Character Creation – Rolling Dice vs. Point Buys

8 Sep

Character Creation – Rolling Dice vs. Point Buys

Rolling the dice is one of the most important parts of the Dungeons and Dragons game.

In fact, Dungeons and Dragons really was based on miniatures wargaming, which used very little in the way of role-playing, and focused on the use of dice to determine which units would be victorious over which other units. In terms of character creation, the old “3d6” is burned into most players’ brains as solidly as the d20.

Yet, in Dungeons and Dragons 3.5, rolling the dice to create a character can be a bit misplaced.

The fact of the matter is that Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 is a fairly well-balanced system, especially in terms of characters. That is, one character will rarely be better than another character over the long term. Rolling dice to determine ability scores can detract from character balance; if one player has particularly bad rolls, it can affect their character for a long time.

Using a point buy system in your Dungeons and Dragons campaign does have some disadvantages, as well.

First off, there is the obvious fact that it will feel, at first, almost like an abomination to make a D&D; character without having to roll dice for ability scores. However, most folks are able to get past this.

Perhaps more than that, using a point buy instead of rolling dice makes some basic assumptions about the Dungeons and Dragons game that you want to play, and the players you want to play with. It assumes that there is some true need for balance among the players. This is often true, but if you’ve got a group that has been playing together for a decade, they’re used to dealing with some imbalance. It also assumes, in game terms, that every character is statistically equal; that, while the characters may be exceptional compared to commoners, that none of them are any different at the core than each other. This may be a bit hard for you to bite into.

Ultimately, the decision as to whether to use Dice rolls or a point buy in your Dungeons and Dragons game is a decision that your group has to make together.