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General Category => UA Polls => Topic started by: hans on April 01, 2017, 12:17:48 PM

Title: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: hans on April 01, 2017, 12:17:48 PM
Comments welcome.
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: Nol Drek on April 01, 2017, 12:56:07 PM
I re-roll stats until I get both an 18 in my prime requisite and hit points that are well above average. The hardest character to create is a Cleric, since I only have a 1 in 216 change of rolling an 18 for wisdom due to a bug in the Cleric class.
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: PetrusOctavianus on April 01, 2017, 03:07:11 PM
I create one character for each class, sex and non-evil alignment combination and then pick the best ones. Rather convoluted, but it assures getting quite different parties of strong, but not maxed-out characters each time.
Only demihumans I roll are Dwarf and Half-Elf Fighter/Thieves.

Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: Dorateen on April 01, 2017, 05:00:20 PM
"Character generation, then, is a serious matter."
~Gary Gygax, Dungeon Masters Guide, page 11

Out of the four methods recommended in that chapter, our pen and paper group went with Method I, which says that all scores are recorded and arranged in the order the player desires. 4d6 are rolled, and the lower die is discarded.

In the Gold Box games, I sought to recreate the numbers on those character sheets, and used the modify option to do so. An interesting aspect is that when designing a New Character in FRUA, the hit points can be modified as well, bringing it to the maximum number with any constitution bonus. Of course, thereafter when gaining a level, hit points are random. The way I approach a design is with the presumption characters will have max hit points to start out with, and it will even up as they advance in levels.

I don't expect characters to have 18 scores in every ability. But likely in the prime requisite for a class and at least two other ability scores with 15 or higher.
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: Olivier Leroux on April 01, 2017, 06:19:39 PM
I do the same thing as Nol. I re-roll until I get an 18 in the primary attribute, while keeping an eye on the hitpoints, making sure they are not way below average. Any other high attributes are a plus but not a must. Sometimes, if I get impatient because I keep rolling low scores, I just modify the prime attribute manually; but most of the time I prefer rolling the dice.

In videogames, I don't really see a point in giving myself handicaps by accepting subpar rolls. Playing a fighter who constantly misses his target might make for a funny story in a pen-and-paper session where the DM and the players can react and adapt to it, but in a CRPG about winning or failing it's just tedious and annoying to me.
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: Jadefang on April 01, 2017, 06:27:41 PM
It depends on what I'm playing.

If I'm playing a mod noted for its difficult combat/got wrecked hard and restarting from scratch, or playing a Gold Box game, I use all 18s maxed HP, saved scummed for max HPs on level up characters.

Otherwise I generally go with Option 2 or 3. If I do 3, I generally do a modify one stat up/another down similar to Baldur's Gate/Icewind Dale's system, though I don't modify exceptional Strength or HP, so I try to roll for something suitable for those two things first and then modify the rest of the stats.
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: Milos Gulan on April 02, 2017, 06:16:08 AM
I roll as good as I can get, then modify the scores to suit my needs. I like to play with characters that have good stats.
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: ProphetSword on April 03, 2017, 05:11:20 AM
Most of the time, I maxed out stats. I figured everyone did. Recently, though, I have gone to rolling until I get a decent set of scores. I like that better. Not sure why I waited so long to do that.
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: Kaz-Keith on April 05, 2017, 03:32:24 PM
 Keep rolling until I get something I can live with.

 Sometimes I limit myself to 3 rerolls, sometimes I will go ahead and frost a class-specific stat with 1 or 2 extra points.

 Rarely, I will edit the stats to match a paper character.
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: hans on April 10, 2017, 01:48:16 PM
Heh.  Nobody chose the 1st option, to play 'em as first rolled. 

From one point-of-view, all the other options are "cheating."  That is, we all take some sort of steps to improve our initial odds.  The only differences are by which method and by how much.
   :angel12:
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: Olivier Leroux on April 11, 2017, 03:13:25 AM
Heh.  Nobody chose the 1st option, to play 'em as first rolled. 

From one point-of-view, all the other options are "cheating." 

Well, that would be a pretty rigid point-of-view, seeing as the "Reroll" and "Modify" buttons are officially integrated into the game, not hacks. Like I explained above, to me it makes no sense to accept a party with subpar rolls unless you want to challenge yourself. Without this "cheating", you couldn't even make sure the stats are suitable for your class. The difficulty should be what you want it to be and not dependent on pure chance. And you can't really expect design authors to take into account that a player preferred awful random stats to "cheating" their way into stats that are somewhat adequate for a party of heroes.  ;)
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: PetrusOctavianus on April 11, 2017, 03:34:05 AM
Heh.  Nobody chose the 1st option, to play 'em as first rolled. 

I guess it's because of the lame system of first choosing class, then roll the stats.
If I could choose class based on stats things would have been different.
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: hans on April 11, 2017, 11:44:38 AM
IIRC, in order for a Human to Change Class to something other than Thief, their stats have to be rather high, more than just in their prime requisite.  To me, this implies that UA itself considers characters with just average stats to be inadequate.
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: Kaz-Keith on April 11, 2017, 01:34:33 PM
 This has actually become fascinating to consider.

 True, the option is [M]odify and not [M]aximise, even though identical destinations could be achieved.  I recall reading back somewhere in one of the game manuals (not -proof- but rather a roadsign pointing to the intention) of the modify button to be a means to customise your game pc to match a tabletop pc.  Alas for laziness, I have not picked over docs to find its mention...  ;)

 From a design standpoint, I've never really considered what the [M] could mean.  Sure, difficulty settings could be ranged and (as Two-Bit Termite's latest offering poses) managed atop artificially, but I've never personally considered what a fully modified party could mean to the balance of play... I would assume, at best, a few additional spells, better saves, taking extra hits before the ol' cross-eyes cross-bones, tohit bonus, damage bonus, ac bonus... actually, now that I've typed it, it does seem abundant. :) Is there parity here with a modified in-game difficulty setting?  Is there an ethical question involved?  Are your characters really yours anymore if you've 18'nd your way to the fore?

 I'll have to consult a Temple of Tempus.  In the meantime, I will consider this further.  To leave with a parting thought: none, and I do mean none, of the npcs in the history of the games have ever come stacked and packed, 18'nd and... weaned?  Weaned.  However, that noted, pcs are mentioned in sourcebooks (as I can recall) as being heroic specimens of their numbers: meant to be pcs above npc/commoner status by dint of their exceptional stats.

 
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: Amarande on April 21, 2017, 09:11:20 PM
I typically max hit points at creation, and at least the useful stats (Dex, Con, Str; also Int and/or Wis for anyone who's either beginning as a caster or who will be dual classed into one), for any character who will be carried through an entire series (which means the entire party in Gateway or Champions, but I am sometimes less of a maxer in PoR; keeping your characters slightly neutered helps control the monster population there and only two or three of my PoR characters usually get to stay through the series. New characters in Curse do get the max treatment as those are normally going to be there all the way through PoD).

Charisma can be forgotten about except perhaps in PoR (as in the later games you are bound to have a Paladin who comes bundled with 17 Cha as a standard factory feature with zero copper down; the Krynn games admittedly are an exception as Knights don't have such high Cha minima if at all, but I can't really remember any Charisma checks of note except in Champions where a couple of fights can be avoided but that's about it), and I often no longer max the mental stats on Forgotten Realms characters that aren't going to need them as original or dual casters).

While the lower level games are fairly lenient (unless you intend to actually take out Vaalgamon, which is however probably about the 3rd most difficult fight in Gold Box), the later games seem to be very much balanced around this unless you want to downgrade to low difficulty, especially in regards to HP and Dexterity (the only fairly high level game where you can afford less than optimal Dexterity is probably Secret; the others have far too many enemies with save-or-sink attacks, the worst being Treasures as for some reason they saw fit not to permit Dispel Magic to work on paralysis there. No one really has any idea why, I'm pretty sure it works in Pools of Darkness which is Treasures' engine-twin ... perhaps an overcorrection for cases like Champions of Krynn, where Dispel Magic even works on things like Kapak Draconian hits, despite the fact that those are supposed to be a paralytic toxin rather than magical!).
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: Null Null on May 07, 2017, 01:42:50 PM
My theory would be they were pretty far into 2nd edition at that point (the demons/t'a'n'a'r'r'i and some of the giants have 2nd ed stats in Pools and the monsters in FRUA have a mix of 1st and 2nd ed XP awards) and forgot they didn't have a Remove Paralysis spell.

I always max'ed as a kid, sometimes leaving mental stats alone. It's a game, why not win? Pool gives you an option not to do that by scaling the encounters, and it does give the characters a little more character, but, you know, powergamer. ;)

Now I tend to use the pregens figuring that reflects the designer's vision for the game. If not available I'll max STR/CON/DEX and INT/WIS where necessary and leave the rest as rolled. I'm short on time, what can I say?
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: Olivier Leroux on May 09, 2017, 09:08:52 AM
Another related question that I think wasn't mentioned here yet would be: What do you do when you level up a player character? I didn't think about that at first when I read this thread, but now that I've recently played quite a few UA designs again, I noticed that I always savescum in Training Halls without even thinking about it much. For each class, I take the maximum HP/level as a reference point and then try to get close to it. I don't take bonus points from high CON into account though, so for a fighter I'd accept a roll of 9 or 10, sometimes maybe settle for 8 or at least 7, if it takes too long to get a better result, even if in theory they could get a 13 or something. But I never accept a shitty dice roll of 1 or 2, because I want my party fit to play the heroes and their success not depending on luck alone.  ;)
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: SilentThief on May 10, 2017, 12:40:43 AM
(the demons/t'a'n'a'r'r'i...)

I saw that and I LOL-ed. I always wondered where they came up with the (supposedly to be non-"offensive") names for the demons/devils. I also was going to ask -- how exactly do you pronounce this --> t'a'n'a'r'r'i

ST
ps -- all the hype about demons/devils, and nobody bats an eye at a guy named F-Tucis...
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: PetrusOctavianus on May 10, 2017, 03:46:19 AM
Another related question that I think wasn't mentioned here yet would be: What do you do when you level up a player character? I didn't think about that at first when I read this thread, but now that I've recently played quite a few UA designs again, I noticed that I always savescum in Training Halls without even thinking about it much. For each class, I take the maximum HP/level as a reference point and then try to get close to it. I don't take bonus points from high CON into account though, so for a fighter I'd accept a roll of 9 or 10, sometimes maybe settle for 8 or at least 7, if it takes too long to get a better result, even if in theory they could get a 13 or something. But I never accept a shitty dice roll of 1 or 2, because I want my party fit to play the heroes and their success not depending on luck alone.  ;)

I never savescum for Hit Points, since the RNG seems to favour high rolls. The only GB game that seems to have a "true" RNG for Hit Points was Pool of Radiance, while the rest give higher than average. At least that's my experience.

The only time I savescum is when casting healing spells, since the RNG favours low rolls.
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: Olivier Leroux on May 10, 2017, 08:59:08 AM
I never savescum for Hit Points, since the RNG seems to favour high rolls. The only GB game that seems to have a "true" RNG for Hit Points was Pool of Radiance, while the rest give higher than average. At least that's my experience.

The only time I savescum is when casting healing spells, since the RNG favours low rolls.

No idea if the dice are 'rigged' in any way, but you can definitely get unlucky and roll a +1 HP gain even on low levels in UA (and I'm only talking about UA here, I haven't seen enough of the other GB games, but plenty of UA).

Curiously enough, I never even thought about savescumming with healing spells. In those cases I just accept any roll, whether good or bad ... Maybe because that's a one time occurrence, something you can try to live with until the next rest, but the low HP roll on leveling up will stick with your character forever.
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: ProphetSword on May 10, 2017, 04:15:25 PM
Wow, I would likely never cheat at hit points or healing rolls. Random rolls are part of what makes D&D fun in the first place.

EDIT:
Let me clarify that my "Wow" did not mean: "Wow, I can't believe you guys do this."  It actually meant: "Wow, I never would have thought of that if you guys hadn't mentioned it."

Still won't do it, though.  :)
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: steve_mcdee on May 10, 2017, 07:43:35 PM
Agreed ... if you want to always receive the max benefit from spells and levelling up, there would be standard lines you could add to a diff.tbl to ensure that, completely avoiding the need to save and reload all the time.
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: hans on May 10, 2017, 08:41:54 PM
Wow, I would likely never cheat at hit points or healing rolls. Random rolls are part of what makes D&D fun in the first place.
 

ProphetSword also said, earlier in this thread:

Most of the time, I maxed out stats. I figured everyone did. Recently, though, I have gone to rolling until I get a decent set of scores. I like that better. Not sure why I waited so long to do that.
 

If one mod starts out characters at level 6, say, and you hold out for decent creation scores, it does seem essentially the same as holding out for decent rolls during training in a mod that runs characters from level 1 to 6...   :angel5:

I figure keeping unlucky rolls of, like, 1hp a level up for a Mage would probably be a death sentence for that character. 
 :mvp:
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: Olivier Leroux on May 11, 2017, 09:26:14 AM
I think Ben is looking at it from the perspective of a long time pen-and-paper RPG player/DM, and Steve from the perspective of a 'hacker' / modder. I'm just an average not too tech-savvy videogame player who doesn't like bad luck permanently getting in the way of his enjoyment, which is mostly fueled by story and exploration and only mild challenges. I'd rather save and reload a few times in training halls than having to reload and repeat the same combat events all the time. ;)

And there's still an element of chance to it, just with the insurance of certain minimum standards, actually quite similar to "keep rolling until I get something I can live with", like hans said.  8)
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: ProphetSword on May 11, 2017, 12:14:12 PM
Wow, I would likely never cheat at hit points or healing rolls. Random rolls are part of what makes D&D fun in the first place.
 

ProphetSword also said, earlier in this thread:

Most of the time, I maxed out stats. I figured everyone did. Recently, though, I have gone to rolling until I get a decent set of scores. I like that better. Not sure why I waited so long to do that.
 

If one mod starts out characters at level 6, say, and you hold out for decent creation scores, it does seem essentially the same as holding out for decent rolls during training in a mod that runs characters from level 1 to 6...   :angel5:

I figure keeping unlucky rolls of, like, 1hp a level up for a Mage would probably be a death sentence for that character. 
 :mvp:


There's a difference, though.  One of them (re-rolling attributes) is allowed within the Gold-Box games.  There's a button for it. This was also a common thing that happened at AD&D tables sometimes if the DM allowed it (and still happens at some D&D tables today).  The other is cheating the system and was not intended, and goes against the spirit of the rules.


That being said, I don't tell other people how to enjoy the video games they play.  If they want to enjoy a single-player game in a different way than I do, it doesn't affect me at all.  So, have fun.
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: hans on May 11, 2017, 06:14:14 PM
...That being said, I don't tell other people how to enjoy the video games they play.  If they want to enjoy a single-player game in a different way than I do, it doesn't affect me at all.  So, have fun.
 

I feel the same way.   :) 

It was your ("Wow") response that prompted me to draw the comparison (in the interest of mutual understanding).  I don't believe that Olivier's (or my own) habit of rejecting abysmal Level Ups is that unusual.  So, I've added a new Poll to find out if that's true:
  http://ua.reonis.com/index.php?topic=3554.0
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: ProphetSword on May 11, 2017, 08:27:50 PM
Did you read where I clarified what the "Wow" meant? You may have responded before that.
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: hans on May 11, 2017, 09:01:13 PM
Did you read where I clarified what the "Wow" meant? You may have responded before that.
 

No, I hadn't gone back and seen the edit.   :P 
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: Dinonykos on May 12, 2017, 05:45:05 AM
I chose other. Normaly I roll as long as the character values are close to what I have in mind for the character, but in addition I sometimes change the values slightly. My idea is to have characters in the end which are not perfect, but are also not completely random.
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: ProphetSword on May 12, 2017, 07:15:53 AM
No, I hadn't gone back and seen the edit.   :P

I can see, based on my edit date and the date of your posting a response that we did it essentially at the same time.  Sorry for the misunderstanding. 
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: hans on May 12, 2017, 10:21:46 AM
LOL, that timing was truly neck & neck! 

No apologies necessary, amigo.  From the way the other Poll is shaping up, it looks like more players have held your perspective than mine.  Without that discussion to spark my curiosity, I probably wouldn't have bothered to run that Poll and would've missed these very interesting results.   :) 
Title: Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
Post by: steve_mcdee on May 13, 2017, 07:35:54 AM
I usually roll a couple of times to get a range of scores I can live with, then adjust stats to suit the class, allowing one point increase to a stat for each point decrease I make to another stat. I try to imagine a character and make the stats suit that character -- so, eg, while I would usually give a fighter a decent STR score, I would not always necessarily give every fighter "exceptional" strength.