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 .

payn

Legend
I find myself wondering how much of that "samey-ness" is really down to Point Buy (or standard array), and how much is down to the ability to place the six scores as desired. Because when you roll much of the time you're going to get an array that isn't all that far off something you could buy anyway (after all, that's why the array/point buy was constructed the way it was). So you're not necessarily going to get something wildly different anyway.

I wonder, therefore, if the antidote to the "samey-ness" isn't rather to allow the player to assign, say, the top 2 scores to their chosen attributes, but then randomize the placement of the others. That would mean the player could always play their chosen class without issue, but one Fighter might be intelligent but not dextrous with another is wise but not charismatic.

Just a thought.
I like that idea.

I do think modern design has been moving towards a primary and secondary stat and the rest dont matter paradigm. On one hand it is easier to design for and enforces niche protection, on the other it makes all characters feel the same with just a different color shirt on.
 

log in or register to remove this ad


I find myself wondering how much of that "samey-ness" is really down to Point Buy (or standard array),
I can't imagine thinking that a fighter with a 15 str and 14 con and fighting with the defensive ffighting style is the same as a hex blade with a 15 cha 14 dex no fighting style and they both have completely diffrent skills/background ext... just cause they both have a 15 and a 14... it always weirds me out
 

Horwath

Hero
I find myself wondering how much of that "samey-ness" is really down to Point Buy (or standard array), and how much is down to the ability to place the six scores as desired. Because when you roll much of the time you're going to get an array that isn't all that far off something you could buy anyway (after all, that's why the array/point buy was constructed the way it was). So you're not necessarily going to get something wildly different anyway.

I wonder, therefore, if the antidote to the "samey-ness" isn't rather to allow the player to assign, say, the top 2 scores to their chosen attributes, but then randomize the placement of the others. That would mean the player could always play their chosen class without issue, but one Fighter might be intelligent but not dextrous with another is wise but not charismatic.

Just a thought.
with rolling and/or random placing of abilities, we have seen far less of "what I have idea to play" and more of "what class/race combo can I play to salvage these scores".
 

Oofta

Legend
Never said anything about a true roleplayer and so on. That is in your mind. I just said, that you said, you simulated combats and your result was twice the survivability for well rolled characters and I admitted, that for combat, very inequal stats can make problems if you don´t chose your classes wisely.
I wanted to mention the "choose class wisely" argument first. A fighter with low stats will be less capable than a fighter with high stats in combat. They will also likely contribute less to ability checks outside of combat (although of course that varies). I also dislike being locked into a handful of choices because it's the best I can do with the numbers I have.

But the main reason for this response is that when you say things like :
  • "if you have a social contract that allows high and low array characters to play at the same table".
    • Implying that you will be ostracized or looked down upon if you don't "comply"
  • "all you care is combat performance"
    • All people care about is performance is pretty self explanatory. It comes across as judgmental and pigeonholing people who use point buy.
  • " and there is no appropriate social contract"
    • I can only read this as the "correct" contract.
  • "going out of the comfort zone."
    • Not sure how to take this as other than people who don't roll have fragile egos.
You say that you did not intend any of this to make it sound like you are a superior role player by using rolls. It certainly comes off that way to me.

People have different ideas of fun. I sometimes build characters using point buy that are optimal for combat, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I want that fighter to have a decent charisma or do a rogue as an enforcer type that relies more on muscle than dexterity. I almost never play truly stupid characters (either above average intelligence or wisdom). It's not about optimization, although of course that is part of it. I want to play a PC with decent stats that are not spectacular. I don't want a 20 at 1st level because I want room to grow. At the same time I want to play someone that's competent, not the tag along.

It's okay to say that you like the random results. Just lay off the justifications that talk about why people choose point buy, especially in a way that makes random sound superior.
 

delericho

Legend
I can't imagine thinking that a fighter with a 15 str and 14 con and fighting with the defensive ffighting style is the same as a hex blade with a 15 cha 14 dex no fighting style and they both have completely diffrent skills/background ext... just cause they both have a 15 and a 14... it always weirds me out
What tends to happen with point buy is that there becomes one way to build a hex blade and one way to build a Wizard, and so on (with two ways to build a Fighter - str-based and dex-based). The samey-ness isn't that all characters look the same, it's that all characters of the same class look the same.
with rolling and/or random placing of abilities, we have seen far less of "what I have idea to play" and more of "what class/race combo can I play to salvage these scores".
Indeed. That's why I proposed allowing placement of two scores and then random placement of the rest.
 

with rolling and/or random placing of abilities, we have seen far less of "what I have idea to play" and more of "what class/race combo can I play to salvage these scores".
we haven't done 3d6 place as you get in years, and even when we tried it was RARE... but this is exactly what we got.

"Gee I guess the only class choice is thief (rogue now)"

when we switched to the most favorable method ever (the ross method) of 4d6 drop the lowest 7 times drop the lowest make 3 rows then take the best row... we STILL had occasion (although very rare) where players were like "Damn, not playing my priestess of mystra with these rolls"
 

Redwizard007

Adventurer
A little bit of everything depending on what table I'm at. One guy had us roll 4d6, take the best 2 rolls and add 6. It is freaking nuts. I usually go point buy. Another DM uses stat arrays. 4d6 drop the lowest is most popular by a bit.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
"It is your fault I came for you with knives out."

Nice.
Any knives were imagined by you. I was just saying that if you're rolling in accordance with the rules, you literally can't end up with a 3 in charisma unless 1) you want to, or 2) there's some sort of house rule in effect.

This isn't the first time that I've had no idea who you were responding to and/or the context of your post. There's a reason people use the quote feature. 🤷‍♂️
 

What tends to happen with point buy is that there becomes one way to build a hex blade and one way to build a Wizard, and so on (with two ways to build a Fighter - str-based and dex-based). The samey-ness isn't that all characters look the same, it's that all characters of the same class look the same.
even that seems to be only the main stat in my experience. 80-90% of people put the 15 in the combat stat but after that there is a lot of variance.

Heck we often see multi (2-3) warlocks in a campaign and I can't remember the last time I saw 2 characters with the same stats.

in my last roll20 campagin I ran we had 2 warlocks... 1 started with a 17cha and the other started with a 16 cha (both putting there 15 there) but other then that they have no overlap stats at all. one was raven queen pact tome lock that multied into rogue during campaign, other was infernal pact of chain and did not multi class at all.

edit in my saterday (2 on 2 off) campagin we are all artificers (one multi into cleric) and we not only with 4 players didn't put all the same stats... we didn't even all put 15 in Int (okay 3 of the 4 of us did... but not all)
 

A little bit of everything depending on what table I'm at. One guy had us roll 4d6, take the best 2 rolls and add 6. It is freaking nuts. I usually go point buy. Another DM uses stat arrays. 4d6 drop the lowest is most popular by a bit.
I am seeing this more and more... roll multi dice drop some then add a static number. I wonder what makes that work better...

I mean this one is min 8 instead of min 3 so that helps but I am sure that someone one with probability skills can say that takeing best 2 of 4d6 and adding 6 is going to on average give you MUCH higher stats then normal...
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I am seeing this more and more... roll multi dice drop some then add a static number. I wonder what makes that work better...

I mean this one is min 8 instead of min 3 so that helps but I am sure that someone one with probability skills can say that takeing best 2 of 4d6 and adding 6 is going to on average give you MUCH higher stats then normal...
Minimum 8 and an extraordinary number of 17s and 18s. I mean, how many times have you rolled and gotten 6, 5, 2, 1 and ended up with a 13? Taking the best two and adding 6 is going to give some mean stats. It's probably a good thing high stats don't mean as much in 5e ;)

I just tried it and got 17, 17, 16, 16, 15, 12
 


Redwizard007

Adventurer
I am seeing this more and more... roll multi dice drop some then add a static number. I wonder what makes that work better...

I mean this one is min 8 instead of min 3 so that helps but I am sure that someone one with probability skills can say that takeing best 2 of 4d6 and adding 6 is going to on average give you MUCH higher stats then normal...
Lots of 20s in primary stats at 1st level. 16-18 is pretty common for most stats. My dump stat was a 13 Int... it's OP as hell, but in the vein of epic heroes or Marvel characters, so not immersion breaking. I actually made a minotaur barbarian (I know, wth?) and with wicked stats he's fun, and somehow the face of the party.
 

delericho

Legend
I am seeing this more and more... roll multi dice drop some then add a static number. I wonder what makes that work better...

I mean this one is min 8 instead of min 3 so that helps but I am sure that someone one with probability skills can say that takeing best 2 of 4d6 and adding 6 is going to on average give you MUCH higher stats then normal...
I guess it depends on how much you like feats? Higher stats, and especially a higher primary stat, will mean less need to boost them with level, which in turn should mean more feats being chosen.

But that cap of 20 on any single ability score should keep things from getting out of hand - you get a power boost at low level, but it's not that long before everyone's rocking 20's anyway.
 

I wanted to mention the "choose class wisely" argument first. A fighter with low stats will be less capable than a fighter with high stats in combat. They will also likely contribute less to ability checks outside of combat (although of course that varies). I also dislike being locked into a handful of choices because it's the best I can do with the numbers I have.

But the main reason for this response is that when you say things like :
  • "if you have a social contract that allows high and low array characters to play at the same table".
    • Implying that you will be ostracized or looked down upon if you don't "comply"
  • "all you care is combat performance"
    • All people care about is performance is pretty self explanatory. It comes across as judgmental and pigeonholing people who use point buy.
  • " and there is no appropriate social contract"
    • I can only read this as the "correct" contract.
  • "going out of the comfort zone."
    • Not sure how to take this as other than people who don't roll have fragile egos.
You say that you did not intend any of this to make it sound like you are a superior role player by using rolls. It certainly comes off that way to me.

People have different ideas of fun. I sometimes build characters using point buy that are optimal for combat, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I want that fighter to have a decent charisma or do a rogue as an enforcer type that relies more on muscle than dexterity. I almost never play truly stupid characters (either above average intelligence or wisdom). It's not about optimization, although of course that is part of it. I want to play a PC with decent stats that are not spectacular. I don't want a 20 at 1st level because I want room to grow. At the same time I want to play someone that's competent, not the tag along.

It's okay to say that you like the random results. Just lay off the justifications that talk about why people choose point buy, especially in a way that makes random sound superior.

I think you read more into it then I intended. I stand by my words. Interpret into them whatever you like.

There is no superior way to play as I explained already. There are people who say DnD5e is too easy. I like the "easy mode". And within this easy mode, the difference between a 12 and a 16 in an off stat is just a slight reduction in efficiency not a terrible hindrance.
When I speak about the social contract, I just mean that I find the game welcoming if every character can be in the spotlight, and is allowed to fail and it still brings the story forward. I have played in groups (not too often) where you needed to be optimized to even have a chance to contribute. In such a group I would prefer point buy, because then you know that everyone starts at the same point. Is this social contract worse? No. If that is the goal of the game, great. I don't prefer it that way.
 
Last edited:

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
we will disagree on this forever
Oh, I know. That's why the winky face was there. :p
now I wouldn't mind if everyone used that for an array for a game but I would hat to make a player make a character with 14, 13, 13, 12, 10,9 at the same table
That's why many games that I've played in where rolling happened had a floor for the total stat point number(not point buy). So the first set added up to 93(higher I think than I've ever seen rolled with 4d6-L), and the second set added up to 71. What those tables did was either have you re-roll until you got 76(the usual number, but sometimes 72 or 80) or just roll d6s and add +1 to the numbers rolled.

The latter method is what I see done more often, because 1) it saves time as it avoids sometimes a lot of re-rolls, and 2) it avoids someone rolling 6 times below 76 and then getting an 85. The latter method would look like, this. Since 71 is 5 lower than the 76 minimum, I rolled 5d6 and got 1, 1, 3, 4, 4. That 14 becomes a 16, the second 13 becomes a 14, and the 12 becomes a 14. So that's now 16, 14, 14, 13, 10, 9 for a total of 76.

Usually out of 5 players you will see 3-4 at 76-79, and 1 or 2 at the low 80s. It would be very, very extreme to end up with that 93 and some 76s at the same table.
 

Horwath

Hero
My favorite is to axe the racial bonuses. They will all be the same anyway in 2024.

Modified point buy.

32pt pool

8: 0pts
9: 1pt
10: 2pts
11: 3pts
12: 4pts
13: 5pts
14: 6pts
15: 8pts
16: 10pts

with added bonus feat at 1st level, you can get 17 and then 18 at 4th level if you pick another half feat with same bonus.

with 32pts you can get 16,16,14,12,10,8 as some kind of "standard" array, or maybe 14,14,14,14,12,12 if you want jack of all trades.
 



Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top