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View Full Version : Point buy ability score advancement

Baron Faey
2013-05-13, 06:55 PM
An idea I have been toying around with, and have seen other people propose, is the idea that instead of gaining a single point to increase any ability score by every 4 levels, characters should gain points for increasing ability scores via the 3,5 point buy system. One goal of this is to help MAD classes, since lower ability scores are cheaper to improve than higher scores.
Here is the system I propose: At level 1, all characters gain two point to spend on abilities (2 "AP"). From levels 2-8, they gain an additional AP at each level. From levels 9-16, they gain 1.5 AP per level. From levels 17-20, they gain 2 AP per level. For buying scores above 18, the pattern continues (IE a 19 costs 4 more than an 18, a 21 costs 5 more than a 20)
I have two questions, has anyone tried anything like this and if so how did it turn out? and does anyone see any major problems with this?

2013-05-13, 09:31 PM
This way makes SAD classes even better if they can store the AP at each level. Say a wizard starts with an 18 in their INT. It would take 4 points to raise it to 19.

At level 1, they get the bonus 2 points, hooray! We'll store these away for now. Levels 2 and 3 each give 1 point, making a total of 4 to raise INT to 19. Now we need 4 more points to reach 20. At 1 point per level, this means we are at level 7 when we have a 20 in INT, and will need 5 to raise it to 21. Level 8 gives another point, but then we start getting 1.5 points at level 9 (2.5 total now). Level 10 brings us to 4 points stored, but we need one more. We raise INT to 21 at level 11 and have .5 points left over. Level 14 we can raise that to 22, but will need 6 points to reach 23. Level 18 will net us INT 23 with 1 point left over, but we will not have enough for 24. Instead, we will raise our 14 CON to 16 and our 13 DEX to 14.

Granted, starting with an 18 won't see much difference than a slightly faster increase, but lower point-buys will see a more dramatic increase.

TuggyNE
2013-05-14, 12:58 AM
I'd very strongly recommend using PF's system, at least the aspect of increasing costs on even numbers instead of odd. (So increasing 18 to 19 costs as much as 17 to 18, but 19 to 20 costs more.)

This way makes SAD classes even better if they can store the AP at each level.

It sort of does, except that because of point buy scaling, it becomes increasingly expensive for them to raise their single ability score higher and higher. They can, of course, maintain a certain lead over others, but not as substantial.

For example, compare these three starting arrays, 20 point PF buy: 16/11/14/13/14/7 (melee needing Improved Trip and a decent Will), 10/18/14/7/14/7 (ranged, no great need for skill points; decent Will and/or secondary casting), and 7/14/14/18/11/7 (Int caster with some rays).
1|Dex to 12, 1|Str to 12, 0|2
2|2|1|3
3|Str to 17, 0|2|Int to 19, 0
4|1|3|1
5|2|Dex to 19, 0|2
6|3|1|3
7|Str to 18, 0|2|4
8|1|3|Int to 20, 0
9|2.5|4.5|1.5
10|Wis to 15, 2|Dex to 20, 1|3
11|Wis to 16, 0.5|Wis to 15, 0.5|4.5
12|Con to 15, 0|2|Int to 21, 1
13|1.5|Wis to 16, 0.5|2.5
14|Con to 16, 0|2|4
15|1.5|3.5|5.5
16|3|Dex to 21, 0|Int to 22, 1
17|Str to 19, 1|2|3
18|3|4|5
19|Str to 20, 0|Dex to 22, 1|Int to 23, 1
20|2|3|3[/table]

Utter focus on one score can get you 1 level earlier than the normal system twice in 20 levels. Mostly focusing on one score, but sticking in a few good purchases around the edges, only costs a little bit; you end up 1 point down (but with the same modifier) after 20 levels. While just kind of going with whatever you can afford right now actually works pretty well, and you get a whole lot more total increases. So this is much more of a bonus for MAD classes than for SAD classes.

Yitzi
2013-05-14, 10:31 AM
This way makes SAD classes even better if they can store the AP at each level.

{snip calculations}

I think you're right that it's a bit too much. The goal should be the same as +5 over 20 levels for starting at 18, so that's 4+4+5+5+6=24 over 20 levels, so how about 1/level, with an extra at levels 10, 15, 18, and 20. (A lot more if combining with one of the "ditch +X items" fixes that have been floating around.)

[quote]Granted, starting with an 18 won't see much difference than a slightly faster increase, but lower point-buys will see a more dramatic increase.

No, lower point-buy SAD classes will still not see much difference, as SADs will tend to get 18 in their main ability even if it's a lower point-buy. MAD classes, however, will tend to get only 16 in their highest even with a higher point-buy, and so will see a substantial increase.

Baron Faey
2013-05-18, 02:43 PM
Sorry for taking awhile to respond, stuff has come up that has kept me busier than I thought I would be.

I'd very strongly recommend using PF's system, at least the aspect of increasing costs on even numbers instead of odd. (So increasing 18 to 19 costs as much as 17 to 18, but 19 to 20 costs more.)

I like that. I'll probably be using that from now on.

I think you're right that it's a bit too much. The goal should be the same as +5 over 20 levels for starting at 18, so that's 4+4+5+5+6=24 over 20 levels, so how about 1/level, with an extra at levels 10, 15, 18, and 20

I originally had set it so that someone someone with a score of 18-20 could advance 5 points at most. With the new system (increases cost on odd numbers), being able to go from 20-25 would require 31 points, which would still limit 18-20 to 5 points.
In order to go from 18-23, now one needs 26 points, so a simple way for that would be 1 point per level and then an additional one at levels 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20. Assuming PF point buy (but starting at 8) and 30 points initially, this means the total number of bonuses for characters (assuming standard races) will range from 4 (for 19->23 or 20->24) to 12 (for all from 13->15).
Do people think that is too much?

Yitzi
2013-05-18, 09:35 PM
I originally had set it so that someone someone with a score of 18-20 could advance 5 points at most. With the new system (increases cost on odd numbers), being able to go from 20-25 would require 31 points, which would still limit 18-20 to 5 points.
In order to go from 18-23, now one needs 26 points, so a simple way for that would be 1 point per level and then an additional one at levels 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20. Assuming PF point buy (but starting at 8) and 30 points initially, this means the total number of bonuses for characters (assuming standard races) will range from 4 (for 19->23 or 20->24) to 12 (for all from 13->15).
Do people think that is too much?

I think "can spend it all to go from 18 to 23" is perfect; keep in mind that 18 is normally the maximum starting value.