Die Pool for Ability Scores (3.5e Variant Rule)

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Author: Havvy (talk)
Date Created: 2010
Status: Complete
Editing: Clarity edits only please
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Die Pool for Character Creation[edit]

Why to Use[edit]

Currently there are two main ways of creating a character. The first is random rolling of n dice and adding them together six times and then placing those in stats. The other is to use the point-buy system. One gives you luck with little choice of placement, and the other gives you full choice of placement with no luck. This variant gives both luck and the choice of placement.

Note on Randomness[edit]

Remember, as with any system of character creation that uses luck, some characters will be stronger than others. As a DM, you must be willing to allow for such a discrepancy, and make sure to work around it, but if you already allow the normal dice rolling system, this system will not be any more unbalancing.

How to Roll Stats[edit]

To create average players, the player rolls 18d6. For stronger players, see below. Then the player keeps each die roll separate from each other. This makes up the die pool. Each die roll represents some effort of training or critical point in that character's life. The rolls would mean something close to this:

  1. Major accident, or Lack of Development. Keeps the character from pursuing this attribute. Should probably have a backstory event for each 1.
  2. Minor accident or Below average aptitude. Could be given a backstory event, though probably not necessary.
  3. Average aptitude. Should not be given a backstory event.
  4. Average aptitude. Should not be given a backstory event.
  5. Minor epiphany. Could be given a backstory event, though probably not necessary.
  6. Major epiphany. Life changing event that really strengthened score. Should be given backstory event.
  7. Magical Event. Something magical happened causing abnormally high stats. Backstory event must be given.
  8. Deific Intervention. Backstory event required. Probably a deity gave an extra special bonus to this creature, but could be anything of high power, like high level dragons, fey, or aberrations.

The average die pool is made up of three of each number of the d6. Together, you could have allocations such as [3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18], [10, 10, 10, 11, 11, 11], or by putting them together in a manner of [(1,4,5),(1,4,5),(1,4,5),(3,3,4),(3,4,4),(6,6,6)], have [10, 10, 10, 10, 11, 18]

If the total die pool added together is less than sixty, it should not be used for player characters. In reality, the total die pool would probably be best around 72 (12 average).

Stronger Players[edit]

  1. Increase the size of the die pool. Only the highest eighteen value would be allowed. For example, by increasing the die pool to 24 dice, the average die pool changes to be four sixes, four fives, four fours, four threes, and two twos.
  2. Allow some of the dice to be of varying sizes. It is best not to have any dice over a d8 without lowering the size of the die pool. What higher values mean is shown above. For every d6 transformed into a d8, another d6 should be transformed into a d4 for balance purposes. See Jotun's contribution below for more information on this.
  3. Automatically give certain scores to each player. Best would be three sixes, two fives, and one five. Do not change the size of the die pool, but automatically transform the lowest rolled values to these.
  4. Reroll ones and possibly twos. If doing this, a second result of a one or two should not be rerolled, and any low number must be given a backstory event.

Jotun's Contribution[edit]

(Copied directly from User_talk:Havvy/Farmer#Dice Pool Variant)

Because this interests me for some unknown reason, specifically the additional thought that your abilities might increase at different paces through the different phases of life (so the d4, d6, d8 method outlined below -- maybe the opposite would work even better). To use your method, for example, a newborn (perhaps) would have an initial d6 of stats, an adolescent would have an additional d6, and then voila, puberty/adulthood and the last d6, though I suppose this may not be entirely fair to adolescents. This also works for accounting for individuals who are superior genetically while still accounting for some randomness (while a larger amount of point-buy does not), i.e. a great hero's children might have d6, d6, d8, or might roll more at a particular die size. At the very least, this offers some interesting ways to expand upon character creation.

I suppose it could be argued that the increased randomness is not good for players, but the idea intrigues me regardless.

A token to your system, before I throw out other numbers:

d6: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
d6: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
d6: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

  • Min-Max: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18
    • Point-Buy Equivalent: 22 to 18, depending on allowances for additional points for lower ability scores
  • Balanced: 12, 11, 10, 10, 10, 10
    • Point-Buy Equivalent: 15
  • Concentrated: 18, 15, 8, 8, 8, 6
    • Point-Buy Equivalent: 22

Instead of 18d6, you roll 6d4, 6d6, and 6d8, logging each result. Each ability comes from the results of a d4, d6, and d8 roll.

d4: 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4
d6: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
d8, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

  • Min-Max: 4, 8, 8, 12, 14, 17
    • Point-Buy Equivalent: 17 to 19, depending on allowances for additional points for lower ability scores
  • Balanced: 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 13
    • Point-Buy Equivalent: 15
  • Concentrated: 17, 12, 10, 8, 8, 8
    • Point-Buy Equivalent: 20

To increase the expected ability scores, we increase the number rolled of a particular die size. For example:

8d4, 8d6, 8d8

d4: 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4
d6: 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6
d8, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

  • Min-Max: 8, 10, 12, 12, 16, 18
    • Point-Buy Equivalent: 36
  • Balanced: 13, 12, 13, 13, 14, 12
    • Point-Buy Equivalent: 29

6d4, 8d6, 10d8

d4: 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4
d6: 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6
d8, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7, 8

  • Min-Max: 8, 10, 12, 12, 15, 18
    • Point-Buy Equivalent: 34
  • Balanced: 12, 12, 12, 12, 13, 14
    • Point-Buy Equivalent: 27

-- Jota 23:35, June 13, 2010 (UTC)

Back to Main Page3.5e HomebrewVariant Rules

Havvy's Homebrew (191 Articles)
AuthorHavvy +
Identifier3.5e Variant Rule +
RatingUnrated +
SummaryRoll lots of d6 and place 3 results into each ability to determine ability scores. +
TitleDie Pool for Ability Scores +