Friday, May 10, 2019

Discussion - Point Buy or RNG for Stats?

When it comes to stats many RPGs seem to go with either a point buy system - you get a certain number of points and use those to buy the stats you want - or an RNG system - you use a RNG to determine your stats. The RNG is usually dice, but not always.

The question I have for you today is which do you prefer?

I find it depends for me. I like the character variance you get with RNG where some people get great stats, some people get mediocre stats, and some people get poor stats. It has a way of making characters feel different, and differently abled, even across their professions/classes that can make for some interesting dynamics. On the down side though, it can make characters with god rolls outshine others, and it really sucks if someone gets really crap stats across the board - though you can always correct for that with minimum limits.

Point buy on the other hand can be very useful if done right. Give too many points, and you end up with characters who are good at everything. Give the right amount of points though, and choices have to be made. Where is the character strong? Where are they weak? Or do they have smaller strengths in exchange for less weaknesses? I recently had a GM use the point buy system for D&D 5e for the first time, and I have to say I like the mix of freedom it gave me, held back by tradeoffs. The overall lower power level (5e caps stats at 15 not counting racial bonuses) is also making the game play differently than the rolled stat games I've done which is adding tension and bringing tactics more into play.

What about you? Or do you prefer another system all together? L5R tends to have everyone start with uniform stats, and then your family and class bump up specific stats to show where you've trained. Shadows of Esteren gave you specific stats, but also made it so low stats could be just as good as high stats (and high stats just as dangerous to have as low stats).


  1. It really depends on the game. I often find if I do RNG for stats I also enjoy doing RNG for everything about the character, and using it for expanding my norms for gaming. I find that when I care about balance between PCs (which is less and less often) I prefer point buy.

  2. Points buy. I don't like RNG for most the reasons you listed for and against it. I'd much rather everyone playing on an even playing field.