Friday, July 2, 2010

Character Creation

Character creation has always been a point of minor contention amongst gamers.

"What method do you use?" has always been one of the first questions out of players mouths when getting together with a new group. So I ask you, what method do YOU use?

The most basic method I think has to be the straight forward 3d6 in order
The most popular, at least that I've found, is the tried and true 4d6 drop the lowest and place 'em where you want 'em

However, there are a number of other methods that have been written officially or been house ruled. So many in fact, that I'm not sure I could list them all if I wanted to.

In the 1st Edition DMG there were several methods written including 3d6 twelve times and choose the best six scores, Roll 3d6 six times for each attribute and choose the best for each and 3d6 enough times to generate twelve characters  and choose the set that is best suited for the player.

In Unearthed Arcana there was a fifth method that dictated the number of dice used for each attribute based on the character class.

Some people use a point buy system to keep all characters even, but most times there isn't the ability to make a really good character.

Personally, after I get to know a group of players, I trust the players to decide what they want for each attribute. 9 times out of 10 they come up with relatively normal characters. I've never had anyone abuse that power and create a character with all 18's (except a 17 in Charisma...don't wanna seem like they're cheating). In fact, a lot of time their highest score is usually a 16 or maybe a pair of 15's. It allows the player to create the character they want without random chance.

So what is your favorite method or creating characters?


  1. I tried to join a group last year. I was told by the DM to roll 6d6 twelve times and take the best of the rolls, drop the lowest and pick the six best. That seemed sort of excessive to me.

  2. My method is 3d6 in order, have three goes and pick the overall best one. It can lead to some interesting choices - that INT 18 on the second go, but no other score above 11 - shall I play that as a Magic User or go for the third try where the scores are good but more evenly spread and none above 15.

    When I create a D&D character, I've no idea what is going to come up, so I enter the process with no preconceptions, no "I want to play a cleric" agenda. If I get a cleric, that's great but having to stick with what comes up forces a player to think outside the box and play creatively.

    When I first discovered the Dragonsfoot 1e character generator, I used to pick the 4d6 discard the lowest but for the characters that I'm sending down my solo dungeon, I've gone right back to basics with the 3d6 in order option. And while I've had a lot of deaths, that happens at 1st level even with good stats.

  3. I usually have done 4d6 drop the lowest, but all of the DMG proffered methods I've probably used at one time or another. In generally, I tend to prefer point-buy systems in games to random roles, but I've never used a point-buy in D&D.

  4. 3d6 in order. Reroll any of them, but you have to take the reroll. So it eliminates the really low numbers most of the time, but do you reroll a 10?

    I recently started playing in a Pathfinder campaign with point buy. It just leads to a whole min/max thing which I don't really like. But do anyway.

  5. @Restless Seems to me your DM should have just told you to assign randoms 16, 17 and 18's and saved all the abuse on the kitchen table

  6. The last time I ran a game of a reasonable length, I used the method I came up with early in my gaming career (circa 10 yrs old, back in 1982 or so). It's sort of a hodgepodge of B/X and AD&D with a twist. 4d6, drop the lowest, in order. One swap was allowed, and beyond that I allowed an unlimited amount of 2 for 1 point exchanges, though few players took me up on those.

  7. 3D6 in order. Adjustment of prime requisite allowed as per the Moldvay Basic rules (page B6). In the past, I've used other methods, but this is by far the most satisfying for the type of D&D I enjoy the most. Truly.

  8. @Brian Lujan: Agreed. I only went once.

  9. I like roll 4d6 in order drop the lowest die. No percentile Strength allowed.

  10. I have my players roll three d6 -one d6 for every stage of development, Childhood, Teenhood, adulthood- But have them reroll any ones rolled. If a one comes up on the reroll, they reroll until they have something higher.


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