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ability-score-generation-guide

Methods for Generating Ability Scores

Official Methods

Standard

Roll 4d6, discard the lowest die result, and add the three remaining results together. Record this total and repeat the process until six numbers are generated. Assign these totals to your ability scores as you see fit. This method is less random than Classic and tends to create characters with above-average ability scores.

Classic

Roll 3d6 and add the dice together. Record this total and repeat the process until you generate six numbers. Assign these results to your ability scores as you see fit. This method is quite random, and some characters will have clearly superior abilities. This randomness can be taken one step further, with the totals applied to specific ability scores in the order they are rolled. Characters generated using this method are difficult to fit to predetermined concepts, as their scores might not support given classes or personalities, and instead are best designed around their ability scores.

Heroic

Roll 2d6 and add 6 to the sum of the dice. Record this total and repeat the process until six numbers are generated. Assign these totals to your ability scores as you see fit. This is less random than the Standard method and generates characters with mostly above-average scores.

Dice Pool

Each character has a pool of 24d6 to assign to his statistics. Before the dice are rolled, the player selects the number of dice to roll for each score, with a minimum of 3d6 for each ability. Once the dice have been assigned, the player rolls each group and totals the result of the three highest dice. For more high-powered games, the GM should increase the total number of dice to 28. This method generates characters of a similar power to the Standard method.

Purchase

Each character receives a number of points to spend on increasing his basic attributes. In this method, all attributes start at a base of 10. A character can increase an individual score by spending some of his points. Likewise, he can gain more points to spend on other scores by decreasing one or more of his ability scores. No score can be reduced below 7 or raised above 18 using this method. After all the points are spent, apply any racial modifiers the character might have.

House Rules

Reroll Low Dice

Use one of the other non-purchase methods, but reroll any dice which falls at or below a certain value. Most commonly 1’s, but sometimes 2’s as well. Often used with the Standard or Classic method.

Scrap Low Sets

Again, used with one of the other non-purchase methods. Roll normally for all ability scores. If the sum of all ability modifiers is less than a certain value, or there are no ability scores over a certain value, scrap the entire set and try again. Most commonly used to ensure PCs have a total modifier of at least +1, and at least one score of 14 or higher.

Legacy Point Buy

Similar to the official Purchase method, a character can increase an individual score by spending some of his points. However, all attributes start at a base of 8 and points cannot be gained by lowering attributes. The point cost increase is slightly shallower.

Choosing the Best Method

At First Glance

The Official Methods

All of the methods described above allow for a maximum score of 18. The minimum ability score possible when using an official method varies between 3 (for Standard and Classic) and 8 (for Heroic).