D&D 5E Point Buy vs Rolling for Stats

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I view every edition as stand-alone. For example I don't assume that just because 5E doesn't have rules for creating magic items, the 3.5 rules for creating magic items becomes the default.
I (try to) view the editions as something of a continuum. 1e had no really useful rules for item creation. 3e did. That the 3e rules aren't in 5e tells me that experiment - for such it was - didn't work out very well; and so they've gone back to plan A.

The basic assumption that ability scores are based on a 3d6 bell curve is not part of the game. The rules currently only assume is that the average commoner has around a 10 ability score, the minimum ability score is 1, the maximum is 18 with some exceptional individuals getting up to 20 (for most humanoid/NPC races).
That's a new one on me: where does it say the minimum (natural) ability score is 1?

Beyond that the DM is free to make whatever assumptions they want based on the style of game they want to play and how they envision their world working. For example, I assume a bell curve as well, just one that is far more clustered around the average than 3d6.
All our other disagreements here notwithstanding, the tighter-bell-curve assumption you're using is bang on. It's still a bell curve, which is a huge improvement on the 5e suggestion that all NPCs have 10s in everything, but not as loose or extremes-heavy as 3d6. Perfect!

But how to achieve the tighter curve using dice, is the question?

Lanefan
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I think part of the point is you needn't use dice.
P'raps not, but if for some reason it does become relevant to quickly stat out some random commoners (e.g. some peasants are rescued by the party and both I-as-DM and the party-as-characters need to know if any of them have anything special going for them and-or any serious weaknesses that need to be considered) it'd be nice to know how. 3d6 is plan A, but if there's another set of dice that give a consistent and tighter bell curve on a true 3-18 range I'd rather use that. 5d4-2 is the only one I can think of that ticks all the boxes.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Are y'all telling me I need all the editions to properly play 5e?
Need them on hand? No.

Need reasonable knowledge of each of them so as to see how 5e came about, and why some things are in 5e and-or why they work the way they do? Basically, yes.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
P'raps not, but if for some reason it does become relevant to quickly stat out some random commoners it'd be nice to know how.
Same way you fill in any detail, you just make it up. Just make it consistent with the 'bell curve' you have in mind.

Are y'all telling me I need all the editions to properly play 5e?
Experience with them, yes. Ideally all of 'em. But any knowledge of the classic game surely helps.
It's what 5e aims for.

Otherwise it's like trying to run some licensed RPG doing some franchise you've never heard of.
 

Satyrn

First Post
Oh. That was meant to be a rhetorical question. I didn't expect anyone to admit being an elitist player who thinks their way is the proper way.
 

Oofta

Legend
I (try to) view the editions as something of a continuum. 1e had no really useful rules for item creation. 3e did. That the 3e rules aren't in 5e tells me that experiment - for such it was - didn't work out very well; and so they've gone back to plan A.

I would say the same thing about using 3d6 for ability scores. ;)

That's a new one on me: where does it say the minimum (natural) ability score is 1?

Actually I tried to find this ... or anything that said what the minimum was in 5E. I found info on the maximum (18 for most people with 20 for the exceptional few), but not the minimum. Since the ability score chart goes down to 1, that becomes the minimum based on the current ruleset.


All our other disagreements here notwithstanding, the tighter-bell-curve assumption you're using is bang on. It's still a bell curve, which is a huge improvement on the 5e suggestion that all NPCs have 10s in everything, but not as loose or extremes-heavy as 3d6. Perfect!

But how to achieve the tighter curve using dice, is the question?

Lanefan

I don't. If I want to randomize I use the strength/weakness table from the DMG. As a general rule if I care about ability scores for an NPC I use a range of 6-14, although that's really, really arbitrary. If I want to generate ability scores I'll use point buy, generally with less than 27 points because adventurers should be better than average.

If I cared enough, I'd probably play around with something like 30 d6 divided by 10. Or base it off IQ distribution and roll a percentile. But I'm too lazy. :)
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
Oh. That was meant to be a rhetorical question. I didn't expect anyone to admit being an elitist player who thinks their way is the proper way.
Posting to a thread with this many pages is such an admission, in itself. ;P

Seriously, though, D&D, especially our love of old-school D&D, has always had strong streak of elitism to it. DMs needing to know the game better than their players. Gygaxian 'skilled play.' d20 system mastery. Even simple leveling.

But 'needing' knowledge of past editions to fully grok 5e? Not just elitism, but a practical matter of 5e being out to evoke the classic game from the beginning. So, of course how 1e did it is relevant to interpreting how 5e does it.

I would say the same thing about using 3d6 for ability scores. ;)
In the case of magic items, 5e has also gone back to the 1e paradigm of entirely arbitrary magical items, they just do whatever they do, where 3e didn't just have detailed item creation, it spelled out exactly what items could do, and mapped it to their cost, and the spell required to make them. The abandonment of that is clear.
5e's baseline ordinary dude, the Commoner, has straight 10s, consistent with the ol' 3d6.

Since the ability score chart goes down to 1, that becomes the minimum based on the current ruleset.
In 3e, 0 meant death or disability. ;) In 1e, there was a 0 INT (non-intelligent). ...

If I cared enough, I'd probably play around with something like 30 d6 divided by 10. Or base it off IQ distribution and roll a percentile. But I'm too lazy. :)
Y'know, a psuedo-random algorithm might be the way to go, to neatly conform to a desired population distribution...
 

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