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

Oofta

Legend
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.

As I said, my character may meet their initial goal and then need to reevaluate whether they will retire. It may start as "I want to be filthy rich" and then morph to "If I don't defeat Count SuckYourBlood, I will never feel safe enough to spend all my phat lootz".

Or they may just decide to keep living the adventurer life because they're addicted to the excitement.

What I wouldn't personally want is to have a character that has such pathetic stats that I can't envision them as being a hero. Hence my preference for point buy over rolling dice. YMMV of course since there is no "one true way" to play the game.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
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.
A wild-eyed guy who files his teeth and has lost his nose somewhere...sure sounds to me like someone people would prefer not to look at. :)
Hemlock said:
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.
We do, to a point. If a character picks up a disfiguring scar, for example, there's a decent chance it's going to affect the Charisma score (and not always badly!). If a character were to lose his nose during play then for sure its Cha score would take a hit.
Oofta said:
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".
Maybe not commit suicide, but as adventuring is (I would assume) known to be perhaps the ultimate extreme in high-risk high-reward career choices "I'm going to become an adventurer so I can get rich or die trying" becomes a likely common theme.

Lan-"that said, the most common outcome is to get rich AND die trying"-efan
 

Soul Stigma

First Post
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.

This is essentially the Gagaxian approach.


Sent from my iPhone using EN World mobile app
 

Soul Stigma

First Post
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.

I never liked arrays but I'm old school. I play 5E because it's flexible but retains the feel of older editions just enough for me. When players balk at the possibility of having low stats, I explain the opportunities for role play. Then again, as a player I liked a challenge. And even Gygax and Arneson recognized the possibility of "hopeless" characters - if the rolls came up too poor to be viable, you just do it again.

To me, imperfect characters are the most memorable, but everyone is different.


Sent from my iPhone using EN World mobile app
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
What I wouldn't personally want is to have a character that has such pathetic stats that I can't envision them as being a hero.
Ah - taken at face value this point says a lot.

You're specifically looking for (or expecting?) your character to be or become a hero. Further, this is influencing your choices and preferences all the way down to initial character generation method.

Me, I'm just looking for an interesting and entertaining character to play. Rest assured that any resulting heroism will be a purely accidental side effect, possibly regretted in the morning.

Lanefan
 

I think the 4d6, point buy, and standard array all promote a sameness among characters. Assuming you can arrange your scores as you see fit, optimizing your character leads to some obvious decisions. There are two solutions which I have used and both seem to work. Both involve the use of an excel spreadsheet and the random function:

1. Generate 100 (or however many you decide as DM) unique sets of ability scores in order using the 3d6 method -- player chooses the set they want.

2. Generate a list of 100 (or however many you decide as DM) ability scores using 3d6 -- literally just a long list of 3d6 scores Player can start anywhere on the list and assign that score to strength but must then assign the next 5 scores in order to the next 5 stats in order.

These methods give players lots options but preserves randomness so an intelligent fighter or a strong wizard are possible.
 

A wild-eyed guy who files his teeth and has lost his nose somewhere...sure sounds to me like someone people would prefer not to look at. :)
We do, to a point. If a character picks up a disfiguring scar, for example, there's a decent chance it's going to affect the Charisma score (and not always badly!). If a character were to lose his nose during play then for sure its Cha score would take a hit.
I very much disagree. Charisma is an intrinsic, objective fact about a character's personality and abilities. Physical appearance is subjective. However badly messed up a human face gets, the human in question is probably still prettier (from his own species' perspective) than a death knight or orcish warlord who might well have 16 or 18 Charisma. Yes, of course disfigurement can negatively affect some social interactions -- give the character disadvantage for those interactions. But for other interactions, like Intimidate checks, it might be immaterial or even beneficial. And it's certainly not going to affect something like a sorcerer's spellpower at all... unless perhaps the player has previously declared that the character casts through his nose.
 

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!
I'm glad to hear it worked great. With ordered scores, I'd have been worried about what would happen if one array was clearly more attractive than the others. With reordering, players who picked that array could still show some diversity. With fixed order, it seems like you might easily have ended up with two or three very similar characters.
 

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.
Are you kidding? That's the motivation for like 80% of all wuxia and anime characters, from fighter- and monk-types to Pokémon trainers.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I very much disagree. Charisma is an intrinsic, objective fact about a character's personality and abilities. Physical appearance is subjective. However badly messed up a human face gets, the human in question is probably still prettier (from his own species' perspective) than a death knight or orcish warlord who might well have 16 or 18 Charisma. Yes, of course disfigurement can negatively affect some social interactions -- give the character disadvantage for those interactions. But for other interactions, like Intimidate checks, it might be immaterial or even beneficial. And it's certainly not going to affect something like a sorcerer's spellpower at all... unless perhaps the player has previously declared that the character casts through his nose.
I see Charisma as being a combination of physical attractiveness and personal, well, magnetism for lack of a better word; at roughly half-weight each. It's either that or split them out - bring back the Comeliness stat - which I really don't want to do; six stats is enough.

A death knight with Cha 18 is clearly getting some serious magical enhancement to the magnetism side from somewhere - I just put it down as part of the whole 'death knight' schtick.

An orcish warlord with Cha 18 or even 16 just can't happen, as I cap orc charisma at about 12. :)

Lanefan
 

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