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DragonBelow

Adventurer
My first character was a fighter. We rolled 3d6 in order. His Str was 14, and that was his best stat.

Determining ability scores was always up to the DM, but the choices was typically one of the methods presented there: 4d6 drop lowest was very popular in our group, but there were several exceptions. The best results were achieved by using the zero-level rules from book I didn't own.
 

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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
I don't think what stat method you use matters, as long as the game is fun for everyone. I mean, I never made anyone use 3d6, and I've been known for using some extremely generous character generation methods over the years (some of which I regretted afterwards, lol).

Some people like the "Rogue-like" challenge of taking whatever character you get to see how far they can make it. Others get tired of playing "Bob Fightingman XVII" because they keep dying due to horrible die rolls, lol.

I don't, however, think that gating some classes behind amazing die rolls is fun these days. There was a lot of that in the old days, where chargen was like playing the lottery. Can you qualify for a cool race/class/kit? Did you get psionics or a high exceptional Strength?

And there were games worse than D&D for this, like Stormbringer (both me and another player ended up with the same background, yet due to a lucky roll, I got magic spells and he didn't), Warhammer Fantasy, or probably the ur-example, RIFTS, where I got to be a guy with a giant robot that I could only use some of the time, and another player got to be a baby dragon with a list of spells as long as my arm!
 

I don't, however, think that gating some classes behind amazing die rolls is fun these days. There was a lot of that in the old days, where chargen was like playing the lottery. Can you qualify for a cool race/class/kit? Did you get psionics or a high exceptional Strength?

I don't think this gets any less fun for people just because it's 2023. I mean not everyone likes it, it has always been a divisive thing. But there have always been people like me who enjoy the lottery aspect of character creation and think it adds a nice effect to balance. Not for everyone, maybe not something that could be in whatever default D&D is (it wasn't even the default for 1e, so it is really just 2E and basic that emphasized that if I remember). Part of why I like it, is it makes rolling characters fun and make the rolls matter. I also find I don't enjoy watching people customize their character concepts as much. Again, it is preference, but I don't think this is something that is an impossibility simply due to the passage of time. I've found there are plenty of people who, if you introduce them to this way of making characters, still enjoy
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
I don't think this gets any less fun for people just because it's 2023. I mean not everyone likes it, it has always been a divisive thing. But there have always been people like me who enjoy the lottery aspect of character creation and think it adds a nice effect to balance. Not for everyone, maybe not something that could be in whatever default D&D is (it wasn't even the default for 1e, so it is really just 2E and basic that emphasized that if I remember). Part of why I like it, is it makes rolling characters fun and make the rolls matter. I also find I don't enjoy watching people customize their character concepts as much. Again, it is preference, but I don't think this is something that is an impossibility simply due to the passage of time. I've found there are plenty of people who, if you introduce them to this way of making characters, still enjoy
One of the things I've struggled with as a DM is how to handle characters of wildly different power levels. Most of my crazy die rolling techniques have been attempts to ensure most people are on the same level. Watching one guy OHKO orcs because he has enough exceptional Strength that his minimum damage kills them while another guy struggles to even hit consistently is painful to me.

And sure, you could act foolhardy and hope your character dies in short order and you can take another crack at the wheel of fortune, but I'd rather see players get invested in their characters. And when you're mathematically behind other players, that takes a lot of work for little gain.

Unless of course, you DM is generous with bonus xp and tosses a magic item your way from time to time, lol.

But I fully admit that while I find that sort of thing less than ideal, I can't look down on someone who has fun playing that way, as long as everyone they are playing with is also having a blast.

Now if someone argues that's the only/best way to play, well, I don't agree with that at all.
 

One of the things I've struggled with as a DM is how to handle characters of wildly different power levels. Most of my crazy die rolling techniques have been attempts to ensure most people are on the same level. Watching one guy OHKO orcs because he has enough exceptional Strength that his minimum damage kills them while another guy struggles to even hit consistently is painful to me.

And sure, you could act foolhardy and hope your character dies in short order and you can take another crack at the wheel of fortune, but I'd rather see players get invested in their characters. And when you're mathematically behind other players, that takes a lot of work for little gain.

Unless of course, you DM is generous with bonus xp and tosses a magic item your way from time to time, lol.

But I fully admit that while I find that sort of thing less than ideal, I can't look down on someone who has fun playing that way, as long as everyone they are playing with is also having a blast.

Now if someone argues that's the only/best way to play, well, I don't agree with that at all.

For me, I am totally fine playing a guy with bad numbers. It makes it that much more exciting when you roll a 17 or 18 on an attribute. It also does force you to think of ways to be more useful to the party (and you won't always be, but it is nice challenge IMO). It does depend on your players. If they don't like it, they don't like it. I think where I get annoyed is people assume everyone is going to have a problem with this as a player and it simply isn't the case. A lot of us appreciate the contrast of experience the can create, and the gambling like thrill it adds to the game
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I don't think what stat method you use matters, as long as the game is fun for everyone. I mean, I never made anyone use 3d6, and I've been known for using some extremely generous character generation methods over the years (some of which I regretted afterwards, lol).

Some people like the "Rogue-like" challenge of taking whatever character you get to see how far they can make it. Others get tired of playing "Bob Fightingman XVII" because they keep dying due to horrible die rolls, lol.

I don't, however, think that gating some classes behind amazing die rolls is fun these days. There was a lot of that in the old days, where chargen was like playing the lottery. Can you qualify for a cool race/class/kit? Did you get psionics or a high exceptional Strength?

And there were games worse than D&D for this, like Stormbringer (both me and another player ended up with the same background, yet due to a lucky roll, I got magic spells and he didn't), Warhammer Fantasy, or probably the ur-example, RIFTS, where I got to be a guy with a giant robot that I could only use some of the time, and another player got to be a baby dragon with a list of spells as long as my arm!
I never minded it. You got to find out what your character would be capable of, as opposed to choosing what your character is capable of.
 



Iosue

Legend
There was a nice long discussion on 3d6-in-order vs. alternative methods in the old timers thread, so I'm really not interested in that. What gets me is 2nd Edition's reticence to engage in its own game. I'm a D&D guy, so I've always been down with 3d6-in-order. But it doesn't fit with AD&D. And I'm nonplussed at their willingness to keep so many legacy elements of 1st Edition, but not its character generation methods. Granted a few of these are included, but they're deprecated in the text. 4d6-drop lowest was Method I for AD&D, and now it's regulated to Method V.

To me this is not even a roll-play vs role-play issue. If 2nd Ed. wanted to stop power gaming, that's fine. Nerf the bonuses, nerf the classes. But they didn't do that. They nerfed the generation method, then wagged their finger at anyone wanting to play the powerful classes, or using the more generous methods. Forget power-gamers, this just hinders people who want to role-play in these classes they've deigned to include in the book. Everybody loses.

And you know, if they went all-in the exploration aspect of the game, this might not even be that big of a problem. But they actually shifted the game towards heroic fantasy, then only grudgingly give the players the tools to realize heroic fantasy.

I think there's a Zeitgeist thing going on here that I'm not keyed in on. As I noted, I started playing in '87, but didn't start to get involved in in the conversation (i.e., started reading Dragon magazine, let alone other magazines) until 1991. Much like the Satanic Panic and MADD influenced the aesthetic and content of 2nd Ed., I suspect there were some market forces inducing TSR to try threading the needle of keeping the edition largely the same, and yet reject the "power gaming" design elements of 1st Edition. Maybe it was just a personal thing for Zeb Cook. Maybe I'm overthinking it.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
And you know, if they went all-in the exploration aspect of the game, this might not even be that big of a problem. But they actually shifted the game towards heroic fantasy, then only grudgingly give the players the tools to realize heroic fantasy.

I think there's a Zeitgeist thing going on here that I'm not keyed in on. As I noted, I started playing in '87, but didn't start to get involved in in the conversation (i.e., started reading Dragon magazine, let alone other magazines) until 1991. Much like the Satanic Panic and MADD influenced the aesthetic and content of 2nd Ed., I suspect there were some market forces inducing TSR to try threading the needle of keeping the edition largely the same, and yet reject the "power gaming" design elements of 1st Edition. Maybe it was just a personal thing for Zeb Cook. Maybe I'm overthinking it.
I think you're right. My recollection is that default ability generation method was one of the questions in the big survey they put out in Dragon, and I got the impression that 3d6 down the line received (IMO undeservedly) high support. I have a vague memory that it might have been mentioned in a design column in Dragon.
 
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