Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Prime Swap

A house rule I am using now is the Prime Swap. Perhaps I can let Prodder and Scrunt explain this approach:

Prime Swap: After rolling (3d6 or 4d6-L) six times and recording the results In Order, the player can swap the character's Prime Ability with any other ability score. So FM can swap for STR, M-U can swap for INT, C can swap for WIS. Dwarves can choose STR or CON. Elves can choose STR or INT. Hobbits can choose STR or DEX. Option: Characters generated without the Prime Swap [start at 2nd level/start with maximum hits] insert your own bonus here.

This solution allows the player to generate the class he or she desires while maintaining most of the randomness realized with an In Order approach. I am not considering the optional point-buy system presented in OD&D because I adhere to the “for purposes of gaining experience only” caveat.



Gratuitous Saxon Violence said...

Excellent! Prodder & Scrunt should do all your posts from now on. At least during the alphabetical terror that is April.

It may say the referee rolls the dice, but it also strongly implies that players select their characters from a field of pre-gens.

'Prior to the character selection by players...' (M&M p.10)

And desired character considerations prior to their generation is also sanctioned.
'Before they begin, players must decide what role they will play in the campaign, human or otherwise, fighter, cleric or magic-user.' (M&M p.6)

Gratuitous Saxon Violence said...

Should have mentioned that I am of a mind to allow re-rolls of each score once. But the re-roll is the new score, even (especially) if it is lower. So once the score is up into the 8-9 range, the risk of rolling lower is palpable enough to deter re-rolls. It will usually eliminate those exceptionally low scores, but not always, without too much score inflation.

Sham aka Dave said...

I've used countless ability score approaches in the past. I still use 3d6 in order but allow the player to roll a stat block of 10 characters. Those are his strings until all 10 have died or retired. I now allow that Prime Swap as well.

I like your re-roll option. Risk/Reward is nice and adds some tension to the normal 3d6 six times convention.

Beedo said...

I like this idea - it preserves the spirit of 3d6 in order but gives a nod to pragmatism.

When we started a new campaign last year, 3d6 in order made perfect sense for the crew, but once guys started to die and they needed replacements, players set out to make a fighter replacement, or a cleric replacements... the prime swap let's you roll once and done.

Taketoshi said...

For my current LL campaign, I'm doing straight 3d6 in order, but with the option to trade two-for-one into the prime requisite for your chosen class (must meet minimums with the initial rolls) and into constitution.

This allows players to feel like they have a specific strength they can play to for their character, and also compensates for low rolls in CON significantly reducing survivability, but not without major trade-offs. Since I'm making the players roll for recruitment of retainers, they're even hesitant about pulling a number of points from CHA as in some cases a matter of a single point on the roll has made the difference in having an extra party member around to back you up.

Jeff Rients said...

More class selection freedom without stat inflation? That's unpossible!

Matthew James Stanham said...

Ha, ha. Good stuff, but like the hapless player I reckon I will stick to 4d6, drop the lowest, arrange to taste (at least for AD&D). :D

Telecanter said...

That's exactly the house rule I used when starting my campaign. It did tend to grant more exceptional abilities. So most of my MUs ended up with extra spells.

But it was nice for them to get to choose.