D&D General Changing Order of Character Creation, from 1e to 2024

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
I prefer the power level of Basic much more than AD&D, but I also like AD&D's options. The perfect game would be something like Basic Fantasy which is built in the style of B/X and keeps characters grounded to that level, but also added elements from AD&D (race and class separate) and even 3e (upwards AC) to blend new and old well.
OSE Advanced and Dolmenwood both hit these points pretty well.
 

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MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
I prefer the power level of Basic much more than AD&D, but I also like AD&D's options. The perfect game would be something like Basic Fantasy which is built in the style of B/X and keeps characters grounded to that level, but also added elements from AD&D (race and class separate) and even 3e (upwards AC) to blend new and old well.
B/X was such a clean, elegant system (and well explained) - everything AD&D was not.

But AD&D just had lots more interesting stuff. And Race/Class was central to it.

Cheers,
Merric
 

Quickleaf

Legend
I prefer the power level of Basic much more than AD&D, but I also like AD&D's options. The perfect game would be something like Basic Fantasy which is built in the style of B/X and keeps characters grounded to that level, but also added elements from AD&D (race and class separate) and even 3e (upwards AC) to blend new and old well.
Yep! Isn’t that essentially Old School Essentials with the ascending AC option?
 


ezo

Where is that Singe?
When my friend introduced me to D&D, back a long time ago, he sold me on a single line: "it's like a video game, but you get to make up your own characters and stories." THAT sold me on RPGs. I was the one creating my own character the way I wanted to. If he had said "It's like a video game, but you get to gamble and maybe you'll get the character you want." I'd probably have passed and be on my 59th playthrough of Skyrim right now. The value of an TTRPG, moreso than any other media, is that I make my own character and the DM gets to challenge them. The idea that I am in not in control of that process to me removes the quintessential element of what makes TTRPGs better than MMOs or other video games. Take that away and I might as well make another WoW toon for the Lulz.
When I started in B/X you rolled IN ORDER, and part of the challenge (and FUN) of the game was creating a character you wanted to play, weighing the balance of taking 2 from one score to bump another by 1, etc., and working with what you had to work with to make something great.

Moving on to AD&D, with minimum requirements for many classes beyound the generic "9 base" made getting those classes when you rolled in order a treat, something awesome and unique, and more enjoyable IME.

Now, with point-buy and standard arrays, and arranging to taste, you have dozens of PCs who seem almost like carbon copies in play. What fighter in 5E doesn't have a STR 16 (or better) by level 4 for STR-based builds? How many rogues are played with DEX below 14??? Ever? When players can move ability scores around, it is just another step towards homogeny.

Being closed-off to what might be when you fate take a hand really is a pity. If you're happy with it, great for you, but it's your loss--especially if you've never even tried it. After all, you'll never know just what you'll get--and even with the way I prefer to play, background and class are still up to me--as is every other choice I make as I advance my characters.
 

Remathilis

Legend
When I started in B/X you rolled IN ORDER, and part of the challenge (and FUN) of the game was creating a character you wanted to play, weighing the balance of taking 2 from one score to bump another by 1, etc., and working with what you had to work with to make something great.

Moving on to AD&D, with minimum requirements for many classes beyound the generic "9 base" made getting those classes when you rolled in order a treat, something awesome and unique, and more enjoyable IME.

Now, with point-buy and standard arrays, and arranging to taste, you have dozens of PCs who seem almost like carbon copies in play. What fighter in 5E doesn't have a STR 16 (or better) by level 4 for STR-based builds? How many rogues are played with DEX below 14??? Ever? When players can move ability scores around, it is just another step towards homogeny.

Being closed-off to what might be when you fate take a hand really is a pity. If you're happy with it, great for you, but it's your loss--especially if you've never even tried it. After all, you'll never know just what you'll get--and even with the way I prefer to play, background and class are still up to me--as is every other choice I make as I advance my characters.
I over nearly a decade with "rolled' scores in 2e and into 3e. I put it in quotes because as soon as we figured out that you needed high scores to play what you wanted, players mysteriously always rolled exactly what they needed and never seemed to roll poorly. I never saw PCs with less than a 16 in their prime requisite, multiple ability scores on the high end of the bell curve, and miraculously never seeming to fail to qualify for the class we wanted. Multiple groups of players, many of whom never met each other over the course of years. Once we figured out rolling ability scores were an impediment to playing the characters we wanted, ability score magically rolled exactly what we needed. It was an open secret; everyone knew you fudged scores (and HP rolls; nobody ever gained just 1 hp per level) because those rolls were important. Rolling low on an attack roll or save was recoverable, you only got once chance at your Dexterity Score.

So with that background in mind, every fighter starting with a point-bought 16 was no different than every fighter "rolling" and 18/% strength score. It was just what you did, even though it was never acknowledged by the other Players or DMs. Rolling only determined HOW awesome you were, not whether you were going to BE awesome.

So go ahead, gamble on your PC. Roll randomly for ability scores, race, class, or anything else you want. Hell, roll to see what level you start at, or roll Traveller Style and see if your PC even survives Chargen. I don't care. But you will NEVER convince me that rolling randomly is better than making what you want.

Because my time is short, and precious, and I don't have time to waste playing a character I don't want to play.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Now, with point-buy and standard arrays, and arranging to taste, you have dozens of PCs who seem almost like carbon copies in play. What fighter in 5E doesn't have a STR 16 (or better) by level 4 for STR-based builds? How many rogues are played with DEX below 14??? Ever? When players can move ability scores around, it is just another step towards homogeny.

Being closed-off to what might be when you fate take a hand really is a pity. If you're happy with it, great for you, but it's your loss--especially if you've never even tried it. After all, you'll never know just what you'll get--and even with the way I prefer to play, background and class are still up to me--as is every other choice I make as I advance my characters.
If you can't sell people on your way without poo-pooing on theirs and insulting them along the way, then you should probably keep silent and move along.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
That's why I occasionally kill player characters at points in the campaign. No saves or anything. IRL, you have no control about whether you have cancer, a heart-attack, or some other medical condition.
Well, to a certain point you do - lifestyle, and all that.
And sometimes a tree falls on you and you die. Realism.
Wandering damage...it's the real-world equivalent of wandering monsters. :)

That said, sudden unforeseen death like that is fairly rare; rare enough that if it happened once during a typical campaign that would already be unlucky.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Let me know what game you find that satisfies your need to gamble for a playable character...
That assumes the gamble is binary between playable and non-playable. Most roll-for-stats DMs have a low-end cutoff and if you hit below that you can start over; thus I see the gamble as being more what degree and-or variety of playable you get.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
People have a memory, which I think is partially false, of PCs routinely making it high level with ability scores below a 13.
Are you referring to highest stat below 13, prime stat below 13, or overall average below 13?

I've never seen a character played with a high stat of 13 or less in large part because my DM low-end cutoff is that at least one of your rolls has to be 14 or better. I have both seen and played, however, long-lasting star characters who started with one 15 and nothing else higher than 12.

I put more stock in starting average than in what the highest stat might be. Someone might roll an 18 but if all the other stats are each 9 (thus, average of 10.5) that character's still likely not going to last long. 15-14-13-12-11-10 isn't as spectacular on the high end but at an average of 12.5 is far more well-rounded; and though I forget the actual numbers I've a feeling the "standard array" gives an average just below that.

The lowest starting averages I've seen that went on to great careers were right around 11. The highest starting average I've ever seen was 16.67 (18-18-17-17-15-15, rolled by a player while I watched in amazement) and that one didn't survive its second combat.
That absolutlely runs opposite to darn near every experience I had, every experience other people who played back then had, and many of the pre-gen characters of that era. High scores were important, so important that people would make sure they had them hook-or-crook.
A lot of pre-gens in the modules sport a 16 or 17 but their stats aren't crazy high, and 18s are rare. The 1e Rogue's Gallery - a booklet that gives hundreds of stat racks for those too time-pressed to roll up their own - is like this too; almost certainly rolled on 4d6k3.
 

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