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D&D 5E The Philosophy Behind Randomized and Standardized Ability Scores

Oofta

Legend
I like the idea of a group using Point Buy to make six different arrangements of stats, then each player rolling randomly for which numbers they will use.

For example, the first person may design a 15, 15, 14, 8, 8, 8. And if you rolled a 1, you would use that array.
You could always use my list of all possible options using point buy. Or at least I think it's all possible ... assuming the half hour I spent writing the algorithm was correct. In any case, roll randomly to see which line you use then roll randomly for placement. Done!

13, 13, 13, 12, 12, 12
13, 13, 13, 13, 12, 11
13, 13, 13, 13, 13, 10
14, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12
14, 13, 12, 12, 12, 11
14, 13, 13, 12, 11, 11
14, 13, 13, 12, 12, 10
14, 13, 13, 13, 11, 10
14, 13, 13, 13, 12, 9
14, 13, 13, 13, 13, 8
14, 14, 12, 11, 11, 11
14, 14, 12, 12, 11, 10
14, 14, 12, 12, 12, 9
14, 14, 13, 11, 11, 10
14, 14, 13, 12, 10, 10
14, 14, 13, 12, 11, 9
14, 14, 13, 12, 12, 8
14, 14, 13, 13, 10, 9
14, 14, 13, 13, 11, 8
14, 14, 14, 10, 10, 10
14, 14, 14, 11, 10, 9
14, 14, 14, 11, 11, 8
14, 14, 14, 12, 9, 9
14, 14, 14, 12, 10, 8
14, 14, 14, 13, 9, 8
15, 12, 12, 12, 11, 11
15, 12, 12, 12, 12, 10
15, 13, 12, 11, 11, 11
15, 13, 12, 12, 11, 10
15, 13, 12, 12, 12, 9
15, 13, 13, 11, 11, 10
15, 13, 13, 12, 10, 10
15, 13, 13, 12, 11, 9
15, 13, 13, 12, 12, 8
15, 13, 13, 13, 10, 9
15, 13, 13, 13, 11, 8
15, 14, 11, 11, 11, 10
15, 14, 12, 11, 10, 10
15, 14, 12, 11, 11, 9
15, 14, 12, 12, 10, 9
15, 14, 12, 12, 11, 8
15, 14, 13, 10, 10, 10
15, 14, 13, 11, 10, 9
15, 14, 13, 11, 11, 8
15, 14, 13, 12, 9, 9
15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8
15, 14, 13, 13, 9, 8
15, 14, 14, 10, 9, 9
15, 14, 14, 10, 10, 8
15, 14, 14, 11, 9, 8
15, 14, 14, 12, 8, 8
15, 15, 11, 10, 10, 10
15, 15, 11, 11, 10, 9
15, 15, 11, 11, 11, 8
15, 15, 12, 10, 10, 9
15, 15, 12, 11, 9, 9
15, 15, 12, 11, 10, 8
15, 15, 12, 12, 9, 8
15, 15, 13, 10, 9, 9
15, 15, 13, 10, 10, 8
15, 15, 13, 11, 9, 8
15, 15, 13, 12, 8, 8
15, 15, 14, 9, 9, 8
15, 15, 14, 10, 8, 8
15, 15, 15, 8, 8, 8
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I’ve heard some folks talk about an “ability score draft”, where they roll up enough scores for all the characters, put them all in a big pool, and draft them. First round is random, and thereafter you pick in order of whoever got the lowest score in the previous round first, whoever got the highest last. Sounds kinda fun.
 

Shiroiken

Legend
If you choose to roll, get “bad” stats, and want to re-roll, you’re missing the point of rolling IMO.
I agree, but honestly IME people like to roll want to get better than average scores. This is why I see so many alternate rolling rules that prevent "bad" results. My group does this, with 4 different DMs and 4 different options. When I DM the best I was able to get people to agree to is if you don't like your results you can default down to the standard array. I technically offer point buy (which is superior to the array, due to versatility), but no one every takes it.
You could always use my list of all possible options using point buy. Or at least I think it's all possible ... assuming the half hour I spent writing the algorithm was correct. In any case, roll randomly to see which line you use then roll randomly for placement. Done!
That's pretty awesome, but I had considered making a set of 20, rolling 1d8+1d12. This creates a flattened bell, which would contain the options within point buy. As you deviate from the flattened bell you either get a little better or worse, depending on if you rolled high or low. This makes it possible to get some variety off point buy, but making it not very common.
 

Another way to handle low score is to offer a correction in exchange of a debt to a witch or a devil. Of course the usual pay later contract is used! Some table may consider this DM interference or cool adventure hook depending on play style.
 

I agree, but honestly IME people like to roll want to get better than average scores. This is why I see so many alternate rolling rules that prevent "bad" results. My group does this, with 4 different DMs and 4 different options. When I DM the best I was able to get people to agree to is if you don't like your results you can default down to the standard array. I technically offer point buy (which is superior to the array, due to versatility), but no one every takes it.
A smart DM may use the ability score process to discover more clearly the expectation of new and unknown players. But more important, the expectation a DM have, also tell a lot on the play style he wish.
 

prabe

Tension, apprension, and dissension have begun
Supporter
I agree that the biggest problem with random stats is fairness. You have one person who didn't muster higher than a 14 and another who didn't roll lower than 13, and--especially at lower levels--the differences in capability are stark. I suspect there's still a gap at higher levels, as one person can take Feats and the other has to focus on cranking their relevant stats.

I use a system I worked out that's more focused on the modifiers than the scores themselves, but those specifics are less relevant than the non-randomness of it, IMO.
 

Which works great until you get the DM that refuses to let you do that for whatever reason. Or for the PC concept that you thought would be really fun to play.

Short term just for laughs game? Maybe.
Honestly I would thank a player that willingly play recklessly for sometime until the DM get an opportunity to use its character death as an adventure hook or to build up a sense of danger or retribution.
 

Oofta

Legend
Honestly I would thank a player that willingly play recklessly for sometime until the DM get an opportunity to use its character death as an adventure hook or to build up a sense of danger or retribution.
But that's not what I've ever experienced. It's not "dying valiantly" it's "my PC is an idiot who commits suicide by doing really, really stupid things". Pretty much everyone knew what they did and why. 🤷‍♂️
 

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