D&D 5E Different Methods for Rolling Ability Scores (8-15 range)


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guachi

Adventurer
3d4+5. Any score above a 15 is set to 15. A 14 and 15 will both have a 15.63% chance of being rolled. Average score is 12.42.

Alternative #1: Any points over 15 that are lost by the above method can be added to any other score. Average is 12.50.

Alternative #2: Any points over 15 that are lost are given to the player with the lowest total of all his ability scores.
 
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DND_Reborn

Legend
3d4+5. Any score above a 15 is set to 15. A 14 and 15 will both have a 15.63% chance of being rolled. Average score is 12.42.
That is pretty good, too, and has a higher chance of getting an 8...

I am not thrilled about capping every score at 15 if you roll higher, though. Still, some more food for thought.
 

Absolutely correct.

But since I am trying to get a range of 8-15 with an average of 12 or so, how does that help exactly? :unsure:

1d8+7 (no bell curve). 8-15 range, average 11.5.

Do you want a non linear distribution? I mean you could just roll percentile against a chart with 8 values (8, 9, 10 etc), and create whatever probability curve you desired with values of each.

Eg:

%Stat
01-05 (5 percent)8
06-15 (10 percent)9
16-30 (15 percent)10
31-50 (20 percent)11
51-70 (20 percent)12
71-85 (15 percent)13
86-95 (10 percent)14
96-00 (5 percent)15

That creates a nice even bell curve, sets the average stat at exactly 12, but you can adjust the % to whatever you want (to make high stats harder to get, or extreme stats harder to get, or low stats harder to get, or whatever).

You could also work into the chart a fail-safe to prevent successive poor rolls (or successive good ones) by having a high roll penalize the next roll, and/ or having low rolls providing a boost to the next roll (roll a 03 and get a Stat of 8? Congratulations, for your next roll you get +50% (meaning a Stat of at least 12 is assured).
 


Back in ADnD we had some luck with 3d6 and roll some more d6 to add to any number you like, but it has to stay below 18.

So my method would be:

6 times 7 + 1d8 (average of 11.5)

Then you add d4s. Since every d4 increases the total by 2.5. You want to add 0.75 on average to get to 12.25.
So you have to add 0.75*6 = 4.5

This means that you have to roll 2 d4, which adds 5 to the average. If you consider that in edge cases you might not be able to add something extra because you rolled to well, your average should be somewhere between 12.25 and 12.5 with some flexibility.

If you want to be exactly at 12.25 you might consider rolling a single d8, chop it into two parts and add those to your stats as you wish (high risk but a lot of flexibility if you roll good).
You might consider rolling 7d8 and you may use the median of those rolls, or even flip the middle one over, to counter out bad luck a bit.

You can even increase the number of d8 rolls by any even number you like and drop as many highest and lowest as you wish to get more average stats.

Example: roll 9d8:

3, 5, 7, 8, 1, 1, 8, 2, 4.

Sort it:

1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 8.

Scrap the lowest, highest and mark the middle one:

1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 8.

Add 7 to all unmarked rolls and flip the middle one over:

8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15.

4 -> 5

Then assign the numbers to stats as you like, chop 5 in two halves and add the to the stats you like:

Str: 12 + 2
Dex: 8
Con: 14
Int: 10
Wis: 15
Cha: 9 + 3

This will be our war cleric.
 
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DND_Reborn

Legend
I mean you could just roll percentile against a chart with 8 values (8, 9, 10 etc), and create whatever probability curve you desired with values of each.
This has the same issue as Methods 2 and 3 in the OP. I know you can do it with a table, but I would rather not have to require players to look up their results to determine their scores.

I'm guessing you didn't read the spoiler? (Which is fine, after all, it IS in the spoiler...)
 


DND_Reborn

Legend
Back in ADnD we had some luck with 3d6 and roll some more d6 to add to any number you like, but it has to stay below 18.

So my method would be:

6 times 7 + 1d8 (average of 11.5)

Then you add d4s. Since every d4 increases the total by 2.5. You want to add 0.75 on average to get to 12.25.
So you have to add 0.75*6 = 4.5

This means that you have to roll 2 d4, which adds 5 to the average. If you consider that in edge cases you might not be able to add something extra because you rolled to well, your average should be somewhere between 12.25 and 12.5 with some flexibility.

If you want to be exactly at 12.25 you might consider rolling a single d8 to add to your stats and divide those points as you wish (high risk but a lot of flexibility if you roll good).
You might consider rolling 7d8 and you may use the median of those rolls, or even flip the middle one over, to counter out bad luck a bit.
Yeah, this follows the same line of thought for the best solution I came up with yesterday.


I suggested the extra d8 added to the lowest roll, capped at 15, but I like your idea of a d4 or maybe 2d4 also. I'll have to look at that.

Thanks! :)
 

Yeah, this follows the same line of thought for the best solution I came up with yesterday.


I suggested the extra d8 added to the lowest roll, capped at 15, but I like your idea of a d4 or maybe 2d4 also. I'll have to look at that.

Thanks! :)
I edited my post a bit with some changes and an example.

A d3 and a d4 will also get you to exactly 12.25.
And thanks for this thread, I like playimg with dice statistics.
 
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Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
LOL you really don't get the part about wanting the average to be 12-12.5, do you???

(FYI, your method still has an average of 11.5.)
No. I just like watching people use math trying manipulate random probabilities rather than use the obvious solutions. (The answers are always Point buy and standard arrays.)
 


Lyxen

Great Old One
Point buys and standard arrays are boring. Manipulating dice to get some variety is fun though.

Moreover, it prevents builds optimisation and suggest alternate paths to players. I was all for point-buy at a time when I thought about fairness and equality, but in the end, it's indeed boring and dull.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
For the playing card method, it's actually pretty easy (unless my math is really screwed up here.)

The cards are whole numbers so we can't get an average of 12.5, but let's say average of 12 across the six scores.

Six scores at 12 points each is a total of 72 points.

Now we will do decks of 2 cards per ability score, which is a total of 12 cards. We need the numbers of all 12 cards added together to equal 72 (so when you divide it by 6 it will equal 12.) You want the possibility of an 8 and a 15, which means you need at least two '4's, and can have only one '8' (two or more could give the possibility of a 16 or higher.) So a card distribution could be this:

two 4s (8 points)
two 5s (10 points)
three 6s (18 points)
four 7s (28 points)
one 8 (8 points)

8+10+18+28+8=72

Now when a player wants to create scores, they shuffle the 12 cards and deal out facedown 6 piles of 2 cards, flip them over and add them together. They will have 6 scores that in total will average 12. Usually to create more interesting characters when I do this method I make the players use the scores in order, which makes them have to come up with classes they ordinarily might not get to play because their highest score was in an ability they wouldn't ordinarily have chosen. It also will occasionally give you PCs that won't have a CON of 14 or higher, which almost always seems to happen when you go with Point Buy. No one ever buys a low CON. This method means they occasionally might.

If I've screwed up or misunderstood what you mean by 'an average of 12 or 12.5', then this method wouldn't necessarily work. But if I got your 12s across six scores right, then in theory this should work.
 

This has the same issue as Methods 2 and 3 in the OP. I know you can do it with a table, but I would rather not have to require players to look up their results to determine their scores.

I'm guessing you didn't read the spoiler? (Which is fine, after all, it IS in the spoiler...)

Ok then, for a bell curve:

6 + (d5, d4).

Or 5 + (d4, d3 d3).

Or 4 + (d3, d3, d3, d2)

Or 3 + 4d2+d4

Depends on how steep you want the curve. With the last method your odds of a stat of 15 are 1 in 64.
 

tolcreator

Explorer
OK here's what you do.
Create a deck of 60 cards. There are 10 15s, 10 14s, 10 13s, 10 12s, 10 10s, and 10 8s.
Each of the 10 is also labelled as one of the rows / columns from the tic tac toe method. So a card might say "15 Str OR Wis"
The tenth card of each number is labelled any, so "13 Any" for example.

Now there are several options as to what to do with these cards.
1) Shuffle the whole deck, and deal each player 6 cards. Harsh, but fair.
2) As 1 except you implement a draft. You take one card from the hand you are dealt, then pass the remainder to your left. Repeat until you have selected 6 cards.
3) Shuffle the whole deck and deal each player 10 cards ( gives lots of options but will tend towards higher stats )
4) Divide the deck into 3 subdecks of 20. One deck has all the 15s and 14s, one all the 13s and 12s, one all the 10s and 8s. Shuffle each deck and deal each player 2 cards from each, so everyone is guaranteed 2 cards in the 15-14 range, 2 in the 13-12 range, 2 in the 10 to 8 range.
5) As 4, except after that, shuffle all remaining cards, and deal one additional card to each player.
6) As 4 or 5, except you only deal 1 card from the 15/14 pile to each player, and each player basically has one "15 Any" card, guaranteeing them their chosen build while still shaking up their remaining stats.

All the fun of random rolling, all the fun of old school "Roll and assign" "Oh I never thought I'd put THIS number in THAT stat", but while also assuring fairness and (for option 6) that any build they thought of is still viable.

Edit: Doh. You could end up not being dealt all the cards necessary for all the stats. Like you might end up with 3 "Str Or Wis" and 3 "Con Or Cha" and have nothing for Int or Dex, say. Ah well.
 
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Ok then, for a bell curve:

6 + (d5, d4).

Or 5 + (d4, d3 d3).

Or 4 + (d3, d3, d3, d2)

Or 3 + 4d2+d4

Depends on how steep you want the curve. With the last method your odds of a stat of 15 are 1 in 64.
I have another method:

Roll
7+1d8 2 times
9+1d6 2 times
11+d4 2 times

That is an average of 12.5

It is not trivial to go down to 12.25, because you need to lower the sum by 1.5

A possibility is:

7 + 1d8 2 times
9 + 1d6 2 times
11 + 1d4 1 time
7 + 2d4 1 time
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
For the playing card method, it's actually pretty easy (unless my math is really screwed up here.)

The cards are whole numbers so we can't get an average of 12.5, but let's say average of 12 across the six scores.

Six scores at 12 points each is a total of 72 points.

Now we will do decks of 2 cards per ability score, which is a total of 12 cards. We need the numbers of all 12 cards added together to equal 72 (so when you divide it by 6 it will equal 12.) You want the possibility of an 8 and a 15, which means you need at least two '4's, and can have only one '8' (two or more could give the possibility of a 16 or higher.) So a card distribution could be this:

two 4s (8 points)
two 5s (10 points)
three 6s (18 points)
four 7s (28 points)
one 8 (8 points)

8+10+18+28+8=72

Now when a player wants to create scores, they shuffle the 12 cards and deal out facedown 6 piles of 2 cards, flip them over and add them together. They will have 6 scores that in total will average 12. Usually to create more interesting characters when I do this method I make the players use the scores in order, which makes them have to come up with classes they ordinarily might not get to play because their highest score was in an ability they wouldn't ordinarily have chosen. It also will occasionally give you PCs that won't have a CON of 14 or higher, which almost always seems to happen when you go with Point Buy. No one ever buys a low CON. This method means they occasionally might.

If I've screwed up or misunderstood what you mean by 'an average of 12 or 12.5', then this method wouldn't necessarily work. But if I got your 12s across six scores right, then in theory this should work.

You just convinced me to use this method with the Tarroka deck from GF9 for my next campaign.
0) The players pick a race
1) I'll pick 6 cards representing each of the 6 Ability that the player will need to draw, then align in order, face down, before drawing their Score cards piles.
2) The player draws their Score cards, face down and put them in a Celtic cross spread.
3) The player picks one Ability card, turns it face up and select one pile from the spread.
3) The player turns their score cards and notes which Ability got which Score.

4) The player picks a class that complement its choice of race and stats they got.

EDIT: Just went through my Tarokka deck, and here's the card used for this chargen method:

Ability Card
Marionette: Dexterity
Raven: Intelligence
Warrior: Strength
Beast: Constitution
Seer: Wisdom
Tempter: Charisma

2 x 4 points: Shepherd, Abjurer
2 x 5 points: Druid, Guild Member
3 x 6 Points: Evoker, Anarchist, Beggar
4 x 7 points: Charlatan, Hooded one, Illusionist, Thief
1 x 8 points: Bishop
 
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DND_Reborn

Legend
For the playing card method, it's actually pretty easy (unless my math is really screwed up here.)

The cards are whole numbers so we can't get an average of 12.5, but let's say average of 12 across the six scores.

Six scores at 12 points each is a total of 72 points.

Now we will do decks of 2 cards per ability score, which is a total of 12 cards. We need the numbers of all 12 cards added together to equal 72 (so when you divide it by 6 it will equal 12.) You want the possibility of an 8 and a 15, which means you need at least two '4's, and can have only one '8' (two or more could give the possibility of a 16 or higher.) So a card distribution could be this:

two 4s (8 points)
two 5s (10 points)
three 6s (18 points)
four 7s (28 points)
one 8 (8 points)

8+10+18+28+8=72

Now when a player wants to create scores, they shuffle the 12 cards and deal out facedown 6 piles of 2 cards, flip them over and add them together. They will have 6 scores that in total will average 12. Usually to create more interesting characters when I do this method I make the players use the scores in order, which makes them have to come up with classes they ordinarily might not get to play because their highest score was in an ability they wouldn't ordinarily have chosen. It also will occasionally give you PCs that won't have a CON of 14 or higher, which almost always seems to happen when you go with Point Buy. No one ever buys a low CON. This method means they occasionally might.

If I've screwed up or misunderstood what you mean by 'an average of 12 or 12.5', then this method wouldn't necessarily work. But if I got your 12s across six scores right, then in theory this should work.
Very nice! I'll grab some cards and give it a try when I get home. If it works well in practice, I'll add it as a method. :)
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Ok then, for a bell curve:

6 + (d5, d4).

Or 5 + (d4, d3 d3).

Or 4 + (d3, d3, d3, d2)

Or 3 + 4d2+d4

Depends on how steep you want the curve. With the last method your odds of a stat of 15 are 1 in 64.
The curve is nice, of course, but these all average 11.5, while the goal is to get an average from 12-12.5, preferably around 12.25 or so.
 

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