Houses Are People Houses Are People

Old school roleplay musings

3D6 In Order


3d6 in order. That’s it. Stop! I know. That’s crazy. I’ll explain why after I describe some benefits of some of the modern alternatives.

Other Methods

  1. A more balanced game can be created by Lamentations of the Flame Princess’ method. (3d6 in order, if total attribute modifiers add up to less than 0, the player may reroll all attributes. The player may swap between two attributes once.) This also allows a player to have at least one attribute suitable to the class they were hoping to play. This is great. I understand why it’s attractive. I don’t mind using it.
  2. A more heroic game context can be created by using the following method: 4d6 in order, drop the lowest. This makes much more powerful characters and often leaves players feeling empowered. This might lead to expectations of low lethality, both from the players and from the GM. I don’t see any benefits to this, but I’m sure it’s probably the best option for someone’s table. Many methods that similarly result in more “desirable” stats exist.

3d6 is useful because:

  1. The player who really wants to play a wizard might be stuck with a character who has 3 intelligence. They might have to choose a class they’ve never played and learn to think through problems differently, which improves the experience for everyone. They might choose to play a wizard but will play the wizard as an idiot who can’t read and has to resort to casting spells from the skulls of dead wizards and to physically capturing spirits in their own skull. The GM could even make a special subclass for just this purpose.

  2. Some characters will have 2HP (I don’t use minimum HP), but it’s FUN. There’s a big dynamic range, so there’s a larger range of characters for my players to play.

A 2HP specialist with very low stats might be really reckless because she knows she’s going to die anyway, or she might be incredibly careful and cautious. Either situation changes the group dynamic because one player is thinking differently than they normally would, for a little while.

  1. There’s no need to wait for players to create characters when they die. Heck, you could have them roll extras at the start.

3d6 in order encourages surprise, creativity, cleverness, playing a role, and speedy character generation.

3d6 in order increases fun, at least at my table.