Remember the "3d6 For Stats In Order" Thread? I'm doing it!

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
@clearstream recently had a couple of threads on this topic. One of the DMs in my secret cabal decided to give it a try for a dungeon crawl called "Dugholdeep." I will be playing in this game which starts in a couple weeks.

It's 3d6 for stats in order, but one random stat can be replaced by a 3d6k2+6 roll (keep two highest of the d6 rolls then add 6) if the random stat it chooses is lower than this result. So, you might be able to improve one stat or you might not. Here's the result I got for my character:

kolblacklungstats.JPG


Check out that Constitution! At least two other party members also have terrible Constitutions (8 or less), so as a result we're basically trying to correct for that in our 5th-level character builds. I have created the following character based on these stats which I'm told is basically a 39/27 point buy.

kolblacklung.JPG


I went Hill Dwarf for the +2 Con, then did my 4th-level ASI to Con. That brought me up to a respectable 9 Con, plus the hill dwarf gives +1 hp per level so it's kind of like having a 10 (where hit points are concerned anyway). My Wisdom is not quite where it should be in my view, but it's not terrible and obviously Strength is great, so I intend to get into melee and chose to limit all my spell selection to non-Concentration spells and nothing that requires a save or spell attack roll. Mostly the spells are healing or utility, plus Spiritual Weapon which I've refluffed to be a picket sign that says "Strike!" on it. I intend to make use of a 3rd-level Aid spell daily to help my sickly friends and make me better at tanking. I hope any Con saves I have to make are due to poison.

Kol Blacklung is a coal miner from the hill country and hard times have fallen upon his people due to the burgeoning whale oil industry. So he's a union organizer and voice for the flinty workers of his native land. He recently underwent some job retraining to become an adventurer to help make ends meet. An aged fellow who has spent most of his life in the mines, he has a terrible hacking cough but this doesn't stop him from smoking his hand-rolled cigars. With the respect of the stout folk and his trusty war pick, Kol intends to use his success to revitalize the local hill dwarf economy by setting up jobs programs and working towards exporting coal to the elf lands.

So, the experiment has been fun so far. We'll see how this all goes down in actual play. I don't think the DM is pulling any punches as we've been asked to make backup characters. I haven't made that character yet, but I did roll its stats: Str 10, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 6 with 525 gp starting gold. Yeesh. That's 15/27 in point buy terms. Which I guess averages out with Kol's stats! (Please don't die, Kol.)

If there's sufficient interest, I'll report on how Kol does on his adventures. In the meantime, please feel free to offer your suggestions to tweak his build or tactics. And if you have any ideas for my backup character, I'd welcome them.
 

clearstream

Explorer
I like the "Blacklung" part, and associated background, and I also like the flaw that he can't rely on Concentration spells. Seems right to envision heavy armor... will be be (effectively) sword and board? I can't help thinking that Athletics would have been a good choice for skills...

[EDIT] The bonus roll is generous: does it somewhat undermine the roll in order? Can you say anything about how you felt as you created the character?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I like the "Blacklung" part, and associated background, and I also like the flaw that he can't rely on Concentration spells. Seems right to envision heavy armor... will be be (effectively) sword and board? I can't help thinking that Athletics would have been a good choice for skills...
Sword and board, yes. Currently with splint and shield. I'll be looking to upgrade to plate as soon as the cash starts rolling in. I imagine my bonus action each turns will be the war priest extra attack or a spiritual weapon attack. If we've got a chokepoint, I can see dodging and letting the rest of the party hide behind me and do damage while I harass with spiritual weapon. I should have 38 hp with the Aid spell which isn't awful.

I think he'll be fine with +4 Athletics. I don't intend to grapple much as his hands are full already. And if he gets grappled, well, at least one of my sickly comrades isn't. And in a pinch, I'll just spend Inspiration to try and get lucky. Skills are History, Insight, Persuasion, Religion. So I've got some ability to participate in social interaction challenges and assist with recalling useful lore.

[EDIT] The bonus roll is generous: does it somewhat undermine the roll in order? Can you say anything about how you felt as you created the character?
I don't know if the bonus roll necessarily undermines the premise. It is assigned to a random stat and only applies if it's higher than said stat. I don't know the math on this, but obviously having it is better than not in terms of net benefit. It just might not always be a good result.

I wouldn't say I had any particular feeling about creating the character other than trying to figure out best to mitigate the poor Constitution score which I feel I did well enough. That effort at mitigation informed a number of the character's key features like race and flaw. But otherwise, pretty much status quo for me and my process.
 

clearstream

Explorer
I wouldn't say I had any particular feeling about creating the character other than trying to figure out best to mitigate the poor Constitution score which I feel I did well enough. That effort at mitigation informed a number of the character's key features like race and flaw. But otherwise, pretty much status quo for me and my process.
You mean the world didn't end? Players look at one another, aghast, put down their books and walk away from the table?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
You mean the world didn't end? Players look at one another, aghast, put down their books and walk away from the table?
LOL nah. We all had a good laugh at our characters and then set about trying to get the most out of what we have. And so Kol Blacklung and his companions Boris the Brittle, Hothead Jimmy, MAL Function, and Tony Gorgonzola were born.
 

rgoodbb

Explorer
Ha! Nice names. They all sound like they're from a punk band.

Do report on your adventures. I love hearing how others play and you lot sound like you'll have a load of laughs.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Wow, you got some astounding stats!

In 3.5 (or was it 3.0) I had a 7 CON character. I made him an elven wizard because I figured d4-2 where it couldn't give less than zero for a level was the best deal. :)

Of course, like second or third session I ended up out of spells (this was pre-cantrips) and everyone else in the party paralyzed by ghouls with two wounded ones left so I grabbed a paralyzed PC's long sword (elven proficiency) and dived into the combat. Any hit would have brought me below zero, but I had up Mage Armor (or whatever it was called back then) and though great dice luck (especially on them missing) finished them off.

So of course, that became part of Tisevail's personality and he'd occasionally get into melee with d4-2 HP per level. (I keep wanting to say "hit dice" but that means something different now.)

So what I'm saying is that with a CON of 5, HPs are going to suck anyway and I would have doubled down and went Bladesinger. You chose the foolish "non-suicidal" route. :)
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
So, the experiment has been fun so far. We'll see how this all goes down in actual play. I don't think the DM is pulling any punches as we've been asked to make backup characters. I haven't made that character yet, but I did roll its stats: Str 10, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 6 with 525 gp starting gold. Yeesh. That's 15/27 in point buy terms. Which I guess averages out with Kol's stats! (Please don't die, Kol.)
Any thoughts on race/class/build for these stats above (bolded)? I need some ideas for my backup character. All official content plus UA permitted. Feats/multiclass okay.
 

DM Dave1

Adventurer
Str 10, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 6 with 525 gp starting gold.
Any thoughts on race/class/build for these stats above (bolded)? I need some ideas for my backup character. All official content plus UA permitted. Feats/multiclass okay.
Maybe Eladrin (MToF) non-Arcane Trickster Rogue with ASI for +1 DEX, +1 WIS
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Any thoughts on race/class/build for these stats above (bolded)? I need some ideas for my backup character. All official content plus UA permitted. Feats/multiclass okay.
Well, nothing MAD. Hmm, if you go for a race with +2 DEX you can get a 15 DEX and 13 CON, which is playable, especially with DEX being useful in many different ways. I'd suggest some sort of archer, but if it's fighter, rogue, ranger, or a multiclass.

You won't have the ability scores to spend lots of feats on SS and crossbow expert so you won't be a DPR king. :) But you should be able to hold your own.

I'd start with a level of fighter - Archery style can boost your attack roll, with a +2 Dex mod medium armor will give you the best AC for now, and you can change it later. Plus fighter MC never hurts for martial characters. Each level is good. Go rogue from there if you want, or stay fighter.

Alternately, the UA Ranger beastmaster would be an interesting replacement. Because a good part of the heavy lifting is now on your companion's ability scores and not your own. And you can still use archery.

Instead of a +2 DEX race, vHuman gives +2 mods for DEX and CON and an archery feat.

Of course, you could also ignore your two best scores and go for a moon druid. Replace all your physical scores when you get up to wildshape. With a wisdom of 11 you'll have to focus your casting on buffs and healing when not in form, but that's viable if restrictive. IIRC the starting party has several neggative CON people. Goodberries dished around to everyone in the morning can be a quick feed to get people back on their feet. Efficiet, and can be delivered by whomever, not just on your initiative.
 

clearstream

Explorer
Well, nothing MAD. Hmm, if you go for a race with +2 DEX you can get a 15 DEX and 13 CON, which is playable,
I wanted to focus on "playable" (emphasis mine) as I feel like it reveals some of the philosophy behind roll-in-order. The character can be optimised, the optimisation is flawed because some ability scores are not where one might ideally want them; even so, it is playable. Roll in order isn't about stopping players from optimising, rather it asks them to focus on the inherent playability of a character.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
I wanted to focus on "playable" (emphasis mine) as I feel like it reveals some of the philosophy behind roll-in-order. The character can be optimised, the optimisation is flawed because some ability scores are not where one might ideally want them; even so, it is playable. Roll in order isn't about stopping players from optimising, rather it asks them to focus on the inherent playability of a character.
I always liked rollling. Back in AD&D 2ed I played with a DM for yers that had in-order rolls though much higher than 3d6 (4d6 drop the lowest, do three sets and pick one). Felt very organic.

In 5e though, I enjoy the Faustian bargains of ASI vs. feat. But from playing some games that are point buy and some that are rolling, I find it only applies to point buy. For games that are rolled, you usually have several characters that must take ASIs to keep up their support of the party as much as a generic replacement. Others who were blessed with high (and well fitting) rolls on the other hand already are good or great, and they can then branch out with feats. And many players will take feats that multiply their effectiveness.

So rolling you end up with the haves and the have-nots, and because of how 5e advances ability scores that divide will only get worse.

Look at Kol, with his 18, two 15s, and a 14 before racial modifiers, vs. the backup character who's highest pre-racial are two 13s. Which of them will gain more spotlight both in combat and in other pillars of play that reply on skill checks? It's not even.
 

Inchoroi

Explorer
Oh man...

Back in the day, I was playing B/X, and rolled. Didn't get anything higher than a 9. I had 1 hit point. However, Celsius survived up to level 3, which made everyone at the table go, "Yep, every character you have from now on is going to die horribly. You've burned all your luck."

I can't remember the name of the adventure, but another character got liquified and teleported through a telescope lens in a wizard's tower. I keep telling my current 5e players that I'm going to force them to play B/X someday, just to torture them.

I always liked rollling. Back in AD&D 2ed I played with a DM for yers that had in-order rolls though much higher than 3d6 (4d6 drop the lowest, do three sets and pick one). Felt very organic.

In 5e though, I enjoy the Faustian bargains of ASI vs. feat. But from playing some games that are point buy and some that are rolling, I find it only applies to point buy. For games that are rolled, you usually have several characters that must take ASIs to keep up their support of the party as much as a generic replacement. Others who were blessed with high (and well fitting) rolls on the other hand already are good or great, and they can then branch out with feats. And many players will take feats that multiply their effectiveness.

So rolling you end up with the haves and the have-nots, and because of how 5e advances ability scores that divide will only get worse.

Look at Kol, with his 18, two 15s, and a 14 before racial modifiers, vs. the backup character who's highest pre-racial are two 13s. Which of them will gain more spotlight both in combat and in other pillars of play that reply on skill checks? It's not even.
I thoroughly enjoy having my players roll for stats, but do it a little differently with bonus feats (I eliminated or re-wrote the worst feats) so players don't have to choose between ASIs and Feats. It works fairly well with my groups, save for one player who has such abysmal luck that I started asking another player to roll stats for him. I've been thinking that, for my next campaign, having them do characters randomly, via the tables in Xanathar's Guide. It would amuse me, but I don't know how much they'd enjoy that.
 
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FrogReaver

Adventurer
One idea for rolled stats might be to give a feats if certain low stat conditions are met.

No stat above 14 pre racial then +1feat
Con below 8 then +1 feat
Sum of all stats below 58 then +1 feat

Something like that could be fun
 

clearstream

Explorer
In 5e though, I enjoy the Faustian bargains of ASI vs. feat. But from playing some games that are point buy and some that are rolling, I find it only applies to point buy. For games that are rolled, you usually have several characters that must take ASIs to keep up their support of the party as much as a generic replacement. Others who were blessed with high (and well fitting) rolls on the other hand already are good or great, and they can then branch out with feats. And many players will take feats that multiply their effectiveness.

So rolling you end up with the haves and the have-nots, and because of how 5e advances ability scores that divide will only get worse.

Look at Kol, with his 18, two 15s, and a 14 before racial modifiers, vs. the backup character who's highest pre-racial are two 13s. Which of them will gain more spotlight both in combat and in other pillars of play that reply on skill checks? It's not even.
Overshadowing comes up repeatedly as one of the chief faults of roll-in-order; although it is a general fault with rolling at all. That is why I'm trialling drawing cards (without replacement): so that all characters have the same total for abilities (though not necessarily total modifiers, although one could do it that way).

Character Generation
A deck of eighteen cards is used to generate ability scores; comprising five “2”s, four “3”s, four “4”s, and five “5”s. Draw (without replacement) and sum three cards for each ability, allocating in order drawn. All eighteen cards will be used—once each—to yield six scores from 6 to 15 that collectively sum to 63.
Ignoring that I am also working within a 6-15 range - which one could readily expand to 3-18 - I think draw without replacement has a lot to commend it. I prefer it to setting bounds for keepable characters... although right now I can't quite articulate why. Maybe because if the intent is to bound, I prefer a design that produces values falling within the bounds?
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Overshadowing comes up repeatedly as one of the chief faults of roll-in-order; although it is a general fault with rolling at all. That is why I'm trialling drawing cards (without replacement): so that all characters have the same total for abilities (though not necessarily total modifiers, although one could do it that way).
Let me start by saying everything you want to do is valid, and if your table is happy with it then run with it. I'm just discussing nuances.

I agree with you about rolling at all bringing those inequalities to 5e. That's why for the games I run I prefer point buy. That's a 5e-ism bases on the ASI vs. feat point I mentioned before, not a gaming preference in general or even with earlier editions of D&D.

The deck idea is definitely a step in the right direction.But just as the concept of "dump stat" is around, D&D is really a game where you need a few good ability scores in the right places. The the "off ability scores" are moderately high doesn't contribute as much.

This has two effects. One is that someone with a 15 (very rare) or a 14 will be doing better then a character with 11 high, even if the 11 high is three 11s and three 10s for not a single penalty mod. (This can be drawn with the deck mentioned.)

The other is when you get a character with ability scores that don't work well together - say the moderate high INT and STR that leaves everything else at a penalty.

The deck is a step in the right direction, but how about just randomizing the order of the standard array?

I've seen another where everyone rolls, and then everyone picks which set they want, including multiple picking the same. To qualify for in order for you you've have to do something like pre-roll a rank (highest to STR, next highest to WIS, ...) or just randomize the order afterwards. The second is more random, the first does allow a player who wants to play a MAD character a little bit of knowledge if they should go for a array with a good score vs. an array with several moderate scores.
 

clearstream

Explorer
The deck is a step in the right direction, but how about just randomizing the order of the standard array?
I considered something similar, I tabulated the permutations of points-buy to see how that looked. So players could roll for which valid points-buy array they got. Net modifiers range from about +5 to +9 after race, which sets the game difficulty at "easy" for players with high system mastery. I want a harder setting. (IMO the default game difficulty is correctly set and I do not use "easy" pejoratively.)

With the parameters I am using, the range is +0 to +4 after race. That mitigates overshadowing.

It is not my goal to ensure that players have optimal characters (which is not the same as being opposed to optimising, if you see what I mean). At the same time it is my goal to disrupt party balance. Given fiat over race and class, even with say high Strength and Intelligence, a player can thread the needle. They might be mildly overshadowed, but no more than can arise from disparate degrees of system mastery, or levels of interest in optimisation.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
I considered something similar, I tabulated the permutations of points-buy to see how that looked. So players could roll for which valid points-buy array they got. Net modifiers range from about +5 to +9 after race, which sets the game difficulty at "easy" for players with high system mastery. I want a harder setting. (IMO the default game difficulty is correctly set and I do not use "easy" pejoratively.)

With the parameters I am using, the range is +0 to +4 after race. That mitigates overshadowing.

It is not my goal to ensure that players have optimal characters (which is not the same as being opposed to optimising, if you see what I mean). At the same time it is my goal to disrupt party balance. Given fiat over race and class, even with say high Strength and Intelligence, a player can thread the needle. They might be mildly overshadowed, but no more than can arise from disparate degrees of system mastery, or levels of interest in optimisation.
My issue with adjusting the stat spread is that some classes need more stats than others.

Classes like monks foe example feel really bad in a low stat system. Paladins kind of do as well. It'd be nearly impossible to play any of the melee bards this way.
 

clearstream

Explorer
My issue with adjusting the stat spread is that some classes need more stats than others.

Classes like monks foe example feel really bad in a low stat system. Paladins kind of do as well. It'd be nearly impossible to play any of the melee bards this way.
I think this works out for MAD classes better than both points-buy and 4d6k3, relative to other party members. The spikiest array is 15, 14, 12, 9, 7, 6, while the flattest is 11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10. The most any character will have after race is +3 on their highest ability.

MAD classes typically want three good ability scores, while non-MAD want two. With points-buy, non-MAD have a clear advantage: they sink their points into those two. With 4d6k3, characters are likely to have one or two very strong scores, but far less likely to have three (unless they have godly stats, like the paladin in my previous campaign who overshadowed all bar one of the other party members).

The flatter stat-spread from draw-three-without-replacement supports MAD, relative to fellow party members.
 

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