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5E Assumptions about character creation

Warpiglet-7

Adventurer
I have seen a number of people claim that the game ‘assumes’ a certain score in a certain stat.

the default assumption is that scores are rolled.

just curious. I assume people put a good score in main/attack stat, but where has that been explicitly stated?

additionally, I have seen assertions about the math of the game likewise assuming certain scores in certain places.

any specifics would be great. Common sense says bonuses are good but where is that written? Just curious as the game seems to be less lethal than some past editions...
 

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Hardly anyone actually rolls anymore, and if they do, they keep rerolling until they get what they want. Anytime I suggest rolling, people just stare like I'm insane. Then bitch when I don't let them reroll 1s or reroll all 6 or whatever. It's shameful.

It is most definitely less lethal than early editions.
I never allow people to pick scores. They have to roll...period.
 


additionally, I have seen assertions about the math of the game likewise assuming certain scores in certain places.
I had never heard of bounded accuracy until I started reading the message boards. Im still not totally clear on what is it and at this point dont really care. But if this is truly the premise on which the math of the game is based itd have been nice that it was stated and briefly explained somewhere in the core books, which as far as I know it is not specifically. Might be alluded to or implied.
 


Bounded accuracy = shrinking the number range so weak monsters stay viable longer and rules breaking happens a bit less.

In other words, WOTC's way of "fixing" D&D.
How do magical items play into this? As I understand the game is built so PCs dont need to acquire them as they advance to defeat higher level threats.
 


I've heard that too, but it's complete nonsense. They absolutely do expect magic items. There's even a chart somewhere, in DMG I think, that shows how many they expect PCs to have got by tier.
I thought that too and think youre correct about the DMG but doesn't XGtE contradicts that?
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I have seen a number of people claim that the game ‘assumes’ a certain score in a certain stat.

the default assumption is that scores are rolled.

just curious. I assume people put a good score in main/attack stat, but where has that been explicitly stated?

additionally, I have seen assertions about the math of the game likewise assuming certain scores in certain places.

any specifics would be great. Common sense says bonuses are good but where is that written? Just curious as the game seems to be less lethal than some past editions...

It's less that the game assumes a certain score as it assume that a player puts their highest roll in their PC's class's primary ability then relies on the high probiliby that a player will roll at least a 14 in one of their rolls (I think it's a ~90% chance with 4d6 drop lowest) and/or choose a race with a bonus to a primary or secondary ability.

Basically the game assumes that only 10% of players will "roll bad" and assumes that the player can fix it with racials.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I've heard that too, but it's complete nonsense. They absolutely do expect magic items. There's even a chart somewhere, in DMG I think, that shows how many they expect PCs to have got by tier.
I've run low magic campaigns and high. Either work, you just have to make minor adjustments to encounter level. Then again, I have to do that anyway depending on the group.

I actually think low magic works better, it emphasizes the character build and when you do get magic it feels special.
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
It's less that the game assumes a certain score as it assume that a player puts their highest roll in their PC's class's primary ability then relies on the high probiliby that a player will roll at least a 14 in one of their rolls (I think it's a ~90% chance with 4d6 drop lowest) and/or choose a race with a bonus to a primary or secondary ability.

Basically the game assumes that only 10% of players will "roll bad" and assumes that the player can fix it with racials.

There's a mention in the quick build, but I've never seen anything anywhere about 10% will roll bad. That, and you can't "fix" something with racials because everyone gets them. The primary result of rolling (if you follow the rules as written and only allow one roll) is that in a standard 6 PC group, one PC will be significantly better off numerically than another PC in the group.
 

the default assumption is that scores are rolled.

This was, IMO, one of the worst design decisions in the entire edition. It's a concept that is foreign to most gamers nowadays, and while it does something unique, that thing it does is only welcome in a very uncommon play style.

Rolling stats works if you are playing the game as a survival challenge, of if you don't already have a character concept. Most people already have a character concept before they roll stats. And most people don't have an urge to take what the dice give them and challenge themselves to make it survive and thrive.

No, most people come to the game wanting to play a tough, strong dwarf (or nowadays, more like a wood elf monk or a tiefling warlock, but I digress), possibly with a name, and a backstory. But if you are rolling for stats (and/or hp), you are just as likely to be unpleasantly surprised by low rolls that interfere with your concept as you are with high rolls that empower it. And if your entire character concept is a tough dwarf, but you end up with a Con 14, and roll a lot of 1s and 2s for hit points, while the halfling rogue or elf cleric in the party ended up with a Con 16 and keeps rolling 7s and 8s for hit points, your entire character concept is shot.

Sure, you could pretend you're a tough dwarf who for some reason doesn't have the mechanics to back it up. Or you could change your concept--but that's the whole problem. You can't come with a concept and expect to be able to play it with rolled stats.

And if you make exceptions to let people reroll if the rolls aren't good enough for their concept, you still have the issue of objective imbalance amongst PCs in an objectively balanceable area. Does anyone actually find that particular thing fun? I mean really? That's straight up a no go for me. Even when I'm playing a game where we are rolling for stats, I make sure to homebrew a method where the stats are objectively equal for each character. (For instance, everyone randomly rolls stats, but then everyone can pick to use whichever rolled array they like--including everyone using the same one if desired.) If PCs having an objective imbalance in one of the few areas in D&D where objective balance is actually possible is something a DM wants to do, they need to recognize that is what they want to do and make it completely transparent to their players to see if they are on-board.
 

The primary result of rolling (if you follow the rules as written and only allow one roll) is that in a standard 6 PC group, one PC will be significantly better off numerically than another PC in the group.
Exactly why I wish they never got rid of race and class requirements. It justified the slightly off balance party, and players appreciated their better characters more.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
There's a mention in the quick build, but I've never seen anything anywhere about 10% will roll bad. That, and you can't "fix" something with racials because everyone gets them. The primary result of rolling (if you follow the rules as written and only allow one roll) is that in a standard 6 PC group, one PC will be significantly better off numerically than another PC in the group.

It's not mentioned. It's just how the base rules work. It tells you what to roll and where to put your highest roll based on your class.

The probability of what happens when you do this is the assumption.
 

I suspect if you did a survey you would probably find that contrary to what most people who post on the internet expect and exprience, most people still roll.

And the roll of magic items like Guantlets of Ogre Power and the like to balance out poor rolls (rather than just make good characters even better) has been returned to the game.

Not that I'm personally an advocate for rolling.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
No, most people come to the game wanting to play a tough, strong dwarf (or nowadays, more like a wood elf monk or a tiefling warlock, but I digress), possibly with a name, and a backstory. But if you are rolling for stats (and/or hp), you are just as likely to be unpleasantly surprised by low rolls that interfere with your concept as you are with high rolls that empower it. And if your entire character concept is a tough dwarf, but you end up with a Con 14, and roll a lot of 1s and 2s for hit points, while the halfling rogue or elf cleric in the party ended up with a Con 16 and keeps rolling 7s and 8s for hit points, your entire character concept is shot.
The default assumption is that you roll for ability scores but you get to assign the numbers you roll where you like.

Except the highest roll that goes you your class's primary score
 

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