Ability Score Point Buy for the PFBB

Reviewing the Consolidated Feats document, I was struck by how many feats still require a fairly high ability score, usually at least 13+.  In Pathfinder Core this probably isn’t much of an issue because I’d imagine that most games use some kind of point-buy ability score system, as our home game does.  But the BB uses randomly generated scores which could make it difficult to pick up certain key feats if you happened to get some bad rolls.  It got me to thinking about a simple point-buy system to generate ability scores for Pathfinder’s Beginner Box.  This system is loosely based on the point-buy system presented on pages 15-16 of the Core rulebook.

Note that using this system, no ability score may be raised above 18 or reduced below 7.

First, determine a level based on the type of campaign you’re running.  Each ability starts with the indicated score.  Players may then reduce scores in one or more abilities to increase other ability scores.  The exchange is 1-for-1.

Low Fantasy = Ability score 11

Moderate Fantasy = Ability score 12

High Fantasy = Ability score 13

Optionally, you may want to consider requiring the last point increase in any ability score to 18 to be a 2-for-1 exchange (i.e. give up 2 points in other ability scores to increase an ability’s score from 17 to 18).

Here’s an example making a Fighter using the Low Fantasy level:

All ability scores are assumed to start at 11.  Assuming I want a strong, tough fighter I immediately drop all my mental stats to 10, giving 3 points to put into Strength.  I also decide Dexterity isn’t that important (relying on heavy armor for protection), so I drop that to 10 and put the point into Constitution, giving me the following:

Strength 14 (+2)

Constitution 12 (+1)

Dexterity 10 (+0)

Intelligence 10 (+0)

Wisdom 10 (+0)

Charisma 10 (+0)

Not bad, but maybe I really want that 18 Strength, so I’ll drop Intelligence and Charimsa to 8 each, giving me the following:

Strength 18 (+4)

Constitution 12 (+1)

Dexterity 10 (+0)

Intelligence 8 (-1)

Wisdom 10 (+0)

Charimsa 8 (-1)

Of course, players will game this system to maximum advantage (as they would with any point-buy system), and you’ll see a lot of even-numbered ability scores since it’s the same negative modifier whether you take an ability score down to 8 or 9; nor does raising an ability score to only 13, 15 or 17 give you additional advantage.  You could also just plug in the official Core point-buy system, though I think this system would probably be a little more intuitive for new gamers.



Tags: , , , ,

3 Responses to “Ability Score Point Buy for the PFBB”

  1. Edward W. Says:

    Another approach, given that it’s the Beginner Box, is the premade stat array. That way they won’t get gypped by low rolls but can’t game the system because the numbers are set. Also, there’s no math involved.

  2. Tiorn Says:

    I give my players a choice. They can either roll 4d6 for each ability, keeping the best three and rerolling 1’s. Or, they can take the elite array of 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8 arranged as they desire and is appropriate for the class. I’ve even been letting them try the 4d6 method first and then, if it isn’t to their liking, they can fallback on the elite array instead. I have two players right now, I do believe, who are running characters with the elite array. If there are any complaints about what I’m allowing, they haven’t voiced them. So far, so good.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: