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D&D General What Method(s) did you use to roll ability score when you first started D&D?

The very first time, I've no idea - dice were rolled, yes, for everything, level included.

Then, I, like, tried reading the rules, myself.

4d6, in order, was what I seemed to use most often once a clue was had.

As a DM I tried a lot of things. One of the oddest was a pool of 24 dice, roll as many as you like, in order, keep the highest 3 each time.
Don't run out.;)

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3d6, roll 7 times, pick the best 6 and assign to what ever character class that could be made work. If you had no bonuses the DM would usually let you reroll the lot.

Li Shenron

When you first started D&D what was the ability score generation methods you used as DM and/or player?

My FIRST time was BECMI in the early 90s, not sure I remember exactly but something like this :

- roll 3d6 in order
- can swap any 2 scores
- can trade 2-for-1 point between scores, but with restrictions (no changes allowed to Con and Cha, and Dex can only increase)

The last bit I'm not sure... maybe it was "no changes allowed to Con and Dex, and Cha can only increase".

It didn't matter tho, I got crap rolls and couldn't qualify for almost any class (there were minimum score requirements) no matter how I turned the scores around, and I could only play a Dwarf.


Lord of the Hidden Layer
3d6, use in order.

The first time I thought about alternatives was when I wanted to play a Paladin (just read the new rulebook with them in it) but actually got stats good for a Ranger.

BTW, Classic Traveller still takes the cake - you have to roll to Survive multiple times during chargen and can in fact fail.


I think I started with 3d6, arrange as you like. When I joined my first long-term group in college, it was 4d6 drop lowest, and the DM would let you reroll if you rolled like crap.


I started with the Mentzer Basic Set, and we followed the default 3d6 in order method. Mostly. It was more like "3d6 in order, reroll or ignore anything below 10 unless the DM was watching that roll."

3d6 in order. That was great if you didn't have a particular character concept in mind but if you did, it was tough. It's hard to play a wizard with 3 INT.

I had a buddy who wanted to play 'yoda' - maybe a psionics handbook came out?

He rolled 3 pages of stats - like, 30 character's worth of stats - until he got the perfect combo he wanted. Then it came time for rolling hit points since we always rolled at 1st level. He rolled a 1.

He spent most of 1st and 2nd level unconscious.

Finally our DM got rid of that and set the 'power level' which would range from +6 to +8 total bonuses. And we just picked whatever stats we wanted but three stats had to be odd and three even.


Victoria Rules
I must be the odd one out here: when I first started we used 5d6 drop-lowest-two* six times, then arrange to suit. If no stat is higher than 13, start again. (which in 1e where bonuses start at 15 works pretty well)

Still use it today.

* in case anyone's wondering, if memory serves 5d6-drop-2 gives an average of a bit less than a point higher than 4d6-drop-one - 13-point-something instead of 12-point-something.


Morkus from Orkus
I started with 4d6 drop the lowest, in order. If someone rolled terribly, his character usually walked to a nearby bridge carrying a large rock. We were 13!

3d6 in order, but you could take 2 points from one ability to increase any other by 1 as many times as you wanted. We got some seriously crippled characters by abusing that.


Doors and Corners
3d6. In order. No moving, mixing, adjusting. Came up with a very capable if unlikable fighter. But that was Basic D&D Fighter, so a Strength of 16 was awesome! A Charisma of 8, not so much.

I've been accused before of making my Charisma a dump stat because it was an 8. Those people don't quite grok what "3d6. In order. No moving, mixing, adjusting" means.

(1E) - started with only myself and my brother, plus several DM PCs to fill out as needed, and we rolled 3d6 in order. As our characters died and other players joined the game, they took over existing PCs owned by the DM, who had around 5 or 6 dozen characters of varying levels (most in the Lv 3-9 range) so that we didn't have to restart or have a wide level range between us.

Worst method I've used: 1E UA variant, where you rolled a number of d6s based on your class, which generally resulted in uber-characters. In addition, since your class was chosen, if you didn't reach the minimum requirement for the class, you automatically raised your abilities up to meet it.

Strangest method I've used: dice draft, where everyone (including the DM) rolled 1d6. Then in a snake draft method, everyone picked a die and assigned it to an ability score. The DM alternated between taking out the highest die and the lowest die. You could use any number of dice on an ability score, but couldn't go above 18 and had to have at least a 3. If you failed to get a 3, the DM lowered your highest ability score by the amount needed to get your 3, but this didn't happen.


We rolled 3d6, in order, and then lied about what we got. :)
Yep, its amazing how many Fighters/Rangers/Paladins there were walking around with 18/00 Strength. ;)
We typically did about 4 to 6 arrays of stats and chose the one we liked.

Once Unearthed Arcana was published we switched to the quick build system there. I may have even had the Dragon magazine it was first published in. Choose the class and then roll different # of d6's for the ability scores, so that had a better chance of meeting the ability pre-requisites for the class.


The method I still prefer to use today when creating stats as a group is 4d6, drop the lowest, arrange as you like. Then, if your character sucks, my husband gets to reroll for you once or twice. His dice are magic, for him only.

Same, pretty much. We were all of 9-10 years old at that point, in our defense.

One thing that I never noticed before, is that the Red Box has a whole system for adjusting your stats. That as far as I know we never used, because, well, see above.

We rolled 3d6, in order, and then lied about what we got. :)

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