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

dagger

Explorer
One of the things I have a problem with is that if 3-18 is the normal range of stats for a person (barring curse/disease) then a 4 intelligence for example is not just "slow". It's mentally handicapped and probably not able to function in society without assistance. At a certain point a low stat is not "fluff" as far as I'm concerned.

It just sets up weird things where the guy with the low intelligence and wisdom is played by a smart person and their character is still making brilliant suggestions. I want to allow them to have fun, but at the same hand someone with the intelligence of a baboon should not be a criminal adventuring mastermind.

But that's just my pet peeve. To me, ability scores are more than just "fluff" and if you don't play that way it's fine.

The veterans at our table often make role playing choices based of what makes up there characters as a whole, including really low stats. A player with a dumb or unwise character doing or saying dumb or unwise things is part of the fun! My dark elf fighter often makes poor choices during combat/role play, even to his own (and the parties) detriment.
 

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If you want to make a game where random determination of stats has bigger impact on gameplay, I think you need less classes, but with more features that can actually use the different stats.
People complain about classes with MAD, but I actually would like to see way more MAD. Or maybe not "Multiple Ability Dependency" so much as "Multiple Ability Liberty": a game where you can play an 18 Str 10 Int fighter, or a 14 Str 14 Int fighter, and they're both effective, just in different ways.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
You mean like Fighters put their highest stat in Intelligence, and wizards but their best stat in Charisma, that sort of thing? I feel like it's one of those things that sounds more interesting that it would actually turn out. People don't give Intelligence to fighters because fighters have no way to leverage that Intelligence, outside of what any class could do. They would play differently, but ultimately they simply would do the things they normally do less effectively.

If you want to make a game where random determination of stats has bigger impact on gameplay, I think you need less classes, but with more features that can actually use the different stats.

I'm sure such an experiment would vary depending on the table. I know my players, and I am positive it would be a fun experiment to try. For example, a fighter with a high intelligence would be more like Sherlock Holmes, and identify things in the environment to give advantage in combat, like how if you interact with object Y, it can cause a negative effect on the opponents. Something a fighter with lower intelligence wouldn't be able to figure out. And that's just the combat phase. The other two pillars would be much more affected.

My group does not get hung up on +'s or -'s in our game, and really don't care about a +1 or +2 difference, let alone optimizing. There is so much more to the game that attributes affect other than a pre-defined attack roll. And not maxing out your rolls doesn't have that big of an impact on a PC's effectiveness. Yeah, a wizard might be able to figure out the same thing above as the fighter, but the fighter still has heavy armor, fighter features, and much higher HP so he could be involved down and dirty into combat and attempt these things where a wizard wouldn't do so well.

Besides, I think it would be a great way for players to learn different ways to play various classes, as opposed to the "always max out your key attributes" which tends to lead to the same way you play each one.
 
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Oofta

Legend
The veterans at our table often make role playing choices based of what makes up there characters as a whole, including really low stats. A player with a dumb or unwise character doing or saying dumb or unwise things is part of the fun! My dark elf fighter often makes poor choices during combat/role play, even to his own (and the parties) detriment.

I get "slow". I had a fighter with an 8 wisdom that rarely thought through what he was going to do, just did the first thing that came to mind. He might realize later that it was dumb (he had a decent intelligence) but in the moment? No wisdom, kick in the door.

What I'm talking about is people that say that a 3 intelligence is "slow". If 3-18 represents the span of normal human ability, a 3 is not "slow", it's mentally handicapped and less functional than Forest Gump.

As always that's just, like, my opinion man.
 


ccs

41st lv DM
People complain about classes with MAD, but I actually would like to see way more MAD. Or maybe not "Multiple Ability Dependency" so much as "Multiple Ability Liberty": a game where you can play an 18 Str 10 Int fighter, or a 14 Str 14 Int fighter, and they're both effective, just in different ways.

Have you considered Dungeons & Dragons?
 

Oofta

Legend
What intelligence would we assign to forest Gump?

Personally? Somewhere around 6. He's slow, but high functioning slow. He was literate and could communicate ideas reasonably well. Well, and having the "lucky" feat didn't hurt. :)

Of course the mapping of real world (or movie character) capabilities to ability scores is an estimation at best. I have a general feel for average intelligence, we have Einstein-like intelligence at the high end. At the (fortunately extremely rare) low end? People who can't live independently, have a hard time comprehending or making full sentences, can't read.

I'm sure different people would make a different estimate.
 

Seule

Explorer
(Snipped) They wouldn't know what stat envy is.

Stat envy is when someone else's character is better at what your character's main schtick is than you are. It is trivial to imagine a party where the Bard (primary stat Charisma) has a lower Perform score than several other characters simply because they had a spare 16+ to stick into that stat while the Bard had nothing over 13. Or even lower. Similarly, a Fighter having a lower attack bonus than the Wizard, or whatever else you want to measure that other characters can theoretically try.
I'm not saying that rolled stats are bad necessarily, I'm just saying that if you use rolled stats you have to take into account that it can go badly. I want my randomness during play, not in determining which characters are more powerful.
This page (http://anydice.com/articles/4d6-drop-lowest/) shows that the odds of getting at least 1 14+ are about 92.8%. That means that an entire party rolling up stats, the odds are pretty good (each has a 7.2%, or about 1/14) that someone will have a dud array and be good at precisely nothing. It's about the same odds, in fact, that someone will have an 18+ (9.34%). I'll take the certainly of having a playable character who can contribute over the chance of having a powerhouse... who will then overshadow other characters if I'm not careful.
 

Stat envy is when someone else's character is better at what your character's main schtick is than you are. It is trivial to imagine a party where the Bard (primary stat Charisma) has a lower Perform score than several other characters simply because they had a spare 16+ to stick into that stat while the Bard had nothing over 13. Or even lower. Similarly, a Fighter having a lower attack bonus than the Wizard, or whatever else you want to measure that other characters can theoretically try.

A meaningful shtick isn't (shouldn't be) "having an attack bonus". It is "physical combat", sometimes more specifically "archery" or "physical control." Fighters get features that make them better at these roles than wizards, even wizards with good stats.

If you roll up an array like 10, 12, 11, 9, 8, 10, there is still nothing stopping you from assuming the "good at physical combat" shtick. You just do it differently. You can be a Swashbuckler or a Moon Druid--either one works fine. You could also pick a different shtick.

Edit: If Perform is the bard's main shtick, why isn't his Expertise in Perform? That will make up for the lower stat and then some.
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Stat envy is when someone else's character is better at what your character's main schtick is than you are. It is trivial to imagine a party where the Bard (primary stat Charisma) has a lower Perform score than several other characters simply because they had a spare 16+ to stick into that stat while the Bard had nothing over 13. Or even lower. Similarly, a Fighter having a lower attack bonus than the Wizard, or whatever else you want to measure that other characters can theoretically try.
I'm not saying that rolled stats are bad necessarily, I'm just saying that if you use rolled stats you have to take into account that it can go badly. I want my randomness during play, not in determining which characters are more powerful.
This page (http://anydice.com/articles/4d6-drop-lowest/) shows that the odds of getting at least 1 14+ are about 92.8%. That means that an entire party rolling up stats, the odds are pretty good (each has a 7.2%, or about 1/14) that someone will have a dud array and be good at precisely nothing. It's about the same odds, in fact, that someone will have an 18+ (9.34%). I'll take the certainly of having a playable character who can contribute over the chance of having a powerhouse... who will then overshadow other characters if I'm not careful.

A meaningful shtick isn't (shouldn't be) "having an attack bonus". It is "physical combat", sometimes more specifically "archery" or "physical control." Fighters get features that make them better at these roles than wizards, even wizards with good stats.

If you roll up an array like 10, 12, 11, 9, 8, 10, there is still nothing stopping you from assuming the "good at physical combat" shtick. You just do it differently. You can be a Swashbuckler or a Moon Druid--either one works fine. You could also pick a different shtick.

I can see both points, but the bolded part I think hits the difference in preferences. For example, I tend to agree with Hemlock on this for the same reasons he gave. But obviously Seule looks at it differently, and has different opinions on what "good" is. From my interpretation, in order to be "good", a PC has to have the higher/highest numerical bonus in a particular aspect, especially better than other party members.

Whereas with Hemlock (and myself), what makes a class good or not is the entire picture, like even if a fighter has a lower bonus to hit over a rogue based on ability score alone, the fighter has other class features that makes him still "good" at melee combat, even better than other classes.
 

Oofta

Legend
A meaningful shtick isn't (shouldn't be) "having an attack bonus". It is "physical combat", sometimes more specifically "archery" or "physical control." Fighters get features that make them better at these roles than wizards, even wizards with good stats.

If you roll up an array like 10, 12, 11, 9, 8, 10, there is still nothing stopping you from assuming the "good at physical combat" shtick. You just do it differently. You can be a Swashbuckler or a Moon Druid--either one works fine. You could also pick a different shtick.

But if a new person joins the group and runs exactly the same class and character but has all stats above 16 they will out-perform your character on a regular basis.

You may not care. You may be a better person for it.

That doesn't mean that it's fair, or that people with differing opinions on what makes the game fun for them are wrong.

I don't need to be "numerically superior". I don't need to have a better attack bonus than the other guy playing a fighter. But I don't want to play someone that is just plain mediocre at everything they do either.

Neither opinion is "more valid" than the other.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
As an old school guy, part of me wants to say, "Random worked fine for decades without any major problems."

But then obviously a lot of people wanted equal stats for every PC or array would never have become a thing, let alone a popular option. So as far as I'm concerned, neither is any objectively better than the other. It seems pretty split down the board.
 

I can see both points, but the bolded part I think hits the difference in preferences. For example, I tend to agree with Hemlock on this for the same reasons he gave. But obviously Seule looks at it differently, and has different opinions on what "good" is. From my interpretation, in order to be "good", a PC has to have the higher/highest numerical bonus in a particular aspect, especially better than other party members.

Also bear in mind that in 5E, as opposed to other games like e.g. Shadowrun, there are aspects which have no numerical bonus associated with them at all. You can always pick those shticks regardless of what you roll (although RP considerations like low Int might conceivably restrict you from choosing some of them).

Choose one or more of the following:

The Supercharger: the guy who kicks other characters into overdrive with Bless/Haste/Warding Bond/Polymorph/Enhance Ability.
The Healer: the guy who keeps everybody uncursed, not turned to stone, alive, and at full HP.
The Arcanist: the guy who makes sure the party always has a safe place to rest, can always teleport to adventure and/or to safety, can decipher languages, etc.
The Summoner: the guy who spies or fights by proxy using conjured elementals, animals, familiars, and/or Chainlock invocations.

I believe these are the main non-numerical aspects I've seen. They are pretty broad, and ideally you'd like to always have one (or more!) of each in a given party, but you can't because there aren't enough PCs (in a four- or five-man party) to fill these roles and other, more stat-dependent roles like "ranged specialist" or "crowd control." So even if you roll up an array of all 3s, make a character that fills some or all of these aspects and you'll be making a valuable contribution, if you can bring yourself to roleplay a barely-sentient vegetable. :)

For example, I give you

JoeBob the Clerical Savant: senile, 120-year-old adventurer on his last legs, can barely think--but old reflexes die hard!

NG Human Trickery Cleric 7
Str 3 Dex 3 Con 3 Int 3 Wis 3 Cha 3 HP 24
Feats: Tough, Lucky
Skills: Stealthy, Perception, [some others]

JoeBob is barely sentient any more and will probably die any second now. He can barely even communicate, but he still (barely) remembers some old adventuring tricks which he can still use if somebody asks him. For example, if you tell him, "Hey, JoeBob, let's you and me play Mama Bear, okay?" he will twitch his fingers and cast Warding Bond on you, and then Polymorph himself into a T-Rex who follows you around trying to keep you safe via the Warding Bond and his loads of extra HP. If you tell him, "Hey, JoeBob, I need to be sneaky," he will bless you with the tricker's blessing (advantage), and if you ask him to come with you he will also cast Pass Without Trace and follow you around. (His total Stealth bonus under such conditions is +9, which is still respectable.)

He also has triggers for casting Bless, Dodging, casting Dispel Magic/Greater Restoration, healing wounds, and running away as fast as he can.

He shows little initiative and won't generally do anything outside of these predefined parameters (will not innovate tactically), except drool and stammer. Nevertheless he is surprisingly stringy and tough for such a frail-looking old man, and fate has so far smiled on him enough to keep him alive.
 
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BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Welp. If I ever feeling like running a DMPC I now have a brilliant way to do it. I'd tip my hat to JoeBob, but he wouldn't understand the gesture, anyway.
 


Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
That's a great example of how low stats can still be "good" and effective. However, on the other side, you can probably see where that wouldn't be all that fun to play from a player's perspective, if you were really limited in what you could do to a short predefined list because you weren't smart enough to think for yourself.
 

That's a great example of how low stats can still be "good" and effective. However, on the other side, you can probably see where that wouldn't be all that fun to play from a player's perspective, if you were really limited in what you could do to a short predefined list because you weren't smart enough to think for yourself.

Yeah, but that's a roleplaying choice, not a mechanical consequence of low stats. My anecdotal observation is that people who disliked rolled stats are generally unwilling to roleplay low Int anyway, so they'd probably just play JoeBob with his full tactical capabilities, which are considerable. (In fact, JoeBob is one of the few PCs you'll ever get to play who actually gets SMARTER when he Polymorphs into a Giant Ape and starts chucking rocks!)

But then again, they wouldn't be playing JoeBob in the first place at my table--they'd have just taken the standard array or point buy.

Anyway, I don't like roleplaying low Int generally, so I thought up JoeBob's senility/trigger-response pattern as my way of making him fun to play. I would enjoy playing JoeBob and mumbling cryptic things and stumbling around. I wouldn't enjoy doing so every session for years at a time, but there isn't any PC I'd enjoy playing every session for years at a time--variety is the spice of life, and that's what character trees are for.
 


Lylandra

Adventurer
Which leads to: do all of you lot who don't like random stats also de-randomize hit points?

I'm doing the opposite. I use de-randomized HP, but use rolled stats every now and then. But I try to let the player's stat arrays not drift too far from each other.
 

TheNoremac42

Explorer
This is what I do when rolling a new character...

1d10 for Race (reroll on 10), 1d10+1d4 for Background (treat max on 1d10 as a 0). Do this six times, reroll to make sure they're all different combinations. Then roll a 1d6 to pick which one - or just pick the one that intrigues you the most. After that, roll 4d6-drop-lowest stats in order and then pick your class based on that. I got a pretty decent Wood Elf Sailor Bard with 17s in DEX and CHA (after racial mods) doing that.

I did once get a Tiefling Barbarian with the Scholar (Alchemy) background, so it's not exactly full proof... Definitely stretches your imagination muscles, though!
 

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