View Full Version : point buy systems

2008-12-22, 08:04 PM
I was wondering if there is a trick to the point buy system... what is the best way to optimizing characters with a certain amount of points...

example: a 32 point system buy
like if a class/build requires 1 stat:
like if a class/build requires 2 stat:
like if a class/build requires 3 stat:
like if a class/build requires 4 stat:
like if a class/build requires 5 stat:
like if a class/build requires 6 stat:

is there some attributes that can be dumped? like STR for a caster and CHA for a warrior
is there some attributes best left at 10 like INT...

please great min/maxers heed my call and cut the gordian knot..

2008-12-22, 08:12 PM
To be honest Point buy is more of the Balancing way to build characters so you don't end up with the one guy with 18, 18, 18, 15, 14, 14 because he is just awesome with the die roll. If you really want to Mix Max look at the best race and distribute stats that way, rarely is going for that starting 18 worth it, I usually stick with at least two 16's and keeping everything at least 10 or above

2008-12-22, 08:17 PM
There's not really a system. You just have to look at the kind of build you're going for and see what works best. It does make racial modifiers more valuable because using the free +2 to take you from 16 to 18 saves you enough points to buy another stat all the way up to 14.

2008-12-23, 02:57 AM
As long as your class is Single Attribute Dependant (such as any full caster), generally you'll make an 18/14/x/x/x/x buy. You need 18 in your primary stat, and 14 in Con. 14 is generally a good number since it's the maximum that costs you no extra; going over 14 requires a really good reason as it'll cut into your total points at that point.

Likewise, not having a single 18 begs the question as to why you don't find yourself needing to be as good at what your class does as possible. 14s generally bolster the secondary roles, while the 18 handles the primary role. For example, for a Wizard, 18 in Int covers all your spellcasting needs, saving throws, extra spell slots, etc. It's really non-negotiable. Since you're a Wizard, you need Dex and Con in addition to protect yourself and to stay alive. Therefore, you generally buy 18 Int, 14 Con, 14 Dex and spare points in the rest (or if hardcore optimizing, 16 Con or 16 Dex, depending on race and starting level).

For a Wizard, the remaining points could go to Cha (for Charm-line and Planar Binding-line; although Planar Binding is usually easy enough with other magic as support, and Charm-line is often already handled by others), Wis (for the Will-saves, really; if you take Keen Intellect or similar, no need for this) or rarely Str (Wizards just generally don't have any use for Str). So 8/14/14/18/8/8 is the hull from which you'll place the 4 remaining points as you please.

Similar exercise with a Power Attack Barbarian, you'll want 18 in Str to hit and for the Trip-checks, 14-16 Con to maintain Rage (depending on whether you use standard Rage, which extends its own duration, or some Rage-variant), some Dex and Wis (Dex qualifies you for Combat Reflexes and goes with your light armor, Wis is the basis of most of your skills, and Will-saves). Cha and Int are mostly trivial for you (although there's a number of nice skills you may be interested in for Int, and if you could get Cha 15, you'd be able to go for the Imperious Command shenanigans; that tends to requires a much higher point buy though), and you can pretty much ignore Wis too if you pick up Steadfast Determination. So 18/14/16/8/8/8 would be a fine array for a Barbarian picking up Whirling Frenzy or Ferocity instead of Rage. Conversely, 18/14/14/8/12/8 would be fine for a Rage-using Barbarian, or one interested in using e.g. Trapkiller ACF and being a Trapfinder.

So here are the steps:
-Make a character who primarily has need only for a single attribute (multiple 18s are too expensive). Also figure out how much you need it (a Tripper Barbarian can really make do with 16 Str; spellcasters want the 18 more as their spellcasting stat also determines their bonus spells (longetivity) and spell potency (power), while melee only determines their attack power through it). 16, 17 (you'll place all your level-ups to it so this is ok) and 18 are all good options, depending on whether you have 2 or 3 secondaries.
-Figure out the secondary stats (generally Con and one other) and how much is needed. Preferably you have 1 primary and 2 secondary stats; this leads to trouble with e.g. Paladins and Monks.
-Figure out which stats you can make do without, possibly picking feats that allow you to dump something.
-Place your Stats in such a manner that you qualify for the feats you're planning to pick up, and place maximum points in the primary stat and 14s in the secondaries, and go up as possible. Spread the remaining points to negate penalties or to buff up some of your primaries.
-Use Age-categories if you have mentals as primaries.

Congratulations, you've optimized your stats! Just remember that sometimes it can't be done; some builds simply require more points than you've got available. Most common arrays are 18/14/14 and 16/14/14/14; those are 28 pb though so you've got 4 remaining, either for extra 16, 17 in primary or some bonuses to dump stats for skills/saves/whatever.

2008-12-23, 05:16 PM
With rolling, you can just rank your stats according to how important each one is to your character, and then assign your rolls to them in order of priority.

Point buy optimization works basically like that, with higher numbers being assigned to more important stats. The difference is that you can accept relatively large reductions to less important stats in order to get relatively small increases to more important stats.

Let's say that we're working with a 28 point buy. That can give us an array of 14 14 14 14 12 8. That's what you get if you assign your points to stats in order of priority without paying increased costs to boost higher-priority stats. So, you look at that to start with, and then start making trade-offs as you deem appropriate. Is boosting your highest stat to 16 worth lowering that 12 to an 8? For most builds, the answer will be yes, so that gives us 16 14 14 14 8 8.

At this point, you might change the lowest-priority 14 to an 8 in order to raise the 16 to an 18. Or maybe you decide that that's not worth it, but it is worth it to lower that 14 to 10 to make your second stat a 16. The point is that by looking at the situation as draining your lowest stats to fill up the highest ones, you can clearly see the trade-offs that are being made.

Of course, sometimes you just want a stat to have some minimum value to meet a requirement for something. For example, raising his Cha to 10 will let your gnome illusionist use dancing lights, ghost sound, and prestidigitation each once per day, in addition to all his other magic, but he gains no special benefit from having it higher than that. So you start by setting his Cha to 10 even if it's otherwise a low-priority stat, and lower it back to 8 if you decide that it's worth it to lose those minor spell-like abilities to boost a high-priority stat.

For example, let's say I'm buildin' a Fighter with a 28 point buy. There are a bunch of Fighter feats that require Str 13, Dex 13, or Int 13. Well, raising an odd stat increases the modifier for that stat for the cost of just one point, so it might be worth it to set all of those to 14. Aside from those, Con is a typical Fighter's most important stat, followed by Wis and finally by Cha. So we'll start with Str 14 Dex 14 Int 14 Con 14 Wis 12 Cha 8. From there, it's probably going to be worth it to drop Wis to 8 to raise his primary stat to 16; you can take the Iron Will and/or Alertness feats if you're really worried about Will saves and/or Spot and Listen checks. But what is this guy's primary stat? That depends on I decide I want him to do. That will also inform my choice of race. If he's going to use heavy or medium armor, it's likely that I'll be better of with a dwarf than a human.

Of course, if I decide that I don't need any feats that require Int 13, then I can lower his Int all the way to 8, closing off feat options and losing a bunch of skill points in order to give him some higher bonuses. I can eventually raise his Int in the game with a headband of intellect, but that will cost a lot, take up an item slot, and do nothing for his skill points. It's probably best to give him good Int now if I want those feats, and use magic items for other things.

And so on. Hopefully you get the general idea.

2008-12-23, 05:22 PM
With 32 point buy, I'll usually go either 18/16/14/8/8/8 or 18/14/14/12/8/8, depending on the class. Usually, we play with 28, though, so I'll usually take 18/14/14/8/8/8 or 16/14/14/14/8/8. Rarely do I get less than two dump stats, so those are almost always workable.