One more step away from bad sacred cows. Stat rolling was one of the worst. This decreases the chance of DMs I run into thinking making me roll my stats is a good idea (it will lead to me retiring characters quickly until I get a set I'm satisfied with -- and would have chosen with point buy).
a fine way to show that WotC thinks point-buy is more balanced, and at the same time avoiding too much griefing by having optional normal dice-throwing in there aswell.
it gives DM's who are somewhat annoyed with their players rolling unnaturally high stats a good excuse to go for point buy without pointing fingers.
I see a lot of this "should one dice roll determine the future of your character" garbage floating around. In my opinion, yes, sometimes it should.

arderkrag has a good point, even though my answer to his rhetorical questions is "Absolutely not, what a horrific idea."

4th edition is eliminating save-or-permanent effects. A bad roll on character generation is akin to a save-or-permanent effect. Essentially, it results in a permanent loss of ability compared to the party median. (And for lucky rollers, random ability generation is a permanent boon to ability compared to the party median.)

For some people, save-or-permanent is just fine. But the designers clearly have decided they don't want it in D&D anymore. I'm glad they recognize that random ability generation is akin to a save-or-permanent effect.
This is the worst thing I've heard about 4e so far. The idea of picking your ability scores (albeit with restrictions, I understand how it works) is unfathomable to me.

I cannot even bring myself to tell how much I loathe point buy systems. And to avoid simply complaining, I will just state 'I can ignore it'.


While I can understand the sentiment, Point Buy system has been standard for the RPGA living city campaigns since 2e.

Point buy or assign attribute systems are for the most part standard in the industry now and DnD is one of the only ones that still uses a dice roll system.

Still, this is likely going to be one of the house rules that will last long after 6e.
Posted by Oneiros:
Could you enlighten us on why you think it's crap?

a lot of reasons. for one, i have a huge amount of sentimental value attached to rolling up stats for D&D.
for two, its too clean-cut and exact. every character is exactly the same(not literally of course, but i hope you take my meaning). i like rolling better because its more organic and realistic.
for three, i think the cost of various levels of attribute is totally off. if it was simply 1-for-1, i would like it much better.
for four, i think the number of points they consider 'average' is utter bollocks. average point buy makes characters that look weak to me--which is probably because im used to 4d6, which in theory makes characters a bit above average, and in my group we generally allow people to roll 2 stat sets and pick the better(not the better 6 rolls, the better set of 6). sometimes if both of someones sets are terrible, we allow them a re-roll from the beginning. we dont, however, allow as many re-rolls as you want.

those are the big reasons.
Just thought you should know. the countdown continues...
If I may?

for one, i have a huge amount of sentimental value attached to rolling up stats for D&D.

Next. What, you want a reason? Fine. Two words. "Sacred" and "Cow".

for two, its too clean-cut and exact. every character is exactly the same(not literally of course, but i hope you take my meaning). i like rolling better because its more organic and realistic.

What's so organic about rolling ability scores? The fact that your wizard just happens to also have a 14 STR? This is the one argument that really bothers me personally. If the organicness comes from some stats being high and others being low, point buy does that as well.

for three, i think the cost of various levels of attribute is totally off. if it was simply 1-for-1, i would like it much better.

It's for balance reasons. Having high scores earlier means earlier feat qualification which means more power earlier compared to your friend who might've had to balance a few stats. If you went with a 1-1 ratio, how many points would you allocate?

for four, i think the number of points they consider 'average' is utter bollocks. average point buy makes characters that look weak to me--which is probably because im used to 4d6, which in theory makes characters a bit above average, and in my group we generally allow people to roll 2 stat sets and pick the better(not the better 6 rolls, the better set of 6). sometimes if both of someones sets are terrible, we allow them a re-roll from the beginning. we dont, however, allow as many re-rolls as you want.

Unless I'm mistaken, there've been some statistical/mathematical analyses of 28-pt-buy and 4d6-drop-lowest, which suggested they were within about .25 points of each other on average. And if you like higher scores, just do 32-pt-buy or even 36-pt-buy.
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While I grant that Point Buy and Rolling are both official character generation methods, the article does not come out and state which is default.

From the rumors of "no stat is a dump stat" orbiting 4E, I can see where Point Buy is finally as balanced as its proponents claim.

Personally, I will roll my stats if given the chance, as I am playing D&D, not GURPS.
I can honestly say this doesn't surprise me at all. I felt that it was almost guaranteed that random character design was going out the window.

Now for hit dice...
I can see why it's pointbuy by standard now.

Because on the character vault, they have a toggle of what's an RPGA appropriate character. They have their guidelines...

Unless they change pointbuy from what it was in 3rd though, I don't see myself using it.
My group switched to point buy not long after 3e came out and we haven't looked back.
Mostly because it means that anyone can just make their characters at home and there can never be any doubt that the stats are legal. Yeah, yeah, friends shouldn't suspect one another, but we all know that there will be people who'll fudge the roll just a little one way if left to their own devices! :P

Also, point buy allows me to make a character precisely as I want to play. If I want someone who is fairly average with well rounded 12-14s in all stats I can do that. It may well not happen if I'm rolling.

As a final point, myself and another in my group have long-standing superstition around our dice-rolling in that the rest of the group remember some outlandishly high stats. Sure it is statistically improbable that we'll do the same every campaign, but gamers and dice superstition go together like tea and scones! (18, 18, 16, 16,16, 14 - rolled legally in front of the DM while no other player had rolled above 16. It can lead to frustration sometimes)
Actually Nihzlet, 4d6 drop the lowest rolls almost exactly 28 point buy on average. It depends on how you count scores below 8. It's something like 28.4.

As to roll fudging, who cares? I mean, if he'd rolled it instead would he be somehow entitled to it and he isn't if he just wrote down the numbers? I think that's silly. I let my players just pick what they want. Strangely, they decide to roll anyways. "point buy is too much math", they say.
Cool, I'm glad it's the default. Actually, I'm concerned it might not be the default, and that the author might just be mistakenly thinking it's the default because WotC undoubtedly always enforces point-buy during playtesting (they probably did for 3.5 as well).
as long as weighted point buy goes away. it is over complicated. a point is a point.

One of the games I am playing in uses this:

Characters are created using a modified 28-point buy system. Each attribute starts at 8. Each player has 28 points to assign to the 6 attributes. No ability can go below 8 or above 16 before racial modifiers.

I always went with high-powered character generation of one variety or another (my favorite to this point was picked up from a forum here: I rolled a dice pool, and let each player put it together how he wanted, 3 dice per stat).

The reason was that I hated early levels having to fight one enemy during most combats - I wanted them to start off taking things a bit tougher than they should've been able to by EL alone. Also, I like heroic characters - they make for fun stories, and my players have always been good about RPing them. (I consider myself fortunate considering some of the stories I've read about groups *grin*)

It looks like 4e is taking care of that first problem by making it a 1:1 ratio of creatures to players from the start, so perhaps I can get behind this point-buy system. I'll have to wait and see what happens - which is pretty much my response to all of the information I get about 4e, I suppose.

~DD
Move over bad dice rolls, now there’s point buy!

Thats my preference. ... but now how will my players cheat?

Decivre: Now for hit dice ...

I was hoping for this. I've been a fan of point buy since I first saw it, but my group thought I was crazy. Then we rolled our characters for a new campaign to introduce a friend to DnD for the first time. One player got two 18s, a 16, and nothing else below a 13. The new player rolled twice before she got scores that didn't fall under the "total failure" rule, and even then they only barely passed. We played point buy from then on (I started them at 36 and slowly weaned them down from there).
Rhymes with Bruce
as long as weighted point buy goes away. it is over complicated. a point is a point.

Except it's not. All classes have stats which are more important than other stats, if you use that system it encourages characters cookie cutter characters with 2 18s and the rest 8s (or whatever's appropriate with the numbers you use), wheres a "weighted" system encourages balanced characters.

eg, a fighter/Barb has 16-12-14-8-8-8 and 4-6 points left, in the system you describe, it's only worth putting them into physical stats (probably str), in the weighted system in the DMG, putting a couple into wis or int to "round out your character" hurts you less, allowing for more varied characters.

-Edit | point buy=win
At least they give us the option to chose. But Point Buy is fair and fast.
I for one hope they continue the trend into hit points. The stat system rolling has worked both ways for me... I've had the "Super Gods" and I've had the "Suck" characters. Neither way is particularly appealing... when a character has overall extremly good stats, the game becomes easy, and you start to have to shoulder too much. With the suck character, you never really bond... often you want to die just to reroll. Yes, I appreciate the "roleplaying" aspect, but let's be honest: when there's someone at the table that's "just better" in nearly every way, life sucks.

Hit points are even worse. Rolling a few extra hit points isn't that big a boon, but I've faced several characters that were inevitably "doomed to die" because of low hit point rolls. This is especially true of the "Defenders" (tanks if you will).... a series of bad hit point rolls and suddenly you're having to be overbuffed to be useful.

So this particular rule has been long incoming, and I'm glad to see it be the "default".
I'll be shocked if 4e uses rolling as default for stats. Now if hit die can die....
Scott Rouse, Brand Manager for WotC, put this quote on EN World, post 80, on the topic in the 4E - Confessions of a Full Time Wizard - 4E tidbits thread.

Opens draft of PHB, goes to chapter 1, page six, and looks at last paragraph regarding Determining Your Ability Scores and low and behold you can still roll dice to determine ability scores. It says so on page 7 in the third paragraph. But if you like to use the Standard Ability Array you can do that too, it says so on page 7. Not happy? Wait there is more. If you want to use a Customized Array you can do that as well, it says so. Where you ask? If you guessed it is on page 7 you get a [cookie]

Both systems still exist.
Couple things of note - the article DID NOT state that point buy was the default. It seemed, rather, to indicate that there was a default choice between point buy and rolling. Further, it seemed to suggest that this may be a slightly different point buy method (at least reference to it was phrased as if readers might generally not know what was involved). Hey, maybe it IS the default, but that's not what was actually stated.

And, it is once again necessary to stress that point-buy is not now, and probably still won't be for 4E the BE-ALL/END-ALL of character generation. Point-buy and rolling each have their advantages and disadvantages REGARDLESS of the suggestion made by the author to the contrary.

I phrase this next statement rather rudely only as I feel that it is necessary to do so to demonstrate the rudeness of some other statements...

It would be appreciated by those of us (or at least me) who do still favor rolling for our stats if those who favor point-buy could perhaps not lead their cheers by intimating that we're not too bright for choosing not to drink the kool-aid with you. You like your point-buy. Great. WE GET IT. We also disagree with you. Okay? I'm personally annoyed now by both veiled and careless suggestions that I'm an idiot because my players DON'T NEED to be forced onto the illusion of a level playing field.

Now, I don't personally care if point-buy is or is not the default, particularly since the article DID suggest that any and all previous myriad methods can still be used. I might use point-buy. I might not. Just a LITTLE acknowledgement that other methods are not without merit would be nice.

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