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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6777 Posts

Posted - 06 Mar 2019 :  00:28:22  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Merits and demerits of various character stat generation systems aside, 1E bards always used 1E rules.

Method I (3d6 per stat, in order rolled, no mods) was the assumed default. Methods II-IV (and Method V) basically all generated higher overall or specific stats to accommodate different groups and playstyles.
Rolling dice was part of the fun and official point-buy systems didn't even exist until "2.5E" and 3E onwards.

Maybe point-buy is better or more fair or less ridiculous, maybe not. But people had fun playing 1E, with and without any bards. There never seemed to be a shortage of bards, paladins, rangers, druids, or other classes with high stat reqs.

[/Ayrik]
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3585 Posts

Posted - 06 Mar 2019 :  01:31:12  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Maybe I got a different 1e DMG but on PG. 11 mine says

Method I: All scores are recorded and arranged in the order the player desires. 4d6 are rolled, and the lowest die (or one of the lower) is discarded.

Prior to this, it went on to say: As D&D is an ongoing game of fantasy adventuring, it is important to allow participants to generate a viable character of the race and profession which he or she desires. While it is possible to generate some fairly
playable characters by rolling 3d6, there is often an extended period of attempts at finding a suitable one due to quirks of the dice. Furthermore, these rather marginal characters tend to have short life expectancy - which tends to discourage new players, as does having to make do with some character of a race and/or class which he or she really can't or won't identify with. Character generation, then, is a serious matter, and it is recommended that the following systems be used. Four alternatives are offered for player characters: then goes on to mention methods I - VI.

Now, I unfortunately cant speak from experience playing 1e as I never had a DM run it for me and my group is firmly enmeshed with WOTC versions of D&D, though my AD&D 2e experiences all had us roll 4d6, drop the lowest and assign where we want. You weren't guaranteed a 17 in Charisma for the vaunted Paladin or a 15 for the Bard but it exactly wasn't uncommon either.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3724 Posts

Posted - 06 Mar 2019 :  03:15:38  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

quote:
Originally posted by Dalor Darden

I agree, in 1e some classes were very potent...a result of lucky dice rolling to play exceptional characters.

Hell, even playing a Ranger was a fortunate and rare occurrence for a player...probably why I loved playing a ranger so much!

Of course the "lowly" Bard took serious dice rolls to get to play:

A minimum of 15 Strength as a fighter with a 17 Dexterity so that you could dual class to thief later; and that followed by a minimum at the time becoming a Bard of 15 Strength, Wisdom, Dexterity and Charisma...on top of a minimum 12 Intelligence and 10 Constitution.

If someone managed to roll 17, 15, 15, 15, 12, 10 on 3d6 then hells yes they deserved a powerful class like Bard!



I can't possibly disagree any stronger with everything you typed. In your scenario, one bad night on the dice, no... one bad *minute* on the dice during character creation night dooms you to years and years of not being able to play the character you were hoping for. Meanwhile, the DM's little brother, or best friend, or girlfriend who wants to try the game out shows up an hour late, pulls out their sheet, and miraculously has ALL the pre-requisites for their super-powered class, because they did their character creation one-on-one with the DM the night before. No honest, they did!

The entire trajectory of your character arc over the course of several RL *years* should not be determined in the first 30 seconds of session one. That is hot garbage. This is not a case of "millennial entitlement" speaking. It is simply a desire to see every player at the table able to utilize the same resources to have fun, not 1 or 2 dominating the rest of the peasants. If you plant on countering with "No, it can be fun to play a character with poor stats", sure, maybe for a session or three as a gimmick. But not if you plan to invest years into it and are railroaded into playing something completely against the archetype/name/role/backstory you had brewing in your head before sitting down to roll those fateful dice. A point-pool system is the only method I will ever enforce on my players. There will be thousands of opportunities for the players to cry foul or favoritism over the course of the campaign, let's not start off Night One with it.



Fine with me if you disagree. Odd logic though.

If someone wins the lottery, should everyone else be upset about it and begrudge the winner their new wealth?

If you don't like your character for whatever reason, then talk to your DM...nothing says D&D like rolling another character.

AD&D for me!
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3724 Posts

Posted - 06 Mar 2019 :  03:18:43  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My bottom line in AD&D is 4d6 drop the lowest. Whether it is "in order rolled" or "arrange to taste" depends on the crowd.

I'll likely run my 5e game the same way.

AD&D for me!
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6777 Posts

Posted - 06 Mar 2019 :  12:50:26  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I had players roll 18d6 then arrange the dice any way they liked - each of these dice had a fixed value once rolled but any number of these dice could be moved or allocated to any of the six ability scores (as long as each of the six ability scores had a total value from 3 to 18).
You'd expect a lot of big stats but it's actually not that easy because you need to roll dice which add up to exactly 16, 17, 18. Players who wanted extremely high stats usually had to accept some extremely low stats - and some players always automatically dump-stat Charisma - but it turns out that's not viable in gaming where all six ability scores are constantly given equivalent importance.

[/Ayrik]
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The Masked Mage
Great Reader

USA
2124 Posts

Posted - 07 Mar 2019 :  04:45:10  Show Profile  Send The Masked Mage an AOL message  Click to see The Masked Mage's MSN Messenger address Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There were a LOT of ways to improve ability scores, as long a s DM was game to that - in my experience, original rolled scores rarely were permanent.

Among the optional rules I liked were the ability to improve STR, CON, and WIS over time. (I can't remember where that was from - maybe a dragon or dungeon article) It reflected physical training and or learning from experience as you leveled up. Of course a warrior who swings a big heavy sword all day will get stronger over time, etc.

Then there was always the magic option. So many of the published adventures had choices that would give you +1 to an attribute.
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VikingLegion
Senior Scribe

USA
408 Posts

Posted - 09 Mar 2019 :  00:28:51  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dalor Darden
Fine with me if you disagree. Odd logic though.

If someone wins the lottery, should everyone else be upset about it and begrudge the winner their new wealth?

If you don't like your character for whatever reason, then talk to your DM...nothing says D&D like rolling another character.



Interesting you go with the lottery analogy. Creating a character is not a disposable experience like playing a scratch ticket. My goal as a DM has and always will be to have a table full of players that are all equally having fun, not to celebrate a single "lottery winner" while the rest have to make due with normal characters that would ordinarily be fine, but now look substandard by virtue of comparison. Here's where you counter with, "But it can be really fun to ROLEPLAY a weaker character!" Is it? For a little while maybe. How about 2 years into the game when you struggle to defeat a kobold, but Jimmy's psionic half-dragon ninja werewolf can slaughter 40 ogres in a round? I'm not saying it should be a competition among the players. But there has to be some kind of level playing field so one guy with the superstar character doesn't hog the spotlight the entire time.

If your answer is simply to re-roll the character - therein lies some pitfalls as well. If a DM allows infinite re-rolls, won't everyone have a paladin or bard or ranger? A monkey at a typewriter will eventually pop out Shakespeare and all that. Your "solution" devalues your own initial argument, in that a "special" class is no longer special by definition if all 6 players at the table have one.

Lastly, my players spend several weeks before the first session crafting their character - the name, the history/backstory, how they fit in with the region, possible pre-existing relationships with other party members, etc. So they show up on creation night, have a terrible streak of luck, and then... what? Throw away weeks of design and start anew? Or just keep throwing away bad characters and renaming the new one with the exact same name and history until you get it right? How is that any better than a point-buy system that simply lets you make what you want to play right off the bat? If you want players to keep re-rolling until they get a satisfying character, why throw away an entire session or multiple sessions just to get to the starting line? As a DM, do you have a point where you cut them off from more re-rolls? 65 character sheets? 92? 217? Or do you make them "play" the failed character out until they get killed before they can come back with a new character? Doesn't that just inspire really terrible play as the bad rollers act foolishly, seeking suicide?


Odd logic, indeed.

P.S. I get the nostalgia factor of doing it how we used to back in the day. I really do. But it's rife with downsides. I just can't look at a player who has been dreaming of playing a specific character type for months and then telling him NOPE, sorry dude, the dice have spoken and you have to play something completely different because your character is too [weak/slow/dumb/ugly/etc] to meet the pre-requisites of what you envisioned. Better luck next time!

The notion that things were better in ye olden days and that Gygax nailed every aspect of the game perfectly on the first try is not to my taste. There are classic elements of the game, and there are things that have changed for the better over the years. It's like when I go back and play old Atari or 8-bit Sega/Nintendo games that were so amazing in my memory. Sometimes they live up to the hype and withstand the test of time. Other times they are just needlessly frustrating, clunky, or downright terrible and I realize my nostalgia is what glossed them over in my mind.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 09 Mar 2019 01:03:39
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3724 Posts

Posted - 09 Mar 2019 :  03:52:09  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think I covered it with a simple:

quote:
If you don't like your character for whatever reason, then talk to your DM...nothing says D&D like rolling another character.

AD&D for me!
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6777 Posts

Posted - 09 Mar 2019 :  13:09:41  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
AD&D did make things a little less uneven. It's true that if you rolled enough high stats then you could qualify for a "special" (and usually "optional") class and if you rolled lesser stats then you could only qualify for "ordinary" classes. But it turns out that the simple classes (basic Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User, Thief) had advantages over the more complex classes - they could choose from a wider pool of proficiency and spell options, they could choose to focus on specialization options, they didn't have to observe any pre-allocated paths, they didn't have alignment restrictions, they didn't have to observe restrictive codes of behaviour/religion/etc, they could use many more magical items (which tended to provide lots of raw bonuses), and they required significantly less XP to advance faster. All told, the basic classes had access to all sorts of little advantages which could add up to make a character with "average" stats into a tough match vs one with "awesome" stats.

1E PHB actually recommended that PCs have at least two exceptional stats (at 15+). 1E UE also recommended "exceptional" CON (at 15+). And 1E DMG recommended the DM allows some fudging/adjustments or re-rolls if a player simply can't roll up the required stats for a desired class or race. After all, the PCs are supposed to be reasonably heroic sorts and the object of the game is for everybody to have fun.

Some groups considered characters without a bunch of 18s "unplayable", other groups emphasized role-playing over roll-playing and viewed lower stats as a rewarding and character-defining challenge, it seems like every group had some sort of house rules to tailor character generation in a way which was reasonably fair and equal for everyone. The classic "I fall on my sword, I have to roll a new character" is just a waste of time which can be avoided. Point-buy is indeed better for some groups but other groups often do better without being constrained by it. There's good reason why every D&D edition which uses point-buy systems also offers rules and alternate systems for random stat generation.

[/Ayrik]
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Alexander Clark
Learned Scribe

84 Posts

Posted - 09 Mar 2019 :  13:55:47  Show Profile Send Alexander Clark a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik
they didn't have alignment restrictions, they didn't have to observe restrictive codes of behaviour/religion/etc

Did balancing through alignment ever work?
I guess Cavalier's "you have to charge the biggest baddest enemy you see" might affect gameplay, but I am not so sure about something like "don't kill innocent people."
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3585 Posts

Posted - 09 Mar 2019 :  15:17:50  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Alexander Clark

quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik
they didn't have alignment restrictions, they didn't have to observe restrictive codes of behaviour/religion/etc

Did balancing through alignment ever work?
I guess Cavalier's "you have to charge the biggest baddest enemy you see" might affect gameplay, but I am not so sure about something like "don't kill innocent people."



Maybe in the earlier versions where Paladins were simply Fighter "Plus" (meaning you got what the Fighter got AND then some) so it went well with the whole "with great power comes great responsibility" mantra. I didn't play 2E long enough to get into the nitty gritty of Catch-22s DMs apparently hit Paladin classes hard with back in the day.

For 3e/3.5/PF, the answer is no. Alignment restrictions by this point largely were irrelevant to Game-play balance. For one, Paladins are bad in 3.0/3.5 as were Monks too. Some people thought back then that it would be CRAZY OP to allow a Paladin to smite with Rage going on (it isn't, not by a mile). By 3e, balance was simply an afterthought by the designers once the party his mid-levels (10+) and I'm being generous.

4e removed all alignment restrictions and the days I play it, no one goes off kilter as a Paladin to burn down orphanages. I've had several Pally players role-play exceptionally well under the Lawful Good alignment and DIDN'T feel the need to play it Lawful Stupid or "I Charge the bad guy!" every time.

5e kept alignment restrictions out of the game on mechanical technicalities and so you don't see "This class must be X,Y,Z alignment" but the wording strongly pushes certain expectations that the DM would do well to throw into their game for flavor. Currently there are no hard-rules for a Paladin to fall from grace or what happens if a Monk turns Chaotic or if a Bard becomes Lawful. It's up to the DM to interpret that for their own table.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."

Edited by - Diffan on 09 Mar 2019 15:18:37
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6777 Posts

Posted - 09 Mar 2019 :  15:55:32  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Did balancing through alignment ever work?
I guess Cavalier's "you have to charge the biggest baddest enemy you see" might affect gameplay, but I am not so sure about something like "don't kill innocent people."
What about that amoral necromancer or that bloodsucking vampire who falls to his knees and begs you to show mercy? What if that predatory bandit sincerely promises to redeem himself, maybe takes care of the local orc problem, donates some gold to the temple, and helps out a starving family? A savvy PC may not be entirely convinced, especially when a noxious repeat-offender villain appears to just be stalling for time or has something to gain from his apparent good deeds. But a savvy DM will have an endless supply of cheap tricks to test a PC's mettle and make him prove he can prevail without breaking the code ... and each incident must be treated seriously if the character is played in character.

A Paladin or a Cavalier doesn't get very far by being Lawful Stupid - he must in fact meet certain minimum Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma requirements - but he must still worry about his thoughts and words and actions, how they will serve his deity, how his brothers in the order/temple will judge him, how his deity will judge him. He must tithe and serve. He must always face down evil without ever faltering in his faith. He can be stripped of his standing (and his powers) at any time for any perceived transgression. He must fully atone for his misdeeds - or even for the misdeeds of others - unless he is not given that option.

A Fighter doesn't have to worry about his dirty words and his dirty deeds, he can exploit any advantage and any opportunity available. He can be a brutally merciless killer or he can be a coward who snipes from ambush then runs from threats - all that really matters is that he wins the glory and he survives the day - civilized behaviour and lofty piety to a higher power won't accomplish anything useful if they get you killed. The Paladin wields the righteous power of his god but the Fighter wields a sharp blade and never lets rarefied things distract him from his business of knowing exactly how and where that blade will do the most "good" in a fight.

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 09 Mar 2019 16:15:52
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