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 Post subject: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:22 pm 
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OK so its clear that there are two camps on the Funnel idea. "The Love its" and the "not love its" usually due to the fact the 0 Levels are NOT heroic enough for them.

So my purpose in this thread is to invite folks to put down any and all Ideas for Character improvement of Attributes only AFTER they have been generated. Weather your approach is to mitigate a nasty low Stat set or to raise a Stat to near its maximum for a Super Hero is not an issue. Nor do I really want to rehash the differences of opinions on HOW you roll up character stats either. Just how, if any, a game mechanic could be introduced to allow for some measure of improvement as a character grows in experience
.

Right now I have a Player with a Dwarven Blacksmith with a Natural STR of 5.... To his great credit he's playing Viscerin well and the damn little fellow is really lucky at the dice! But still given the nature of his background AND his class path he deserves a break Str wise I think most of you would agree.

My opening idea to my players was as follows.

Each time you go up a level pick ONE attribute. You can roll 3d6 and if your score is OVER your current score in that attribute you may raise it one point. If you fail the roll unlucky try next level. Most seemed to think that a good compromsie to help iron out LOW stats over time but TBH I am not yet happy with it for the poor folks Like VIscerin the Dwarf. Hence opening this thread to the group wisdom of the DCC fans out there.

Have at it folks! Give me some ideas here regardless of your Viewpoint on stat initial generation! Even with a 4d6 drop low we occasionally get a dog stat. My Avatar here is named after my fave 1st Ed Mu/thf who had an 18 dex and a 5 Wisdom.... SO I have first hand knowledge of how the trusty 4d drop low can STILL getcha! :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:25 am 
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Awesome Idea for a thread! +d30

For the record I neither "like" nor "dis-like" the funnel, I've simply tried to acknowledge it for what it is: "character generation by slot machine." Some times it spits out cherry/cherry/cherry.... but most of the time it spits out cherry/8-ball/lemon. :D The following are clipped from my play-testing thread, & cleaned up a bit.

The design idea behind this system states that role play solutions are better than mechanical ones. So my solution to the abysmal stats of the PC's is: give each player 2d3's at the end of doing the paperwork for leveling up to 1st. these dice are applied separately to stats of the players choice; except for LUCK.
EXAMPLE: warrior with the following stats
STR 12, AGIL 10, STAM 11, INT 9, PER 10, LUCK 13

At the end of his arduous physical training for 1st level, player may add 1d3 to STR & AGIL; or, AGIL & STAM; or, STR & STAM. This represents the benefits of the intense physical training.

A wizard can add those dice to INT and another stat to represent the intense focus of their studies, because becoming a wizard is the D&D equivalent of going to college. The other die could be used to shore up another weak stat, because all classes receive some kind of combat training. Even if they gain no bonuses from the roll, it still means the wizard @ 1st level is going to have some more points available for stat burn.

A cleric may increase their PERS score as a result of the intensive teaching methods used for their instruction. Like the wizard, the extra die can be applied to other stats to represent combat training.

Nobody can double up the dice on a stat, and LUCK is something you're born with... only the Goddess of Luck can increase that...

---

This is one of the players 2 surviving Characters...

Pat the woodcutter for example: STR 7; AGIL 5; STAM 16; PER 5; INT 5; LUCK 14. Luck applies to find/disable traps... As a DM & a player it is obvious to me that the only reason the character survived to adulthood is because they are durable & lucky. But there's NO hope of turning this into a playable PC!

{solution}
Pat the woodsman is really just the 10 year old apprentice to a woodsman. the training for 1st level sparks off a spurt of growth and development: +1d8 to all stats less than 10; but no other increases for training. No d3's, but I would let the player roll the dice first before picking a class; slight discontinuity error, but too minor to worry about and I'm a nice DM.

all of my solutions are 1time only at 1st lvl... I've never been a fan of handing stat points out like candy the way D&D 3.x does.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how others have approached these types of problems, so again....Great idea for a thread!


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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:51 am 
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Nice posts, nice thread.

As a DM, i gave PCs a +1 to their preferred stat (AGI for thief, INT for Wiz, PER for Cleric, STR for Dwarf) upon reaching first level.
They all loved it, because conveniently it brought all of them (except the Dwarf) from a +0 to a +1 modifier (The dwarf increased from a -1 to a +0 mod)

I still think, despite what people said in other threads, that some funnel-thing ought to keep going even after 1st level. Therefore I kinda like the idea of that unplayable woodcutter... sooner or later, he'll be overwhelmed by its flaws, and die. Roll up a new PC.

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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:42 am 
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I agree that it's a great idea for a thread! 8)

Ducaster wrote:
Each time you go up a level pick ONE attribute. You can roll 3d6 and if your score is OVER your current score in that attribute you may raise it one point. If you fail the roll unlucky try next level. Most seemed to think that a good compromsie to help iron out LOW stats over time
We've discussed some of these options in a different thread and I think many folks then didn't like the fact that some characters would raise stats while others would not. I think that at the time folks liked the idea that everyone could raise stats, but not at every level.

How about this: at certain levels (odd numbered ones, every 3rd level, whatever) you pick a stat and roll 3d6 to equal or beat the current value. If you roll over that stat goes up. If not, you pick a different stat and repeat the process. Do this until all 6 stats have been attempted, and if you still haven't improved any then start the cycle over. Continue until you finally roll over some stat to improve it.

This gives you some choice over which stat may get to improve, since you get to choose which one to roll for first. It also puts in a certain random element in that you don't know which one will finally get to improve.

As an extra twist, you could allow the player to roll their first choice twice in order to double the chance that they get their favorite one to improve. Again, once any stat goes up, the process stops. (You don't get a +2 on something because you roll lucky.)

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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:10 am 
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abk108 wrote:
I still think, despite what people said in other threads, that some funnel-thing ought to keep going even after 1st level. Therefore I kinda like the idea of that unplayable woodcutter... sooner or later, he'll be overwhelmed by its flaws, and die. Roll up a new PC.


...then again if he was NOT overwhelmed and survived I suspect that would become one of the most memorable characters that player had ever had!

That's my opinion too but in fairness some people are just plain put off by Low stat characters. They find it hard and unenjoyable to try and play them. That is a genuine problem. No DM wants to alienate potential players and no game system does either.

My wife is a good example of this. She has a preference to play Fighters or Rogues as she doesn't usually like the added hassle of keeping track of a spell list. But one thing she absolutely digs her heels in and refuses to play is a stupid character IE one with a below Average Int score. Its a fair observation I think. Trying to "play stupid" robs the game of enjoyment for her regardless of class.
Off hand I can think on No Appendix N hero that was dumb so she has the source on her side too LOL!

I'm toying as a result with allowing players to use 6d3 to roll their Characters INT Stat from here on out to compensate for this as a result. But this might also limit the occasional 15+ Ints that make for good Wizards so.... Sigh!

I like Tortog's package deal of a couple of d3's to represent the improvement to a classes cardinal Stats gained after doing the training for that class from 0 to 1st level. But it does not to my mind go far enough. I am definitely also in favor of a Stat increase or two as time goes by to reflect the further honing of a Characters mind and body as they survive the rigors of the adventuring life.

Would combining his and Finarvyns proposal be too much do you think? EG:-

1)Character rolls up a Noob at 0 level using 3d6 in order for all characteristics.
1a)Player may re roll ONE attribute if they choose but MUST take the second roll regardless of weather its an improvement or not. (This allows the dumb bunnies or weak duded from laboring backgrounds to get a second chance to look realistic propositions)

2) Upon selecting a class at 1st level they get two d3's to assign to two separate characteristics that they can argue to the DM are class requirements. This represent their Graduate training etc in that class and is a class feature.

3) Upon gaining 3rd level they get to re roll one characteristic. if they score OVER it they can increase it by one point. This reflects their Post Graduate training and the school of hard knocks. Rince and repeat a few levels later if you like as well.

4) No attribute can be raised above 18 by any of the above. Also perhaps a rule could be enforced that a character must even out at least One of their flawed Stats before going hell for leather on maxing out their super stat. I include this last as I can see a few players trying to ignore poor stats in the rush to be "uber" in one particular area. That doesn't reflect real life as a rule. Flaws either kill you or you do something about them ASAP before you set about supercharging one aspect of yourself!



Lastly and blatantly self indulgent here. May I publicly thank my good lady wife for going outside her comfort zone and playing a New Style Cleric (Adela the Grey Sister) in our Play-test campaign here in Atlanta. Adela was rolled with entirely average Stats you see folks. Nothing below a 9 and nothing over a 12, totally average across the board and as a result colorless. She neither had a flaw or a strong point for the missuss' to fasten her imagination upon to start the process of character development.
This is the thing about extreme Stats (and I argue its true for good or bad ones) they give you the building block for a character concept. But Miss Average here? That was tough, but great story teller that she is my good lady made that very averageness into a character feature. Dressed in Grey and hooded like a prophetess Adela fades in and out of the background like a wraith offering cryptic advice and staunchly healing non neutral characters in Turn only! (Heal the Chaot? Sure but they will not be healed again till she has ministered to a Lawful! get more Neutral than that I dare ya!)

Rather than being bland she comes over like Morticia Adams and is the most unusual cleric I have seen in years! +d24!

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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:45 am 
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Tortog's idea for granting characters two d3s to increase a pair of stats on attaining 1st level is excellent. It makes the difference between 0-level characters and class-based characters even more distinct, as well as getting across the idea of training having had some physical/mental impact too.

I also like the idea that stats potentially can be increased with a "roll over current on 3d6" chance every odd- or even-level or so, especially in light of how stat-attrition is a real threat in the game.

Aha, it's also discussed in this thread.

cheers!
Colin


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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:02 am 
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RAD Colin wrote:
I also like the idea that stats potentially can be increased with a "roll over current on 3d6" chance every odd- or even-level or so, especially in light of how stat-attrition is a real threat in the game.

Aha, it's also discussed in this thread


Ah! I thought I had seen the idea tossed about SOMEWHERE before. After a quick re read of the thread linked to above I offer my thanks to bholmes who it appears first raised the technique I favor. No attempt at plagurism was intended.

Quote:
I prefer bholmes' system of rolling 3d6 either every level or every other level on a stat that is either chosen by the player or randomly chosen somehow. If the player rolls higher than the ability rating on 3d6, then the character's stat goes up by one point.


Until Colin refreshed my memory I see that threads last post was back in July when I first started to browse these forums in earnest.

Clearly there is a body of opinion here. Please read that thread and come back here with your current thoughts on the subject good people. Like I said in my preface I could use the tips if nothing else!

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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:56 am 
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Though I haven't been fortunate enough to play DCC, in theory, I love the funnel and wouldn't change it.

However, should I ever be so fortunate as to get an opportunity to run a different old-school game, I have been considering giving my players the option of choosing the Average Joe/Jane stat array (11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10; arrange to taste) if they don't like the stats they rolled.


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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:27 pm 
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Ducaster wrote:
...
1)Character rolls up a Noob at 0 level using 3d6 in order for all characteristics.
1a)Player may re roll ONE attribute if they choose but MUST take the second roll regardless of weather its an improvement or not. (This allows the dumb bunnies or weak duded from laboring backgrounds to get a second chance to look realistic propositions)


I had a DM back in AD&D that did something like this. It was 3d6 in order, plus a seventh roll that we could use to swap out for a lesser stat if we chose.

Quote:
Lastly and blatantly self indulgent here. May I publicly thank my good lady wife for going outside her comfort zone and playing a New Style Cleric (Adela the Grey Sister) in our Play-test campaign here in Atlanta. Adela was rolled with entirely average Stats you see folks. Nothing below a 9 and nothing over a 12, totally average across the board and as a result colorless. She neither had a flaw or a strong point for the missuss' to fasten her imagination upon to start the process of character development.

This is the thing about extreme Stats (and I argue its true for good or bad ones) they give you the building block for a character concept. But Miss Average here? That was tough, but great story teller that she is my good lady made that very averageness into a character feature. Dressed in Grey and hooded like a prophetess Adela fades in and out of the background like a wraith offering cryptic advice and staunchly healing non neutral characters in Turn only! (Heal the Chaot? Sure but they will not be healed again till she has ministered to a Lawful! get more Neutral than that I dare ya!)

Rather than being bland she comes over like Morticia Adams and is the most unusual cleric I have seen in years! +d24!

Awesome character! There's irony for you! My inspiration for the "training boost" was actually one of James' PC's. when we started making 1st levels adjustments he grabbed one of his 2 survivors and started putting together a thief. After a while with the other players I checked in on him and he was sitting there with his head in his hands. "Problem?"

"It's Joe Generic Man." he handed it to me and, yep... 9, 10, 11 down the line...then he said,"on the plus side, he can be anything he wants... he just won't be any good at it."

I said, "Well, you've seen how lethal the game can be... perhaps a warrior? The party can always use some dungeon fodder."

"Sure... why not."

I didn't come up with the idea until I got home so they don't know about the "Training Boost" yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:14 pm 
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Tortog wrote:

"It's Joe Generic Man." he handed it to me and, yep... 9, 10, 11 down the line...then he said,"on the plus side, he can be anything he wants... he just won't be any good at it."


I think players (and DM's) are spoiled a little bit by popular stat generation methods (4d6drop1, "heroic array", etc), and particularly, by the inherent style dictated by 3.5. What's the old quote? AD&D is normal folks doing extraordinary things and D&D 3.X is extraordinary folks doing ordinary things. (I think that's more a swipe at the skills system, but it applies).

It begs a philosophic question, though -- If an ordinary man does something seemingly beyond his abilities, does that make him more heroic than the "super hero" who does something seemingly beneath his abilities? If both I and Superman step in front of a bullet to save a stranger, who's the more heroic? I'm going to the hospital or the morgue. Superman's going back to the Daily Planet to write up the story.

I think players protest too much when they say "this character sucks because of her low stats." As a DM, I've been fairly neutral on stat rolling methods often telling the player, "I can kill an 'All 18' character as fast as I can kill an 'all 10' character."

The character with lower stats is going to be more careful. They're going to be more conscious of risk versus reward. I think that's what I'm looking for in a S&S game. Players learn to play their characters as they are and find innovative ways to survive. The thing that makes it interesting to me is when the "Joe Generic Man" does something extraordinary. My experience so far is that these folks pull off something extraordinary every session either through creative thinking or pure luck.

All that to say that I like the idea of character attribute improvement over the life of the character, but I'm not tinkering with anything until I've seen problems with the game system that requires it. I'm lucky enough to have players that are interested enough in the game's concept to agree...so far.

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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:05 pm 
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I just spent a decent amount of time convincing done players at my flgs to join a play by post game. One loves 2e, one is willing to try, and another wants to make a werewolf monk. The one who wants a were-monk min-maxes, an tod is a 4e power gamer. I'm convincing him that the classes are interesting enough to not need that, when the random ability score debate hit.
I had to keep explaining that dcc, in it's current form, is a looser rule set than 4e and 3.x, and we can house rule as much as we like.
They are dreaming up custom classes, and as I've always said in d&d, I'll allow it*.
*if you can roll or roleplay it
Sure, your werewolf monk can exist... Oh, I by the way, werewolves carry a bounty of 50 gold for their heads. Beware of hunters. :)

I feel dcc will make me an evil dm :)


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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:13 pm 
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Abchiptop wrote:
t
Sure, your werewolf monk can exist... Oh, I by the way, werewolves carry a bounty of 50 gold for their heads. Beware of hunters. :)

I feel dcc will make me an evil dm :)


Welcome to team Evil! We're always recruiting! (TY Giant In the Playground) :twisted:

If you seriously plan to allow the were-monk let me know how you convert the class. I had a go here Feel free to borrow any of that or PM your take on the class as I have players interested here as well

So lots of silver weapons gonna appear in your game I sense....

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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:06 am 
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ragboy wrote:
I think players (and DM's) are spoiled a little bit by popular stat generation methods (4d6drop1, "heroic array", etc), and particularly, by the inherent style dictated by 3.5. What's the old quote? AD&D is normal folks doing extraordinary things and D&D 3.X is extraordinary folks doing ordinary things. (I think that's more a swipe at the skills system, but it applies).


You may be correct, I wouldn't know... I've been a DM on/off for the last 27 years: & only once did I deviate from the 3d6/ placed in order. Though I always let them have a 7th roll to swap out if needed. Even when 3.x version came out. Lost a lot of players over the years, but the ones who stuck around discovered the same thing y'all are finding outwith the DCC system: misfits & runts can be a lot of fun because it takes more creative thinking to keep them alive. That's why I'm so facile with the concept. My response to players whining was always the same: "The system gives you stat boosts every 4 levels and there are many spells/items to boost stats... so quit your b*tching." The one time i tried the 4d6 drop the lowest... that game was a total mockery of any D&D game I ever played in under older systems. It was awful. "What happens at the coast... stays at the coast..." to co-opt the slogan of a popular ad campaign.

Quote:
It begs a philosophic question, though -- If an ordinary man does something seemingly beyond his abilities, does that make him more heroic than the "super hero" who does something seemingly beneath his abilities? If both I and Superman step in front of a bullet to save a stranger, who's the more heroic? I'm going to the hospital or the morgue. Superman's going back to the Daily Planet to write up the story.


As a long time philosopher, my answer is: the person who runs out in front of a bus, or the fireman who runs into a burning house to save another life have more hero cred than some maby-pamby in tights. This so called "superman" is in no danger of being killed/maimed. no risk = not a hero = poser in tights.

Quote:
... "I can kill an 'All 18' character as fast as I can kill an 'all 10' character."


Agreed. My game world is policed by "Trapdoor Alligators" for just such situations. http://www.somethingpositive.net/archive.shtml, thank you r*k*milholland {WARNING: NOT FOR ANYONE WHO ISN'T PREPARED TO LAUGH AT "GALLOWS" STYLE HUMOR}

Quote:
The character with lower stats is going to be more careful. They're going to be more conscious of risk versus reward. I think that's what I'm looking for in a S&S game. Players learn to play their characters as they are and find innovative ways to survive. The thing that makes it interesting to me is when the "Joe Generic Man" does something extraordinary. My experience so far is that these folks pull off something extraordinary every session either through creative thinking or pure luck.


Been doing this for years. So has the player that was saddled with "Pat the woodcutter." That player is quite adept at turning runts into hero's; she just thinks the system is too punitive to be interesting. and I can't speak for James on this issue. However, low stats aren't really the issue.

***

I think there is too much emphasis on stats... how about addressing the fact that the DC's in the core mechanics are generally out of reach for most PC's. With such a prevalence for average stats and negative modifiers, I've had to lower the DC's for everything. Most of the DC values for the 0-lvl game I ran were in the 5-8 range: and I still had a 56-63% kill rate; the math depends on whether Daren comes back with his 3 PC's or not. With so many neg. modifiers out there, even a DC=10 was nearly impossible.

Only 37.5 % of clerics (PERS stat of 13+) can expect regular results from their casting and healing attempts... and they will be penalized by the boss for being successful. EX: cleric with a Personality score of 12 (fantastic by DCC standards) rolls to cast first spell of the day; on average (10.5)... he/she is going to fail and incur a -1 penalty to their next attempt. The concept of "disapproval" (and "corruption" for wizards) is a sufficient balance for their spell casting; placing the DC's so high (IMO) is just plain mean spirited.

The "Stats are too low" conundrum can also be addressed by adjusting the stat table. Keep the progression the same (max +3 bonus) just start at 12/ +1 ... 17/ +3, 18/ +3

The promise of character freedom is great... but the price is to become totally slaved out to random fate, is too high.


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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:36 am 
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Hey we're all assuming that DCC characters will come out as a collection of negative modifiers.
I'd say the average character is admittedly a vanilla 11-10-11-10-11-10, and that there will be many with lower scores... but there will be just as many with higher scores!

With the proposed options for raising scores, don't we risk creating uber PCs? what if you give all those options to a guy who already got a 15 STR and 14 AGI warrior? He'll try to reroll his average STA, maybe improving it to positive modifier. He'll get +d3 on both those stats, going to 16-18 STR and 15-17 AGI.

I think we need to draw a line better than "no further than 18".... i'd say you can increase with +d3 only a stat which is 13 or less. This way there will be no more 17s and 18s as there currently are, as they will be only rolled in char gen at level 0.

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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:18 am 
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Well Said abk108. Yes I already was afraid of this "other side of the coin".
abk108 wrote:
Hey we're all assuming that DCC characters will come out as a collection of negative modifiers.
I'd say the average character is admittedly a vanilla 11-10-11-10-11-10, and that there will be many with lower scores... but there will be just as many with higher scores!

With the proposed options for raising scores, don't we risk creating uber PCs? what if you give all those options to a guy who already got a 15 STR and 14 AGI warrior? He'll try to reroll his average STA, maybe improving it to positive modifier. He'll get +d3 on both those stats, going to 16-18 STR and 15-17 AGI.

I think we need to draw a line better than "no further than 18".... i'd say you can increase with +d3 only a stat which is 13 or less. This way there will be no more 17s and 18s as there currently are, as they will be only rolled in char gen at level 0.

Perhaps we need to restate the purposes of a High Stat score.

1) It improves the character's odds; but also
2) It helps you visualize the characters strength and thus aids Role play

This second option is where (I think) many folks are really coming from. Where I think the hidden danger of that is that if we all have power characters with Stats of 13+ (or 15+ or 17+) Are the resultant Characters every bit as bland as Joe Average with his neat set of 10's? They would be to me, but I suspect I'm in a minority there....

We, I think, agree that a character with an absurdly Low Score or two in what is perceived to be a stat that their background requires of them needs help. But a Character that has at least a 13 in a prime class Stat ought to be considered playable by a mature player yes?

So how about this.

A) Roll a character up as per funnel.
B) Look at background and allow a Player with a Statistical STAT quirk to raise that stat to a 9 (just out of Penalty Zone)
C) Upon attaining 1st Level a Character gets 1d3 to add to a Class stat if that stat is lower than 13. Or they add ONE POINT to a Class stat if it is already 13+. Optionally grant them another d3 to put anywhere as well.
D) Upon attaining 3rd level allow a +1 mechanic like those discussed. And allow it again at say 7th Level but thats it.

What are your collective reactions to that good people?

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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:20 am 
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Mighty-Thewed Reaver

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abk108 wrote:
With the proposed options for raising scores, don't we risk creating uber PCs? what if you give all those options to a guy who already got a 15 STR and 14 AGI warrior? He'll try to reroll his average STA, maybe improving it to positive modifier. He'll get +d3 on both those stats, going to 16-18 STR and 15-17 AGI.


I have no problem with this... it is easily explained as: that character obviously has what it takes to be an Olympic athlete or an Einstein... they just needed some focus in their lives. I don't think it's an uber PC until it goes over system maximum.

Quote:
I think we need to draw a line better than "no further than 18".... i'd say you can increase with +d3 only a stat which is 13 or less. This way there will be no more 17s and 18s as there currently are, as they will be only rolled in char gen at level 0.


I disagree entirely, but it does remind me. If stats cap out @ 18: then all other factors being equal; an any character with an 18 Agility has the same potential with a bow as an elf with Agilty 18... that cuts against all references. Literary and folklore... the elves should at least be given a +1 to bows in their core entry.


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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:55 am 
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I'm going back to the "You are not a hero" core concept in my thoughts. One thing I like about rolled stats is that all characters indeed are not created equal.

My suggestion is to introduce/allow specific weaknesses in exchange for boosting stats. After all, stats are intended to indicate an averaged abstraction of a character. Allow modifiers up to +-4 for characters starting at 5 or lower, +-3 for characters starting at 10 or lower, +/-2 for characters starting at 14 or lower and +/- 1 for characters starting at 17 or lower. If a low stat character takes a penalty that would bring their reduced condition below 3 it also affects their saving throws.

Some examples:

Strength
Bad Back - Character has strong arms, but a bad back. +X Strength for combat or lifting items up to 30 pounds. -X Strength for encumbrance, lifting heavy weights, jumping or similar activities. Penalty that can't be applied to Strength instead goes to Fortitude saves.

E.g. that Dwarf (with 5) could use 6 Strength for Combat and 4 for Encumbrance, etc.; or could use 9 Strength for Combat, 3 for Encumbrance, etc. and take a -2 Fortitude save penalty.

Dexterity
Game Leg - Character has quick fingers, but a game (or peg) leg. +X Dexterity for combat or fine manipulations. -X Dexterity for AC and ability checks to jump out of the way. Penalty that can't be applied to Dexterity instead goes to Reflex saves.
Butter Fingers - (reverse of Game leg)

E.g. A player with a Dex 13 fighter wants to make an archer character. He uses Game Leg and can use a 15 Dex for combat and uses 11 Dex for AC and ability checks.


Yes, there are certain values where players can min/max this to get a stat bonus in one direction without a penalty the other way. Personally I think that is fine as at helps build the character image.

Mostly I'm trying to let players tune the character without allowing them to fundamentally alter or disregard the initial results.


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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:24 am 
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@abk108: The systems here that use the method of "roll 3d6 and gain +1 if the result is over your current value" help prevent characters with good stats from getting better. Rolling over a 15 is 1 in 6, over 16 is 1 in 12, over 17 is in 1 in 36 and you can't roll over an 18. Who is going to try to bump a 17 to an 18 when they have five other scores that could be improved, with much higher odds?


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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:37 am 
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Just realized that all those core stat adjustments I was going on about could be irrelevant. Just adjust the modifier!

So you can adjust your actual applied modifier for the ability depending on task without changing the ability score itself.


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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:33 pm 
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jmucchiello wrote:
@abk108: The systems here that use the method of "roll 3d6 and gain +1 if the result is over your current value" help prevent characters with good stats from getting better. Rolling over a 15 is 1 in 6, over 16 is 1 in 12, over 17 is in 1 in 36 and you can't roll over an 18. Who is going to try to bump a 17 to an 18 when they have five other scores that could be improved, with much higher odds?


Absolutely; don't forget folks, it's only a chance of raising the stat, not a guarantee, and it's a gamble that rapidly becomes riskier the higher the stat you're trying to raise already is. This isn't simply because of fear of weaker stat values or a desire for more powerful ones; it also gives characters a chance to remain on par given stat attrition.

Colin


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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:19 pm 
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RAD Colin wrote:
jmucchiello wrote:
@abk108: The systems here that use the method of "roll 3d6 and gain +1 if the result is over your current value" help prevent characters with good stats from getting better. Rolling over a 15 is 1 in 6, over 16 is 1 in 12, over 17 is in 1 in 36 and you can't roll over an 18. Who is going to try to bump a 17 to an 18 when they have five other scores that could be improved, with much higher odds?


Absolutely; don't forget folks, it's only a chance of raising the stat, not a guarantee, and it's a gamble that rapidly becomes riskier the higher the stat you're trying to raise already is. This isn't simply because of fear of weaker stat values or a desire for more powerful ones; it also gives characters a chance to remain on par given stat attrition.

Colin


Maybe the message didn't go through as i intended, but i pointed out that the problem was the "+d3 on two stats at level 1" thing. Not the "3d6 over your current stat" chance of improvement, which as you said is already balanced.

I didn't like the extra d3 buff at first level because, if it was indeed a good tool for making up for crap stats which are supposed to be primary requisite for the chosen class*, it also provided a tool for powergaming the system, which is intentionally random and not concerned with other balance. Start putting "choice" back in the arena, and the system might suffer.

*i still like better the "higher stat - occupation tables" to make sure that sages have high int - probably becoming wizards- and that blacksmiths have high STR or STA. But if you really want to introduce the +d3, at least i'd like 17 and 18s to remain rare and unique: back to the Olympics example, there may be hundreds of professional, excellent runners, but there's only one Bolt.

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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:26 pm 
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On a side note, for those DMs that find themselves with players not satisfied with total randomness in char gen, i suggest this:

Before Char Gen, the player can select one stat for which to roll 4d6, drop lowest, instead of 3d6.

This way, those who'd really like to play a thief would get a chance of having a good (D&D 3.x style) Agility score. Sure, they still might end up with 9 Agility and then 14 Personality... this might sway them into playing a cleric, but sure won't trouble them much if they really want to play a thief.

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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:03 pm 
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Mighty-Thewed Reaver

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I still like the roll 3d6 every 2 levels and if you roll higher add +1 system.

To make more realistic characters though I am thinking of having the players roll 2d6 for each stat and then rolling the d6 6 times and assigning them as they desire. This way you can still get hosed in a stat (roll of 1,1 for strength) but by assigning them as you wish you can ensure a semi-realistic character is formed (or you can make extreme characters if that is fine with you as well). The end result is still 3d6 /stat though and that's what is most important to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:03 pm 
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I think the "roll 3d6 and if it is over the current stat get plus one to that stat" rule is an interesting way to amp characters up slightly as they gain levels without changing the game balance too much.

But, I don't think it fundamentally addresses the problem of characters with all low stats or the non-human character locked into playing a role that doesn't match their good stats.

Consider the first case, say a character who has 6, 9, 8, 4, 14, 10 as stats. In this case a +1 to a stat actually only immediately helps on the 8, so if they go for that then there is a 84% chance they will get to add +1. So one in six times you do this, the character doesn't even get the bonus. Even if they get that bonus they still have a pretty weak character. That also means that at a table with six players on average you'll have one pretty unhappy camper.

The second case, let's look at the Dwarf with Strength of 5. But, he gets to invoke this rule! So, 95% of the time he gets to move on up to a Strength of 6. That's a bit better. But, why do we want there to be a 5% chance that he doesn't get the bonus again? That's worse than rolling a 1 for your Warrior's hit points when you go up a level, which already sucks.

I like the concept, but I'm not convinced it will solve the objections at the table.


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 Post subject: Re: Character Improvement Options
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:08 pm 
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meinvt wrote:
I like the concept, but I'm not convinced it will solve the objections at the table.


Well at my table the players would just ensure this character is always at the front, praying for a lava bath or stray arrow to "fix" things for them. When they finally get a good character they are really determined to keep them alive.

That's the side effect I like...


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