Level Up (A5E) Alternative pointbuy system

@tetrasodium You may or may not want to match 4d6-and-drop-the-lowest probability but, if you do, here're a couple of options for that:

View attachment 153732
I love this resource.
Question: speaking as a guy who stopped taking math classes immediately after high school, how on earth would I adjust the math for the second chart (the zero sum chart) for a 3d6 distribution?
Or, maybe better said, adjust it with the idea that the average would be 10 or 11 across the board rather than 12?
 

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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I love this resource.
Question: speaking as a guy who stopped taking math classes immediately after high school, how on earth would I adjust the math for the second chart (the zero sum chart) for a 3d6 distribution?
Or, maybe better said, adjust it with the idea that the average would be 10 or 11 across the board rather than 12?
10-11 might be the statistical average but averaging it around 7-8 would probably wind up with a better weighting since the min would have a visceral penalty for the always on max side of a character & very high bonuses would make having +0/+1 in nondump stats that are deprioritized without narrowing the number of good attributes.
 

rules.mechanic

Craft homebrewer
I love this resource.
Question: speaking as a guy who stopped taking math classes immediately after high school, how on earth would I adjust the math for the second chart (the zero sum chart) for a 3d6 distribution?
Or, maybe better said, adjust it with the idea that the average would be 10 or 11 across the board rather than 12?
It's relatively straightforward to adjust the zero sum chart for a different balance point. To set the "0" for 11, you just re-write the table adding 1 to all the costs. To set the "0" for 10, you would instead re-write the table adding 3 to all the costs. So you bring the score you want to the "0" point. But it will still have the 4d6-and-drop-the-lowest distribution (graph shape).

I'll do a different one for the 3d6 distribution (it's a more straightforward, and symmetrical, graph shape) that can similarly be adjusted around its natural balance point (statistically 10.5).
 
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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
High power game is party full of average commoners...
not quite... more than a little above average, for example
  • 15+1/13+1/10/6/3/3
  • 13+1/11+1/10/8/7/7
  • 15+1/13+1/10/3/3/3
  • 13+1/13+1/10/8/6/3
Batman robin green arrow & frank castle (the punisher) might be average compared to superman & wonderwoman, but they are by no means even close to being average common people.
 

rules.mechanic

Craft homebrewer
"Zero" sum charts below for the 3d6 distribution, with a 10.5 balance point. That 0.5 is pain, it means I either need a 2 point gap between 10 & 11 (and some BIG score costs):

ScoreCostScoreCost
3-41111
4-29123
5-21136
6-151410
7-101515
8-61621
9-31729
10-11841

Or I need to use 10 as the cost balance point and set a target sum of 3 (rather than zero) to re-balance at 10.5:

ScoreCostScoreCost
3-21111
4-15122
5-11134
6-8146
7-5159
8-31612
9-11716
1001822

I'm interested to know which feels easier to use?

Paired Scores are much easier since it's symmetrical for a 3d6 distribution: 3=18, 4=17, ...10=11
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
"Zero" sum charts below for the 3d6 distribution, with a 10.5 balance point. That 0.5 is pain, it means I either need a 2 point gap between 10 & 11 (and some BIG score costs):

ScoreCostScoreCost
3-41111
4-29123
5-21136
6-151410
7-101515
8-61621
9-31729
10-11841

Or I need to use 10 as the cost balance point and set a target sum of 3 (rather than zero) to re-balance at 10.5:

ScoreCostScoreCost
3-21111
4-15122
5-11134
6-8146
7-5159
8-31612
9-11716
1001822

I'm interested to know which feels easier to use?

Paired Scores are much easier since it's symmetrical for a 3d6 distribution: 3=18, 4=17, ...10=11
First thing I tried was the elite array & love that the math laughed at me :D. After that I tried some "what would it look like if I had an x" with some extremes. I did it in excel but human error is possible & GIGO might have produced some results by accident :D
  • Initially I made a mistake & On the second chart balanced for three I got an 18/14/11/10/6/3 that adds up to zero. That makes for a great array for almost any class that isn't too MAD so can have something like +4 primary stat +2 con (or whatever) & a couple +0's (ie dex/wis/cha/str depending on class) plus a pair of deep dump stats with a -2 & -4 that will very much be felt when they come up just as that starting 18 is felt round after round with an early launch into feats aiding it but then I moved on to the other chart & noticed my mistake. That mistake is corrected on everything below (I think)
    • shifting that to a 3 I wound up with an array of 18/14/12/12/6/3
    • shifting that to take advantage of +1/+1 I got 18/13+1/13+1/12/6/3 It feels a bit high since there is a lot of value in being able to balance out just enough lows for jus enough high but it works well
    • for a MAD build I tried a few starting 3x16 arrays like 16/16/16 & 15/15+1/15+1/16 & ran into an interesting problem of not being able to get that to three with 16/15+1/15+1/10/4/4 coming in at a zerowinding up with a 3 point underspend that feels great
    • For an extreme generalist I came up with 15+1/15+1/15/15/4/3 and it feels awesome even coming in at 0 rather than 3
  • Using those same numbers in the first chart I got
    • the elite array is a big no here too huzza!
    • 18/14/12/12/6/3 came in at +1 cost but shifting to 18/14/12/11+1/6/3+1 a -1. I think it's interesting & that players would squeal in glee at either array so no concern here
    • 18/13+1/13+1/12/6/3 came in at 0 making it an interesting question of if the prior 18/14x/x/x array that underspends, is the prior starting 18/14/12/12/6/4 n\better or worse than this 18/14/14/12/6/3 better or worse for this character I love this
    • 15+1/15+1/15/15/4/3 came up with a fascinating -10 point underspend. Replacing one of the 15's with a 16 drops it to a 4 pointunderspend -4. That's a lot of good generalist (or extreme multiclass) scores for a really interesting character paired off against those big deficits.

TL;DR: I really like these & love some of the interesting choices that come up with trading off underspending vrs less perfect stats that spend more

edit: I don't know which one is easier, but in my limited testing it seemed easier to remember that a cost of zero or less was the goal with the first one while the second one (possibly coincidentally)seemed to have a lot of arrays coming up at 3 or zero while the first was all over when under cost so might be easier to target.
 
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rules.mechanic

Craft homebrewer
Thanks, that's really helpful stress-testing and feedback. I had a long-time character with 3d6 rolled straight down the line of stats - had a 17 and a 3 (neither in a key stat) and there were lots of opportunities to bring both into the role-playing.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Thanks, that's really helpful stress-testing and feedback. I had a long-time character with 3d6 rolled straight down the line of stats - had a 17 and a 3 (neither in a key stat) and there were lots of opportunities to bring both into the role-playing.
I made this when I was fooling with it, the xlsx file might be useful if you don't already have something like it, if you do it might be useful to someone else :D. costs are pulled from the arrays sheet based on the numbers 3-18 entered in the blue boxes
 

lichmaster

Adventurer
"Zero" sum charts below for the 3d6 distribution, with a 10.5 balance point. That 0.5 is pain, it means I either need a 2 point gap between 10 & 11 (and some BIG score costs):

ScoreCostScoreCost
3-41111
4-29123
5-21136
6-151410
7-101515
8-61621
9-31729
10-11841

Or I need to use 10 as the cost balance point and set a target sum of 3 (rather than zero) to re-balance at 10.5:

ScoreCostScoreCost
3-21111
4-15122
5-11134
6-8146
7-5159
8-31612
9-11716
1001822

I'm interested to know which feels easier to use?

Paired Scores are much easier since it's symmetrical for a 3d6 distribution: 3=18, 4=17, ...10=11
For the table above, it seems again that the easiest thing to do is to keep the sum of the modifiers fixed at a value. Here that value is a zero, of course*. So you buy a +1 somewhere with a -1 somewhere else.
In the table below the costs are asymmetrical and the bare minimum cost for a +1 is higher than the bare minimum gain for a -1 (12 costs 2 but 9 only gives you 1), and so on. This is subtle but quite reduces the legit combinations, so the system is less flexible than the one above.

*The general rule is: you take the modified associated to the score resulting from the average roll of whatever rolling method you have, and multiply it by 6 (3d6 give an average modifier of +0, best 3 of 4d6 give an average modifier of +1).

I personally would not allow dump stats below a 6, and no player I know would play a character with a dump stat lower than that.
 

rules.mechanic

Craft homebrewer
For the table above, it seems again that the easiest thing to do is to keep the sum of the modifiers fixed at a value. Here that value is a zero, of course*. So you buy a +1 somewhere with a -1 somewhere else.
In the table below the costs are asymmetrical and the bare minimum cost for a +1 is higher than the bare minimum gain for a -1 (12 costs 2 but 9 only gives you 1), and so on. This is subtle but quite reduces the legit combinations, so the system is less flexible than the one above.

*The general rule is: you take the modified associated to the score resulting from the average roll of whatever rolling method you have, and multiply it by 6 (3d6 give an average modifier of +0, best 3 of 4d6 give an average modifier of +1).

I personally would not allow dump stats below a 6, and no player I know would play a character with a dump stat lower than that.
Yeah, that's why I'm less keen on the second table - it doesn't look symmetrical because the sum-of-3 isn't intuitive. The only way to make it symmetrical around 10.5 is to have a 2 point gap between 10 & 11, which scales all the other costs up to around double and generates the first table.

For the permissible range, you can set that at whatever you want and don't need to change the costs (that's the advantage of the sum-of-zero approach). 6-16 already gives you considerable flexibility over the standard arrays and you need to be a bit careful if you allow wider than that.

PS If you do choose a fixed range, such as 6-16, you can covert this to a more traditional points buy. Simply start at 0 cost for your lowest permissable score, adjust the other costs by the same amount, and allow a points pool that would buy 3x10 and 3x11 (if using a 3d6 with a 10.5 balance point). For this, you can use the second table to have simpler numbers (no-one can see the asymmetry any more)
 

lichmaster

Adventurer
Yeah, that's why I'm less keen on the second table - it doesn't look symmetrical because the sum-of-3 isn't intuitive. The only way to make it symmetrical around 10.5 is to have a 2 point gap between 10 & 11, which scales all the other costs up to around double and generates the first table.

For the permissible range, you can set that at whatever you want and don't need to change the costs (that's the advantage of the sum-of-zero approach). 6-16 already gives you considerable flexibility over the standard arrays and you need to be a bit careful if you allow wider than that.

PS If you do choose a fixed range, such as 6-16, you can covert this to a more traditional points buy. Simply start at 0 cost for your lowest permissable score, adjust the other costs by the same amount, and allow a points pool that would buy 3x10 and 3x11 (if using a 3d6 with a 10.5 balance point). For this, you can use the second table to have simpler numbers (no-one can see the asymmetry any more)
If I were to use something different to the standard array (my players are happy with it), I'd stick with just buying the modifiers, no need for tables. I would restrict the modifiers range to +3/-3 but would be relatively generous with the sum of the multipliers (probably +4 to +6).
 

Horwath

Hero
If I were to use something different to the standard array (my players are happy with it), I'd stick with just buying the modifiers, no need for tables. I would restrict the modifiers range to +3/-3 but would be relatively generous with the sum of the multipliers (probably +4 to +6).
5.5E should just have ability modifiers.

standard array could be +3, +3, +2, +1, +0, -1. No racial bonuses at all. They are floating bonuses now, might as well remove them and merge them into point buy/default array.

point buy:

modifier; -3 : cost; -3 (optional, would not recommend for standard game)
modifier; -2 : cost; -1 (optional, would not recommend for standard game)

modifier; -1 : cost; 0
modifier; +0 : cost; 1
modifier; +1 : cost; 2
modifier; +2 : cost; 3
modifier; +3 : cost; 5

modifier; +4 : cost; 8 (optional, would not recommend for standard game)
modifier; +5 : cost; 12 (optional, would not recommend for standard game)


point buy pool: 16
 

le Redoutable

I mean you no harm
for those who love to roll dice:
first we have d6T :
a d6T uses 3,3,3,4,5,6 in lieu of 1,2,3,4,5,6 so it averages 4 and not 3.5

then you roll dice;
standart point buy was 25 points as I recall
so, because average is 4, plus 25 x 4 = 100, target sum of your dice rolled is 100 ( for a 25 point buy )
so roll, roll, roll until you achieve 100 ( min dice rolled if only 6's is 17 ( for a total of 102 ) , while max dice rolled is 34 ( if only 3's ) )
:)
 

lichmaster

Adventurer
5.5E should just have ability modifiers.

standard array could be +3, +3, +2, +1, +0, -1. No racial bonuses at all. They are floating bonuses now, might as well remove them and merge them into point buy/default array.
I largely agree with you, as except for some very minor details ability scores never come up while playing.
They probably must stay there for legacy compatibility issue, because that's what makes it D&D for a lot of people.

One thought I had while tinkering with this, and contemplating the utter uselessness of odd scores, is that one could have some minor bonus associated with those odd scores, to differentiate a 9 from an 8. Something like WOIN's traits for the lowest or highest score, something that's distinctive and different from a flat modifier.
 

Horwath

Hero
I largely agree with you, as except for some very minor details ability scores never come up while playing.
They probably must stay there for legacy compatibility issue, because that's what makes it D&D for a lot of people.

One thought I had while tinkering with this, and contemplating the utter uselessness of odd scores, is that one could have some minor bonus associated with those odd scores, to differentiate a 9 from an 8. Something like WOIN's traits for the lowest or highest score, something that's distinctive and different from a flat modifier.
or we could have that every point of ability score is a point of modifier.

9: -1, 10: +0, 11: +1, 12: +2, etc...

that way really small creatures that now have STR 1 with -5 mod, would have STR 1 with mod of -9. That would describe difference is STR a lot better.
 

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