I saw some Reddit posts recently about rolling ability scores, or not rolling ability scores. I thought up a couple ideas, and started thinking about possibilities, and then went down the al-miraj hole of internet research. Listed below are the ability generating variants that I found. I broke them apart into individual pieces that can be mixed an matched. I tried to identify numbers that you could vary to fit your tastes, which I typically called N, with values people stated they were using in parentheses.
- 3d6 N times, keep the highest (N = 2 or 6)
- 3d6, replace one die with a four
- 3d6+4 drop lowest
- 4d6 drop lowest
- 5d6 drop two lowest
- 1d6+N (N = 8, 9)
- 1d6-1d4+N (N = 13)
- 1d8+N (N = 7, 8)
- 1d10+N (N = 7, 8)
- 2d20 drop lowest
- 1d20 with a table, for complete control of the distribution
- 2d4+1d6+1d8 drop lowest
- 2d4+N (N = 7 or 8)
- 2d6+N (N = 4, 5, or 6)
- 2d8+N (N = 3 or 4)
- 3d4+2d3+1d6+3 keep three
- 4d4+N (N = 3 or 4)
- 5d2+N (N = 2 or 5)
- 5d4+N (N = 0)
- Ndf+M (N = 4 or 5, M = 12 or 13)
- Standard from 5E.
- 1 for 1.
- 1 for 1 with a minimum of N. (N = 8)
- 1 for 1, start with all at N, when one goes up another goes down. (N = 10 or 12)
- Pathfinder point buy.
- DM chosen point buy (infinite possibilities, not going there).
Point buy variants.
- Point buy with random points. (random = 8d6)
- Randomly generate a legal point buy.
- Use a 12 card deck, draw two cards for each ability.
- Suggested deck #1: 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 10.
- Suggested deck #2: 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9.
- Suggested deck #3: 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9.
- Use a 14 card deck, drop the lowest score.
- Either deck suggested above, plus a 4 and a 5.
- Make a deck of 18 cards from 1-6 that add up to N. Three cards per stat.
- Optionally, three cards of the same color gives + 1
- Optionally, three cards of the same suit gives + 2
- Play face up, one row at a time, with choice of which stack to place each card in.
- Play face up, one card at a time, with choice of which stack to place each card in.
- Add some extra cards that don’t get dealt.
- Standard 5E array.
- Standard 5E array, +1 for each ability.
- Average of 4d6 drop lowest six times (16, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8).
- Non-standard array as chosen by DM (54,264 possibilites, not going there)
- Each player rolls once, with DM rolling until there are six rolls.
- Do this three times, and each player can choose which of the three arrays to use.
- Each player rolls once, with DM choosing numbers until there are six numbers.
- Each player rolls once, with DM rolling a secret number that the players can swap out for any one roll.
- Each player rolls once until you have N rolls. The DM decides which two to drop. (N = 7, 8)
- Alternately, let each play choose what to drop.
- Each player rolls once until you have 12 rolls. The DM pairs off highest and lowest until you have 6 pairs. Each player can choose any three pairs.
- Each player rolls all six abilities. Whichever set of six has the highest total becomes the array.
- Each player rolls all six abilities. The players choose which set everyone uses.
- Optionally, throw out highest and lowest arrays.
- Each player rolls all six abilities. Any player can use any other player’s rolls.
- The DM can roll a set as well to give an extra choice.
- Each player rolls two sets of six abilities. Roll for order of choice, each player picks one of the sets (that no one else has picked yet).
- Each player rolls six abilities. Determine order of choice and split the individual rolls among the players.
- Each player rolls one die, keep top three, repeat six time. (best with four players, you can rotate a player who doesn’t roll)
- Roll two halves of the array from two different tables. (infinite, not going there)
Finishing Sets of Rolls
- Roll five abilities, the sixth number is N minus the total. (N = 70 or 75)
- Roll five abilities, last ability is the top three dropped dice.
- Roll five abilities, reroll four of the dropped dice for the sixth, max 18. (for mixed sets of dice)
- Roll four abilities, DM gives a high and low (high = 18, low = 8).
- Roll N times, choose the best six. (N = 7, 8, or 12, higher N for lower average rolls)
Rolling as Sets
- 1d20 with a different table for each ability.
- Roll two low rolls, two medium rolls, and two high rolls. (rolls = 3d6, 4d6, 5d6)
- Roll N sets and choose which one to use. (N = 2 or 3)
- Have the DM roll the N sets, all players choose from them.
- Roll abilities in a 6×6 grid. Each player chooses a unique line in order (either direction).
- DM can remove lines.
- Player conflict removes a line.
- Roll Nd6k3 for your least needed ability, (N+1)d6k3 for the next least, and so on up to (N+5)d6k3. (N = 3 or 4)
- Class based or player’s choice.
- Roll Nd6, keep the N-6 best dice, split them how you want into two abilities. Do that three times. (N = 6 or 8)
- Roll Nd6, keep the N-9 best dice, split them how you want into three abilities. Do that twice. (N = 11)
Distributing the Dice
- Each player gets N dice to spread among their abilities. Then they roll, keep three highest. (N = 18, 21, or 24)
- Optional minimum of two or three dice.
- Optionally roll 2d6 as 2d6+1.
- Optional minimum of two or three dice.
- Each player rolls N dice, and spreads them among their abilities. (N = 20, or 36)
- Each player rolls N dice, keeps the best 18, and splits into six sets of three. (N = 24)
- Every score starts at 8. Roll 7d6. Add to abilities as desired.
- Roll 72d6. Count each number from 1 to 6. Those counts are your six abilities.
- Redistribute points over 20 to the lowest abilities.
Ordering the Abilities
- Player chooses which number goes to which ability.
- Rolls are done in order for each ability: The first roll is Str, the second Dex, …
- For arrays, roll 1d6 for each number to determine which ability it goes in, rerolling duplicates.
- For arrays, roll 1d6 for lowest four, player choses last two.
- After random ordering, you can swap any two abilities.
- Reroll any number below N (N = 6, 7, or 8).
- Reroll any number above N (N = 16).
- Reroll any N or less on a single die. (N = 1 or 2)
- Reroll any N or less on a single die once. (N = 1 or 2)
- Reroll the lowest number until the total is at least N.
Change to a Specific Number
- Any roll below N becomes N.
- Any roll below N becomes N, and the extra points are subtracted from the highest ability.
- Any roll over N becomes N.
- Any roll over N becomes N, and the removed points are added to the lowest ability.
- Lower a roll by 2 to increase another by 1. Can’t go below N. (N = 8)
- Three of a kind under 4 count as 17, three of a kind over 3 count as 18
- Four of a kind are 1 = 16, 2 or 3 = 17, 4+ = 18
- Reroll any set without one N+. (N = 16)
- Reroll any set without two N+s. (N = 15)
- Reroll any set with a total less than N. (N = 80 or 75)
- Reroll any set with a total more than N. (N = 100)
- Reroll any set with a total bonus less than N. (N = 2, 4)
- Reroll any set with any roll <= N. (N = 8)
- Roll a d6, a d8, and a d10. Abilities are 10+d6, 15-d6, 10+d8, 15-d8, 8+d10, 17-d10.
- Roll six dN, label them A-F. Abilities are M+A-B, M+B-C, …, M+F-A. (N = 6 or 8, M = 13)
- Roll 3d6 three times, min N – 18. Subtract them from N for the other three abilities. (N = 23)
- Dice points: 3 = 18, 2 = 1d4+14, 1 = 8+1d4+1d6, 0 = 1d4+1d6+1d8 (infinite possibilites, not going there)
- Draft: Each rolls six abilities, roll initiative, choose one in order, choose one in reverse order, repeat 3 times.
- Roll 3d6 drop lowest. Get an array like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Add array to rolls as desired.
- Roll three stats, min 7, subtract each one from 25 to get the other three stats.
- Start with low array, assign to abilities, roll abilities n times, adding 2 each time.
- 13, 11, 11, 9, 9, 7, plus 5 +2s
- 13, 13, 11, 11, 9, 7, plus 7 +2s
- Choose two or more systems, and give players the choice of system to use.
Me, I like rolling dice. But I value simplicity and balance. I would probably go with everyone rolling one number, DM rolling until there are six numbers, and rerolling if there aren’t two scores of at least 15, and that being the array. I like the idea of randomly assigning those numbers to abilities, but I wouldn’t do that unless the players were into it. YMMV.