Are you using 3d6 apply as rolled and if so can you share your experience?

clearstream

Explorer
I'm kind of expecting no responses! However, as it is my intention to use this method for my next campaign, which will likely run two years, I am interested in listening to any experiences you may have.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Do you mean that you roll 3d6 and assign to attributes (Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha) in the exact order it was rolled?
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
Do you mean that you roll 3d6 and assign to attributes (Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha) in the exact order it was rolled?
I assume so.

There's two issues here, right? The order in which they are rolled, and their magnitude.

In terms of order, we just started a campaign that was 4d6-1, and each player was given the option of assigning them in order in exchange for some other benefits during chargen. 3/5 chose to roll the dice (as it were), and we ended up with a Dwarf fighter with good Str and Con but otherwise pretty low stats, a decent ranger, and a pretty sick cleric (I think 2 16's and one 18, by the time bonuses got added in.)

Although I didn't choose that option, I sort of wish I had. It added an element of fun that I missed out on.

In terms of magnitude, my concern with straight 3d6 would only be that over the last 40 years most of us have gotten used to baseline ability scores that average significantly higher than that, so your players might just feel like they have "bad" characters and not be as vested in the game. But if everybody is on totally on board with it (and not just agreeing to it because the DM is pushing it) I would think it should work out just fine.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I am not currently using it with 5e.

I have used it in the past. The dice are pretty swingy - they tend to create characters whose stats are lackluster in comparison to, say, 4d6, drop lowest. This means, characters will tend to die more, unless you are generous with allowing player sto re-roll sets of stats. You can combat this by scalling the challenges to the PCs abilities, but why downplay the PCs, only to then also downplay the challenges? What's the point?

Also, the in-order part means that the player really only gets to choose class, in the sense that they choose the class the character will suck least in. They don't generally get to pick what they wanted to play, or what the party needed. It is pretty easy to end up with a party that doesn't have effective healing, or effective melee combat.

If you are okay with that - if a high turnover rate and a party that may not have all the bases covered are part of your intent for the game, then this works well. Over time, there is some tendency for characters with bad stats to die off, while those with good ones survive (at least, in cases where the whole party doesn't get killed because of a deficiency in the group). If you are looking for a little more competence and continuity from the start, you might want a different way to roll stats.

A good question might be - what are you hoping to get out of using 3d6, in order? What is your goal for that choice?
 
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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I haven't done that for D&D 5e. I did 4d6 drop one, assign as you please. But what I did do is require that the players choose their race and class prior to rolling, which I think is kind of weird, but that is the order in the rules. I wanted to see what kinds of outcomes those rules produced. And really it wasn't that big a deal. There were a couple of characters that had some terrible scores or exceedingly average ones and the players just used that as an opportunity to portray them in a comical way. I did this for a run of Sunless Citadel (TftYP).

So I guess my takeaway from that experience as it relates to your idea is that if they have to choose their race and class first, it might suck for some people. But if you let them do that after they roll, then it's probably fine since they can mitigate bad results somewhat.

Out of curiosity, is there anything specifically about the concept of your game that has you wanting to do this? Does it tie into the campaign's theme somehow?
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
I recently decided to roll up a character for Basic D&D using 3d6 in order. I ended up with a Dwarf. My strength was a 14, but I had a dexterity penalty and an intelligence so low that I was illiterate. It might have been fun to actually play this character, but the thing about fielding such an…interesting PC, was whether or not the rest of the group would be on-board with it. Because in my experience, there’s always someone that shows up with that 18 and no stats under 12 that they “rolled.”
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Just did a one off a couple days ago after years of not doing this, so funny coincidence!

My rolls:
15
12
5
12
12
9

I ordered them in the old (right) way: S, I, W, D, C, CH ;)

I've had low scores in the past, and they are often pretty fun because they inspire you to roleplay a bit differently than everyone does with the same basic set of stats for every PC. In my case, I played a human fighter with a bad temper and would often try to just Leroy Jenkins into encounters. That 5 WIS led to....many poor decisions lol. Like tasting every potion that came along before doing any research, and essentially volunteering to be the party guinea pig. Or blowing all of my treasure on bad purchases.

It all worked out though., Failed a saving throw (as expected) and became the thrall of a wizard. But it was interesting while it lasted!
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I haven't done this for a long time, but when we did some of the characters generated were decent or even good while others were virtually unplayable.

That might be fun for some people I guess.
 

Wiseblood

Adventurer
I have done it several times. I will probably do it again. I say that because I had fun. They weren’t joke characters. Some had decent scores.

In my experience, the more you have invested in creating a character the more things can impede your enjoyment. (Mind you this is not a guarantee.)

Imagine building a character to do something like being a cavalier riding a mighty steed. (Nothing more needs to be said.... nevertheless I will continue to explain) The character is built using the resources available but you still need more to fully realize your goal. Things needed might be feats, stats, equipment and so on... your survival is not guaranteed. The direction of the campaign could and will probably shift. My suboptimal characters will continue to be made because they exist IN the campaign not in an idealized solo creation.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
some of the characters generated were decent or even good while others were virtually unplayable.
That's the real danger, in my mind. It's one thing if everybody has low ability scores, but because of the swinginess of 3d6 the range within the party will vary greatly. More power to the players if they don't mind, but it would bug a lot of people (and that doesn't make them bad people).
 

Wiseblood

Adventurer
True, but at the dining room table it’s not a tournament. As a group we can ease restrictions or roll new characters no big deal.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
That's the real danger, in my mind. It's one thing if everybody has low ability scores, but because of the swinginess of 3d6 the range within the party will vary greatly. More power to the players if they don't mind, but it would bug a lot of people (and that doesn't make them bad people).
One way it might be presented to the players is that the dice will decide to some degree the "difficulty mode" at which they are playing this game - Easy Mode to Nightmare Mode, and whatever's in between that. Lower ability scores may further reinforce the need for increased player skill to compensate such as by coming up with plans and actions that mitigate uncertainty to the outcome and/or the meaningful consequence for failure. Provided succeeding more than failing is the goal, one doesn't want to trust an ability check when the character is rocking a 6 in the respective ability score. Not without working to get that DC as low as possible and using resources to boost the roll as much as possible, anyway.
 

Maestrino

Explorer
I tried it a month or two ago for a short session (we ran the Red Larch intro from POTA). We did 4d6 drop lowest, though.

Lowest stat I rolled was a 10 (in Wisdom). I actually wound up with a pretty decent bard. Went standard human and had an 18 in Charisma, decent strength for the occasional melee attack.

It was fun, because otherwise I probably would not have considered running a bard. It made for some fun shenanigans - our sorcerer wound up with both the highest charisma and highest strength of the party.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Just to follow up: if I was to do this (and it would only be for a short term campaign) I'd probably roll 1 set of numbers and then have everybody randomly assign the sequence.

I've just seen huge disparities in the past. With 1 person with abysmal scores and another with multiple 18s and no low scores.

Again, some people might have fun with low numbers because they like the challenge. In my admittedly limited experience, the people who enjoyed it most were the ones that rolled well. Even long ago in an edition far far away where 3d6 was the standard and only way of rolling we just figured that the guy with the low scores would stay home on the farm.
 

Maestrino

Explorer
To mitigate the big stat swing, add on either the Matt Colville rule (at least two stats 15 or higher) or the Matt Mercer (grand total has to be at least 70) or else you re-roll the entire set.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I did it once. My players liked the idea of having to build their characters around the stats they rolled, instead of assigning stats to suit characters they had already decided to build. They were less keen on the possibility of a terrible set of rolls, but this was mitigated somewhat by the thought that “if I roll crappy stats, the character probably won’t live long anyway and then I’ll get to try for a better character.” Kind of like a roguelike. That campaign didn’t last terribly long, but for unrelated reasons. The players actually enjoyed it quite a bit while it lasted. I would have liked to have seen how they felt after a longer time playing that way.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I did it once. My players liked the idea of having to build their characters around the stats they rolled, instead of assigning stats to suit characters they had already decided to build. They were less keen on the possibility of a terrible set of rolls, but this was mitigated somewhat by the thought that “if I roll crappy stats, the character probably won’t live long anyway and then I’ll get to try for a better character.” Kind of like a roguelike. That campaign didn’t last terribly long, but for unrelated reasons. The players actually enjoyed it quite a bit while it lasted. I would have liked to have seen how they felt after a longer time playing that way.
Yeah, it's just a different mindset really. As you say, not about designing a concept and seeing how it goes. Rather it's like being handed strengths and weaknesses by dint chance then having to work to maximize those strengths and mitigate the weaknesses while confronting things most people fear to face. Sounds like a familiar story. I find it to be rather fun, though I haven't done 3d6 in D&D 5e.
 

DM Dave1

Adventurer
Haven't used 3d6 in order since AD&D.

My favorite initial stat generation method currently is roll 4d6 drop lowest five times. Keep track of those low five dice that were dropped. The best 3 of those become your sixth stat. Put the scores where you like. Chances are you have one ability that's pretty dang low - which makes for some interesting stat arrays, roll playing opportunities, and reliance on your party members to make up for your deficiency(ies). Pretty sure I got that idea from one of these threads a few months back, but I sadly cannot recall who proposed it to give appropriate credit where it is due.
 

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