Corefinder Design Digest #1: Rolling for Stats – or Not!

This material was posted on patreon by Legendary Games

Today is the first day of Operation Corefinder on the Legendary Games Patreon, and as we start talking about the current draft rules there’s really no better place to start than with the first part of making a character: ROLLING FOR STATS… or, more likely, not rolling at all. 

I’ve been playing D&D since 1981 and rolling those d6’s for stats was pretty much an article of faith back in the olden days, and it works great when it works… and not so good when it doesn’t. Still, there is value in nostalgia, and for folks who want to roll the dice, we do provide half a dozen methods for doing that, along with some advice comparing random rolling vs. point buy. Our suggested standard method is the latter, for the simple reason of fairness, and the rules we present are found below. They’re pretty similar to those in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, but there are some key differences both in how you set up your initial stats and in how you improve them. 


Generating Ability Scores

Ability scores can be determined in a variety of ways. Most monsters and NPCs have fixed statistics, or a standard array to represent typical members of their kind, or even exceptional, advanced, or elite examples. Player characters, even if they are similar in some ways to monsters and NPCs, can have very different statistics because the PCs are designed by the players, who can choose for their PC to be exceptional in whichever ways they like. As a general rule, PCs are heroic examples of their kind, and their ability scores overall tend to be much higher than those of most NPCs they meet.

Purchase Points: Each character gets a set number of points they can use to arrange their statistics as they choose. How many points you allow depends on how high-powered you want your heroes to be. The standard allotment of purchase points is 20, but for grittier campaigns you might reduce this to 15 or even 10 or increase it to 25 or more for truly epic heroes.

Score Purchase Points

9   -1 (you gain 1 extra purchase point by decreasing a score to 9)

10   0

11   1

12   2

13   3

14   5

15   7

16   10

17   13

18   17

Increasing Ability Scores

Your ability scores can be increased as you build your character and grow into their full power. Any modifiers you apply occur after you have spent your purchase points to set your character’s ability scores.

At First Level: In addition to point purchase or rolling for statistics, each character can choose to increase one ability score by 2, though they cannot increase any score above 18.

Taking a Flaw: At 1st level, you can choose to apply a flaw to your character, reducing one ability score by 2. You can then increase any two ability scores by 1, though you cannot increase any score above 15 using this increase from having a flaw.

Leveling Up: Every time you gain a level, you can increase any ability score by 1. However, no PC ability score can exceed a maximum of 18 plus one-half your level.


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