Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Average Joe in New Basic D&D, or W. of the C. and I have something in common after all

As you already know, the latest Basic D&D rules abide by the old AD&D standard for rolling abilities: roll 4d6 and take the best 3.  But it also has a rule that, if you can't be bothered to roll your own dice you can just take a default set of "standard" ability scores and assign them to your character.  The standard scores are:
15
14
13
12
10
8
What's really astounding to me is that several years ago--a few years before I started this here bloggery-do--I was trying to devise anti-munchkinry character generation rules for AD&D, when I came up with the exact same idea, to the extent that the numbers are even strikingly similar.  Here's the standard set of ability scores I came up with back in '07:
16
14
13
12
10
8
The only difference is that they lowered the ceiling from 16 to a 15, which is in keeping with their whole "15 is max" ethos.  I'm pretty certain that we used the same approach to determine our standard abilities, whaddaya' think?

I came up with my standard by rolling thousands of sets of characters, ranking each character's abilities from highest to lowest and then averaging the ranked numbers in order to find an "average" character.*  In fact, I called the rule the "Average Joe Rule" and some perk was offered for taking the default ability scores instead of rolling your own, though I don't remember what the benefit was.  Of course, my players were so repulsed by such a notion that they never acknowledged its existence. Oh well.  But if nothing else--and assuming that all this isn't just a colossal coincidence--the Wizard-boys seem to validate my statistics, which is nice.

*Seriously, there were over 100,000 "dice rolls" involved, though Excel did all the heavy lifting for me.

4 comments:

Stu Rat said...

One idea I had to combine the methods was to have each of the players roll 4d6-L, in turn, until you got your six (or seven-drop lowest) numbers for the array. So then everyone was equal, but it wasn't always the same array.

Haven't actually tried it yet.

Nicolas "Ungoliant" Senac said...

@Stu Rat : There's a rule alike in Nicolas Dessaux's Epées and Sorcellerie. It works pretty well.

Blacksteel said...

Little late to the party here but the standard array was in the 3E DMG. Highest was a 15 but the rest was the same. For 4E it moved to the PHB and had a 16 as the highest. Not sure who is checking whom but it's nice that the numbers seem to come out the same for everyone.

Timrod said...

And because the Ws of the C didn't bother posting a free download of their earlier editions, I never heard of it. Not sure if that means I'm old school or just cheap.