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View Full Version : Possibly a stupid question: point buy

gcb001
2009-08-25, 12:07 AM
Could someone please explain the system for me? and then (in your experience)what is some of the best ways of utilizing the system? (like what numbers are generally pretty decent (25,32,ect) ive heard that 25 is a tad low and 40 is considered rather high.... but thats about as far as i understand the process.

9mm
2009-08-25, 12:11 AM

it's a system that assumes a base stat of 8 across the board, for every stat higher it const more points to get, 28 buy tends to be the standard, for med-high power.

Sendal
2009-08-25, 12:13 AM
the idea is you sped your points to buy your stats, with high stats costing more per stat increase than low ones.

You end up with either one 18 and several 10-12, maybe the odd 14, or you can have lots at about 14 and one 16, depending on how you choose.

the number of points you choose is bacily dependant upon the campaign. How special are the PCs supposed to be? 25 is a bit better than your average guy, whilst 40 is 1 in a million.

Eloel
2009-08-25, 12:14 AM
32PB is the standard PB, not 28...

Mystic Muse
2009-08-25, 12:14 AM

PumpkinEater
2009-08-25, 12:14 AM
Could someone please explain the system for me? and then (in your experience)what is some of the best ways of utilizing the system? (like what numbers are generally pretty decent (25,32,ect) ive heard that 25 is a tad low and 40 is considered rather high.... but thats about as far as i understand the process.

All ability scores start at 8. You pay points to improve each individual ability score. As ability scores go up, more points are required to improve them.

8... 0 points required
9... 1
10... 2
11... 3
12... 4
13... 5
14... 6
15... 8
16... 10
17... 13
18... 16

As far as I know, people normally use 32 points.

Kylarra
2009-08-25, 12:14 AM
All stats start at 8

up to 14 costs 1 point each increment
15-16 - 2 points per increment
17-18 - 3 points

so all the way to 18 would be 16 points (6+4+6)

lol ninjas :smallfrown:

PumpkinEater
2009-08-25, 12:16 AM
All stats start at 8

up to 14 costs 1 point each increment
15-16 - 2 points per increment
17-18 - 3 points

so all the way to 18 would be 16 points (6+4+6)

lol ninjas :smallfrown:

Haha, I was thinking the same thing. I was going to do what you did, but then I realised my friends didn't understand that when I explained it to them, so I did it my way. :smallamused:

Kroy
2009-08-25, 12:19 AM
You can find it on pg. 169 of the DMG, or you can just do as follows:
All stats start at 8. You can increase that on a 1 - 1 basis per point spent until 14. 15 - 16 cost 2 each, and 17 - 18 costs 3 each. So a 36 point buy character can have:
Str: 18 (16)
Dex: 16 (10)
Con: 13 (5)
Int: 10 (2)
Wis: 11 (3)
Cha: 8 (0)

Make sense?

Ninja'ed, badly too. Must invest ranks in spot & listen next level...

Kylarra
2009-08-25, 12:20 AM
Haha, I was thinking the same thing. I was going to do what you did, but then I realised my friends didn't understand that when I explained it to them, so I did it my way. :smallamused:

Your way is certainly easier to reference for immediate values of scores. :smalltongue: Harder to explain in person, I guess that's the text tradeoff.

FMArthur
2009-08-25, 12:22 AM

it's a system that assumes a base stat of 8 across the board, for every stat higher it const more points to get, 28 buy tends to be the standard, for med-high power.

At last, my 18 18 18 3 3 3 barbarian can be a reality! Oh wait, that's completely against the rules.

The actual rules are pretty simple. Every score starts at 8 and you're given a certain amount of points to add to them. You can add 1 point to your ability score to increase it by 1, to a maximum of 14. Raising it to 15 or again to 16 costs 2 points. Getting up to 17 and 18 costs 3 points each. Here's a quick list:

8|0
9|1
10|2
11|3
12|4
13|5
14|6
15|8
16|10
17|13
18|16
[/table]

gcb001
2009-08-25, 12:24 AM
cool, thanks =] im DM'ing for a 3.5 campaign and we have had a few session so far. they all started out as complete newbies to the entire thing. After one session all of them (4-5) were hooked. A few have started reading books to be able to understand their characters in between other things and such. And the best part? they follow the spirit of the game and i dont have worry about rule abuse too much.

For instance, the gnome wizard that we have in the party decided during an encounter where the party was doing a party v bugbear (lv 2-3) he decided to drop his pants and wave around what his character thought (yes he actually rolled for this) was a 12 inch "member". (he actually wanted to say that it was that long but then i told him later that if it was a foot long and he was 2-3 feet high it aint workin. he decided to say that his character thought it was long instead).

My group is fun, to say the least.

So that this still stays on topic when we were rolling up stats i made it to where if anyone had a stat that had a +3 or more modifier they had to have a stat that was zero mod or lower just to even it out (and to also make sure their characters could be people and not supercharacters)
*edit* and the point buy system would have solved some headaches lol

PId6
2009-08-25, 12:26 AM
At last, my 18 18 18 3 3 3 barbarian can be a reality!
Ray of Stupidity!
Coup de Grace!

UserClone
2009-08-25, 12:27 AM
RAW, 25 is the standard point-buy. 28 is for higher-powered games, such as Greyhawk. 32 is for very-high-powered games, and 40 is for epic heroes. 25 is the average rolls on 4d6b3, AKA 15,14,13,12,10,8.

Roland St. Jude
2009-08-25, 12:27 AM
32PB is the standard PB, not 28...

Officially the standard is 25 points and 32 points is actually the DMG suggestion for a "high-powered" campaign.

Over the years, I've read that it skews very low and that most people play something higher, so maybe that's what you mean by standard - that most people you know of play 32 or 32 is the widely-accepted internet standard.

As for why you might use it? It puts the players on equal footing for abilities and allows them to customize the abilities to get what they want to play rather than being at the mercy of the dice. It also lets you calibrate the power of your characters (at least as far as abilities go) across the board. So if you want them to be fragile, give them a lower PB.

rezplz
2009-08-25, 12:35 AM
Much to the dissapointment of those that I play with, I enjoy 25-point buy. Everyone else seems to think it's low, but they all like really powerful characters. I'm fine with a character that's a bit above average most of the time.

Anyway, I really like point buy as opposed to rolling stats, because then everyone's at the same level of power.

FMArthur
2009-08-25, 12:40 AM
Ray of Stupidity!
Coup de Grace!

Roland St. Jude
2009-08-25, 12:48 AM
I still like rolling for stats, but I know that it's a nostalgic holdover from the days when we used to roll up stats first and then create our characters. We used to play so many hours a day, have so many different games going on at once, and mow through so many characters that it wasn't as limiting as it sounds. I grok that PB is more even, but I enjoy the randomness. It just sort of intuitively makes sense to me that you are born with certain abilities and what you do with them is what you can control. But I know that's just rationalizing my preference for the way I played in the golden years when I could devote 8 hours a day to gaming.

PId6
2009-08-25, 12:53 AM
I still like rolling for stats, but I know that it's a nostalgic holdover from the days when we used to roll up stats first and then create our characters.
You mean like back when everybody used 3d6 in order? *shudders*

Gnorman
2009-08-25, 12:58 AM
I will say this about point buy, as much as I love it: you almost never get characters with lower than a 6 in a score. Which is sad (well, to me, not necessarily the player involved) because I think that really low scores encourage good roleplaying as much as really high scores.

Eloel
2009-08-25, 01:02 AM
I like PB-Based rolling actually. (used in 1 game so far, it turned out well)

1d12+6 (rolled 10) (-10 points for 16)
1d12+6 (rolled 5) (-3 points for 11)
1d12+6 (rolled 2) (No change in points for 0)
1d12+6 (rolled 8) (-6 points for 14)
1d12+6 (rolled 12) (-16 points for 18)

1 point left, which goes to last score, to get 9

You now have an array of 18/16/14/11/9/8

If, at any point before the last one, you get below 16 points, you roll a smaller dice. 1d10 if you're above 10, 1d8 if above 6 etc.

So, it's quite random, with a limit on the power.
Granted, there's some chance that someone will end up with 14 across the board, but then again, it's not even that bad.

Olo Demonsbane
2009-08-25, 01:02 AM
I still roll for stats too...I didnt really know any other way until I came to this board :smallsmile:

But I mainly like rolling because of my insane luck during character creation :smallbiggrin:

4 of my current characters (not including race, magic items, or level ups):
17, 16, 16, 16, 14, 14
18, 18, 14, 14, 14, 12
18, 16, 16, 16, 12, 10
18, 18, 16, 16, 14, 12

:smallbiggrin:

Claudius Maximus
2009-08-25, 01:18 AM
I still roll for stats too...I didnt really know any other way until I came to this board :smallsmile:

But I mainly like rolling because of my insane luck during character creation :smallbiggrin:

4 of my current characters (not including race, magic items, or level ups):
17, 16, 16, 16, 14, 14
18, 18, 14, 14, 14, 12
18, 16, 16, 16, 12, 10
18, 18, 16, 16, 14, 12

:smallbiggrin:

So that's where all your luck went...

Elfin
2009-08-25, 01:33 AM
About PB amounts: personally, I find even 32-pb a little scant, and always feel just a little bare-bones with anything under 40.
Then again, I usually do play MAD classes.

Roland St. Jude
2009-08-25, 01:34 AM
You mean like back when everybody used 3d6 in order? *shudders*

"And we liked it!" Why when I was a kid we didn't have a third d6 so our abilities were 2d6. When we finally saved up for that third d6 - luxury! :smallsmile:

Temet Nosce
2009-08-25, 02:06 AM
Much to the dissapointment of those that I play with, I enjoy 25-point buy. Everyone else seems to think it's low, but they all like really powerful characters. I'm fine with a character that's a bit above average most of the time.

Anyway, I really like point buy as opposed to rolling stats, because then everyone's at the same level of power.

If you mean "above average" as being above the rolling average you're wrong. Someone worked that out a while back, and it actually rounds to 29 if I remember right (it's 28.something).

Personally I dislike point buy for multiple reasons, including the lack of low stats, the way it benefits SAD characters and makes MADs less playable, and the simple tendency to produce average uninteresting characters stats wise.

I will say this about point buy, as much as I love it: you almost never get characters with lower than a 6 in a score. Which is sad (well, to me, not necessarily the player involved) because I think that really low scores encourage good roleplaying as much as really high scores.

Total agreement here, I was just discussing this in another thread in fact. I dislike ordinary scores in abilities, since they aren't defining points. There's nothing about them which marks the character as an individual or encourages considering what it would mean.

sofawall
2009-08-25, 02:08 AM
"And we liked it!" Why when I was a kid we didn't have a third d6 so our abilities were 2d6. When we finally saved up for that third d6 - luxury! :smallsmile:

Anyway, I prefer Point Buy, but mainly because The Dice Are Trying To Kill Me.

Example: My friend (who we call Dice Jesus) rolls, with 4d6 drop lowest, a 60 pb. equivalent. I rolled a 23 equivalent. He then rolled for me, and got a 56 pb equivalent.

Another example: Dispel check, for counterspelling, I needed to roll a 3 to beat the other guy. I got a 2. My reflex save vs. Lightning Bolt? 1. His damage? Max.

Ugh...

magellan
2009-08-25, 02:52 AM
"And we liked it!" Why when I was a kid we didn't have a third d6 so our abilities were 2d6. When we finally saved up for that third d6 - luxury! :smallsmile:

Oh, you played traveller? Ahhh the fond memories of dying during character generation...

But seriously the only argument *for* Pointbuy is balance. And that isn't an argument at all when you have one player at the table who has no other job but to nudge balance in the desired direction on the fly (aka DM)

PId6
2009-08-25, 03:21 AM
But seriously the only argument *for* Pointbuy is balance.
And, you know, ease of use, the fact that you get to play the character you want, and to avoid possible 12 12 13 13 14 14 distributions.

sofawall
2009-08-25, 03:24 AM
Oh, you played traveller? Ahhh the fond memories of dying during character generation...

But seriously the only argument *for* Pointbuy is balance. And that isn't an argument at all when you have one player at the table who has no other job but to nudge balance in the desired direction on the fly (aka DM)

What do you mean the only argument is balance? I like having fun with point buys, trying to get optimal numbers, knowing I need 13 dex (but no more!) for Combat Reflexes so I can take Lightning Maces...

Seriously, the only argument *for* rolling is it makes the stats random.

EDIT: I was going to say what PId6 said, but decided against it. Good thing too, I avoided a ninja!

PId6
2009-08-25, 03:26 AM
EDIT: I was going to say what PId6 said, but decided against it. Good thing too, I avoided a ninja!
Grr, I'll get you next time! :smallfurious:

JellyPooga
2009-08-25, 03:45 AM
To those that would argue that PB not allowing for stats lower than 8; I would normally agree with you inasmuch as a low stat is something that will stand out RP-wise and can help build your character. However...it could be argued that outside of extenuating circumstances (like race or injury), anyone with a <8 ability score is simply unsuitable or incabable of an adventuring life. Low physical stats = too weak to carry gear, not able to endure outdoors life, etc. Low mental stats = don't have the capacity for adventuring because they either don't have the smarts to realise it's an option, the will to leave their former life behind, etc.

Admittedly, there are circumstances/games that can allow for <8 stats (like a social game where being physically crippled is not so much of an issue, for example), but in your average "adventure" game where you're fighting monsters and solving traps and such, there should be certain 'minimum requirements' to take the job and that's best represented by ability scores.

The addition of racial modifiers changes things of course. A Grig, for example, is smaller and frailer than any human will ever likely be and still be a legitimate adventurer, but a human that is only as strong as said grig is practically a cripple and should probably be in a care home.

Another thing to consider is NPC stat arrays...if even the lowliest human commoner has a Str or Int of 10 (it's an exceptional one that has any stat lower than that, peculiarly, due to the various "arrays" available), then how on earth does one of the few people that make it as adventurer cope with a stat less than 8?

2009-08-25, 04:06 AM
I've only done point buy once, in an unoptimized game. It wasn't a complete tpk, but close enough. The fact that the guy running was a jerk, made everyone level 3 and gave us 150 gold total for equipment probably didn't help, that or the fact that he put the pcs in a level 6 encounter. So my experiences with point buy might be a bit biased, but I get the feeling the more optimization you do the less point buy sucks.

Saph
2009-08-25, 04:57 AM
25 point buy is the standard that the developers used in 3.0 - if you look at the iconics, they all use the Elite Array of 15 14 13 12 10 8.

However, 28 point buy corresponds more closely to what you'll get with the average of 4d6 rolled, assuming rerolls for total modifiers below +1. Of course, 28 point buy over 4d6 gives you the slight advantage of being able to distribute the scores exactly how you want them, so I'd say 28 point buy makes for marginally stronger characters than 4d6 overall. Needless to say, this only applies if you actually follow the rules. If you just keep rolling stats until you get what you want, then forget about trying to compare them. :)

Nowadays when I run campaigns I give my players the choice of 28 point buy, or 4d6 rolled. Any higher than that and I have to start upgrading the book stats of monsters, which is a wholly unnecessary lot of extra work IMO.

- Saph

magellan
2009-08-25, 06:28 AM
Another thing i never understood.
So you don't have the stats to take feat X/be class Y. Well, who cares? maybe next time. Maybe you won't even live long enough to need it. It's not like X and Y are the only things that make playing RPGs fun.

In the rolling of dice there is horror and joy. 18s are special and 3s are as well. In PB an 18 isnt anything special anymore (and it doesn't exactly take ages to roll 6 times)

daggaz
2009-08-25, 07:23 AM
Nowadays when I run campaigns I give my players the choice of 28 point buy, or 4d6 rolled. Any higher than that and I have to start upgrading the book stats of monsters, which is a wholly unnecessary lot of extra work IMO.

- Saph

Or you know... you could just toss in an extra monster or two. Or pimp their main stat by a few points (usually str or int) and give them some extra hitpoints. Maybe just toss in a free point or two of AC. Where does he get the extra AC? Not dex. Just because he is awesome. Its not like you have to redo the entire statblock and all the sheetwork..

Saph
2009-08-25, 07:24 AM
Or you know . . . I could use normal point buy stats and use regular monsters. Guess which one is less effort for me? :smalltongue:

2009-08-25, 07:40 AM
Whenever I get around to DMing a game, I'll be doing the same sort of thing as Saph, 4d6, re-roll lowest or 36 point buy (though if 4d6 averages out to a 28 PB, I may need to use a different dice-rolling option. Bah, cross that bridge when I get to it).

I'd keep point-buy as an option mainly because that's what Neverwinter Nights used, which were what got me into D&D in the first place (as well as TV Tropes' Crowning Moment of Awesome page).

Yora
2009-08-25, 07:45 AM
After playing Neverwinter Nights with PB 30 and NWN2 with PB 32, I really got used to very high stats.
But now that I tend to do things more "old-school", I actually really like PB 25.
For NPCs average ability scres of 10 or 11 are assumed before racial modification. That is the average result of roling 3d6 and equal Point Buy 15! :smallbiggrin:

In a fit of nerdity I made a normal distribution model for PC and NPC stats. (Assuming rolls of 3d6 and 1 HD humans. Usually humans are the most numerous race and other races have both bonuses and penalties to some stats, so I make 10,5 the average ability score for all humanoids.)
With a score of 12 in any given ability (let's say strength), a character is stronger than 74% of all people.
With a score of 14, a character is stronger than 90% of all people.
With a score of 16, a character is stronger than 99% of all people.
A racial bonus of +2 means the average member of a given race is stronger than 74% of all humans (or all humanoids)
A racial bonus of +4 means the average member of a given race is stronger than 91% of all humanoids. Which makes orcs freaking strong!

So the 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 distribution possible with PB 25 does make PCs that are actually quite powerful.
Better than 91% of all people in two abilities.
Better than 74% of all people in two abilities.
Average in one abilitiy.
Worse tha 74% of all people in one ability.

With PB 32 you can get 16 (>99%), 14 (>91%), 14, 12 (>74%), 12, 10. Which is REALLY powerful. :smallbiggrin:

Mr. Mud
2009-08-25, 07:59 AM
I always wondered how a 30+1d4 buy would work, so they're still some random elements... Anything like this out there already?

Eldariel
2009-08-25, 08:58 AM
25 point buy was basically made as an equivalent to be the average of 4d6b3. However, the actual average is pretty much 27pb accounting for all the rules. And as 27pb makes for stupid numbers, 28pb is a good baseline.

But yeah, I personally use much higher pbs to make MAD characters a bit more doable, and to have people afford higher scores in secondary stats without giving up too much (I like 36 and 40pbs - they don't necessarily make the characters much more powerful unless players focus on single stats, but they remove the need for dumping stats).

DragoonWraith
2009-08-25, 10:44 AM
Has anyone considered changing the PB number based on the class chosen? Like, 40 for Monks and Paladins, 32 for Rangers, Bards, Fighters, and Rogues, 28 for Clerics and Sorcerers, 25 for Wizards and Druids? (just throwing those numbers out there, no idea if they're good).

Yora
2009-08-25, 11:11 AM
40 is an insanely high number, but the general idea seems not so bad. And it does seem to me that classes that use less abilities are usually stronger and those with several abilities are generally weaker, so it would even help create balance instead of causing problems.

FMArthur
2009-08-25, 11:23 AM
This thread (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1002.0) starts with a (very incomplete) tier list in the first post, and then the second post suggests ways to at least partially equalize things. The first offered solution suggests a variable point buy determined by tier (exactly what you're thinking of), but you should know that multiclassing completely ruins it and I don't see any way to change that.