First Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons™ Character Creation
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5:  Roll Character Ability Scores
  There are five methods of rolling ability scores certified as official.  The MyWorld campaign ordinarily uses an expanded version of method 5, although other methods are used in certain special circumstances.

  The original design is based on the idea that a player would roll 3d6 for each of the (originally six) ability scores, and then consider what character class the numbers best suited.  This method, however, tends to roll average characters, with as many weak characters as strong, and is generally reserved for ordinary non-player characters (the mayor, the silversmith, the jeweler).  The five methods of rolling were developed to make it more likely that a player would roll a viable character in a class to which he could easily relate.

  Class minimums are listed under the discussions of those classes and with method five; racial minimums and maximums are covered under the discussions of the race.

  The Gully Dwarf race does not use this system.  Gully Dwarf characters are created with these die rolls:

  Method 1:  Roll 4d6 for each score, and add up the highest three of each four dice, e.g., 6,4,3,1=6+4+3=13.  Once the seven scores are rolled and written down (and before any other adjustments), the player may arrange them in any order he desires, i.e., if an 18 is rolled as one of the numbers, the character may choose to put that 18 as any one ability score.  After this, racial and other adjustments are made.

  Method 2:  Roll 3d6 thirteen times, select the best seven rolls, and arrange them as desired (as in method 1).  (The original method permitted twelve rolls; I have modified this with the thirteenth roll to accomodate the addition of Comeliness to the original six attributes.)

  Method 3:  Roll 3d6 six times for each ability score in order (Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma, Comeliness), and keep the best one of each set of six rolls.

  Method 4:  Roll 3d6 once for each ability score.  Create twelve characters in this way, and select the best one.

  As an aid to Dungeon Masters, this BASIC program can be downloaded for use in creating quick characters by the Method 4 system.  It was designed for QBASIC, but an effort was made to keep it compatible with other forms of BASIC.  It might be necessary to adjust the random number generation commands if you are using this with a different BASIC version.  The program is not recommended for player characters, as a large percentage of the characters are very average.  Note that the program will not run if you do not have some version of BASIC on your system; QBASIC was commonly included in versions of MS-DOS.

  Method 5:  This method requires extensive charts, and is fully defined on a linked page.  It is designed so that a player will roll nine dice for the ability score most important for the class he wishes to play, with the number of dice for each ability decreasing as the significance of that attribute to the nature of the class declines, until three dice are rolled for that attribute deemed least important.  Under the rules which introduced it, it was only available to single-classed occidental humans; for the MyWorld campaign, all classes and class combinations which are permitted in the game are rolled on this method using the expanded table connected on this link.

  Valdron method:  Players in the Valdron campaign created by E.R. Jones used a bonused method (more likely to roll high in every category, but less likely to roll higher than method 5 in preferred categories).  This method is not recognized by the official rules or by most Dungeon Masters, but provides strong characters for difficult and challenging game worlds.  Roll 4d6.  Reroll any dice that roll one's or two's, until there are no numbers less than three.  Take the best three dice for each of the first six scores (listed in Valdron on the Basic Dungeons & Dragons™ order:  Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, Charisma).  (This is statistically the same as rolling 4d4, selecting the best three dice, and adding six, producing a number from nine to eighteen, with an average roll of 13.5; but the feel of being able to pick up bad rolls and re-throw them may make some players feel as if they get a better chance (they don't).)  For Comeliness, the system rolls 4d6 once, adds all four dice, to produce a number from 4 to 24.

  I'm a firm believer that when you make a change to the rules of an RPG, you should fully understand what you are gaining and what you are losing.  I have found myself in games in which I perceived that the intended advantages of a particular race or class had been compromised by special referee rules which effectively gave those powers to another class without the accompanying detriments which the original class had to accept.  Thus the reasons for the expansion of method 5 or the use of the Valdron method should be briefly addressed.

  Method 5 is given as another advantage of being an occidental human.  Under the original occidental rules, non-humans had the option to be multi-classed, and humans did not; further, most non-humans had infravision (could see in the dark) and numerous other innate skills.  It apparently was felt that humans were not adequately compensated for these disadvantages.  I disagree; non-human characters are almost always limited in advancement unless they are single classed, and have intrinsic disadvantages in other ways.  (A character who is short can do many things which a character who is tall cannot do, but cannot do other things which require height.)  Any single-classed character should be afforded the same system.  I further feel that multi-classed characters, for all of their advantages, will always advance more slowly, and usually will be more vulnerable.  Their hit points are lower than others in their physically stronger class, and they often must deal with armor or weapon restrictions.  They will usually reach a point at which further advancement is impossible.  With all of these disadvantages, it seems unreasonable to make it more difficult for them to roll the high ability scores which they will need to reach the upper levels in their chosen professions.  On the other hand, method 5 is an advantage for humans (who are not Krynn, Oriental, or second edition), and to give it to other races and to the other human sub-races is intrinsically to take it from those humans.  I would argue that that is a minor thing to take from them, more than compensated by the fact that their companions will be stronger--but most of the parties in MyWorld tend to be lawful good, so cooperation and mutual support are intrinsic to their operation.  In parties which tend more toward chaos and evil, it is more toward the advantage of the individual player character for his companions to be weaker.

  The Valdron method makes strong characters normative.  It is not possible on this method to roll lower than a nine on any attribute, and the odds of rolling an eighteen on any particular attribute are above one in twenty--better than five percent--as compared to only about one in sixty-one--merely about one-point-six percent--for method one above.  Clearly this method produces an abundant number of high scores--half of the ability scores rolled will be at least fourteen, and only one in sixteen (six percent) will be below eleven.  Characters will be very survivable, with strong ability-score based talents.  However, I consider it a disadvantage of this method that it produces no characters below average in any area other than comeliness (and rarely there).  Part of character development in a game revolves around the fact that some are weak, some stupid, some clumsy, and they and their companions must compensate for these flaws.  Still, for new players, having a character with no inherent weaknesses can make the game easier.


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