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

epithet

Explorer
I make characters with the full level 1 - 20 career in mind, so to me it makes no sense to try to get a player to run with a set of stats he or she doesn't like. There is no scenario where I would tell a player at the start of a campaign "sorry, those are the stats you rolled; play that character or don't, but you can't roll up another one." That kind of thing might be ok for a "one shot" or a single adventure break from a full campaign, but for a "real" campaign I want to make sure all my players are happy with their characters and fully engaged.

In my group, everyone rolls up stats using 4d6, drop lowest. Then each player can chose whichever set of stats he or she likes (regardless of who rolled them,) and assign them in the order he or she wants. This leads to more powerful characters, and I (as DM) usually compensate by bumping encounters a little. We also tend to have extra feats, because I like to award training as treasure when it seems appropriate to the narrative, and if I'm running a published adventure I'll give "alternate advancement" points instead of XP for extra stuff I throw in to make things more interesting so as not to skew the level curve of the published adventure. 1 point buys a skill, language, or tool; 3 points buys a feat. It's a lot easier to juice up encounters for more capable PCs than to re-arrange the entire adventure to accommodate accelerated levelling.

My point here is that it is really easy to adapt to more capable characters, and completely worth it to let the players realize their character concepts. I tend to use Kobold Fight Club to build encounters, and I'll just dial them in with an extra party member or as a level higher to tweak the balance (or just wing it.) It's not hard to do.
 

Lanefan

Hero
I make characters with the full level 1 - 20 career in mind
You must either run or play in quite low-lethality campaigns, then, to be able to look that far ahead.

Me, I just assume it's extremely unlikely that the character(s) I start with will be the one(s) I finish with. As a player, I also tend to cycle characters in and out of parties even when death is not the cause. :)

Which means even if I get a lousy set of stats I can find something* to hang a characterization on; and I'll just play it till it drops or has a logical in-character reason to retire, and come back with something else.

* - usually; I'll freely admit to an occasional exception where a character is just so bland that no inspiration comes...all I can do there is hope it finds a way to die with grace and honour...

Lanefan
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
You must either run or play in quite low-lethality campaigns, then, to be able to look that far ahead.

Me, I just assume it's extremely unlikely that the character(s) I start with will be the one(s) I finish with. As a player, I also tend to cycle characters in and out of parties even when death is not the cause. :)

Which means even if I get a lousy set of stats I can find something* to hang a characterization on; and I'll just play it till it drops or has a logical in-character reason to retire, and come back with something else.

* - usually; I'll freely admit to an occasional exception where a character is just so bland that no inspiration comes...all I can do there is hope it finds a way to die with grace and honour...

Lanefan
I agree. I stopped worrying about what things were like at level 20 a long time ago. I now mostly concentrate on a holistic look at levels 1-14 and value the levels around level 5 the most (levels 3-7). I don't like to look ahead more than 4-5 levels at the most.
 

Oofta

Explorer
While I don't plan out to level 20, and instead let them grow more organically and what makes sense at the time I never "expect" to switch characters during a campaign. Most of my characters survive at least as long as the campaign (a couple have carried over).

Unless I run an elf/half elf. They always die before they get to third level, usually in moronically stupid ways that I have little or no control over.

I also think up my character personality/flaws/hooks long before any numbers are put on a character sheet. Probably part of why I like point buy. My characters don't start as numbers, the numbers are there to express my vision.
 
* - usually; I'll freely admit to an occasional exception where a character is just so bland that no inspiration comes...all I can do there is hope it finds a way to die with grace and honour...
Or have a transformative experience that gives him some distinctive personality traits. Bob the Fighter (Str 11 Dex 10 Con 11 Int 10 Wis 10 Cha 11) may have been just a run of the mill guy once, but then he got marooned at sea once with nothing but an empty jug of maple syrup and the lower torso of an unconscious troll in a cave--and now he still has mediocre stats but he's a wild-eyed semi-savage who files his teeth and has picked up some very odd personal habits such as an overt distrust of his own tattooed right arm, a shrieking fear of Pobbles, and an utter refusal to talk about why he has no nose...

But yeah, failing that, an ignominious retirement or death will occur sooner or later, or the campaign will die.
 

epithet

Explorer
You must either run or play in quite low-lethality campaigns, then, to be able to look that far ahead.
...
Lanefan
Never said they all make it that far, just that I have that longevity in mind. If I can't imagine a running a character for 20 levels, then there's not much point in starting it off in the first place (unless, of course, it's for a one shot or single adventure.)
 

Lanefan

Hero
I also think up my character personality/flaws/hooks long before any numbers are put on a character sheet. Probably part of why I like point buy. My characters don't start as numbers, the numbers are there to express my vision.
Where while I might well have some clear ideas going in, I also have to see what the dice give me and be ready to react accordingly...this is part of the challenge/fun of random stat rolls. :)

Hemlock said:
Bob the Fighter (Str 11 Dex 10 Con 11 Int 10 Wis 10 Cha 11) may have been just a run of the mill guy once, but then he got marooned at sea once with nothing but an empty jug of maple syrup and the lower torso of an unconscious troll in a cave--and now he still has mediocre stats but he's a wild-eyed semi-savage who files his teeth and has picked up some very odd personal habits such as an overt distrust of his own tattooed right arm, a shrieking fear of Pobbles, and an utter refusal to talk about why he has no nose...
You're stretching that Cha 11 mighty thin with this guy...what you describe sounds like about a Cha 6...and much more playable.

epithet said:
Never said they all make it that far, just that I have that [1-20] longevity in mind.
This is heartwarmingly optimistic of you. :)

Lan-"this 'level 20' you speak of must surely be a myth, or legend; as none alive have ever seen it"-efan
 

TheCosmicKid

Villager
You're stretching that Cha 11 mighty thin with this guy...what you describe sounds like about a Cha 6...and much more playable.
Although I very much appreciate the poetic justice in accusing Hemlock of playing his stats wrong, I've got to defend him on this one. Charisma's not about what you do, it's about how you do it. He could have 18 Charisma and still act like that -- it'd simply make him a mysterious tortured soul who makes men quaver and women quaver for different reasons, as opposed to a repulsive lunatic people just try not to look at.
 
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Shasarak

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. :)
This is a great idea!
 

Wulffolk

Villager
There is a portion of the fan base that expects to make it to 20th level with every character or they feel that they have wasted their time, and a portion of that group that even feels entitled to. These people tend to prefer point buy or arrays, because they can't imagine investing that much time in an inferior build. I think this philosophy is fine, but it is a symptom of MMO's which are all about the "end-game", where players compete to have the best character possible.

I think that Adventure Paths feed into that MMO mentality. Players feel like they have "lost" the game if they don't complete the path successfully and with the same character that they started with.

When not playing an MMO I much prefer old-school randomly generated attributes. I make no assumption that my character will survive, and my goal is to simply have fun and tell a good story. Sometimes character's die, and a heroic death can make for an excellent story. There is no pressure to have the best stats at the table, because I am not competing against the other players. I am working with them in an endeavor of collaborative story-telling.
 

canucksaram

Registered User
Easy fix for high CON: each time your character is reduced to 0 HP and fails one or more death saves, you lose a point of CON permanently. Don't want to lose the CON? Then drop one point from STR and one point from DEX. Those crippling wounds have an effect over time....
 
You're stretching that Cha 11 mighty thin with this guy...what you describe sounds like about a Cha 6...and much more playable.
Now there's an interesting point. I had in mind a boring Cha 11 fighter who has some weird adventures (I run some weird adventures) that make his history more distinctive than his stats, not just a backstory. It could have equally well been "finds a magic sword," "hatches a dragon egg," or "gains the favor of Vecna the Archlich." But you're right that most players and DMs would interpret someone like that as having low Charisma if it happened in the backstory--I wonder how many of us would reduce the Charisma of a PC who became like that during play? I think I wouldn't, or at any rate I haven't.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
Easy fix for high CON: each time your character is reduced to 0 HP and fails one or more death saves, you lose a point of CON permanently. Don't want to lose the CON? Then drop one point from STR and one point from DEX. Those crippling wounds have an effect over time....
In my games that would greatly penalize melee characters more than anyone

Casters would not care about it very much
 

Oofta

Explorer
There is a portion of the fan base that expects to make it to 20th level with every character or they feel that they have wasted their time, and a portion of that group that even feels entitled to.
LOL. I don't feel "entitled to" getting to 20th level. But this is an RP game to me, and I rather doubt that some mook is going to pick up a sword someday and say "I'm going to become an adventurer so I can commit suicide".

I approach in game decisions as I think my character would approach them. That's the fun of D&D for me ... pretending for a few hours to be someone else. Someone heroic.

I don't "expect" my character to reach 20th level, adventuring is a dangerous business. But I don't expect my character to just commit suicide by goblin because of metagame reasons either.
 

Wulffolk

Villager
Honestly, Oofta, I was not calling you out. I was not saying that you, or everybody that prefers point buy or arrays, fall into the group I described. However, I do think that there is a sizeable portion of this fan base that do have the "end-game" mindset learned from MMO's.
 

jgsugden

Explorer
Best system IMO: Roll 3d6 6 times. For each of the rolls, drop the lowest number and replace it with a 4.

You get a range of 6 to 16. About half the rolls will be 12 or above. ~20% of the rolls are 14 or above, with ~7.5% (or an average of 1 or 2 in a party) being a 16 at first level. About 10% of rolls are below 10, so roughly every other PC in a party will have a score with a penalty associated with it.
 

Oofta

Explorer
Honestly, Oofta, I was not calling you out. I was not saying that you, or everybody that prefers point buy or arrays, fall into the group I described. However, I do think that there is a sizeable portion of this fan base that do have the "end-game" mindset learned from MMO's.
Don't worry, I didn't think you were.

I'm just saying that different people have different approaches and goals for the game. For me I think character first and numbers second. That when I write up a character, it's a character I want to play to 20th, whether or not he ever gets there. Or to put it another way, the person my character represents would want to adventure until their goals are met. If their initial goals are met before the campaign ends, I would re-evaluate whether or not their goals have changed.

It goes back to the reasons to not roll for stats. I don't want to play a wimp, and I would never set my character up to die simply because I was not "interested" in the character. I'm not saying you would, or even that there is anything wrong with it. But there are people that do, that if they have poor stats or the numbers don't work out to be a character they will enjoy playing they set up their character to die.
 

ehren37

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. :)
That was what I did, with the caveat that the stats were in order (Str-Cha) and you could also use the standard array (arranged to taste) if desired. Worked great!
 
LOL. I don't feel "entitled to" getting to 20th level. But this is an RP game to me, and I rather doubt that some mook is going to pick up a sword someday and say "I'm going to become an adventurer so I can commit suicide".

I approach in game decisions as I think my character would approach them. That's the fun of D&D for me ... pretending for a few hours to be someone else. Someone heroic.

I don't "expect" my character to reach 20th level, adventuring is a dangerous business. But I don't expect my character to just commit suicide by goblin because of metagame reasons either.
It's not a dichotomy. How about "I'm going to become an adventurer so I can go in this hole in the ground and get filthy rich"? How about "I'm going to save my city from Evil Lord Whatsisname"?

The proportion of characters who think to themselves "I'm going to become an adventurer so I can become equal to the world's greatest swordsman [get to 20th level]" ought to be quite small, because seeking power for the sake of power is a very metagamey goal. It's more likely to be a player goal than a PC goal.
 

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