DnD 5e Points Buy

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Rogerdee

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Has anyone tried to do a point buy in for the whole of chargen?

The core has points for stats / attributes.

Option - M&M 2e
1a. Stats: Choose the ability scores you want your character to have and pay 1 power point for each ability score point over 10.
1 b: Attack: 2 per +1 bonus
1c: Defence: 2 per +1 bonus
1d: Save: 1 per +1 bonus
2. Skills: Choose the skill ranks you want your character to have and pay 1 power point per 4 skill ranks.
3. Feats: Choose the feats you want your character to have and pay 1 power point per feat or rank in a feat.
4. Powers: Now this is more complicated, and is all ranked. So the cost of each power would essentially be level divided by 4, similar to skills I guess. Or I could just skip it and go with the powers costs from M&M 2e?

Thing is I suspect that making it too M&M will remove aspects of the DnD 5e part of the game?

Thoughts?
Ideas?
 

Ladybird

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I think you'd need to do a fairly large amount of work to break out the class abilities, especially due to how many are dependent on others. I'm also not really sure what you're getting from this - it seems like a lot more work than just making fantasy-themed M&M characters, for no real gain.
 

Rogerdee

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I think you'd need to do a fairly large amount of work to break out the class abilities, especially due to how many are dependent on others. I'm also not really sure what you're getting from this - it seems like a lot more work than just making fantasy-themed M&M characters, for no real gain.

M&M 2e was done purely as an example, but enabling a point buy helps customisation in every way. You are not limited by the classes in the books, but can truly make your own to spur your creativity. Which can only be a good thing.

So even if there was an alt. method, i.e. not using M*M I would be interested to hear what it is.
 

Trippy

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D&D 5E Points Buy system:

1) Add up the official standard tally: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 = 72
2) Distribute 72 amongst stats as you wish, without going below 3 or above 18 on any individual score.
3) Add Race-based bonuses after, as required, but still not going above 18 on any individual score.

Then choose Class and go from there, as the rest of the calculations just follow, and there are still plenty of customizable options as you level up.
 

Rogerdee

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D&D 5E Points Buy system:

1) Add up the official standard tally: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 = 72
2) Distribute 72 amongst stats as you wish, without going below 3 or above 18 on any individual score.
3) Add Race-based bonuses after, as required, but still not going above 18 on any individual score.

Then choose Class and go from there, as the rest of the calculations just follow, and there are still plenty of customizable options as you level up.

After complete point buy Trippy.
So it should include stats, feats, skills and powers, and remove the need for classes.
 

Trippy

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After complete point buy Trippy.
So it should include stats, feats, skills and powers, and remove the need for classes.
Well, I get that, although the way 5E currently is, I don’t think it can be done easily. The main reason is that the various powers that are Class based are not directly measurable against each other.

Feats are measurable as being worth a +2 or two +1s; Skills are actually more of a calculation based on Level and number of proficiencies, so they are more doable possibly.
 

The Mad Hatter

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Back in the D20 days, there were a couple of books that was completely point buy. Ladybird Ladybird already mentioned M&M, but there were also the D20 version of BESM.
Another one was a book called Eclipse: Codex Persona. Maybe you could get that and use it for 5E. At least, it could give you ideas about point prices for various things.
DriveThruRPG link: Eclipse: Codex Persona
 

Stan

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I've cut up 5e but not pure point buy. I took the various class abilities I wanted to keep and adjusted them to be very roughly equal in value. Even with this, there are likely combos which are cheap on overly effective. 5e also assumes a relatively flat slope on to-hit bonuses - if you can just buy them, they'd have to be either super expensive or everyone would buy them up and break the game.
 

Ladybird

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M&M 2e was done purely as an example, but enabling a point buy helps customisation in every way. You are not limited by the classes in the books, but can truly make your own to spur your creativity. Which can only be a good thing.

So even if there was an alt. method, i.e. not using M*M I would be interested to hear what it is.
No, I get the goal behind point-based systems. But my feeling is that if you want that, you're better going straight to a game that already has it; retrofitting it into 5e feels like a lot of work for very little gain.

That said, in terms of customisation mechanics, 5e works more in terms of multiple "pick one of these options:"; for example, a class's save proficiencies are one "strong" save (Wis, Con, Dex) and one "weak" save (Cha, Int, Str), skills and proficiencies are "some" from a given list, and HP / class abilities are kinda all bundled together. Tasha's Cauldron of Everything opens a lot of character gen things up and allows proficiency trading options and should probably be your first step when looking at how to open up 5e character gen further.
 

Brock Savage

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I've done point buy with B/X, 2e, and 3x. Experience has shown me that using point breakdowns to help develop GM curated character options for a certain theme or genre works well. For example in a fantasy Crusades campaign all of the characters were clerics, paladins or fighters- developing a point buy system for character creation within the fantasy Crusader theme offered up a lot of variety but was restrained enough that the min-maxers didn't have a huge advantage over people who built their character more thematically.

Unless all the players are on the same page optimization-wise (not the case for me, ever) I am not in favor of assigning a point value to every facet of D&D character building and saying "have at it, boys". To quote T Trippy "The main reason is that the various powers that are Class based are not directly measurable against each other."

Instead of doing point buy in 5e I would follow the advice of Ladybird Ladybird and use "choose one of these options" approach.
 
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EmperorNorton

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Also, a lot of high level abilities are balanced around the fact that you can't combine them with other high level abilities. (as much as 5e is balanced anyway).

Things like a Wizard's Spell Mastery would be incredibly powerful on a Divine Caster for instance.
 

Rogerdee

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The other thing about doing it this way, as it will be plainly around online gaming, there will be no hexmaps. This will then remove a good portion of the feats which are pure game mechanics.
 

Ravenswing

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I admit that I'd go with one of the many point-buy systems myself (says the guy who's done just that for 40 years), but I see no reason why DnD is any more difficult to convert to point buy than any other system might be.
 

Voros

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The other thing about doing it this way, as it will be plainly around online gaming, there will be no hexmaps. This will then remove a good portion of the feats which are pure game mechanics.

In 5e? I don't recall any Feats that require a map, that was more a 3e/4e thing.
 

Rogerdee

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In 5e? I don't recall any Feats that require a map, that was more a 3e/4e thing.

I meant a hex map for play, attacks of opportunity etc.
So removing that means a lot of feats are essentially game mechanics can be removed allowing only those that are key to remian.
I admit that I'd go with one of the many point-buy systems myself (says the guy who's done just that for 40 years), but I see no reason why DnD is any more difficult to convert to point buy than any other system might be.
Which ones are you aware of for 5e?
 

Ladybird

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I meant a hex map for play, attacks of opportunity etc.
So removing that means a lot of feats are essentially game mechanics can be removed allowing only those that are key to remian.
Which feats do you consider "essentially game mechanics" as opposed to "key"?

Standard 5e runs fairly well without feats as-is, and given their fairly high opportunity cost (Stat bumps being few and far between for most classes) most characters aren't likely to have very many anyway.
 

Rogerdee

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Which feats do you consider "essentially game mechanics" as opposed to "key"?

Standard 5e runs fairly well without feats as-is, and given their fairly high opportunity cost (Stat bumps being few and far between for most classes) most characters aren't likely to have very many anyway.

DnD 5e Core said:
DEFENSIVE DUELIST Prerequisite: Dexterity 13 or higher When you are wielding a finesse weapon with which you are proficient and another creature hits you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to add your proficiency bonus to your AC for that attack, potentially causing the attack to miss you.

M AGE SLAYER You have practiced techniques useful in melee combat against spellcasters, gaining the following benefits: • When a creature within 5 feet of you casts a spell, you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack against that creature. • When you damage a creature that is concentrating on a spell, that creature has disadvantage on the saving throw it makes to maintain its concentration. • You have advantage on saving throws against spells cast by creatures within 5 feet of you.

These are examples of feat that is pure game mechanics.
Remove these and keep the core ones that essentially matter narrows the field with regards to a point buy system
 

EmperorNorton

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These are examples of feat that is pure game mechanics.
Remove these and keep the core ones that essentially matter narrows the field with regards to a point buy system
Neither of those feats have anything to do with a map?
 

EmperorNorton

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The other thing about doing it this way, as it will be plainly around online gaming, there will be no hexmaps. This will then remove a good portion of the feats which are pure game mechanics.
Your post is "because there is no maps, feats that are pure game mechanics can be removed".

It's like saying "Because the sky is blue, I can watch TV".

Those two feats have zero to do with map or positioning, so how does it follow that they can be removed because you aren't using maps?
 

Brock Savage

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Your post is "because there is no maps, feats that are pure game mechanics can be removed".

It's like saying "Because the sky is blue, I can watch TV".

Those two feats have zero to do with map or positioning, so how does it follow that they can be removed because you aren't using maps?
I am confused as well. At any rate Rogerdee Rogerdee I am not quite sure what you are trying to say but this link contains a helpful guide to running 5e using theater of the mind.
 

VisionStorm

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I admit that I'd go with one of the many point-buy systems myself (says the guy who's done just that for 40 years), but I see no reason why DnD is any more difficult to convert to point buy than any other system might be.

I tried to come up with a feat-based version of 5e around a year or two ago, and the main reason I gave up was because of a combination of getting derailed by life, and also cuz I decided to go with my own system instead rather than limit myself to copying D&D. But a lot of it seemed pretty doable to me at the time. All class abilities are basically feats. Even when they don't match 1/1 in terms of power (which is kind of a difficult/subjective call to make), you can always break them up into multiple selections leading up to the full blown version. Access to spell levels, for example, can be broken down into multiple feats, and spell slots treated as universal and gained automatically based on current character level and spell level access purchased. Access to different spell lists can be broken down into multiple feats as well, by class and/or school of magic. Stronger versions of certain abilities (like Rage) can be separate feats as well.

You can also gate certain feats behind certain level and/or ability requirements, may be even create exceptions of "if you pick this/you can't pick that" if necessarily (which I'm not sure it is, but there's always that mechanism if all else fails). There's tons of way you could probably make a feat-based version of 5e work.
 

Stan

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I tried to come up with a feat-based version of 5e around a year or two ago, and the main reason I gave up was because of a combination of getting derailed by life, and also cuz I decided to go with my own system instead rather than limit myself to copying D&D. But a lot of it seemed pretty doable to me at the time. All class abilities are basically feats. Even when they don't match 1/1 in terms of power (which is kind of a difficult/subjective call to make), you can always break them up into multiple selections leading up to the full blown version. Access to spell levels, for example, can be broken down into multiple feats, and spell slots treated as universal and gained automatically based on current character level and spell level access purchased. Access to different spell lists can be broken down into multiple feats as well, by class and/or school of magic. Stronger versions of certain abilities (like Rage) can be separate feats as well.

You can also gate certain feats behind certain level and/or ability requirements, may be even create exceptions of "if you pick this/you can't pick that" if necessarily (which I'm not sure it is, but there's always that mechanism if all else fails). There's tons of way you could probably make a feat-based version of 5e work.

That matches my experience when I played around with iclassles 5e - every level you get a couple of slots to get new stuff. But I think full point buy would be extra complication that wouldn't add much.
 

Rogerdee

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I think Vision Storm and Stan are on a similar wavelength here to me.
Class abilities are essentially feats and just need putting into various categories.

Stats: Cost of 1 per point above 10. Thinking of 12 points to spend here...

So far I have the following kind of feats-

Feats: 10 points. These follow standard and are split into Basic, Expert, and Master.

Traits: These are things like Acute Senses, Alertness, Free Running etc.
Combat: This covers various things like Paktration, Martial Arts, and Weapon Groups, and Armour types
Cantrips: These are all non-combat focused. Any that relate to
Magic: This covers the following: Arcane, Bloodlines, Chi*, Pacts, Gifted ** and Training *** etc

* Chi: This is essentially chi magic, whereby the practitioner has access to spells.
** Gifted: These are abilities granted from external sources, e.g. Paladin abilities
*** Training: This is more geared to martial abilities, e.g. those from Gurps Martial Arts, or some of the Legendary books. And also to some of the earlier monk abilities.

I kind of get stuck a bit at skills and powers (Spells although it could also include psychics etc).
 

VisionStorm

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I think Vision Storm and Stan are on a similar wavelength here to me.
Class abilities are essentially feats and just need putting into various categories.

Stats: Cost of 1 per point above 10. Thinking of 12 points to spend here...

So far I have the following kind of feats-

Feats: 10 points. These follow standard and are split into Basic, Expert, and Master.

Traits: These are things like Acute Senses, Alertness, Free Running etc.
Combat: This covers various things like Paktration, Martial Arts, and Weapon Groups, and Armour types
Cantrips: These are all non-combat focused. Any that relate to
Magic: This covers the following: Arcane, Bloodlines, Chi*, Pacts, Gifted ** and Training *** etc

* Chi: This is essentially chi magic, whereby the practitioner has access to spells.
** Gifted: These are abilities granted from external sources, e.g. Paladin abilities
*** Training: This is more geared to martial abilities, e.g. those from Gurps Martial Arts, or some of the Legendary books. And also to some of the earlier monk abilities.

I kind of get stuck a bit at skills and powers (Spells although it could also include psychics etc).

If you're going with 5e, you don't need to break Ability Scores into single point selections. +2 to one Ability is already equivalent to one Feat in 5e and vice versa. All you need to do is make sure every feat is roughly equal to a +2 to one Ability Score. So all characters could have a score of 10 in all Abilities by default, and every +2 to one score costs one Feat. Conversely, reducing scores grants +1 Feat per each 2 points reduced. Characters could get X amount of Feats for scores during creation for ability scores, and simply reduce default scores (10) to get more. Basically:

Default Ability Score = 10
1 Feat = +2 to one Score
-2 to one Score = +1 Feat

Characters could start with a couple of Feats for starting abilities, then gain one or two per CL. You could also use a universal HD type (1d6, maybe 1d8) to keep it simple, then add a feat for bonus HP (maybe +1 HP per CL per selection, max 3-4 selections), and keep the Proficiency Bonus at +2, +1 add every 4 CLs above 1 (5, 9, 13 & 17) as standard 5e. Extra skills simply use the Skilled feat. Everything else are just feats thrown on top of this.
 

TJS

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Be careful. Reducing a score from 10 to 8 is definitely not worth a feat.

Feat's are only balanced against ability scores (to the extent that they are), when we are talking about making good scores into even better scores (because these are the ones you use all the time).

If we are talking about a score where you don't have a save proficiency and don't use in combat and is already pretty mediocre, then improving it is not worth the cost of a feat, and making it worse should definitely not grant one.

Honestly, ability score improvement is one of the weakest design points in the game, it creates issues of scaling, which pretty much removes any serious trade-off in terms of scores anyway. (If the game assumes you will improve a score from 16 to 20 to scale up the characters, then this is functionally the same as lowering all the other scores by 4). If I was redesigning from the ground up, I'd either add the bonus to proficiency or just give +1 to all scores per tier as 4e used to do.
 

Rogerdee

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So in a point buy you would automatically lose classes such that everything would be purchasable.

So if you assign a 1-5, 6-11 etc type spread, you could assign bonuses like HD on reaching each new tier. And maybe to separate from standard DnD 5e chargen make it Tier 1, 2, 3, 4, then tier 5.

Each new tier nets everyone an extra feat and say 1d6 HD.
 

VisionStorm

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Be careful. Reducing a score from 10 to 8 is definitely not worth a feat.

Feat's are only balanced against ability scores (to the extent that they are), when we are talking about making good scores into even better scores (because these are the ones you use all the time).

If we are talking about a score where you don't have a save proficiency and don't use in combat and is already pretty mediocre, then improving it is not worth the cost of a feat, and making it worse should definitely not grant one.

Honestly, ability score improvement is one of the weakest design points in the game, it creates issues of scaling, which pretty much removes any serious trade-off in terms of scores anyway. (If the game assumes you will improve a score from 16 to 20 to scale up the characters, then this is functionally the same as lowering all the other scores by 4). If I was redesigning from the ground up, I'd either add the bonus to proficiency or just give +1 to all scores per tier as 4e used to do.

IDK, I think this gets into the realm of judging and micromanaging character builds a bit. There will always been optimal and suboptimal choices in point-buy systems, but the fact that they're optimal or suboptimal (which is largely a judgement call) doesn't affect their cost in any such system. If you were building your character from the ground up starting from "0" in all scores (what most point-buy systems make you do), and instead of "points" you got Feats, where 1 Feat = +2 to one score, each one of those 2 points you add leading up to 10 (or whatever score you settle on) would be worth 1 Feat, cuz those are the "points" you're getting to build up your character in that system.

The only reason you'd be removing points in the example I gave above is because I simplified this tedious process of pumping up all scores to at least 10 or so (which most people tend to do when given points in a RPG and told that 10 is average) by simply making all scores "10" (average) from the get go and instead making adjustments based only on what you actually want above or below average, rather than having to individually build up every single score from scratch starting from "0" (which would've been the other alternative).

Is it possible that adding or removing points from one score is more beneficial than doing it to others? Sure, but technically those penalties you get from scores 8 or lower are still there, even if their impact is ultimately relative based on your build. And if you were buying access to a Spell List tied to an Ability Score you suck at that list would still cost the same as buying access to one tied to a score you've maxed out. Sometimes the value of what you spend your points (or Feats) on is relative to the character you're building, but that never changes the ability's cost in a point buy system, cuz how tha hell can the system even account for that? In the case of spell casting, not even class-based systems account for it, since you can still build a character with a crappy score in their spell casting ability and the system doesn't reduce their XP requirement for advancement for doing so.
 

TJS

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IDK, I think this gets into the realm of judging and micromanaging character builds a bit. There will always been optimal and suboptimal choices in point-buy systems, but the fact that they're optimal or suboptimal (which is largely a judgement call) doesn't affect their cost in any such system. If you were building your character from the ground up starting from "0" in all scores (what most point-buy systems make you do), and instead of "points" you got Feats, where 1 Feat = +2 to one score, each one of those 2 points you add leading up to 10 (or whatever score you settle on) would be worth 1 Feat, cuz those are the "points" you're getting to build up your character in that system.

The only reason you'd be removing points in the example I gave above is because I simplified this tedious process of pumping up all scores to at least 10 or so (which most people tend to do when given points in a RPG and told that 10 is average) by simply making all scores "10" (average) from the get go and instead making adjustments based only on what you actually want above or below average, rather than having to individually build up every single score from scratch starting from "0" (which would've been the other alternative).

Is it possible that adding or removing points from one score is more beneficial than doing it to others? Sure, but technically those penalties you get from scores 8 or lower are still there, even if their impact is ultimately relative based on your build. And if you were buying access to a Spell List tied to an Ability Score you suck at that list would still cost the same as buying access to one tied to a score you've maxed out. Sometimes the value of what you spend your points (or Feats) on is relative to the character you're building, but that never changes the ability's cost in a point buy system, cuz how tha hell can the system even account for that? In the case of spell casting, not even class-based systems account for it, since you can still build a character with a crappy score in their spell casting ability and the system doesn't reduce their XP requirement for advancement for doing so.
The penalties aren't worth much though. The different between a 10 and a 8 is 5% on a D20 roll. And you don't put that score in something you actually need. If I could buy a feat this way I'd pretty much consider it a freebie.

Whereas a feat is normally balanced against keeping your primary score scaling upward or taking the feat. There's a huge gap between these two things.

Note that even in regular point buy you pay more for the higher score.
 

VisionStorm

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The penalties aren't worth much though. The different between a 10 and a 8 is 5% on a D20 roll. And you don't put that score in something you actually need. If I could buy a feat this way I'd pretty much consider it a freebie.

Whereas a feat is normally balanced against keeping your primary score scaling upward or taking the feat. There's a huge gap between these two things.

The penalties are the same as the bonuses mechanically, at least in terms of raw math. But whether the score is useful to the character is a separate issue that will always be relative to the individual character and is difficult to account for. Obviously if I roll a 6 in Strength in traditional 3d6 D&D, I'm not making that character a Fighter. And if I'm given a bunch of points to build my character from scratch starting from 0 I'm obviously not going to devote points in abilities I don't need. But those abilities would still cost the same even if I don't need them.

Note that even in regular point buy you pay more for the higher score.

It depends on the system. In some games you just get a simplified amount of points you can spend on your scores on a 1 on 1 basis, and the higher costs (if they exist, which admittedly they usually do) don't kick in until after character creation.

But the thing about point-buy games with increased costs for higher level Attributes and Skills (usually it's those two) is that those games normally don't have character levels and in those games increasing your Attributes and Skills IS the level progression. So the increased costs for abilities in a way is meant to simulate the a steep XP curve for high level characters in most level-based systems, except applied to degrees of expertise or talent in specific areas of ability. It's a different flow of character progression than level-based systems.

In level-based systems the idea is usually simplified progression: You level up, you get some basic benefits, apply them quickly, then move on. But variable costs bog the character progression down with math and a lot of deliberation about what you're going to spend your points on exactly, then calculating all those costs, etc. At which point you might as well get rid of level progression and just go straight point-buy.

Granted, the case for increased costs based on ability level can be made, and I used to hold that view (and this also depends a lot on what you want to get out of the system and the type of system you're trying to build). But ultimately I think that they just complicate the process, and provide too little bang for their buck, vs simply handling it on a 1 on 1 basis, and putting a cap on how high abilities can go.
 
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