D&D 5E How does your group determine ability scores?

Which method of determining ability scores is the most used in your D&D 5E group?

  • Roll 4d6, drop lowest

    Votes: 43 29.5%
  • Default scores (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8)

    Votes: 24 16.4%
  • Customizing ability scores variant (point-buy)

    Votes: 60 41.1%
  • Mix of rolled and default

    Votes: 1 0.7%
  • Mix of rolled and customizing

    Votes: 6 4.1%
  • Mix of default and customizing

    Votes: 8 5.5%
  • Mix of all three

    Votes: 10 6.8%
  • Other (please specify)

    Votes: 22 15.1%

  • Poll closed .


Based off the tangent in this thread... if you play 5E, what's the primary method among members of your group for choosing ability scores at character creation? Mind, this isn't a question about what options you allow, it's about what options get chosen in practice.

Although the poll allows for multiple answers, please only choose one, unless you play in more than one group and each group has a different preference. (Also, if you pick a mix, that means all the options listed are about equally popular.)

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Jedi Master
I give my players the choice of all three individually. Current campaign has 2 rollers, 2 standards and 1 point buy. I do require those who roll to also roll for HPs when they level.


He / Him
One of my groups prefers default / point buy, the other prefers 4d6 drop the lowest.

I find the first is good for a group that discusses their character concepts a lot before the campaign starts. This group really likes to have their characters figured out in advance: their class & race, motivations, connections. Point Buy or default give you a lot of control over your character concept.

The second is good for groups who want to figure out their characters during Session 0. The random stat array makes some character concepts possible, others more difficult. Character generation is more spontaneous and surprising.

I've enjoyed playing in both groups, but liked making characters in the second group more. I enjoy surprises!


Magic Wordsmith
I pick ability score generation methods based on what I feel best supports the campaign theme. In my current zero-to-hero hexcrawl campaign (soon to complete), it was 3d6 in order since it was very much about making do with what you have. In my next campaign, it's 4d6 drop the lowest (with scrap and reroll if too low) as that game will have some callbacks to D&D 3e and that's the default method in that game. In games like my street level hero/D&D mash up, I wanted players to be able to build to a specific superhero concept so a lot more options were open to them and point buy was used.

As with any options and variants, there's no need to keep them the same in every campaign or adventure in my view. It's good to mix them up to reinforce what you're going for, even down to stat generation methods.


Morkus from Orkus
I picked 4d6 and other. I play in one group where we rolled 4d6-L, and then in my game I have the players roll two stats at 3d6(dump stats that may or may not actually be dump), two stats at 4d6-L, and two stats at 5d6-2L(usually in the classes best stats). Then just because the luck gods can be fickle and I want the players to be able to play the class they have envisioned for their PC, I allow one pair of stats to be swapped. That means that if the Fighter's strength with the 5d6-2L roll is 11 and the 4d6-L wisdom roll ended up a 16, he can swap that pair and be the strength Fighter he was picturing.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I'm in a couple of different groups. And one group has rotating DMs every 6-9 months and they have different requirements.

I do point buy. I like the Faustian bargain of ASI vs. feat being a meaningful choice. Plus when one character is much higher or lower than everyone else it causes issues and this avoids it. I like the customization a bit better than the Standard Array because some concepts are more MAD than others.

In the mixed DM group, the "primary DM" does standard array, but with permission allows point buy. He also only allows Tasha's reorganization of ability scores by permission. He has a 3.x history and it feels like he's doing this to prevent minmaxing, but no one in the group really is into that.

Another DM in that group does rolled, and really expects everyone to have high scores. He personally loves feats as interesting and doesn't want people to have to take ASIs. Considering that I've never seen a significantly-lower-than-average set of rolled scores when he's running, I'm wondering if he has people reroll those.


Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Current 5E group is point-buy.

In my OD&D and OSE groups it's 3d6 down the line, DM may allow a re-roll for a really sad set.

In the 5TD campaign I am running I had the players use the book rules (humans 3d6 down the line but may swap any two, demi-humans get special methods) but required re-rolling if the total modifiers came out to a negative number. One downside is that I didn't love how it sometimes required multiple re-rolls. No one's had to make a new character for a while, so I haven't revised it. I may substitute the next option, the next time someone makes a human.

The latest version I quite like for old school is 3d6 down the line but you may "flip/mirror" the set, subtracting all values (in order) from 21. This gives you two options while only rolling once, and eliminates "hopeless" characters, as any terrible set can be an above average set.


Elder Thing
In 5e, we use the default array but then I give each player 3 points to put wherever they want. This method REPLACES racial ability score modifiers, which we do not use.


We've gone backwards and forwards over the years, with loads of different options tried and discarded. We never did find a method that works for us all.

The past three campaigns have used arrays - two used the standard array, while a third gave a choice of half a dozen for players to pick from. For our next campaign, we'll generate an array - each player will roll 4d6-drop-lowest once, moving round the table until a total of 6 scores are generated, and then everyone uses those. (We'll reroll if the stats are crazy good or crazy bad.)


Mix of all three.

Per my group: we trust each other to be honest about our ability score generation, to the point that I honestly don't know how everyone does theirs. I will point-buy if I'm trying to engineer a character just-so, or roll if I want some wild results - or even roll the ability scores in order and just work with what I get.
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Mix of all three. We trust people to be honest about their ability scores, whether they've gone with the basic array, rolled, or point-bought them. I tend to do the latter, myself - although sometimes I'll first roll a set of "4d6 and drop the lowest" to see if I get an especially good spread. ;)
now this is why we stopped rolling. people would reroll and reroll and take the best... or in your case roll then if it isn't 'good enough' take the stats...

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