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

dnd4vr

Adventurer
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?
You know, I was playing around with the "card system" as I've come to call it, and decided that I like the idea, but for my table I added a bit to it.

After you have determined your ability scores, you can add 3 points to one score, 2 points to another, and 1 point to a third. There are no racial adjustments.

I like this because it allows the player to shore up a weakness, enhance a strength, or balance things out to help favor a class they might want. Also, by removing the racial adjustments, it isn't an overwhelming increase.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
I gotta admit, I really like draw without replacement. It allows the DM to tune the stat range to whatever he/she wants for a campaign, and it ensures that there's some amount of parity across all the players.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
You know, I was playing around with the "card system" as I've come to call it, and decided that I like the idea, but for my table I added a bit to it.

After you have determined your ability scores, you can add 3 points to one score, 2 points to another, and 1 point to a third. There are no racial adjustments.

I like this because it allows the player to shore up a weakness, enhance a strength, or balance things out to help favor a class they might want. Also, by removing the racial adjustments, it isn't an overwhelming increase.
You could also:
  1. Increase the point count of the deck (e.g. replace a 2 with a 6), then
  2. Allow the player to switch any single card from one stat with any single card from another stat.
 

clearstream

Explorer
You could also:
  1. Increase the point count of the deck (e.g. replace a 2 with a 6), then
  2. Allow the player to switch any single card from one stat with any single card from another stat.
What is your motive in wanting to allow the switch? I think one has to anticipate pulling a 5 or 6 from a dump stat onto a core stat, so it dilutes quite considerably the impact of roll in order. So I wondered why you want roll in order, and conversely why you want to then dilute it?

I agree with you that one could and maybe should tweak the deck. My choices were guided by wanting to pull the range slightly out to either side by having more high and low cards than middling cards. I modeled a version with a 6 and a 1, but this did not play well into my desire to avoid overshadowing because it creates a slim chance of a 16, which after race will foreseeably be 18 or +4, which might feel bad for the majority of players who will not be so lucky. It also pays off better for non-MAD characters: my flatter range was chosen to avoid that.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
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.
I disagree with that it is relatively better for MAD. You have cases like the monk where they are a melee class with a restriction against armor but their Unarmored Defense. So MAD in their case is substituting in for mundane equipment, which all of the other classes still have access to. Their AC will be much lower relatively then the classes which still get access to medium or heavy armor, and shields.

And that just starting - the lower score also impact where to spend ASI and every MAD character will have more needs there. An archer rogue with a +1 DEX mod can focus just on DEX. A paladin with +1 attack ability and +1 CHR will find themselves likely forced to increase the attack ability to deal with monster AC calibration, and miss out on much of the later paladin abilities that trigger off CON. Same as @FrogReaver said for sword bards, who need DEX (for AC and attack) but only keep up as a front-line fighter through uses of bardic inspirations who's uses trigger off CHR. It's like if Battlemaster got variable amount of superiority dice based on an off-stat.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
What is your motive in wanting to allow the switch? I think one has to anticipate pulling a 5 or 6 from a dump stat onto a core stat, so it dilutes quite considerably the impact of roll in order. So I wondered why you want roll in order, and conversely why you want to then dilute it?

I agree with you that one could and maybe should tweak the deck. My choices were guided by wanting to pull the range slightly out to either side by having more high and low cards than middling cards. I modeled a version with a 6 and a 1, but this did not play well into my desire to avoid overshadowing because it creates a slim chance of a 16, which after race will foreseeably be 18 or +4, which might feel bad for the majority of players who will not be so lucky. It also pays off better for non-MAD characters: my flatter range was chosen to avoid that.
When I was playing around with the Card method, I used more 3's and 4's than 2's and 5's (2:4, 3:5, 4:5, 5:4). But, the nice thing about it is you can tweak the deck (as mentioned). One variant I liked which gave slightly better scores (but nothing crazy) was 2:3, 3:5, 4:5, 5:5 (avg 11) or 2:3, 3:4, 4:4, 5:4, 6:3 (avg 12) if you want an 18 to be possible.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I think if I was doing the card method, it would have to be because there is a theme in the campaign of gambling or fortune telling or perhaps a game involving the deck of many things. It would somehow have to be reinforcing the flavor.
 

clearstream

Explorer
And that just starting - the lower score also impact where to spend ASI and every MAD character will have more needs there. An archer rogue with a +1 DEX mod can focus just on DEX. A paladin with +1 attack ability and +1 CHR will find themselves likely forced to increase the attack ability to deal with monster AC calibration, and miss out on much of the later paladin abilities that trigger off CON.
It really depends so much on the exact ability scores and player choices. Most likely, that rogue ends up with +1 or +2 over the paladin. My previous campaign used 4d6k3 and overshadowing there was far more pronounced.

Which CON features are you referring to, for paladin? Do you mean Aura of the Guardian where your hit points would be salient? I couldn't find any others (from PHB and Xanathar's).

Same as @FrogReaver said for sword bards, who need DEX (for AC and attack) but only keep up as a front-line fighter through uses of bardic inspirations who's uses trigger off CHR. It's like if Battlemaster got variable amount of superiority dice based on an off-stat.
Looking at this objection, I feel like there could be another factor in play. My intent with allocate-as-rolled is that players won't have total fiat over class and race, or party balance. They must live with compromises and faults. Even so, it is up to each player what they choose: I think players with high-system mastery and an interest in optimising will not choose a sword bard unless they have the stats for it. Thus the situation one may fear in theory-crafting doesn't arise at the table. Say a player draws DEX 13 and CHA 14? They might choose to play a half-elf sword bard and do perfectly well with it. They won't be as strong as a points-buy character could have been, and that is by intent.

We need to separate the arguments properly. The intent is a weaker party, relative to MM creatures. So if a poster here dislikes that then on the one hand I have no criticism for their choice in that regard, but on the other hand that is not my choice. Therefore this is not something we should argue. The other argument is overshadowing. Even a +2 overshadow is mild compared to that I have seen under 4d6k3. More importantly, in play the raw ability scores are only a fraction of character leverage over the narrative: wise choices and clever use of the resources at their disposal are telling. Does the paladin use her spells and buffs wisely, while the rogue is intemperate?
 

clearstream

Explorer
I think if I was doing the card method, it would have to be because there is a theme in the campaign of gambling or fortune telling or perhaps a game involving the deck of many things. It would somehow have to be reinforcing the flavor.
And yet dice, one of the staples of gambling, drives no such instinct?

:D
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
And yet dice, one of the staples of gambling, drives no such instinct?

:D
Being standard tools for this RPG, nah. When I make changes or additions to the game, I am very careful to make sure it supports the game experience I am going for. So while I am not averse to the card method, I can't see myself using it except in narrow circumstances related to reinforcing theme.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
It really depends so much on the exact ability scores and player choices. Most likely, that rogue ends up with +1 or +2 over the paladin. My previous campaign used 4d6k3 and overshadowing there was far more pronounced.

Which CON features are you referring to, for paladin? Do you mean Aura of the Guardian where your hit points would be salient? I couldn't find any others (from PHB and Xanathar's).


Looking at this objection, I feel like there could be another factor in play. My intent with allocate-as-rolled is that players won't have total fiat over class and race, or party balance. They must live with compromises and faults. Even so, it is up to each player what they choose: I think players with high-system mastery and an interest in optimising will not choose a sword bard unless they have the stats for it. Thus the situation one may fear in theory-crafting doesn't arise at the table. Say a player draws DEX 13 and CHA 14? They might choose to play a half-elf sword bard and do perfectly well with it. They won't be as strong as a points-buy character could have been, and that is by intent.

We need to separate the arguments properly. The intent is a weaker party, relative to MM creatures. So if a poster here dislikes that then on the one hand I have no criticism for their choice in that regard, but on the other hand that is not my choice. Therefore this is not something we should argue. The other argument is overshadowing. Even a +2 overshadow is mild compared to that I have seen under 4d6k3. More importantly, in play the raw ability scores are only a fraction of character leverage over the narrative: wise choices and clever use of the resources at their disposal are telling. Does the paladin use her spells and buffs wisely, while the rogue is intemperate?
Don't lump me in with arguing against a weaker party. In fact, I don't think anyone has done that. The issue is simply that mad classes lose a lot more than single stat classes (or maybe I should say dual stat classes, everyone benefits from a good con)

The problem is that when I roll in order, I'm fairly likely to get decent stat I can build around. It much less likely I get 2 decent stats to build around.

That kind of ties into your goal of having players build a character around their stats. But when you realize how that's going to play out you realize there's not really "fair" options per stat. Then there's always the issue of an extremely low con crippling any character out the gate

Going through the classes
(Str Classes)
Fighter: Strength Fighters will likely lose attack, damage initiative and hp but not much else that really matters.
Barbarian: Will likely lose attack, damage, ac, hp
Paladin: Will likely lose attack, damage, charisma bonus to saving throws, spell dc, hp.

Rogue: Will lose attack, damage, ac, hp, initiative
Monk: Will lose attack, damage (more based on multiattackers being impacted by last damage), ac (more based off requiring 2 stats for ac), hp, initiative, stunning strike DC.

Druid: Loses spell dc, hp, ac (however can mitigate most of that by wildshape)
Cleric: Depends on subclass - Str Based loses: attack, dmg, hp, saving throw dc

Wizard: attack, ac, hp, initiative, spell dc

Sorcerer/Warlock/Bard: All lose hp, ac, attack, spell dc (popular melee variants of these classes lose far more)

Classes like the monk really get hit hard. Classes like the fighter barely notice. On a side note if someone was to roll say a high dex and wisdom, they could make a monk that really overshadows the rest of the party.


I'd say any strength based class is playable with a high str.
The rogue is the only dex based class playable with a high dex (dex fighters also fit here)
Shapeshift druids can be played by any stat spread
Clerics work well as long as you take a heavy armored variant and have a high wisdom
Wizards lose some, but as long as their int is high then they still work well
Sorcerer, warlock, bard all work fine with a good charisma

So I guess you can make this work - but you lose out on a lot of the interesting gish type classes. Monks flat out lose out unless someone rolls super lucky. Multiclassing will be much harder (might be a good thing).
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
What is your motive in wanting to allow the switch? I think one has to anticipate pulling a 5 or 6 from a dump stat onto a core stat, so it dilutes quite considerably the impact of roll in order. So I wondered why you want roll in order, and conversely why you want to then dilute it?
Because it still leaves 4/6 ability scores as-rolled (or "as-drawn"). Some people who use roll-in-order like to allow two scores to be switched for this reason; this is just a variant of that.

So, yeah, it does "dilute" it a little bit. That's the idea. Roll-in-order is pretty strict, so for people who want to mitigate that a bit, this could allow them to. But so does allowing somebody just to arbitrarily give +3 +2 +1. Just in a different way.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
I love this method, and it saddens me that more people don't use it.

I'm afraid to use it, though, because sometimes even the people who say they're okay with it suddenly AREN'T okay with it when they roll poorly. Sigh...
 

cmad1977

Adventurer
I like this type of method sometimes because the character comes to life during creation as opposed to having a concept in mind and picking the appropriate class etc.
I don’t have a preference.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
I love this method, and it saddens me that more people don't use it.

I'm afraid to use it, though, because sometimes even the people who say they're okay with it suddenly AREN'T okay with it when they roll poorly. Sigh...
It is too bad because lower scores are not only a challenge, but make the character more "believable" to me.

The reason 3d6 worked okay in earlier editions, such as AD&D, was because ability scores weren't tied into things as invasive as they are since 3E and 5E in particular. When you consider the normal maximum modifier is +11, and nearly half of that from ability score, is it surprising that players aren't excited when the best they can maybe expect is +8 or +9 unless they forego feats and invest heavily in ASIs?
 

clearstream

Explorer
Okay, I hope I understand you correctly. Elsewhere I've discussed a design goal of broadening viable strategies: you argue that this would narrow them.
Fighter: Strength Fighters will likely lose initiative
Barbarian: Will likely lose ac
Paladin: Will likely lose charisma bonus to saving throws, spell dc
I've edited the quoted text to remove losses that fall on all, because it is relative weakness that is concerning, not absolute. Ideal arrays that could be draw to motivate a player to choose these classes include -

Fighter Str16, Dex10, Con12: a mountain dwarf, +3 attack/damage, +1 hp, 18 or 20 ac
Barbarian Str14, Dex14, Con16: a half orc, +2 attack/damage/initiative, +3 hp, 15 or 17 ac
Paladin Str16, Dex10, Con10, Wis10, Cha14: a half-elf, +3 attack/damage, +2 saves, spell DC12

The system can produce these arrays, but the fighter will be more common than the barbarian, and both more common than the paladin. Is scarcity the same as narrowing viable strategies? That is, the strategy remains (relatively) viable, it's just not often available.

Rogue: Will lose nothing, relatively
Monk: Will lose more damage (based on multi-attackers being impacted by lost damage), more ac (based off requiring 2 stats for ac), stunning strike DC.
Rogue Dex16, Con10, Wis12, Cha12: a wood elf, +3 attack/damage/initiative, 15 ac, +1 perceive/persuade
Monk Dex16, Con10, Wis14: a wood elf or human, +3 attack/damage/initiative, 15 ac, +2 perceive

Druid: Loses spell dc, ac (however can mitigate most of that by wildshape)
Cleric: Depends on subclass - Str Based loses: attack, dmg, saving throw dc
Druid Wis16: a half-elf, all combat stats are wild shape, spell DC13
Cleric Str14, Dex10, Wis16: a human, +2 attack/damage, ac 18 or 20, saving throw DC13

Wizard: initiative
Sorcerer/Warlock/Bard: All lose (popular melee variants of these classes lose far more)
Bard Dex16, Con10, Cha14: a half-elf taking finesse weapons

Classes like the monk really get hit hard. Classes like the fighter barely notice. On a side note if someone was to roll say a high dex and wisdom, they could make a monk that really overshadows the rest of the party.

So I guess you can make this work - but you lose out on a lot of the interesting gish type classes. Monks flat out lose out unless someone rolls super lucky. Multi-classing will be much harder (might be a good thing).
I think you kind of hit it here: all strategies are viable with arrays the system can very well produce. As you point out, it will be rare to see an ideal array for some strategies (and especially multi-classing, which I am fine with). To know how rare would require some analysis. The tuning offered by race plays a big part.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
I like this type of method sometimes because the character comes to life during creation as opposed to having a concept in mind and picking the appropriate class etc.
I don’t have a preference.
I'd love to see a Traveler-like...but really only in the vaguest way...so that while generating your scores you also generated details about your background. Not totally dictating the background story, but just adding embellishments that you're supposed to work into the story.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Okay, I hope I understand you correctly. Elsewhere I've discussed a design goal of broadening viable strategies: you argue that this would narrow them.

I've edited the quoted text to remove losses that fall on all, because it is relative weakness that is concerning, not absolute. Ideal arrays that could be draw to motivate a player to choose these classes include -

Fighter Str16, Dex10, Con12: a mountain dwarf, +3 attack/damage, +1 hp, 18 or 20 ac
Barbarian Str14, Dex14, Con16: a half orc, +2 attack/damage/initiative, +3 hp, 15 or 17 ac
Paladin Str16, Dex10, Con10, Wis10, Cha14: a half-elf, +3 attack/damage, +2 saves, spell DC12

The system can produce these arrays, but the fighter will be more common than the barbarian, and both more common than the paladin. Is scarcity the same as narrowing viable strategies? That is, the strategy remains (relatively) viable, it's just not often available.


Rogue Dex16, Con10, Wis12, Cha12: a wood elf, +3 attack/damage/initiative, 15 ac, +1 perceive/persuade
Monk Dex16, Con10, Wis14: a wood elf or human, +3 attack/damage/initiative, 15 ac, +2 perceive


Druid Wis16: a half-elf, all combat stats are wild shape, spell DC13
Cleric Str14, Dex10, Wis16: a human, +2 attack/damage, ac 18 or 20, saving throw DC13


Bard Dex16, Con10, Cha14: a half-elf taking finesse weapons


I think you kind of hit it here: all strategies are viable with arrays the system can very well produce. As you point out, it will be rare to see an ideal array for some strategies (and especially multi-classing, which I am fine with). To know how rare would require some analysis. The tuning offered by race plays a big part.
I would appreciate it if you didn't edit my words when you quote me, especially to the degree you did so. It may make others think I said something I did not say. Kindly Please remove that. Thanks!
 

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