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5E Why I Am Starting to Prefer 4d6 Drop the Lowest Over the Default Array.

Zardnaar

Explorer
When 5E came out we used the default array for the PCs. After a year or so we started using 4d6 drop the lowest. It tends to result in higher scores than the default array. Put simply I think 5E function better and it opens up more options with higher ability scores.

Put simply it seems to fix certain classes if you roll high and it makes things like TWF more viable and it also makes medium armor suck less. It also makes things like the hypothetical Mountain Dwarf wizard or Sorcerer more viable.

All of the gish classes also look a lot better if you roll higher ability scores. If you roll crap the Moon Druid is a great class along with the Morph from EN5ider. A main problem of all the gish classes in the PHB with the exception of the Paladin is multiple ability dependency (MAD). Put simply to be effective you need a good physical score, spellcasting stat, decent con, and dex as well if you are using medium armor. Put simply you kind of want 4 stats 14 or higher or a 14 dex with medium armor or 15 strength in heavy armor. Valor Bards are a prime example as they want a decent attack stat, charisma, dex and con. Most of the gish also are not proficient in con saves.

The dex based melee classes and TWF also tend to get over shadowed due to certain feats (unless you are having a featless game then dex is super stat). This is because you want to get a 20 dex ASAP so you can get your 17 or 19 AC (AC 18-20 strength based generally). With point buy you can get 20 dex by level 6 or 8. A 20 strength is nice for a strength based fighter but 18 strength+ feat is a great option as your AC is not keyed to your strength score.

Other options that tend to be a bit meh are things like Bladedancers in SCAG. Under point buy they are not actually that good at erm blade dancing and you are better off usgin it to enhance your AC, movement and concentration rolls than attempt to be a bad fighter. Our Bladedancer rolls 3 scores over 16 and with racial modifiers + resilient(con) feat she has 3 18's at level 4 (con, int, dex). She plays a very aggressive wizard suffice to say in regards to melee and uses flaming sphere+ melee attacks (1d8+4+2d6+2d6 damage lvl 4).

So basically my players are mnoving away from the usual feats as they tend to have higher ability scores and prefer being awesome with new options (monks, gish, etc) over abusing the usual suspects (GWM, SS, CE, PAM) which they did earlier in 5E's run. We have Rogues defaulting to daggers as a weapon, sword and board fighters using short swords, assassins dual wielding.
 

cbwjm

Explorer
I do like rolling because I like the randomness of the stats, however I think part of the issue is people wanting to have these high stats to be super characters right out of the gate. We used point buy for my current game and my bladesinger works fine with Dex 16, con 12, and Int 16 at level one after applying ability modifiers, I don't feel the need to have these all higher than that to start and we aren't having trouble completing encounters.

Sent from my SM-G925I using EN World mobile app
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
So you're preferring 4d6 because you're ignoring the lower rolls and only taking the higher ones over an array? Big shocker there. I say ignoring, because almost all of your examples are dependent on statistically higher than normal rolls. So you're either ignoring low rolls, or cheating, because there's no way statistically you would have the majority of your PCs having stats be higher than array or point buy. Statistically, you'd have just as many PCs with lower stats as you do with higher stats, and yet your examples are almost always higher. So either you have a lot of moon druids in your group, or someone is fibbing the dice rolls.

*Note, this isn't meant to pick on you as a new thing, per se, because after 35 years of gaming, it's always interesting to see how everyone always has higher stats for their PCs than what the math would suggest.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
The character creation method I want to use in my next campaign:

(1) Choose a race.
(2) Choose a background.
(3) Roll ability scores in order (4d6 drop the lowest).
(4) Choose a class.

The idea is that it emulates life. First you're born (race) into certain circumstances (background), then your natural abilities blossom (ability scores) and you take up an adventuring path (class).

No more min-maxing (or at least, a lot less of it). Sure, you can choose the class that works "best" with your highest ability score, but it might not be ideal for your race and background. Alas, such is life.
 

dagger

Villager
We are doing this (which I stole from this board at some point) after the current campaign ends at 20th (we are close):

Everyone rolls ONE set of 4d6 drop lowest, then each set is written down on a sheet of paper. Players pick the stat array they want from the list, and players can even pick the same one. This way, either everyone is screwed equally, or everyone gets the god stats. :)
 

Zardnaar

Explorer
So you're preferring 4d6 because you're ignoring the lower rolls and only taking the higher ones over an array? Big shocker there. I say ignoring, because almost all of your examples are dependent on statistically higher than normal rolls. So you're either ignoring low rolls, or cheating, because there's no way statistically you would have the majority of your PCs having stats be higher than array or point buy. Statistically, you'd have just as many PCs with lower stats as you do with higher stats, and yet your examples are almost always higher. So either you have a lot of moon druids in your group, or someone is fibbing the dice rolls.

*Note, this isn't meant to pick on you as a new thing, per se, because after 35 years of gaming, it's always interesting to see how everyone always has higher stats for their PCs than what the math would suggest.

Nope some of the other PCs rolled lower, I just did not mentiuon them and they chose the more basic classes like fighter (16 strength), one cleric got a natural 18 with the other stats being in the middle roughly.
 

Oofta

Explorer
Huh. Yet another thread started by the Zardnaar where I disagree 100%.

If you want more points, give people more points to spend. Done. Rolling will give random results. Random results will by definition, give you unequal results. Some characters are going to have better scores than others. When rolling for attacks/saves/etc it will average out over the long run. Rolling random numbers for stats just means you practically guarantee one character will be substandard while another will be above average.

No thanks.
 

Saelorn

Explorer
High stats exacerbate the basic design flaw that any build which is supported by feats is better than a build which doesn't have feat support, since a feat that you can use is as good as +2 in your prime stat and you're still going to max out your prime stat anyway. If you can max out your prime stat at level 1, then you can pick up your feat at level 4, and you'll instantly be better than anyone who doesn't also have a feat tailored to them.

The game also falls apart as the average Con score of the party rises. Since Con increases your maximum HP and the rate at which you recover HP through rest and Hit Dice, a party with good Con across the board is going to have so many HP as to be virtually un-threatened by any ordinary challenges. You're supposed to need to sacrifice something important, if you want to focus on Con. Any class which only relies on one stat for everything it needs to do, and can then invest in Con at no trade-off, is fundamentally flawed by being SAD.

That being said, 4d6 (drop lowest) doesn't actually produce significantly better stats than the default array. On average, you'll get something very close to default. It only produces higher results about half the time, so it only raises the party average if you have some other mechanism to let the player with bad stats re-roll, or if you get very lucky.
 
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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
The character creation method I want to use in my next campaign:

(1) Choose a race.
(2) Choose a background.
(3) Roll ability scores in order (4d6 drop the lowest).
(4) Choose a class.

The idea is that it emulates life. First you're born (race) into certain circumstances (background), then your natural abilities blossom (ability scores) and you take up an adventuring path (class).

No more min-maxing (or at least, a lot less of it). Sure, you can choose the class that works "best" with your highest ability score, but it might not be ideal for your race and background. Alas, such is life.
That's usualy how I like character creation. In my current campaign I betrayed myself and went the ''normal'' way, but my players dont try to min-max everything: I have a Tiefling Champion, Half-orc life cleric, a halfling GOO warlock and a Human mystic. Next time I'll go back to the same method you use, just because it makes more sense. I dont understand why this isnt the basic way of doing it.
 

Croesus

Villager
If you want more points, give people more points to spend. Done.
This is exactly what I did and it works fine. All characters have the same point buy (29 points), so no one starts at a significant advantage or disadvantage.

Still, my players would rather roll, always remembering the character that rolled two 18's, never remembering the ones that rolled nothing above a 12.
 

CTurbo

Villager
I have always preferred roll 4d6 but it does have it's issues. I love randomness of rolls but I HATE having wildly unbalanced characters because some characters have god stat and some are below average. I know it's hard on a DM and it's not fun for the players either. In my one of my current campaigns, my character is wildly more powerful than the rest of the group. A Barbarian with a 20 in Str, 16 in Dex and Con from level 1. The biggest issue here is the overwhelming inbalance of hit points between my character and the rest of the team.

Anyway, I think moving forward, I'll try to roll for scores three times, keep the highest, but make everybody use it to keep some balance.

Here are three example rolls just for fun-

17, 16, 13, 13, 12, 12
15, 15, 14, 13, 11, 5
18, 15, 14, 11, 8, 7

I did it a few more times and got a couple of REALLY terrible rolls.
 

pukunui

Adventurer
The main reason I dislike rolling for stats is the lack of parity that often results. Sometimes you get a group where most of the PCs are equal, but one is considerably better or worse off than the others. Sometimes you get a group of PCs with stats all over the place.

I've been sticking with the default array or default point buy in my 5e games so far and it's worked out just fine.
 

Olive

Villager
What's a "gish class"?
I just looked it up too - basically a fighter than can cast spells. Paladin etc.

Anyway - we've always rolled because we always play in the same small group and we can just rule on outside cases (particularly low stats). In 5e I don't think lower stats are nearly as much of a problem (no bonus sells etc) and rolling randomness is part of the essential D&D experience for us.
 

Zardnaar

Explorer
What's a "gish class"?
A fighter/wizard type. These days a warrior/spellcaster that casts arcane spells, maybe a Paladin or Cleric. In the PHB, valor bard, eldritch knight, blade pact warlock are some examples.

To be a good one you usually play a Paladin, Cleric or multiclass as the official ones kinda suck with the default array.
 
So you're preferring 4d6 because you're ignoring the lower rolls and only taking the higher ones over an array?
No. He mentioned that low rolls turn into Moon Druids.

Other good things to do with low rolls include single-classed wizards, melee fighters, pure rogues, and of course clerics. But clerics are the worst and need to die, so pretend I didn't say that last one.

BTW, are you also aware that the standard array is lowballed? It comes in around the 40th percentile of rolled stats. The median rolled array will have at least one 16+, statistically speaking; the standard array is somewhat worse than that.
 

Zardnaar

Explorer
No. He mentioned that low rolls turn into Moon Druids.

Other good things to do with low rolls include single-classed wizards, melee fighters, pure rogues, and of course clerics. But clerics are the worst and need to die, so pretend I didn't say that last one.

BTW, are you also aware that the standard array is lowballed? It comes in around the 40th percentile of rolled stats. The median rolled array will have at least one 16+, statistically speaking; the standard array is somewhat worse than that.
We also had a thief with 3 13's as their best stats and a Barbarian with 6 intelligence.

In AD&D we had a fighter with 3 intelligence named "The" It was the only word he knew.

If somone plays a really bad PC and sticks with it I often compensate with better magic items. Gauntlets of Ogre power, a +2 or 3 weapon etc.
 
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ccs

39th lv DM
The game also falls apart as the average Con score of the party rises. Since Con increases your maximum HP and the rate at which you recover HP through rest and Hit Dice, a party with good Con across the board is going to have so many HP as to be virtually un-threatened by any ordinary challenges. You're supposed to need to sacrifice something important, if you want to focus on Con. Any class which only relies on one stats for everything it needs to do, and can then invest in Con at no trade-off, is fundamentally flawed by being SAD.
Really? I've seen games fall apart for all manner of reasons over the decades, but the next one done in by numerous high Con scores will be the 1st.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Nope some of the other PCs rolled lower, I just did not mentiuon them and they chose the more basic classes like fighter (16 strength), one cleric got a natural 18 with the other stats being in the middle roughly.
That's another aspect that doesn't sit will with me. The implication that if you didn't roll greater than normal stats, you better play only a limited amount of class types. Bollocks. Play whatever class you want, regardless of the stats you have. Anyone who tried to suggest or push another player into a class based the stat rolls would have a conversation with me about if they are a good fit for my table.

No. He mentioned that low rolls turn into Moon Druids.
.
I know. I mentioned that in the part you deleted from my quote.
 

Rabbitbait

Registered User
Ha. I like the 4d6 method as I like random low stats. I've found that what a character is bad at can help define them better for roleplaying purposes. I remember with fondness the Dwarven Fighter named Creasote who had 6 dex.

In one game he became trapped by zombies, so held his knife in his teeth and started to climb the wall behind him. Halfway up he slipped, and with a low dex he pretty had no chance of saving himself. He fell, crushed 3 of the zombies and made his smile a lot wider due to the knife he had been holding in his mouth. Ah, good times.
 

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