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Your method for distributing stats? (other than min/maxing)

SharGuidesMyHandSharGuidesMyHand Member Posts: 2,473
Back when I played the original BG1 more than a decade ago, I used to min/max the most useful stats for my character class. Consequently, I ended up with a lot of paladins with only 3 intelligence. ;-)

With the release of BG:EE, I decided that I wanted to roleplay a character similar to the method described in Tord's famous "Lilly Black" playthrough (see here: - which meant creating a character without absurd-looking and obviously OP'd stats.

I made a few "rules" for myself:
1. My character's stat total would not be higher than the highest stat total out of the NPCs (which meant less than Dorn's 90).
2. I would use the individual stats of the other NPCs as a barometer for deciding my own.
3. My char would have only one fully maxed stat.

Here's the character that I eventually created for my current playthrough, a female human vanilla ranger (it took a helluva long time to decide on a portrait, race, and class, but those are topics for other threads, LOL):

After only a few rolls, I had rolled an 88 stat total - a very respectable roll, but not higher than Dorn's 90, and only equal with Ajantis' stat total.

Here's a basic rundown of how I decided each stat:

Strength - I imagine my character as having above average strength, but not being a hulking amazon. Looking over the strengths of other NPCs (with emphasis on the female ones), the spectrum runs from 8-9 str wimps like Alora and Imoen, to a singularly unique, 18-plus str amazon in Shar-Teel. I felt that my character should basically be smack in the middle, in the range of warrior-priests like Branwen or Jaheira, so I settled on 14. (Incidentally, as a ranger she's required to have at least 13 str anyway.)

Dexterity - I imagine my char as being very fit, and obviously skilled with a bow (as you can see from her picture), but perhaps just a tad less athletic than a master thief like Imoen or a trained dancer like Skie. So 17 dext was appropriate IMO.

Constitution - I imagine my char as being fairly healthy, enough to get a bonus from her con, but at the same time, I was conscious of not raising too many of her stats too high. So I settled on 15.

Intelligence & Wisdom - I basically just replicated Kivan's and Jaheira's stats for these, since I imagine that my ranger would basically share the same outlooks and sensibilities as they do (i.e: being "nature smart" instead of "book smart"). I imagine my character as being respectably smart and sensible, but not necessarily an outstanding genius in either category. As someone who was raised and educated amidst the books of Candlekeep's library, but always with a secret focus on the outside world, I imagine that she's educated just enough to be literate (which would mean at least 9 int.), but her wisdom should be emphasized thereafter.

Charisma - I decided that this would be the stat that I'd fully max, as there are no other NPCs with 18 char (except maybe Keldorn IIRC) and I wanted to give my char a unique trait that would make her stand out from the other NPCs. Besides, I imagine my char as someone who will generally get a favorable reaction from others (just look at her pic after all, LOL), and from a roleplaying perspective, it would best explain how she'd be capable of gathering and keeping together a motley collection of mercenaries.

So there's my story... Anyone else have their own?

Post edited by SharGuidesMyHand on


  • NecomancerNecomancer Member Posts: 622
    Max charisma. Every time. No matter the class. For the ladies.

  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,248
    My current character is an 81 point Jester. I chose my class based on and allocated his stats to match my results from a "real life ability scores" test:
    Str 9
    Dex 14
    Con 11
    Int 16
    Wis 14
    Cha 17

  • StevevdlStevevdl Member Posts: 73
    When I roll a character I use the rolls given and just change the position of the stat. eg. If I am playing a fighter class that has a 16 strength and an 18 dex, I will swap them so I have the 18 str and a 16 dex but I do not take a couple of points out of another stat and add it to another stat. eg if I have a 14 int in the above example , I do not drop the int to 12 to get the 18 dex.

  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,248
    edited February 2014
    You and I follow very similar sets of rules.
    Edit: with one major exception, of course.

    Post edited by jackjack on
  • NecomancerNecomancer Member Posts: 622
    In all seriousness I very rarely min-max unless thats purposely what I'm going for in a character. For example one of my black pits characters was suppose to be a half-orc who was dumb even by orc standards but also strong even by orc standards. Still, I almost *never* do below 8 int. Once you go below 8 it makes me think of someone with a severe mental disability and thats kinda awkward to RP. Another exception was a character who has very low con, but ment to symbolize magical experiments of transmutation done to her that made her body weak.

    Usually when it comes to the PC I just max, rerolling like an OCD person to get that ultimate roll then suddenly missing it as the number 89 flashes by me and then I click again on impulse and lose it to a 72. I really should just go with the first roll I get one of these days, then RP a barbarian. I think they can get away with lower stats since they're main goal is to smash stuff until it stops moving.

  • KidCarnivalKidCarnival Member Posts: 3,747
    My jester has no maxed stat at all. He is human, so that means no 18. He has 15 strength, 17 dex, 15 con, 16 int, 11 wisdom and 17 charisma.

    Tome distribution:
    Strength: charname
    Wisdom: all Xzar, as he is my go to cleric (dualed at necro 5)
    Charisma: charname
    Constitution: most likely Xzar, or if I'm feeling really experimental, Eldoth
    Dexterity: more often than not Montaron
    Intelligence: if Edwin is present, him. If not, Eldoth or charname.

    This character is partly based on Ashur from Spartacus (Gods of the Arena, mostly). He's not really bad... but he's at best medicore and looks weak and useless compared to the "gods" that surround him. The only thing he's really good at is playing people against each other, and even that sometimes backfires. He's a smooth, witty talker and in any other category, he has to rely on backstabbing, manipulation and dirty tricks to gain an advantage.
    The spells are also based on this concept - Blindness, Charm Person/Dire Charm, Glitterdust (to resemble throwing sand in the opponent's eyes), Friendship, Invisibility (create chaos via song, then fade into background and watch the others fight it out) and so on. Go to weapons are Dagger of Venom (for "backstabbing" despite having no backstab ability) and Acid Arrow/Arrow of Biting, plus bastard sword (because the jester is a total bastard).

    The concept of being medicore in a world of powerful mages, fighters and priests is just very appealing for roleplay. Neutral Evil, driven by envy regarding... well, absolutely everything; a lying, cheating bastard who doesn't think he has a "fair" chance to prevail and lives up the "then let me be evil" trope to the fullest, painting himself as a victim with no other choice. I wanted the stats to represent that, and mostly used Spartacus as reference.
    Spartacus, the "chosen warrior of justice" - a paladin, in a way - with insane fighting skills, a keen mind for strategy and long term plans, intelligent, diplomatic - vs. Ashur, the underdog/cripple - either high charisma backstabby thief or bard - who struggles to survive head to head with other gladiators and has to rely on his wits in every situation, but is still a more skilled swordsman than more rigid thinkers in the end. Ashur beating up the Roman soldiers after bragging any gladiator can beat them, and then telling Glaber "...and I was considered the weakest among them" is simply an awesome scene - the Roman soldiers represent the city guards and Flaming Fists in this case. The stats are just enough to take them out (i.e. Viconia encounter), but compared to any fighter, ranger and paladin, they are simply meh.

  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 7,315
    I choose two stats that are high (17-19), two that are medium (14-16) and two that are low(below 12). Except for my last character when I rolled 19/99 17 17 9 15 17 for a pali. You can't hit reroll after that.... on purpose.

    My Berserker/Druid is a better example. She was 18/9/16/8/18/15 when leaving Candlekeep.

  • KidCarnivalKidCarnival Member Posts: 3,747
    deltago said:

    You can't hit reroll after that.... on purpose.

    Bolded for relevance.

  • LoubLoub Member Posts: 471
    jackjack said:

    My current character is an 81 point Jester. I chose my class based on and allocated his stats to match my results from a "real life ability scores" test:
    Str 9
    Dex 14
    Con 11
    Int 16
    Wis 14
    Cha 17

    My ability scores from that site were very, very high.
    14 Strength
    12 Dexterity
    18 Constitution
    18 Intelligence
    18 Wisdom
    9 Charisma
    As a half-orc, no less. Which also matches the class it gave me: Wizard/Cleric. I seriously doubt any GM, no matter how insane, would ever let me play a character with these rolls. Especially so considering the site measured for 3.5 edition.

  • mumumomomumumomo Member Posts: 635
    I basically do min/maxing (18 in all relevant stats) but i try to avoid dump stats (especially not int or cha, wis sometimes i put very very low)
    Therefore it takes me a LOOOONG time rolling but i cannot see my demi-god character with the same stats as every peasant (and let's face it i am a powergamer)

    So my stats look like :

    for a sorc :
    str 10
    dex 19
    con 16
    int 14
    wis 15
    cha 18

    for a fighter/mage/thief

    str 18/x
    dex 18
    con 18
    int 18
    wis 8
    cha 10

  • RewolfRewolf Member Posts: 102
    For multiplayer games with friends, I use min/max scores with the excuse that we're playing with a small party (2-4 characters) and thus want to be sure we get the right scores.
    I used to do the same for my single plays, but nowadays I give myself a certain number of rolls (like 100 rolls) and use the highest score from that. I find this way the most balanced between random scores and min/max (I have to admit, I still like it more to play with all the right stats on 18 then on 16). Currently playing a run with a Dwarven Fighter/Cleric on 17/17/19/11/16/9

  • CrevsDaakCrevsDaak Member Posts: 7,145
    I played with the "roll all the times you want, don't min max" and the "roll 7 times and min max it" lot of times. When I was a noob I didn't knew what stats did pretty well, I thought that it was more like P&P (because I've read some P&P thinking that it might be handy for BG:EE) and the BG:EE manual messed my ideas too, I thought that the multi-class minimums for Mage/Thief were 15 DEX and 17 INT, so I rolled until I got those, anyway my first PC was a 77 :P
    Then I have PCs were I rolled sometimes and got wondrous rolls, Jimmy, my elven F/M had only 3 re-rolls until I got a good roll (18/50, 19, 17, 18, 10, 8) I min maxed him a little but I had re rolled only 3 times :P
    My last PC, Valhalla, took me like a hour of re-rolling, I didn't want to min max and I had lots of free time, so I ended up rolling 18/25, 18, 18, 9, 15, 9, epic roll, I wished to take out WIS for INT because I don't accept dumb PCs but I said "NO, just don't min max, you've lost an hour rolling..." so she was ultra wise at the end of BG1 but she isn't a genius.
    Sarilien, another of my PCs had a nice roll (18, 18, 16, 18, 15, 10), but I assigned her point in Single Weapon Style instead of Shortbow, crucial for low levels BG1, but pressed "Back" and rolled again to get at least that 95... I got a 94 instead, and assigned the points in a different way (18, 18, 15, 18, 13, 12).

  • CaradocCaradoc Member Posts: 92
    edited February 2014
    There are many ways how you can allocate your statpoints

    1. Min/max aka powergamer's method. I'm personally very fond of this methoh. :)

    2. You imagine how the stats reprisent yourself. What kind of D&D stats would you have at the moment? Again something I've tried in the past and I hugely recommand everyone trying it.

    3. How the stats reprisent your character: You basicly create a backstory of some kind and imagine what kind person your character is. In other words: what kind life he or she has lived and what kind of training he or she has received and so forth. Also a very fun way to create your character. Obviously this is the roleplayer's choise. I enjoy this method quite lot too.

    4. You take the best roll out of three/four/five/etc.

    5. You knowingly roll a very low number to add extra challenge. I've played 75 character once in bg1 (Didn't finish the game though). A fun experience no doubt and you need a whole different mindset to play character like that.

    6. You take the first roll game gives you. Never done this.

    7. You roll till you get atleast specific number like "over 80" "atleast 85" "gotta be over 90" " (As you can see we come closer and closer to the powergaming method:)

    8. You gotta have atleast same number of stat points as some npc in game.

    Well I'm sure there are more stat rolling methods :)

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017
    For me, I mainly role play my characters. What this means is no dump stats. Any stat below 11 had better have a darned good 'Role play' reason for being so low. Beyond that, Generally stats that fit the class. Since I mainly play Wizards, the only stat I really focus on is INT. That is almost always a 17 or an 18. Next comes Dex and then CON. Beyond that 'To taste' based on available points.

    I don't much care what the max stats are unless the character calls for it. My Cleric, for instance is almost always in the 90s range. My Thief and my Wizard generally don't care much so long as they have their primary stat 17-18.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,280
    edited February 2014
    I don't spend a lot of time rolling. If I get a great roll within the first handful, I'll take it; and if that results in more than one 18 somewhere then it was meant to be. CHARNAME does have divine blood.

    But for the garden variety rolls I will distribute according to the key abilities that define the class. I may not give myself 18s but I will favor them, of course. I virtually never give less than a 10 in an ability. For the non-requisite abilities for the class, it's all intuitive at the time as to what sort of character might be interesting to develop.

  • MitchforkMitchfork Member Posts: 390
    As someone that is not terribly into role-playing Baldur's Gate, I always have trouble with doing anything other than min/maxing.

    The way that the stats increment in 2e means that points are really easily wasted if you just give out mediocre numbers... remember that 10.5 is supposed to be average in each stat (plus or minus racial modifiers). If I wanted to give myself a "good" STR score based on that I might pick something like 15; but a warrior with 15 STR (noticeably above average) has the exact same damage/hit rate as a warrior with 8 STR (noticeably below average). If you don't take THAC0 into account, you get an even wider range- 6 STR does the same damage as 15 STR. The only thing that you get for the points in-between is carry weight.

    DEX (for every class except Thief) and CON do the exact same thing- and CON is even worse since it caps out for non-warriors. This really leads me to only take great rolls in the key stats for a particular build, because only great rolls have meaning in the game world.

    The mental stats are slight exceptions because they generally do have incremental improvements. WIS is still a completely painless dump stat for anyone but Clerics, Druids, and some Mages, though.

  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,248
  • MitchforkMitchfork Member Posts: 390
    jackjack said:

    And Bards (Lore).

    Even then, you get so much lore from just leveling up as Bard that you end up compensating for a low WIS stat pretty quickly.

  • thespacethespace Member Posts: 1,039
    edited February 2014
    I lean more towards @Mitchfork 's view, as far as 2E DnD goes. The bonuses given for stats in 3rd edition make a lot more sense, IMO, encouraging more variety, and me not feeling like I need to "power game" so much. I like how IWD2 uses third edition AND point-buy on stats, so that all characters more or less start with an equal foundation, and no time is wasted rolling over and over again.

  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,248
    Mitchfork said:

    jackjack said:

    And Bards (Lore).

    Even then, you get so much lore from just leveling up as Bard that you end up compensating for a low WIS stat pretty quickly.

    Agreed. I was just mentioning its relevance.

  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,248
    Clearly we need Tiefling as a playable race so we can roll a D8 and have one # for each.

  • IselethIseleth Member Posts: 15
    edited February 2014
    As time goes by, I spend less and less time rerolling. At one time, I would reroll for 30 minutes to get the best stats (only nod to roleplay was not dumping stats below 9). Now, I take the best of a handful of rolls and don't worry about getting 18 everywhere.

    As for the method of stat distribution, my only rule is that intelligence, charisma and wisdom all reflect the character's personality (unless it's the main stat for their class and the score has to be be higher).

    I recently started a new game of Icewind Dale, and with 6 characters to create, I had even less patience for rerolling. Several characters have only 17 in their mainstat and suboptimal point distributions. My most realistic characters to date. I think my next Bhaalspawn will also be that way.

  • FeytorFeytor Member Posts: 57
    bengoshi said:

    Every step in the character creation process is a roll.

    This will give rise to certain interresting PC's but I would like to add the possibility of swapping 1 or 2 scores.
    A swap of Petunis's STR and INT scores would better reflect her class and physical nature.

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,483

    You take what you get. This is the main rule and it brings so much.

    If it's only 6 STR, so be it. 11 INT is legit for a mage. But if you get a result for a particular stat that is not legit, i.e less than minimum requirements in terms of this particular class/kit, you just reroll or you can give this stat the minimum score available. For example, I've rolled 7 for Petunia's DEX but the minimum requirement for this stat of an illusionist/thief is 16. So I set her DEX to 16. I could also reroll till getting something between 16-18 but I thought it would be unjust.

    So, with this approach you should be ready for surprises. A mage with 11 INT? Well, to scribe scrolls for her would be a BIG, big problem. This becomes one of her traits immediately. This makes her different to those arcane users who have 17 or 18 INT and can easily access 24 INT (and thus 100% chance to scribe a scroll) with potions. This makes you think how to deal with it. When should she scribe scrolls? When should she buy potions? How to get an access to scribing high-level spells? But in the same time, this character is a half-thief with decent STR and DEX that can be even further improved with tomes, so she has her own quite powerful resources.

  • booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162
    For my Bhaalspawn I max out charisma no matter what and then work from there. I can't have any ability score below 10, especially intelligence. I'll occasionally drop wisdom or strength below 10, but usually try to keep intelligence high and charisma maxed. I just really don't like my character to derp around the Sword Coast scaring away children.

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