Poll

When you create a new Player Character do you...

Accept the first stats rolled, no matter how awful.
0 (0%)
Keep rolling stats until I get something I can live with.
4 (23.5%)
Modify the stats to match a character I already have in mind.
5 (29.4%)
Max-out all the stats.
4 (23.5%)
Other.  (Please explain below)
4 (23.5%)

Total Members Voted: 17

Voting closed: May 31, 2017, 12:17:48 PM

Author Topic: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs  (Read 1327 times)

Offline hans

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Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
« on: April 01, 2017, 12:17:48 PM »
Comments welcome.

Offline Nol Drek

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Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
« Reply #1 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.
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Offline PetrusOctavianus

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Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
« Reply #2 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.

« Last Edit: April 01, 2017, 03:08:52 PM by PetrusOctavianus »

Offline Dorateen

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Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
« Reply #3 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.
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Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
« Reply #4 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.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2017, 06:33:47 PM by Olivier Leroux »

Offline Jadefang

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Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
« Reply #5 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.

Offline Milos Gulan

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Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
« Reply #6 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.

Offline ProphetSword

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Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
« Reply #7 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.
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Offline Kaz-Keith

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Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
« Reply #8 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.

Offline hans

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Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
« Reply #9 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.
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Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
« Reply #10 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.  ;)

Offline PetrusOctavianus

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Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
« Reply #11 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.

Offline hans

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Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
« Reply #12 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.

Offline Kaz-Keith

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Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
« Reply #13 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.

 

Offline Amarande

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Re: Max-ed Out or Puny PCs
« Reply #14 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!).