D&D 5E Balancing Rolled Stats with ASIs

Lyxen

Great Old One
Hi, the recent thread about rolled stats vs. Point-buy has revived a half-cooked idea based on what happens in Runequest.

In Runequest, you have to roll your stats, because you do not roll the same dices for all your stats, and different races roll different dices for stats anyway, for example:
  • Human: Str 3d6 / Con 3d6 / Siz: 2d6+6 / Dex: 3d6 / Int: 2d6+6 / Pow: 3d6 / Cha: 3d6
  • Elf: Str 2d6+2 / Con 3d6 / Siz: 2d4+4 / Dex: 3d6+3 / Int: 3d6+6 / Pow: 3d6 / Cha: 3d6
  • Troll: Str 3d6+6 / Con 3d6 / Siz: 3d6+8 / Dex: 3d6 / Int: 2d6+6 / Pow: 3d6 / Cha: 3d6
There are a few simple additional rules like: "If the total of all these results is 92 or less, you may allot up to 3 more points to your adventurer’s characteristics, as desired. No human characteristic can
total more than 18 after you have allocated these extra points."

Of course, like in D&D, you can allow a character to roll multiple arrays of stats and choose, but it's harder to swap stats around because you don't roll the same dices.

We already do this in 5e, roll for stats, because the point-buy / standard array are way too predictable, and don't give surprises and ideas about how your character could be built and developed. And it also prevents our few powergamers from using standard builds, they at least have to think a bit for themselves.

However, one of the reasons for which Runequest works well is that, although there are no levels, you can get ASIs from adventuring (when you use a relevant stat) or training (when you decide to train a specific stat). Where it's clever is the fact that , the closest the ability is to the racial maximum, the hardest it is that the ASI will succeed. RQ does this by making it a roll, (maximum racial stat + minmum racial stat - current stat) x 5% to succeed.

So if you have a STR of 10, and you train, you have (18 + 3 -10) x 5 = 55% chance to succeed, but if you already have 15, it's only 30%.

The nice thing about this is that even if you start with an adventurer with lower stats, it's easier for you to catch up. But 5e does not allow this, there are few ASIs, and they will very often be used on stats that are very high already. Moreover, when you use ASIs for stats, you are not getting feats that provided more than bonuses, but usually widen your play, so it's even worse for people with low initial stats.

So, how about, instead of giving out 2 complete points to be used on any stat every 4 levels, regardless of the level of the stat, how about giving 200 points instead, that can be spent (it's an example, I have not done real computations like this:
  • 20: 100 points
  • 18-19: 90 points
  • 16-17: 80 points
  • 14-15: 70 points
  • 13-14: 60 points
  • 9-12: 50 points
  • 7-8 : 60 points
  • 5-6: 70 points
  • 3-4: 80 points

You can of course tailor this as you want, but the idea is that if you have already 18, you can only buy 2 points to get to 20, but if you have a 13, you can get 3 points in one increase and have a bit left over. You can also tinker with the table so that it's even harder to get to 20, but much easier with middle stats, etc.

Just as an aside, the reason for having a greater point cost below 9 is that these are real weaknesses in your character, and it's harder for you to train (it encourages people to live with their dumped stats, they are part of what defines your character). But of course, you can create any table you like.

As an option, instead of giving it all at once, you could give 50 points per level, that way people wanting to raise middling stats can do it earlier.

As an additional option, for those who like to roll, instead of giving 50 points, you can give 40+1d20 instead.

And everyone gets to have feats at the proper level and widen their play, or you can say that a feat equals 200 points, etc.

What do you think ? Criticism ? Suggestions ?
 

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Lyxen

Great Old One
One point of rolling stat is to have better stat than its fellow partner!
You are breaking the fun if you let the other catch back the gap.

Hmmm. Since when do you know your partner's stats ? At our tables, we don't. Which also goes a long way to do away with sentiments of "fairness".
 


Hmmm. Since when do you know your partner's stats ? At our tables, we don't. Which also goes a long way to do away with sentiments of "fairness".
Last time we rolled stat it was openly in front of everyone, but your post remind me of old memories. Rolled stat is often an iconic moment in DnD personal history, some remember very well if their first character roll a 18. it’s a part of the game to handle with care!
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
To be fair, unless you don't roll dice in the open, you'll figure out stats within a few sessions if you pay attention to player's rolls.

Sometimes you will and sometimes you won't, you don't necessarily see all the dices rolled at the table, and paying that close attention could be just a sign of that jealousy that I mentioned. In our Eberron game, we are Lvl 10 and I can absolutely say that I have no idea what the stats of the people around the table are, and in some cases even their archetype, since there is some homebrew and the DM is quite creative. And I don't care, everyone is having fun.
 

aco175

Legend
I can see this Runequest rolling method, but won't it just bring up the same problems under a different umbrella? We are taking away the +2/+1 racial bonuses to make players able to play a combo they like and still be awesome. So now an elf is not more intelligent or a halfling is not more dexterous unless you want to put your bonus there. To come and say that halflings roll 3d6+6 to dex when humans only get 3d6 will only bring up last year's discussions. I have no problem with it, but others do.

Seems like the same with increasing the stats at higher level. Right now, you can add 1 or 2 points at 4th level where you see fit and to add another layer seems like it is not needed.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I can see this Runequest rolling method, but won't it just bring up the same problems under a different umbrella? We are taking away the +2/+1 racial bonuses to make players able to play a combo they like and still be awesome. So now an elf is not more intelligent or a halfling is not more dexterous unless you want to put your bonus there. To come and say that halflings roll 3d6+6 to dex when humans only get 3d6 will only bring up last year's discussions. I have no problem with it, but others do.

My apologies, I did not my it clear, it's not part of my proposal here, way too radical for D&D especially in the current times. Personally, I like my fantasy races extremely well differentiated, in terms of myth and culture, but this also linked strongly to the inherent powers and their stats, and I have absolutely no problems with having races with strong stat differentiation, including positive and negative modifiers. But it's not the trend today which is towards race equality for reasons which are completely outside of the game and actually outside fantasy (and I find it really sad that people can't differentiate, and leads D&D to a more and more dull game, but it's another story).

My reason for bringing it up is that having strong differences in racial stats but more importantly not rolling the same dices means a huge variety of stats, and means that point-buy and standard arrays don't work.

Seems like the same with increasing the stats at higher level. Right now, you can add 1 or 2 points at 4th level where you see fit and to add another layer seems like it is not needed.

It's just a suggestion so that initial differences due to stat roll are not perpetuated forever in the characters with lower stats characters never being able to catch up and being deprived of the possibility to choose feats.
 

Rolled stat imply luck.
Ok, you can help people to catch up, but what to do with rolls like
18, 18, 16, 15, 13, 11
vs
12, 11, 11, 10, 9, 7
just figure out how your proposal will react with such rolls.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Rolled stat imply luck.
Ok, you can help people to catch up, but what to do with rolls like
18, 18, 16, 15, 13, 11
vs
12, 11, 11, 10, 9, 7
just figure out how your proposal will react with such rolls.

If there is such a large discrepancy, it would certainly take time to catch up, but it's better than nothing. The key might be to maybe allow some flexibility at roll time so that the discrepancies are not so large ?
 

Oofta

Legend
Rolled stat imply luck.
Ok, you can help people to catch up, but what to do with rolls like
18, 18, 16, 15, 13, 11
vs
12, 11, 11, 10, 9, 7
just figure out how your proposal will react with such rolls.
I've seen similar things happen, except the second person was even worse. I don't see the point of having one person being significantly less capable because of 1 sequence of bad rolls. Especially when the person who rolled poorly asked before rolling if they could just use variant of point buy (this was pre point buy).

If I go into a game I want to play
7f0ac8c8ab7aa0a10e43b928fa5d161b.jpg
not
Wizard Ralph.jpg
 

The nice thing about this is that even if you start with an adventurer with lower stats, it's easier for you to catch up. But 5e does not allow this

It can do.

Have a house rule that for every +1 allocated to an ASI, if the score is 14 or lower, it instead counts as +2.
 

If there is such a large discrepancy, it would certainly take time to catch up, but it's better than nothing. The key might be to maybe allow some flexibility at roll time so that the discrepancies are not so large ?
Indeed, and some table have certainly seen worst case than this one.
Math and probability are hard, if you let roll six time for stat, one of these days someone, somewhere gonna roll six 18. Or six 3! So a system that want more leveled ability score need to aim directly at rolled stat with some additional rules.
 


I got a suggestion for less random ability score.
You use point buy to place initial score.
Then you let roll 4d6 drop lowest x time to try to improve the best or two best score, or the best and the worst score.
It won’t create monster, it won’t won’t create scrap character.

a more formal method
Use standard array or use point buy, and assign initial score to your abilities.
you can roll 4d6 drop lowest to improve your ability.

choose:

roll 6 time, if you make a roll better than 15, use it replace a single ability with an initial score of 15. At best you upgrade a 15 into a 18.
Or
roll once for each ability, if the roll beat the initial score, increase it by one. At best you increase all your ability by one.
Or
If you don’t like to roll, you can pick a racial feat for free.
 
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Nah I rather have rolled stats and then add that sweet, juicy, Tasha's Floating +2/+1 onto my already broken rolled stats. when the rolls are hella good.

Also the same: rolled stats with Tasha's Floating +2/+1 to whatever got rolled up.
 

The only 'pro' to rolled stats is it avoids cookie cutter PCs (weak and smart wizards, cleric with crap dexes, rogues dumping strength) etc.

Of course, seeing as you get to assign the stats anyway in most 'roll for stats' tables, means you get cookie cutter PCs most times anyway.

The rest of it is all cons. Wildly unbalanced PCs, always at least one unhappy player (who rolled poorly) if not more, takes more time, and is just generally totally unecessary.
 

Horwath

Hero
The only 'pro' to rolled stats is it avoids cookie cutter PCs (weak and smart wizards, cleric with crap dexes, rogues dumping strength) etc.

Of course, seeing as you get to assign the stats anyway in most 'roll for stats' tables, means you get cookie cutter PCs most times anyway.

The rest of it is all cons. Wildly unbalanced PCs, always at least one unhappy player (who rolled poorly) if not more, takes more time, and is just generally totally unecessary.
cookie cutter builds exist as there is no need for 2 or maybe 3 abilities for every character.

If we add min STR score for EVERY armor AND weapon, we would see much less STR 8 rogues/wizards/warlocks...etc...
Or if both STR and CON add to HP.

Maybe steal and modify saves idea from 4E.

FORT save: STR+CON
REF save: DEX+INT
WILL save: WIS+CHA

number of attuneable items: CON+CHA, min 1, max 5(or whatever number seems balanced)

AC: dex+int, with EVERY armor having max dex+int bonus, starting with +1(full-plate) to +X(what ever is needed for padded/spider silk/mithril or what not)

melee+thrown attacks: str+dex, str for damage normally, dex for damage on finesse.

range attacks: dex+int, dex for damage

spell attacks/DCs:
artificer: con+int
barbarian: con+wis
bard: int+cha
cleric: wis+cha
druid: int+wis
fighter: con+int
monk: dex+wis
paladin: wis+cha
ranger: int+wis
rogue: int+cha
sorcerer: con+cha
warlock: int+cha
wizard: int+wis

spells from race, feats, items: 2 scores from int, wis or cha

initiative: dex+int+wis
 

I made a cleric once, and took point buy 15,15,15,8,8,8 and have crap dex, charisma and int.
it was a cool character.
on top of that I even take proficiency in persuasion!
 

cookie cutter builds exist as there is no need for 2 or maybe 3 abilities for every character.

If we add min STR score for EVERY armor AND weapon, we would see much less STR 8 rogues/wizards/warlocks...etc...
I doubt it.
A better way to go is simply enforce Encumbrance for Strength.
Or if both STR and CON add to HP.

Maybe steal and modify saves idea from 4E.

FORT save: STR+CON
REF save: DEX+INT
WILL save: WIS+CHA

Or use the averages (round up).

Finesse/ Ranged weapons are (Str+Dex+Dex)/3
Normal/Thrown weapons are (Str+Str+Dex)/3
Spell attacks use (Spellcasting stat+Spellcasting stat+Dex)/3
FORT saves: (STR+CON+CON)/3
REF saves: (DEX+DEX+INT)/3
WILL saves: (WIS+WIS+CHA)/3

And similar for skills.

That way dumping stats has a price (without being totally crippling), and PCs are more rounded overall.
 

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