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Why is point buy so reviled?

   
I also haven't noticed point-buy being reviled. I might find it boring, but as long as I don't have to do it? Please, go ahead and buy off your character instead of rolling him!
And yes, that means I won't say a word against it, either (unless you insist asking).

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Originally Posted by drezdock View Post
I would argue that these OG RP's should have no concept when coming to the table then. Completely roll everything randomly. race, class, skills, feats. all of it. If that is the true showcase then they should show us all how a real pro does it. ;P
I had no idea I'm an OGRP, but that's pretty much exactly what I did last time I played D&D5e...though the goal was to minimize the hassle, actually.
So I rolled stats in order, played whatever the GM suggested would fit and require the least rulebook-checking (there were less books than the number of players), played a human.
Also, we had fun.

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Originally Posted by Dybrar View Post
I will say that having point buy as a literal option, i.e. in addition to rolling for stats, always struck me as a very bad idea. Either everybody is at the mercy of the dice or no one is; anything in-between seems inherently undesirable. I don't doubt that this (rightfully) turns people off, if it is the case.
That's not a turn-off to me. Only two players at that table rolled for stats...the one with the most experience (me) and the one who was playing his first session. Though he arranged his stats to suit a Barbarian!
We all had fun, though.

I think it’s worth observing that there’s a middle ground, in which one rolls at least some elements, and then uses that as a launching pad for one’s imagination. I.e., “rolling” and “concept” aren’t automatically opposed - rolling can be part of the process.

In 5e, I sometimes find that fun, especially in the more kitchen-sinky and generic D&D settings (I’m looking at you, Faerûn). When I’m in that sort of mood, I generally do roll stats in order, and roll at least race and very often also background. It’s the same thing that used to make me really like random lifepath generation, as in Traveller.* In fact, when I’m bored in a car, I take numbers off the license plates of passing vehicles and use them to generate random 5e race/class/background combinations, and imagine what character I would create with that.

It’s not the way I always approach this (and it goes without saying that I don’t think there’s one right way). But there’s nothing wrong with finding rolling for characters to be, you know, fun, from time to time.

*Historically, my problem with Traveller has tended to be that character generation is so amazingly enjoyable for me that the actual game is a bit of a letdown.

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Originally Posted by drezdock View Post
Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't Shadowrun have you point buy race and social status and everything?
I'm not so much up on 5E, but all the earlier editions most certainly did this. 4E (where the majority of my familiarity lies) brings this out right up front with character creation; you have to spend a certain number of build points if you are anything but human. And I remember 2E/3E having that build chart where you had to assign one of the starting...I guess letters is the best term here...to metatype.

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Originally Posted by drezdock View Post
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.
It sounds like a good idea, but how would you go about executing this? How would you make sure that the GM doesn't know how many points the player is spending, or that that players don't know how many points the GM is spending? I could see using this around a table where the number spent is hidden until everyone is ready to reveal. But in PBP, this might not ever work.

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Originally Posted by drezdock View Post
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.
Same here. 2E Vampire is the system I think of first when it comes to "point buy" as you had so many points for each category, and you spent them as you needed to for the character you were creating.

And this last part brings up a thought to me. A lot of people have commented about how you end up with the same kind of character using point buy; you get the same kind of rogue or fighter or wizard as the next guy, with all of them having the same dump stats (such as INT for warrior). Well, isn't the an inherent part of the system being used? Fighters have always been portrayed as being big but a bit dumb, so we've been conditioned a bit to build them that way. And if you had high intelligence, don't you think that the character wouldn't be a fighter anyhow, leaning towards more wizardness?

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Originally Posted by AsenRG View Post
I also haven't noticed point-buy being reviled. I might find it boring, but as long as I don't have to do it?
Do you ever really have to use point-buy? You can always choose to generate randomly any element of your character that you could normally pick. OK, in a sense you are still using point buy - but in terms of the randomness, which is what matters, there's never a requirement to use non-random character generation if you don't want to.

What's silly is requiring random character generation, at least in anything other than some kind of possibly-one-off "let's all generate random characters" kind of game. That can be fun, but asking me to design a character from the ground up who fits some particular story and then forcing me to generate some elements of it randomly seems a bit bizarre.

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Originally Posted by Popestar View Post
And this last part brings up a thought to me. A lot of people have commented about how you end up with the same kind of character using point buy; you get the same kind of rogue or fighter or wizard as the next guy, with all of them having the same dump stats (such as INT for warrior). Well, isn't the an inherent part of the system being used? Fighters have always been portrayed as being big but a bit dumb, so we've been conditioned a bit to build them that way. And if you had high intelligence, don't you think that the character wouldn't be a fighter anyhow, leaning towards more wizardness?
xactly. The problem seems to be more inherent in the system, and the problems that arise from that problem are only symptomatic of a larger issue.
Thats one of the things that I liked when paizo started doing archetypes and stuff, you could go for that high-int fighter or chr based rogue who wasn't that sneaky.
Unfortunately you have to follow very specific build guidelines and stuff to accomplish things that are "outside the norm".
Thats why I find myself building more and more to concept and what would be good tho characterize as of late than to try and optimize things and find good synergies.

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Originally Posted by Popestar View Post
It sounds like a good idea, but how would you go about executing this? How would you make sure that the GM doesn't know how many points the player is spending, or that that players don't know how many points the GM is spending?
Co-GMs are I think the way that it would have to go: one to receive decisions in private text, one to make decisions for NPC opponents.

In En Garde, the dueling system is not point-based, but it’s diceless and works on the same basis of recording one’s moves secretly and revealing them simultaneously. Like “Rock, paper, scissors,” but moved up several notches in complexity.

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A lot of people have commented about how you end up with the same kind of character using point buy; you get the same kind of rogue or fighter or wizard as the next guy, with all of them having the same dump stats (such as INT for warrior). Well, isn't the an inherent part of the system being used? Fighters have always been portrayed as being big but a bit dumb, so we've been conditioned a bit to build them that way. And if you had high intelligence, don't you think that the character wouldn't be a fighter anyhow, leaning towards more wizardness?
I think it’s a bit more than that. The default mode of D&D play encourages specialized party “roles”, and combat as the default activity. Being good at one’s role tends to be defined in mechanical terms as having a high bonus to rolls associated with that role, and (for sound enough reasons of keeping it simple) one stat and one stat only is typically relevant to any roll. What about the things that you’re not good at? The solution to that is to have someone else in the party do them. The focus on combat means that non-combat competencies tend to get squeezed into single roles, so that there is one and only one party lore person, one and only one party
I’ve ranted at excessive length here before about how I think that’s based on an impoverished model of social interaction which - more importantly - is boring in game terms, but I will spare everyone that rant this time.
face, etc. and those characters have those non-combat roles as secondary roles alongside combat roles.

This is OK in face-to-face play, and maybe even a good thing there, because it gives everyone situations in which their character can be the important one. (Or should — insert discussion of higher-level caster supremacy here.)

In PbP, I think it’s a positively bad thing, because specialization means situations in which you don’t think your character has anything to contribute means days or weeks of inactivity means ghosting means game death. PbP works better with generalists, not specialists.

I don't hate point buy on principle, but I do think it 1) limits creativity and 2) pigeonholes you into creating certain characters.

For example, in a 32-point buy game, you wouldn't catch me dead creating a MAD character like a paladin, because he's either going to be really good at one aspect of the class and bad at the others, or just merely OK at everything.

You WILL see me make a SAD or TAD (two-ability-dependent) character like a wizard or a barbarian, who will utterly excel at their specific functions.

I would rather roll, not because I might get better stats, but because the randomness of the stat spread makes me get more creative/ gives me more possibilities in character creation.

Now, if the point buy is more generous, like 36, then I feel better about being able to make effective MAD characters.

So... you won't create a character with suboptimal stats, but you will roll to force yourself to use suboptimal stats?

And actually, in 3.5, an 8 and an 18 cost the same as a 16 and a 14 - so you can have a decent score in a secondary stat for only a one-point drop in your key ability modifier. This is a bit less true when the point buy is lower... but honestly I'm not sure that MAD is as big a deal as people make it out to be anyway. A Monk, for example, gets to add both Dex and Wis to AC - this isn't a dependency, it's a big benefit! It seems though that those classes (Monks, Paladins etc) are all weaker in other ways, too - whereas a Wizard would be pretty potent even with a 14 in Int and can usually afford to pump it because she/he needs so little else.

As for "limits creativity"... having the option to chose how your stats are spread is more limiting than being forced to use a particular array?

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Originally Posted by Voord 99 View Post
I think it’s worth observing that there’s a middle ground, in which one rolls at least some elements, and then uses that as a launching pad for one’s imagination. I.e., “rolling” and “concept” aren’t automatically opposed - rolling can be part of the process.

In 5e, I sometimes find that fun, especially in the more kitchen-sinky and generic D&D settings (I’m looking at you, Faerûn). When I’m in that sort of mood, I generally do roll stats in order, and roll at least race and very often also background. It’s the same thing that used to make me really like random lifepath generation, as in Traveller.* In fact, when I’m bored in a car, I take numbers off the license plates of passing vehicles and use them to generate random 5e race/class/background combinations, and imagine what character I would create with that.

It’s not the way I always approach this (and it goes without saying that I don’t think there’s one right way). But there’s nothing wrong with finding rolling for characters to be, you know, fun, from time to time.

*Historically, my problem with Traveller has tended to be that character generation is so amazingly enjoyable for me that the actual game is a bit of a letdown.
While that's not why I like Traveller, it is in fact one of my all-time favourite systems, so I'm obviously fine with that. And luckily, I've never felt the game to be a letdown!

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Originally Posted by Popestar View Post
It sounds like a good idea, but how would you go about executing this? How would you make sure that the GM doesn't know how many points the player is spending, or that that players don't know how many points the GM is spending? I could see using this around a table where the number spent is hidden until everyone is ready to reveal. But in PBP, this might not ever work.
It does work like that around tables...because it's a standard mechanic for diceless systems.
But yeah, I haven't found a way to adapt it to PbP, either.

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And this last part brings up a thought to me. A lot of people have commented about how you end up with the same kind of character using point buy; you get the same kind of rogue or fighter or wizard as the next guy, with all of them having the same dump stats (such as INT for warrior).
If you get this, then it is a failing of the system you're using. There are many systems that allow you to build a character in more than one "right" way, though...

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Fighters have always been portrayed as being big but a bit dumb, so we've been conditioned a bit to build them that way.
Fighters, dumb?
You and I are reading different books, is all I'm going to say...

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And if you had high intelligence, don't you think that the character wouldn't be a fighter anyhow, leaning towards more wizardness?
Only if you were slow and weak as well...or if you were playing a system which ensures Caster Dominance!

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Originally Posted by TheFred View Post
Do you ever really have to use point-buy? You can always choose to generate randomly any element of your character that you could normally pick. OK, in a sense you are still using point buy - but in terms of the randomness, which is what matters, there's never a requirement to use non-random character generation if you don't want to.
But it kills all the fun (and reverses the benefit of not having to count points, which is one of the main ones for me).

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What's silly is requiring random character generation, at least in anything other than some kind of possibly-one-off "let's all generate random characters" kind of game.
Not at all! You can see a poster expressing displeasure at the mixed approach in this very thread. I don't care, but I can easily see why some people would want the same rules to apply to everyone...

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That can be fun, but asking me to design a character from the ground up who fits some particular story and then forcing me to generate some elements of it randomly seems a bit bizarre.
But if I'm telling you to roll a character, I'm not asking you to design him. I'm asking you to take whatever it is that you rolled, and try to play it as best you can...and then we'll see how you fit in the story. Which I haven't got planned, either.
I'm sure you see the difference?
Also, the part about "anything more than a one-off" makes no sense. You can play long or short term regardless of the chargen method.

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Originally Posted by AsenRG View Post
Also, the part about "anything more than a one-off" makes no sense. You can play long or short term regardless of the chargen method.
That's why I said "possibly-one-off" Personally, the vast majority of times I've rolled characters completely randomly (which is easier said than done in some systems), they've come out as nonsensical and I've wanted to alter some of the randomly-generated decisions to better suit a concept which matches others. Therefore I'm more likely to go in for such a game if it's a less-serious one-shot with a character who may well get thrown away soon... that's not a necessity; the point is simply that sometimes, you might want to play a game where you roll characters randomly, but not always.
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Originally Posted by AsenRG View Post
But it kills all the fun (and reverses the benefit of not having to count points, which is one of the main ones for me).
This probably sounds like an annoyingly argumentative question but I mean it genuinely: Why? What's the fun bit about being made to generate your character randomly?
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Originally Posted by AsenRG View Post
Not at all! You can see a poster expressing displeasure at the mixed approach in this very thread. I don't care, but I can easily see why some people would want the same rules to apply to everyone...
So... all games should use deterministic character generation?

Forcing me to roll is in general bad - if that's somehow part of the design of the game, sure, but for most D&D-style RPGs half the point is to be able to design a character, and random generation is almost anathema to that. Like I said before, sometimes random generation can be fun, but most of the time it's an unnecessary restriction and furthermore rolling only ability scores in D&D is pretty ridiculous.

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Originally Posted by AsenRG View Post
But if I'm telling you to roll a character, I'm not asking you to design him. I'm asking you to take whatever it is that you rolled, and try to play it as best you can...and then we'll see how you fit in the story. Which I haven't got planned, either.
I'm sure you see the difference?
That's rather my point. Saying "let's randomly create characters and have some fun with them" can make for a cool game. However, it's a totally different game to the sort of game that I normally think of when I think RPG. If you ask me to roll a character, play it as best I can, and see how it fits the story... well, sometimes I might be up for that, but sometimes I'm going to say nope, I want to play a regular game please.

The rolling attributes thing in D&D, however, shows up all over the place. People say, this is the setting, this is the hook, these are the parameters within which I want you to build your character... they're asking for a design. But then they say, roll stats! That's bizarre.

Essentially, random character generation writ large has it's place, but it shouldn't be an inherent and mandatory part of the system (at least, not for a typical mainstream RPG... I guess I can envisage systems where it is but, again, they feel more "throwaway") and rolling as a method of stat generation in an otherwise deterministic game is quite frankly insane.








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