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Why is point buy so reviled?

   
I have to agree with the sentiment most provided in this thread:
Point-buy is generally preferred and a lot of the arguments against it tend to fall into a false sense of "playing wrong".

In fact, speaking from experience, point-buy is actually a tool to use against munchkins. How often have we all heard stories of "I totally rolled five 18s for this character!", one of the most classic munchkin things to attempt? Point-buy denies this.

On the 'weave, I mostly see point buy or rolled but point buy or an array as a fallback. There was also a brief few months a few years ago where running "iron rolls" was in vogue. Rolling 3d6 or 4d6r1 in order and making a character based on that. Got some interesting characters in those games, so there can be fun to be had. But, at the same time, they had a lot of people rolling stats and then never touching their app again.

And that last sentence is largely why I'm convinced to go for point buy over rolling. There are many a player who have sat down and wanted to play a class that needs more than one or two good stats and ends up rolling poorly. Even with an array fallback, it just feels bad to be the guy with the lowest stats. And sometimes that array can't support a particular idea, or the point buy forces multiple dump stats for some concepts but not others.

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Originally Posted by TheGreyWulf View Post
Don't get me started! One of them would actually insist on a similar method with every game he joined. Our main DM gave up at some point, and allowed him to create his characters with a random number generator.

Mind you, this was way back in the crunchy D&D 3.5, so he always ended up with a terrible, sub-par PC. To his credit, his OG RP'ing made for some memorable moments. So, I guess there was a method to his madness.
Hey. He practiced what he preached. more power to him. Ive tried it a couple times. Good for some one off stuff, but lacks the whole concept and development thing Im a big fan of.

The biggest argument I can think against point buy (grognards aside) is from people who want to play 3.X APaladins and Monks. Those are classes that require multiple good ability scores, but MAD is a part of a bigger design issue and doesn't stand as a real argument against point buy. I have decided against joining games that forced rolled stats and didn't allow point buy, but I also didn't make a big deal of it when I left.

It does seem there is somewhat of a disdain against the idea of rolling stats, from a perspective that it's not done properly anyway up to something that reads like people who argue for rolling stats being banned and silencing those opinions is a good thing.

I don't think either method is flawless, but as much as I have seen games that have rolling stats with several applications that never progressed after the stat rolls or people asking to reroll, similarly often have I seen games where many characters are cookie cutter types.
My position is that any character and any stat array can work. Of course that depends on the game too, but if people absolutely need a specific bonus or ability to do anything at all, I advocate for the GM to inform the players. (I have been in a game where my character couldn't hurt enemies because she didn't have a magical weapon, so please believe me sometimes it needs saying.)
But I won't deny that I do favor random rolling over point buy. This is for two reasons, one general and one that is personal experience. The personal experience one has to do with min-maxers who always make the same character, take advantage of every abusable thing in the system and kept telling me they could kill my character in a single turn. Yes, that's not the case for everyone, but when I see the cookie-cutter builds I remember that attitude. The more general reason is that, despite efforts on the side of people themselves, there is a general tendency for people to fall into known patterns and create similar characters. That is just how humans are, if the brain notices a thing to work well it will subconciously steer the person towards it. That is why I think rolling randomly can keep things fresh and let people try out things they wouldn't have thought of trying themself.

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Originally Posted by Drome View Post
It does seem there is somewhat of a disdain against the idea of rolling stats, from a perspective that it's not done properly anyway up to something that reads like people who argue for rolling stats being banned and silencing those opinions is a good thing.
I'm sorry if you got that perspective out of my post, because that's not at all what I intended. I was pointing out that we don't see a lot of arguments about this stuff the way we used to. Once upon a time, there was a sizable contingent of people on MW who believed that their preferred way to play D&D was the only right way and everyone who played differently was wrong. Did those people all fall under one preferred playstyle? Oh heck no, which kept the mods quite busy. Seriously, it used to be common to have at least one gaming discussion thread locked in any given month and infractions tossed around like candy (that part is a bit of an assumption based on what the mods said when closing threads). There were certain prolific posters who never quite broke the rules but still exuded such an air of self-righteous superiority that it was annoying even when you more or less agreed with them. Most of the real play style fanatics have either been weeded out or learned to let it go, and that is a good thing, whether they were for or against point buy or rolling stats or whatever their personal bugaboo was doesn't matter, that gaming discussion is a much more civil place these days is only a good thing.

Random character generation can be fun, but it's not always what you want to do. What's most baffling to me about random ability score generation in D&D (or similar games) is that it's just ability scores (well, and starting wealth for L1 - within a fairly narrow range - and sometimes health). Why don't you also roll level, class, race, social standing, etc etc? To my mind, though, the whole idea of an RPG is to be able to create and role-play another character, not to have to go through the realistic lucky dip of life again - I already did that in real life.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raveled View Post
The biggest argument I can think against point buy (grognards aside) is from people who want to play 3.X APaladins and Monks. Those are classes that require multiple good ability scores, but MAD is a part of a bigger design issue and doesn't stand as a real argument against point buy.
Most point buy systems actual encourage a flatter spread because they have increasing costs - though possibly not enough. The Pathfinder-style version actually ups costs a little sooner than the 3.5 version (in either though a 16 and a 10 cost the same as two 14s). I think you hit it with your second statement; rolling stats doesn't really do a lot to address issues about stat and class design, it just maybe hides them a bit behind the fact that you might get screwed over or given a leg up regardless.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veradux View Post
In fact, speaking from experience, point-buy is actually a tool to use against munchkins. How often have we all heard stories of "I totally rolled five 18s for this character!", one of the most classic munchkin things to attempt? Point-buy denies this.
Well, it depends what you mean by "munchkin" - lying about having rolled great stats is just out-and-out cheating. A (somewhat valid) complaint about point-buy is that it allows (maybe even encourages) min/maxing, so almost every Wizard has a high Int but Str and Cha scores of 8, every Fighter has dumped Cha and probably Int too, etc. (min/maxing: literally, minimising one thing you don't care about much in order to be able to maximise something more important).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drome View Post
It does seem there is somewhat of a disdain against the idea of rolling stats, from a perspective that it's not done properly anyway up to something that reads like people who argue for rolling stats being banned and silencing those opinions is a good thing.
Yeah, I don't see where you get this from either. I'm certainly of the opinion that a) rolling stats is, well, pretty stupid, and b) it should largely be consigned to the wastebin of history, especially in more modern systems. I don't see why I would ban people who like to roll stats, though... I'd consider them to be a bit silly, maybe, but so what? Lots of people are silly.

I don't buy (ha!) the argument that being able to choose and plan ones ability scores leads to similar characters. I'm in a Fate game right now that has a quick-to-anger gunslinger, a conman masquerading as a doctor (+1 Medic, but +4 and +3 on social skills!) a full-of-himself engineer with a swarm of self-congratulating drones, and an idealistic, pacifist starship pilot. Everyone chose to play those characters with those skills. Nothing was determined randomly; I even chose to have my gunslinger be a southpaw because it seemed more flavorful.

Now if the problem is with "everyone plays the same kind of Rogue" or "everyone plays the same kind of Cleric," then I'd suggest that the issue is more with game systems that only reward playing a certain kind of Rogue or a certain kind of Cleric rather than point buy ability scores creating the same characters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFred View Post
Random character generation can be fun, but it's not always what you want to do. What's most baffling to me about random ability score generation in D&D (or similar games) is that it's just ability scores (well, and starting wealth for L1 - within a fairly narrow range - and sometimes health). Why don't you also roll level, class, race, social standing, etc etc? To my mind, though, the whole idea of an RPG is to be able to create and role-play another character, not to have to go through the realistic lucky dip of life again - I already did that in real life.
Interestingly, I have a lot easier time accepting random generation in games like Runequest and Pendragon where EVERYTHING is randomly generated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leons1701 View Post
I'm sorry if you got that perspective out of my post, because that's not at all what I intended.
I apologize for having misunderstood and thank you for clearing that up. To explain a little, it was not just your comment, but the accompanying sentiment heavily represented in the whole thread about rolling stats being bad or wrong, that made me curious if the opposing side just got booted out. Again, thanks you for clearing that up.

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On the other things mentioned in the thread. I feel that things are being presented in a rather skewed way. The exaggeration that stat-roll enthusiasts should be for rolling everything else too would be the equivalent of saying that those liking point buy should want to point buy their age, race, class and social status, or why they even roll for their attacks, they should point buy them. While I believe there are many systems out there with varying degrees of customisation and randomness accompanied by people with varying degrees of preferred randomness, all this started out as is one set of rolls more or less, so we should stay on that topic, since exaggerations like that don't actually represent the other side fairly and by that don't really help either case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drome View Post
The exaggeration that stat-roll enthusiasts should be for rolling everything else too would be the equivalent of saying that those liking point buy should want to point buy their age, race, class and social status, or why they even roll for their attacks, they should point buy them.
Thing is, this essentially is what is being suggested... or at least, not point buy exactly, but deterministic, player-chosen generation. Point buy is just a specific way of doing that, but these's no meaningful difference between the way in D&D 3.5 (for example) you have points to spend on ability scores, points to spend on skill points, and a single feat to chose at L1 or a set number of spells known. However, rolling is different, because it's random.

(Some systems, of course, are entirely point-based - Eclipse Phase mostly is, and I think GURPS or whatever? There are pros and cons to this but they are rather orthogonal to the current discussion - the point is the distinction between random and non-random, not point buy specifically)

There's also an argument against randomness in games at all, though personally I think it's trumped by the argument that non-random games are kind of silly (I'll find that quote from The Player of Games if I can be bothered )... then again, aren't all games? Anyway, I digress. The point I want to make is that there's a difference again between ephemeral, fire-and-forget random events and random inherent statistics. Typically in an RPG (certainly of this type), I choose who my character is but not how successful they are or how the rest of the world reacts to them. Therefore, I pick their race, class, name etc, build them according to some rules, but I then roll for attacks and damage, or the DM rolls to see whether they survive my spells or whatever.

(Though actually, some systems might have concepts like "luck" which is "paid for" at character creation but can affect or obviate rolls in-game... though actually, is this philosophically any different to paying for better stats or similar which then give a bigger bonus on those attacks later? Things like attack rolls are already only partially random, after all)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drome View Post
The exaggeration that stat-roll enthusiasts should be for rolling everything else too would be the equivalent of saying that those liking point buy should want to point buy their age, race, class and social status, or why they even roll for their attacks, they should point buy them.
Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't Shadowrun have you point buy race and social status and everything? And a point buy combat system might be interesting. Have a pool of action points. have to blind bid / spend a number to perform action. enemy blind bids / spends to defend. Winner does the thing. Might be kind of kewl.

I think My bias comes from playing mostly oWoD growing up. Everyone had the same points and depending on how u spent them on everything two diff people would wind up with wildly diff chars.







 

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