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hybrid roll and pointbuy

January 23rd, 2012 by paul

4e expects you to have around an 18 in your best attribute, and a decent secondary attribute. This is very predictably achieved with point buy. 4e is big on not having a single bad roll torpedo your character.

On the other hand, point buy usually leads to your non-class stats being predictably bad. Every single barbarian has a low Intelligence. That means D&D cannot properly render Conan the Barbarian. In a game like Dungeons and Dragons, that's just about as big a failure as I can imagine.

4e point buy generally gives you a 20, a 16, and a bunch of 10s. You know what's boring? A bunch of 10s. For the most part, non-class stats aren't very important for power and balance, but they are important for roleplaying variety.

I really like the 4e Gamma World approach, where your main 2 stats are 18 and 16, and you roll 3d6 down the line for your other stats. Sure, they'll probably all be pretty close to 10 or 11: but the door is open for the occasional pleasant surprise or hilarious disability.

So here's my proposal: it introduces a little power creep, but hey, we're late in the edition here.

Interestingly, the following two stat arrays have the same point cost:
a) 18, 14, 10, 10, 10, 8
b) 17, 16, 10, 10, 10, 8

So, to let's do this for starting characters: take either
a) 18 in your primary class attribute and 14 in your secondary attribute: roll 3d6 straight down the other attributes; or
b) 17 in your primary class attribute and 16 in your secondary attribute: roll 3d6 for the rest

Now you might just end up with a strong, tough, dextrous, canny barbarian like Conan; or you might get a Raistlin wizard with a hilariously weak Constitution. You probably won't. You'll probably roll a bunch of 10s and 11s. But here's hoping.

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7 Responses to “hybrid roll and pointbuy”

  1. Noumenon says:

    That’s a really good idea!

  2. Clearly, you haven’t met my dice rolls. I could take either one of these options and would end up with either “Raistlin” or “somewhat sub-par Raistlin.”

  3. brink. says:

    i like it.

    whatever that’s worth…

  4. Laura says:

    I like it too! I love role-playing variety. Pointbuy has worked for me because I usually know what i want my guy to be terrible in, for role-playing hilarity (INTELLIGENCE), but games can start to feel samey when everyone is either strong & dumb or smart & weak.

  5. paul paul says:

    Also you just might end up with Huckabear.

  6. Noumenon says:

    lol @stoppableforce

  7. [...] As you can tell, one of the things I miss in 4e is rolling your attributes. However, I have never missed rolling for hit points. [...]

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