5E Compilation of Alternate Ability Score Generation Methods

DM Dave1

Adventurer
I’m liking 4d6 drop lowest 5x. Sixth attribute is then determined by picking best 3 of the 5 dropped dice. Players choose where to place each score, but that one final score is quite likely to be < 8. This makes for some interesting weaknesses in the party so that the PCs need to rely on each others’ strong attributes a bit more.
 

Xardion

Explorer
I’m liking 4d6 drop lowest 5x. Sixth attribute is then determined by picking best 3 of the 5 dropped dice. Players choose where to place each score, but that one final score is quite likely to be < 8. This makes for some interesting weaknesses in the party so that the PCs need to rely on each others’ strong attributes a bit more.
Another interesting way to do this is to do 2d4+1d6+1d8, drop 1, 5x. Then, for the 6th score you roll 4 of the 5 dice you discarded (your choice). But you gotta be careful, because you can't keep a die that would make your score go above 18. If that happens, you can only keep 2 of them.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
This was a system we used back in AD& 2nd ed with a particular DM.

Disclaimer: Now, while I love the organic characters it generates, I happen to think the Faustian bargain of ASI or feat of 5e works best if everyone is on a level playing field, and it's low enough that ASI are tempting. So in 5e I prefer point buy. But this was a fun system for getting unexpected characters.

Organic In Order
Roll ability scores (4d6 drop lowest or whatever) IN ORDER. Do it twice more so you have three sets. Pick one set, or once per campaign you could toss away all three and roll three new sets.

This gives you ability scores where you wouldn't normally expect them. "Hmm, I'm a great barbarian but I also have a 17 INT." It's very organic because it's in order, while still meeting what you need because of the three sets. But you won't always be the class you want, so it also leads to a more organic party feel as opposed to the exact mix you want.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
That's essentially what our group has been doing for a while, though we really just check that the ability bonuses are all within a point or two of each other when added up.
I don't like this. For example, one great ability score and several okay fits some classes great and precludes others. It seems like depending on how the vote goes, some MAD classes could just be off the table. I understand it's a group descision, sort of tyranny of the masses sort of thing, but I game to have fun and don't need to start inter-player drama even before the game starts because Kevin wants the 18 for his rogue archer and I want a few decent stats for a front line paladin.

While limitations can be an aid to creativity, for a choice that will be with me likely for the next several years I don't want to be chaffing at not being able to play a character for that long. Or for Kevin to.
 
Last edited:

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I’m liking 4d6 drop lowest 5x. Sixth attribute is then determined by picking best 3 of the 5 dropped dice. Players choose where to place each score, but that one final score is quite likely to be < 8. This makes for some interesting weaknesses in the party so that the PCs need to rely on each others’ strong attributes a bit more.
This seems like it doubles down on the differences between characters. Someone who rolled well could have decent numbers left over, while someone who rolled poorly literally can not, since otherwise they wouldn't have been low. So if you have your first five scores lower, you last score will be lower as well. It penalizes your last score for having bad other scores.

I think the opposite would be more interesting. Swap the dropped dice for what's on the down side. Opposite sides on six siders add up to seven, so each die becomes 7 minus the original roll. So if your first five were low, you'll have great dice left over for your last ability score. Make it that people with five low ability scores get a bonus instead of get penalized on their sixth.
 

Xardion

Explorer
Yup, that's one of the reasons we wanted a different method, that we felt was more fair without being totally communist. That, and we got tired of rolling so many sets. We tried the exact method @Iry laid out, where we each rolled one set with 4d6 drop 1, and voted on the best set... and more often than not, we ALL rolled hot garbage. Part of the problem is that our group rarely has a full 4 or 5 player group. We're usually just 2 or 3, with NPCs filling the gaps. So we compensated by rolling multiple sets each (typically 3). We've basically just gotten tired of rolling so many times, and even with 6 sets to choose between, we've still been boned before, unless extra measures were taken (like re-rolling stats below an 8, or allowing 1 score in a set to be re-rolled, etc). But often, doing things like that would swing things in the OTHER direction, where you'd end up with fairly overpowered sets that manage to mess with 5e's scaling a fair amount (though action economy will always win in the end).

So we wanted a way where we could feasibly roll 1 set each, and be satisfied with the result 99.999% of the time.
 

Yardiff

Explorer
Try this variant point buy. Stats start at 0, you have 84(this number of course can be adjusted) points to spent at a one for one cost, max 18(if you adjust this number down you should adjust the point total down as well) in a stat.
 

Maestrino

Explorer
I saw this one on Reddit somewhere - I can't take credit for it.

STAT DRAFT
4d6 drop lowest, every player rolls 6 times. (For a wider stat spread, just roll 3d6. Or 1d20.)
Record all the rolled results in one common pool and sort highest to lowest.
Everyone roll for initiative, so five players get put in initiative order A-B-C-D-E.
Start your "draft". A gets the highest stat rolled, B gets #2, etc.
EXCEPT - after E takes the #5 stat, E also takes #6, D takes #4, etc.
So the order is A-B-C-D-E-E-D-C-B-A-A-B-C...
AT THE END - everyone can trade one stat of their choice. If, say, B winds up with a high ability score in a "dump stat" that they don't need, they can trade it to someone else for a lower score and some RP fun.
 

Advertisement

Top