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MalachiBlack

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Why is that kind of character building a bad thing?

 

To me, it isn't a question of good or bad. It's what you and your group like. In my experience, excessive minmaxing leads to bland characters without much variety on the fluff level. I'm not saying that this relationship is set in stone, but in my thirteen years of roleplaying, it was the exception that would strive to minmax to a maximum and have a brilliant background & roleplaying routine.

 

The fact that the dice give you something a bit random, encourages players to think outside the box, trying to find a way to work the random stats in their background or roleplaying.

 

However, I'm sure there are lots of people who prefer playing a hack and slash game, where minmaxing is essential to stay alive. I'm not judging those games "bad", but it's not the kind of thing I'd like to play.

 

Also, what's the point in having stats that aren't nicely rounded?

"It looks less similar"?

What would that matter?

 

It doesn't matter one bit and I agree that rounded stats are easier to use during play. However, it's something you take when you go for randomly rolled stats, but I could imagine a system where you roll and you round up or down the random number to the closest decimal or "5" digit.

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Also, what's the point in having stats that aren't nicely rounded?

"It looks less similar"?

What would that matter?

 

I'm not sure how that's relevant or why there'd be some bigger point in having stats that are nicely rounded. I don't see what you're getting at, really.

WH40kRP already suffers somewhat from individual points not mattering enough, for a number of reasons. I don't see a reason to exacerbate that.

 

To me, it isn't a question of good or bad. It's what you and your group like. In my experience, excessive minmaxing leads to bland characters without much variety on the fluff level. I'm not saying that this relationship is set in stone, but in my thirteen years of roleplaying, it was the exception that would strive to minmax to a maximum and have a brilliant background & roleplaying routine.

The fact that the dice give you something a bit random, encourages players to think outside the box, trying to find a way to work the random stats in their background or roleplaying.

However, I'm sure there are lots of people who prefer playing a hack and slash game, where minmaxing is essential to stay alive. I'm not judging those games "bad", but it's not the kind of thing I'd like to play.

So much this. I know how I get myself, when I have no reason to roll for stats. I come up with an awesome background and character, and then little by little I find myself rationalizing or even revamping to get the most out of everything while staying as true to the concept as possible, sometimes ending up discarding it because I know I won't be able to keep up with my concept.

I've seen it time and time again. There isn't anything inherently wrong with point-buy or min-maxing, nor did I ever say that there was; it's just not my cup of tea and that's why I dislike point-buy, that's really all there is to it.

I much prefer to have a degree of randomness to the stats, if only to make the statline(s) more "human" or approachable, or to be able to work with a concept without feeling like something is holding it back or that the concept needs to be reworked because it doesn't line up very well with how I'm pushed to spread the points based on my career.

Both statlines and rolling forces you to make do with what you have, the ups and downs of life, and try to balance out the good with the bad. Just makes it feel more 'alive' I guess. This might tie in with the fact that I have no problems at all with multiple careers/archetypes/specializations in the same group; with point-buy, the odds that everyone of a certain 'class' will end up with near-identical characteristics is nearly a given.

Edited by Fgdsfg

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I brought it up because you said 

 

 

Point-buy allows you to fully max out whatever you want and place all points at given brackets - such as no-one will ever have a Toughness not dividable by 5, etc

and it's a common argument, which I really don't understand. 
I'm used to GURPS, where my five players all have almost the same stats: 
Str 10, Dex 10/11, Int 11/12, Health 9/10
yet their characters are very very different in fluff and in play. That's all.

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I also don't really see how random rolling actually prevents player tendency to min-max, beyond giving them a possible harder (or easier!) starting point. That randomness is also not actually encouraging players to create their OWN concepts, merely concepts that are at the whim of the device. Many of the possible "concepts" players can roll may turn out to be unsupported by the rest of the rules, or even just plain inferior. I can see an argument for having to roll randomly for the concept you're using, but DH is having people roll randomly for HOW GOOD certain concepts are. This leaves players to try and decide what the best concept is, with varying degrees of success, or even to realize that all of their concepts are going to suck in comparison to a luckier player. Characteristics in this game have far less to do with character concept than talents, skills, and backgrounds do, beyond telling you how good you are at certain things. Random rolling for those is not encouraging concept creativity so much as it makes people have to figure out how to salvage a bad set of rolls or basking in the glow of a good set of rolls. 10 rolls made at the beginning of the game should not offer you the chance to acquire or lose 5-10 sessions worth of advances right away.

Also, I've always felt like this is ignoring the fact that most people who are good at one thing tend to be good others. Intelligent people tend to be healthier, and better in conversation. Health is divided up into 3 different stats, even though the majority of people who are strong also tend to be tough and fairly agile. People who are intelligent tend to be perceptive and likely stronger willed. Really, this is getting more into a rant about ability scores tending to be crap most of the time, though.

Edit:

If you're allowing multiple people of the same role and they all pick the exact same thing, that seems like a problem where the system encourages one true way of doing things best. In addition, this seems like less of an issue if they're playing different people with different personalities. I'm also curious why people who seem to be so lax normally on how mechanics affect gameplay are so adamant that in this case having identical stats will mess up the game. This, while ignoring whether one player having worse stats than another will affect the game.

Why is it bad for two characters to have identical stats from point buy but okay for one to have worse stats than the other from random rolling?

Edited by Nimsim

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I brought it up because you said 

Point-buy allows you to fully max out whatever you want and place all points at given brackets - such as no-one will ever have a Toughness not dividable by 5, etc

and it's a common argument, which I really don't understand. 

I'm used to GURPS, where my five players all have almost the same stats: 

Str 10, Dex 10/11, Int 11/12, Health 9/10

yet their characters are very very different in fluff and in play. That's all.

Well in GURPS, that could mean anything. For all I know, one is a cactus, the second is a blob of eyes and the third.. whatever, you know what I mean. It also has a lower range, meaning that it's more likely to lump characters into generally the same stats. I think it (GURPS) is a fairly bad basis for comparison.

But if your players are all - ability-wise, skills-wise, "class", etc - pretty much playing the same (or same-built) characters, but still manage to pull off vastly different experiences in fluff and play, then that's great. But I still prefer to have characteristically and mechanically diverse characters, even when they are built around the same general concept or role.

Are there other ways than with characteristics? Of course, and I'd be surprised if your players aren't taking advantage of that, but that's really beside the point.

Edited by Fgdsfg

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To me, it isn't a question of good or bad. It's what you and your group like. In my experience, excessive minmaxing leads to bland characters without much variety on the fluff level. I'm not saying that this relationship is set in stone, but in my thirteen years of roleplaying, it was the exception that would strive to minmax to a maximum and have a brilliant background & roleplaying routine.

 

 

 

My experience has been totally different, to the point I can say that for me would be impossible to draw any parallel between how optimized a character is and how well role-played a character is . I've seen weak characters with both bad and awesome stories, and powerful characters with both bad and awesome stories in equal measure.

Personally, I view optimization as a tool to achieve your character concept. Optimization helps 'Dave the Dragonslayer' to be able to actually slay dragons, not just talk about the dragons he slew in his backstory.

 

 

I much prefer to have a degree of randomness to the stats, if only to make the statline(s) more "human" or approachable, or to be able to work with a concept without feeling like something is holding it back or that the concept needs to be reworked because it doesn't line up very well with how I'm pushed to spread the points based on my career.

 

 

How is that any different from feeling the random stats you have are holding the concept back or having to rework it because it doesn't line up very well with the random stats you have?

 

Random stat generation (or even fixed array) limits the character concepts one could play quite a bit (Some concepts benefit from an even spread of stats, others from a few high stats and it's usually impossible to meet both in the same stat array). Not saying this is bad, it's just not everyone's cup of tea. Definitely not mine.

Edited by LordBlades

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I also don't really see how random rolling actually prevents player tendency to min-max, beyond giving them a possible harder (or easier!) starting point. That randomness is also not actually encouraging players to create their OWN concepts, merely concepts that are at the whim of the device. Many of the possible "concepts" players can roll may turn out to be unsupported by the rest of the rules, or even just plain inferior. I can see an argument for having to roll randomly for the concept you're using, but DH is having people roll randomly for HOW GOOD certain concepts are. This leaves players to try and decide what the best concept is, with varying degrees of success, or even to realize that all of their concepts are going to suck in comparison to a luckier player.

I agree on the fact that random rolling doesn't prevent minmaxing. A player who wants to minmax will always find a way, so you're right that it gives him/her a possibly harder starting point.

 

Perhaps I should clarify a few things that I assume. These assumptions are personal and if one doesn't share them, I'm pretty sure, he or she will decide to do things differently:

 

1. Factoring in the fact that players can assign their ability scores, helps players to realize their concept, but limits them in the way they are the stereotype of that concept.

2. If one of my players really is nerfed by the dice, I'll allow a reroll. Luck will always be part of the game but starting with stats that are consistently below average, are a downer for most players. With 9 stats to roll though, most of the times statistics are at my side and they give a nice spread of numbers.

 

 

Edit:

If you're allowing multiple people of the same role and they all pick the exact same thing, that seems like a problem where the system encourages one true way of doing things best. In addition, this seems like less of an issue if they're playing different people with different personalities. I'm also curious why people who seem to be so lax normally on how mechanics affect gameplay are so adamant that in this case having identical stats will mess up the game. This, while ignoring whether one player having worse stats than another will affect the game.

Why is it bad for two characters to have identical stats from point buy but okay for one to have worse stats than the other from random rolling

 

I don't think I would have a problem with two players sharing the same stats. I would have a problem with two players sharing the same concept. 

 

My main issue with point buy is that minmaxing players will arrive with stereotyped characters, genre the ork barbarian with a strength of 50, but a fellowship of 10. Most of the times those characters don't tribute much to the game, besides breaking the game because every single combat encounter that is challenging for the remainder of the characters, is a walk in the park for the minmaxer.

Edited by Librarian Astelan

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1. How is random rolling with free distribution 'helping people achieve a concept' when there's always a chance that what you roll doesn't fit (or even allow) the concept?

2. How is the stereotypical ork barbarian with a strength of 50, but a fellowship of 10 meaningfully different from the ork barbarian with a strength of 47 and a fellowship of 13 you.got from random rolling?

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I also don't really see how random rolling actually prevents player tendency to min-max, beyond giving them a possible harder (or easier!) starting point. That randomness is also not actually encouraging players to create their OWN concepts, merely concepts that are at the whim of the device. Many of the possible "concepts" players can roll may turn out to be unsupported by the rest of the rules, or even just plain inferior. I can see an argument for having to roll randomly for the concept you're using, but DH is having people roll randomly for HOW GOOD certain concepts are. This leaves players to try and decide what the best concept is, with varying degrees of success, or even to realize that all of their concepts are going to suck in comparison to a luckier player.

I agree on the fact that random rolling doesn't prevent minmaxing. A player who wants to minmax will always find a way, so you're right that it gives him/her a possibly harder starting point.

 

Perhaps I should clarify a few things that I assume. These assumptions are personal and if one doesn't share them, I'm pretty sure, he or she will decide to do things differently:

 

1. Factoring in the fact that players can assign their ability scores, helps players to realize their concept, but limits them in the way they are the stereotype of that concept.

2. If one of my players really is nerfed by the dice, I'll allow a reroll. Luck will always be part of the game but starting with stats that are consistently below average, are a downer for most players. With 9 stats to roll though, most of the times statistics are at my side and they give a nice spread of numbers.

 

 

1. I would imagine that the player's concept of what their concept is would be the cause of it being a stereotype. If the player decides that their character concept should have certain scores in certain things, then that is their concept. Sometimes that will overlap with a stereotype. Sometimes not. If you think their character is a stereotype and are judging them for want they want to play, you should try talking to them rather than make them roll dice until you're both satisfied. This isn't an assumption so much as you disliking your players' character concepts.

2. Or you could use a system that doesn't have a built in ability to waste yours and your players time. It boggles my mind that people would see a system that can result in unusable outputs and act like it is not broken. In what other industry is it an acceptable standard for something to just not work a certain amount of the time? This isn't a matter of it costing too much to fix and requiring an actuary; it's a matter of sticking with archaic rules for contrived reasons.

 

 

 

Edit:

If you're allowing multiple people of the same role and they all pick the exact same thing, that seems like a problem where the system encourages one true way of doing things best. In addition, this seems like less of an issue if they're playing different people with different personalities. I'm also curious why people who seem to be so lax normally on how mechanics affect gameplay are so adamant that in this case having identical stats will mess up the game. This, while ignoring whether one player having worse stats than another will affect the game.

Why is it bad for two characters to have identical stats from point buy but okay for one to have worse stats than the other from random rolling

 

I don't think I would have a problem with two players sharing the same stats. I would have a problem with two players sharing the same concept. 

 

My main issue with point buy is that minmaxing players will arrive with stereotyped characters, genre the ork barbarian with a strength of 50, but a fellowship of 10. Most of the times those characters don't tribute much to the game, besides breaking the game because every single combat encounter that is challenging for the remainder of the characters, is a walk in the park for the minmaxer.

 

 

So if your problem is with sharing a concept, then how would random rolling fix this? How would point buy exacerbate this? Again, the points are being spent on how good someone is at a concept. If a player wants to play genre the barbarian, you're basically just having him be worse at doing what he wants. You may say that this player isn't contributing much to the game, but chances are that the game isn't contributing much to him other than combat. Again, this comes from the rest of the system boiling down to "make a roll to see whether you do what you want with a high chance for failure." Minmaxing a character is often the only enjoyable part of a game system itself, as playing the actual game tends to be pretty boring (roll, miss, roll, hit, roll, hit, roll, miss, roll, miss, roll, miss, roll, miss). 

 

As for unbalanced game encounters, this is again a flaw in the design of the game coming up, which allows for such large power differentials in players. It's also not a coincidence that 4th edition D&D, one of the only roleplaying games designed around strictly balanced and challenging encounters, used point buy rather than random rolling.

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1. How is random rolling with free distribution 'helping people achieve a concept' when there's always a chance that what you roll doesn't fit (or even allow) the concept?

2. How is the stereotypical ork barbarian with a strength of 50, but a fellowship of 10 meaningfully different from the ork barbarian with a strength of 47 and a fellowship of 13 you.got from random rolling?

 

1. You have to roll pretty abysmal to make impossible your concept from the start. And as I said before, I'd allow a player to re-roll if his results are consistently under average. 

I could argue that in point buy there is also a fat chance that some concepts won't be possible. If I want the super intelligent, mega perceptive, smooth talking, swashbuckling, dual-wielding desperado, chances are that with the points I get to invest in stats, I'll still be pretty disappointed, because maxing out intelligence, perception, fellowship, weapon skill, strength and ballistic skill is pretty much out of the question.

To take this argument a bit further to show that point buy isn't the solution for "stats following concept" (but I'm not really advocating this): One could say that with random rolling you have more chance to fulfill this kind of character because with a lucky streak, you might just get 6 rolls that are above average.

 

2. In your example, I agree, those three points of stats swapped out won't make a difference. However, if I compare these two ork barbarians (and I know I'm exaggerating):

 

WS: 50; BS: 20; S: 50; T: 50; Ag: 50; Int: 20; Per: 20; WP: 20; Fel: 15

 

WS: 48; BS: 31; S: 38; T: 33; Ag: 42; Int: 29; Per: 25; WP: 22; Fel: 15

 

I believe that the second line would at least challenge the player to do something with his 29 intelligence. It would break the simple, one dimensional characters that I don't like to see at my table (but again, I concede that this isn't a guarantee for multidimensional characters, nor is it a must for everybody).

 

 

I agree on the fact that random rolling doesn't prevent minmaxing. A player who wants to minmax will always find a way, so you're right that it gives him/her a possibly harder starting point.

 

Perhaps I should clarify a few things that I assume. These assumptions are personal and if one doesn't share them, I'm pretty sure, he or she will decide to do things differently:

 

1. Factoring in the fact that players can assign their ability scores, helps players to realize their concept, but limits them in the way they are the stereotype of that concept.

2. If one of my players really is nerfed by the dice, I'll allow a reroll. Luck will always be part of the game but starting with stats that are consistently below average, are a downer for most players. With 9 stats to roll though, most of the times statistics are at my side and they give a nice spread of numbers.

 

1. I would imagine that the player's concept of what their concept is would be the cause of it being a stereotype. If the player decides that their character concept should have certain scores in certain things, then that is their concept. Sometimes that will overlap with a stereotype. Sometimes not. If you think their character is a stereotype and are judging them for want they want to play, you should try talking to them rather than make them roll dice until you're both satisfied. This isn't an assumption so much as you disliking your players' character concepts.

2. Or you could use a system that doesn't have a built in ability to waste yours and your players time. It boggles my mind that people would see a system that can result in unusable outputs and act like it is not broken. In what other industry is it an acceptable standard for something to just not work a certain amount of the time? This isn't a matter of it costing too much to fix and requiring an actuary; it's a matter of sticking with archaic rules for contrived reasons.

 

 

1. You're right again that the concept is at the basis of stereotype characters. However, giving the player access to a point buy system only enables his wish to create this one dimensional character. Handing him random stats, is only one way to encourage the player to come up with different attitudes, behaviours, quirks than "me smash things, 'cuz me big and they small".

I also agree that my wish as a GM to play with multidimensional characters should be communicated before we even start playing. However, minmaxing is in everyone's blood. It's the exception to the rule to find a player who romps around with a weak character. Even if you have clearly stated the objective, the attraction of the dark side minmaxing is powerful. 

 

2. Although I hate to admit it, I find dice-rolling fun. So do my players. I guess I didn't mucked about enough with those thingies when I was little. Moreover, and more importantly, if I don't like these optimized statbuilds (or an even distribution of stats for that matter - because a player can't make decisions), point buy will disappoint me too, time and again. Which results in point buy being just as much a broken system as random rolling (according to your criterium).

 

 

 

Edit:

If you're allowing multiple people of the same role and they all pick the exact same thing, that seems like a problem where the system encourages one true way of doing things best. In addition, this seems like less of an issue if they're playing different people with different personalities. I'm also curious why people who seem to be so lax normally on how mechanics affect gameplay are so adamant that in this case having identical stats will mess up the game. This, while ignoring whether one player having worse stats than another will affect the game.

Why is it bad for two characters to have identical stats from point buy but okay for one to have worse stats than the other from random rolling

 

I don't think I would have a problem with two players sharing the same stats. I would have a problem with two players sharing the same concept. 

 

My main issue with point buy is that minmaxing players will arrive with stereotyped characters, genre the ork barbarian with a strength of 50, but a fellowship of 10. Most of the times those characters don't tribute much to the game, besides breaking the game because every single combat encounter that is challenging for the remainder of the characters, is a walk in the park for the minmaxer.

 

 

So if your problem is with sharing a concept, then how would random rolling fix this? How would point buy exacerbate this? Again, the points are being spent on how good someone is at a concept. If a player wants to play genre the barbarian, you're basically just having him be worse at doing what he wants. You may say that this player isn't contributing much to the game, but chances are that the game isn't contributing much to him other than combat. Again, this comes from the rest of the system boiling down to "make a roll to see whether you do what you want with a high chance for failure." Minmaxing a character is often the only enjoyable part of a game system itself, as playing the actual game tends to be pretty boring (roll, miss, roll, hit, roll, hit, roll, miss, roll, miss, roll, miss, roll, miss). 

 

As for unbalanced game encounters, this is again a flaw in the design of the game coming up, which allows for such large power differentials in players. It's also not a coincidence that 4th edition D&D, one of the only roleplaying games designed around strictly balanced and challenging encounters, used point buy rather than random rolling.

 

1. Random rolling in itself won't fix the sharing a concept by itself. However, most of my players start with a vague kind of concept in their head. The random rolls often make sure that even though two players had the same concept to start with (gunslinger) end up with very different things at the end, for example a desperado gunslinger and an arbites gunslinger. Random rolling doesn't prevent people from creating a concept. I believe it helps them to flesh out that concept and think of things they didn't imagine before they even came to the table.

 

2. I'm a bit worried when you say that minmaxing is the only enjoyable part of the game. if you believe rolling and seeing what the results are is boring, someone is doing something wrong. In my games I strive to give meaning to those rolls. So an attack that just missed, isn't simply "you miss", but is more like "your sword grazes the heretic's tainted armour, carving a thin stripe through the disturbingly symbol of an eight peaked star". 

 

3. Are you gonna argue that you won't be able to create unbalanced characters with point buy? In D&D? Since you can create horribly weak characters with point buy too, I doubt this is the solution for avoiding unbalanced encounters. If one of your player uses point buy to create a hyper sage that has not a single ability to do damage in combat, you'll find that running balanced encounters will still be running havoc.

 

 

I don't think either system can exclude minmaxing. I just believe that minmaxing is more common in point buy systems, which is only a problem because in my experience, players who start minmaxing, forget about the fluff and cause imbalances in the group because other players don't minmax. That's why every single thing that helps my players to avoid minmaxing in the extreme, is a good thing for my games. 

Edited by Librarian Astelan

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Thing is with point buy the playwr knows beforehand what concepts are possible and what aren't. Moreover it's equal for everyone. With rolling there is no point in thinking about a character concept before you roll, which IMO is bad (as the system forces you to think mechanics first).

On the ork barbarian example. First of all the 'rolled' array killed a lot of the 'barbarian' (strong and tough brutal warrior)concept. You now have a guy that, despite being an ork barbarian is no stronger or tougher than the average Joe Human (SB and TB of 3). For that he gets 29 Int. Odds are he won't buy many Int skill advances because it doesn't fit the barbarian concept. This means he'll still have to be very lucky to succed on anything int-based. Not saying the 'rolled' array isn't interesting but it has trouble fitting the barbarian concept.

Edited by LordBlades

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If that strength and toughness are that important to the character, he could easily swap out the 42 Ag with one of those. After he spends some of his starting xp, his stats could even more resemble the concept he thought of. 

 

It's all about making choices, just like you make choices in point buy (where you have a limited number of points to distribute, so high WS, S & T might be difficult to attain there too).

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If that strength and toughness are that important to the character, he could easily swap out the 42 Ag with one of those. After he spends some of his starting xp, his stats could even more resemble the concept he thought of.  It's all about making choices, just like you make choices in point buy (where you have a limited number of points to distribute, so high WS, S & T might be difficult to attain there too).

Except the array you presented makes it impossible to obtain a character that is, at the same time stronger, tougher and better with a blade than the average human. If that's a concept I'm going for (fully achievable through point buy and not that absurd, most warriors in any age had better physical fitness and arms skill than a random dude off the street) then rolling those numbers makes it imposible to pull off.

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I suppose that with point buy you can more easily create stronger characters. It all depends on how many points you give your players to distribute. If you want to make this kind of (strong) character, I agree that point buy is the way to go. You could start with rerolling of the lowest (x) result(s), but then you get a system which Nimsim described as broken and a waste of time (and I would have to agree with him on that). 

Edited by Librarian Astelan

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I suppose that with point buy you can more easily create stronger characters. It all depends on how many points you give your players to distribute. If you want to make this kind of (strong) character, I agree that point buy is the way to go. You could start with rerolling of the lowest (x) result(s), but then you get a system which Nimsim described as broken and a waste of time (and I would have to agree with him on that).

If point buy allows for stronger characters or not is debatable and depends on how the point buy stands vs. rolling for a given system.

What pointbuy allows you to do is customise your character to fit your concept rather than having to customize the concept to fit the rolls.

I am also a firm believer that breaking the game on purpose is a player issue and should be tackled out of game.

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1. You have to roll pretty abysmal to make impossible your concept from the start. And as I said before, I'd allow a player to re-roll if his results are consistently under average. 

I could argue that in point buy there is also a fat chance that some concepts won't be possible. If I want the super intelligent, mega perceptive, smooth talking, swashbuckling, dual-wielding desperado, chances are that with the points I get to invest in stats, I'll still be pretty disappointed, because maxing out intelligence, perception, fellowship, weapon skill, strength and ballistic skill is pretty much out of the question.

To take this argument a bit further to show that point buy isn't the solution for "stats following concept" (but I'm not really advocating this): One could say that with random rolling you have more chance to fulfill this kind of character because with a lucky streak, you might just get 6 rolls that are above average.

 

2. In your example, I agree, those three points of stats swapped out won't make a difference. However, if I compare these two ork barbarians (and I know I'm exaggerating):

 

WS: 50; BS: 20; S: 50; T: 50; Ag: 50; Int: 20; Per: 20; WP: 20; Fel: 15

 

WS: 48; BS: 31; S: 38; T: 33; Ag: 42; Int: 29; Per: 25; WP: 22; Fel: 15

 

I believe that the second line would at least challenge the player to do something with his 29 intelligence. It would break the simple, one dimensional characters that I don't like to see at my table (but again, I concede that this isn't a guarantee for multidimensional characters, nor is it a must for everybody).

 

 

1. You're basically saying "well what if someone's concept is 'my character is really good at everything?'" Yes, this concept is not possible with most point buy systems. Yes, it is technically possible in a random roll system. Still, that is not really much of a character concept in spite of how often it shows up with genre (especially fantasy) fiction protagonists. Does anyone really want this character in their game? It really seems like less of a concept and more of a reward for being lucky. You're also doing the "but I'm not really advocating this" argument in order to make a claim that point buy limits concepts, even though you yourself don't believe in the point you're making.

 

2. I look at that and just see the ork barbarian going "oh hey, I'll be slightly better at Int rolls. Welp, back to spending all my xp on extra wounds and battle abilities. It's not "breaking" the one dimensional character in any way. It's not offering the character any benefit for going outside of his concept, especially given how the rest of the character development rules work. Your claim that the state block would break/challenge the concept is, in my opinion, completely false.

 

 

 

 

1. You're right again that the concept is at the basis of stereotype characters. However, giving the player access to a point buy system only enables his wish to create this one dimensional character. Handing him random stats, is only one way to encourage the player to come up with different attitudes, behaviours, quirks than "me smash things, 'cuz me big and they small".

I also agree that my wish as a GM to play with multidimensional characters should be communicated before we even start playing. However, minmaxing is in everyone's blood. It's the exception to the rule to find a player who romps around with a weak character. Even if you have clearly stated the objective, the attraction of the dark side minmaxing is powerful. 

 

2. Although I hate to admit it, I find dice-rolling fun. So do my players. I guess I didn't mucked about enough with those thingies when I was little. Moreover, and more importantly, if I don't like these optimized statbuilds (or an even distribution of stats for that matter - because a player can't make decisions), point buy will disappoint me too, time and again. Which results in point buy being just as much a broken system as random rolling (according to your criterium).

 

 

1. In the same way that point buy enables a player to make a minmaxed concept (and it technically doesn't enable it, it just makes them better at that concept, at least in the DH system), random rolling also disables players from making their concept (or from being good at it). Random rolling cannot be fixed to allow players for freedom of concept in the same way that point buy can be modified to prevent minmaxed concepts. It's a lot easier to say "you have to spend at least X points in each stat and a maximum of Y in each of them" than "roll tons and tons of dice until you get what you want, and maybe reroll all of them if that doesn't work, and then maybe reroll again until it's right, and then just lie about it if your GM isn't watching because who the hell cares."

 

And I would say that the attraction of "being able to do well at the game/part of the game that you like" is powerful because, welp, the game does not reward being bad in any way, shape, or form. For that, you're relying on a GM or player capable of telling a really good story, or for the GM to give a bunch of mechanical or narrative benefits to the weak character. Minmaxing isn't the problem so much as failure being boring is the problem.

 

2. But the thing is that random rolling can result in an optimized stat build just the same way that point buy can. The chances of it are actually fairly high, because point buy assumes mostly average dice rolls. Do you reject the stat block then? Or do you decide it's okay because "well it was random and not chosen and randomness can't minmax." If that's the case, you would effectively just be trying to deny your players agency/choice in what they want to do with their character. And, as I said above, they have good reasons for wanting to do that.

 

 

 

1. Random rolling in itself won't fix the sharing a concept by itself. However, most of my players start with a vague kind of concept in their head. The random rolls often make sure that even though two players had the same concept to start with (gunslinger) end up with very different things at the end, for example a desperado gunslinger and an arbites gunslinger. Random rolling doesn't prevent people from creating a concept. I believe it helps them to flesh out that concept and think of things they didn't imagine before they even came to the table.

 

2. I'm a bit worried when you say that minmaxing is the only enjoyable part of the game. if you believe rolling and seeing what the results are is boring, someone is doing something wrong. In my games I strive to give meaning to those rolls. So an attack that just missed, isn't simply "you miss", but is more like "your sword grazes the heretic's tainted armour, carving a thin stripe through the disturbingly symbol of an eight peaked star". 

 

3. Are you gonna argue that you won't be able to create unbalanced characters with point buy? In D&D? Since you can create horribly weak characters with point buy too, I doubt this is the solution for avoiding unbalanced encounters. If one of your player uses point buy to create a hyper sage that has not a single ability to do damage in combat, you'll find that running balanced encounters will still be running havoc.

 

 

I don't think either system can exclude minmaxing. I just believe that minmaxing is more common in point buy systems, which is only a problem because in my experience, players who start minmaxing, forget about the fluff and cause imbalances in the group because other players don't minmax. That's why every single thing that helps my players to avoid minmaxing in the extreme, is a good thing for my games. 

 

 

1. Random rolling directly prevents a concept if the player rolls **** for the stats they want to be good at. I've had this argument before on this forum, but the players are still playing a game, and the game leads the players down certain optimal choices to the point where those no longer become choices and are just the options they need to take. Basic game theory stuff, but in essence, assuming players want their characters to succeed, they will only take the choices that contribute most to this for the least cost.

 

You can easily add restrictions to point buy that force people to modify certain concepts, and you as a GM have the prerogative to veto certain stat builds out of the gate for players. Again, random rolling is just a way of taking away actual choice from the players in how good their character concept will be.

 

2. The actual gameplay part of the game, not the story, tends to be pretty **** boring in most rpgs. The only enjoyable part of the gameplay in most of them is actually creating a character. The story surrounding the game may be pretty good, but the gameplay itself tends to not be. The rules in dark heresy don't really do anything to encourage or help make failure very interesting, and even success can get to be boring in combat (okay he took 7 damage....who's next?). You can add description and so on to make up for the boring gameplay, but that doesn't change the crappy gameplay. There is a reason why video game rpgs have moved their gameplay well away from their original D&D-based roots.

 

3. 4th Edition D&D is well-designed enough that you could take pretty much any character of any class and any build and have them be successful and effective in level-appropriate fights. They may not be as effective as others, and some characters are going to be much better than others, but there is a baseline level of competence for everyone. The reason for this rests on them heavily designing the game based on math and numbers rather than "feels right."

 

And 4th Edition D&D went with the fact that most players seemed to spend most of their time in D&D doing combat and seemed to enjoy that most, so that's where most of the rules are. You can't make a sage with no combat abilities, because everyone gets combat abilities. Non-combat is a little more eh, but there is some effort to give everyone parity, especially in regards to non-combat spells, which all classes have access to in the form of rituals.

 

4. I mean, I see how you're defining minmaxing, and it seems to come down to "my player doing what he wants instead of what I want." The difference is that random rolling makes it "my player may get what he wants or may not, and I am okay with this either way (?) or will graciously allow him to try getting what he wants again"

 

You see a minmaxing player who doesn't care about fluff, and I see someone who wants to engage the gameplay more than the roleplaying. I'm sure you don't have a problem with a player who wants to do the opposite of that, so why the issue with the player wanting to do more gameplay? I would posit that the reason is because the game part of most of the rpgs you've played isn't that well designed, thus leading to both sides being dissatisfied with what's going on.

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