ability roll cheating

Zulithe

Explorer
I recently started a new campaign with some buddies I haven't gamed with in a few years. This is the first campaign that I have actually poured all of my time and resources into; all of my previous ones were usually planned in a very half-assed way (by my own standards) and rarely lasted more than 6 games. We've played twice so far, finishing up the first adventure I designed. In short, things are going well. Everyone is very enthusiastic about how things are going and about the world I've spent a great deal of time crafting. I was even told that I am their best DM which, while flattering, isn't a surprise—I've know all the others. That certainly doesn't go to my head though, especially when there are many here at EN World who put me to great shame. I'm just pleased that they are pleased. But, on to my problem...

One of my players has a serious history of fudging his stat rolls. It's now even rubbed off on his wife, our newest player. He's done this to me before, some years back. But this time, I was prepared (or thought I was). In anticipation for the new campaign, I sent out a pamphlet to all my players detailing the house rules. The first rule was very clear and to the point: Any characters which clearly had unreasonable stats (like three 17s or 18s) would not be accepted in my game.

There are many reasons for this, and I'm sure most of you DMs out there can understand why. The reason which concerns me the most is that the character would be overpowered compared to the other PCs, all of who have more well-rounded stat pools.

Let me quote to you the stats he submitted to me for his Goliath Barbarian. Keep in mind that these are the actual rolls BEFORE the Goliath stat mods (which happen to be Str +4, Dex -2, Con +2)

STR 17
DEX 18
CON 17
INT 17
WIS 16
CHA 16

So my question to you all is: would you accept such a character when all your other players have a more reasonable set of stats? (To give you some comparison, here is another of my PCs. An elf ranger (after racial mods): str 16, dex 16, con 11, int 12, wis 13, cha 11)

I think this player is testing me. Has this happened to you and how did you deal with it? I stupidly let him play this character without giving his sheet a full once-over and I can already tell he is going to fight me on this if I try to modify his stats.

Is it best to just let this slide as long as the other players are having fun?

I know, I slipped up and he got away with it, but now I need advice. :)
 

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Aazenius

First Post
How many d6's do your characters roll for stats? My group rolls 5d6 taking the 3 highest and we rarely get 1 - 18. Most are in the 12-15 range. When I DM, I force players to roll their stat dice in front of me. Are you letting them roll their dice from home and trusting them to be honest with you? Sounds like a big mistake imo.
 


Bront

The man with the probe
If you're going to call people on them , you should have them rolled in front of you, or in other verifyable ways (like Invisiblecastle.com or such). Or use a point buy.

I use a set of pregens and let people pick
 

haiiro

First Post
Unless I'm misreading your post, you accepted this character for the game and have already played two sessions. Is that correct?

If so, why didn't the obviously goofy stats bother you earlier? Or were you just not comfortable posting here until it really starting bugging you, or something along those lines? Just trying to get a clear picture here. ;)

Anyhoo, I'd make him reroll in front of you. Bring it up, be straightforward about it, and do it in private so he's not embarassed and can blow up without dragging in the rest of the group. Cheating ticks me right off, and I'd be inclined to say that if he gives you grief he's probably not worth playing with anyway.

I'm assuming you prefer rolled stats to point buy -- so next time, have everyone roll in front of you. ;)
 
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Corsair

First Post
Point buy for me. I don't want to have to watch my players make their characters. It just wastes more of my time which could be spent preparing for the adventure.
 

caudor

Adventurer
Unless the other players have noted this and voiced concerns, I'd let it go this time-- especially if everyone seems to be enjoying your campaign as things are now. It is possible the other players don't mind having a 'power-house' in the group.

To alleviate the problem in the future, simply adjust your approach by watching characters roll, using a point buy, or any of the other methods suggested.

Changing the character now will probably cause player resentment or worse. My advice: As long as they are having fun, don't interrupt the flow of your campaign in mid-flow.
 

Vigwyn the Unruly

First Post
This is an obvious cheat.

HOWEVER, you said that everybody is having a really good time. Why ruin it by making this an issue now? It's simply just not worth it.

On the other hand, the next time your players have to make up characters, I would recommend point buy. If a player wants the excitement of a random component, they roll in front of you. There really isn't any legit reason for them to not want to.
 

Baron Opal

First Post
I had everyone in my game roll before me, except for one player. He brought in a character that was like 18, 16, 15, 14, 12, 10. It seemed a little pat for me, but I didn't mind as one of the other players rolled 17, 17, 16, 16, 12, 10 in front of me.
 

Zulithe

Explorer
Aazenius: 4d6, drop lowest. yes, I let them roll their own stats at home or wherever they choose to do it, but clearly this isn't working for everyone...

RE: point buy. I did bring this up prior to the game starting, but the players do not want to use this method, preffering the chance to get higher stats from random rolls. I don't blame them, but I agree and I won't be allowing stat generation out of my sight unless it is through point buy anymore. Also, they rejected my vote on rather or not to use Eberron's Action Point system (we don't play in Eberron, but i considered adding that mechanic to my game). I could force either of these concepts into my game but I'm trying to be democratic. :)

haiiro: I will make no excuses for myself, except to say that the pregame on the first night was very hectic and I did not check everyone's sheets as I should have. I had to help two players with their sheets durring the pregame period and it cut into some of my prep time. That roughly two hour period before the game was the first opportunity I had to see everyone's sheets.


Thanks for the stories and advice so far!
 

Reasons like this are why my games are strictly point-buy only.

I don't like random elements of character creation, and even is somehow those rolls were legitimate (doubtful), a few lucky dice rolls shouldn't create a character that is so strong that it utterly overshadows the rest of the characters in the campaign. Randomly rolling for stats may not have been that bad back when PC's were expected to die in droves at every session, so even a good set of stats might only make you last a few more sessions or so, but in a style of play where campaigns easily last a year (or much more), it has much more long-term impact.

Of course, this is also why I don't allow random rolling for Hit Points, you take average, round-up (d4=3, d6=4, d8=5, d10=6, d12=7), I got tired of PC's griping when the huge barbarian rolls a 1 and the wizard rolls a 4, and while some GM's have complex dice-weighting house-rules, or "yours or mine" options or the like for rolling hit dice, I figured a flat, non-negotiable amount of HP (or VP depending on the game) per level instead of a random roll (of course, with Con modifiers and any type/feat/whatever HP bonuses) puts everybody on level footing.
 

Skrit

First Post
I use point buy now too. It causes less problems with stat creation. It takes a bit more time since players min - max but hey long as the scores add up no one is cheating..

We switched to point buy since too many times arguements came up over they guy/girl that rolled very low (three scores lower then 8). I used to say reroll those scores since their bad, just then one of the other players (won't use names but he "Likes" to have his character the most powerful) would chime in and say "How come he/she gets to re-roll and I had to keep my two scores of 12?".

Sometimes I'll still use random ability scores (4d6 drop lowest) when I can watch the players roll in front of my eyes and when I don't blink. If it's over the internet it's point buy only I wouldn't trust my mother rolling when I couldn't see the rolls with my own eyes.

As for rolling ability scores... Once in my 17yrs of gaming I have rolled a 18/97 str using AD&D 2ed rules.. That was around 12yrs ago too...
 

solkan_uk

First Post
Points buy wherever, since I can check, or come and roll the dice in front of me.

Though actually I'm more and more edging towards points buy - no choice. I just have one player who objects consistently - saying it's too complicated.

When I allow rolling, my players do tend to get pretty obscene stats, or worthless ones, and the rare time they roll fairly average ones - they look worthless in the face of everyone else anyway.
I mean, looking through the last time I used roll method I think we had a 18, 18, 14, 12, 10, 10, a 17, 16, 16, 15, 12, 9 & a 16, 12, 12, 10, 10, 7.
Now in virtually any other game that last set would be pretty nice, but with all the other higher stats, it don't look good any more.

I now point buy, unless everyone votes otherwise.
 

Ace

Adventurer
I just let people set whatever stats they want. IMO if people can simply build a charcter they want to play there is less incentive to munchkin

Even if someone had an uber charcter (and I have had a few with witnessed die rolls) what of it ? I control the whole effin game universe -- no need to sweat the little stuff
 


Sage

Explorer
First off, let them roll in front of you next time.

Second, don't change anything!

You can even out the game by giving the group magic items that are of use to the other players, and when you once in a while drop in an item that's of use to the goliath, make it less powerful than the average.

Anyway, my point is there are other, more subtle ways to balance it out.
 

SweeneyTodd

First Post
So many people cheat or have cheated on stat rolls, I feel like it's an official rules variant sometimes.

It sounds like a fairly casual game, and the players are having fun, so no biggie. Heck, he probably did it as a friendly joke, since there's no way anybody would believe they were honest rolls, and they resulted in a barbarian with Int 17. :)
 

Asmo

First Post
Ace said:
I just let people set whatever stats they want. IMO if people can simply build a charcter they want to play there is less incentive to munchkin

Even if someone had an uber charcter (and I have had a few with witnessed die rolls) what of it ? I control the whole effin game universe -- no need to sweat the little stuff

This is the way I handle it too: they don´t like point-buy and they whine when the dice don´t fall their way, so it´s easier to let them have the stats they want.
As long they get one 18 they´re pretty satisfied.


Asmo
 

Conaill

First Post
If they prefer something a bit more random than point-buy, here's another option:

Cards!

Grab a deck of cards, and throw out everything except the 1-6 cards. Deal 6 hands of 4 cards, remove the lowest card from each hand, and add.

This method gives almost exactly the same distribution of stats as 4d6-drop-lowest, but the total stat value will be much more balanced.
 

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