D&D 5E How do you handle randomly rolling for stats


WotC President Runner-Up.
what math?
1st year of elementary school?
I never said it was hard math.. Just suggested there was a lot of it. Rather than having to tally up all the points to see that I can just give my character a +1 in every ability, just show me in the book the "Jack of All Trades 12, 12, 12, 13, 13, 13 array"

log in or register to remove this ad


Now you're infected by the Musical Doodle
I prefer not rolling at all like with 5e's point buy or PF2's bonuses, but if the DM requires it I always keep what I get, no rerolls.

It's how I ended up with a 6 STR, 7 DEX, 8 CON, 10 INT, 12 WIS and 12 CHA Druid in a 3.5 adventure. Somehow she survived the whole thing.

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
So I have a player who doesn't mind rolling stats. If they roll poorly, they create a laser-focused, optimized build. If they roll well, they create a character with three classes and make truly off the wall character choices.

I'll let you guess which of the two I prefer to see in games, lol.

Now I realize, not all players are so noble, but I've been (blessed? cursed?) with mostly players who are notably bad at optimization, so allowing them higher numbers usually works out.

And I've had those players who are absolutely driven to "win" TTRPG's- they have to have the highest AC, the best chance to hit, the most damage. These players annoy me, because they often leave themselves with crippling weak points, which I fully recognize, but am unwilling to exploit on purpose. If you're weak to some kind of strategy, I'm not going to go out of my way to employ it over and over again.

But this leads to a scenario where they are disruptive to the game and refuse to acknowledge that, all because I pride myself on being a "fair" GM.

But those kinds of players would be obnoxious regardless of their ability scores. Then again, if they had nothing but 12's, I imagine they'd just try to suicide in the hopes of getting a "good" character. :rolleyes:


When I DM, each player rolls one series, including the DM. No rerolls.

These become the available stat arrays for this campaign.

Usually out of five arrays, two are worth considering taking.

That’s for me the sweetest spot between « thrill of rolling » and « fairness of standard array »

Cordwainer Fish

Imp. Int. Scout Svc. (Dishon. Ret.)
and low array rolled leads sometimes to suicided characters.

I have seen it, but no one can prove it was 100% intentional :D
"Should a player consider his character to be so poor as to be beyond help, he should consider joining the accident-prone Scout Corps, with a subconscious view to suicide."

- Traveller Book 1: Characters and Combat, 1977 edition


Morkus from Orkus
"Point Buy" is just Standard Array with extra steps. In my experience, everyone at the table ends up with nearly identical stats. And hey--if that's the goal, it's a great way to do it.

I prefer randomness over predictability, though. I'm one of those weirdos who likes to roll my stats, roll my hit points, roll my Ideals/Traits/Flaws, roll my starting gold, all of that. I like to be surprised.
Years ago at a game convention here in Los Angeles, one of my players got ahold of a PvP battle to the death sheet and wanted to try it on one of the game nights. The sheet allowed point buy or array, so we all made a copy and went home to create a character.

The following week we all arrived to play and he comes up to me and says, "I've spent hours going over all the different ways to spend these points and I think I've come up with the best set of numbers." When I asked to see what he came up with, he said, "15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8." I didn't respond for a moment and he said, "What?" So I pulled out the PHb and showed him the array that was 3 paragraphs above the point buy chart. After a few second of contemplation, he said, "Well, I wish I had know about that before I spent all that time!" :ROFLMAO:


I don't find low or unbalanced rolls to be that debilitating in play.

There are certain builds or play styles that are "off the table" with low rolls and if you were dead set on that as your PC I could see that being an issue, but most of the time players will choose options that work with their rolls.

Also a Standard Human can be a pretty powerful race if you roll since it is a +6 to your abilities. It is a much less viable option on point buy or standard array.


It's a game of luck, and that starts at roll-up.

And even if your character is somewhat sub-par*, run it out and see how long it lasts. If it dies early, just bang out another one and carry on. If it lasts despite its shortcomings - and sometimes they do - well, that's the best the game can get....says he, whose best and most-fun character ever started with awful stats compared to her peers.

* - most DMs have a floor of sub-par-ness beneath which they'll let you re-roll from scratch; mine is that you can choose to reroll if the average of your six rolls is below 10.0 or if no roll is higher than 13...which would, amazingly, catch @Yaarel 's proposed array
This isn't luck like rolling an attack. You do tons of rolls like that, so they average out over time.

This is luck that affects your character forever, so the impact of this one set of rolls is hugely magnified, and creates ongoing inequity. It's well and good to argue that this doesn't bother you personally, but it does bother a lot of other players, and it's not surprising. They are being punished over and over for one instance of bad luck, while the person sitting beside them is being rewarded over and over for one instance of good luck.

It's a particular pain in the butt when you're working with a lot of teenagers, who are very quick to point out the structural inequity. Because they're right.

I switched to standard array about five years ago and am never going back. Contrary to some claims, it does not produce homogenous characters, because what makes each character unique and interesting comes from the player, not the stats. It just makes it so every character is starting from the same place mechanically.


We have five players. Most of the time we use point buy. But the last time we used this method the group voted for:

17, 16, 13, 12, 12, 11.

The first time we did it the group voted for:

17, 15, 14, 13, 11, 10.
I prefer only 1, maybe 2 odd scores at start, too many instances to "fix" otherwise
17,15,14,12,12,10 would be preferred out of those two, same point buy budget as 17,15,14,13,11,10.

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads