#### Remus Lupin

##### Mongoose
A question I've been wondering, if I wanted to use the herotic 8+d10 method for rolling stats, but convert it into point buy, how many points would that be? Is there an algorithm for figuring that out easily? Any help would be appreciated.

If you want to give the "average" number of points, it's "every ability starts at 8, plus 33 to spend," or "every ability starts at 0, plus 81 to spend," whichever you prefer.

33 is the average roll on 6d10, being six times 5.5, the average roll of 1d10 ((1+10)/2).

81 is what you get when you add the "free" 48 points (from 6 abilities starting at 8) to the 33 to get a total pool of points for buying abilities up from zero.

If you want to start from a number other than average, just pick one between 6 and 60 that sounds reasonable.

If you want to use the DMG-style point-buy method where higher stats start costing more than one point, that one I don't know how to figure.

Oops, that should have been "(from six abilities starting at eight)" in the previous post.

The use of numeral-8 plus a closing parenthesis apparently formed the sunglasses smiley.

up to 14 -- 1:1
15-16 -- 2:1
17-18 -- 3:1

so to get a 17 score, you spend 6 to bring it to 14 plus 4 to bring it to 16 plus 3 to bring it to 17 = 13 points spent

Clear?

This method is devised under the principle that 4 dice produce a bell curve: Higher values are more rare and therefore cost more

8+d10 gives a linear progression: you have the same chance of rolling a 9 as an 18. To that end, I'd let the players spend their points 1:1.

As for the number of points, let's look at averages:
Average for 4d6 = 12.5 (approx)
Average for 8+d10 = 13.5

so the average for the heroic system needs to increase by 1 point per stat:

25+6 =
31 points spent 1:1

Expect an array like: 18,16,15,10,10,10

I use DMG point buy with 35 points for Conan RPG.

I use a 25 point DMG point buy along with the vitality/wound point system from Unearthed Arcana. I figured 25 points was more than enough, considering the across-the-board stat increases characters get. I haven't encountered any problems yet, but will this be an issue at higher levels?

Also, I'd like some NPC stat point guidelines. At the time of writing, I give standard NPCs 20 points, and heroic ones 25 (plus level bonuses, of course).

Eh, I just have them roll...

I agree, have them roll.

I hate point buy, I find it anathema to the Conan stories. Sure it's a game, but having everyone start out the same is just one more sense of limiting the possibility of variation inherent in rolling the dice. By taking out that variation, you take out the sense of gift of Crom or Bori or whatever god the character worships, and add to the civilized sense that everyone's the same as everyone else, you all have 33 points to start, though you may put a 14 in INT instead of STR, you're still all the same 33'ers.

Sorry, getting off of my rant now. Anyway, the 8d10 option is a heroic rolls option by odds over standard rolling. A generous GM might allow either of the two rolling methods, or be really generous and allow the better result of rolling each once (I did this once for an unhappy player, but won't again).

Okay, enough of that. Sorry if it sounded mean, wasn't meant to be, just don't like encouraging point buy in the Conan game.

Personally, I use the standard point buy system but favour 38 points for Conan. I find that leaves characters largely above average in all ways, unless they take a beating to specific statistics in order to get a "high stat" or two.

I can understand a person's preference for rolling, but I find point-buy captures the essence of conan better than randomness. I mean, Conan is clearly set to be a man among men - a burly, clever, and occasionally charming hero amidst lesser men and occasionally other heroes; If you replace conan with the scrawny, plain, and awkward number-cruncher from accounting (That you might have the poor fortune to roll up) you're already a distance from what I envision conan gameplay to be.

A second point is balancing combat; Fashioning combat to challenge one particularly high statted barbarian and yet not butcher an unlucky roller also in melee (and giving both opportunities to shine) is just a pain in any system where dice rolls are plain for all to see, where everyone is built with a wide spread in statistic totals.

Of course players can make their drastically inferior characters sidekicks and If people want to make sidekicks, thats cool, but I hate the idea that a set of rolls can preset a players fate like that - especially if I have a long campaign somewhat planned out.

The problem I have with point-buy systems is that characters pretty much turn out the same; that is to say, have 100 players design a 1st level human fighter each, and you'll find that a high majority of them are statted exactly the same (or very close). You end up with cookie-cutter characters.

I think point-buy is good for such things as RPGA play; to quote KoDT: "Let the dice fall where they may".

P.S. : I'm not such a cruel SOB that I would make a player use a truely gimped character.

That's what is so neat about the Talent system in Cook's Conan RPG (I will start calling it "Classic Conan RPG" or CCR). Even though everyone has 35 points (or more if you'd like) to buy Talents, you will all have a unique character, because there are no standard set of characteristics and you can add a new Talent anytime you can think of a good one, and if the GM lets you (of course).

That's what I loved about the game too dunderm, but the game, though it looks like it took a while to create, was kind of shoddily packaged. That whole book by "Ervin H. Roberts" looks like a leftover idea from their abysmal Indiana Jones RPG which came out about the same time.

I tried to get players to try it, but they'd look at the book and, not being familiar with Howard, would shriek "Get 2 points for killing a Black Man!? That's totally racist, I'm not playing that!!" and no amount of my trying to explain the demons to them would change their minds. Which is what's great about Mongoose's system, everything is designed so well (for d20) and explained by all the game designers and writers, that even those not familiar with the stories can feel established in this game.

Unfortunately, REH had a slightly racist way of writing, but to believe that a game was written to actually promote racism today, is reaching out to be affended. During the 1930s, REH was very open minded about all races and even was fairly open about gender roles.

But, anyway. I'm not saying D20 is a poorly designed system, only that it is not as customizable as CCR. I hope no one minds that I call TSRs Conan, "Classic Conan RPG (CCR)." It has more to do with it setting a precedent in a Conan RPG, than anything else.

http://www.dunder.com/Conan

Since we're about to start our first Conan campaign in two days, I (as the GM) could use some input concerning ability generation method.

Personally I like the 4d6 method. When I use it, I usually allow 7 rolls, drop lowest, because I like high-powered campaigns.
I do not like the d10 method very much, however.

However, I have to take into account that my players for this group are all new to D20, and have varying degrees of experience with other systems. So some or all may not be happy with randomly generated ability scores.

Besides, while I understand the thought that "forced equality" is not Conanesque, I do not agree. Players are not Characters. IME players are fine with a few points of difference among their characters, but if it gets more extreme, the weaker chars' players will feel shafted.

So I think I am going to offer them the choice between using dice and distributing points. However, I am unsure what distribution method I should offer.

What I devised for an earlier (D&D) campaign (with different players) was to let them freely choose abilities with a modifier total of +12, 3 odd and 3 even-numbered abilities to avoid "cookie cutter" scores.
That's a sum of 87 points.

Another option would of course be the DMG point buy, where a 34-point buy would yield a maximum modifier total of +12 (all scores at 14), but players have to make sacrifices if they want one or two higher scores.
3x 14 and 3x 15, as described above, would be a 40 point buy btw.

The main difference is that the 87-point method makes the ability modifiers by race totally moot, while the DMG point buy allows you to still make use of it. Think of a Cimmeran character first buying Str 16 and Int 14, then applying the modifications to get Str 18 and Int 12. This costs 16 points. A non-Cimmeran character would have to expend 20 points to get the same scores (18 and 12).

So long story short -- if you allow point buy for ability generation, how many points do you allow to distribute?
I never used point buy in games I GMed before so I am kind of at a loss.

Depends on how tough you want your characters to be. I think having them be a bit more powerful than the average you get with 4d6 drop the low point buy (which is lower than most people think since most groups throw out a lot of the low end of the rolls). Something in the 30's would probably be good. It doesn't really matter as long as the power of your NPCs keeps up to compensate.

Well, I want them to be pretty tough, fit for a heroic campaign. They shouldn't be too Über either -- for example, Conan's own 1st-level stats must all have been between 16 and 18 if you look at the Road of Kings char sheet. That would be too much.

Although Conan RPG is far more generous in level advancement (the all-stats-increases), I think you have to plan your character ahead more carefully than in regular D&D -- or not plan at all. When in D&D you realize that your char needs a few extra points on a certain stat, you "simply" grab a magic item, end of story. In Conan, you have a problem.

9 1
10 2
11 3
12 4
13 5
14 6
15 8
16 10
17 13
18 16
SUM 68

With heroic stats the average point value of a stat is (68/10) = 6.8
Point buy for heroic stats will be (6.8*6) = 40.8 ~= 41 pts

Clovenhoof said:

Since we're about to start our first Conan campaign in two days, I (as the GM) could use some input concerning ability generation method.

...

So long story short -- if you allow point buy for ability generation, how many points do you allow to distribute?
I never used point buy in games I GMed before so I am kind of at a loss.

I use this method:

If you want to give the "average" number of points, it's "every ability starts at 8, plus 33 to spend,"
...
33 is the average roll on 6d10, being six times 5.5, the average roll of 1d10 ((1+10)/2).

I like it because it is balanced (I don't mind if a PC rolled high, but I don't like for a PC to have rolled too low, that's why I want balance, else they may always feel their character is screwed and not enjoy the game as much). Plus I like it because it is easy to remember, as opposed to the upward-scaling chart for DnD point-buy, which I would rather not memorize (I prefer games to be more elegant, easy to make characters and play, without too many charts to have to refer to). And finally, it more readily allows PCs to have a couple of high scores than the DnD point-buy does (the DnD method makes those last couple of steps from 14 to 18 really expensive, but Conan is about having powerful heroes, so Conan PCs should have good scores).

That's all fair and true, but the linear scaling has the disadvantage that racial ability modifiers become worthless, unless you set the favoured ability to 19 or 20 (including the modifier).

Maybe a re-write of point buy for heroic campaigns is in order? Maybe:
14 > 15 : 1,5 pts
15 > 16 : 1,5 pts
16 > 17 : 2 pts
17 > 18 : 2 pts

That way it would cost 9 points to get to 16 and 13 points to get to 18.
(or to avoid dealing with ,5 fractions, double all points and costs)

This would allow players to set a few high scores, without having to let other abilities go totally down the crapper, and still retain a potential benefit from racial modifiers.

Clovenhoof said:
That's all fair and true, but the linear scaling has the disadvantage that racial ability modifiers become worthless, unless you set the favoured ability to 19 or 20 (including the modifier).

Quite true, and I recognize this, but I also don't worry about it because while those racial modifiers apply in general, the PCs are rare exceptions, so it really isn't that big of a deal, and I do let people use those modifiers to get a 6 or a 20 if so desired in the modified score. Further, if it isn't straight point-buy, e.g., a DnD-like scaling setup, then it makes those racial adjustments potentially problematic. I.e., it can make them over-valuable, because if it costs 8 points (or whatever) to go from having a 16 to an 18 instead of just 2 points, then by picking a race that gives you a bonus in a particular attribute that you want to be high (e.g., STR for a Cimmerian) and you don't care about the stat that gets dinged, you are effectively getting many more points than another PC is getting during character creation.

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