D&D 5E What do you consider "good" ability scores?

le Redoutable

I mean you no harm
... and one of the Lucky Players didn't even know that Super-Heroes did exist !
and still he was Lucky !
He at a FASERIP game killed the Hulk using Wolverine's claws in the Kill column !
He did somehow acquired a Vorpal blade from a Githjianky that he applied to me ( severing one from my two-headed Ettin )
 

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Facetious question, but were you in the 3e game I played in? I don't recall seeing you there... :)

Because I played that character, and she might have been the best one I've ever had in any game.

She started at raw 1st with one 15 and nothing else of note (and one 7), net starting bonus of +1 or +2 (I forget now), and made it to 11th level in a fairly lethal campaign.

I guess not. ;) He was a bard with 8 str, 9 dex, 10 con 12 dex, 13 int and 14 cha.

He was full diplomacy and support and half the combat damage the group dealt was due to his buffs.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
The majority of the responses here have scores well above what I see in the majority of campaigns I run or play in, all of which use either point buy or the 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 plus racial modifiers standard array.

I've been playing a paladin for the past 17 months who started with 15, 10, 13, 10, 12, 16 AFTER applying racial bonuses. At level 7 he's now 16, 10, 14, 12, 10, 16.

I would not be interested in playing in anything longer than a one-shot where the DM insisted that the players roll for their ability scores. It tends to lead to totally avoidable discontent and inequity. I also don't understand the appeal of the lengthy, baroque rolling, eliminating, sorting, and re-sorting processes some DMs and groups employ in pursuit of the same goal that you can achieve in literally seconds (getting a decent set of scores) by using standard array or point buy.

I wonder if there is a correlation between complaints that 5E is "too easy" and the number of inflated starting ability scores (not to mention extra "starter feats") that folks are using.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
The majority of the responses here have scores well above what I see in the majority of campaigns I run or play in, all of which use either point buy or the 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 plus racial modifiers standard array.
My preference for higher (and also lower stats) comes down to a simple aesthetic preference. I think feats are more fun, and ASIs are simultaneously more boring but also more effective. Therefore, I like to put characters up to 20 pretty quickly to give them more options for their level 4 and level 8 feats.

I would not be interested in playing in anything longer than a one-shot where the DM insisted that the players roll for their ability scores. It tends to lead to totally avoidable discontent and inequity. I also don't understand the appeal of the lengthy, baroque rolling, eliminating, sorting, and re-sorting processes some DMs and groups employ in pursuit of the same goal that you can achieve in literally seconds (getting a decent set of scores) by using standard array or point buy.
The desire mostly comes from a desire to inject randomness into the character creation process, such that the character is not entirely a construct of the player's vision. I prefer some other options for that, like playbooks, but I can understand the aesthetic behind it.

Some groups also like randomness simulating the natural inequity of genetic contributions to make the game feel more "realistic". Not my bag, but I've seen that opinion expressed.


I wonder if there is a correlation between complaints that 5E is "too easy" and the number of inflated starting ability scores (not to mention extra "starter feats") that folks are using.
I'm sure that occurs, but I imagine a lot of the posters on this forum are veteran enough to know how to juice encounters for stronger PCs.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
The desire mostly comes from a desire to inject randomness into the character creation process, such that the character is not entirely a construct of the player's vision.

Funnily enough, I would actually be fine with using standard array but then having the scores randomly assigned to the six attributes, and then building a character based on that - because then you'd get the "hand of fate" effect while still ensuring parity in the group.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Funnily enough, I would actually be fine with using standard array but then having the scores randomly assigned to the six attributes, and then building a character based on that - because then you'd get the "hand of fate" effect while still ensuring parity in the group.
Makes sense. I'm fine with randomness in a more OSR style game, less so in a modern D&D game where character building is a more important aspect of the game play.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
D&D 5e rewards specilization, so summing the modifiers is a misleading ability score for me. I'd mostly care about the highest ability score, with some care about a second and the lowest, and a touch of care about the third best.

Rating ability scores in terms of "I would enjoy to play, and enjoy the others at my table to have". Hmm, let's look at my preferences.

I personally really enjoy the Faustian bargain of ASI vs. feat - it leads to a meaningful choice that helps define this specific character. Also campaigns usually end in the 10-12 range, so 2-3 ASI/feats total (yes, starting with vHuman/Custom Lineage and going to 12 is 4 feats, that's an outlier). So I don't want to start too low.

Pre-Tasha's, I would have wanted point buy/an array to top with an odd number, so that +2 and +1 ability score mods would both be tempting and not limit class/race combos to the ones with +2 ability score. Post-Tasha's I don't care.

So, to leave room for growth I think I want the highest ability score pre-racial to be 15 or 16. I could be convinced to 17 for a high powered campaign, but then you could boost to 19 with race and go half-feat.

After that, I'd like at least one 14 or higher to actually have a modifier that makes difference on a d20 roll - +1 is kinda lost in the swinginess of one to twenty but +2 has at least a bit of heft.

I'd prefer one penalty - I like characters with flaws. I would not prefer more than one penalty, I enjoy playing heroic figures.

So let's say 16, 14, 13*, 12*, 11*, 8. With the ones with *s as more flexible.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Add up all of the modifiers. If the result is +5 or higher, I'd say they are "good stats." (And if the sum is +10 or higher, I'd say they are "incredibly good stats.")

So I'd say your array is very good.
 

Ogre Mage

Adventurer
After racial modifiers, I like to have a 16 (+3) or higher in my main attribute and two 14s (+2) in two other scores. The rest can be average. In fact, it can be fun to have an 8 in one attribute. But I don't like to have more than one 8.

So I guess "ideal" starting stats would be 16+ 14 14 12 10 8.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I ended up making the 4d6 drop lowest distribution and when you add all the abilities together, you get a mean total of about 73.45 with a standard deviation of 6.97. Since I consider "good" to be one standard deviation above the average, this would be 80.43.

So, 80 total points doesn't quite cut it, but is pretty close and easy to remember, or you could round up to 81 (so the +1SD is included), which averages 13.5.

Going back to the OP, the second set is 81, so would be a "good" set to me. The 1st and 3rd are both "great" totaling more than 2 SD above the norm. The final set would be "poor", being below -1 SD from the norm.

Thanks for all the points of view and discussions, it has been interesting reading them all.
 

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