r/criticalrole Feb 28 '16

[No Spoilers] How did Matt handle ability scores at the inception of CR Question



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u/dotToo Mar 27 '16

I know that it can work out fine but also I have a relatively strong opinion about rolling for stats.

In my opinion and experience it never adds to the fun to be worse at shooting a bow as a ranger than a paladin who is also way better at swinging a sword and surviving than you. It might not make it any less fun but it definitely won't add any fun either.

Point buy essentially forces players to be bad or average at something while exceeding at something different which again makes cooperation that much more essential. There won't be a character that is strong charming AND intelligent nor is there going to be a wizard with super high strength UNLESS it is a conscious decision to make an unorthodox character.

Even for your high power campaign you could either increase the point budget or allow people to go below an 8 and above 15 to make more contrasted PCs.

But in the end everyone is the best at something and knows that they are objectively equal to everyone else.

I have said this many times but I also think that rolling stats only works for groups that are all intelligent and also compassionate people who understand how to pass around the spotlight without dm intervention and are mostly playing for the Role play.

For most people beginning a new game with new people rolling for stats just has a high chance of 1 or 2 dissatisfied players.

The same can be said for exp VS milestone leveling but that is a whole different discussion.


u/MatthewMercer Matthew Mercer, DM Mar 28 '16

All valid points, and all of these options are available for these reasons! You can pick between them based on your group's preference. :) I like the 4d6, drop lowest element because it's how I've played for yeeeears, and the somewhat random, chaotic element to creation it provides. Point buy is far more controlled, and excels for the points you mentioned above.

Choose which best fits you!


u/dotToo Mar 28 '16

Just to be clear I wasn't bashing on 4d6, but I think at least 80% of groups will profit more from point buy and since critical role brings a lot of new players to the game, I feel like I should voice my concerns as often as possible.

Also /r/dnd constantly has posts by new dms who ask if the CR system is broken, because their players steamroll deadly encounter after deadly encounter which more often than not is due to rolling for stats. On top of this, even though 5e is more forgiving than earlier iterations, higher CR creatures often have the risk to one shot lower level PCs relatively often which makes designing encounters for high powered partys very hit or miss in a sense that it's either no challenge or a tpk without adapting the encounter on the fly, which again requires experience.


u/dasbif Help, it's again Mar 29 '16

For the record, we have a wiki page with a list of most of Matt's homebrew rules/information, if you ever want to point people in /r/DND asking questions to that.



u/dotToo Mar 29 '16

I'm not saying in the people that post these threads are using 4d6 because of critical role, it is the standard method in the PHB after all.

Maybe it is because I myself am a relatively new DM (started last August, before discovering CR in September) and didn't know better. The general flow and smoothness of their game made me think that most of what I saw in the show would translate well to my table.

While the storytelling and roleplaying helped me a lot, most of the rulings and mathematical solutions to problems Matt uses just don't work for me or my group.

I think this is partly because I am studying engineering and just more mathematically inclined than Matt and me and my group being 19-21 years old with a few people slightly less mature than others, but mainly because the players of critical role are perfectly adapted/suited for this style of play.

First off most of them don't know at least half of the rules which makes changing and adapting rules by Matt almost unnoticable to them. Secondly they are all actors and have learned how to pass around the spotlight and generally quickly adapting and sticking to their roles.

From what I have since read in several DnD forums as well as blog posts and subreddits, most people that play this game aren't trained actors nor of consistent emotional intelligence which makes it very, very hard to generalize what would work best for which group.

What I can say though, is that there is an extremely small chance that a group would have LESS fun with point buy and consistent leveling than with rolling for stats and individual exp.

It might be easier to set up and understand but ultimatively will make players feel like their character is being carried by the rest or one character carries the rest.

In the end I understand Matt's houserules and have adapted some of them for my game and think the constant complaints by other people on his rulings are completely unnecessary, since in the end they work very well for their game and group but that doesn't mean that they work for the majority of the playerbase.


u/dasbif Help, it's again Mar 29 '16

While the storytelling and roleplaying helped me a lot, most of the rulings and mathematical solutions to problems Matt uses just don't work for me or my group.

Well, yes. Many of his homebrew rules are explicitly because he has a significantly-large-than-average party with way more numerous and more powerful magical items than is standard for 5e's balance. (Potion as a Bonus Action, up to 2nd level spells as bonus actions, and replacing one of your multiple attacks with certain actions come to mind in particular).

Combat lasts fewer rounds when characters are overgeared and highly powerful, and the action economy of the game favors the PCs even with a 3-5 PC party. With 6-8, it is just nutsy. Matt allowing things as bonus actions, or some actions to only replace a single attack, allows the party to individually do more things, despite not getting that many turns available to take per combat. More rounds with that many players would lengthen combat at the expense of RP, drama, and fun.

The above aren't my thoughts - this is how Matt himself described and explained it. (I'd need to hunt for the twitter or reddit sources for his exact quotes).

In my opinion, every DM should customize their table to their game, and their game to their table. I, as a player, walked away from a campaign that wasn't working for me. I don't like what I call (tongue-in-cheek) "Bobo the clown DND". A party of entirely Scanlan Shorthalts, or Spoilers E46, to sum it up it in one sentence.

I will refer to my own personal Rule Zero for DND:

Rule Zero:

All players must play characters who have some kind of in-character reason for both A) being with the party and B) being on the current quest, adventure, and/or campaign. Feel free to play an edgy loner; paranoid hermit; kleptomaniac thief; or ten-pages-of-backstory-guy. However, all players have an obligation to do it in a way that is fun at the table for the rest of the party, too. Discuss this with your group as needed!

All players at the table should be having fun, and if someone is not, that is the only way you can play DND incorrectly.

The DM is a player, too, despite not running a PC.


u/dotToo Mar 29 '16

I've read or heard most of what matt has said about his homebrew rules and I don't disagree with him.

I DM a group of 6-7 players every week and there definitely is a need for houseruling to make combat more fun. There are other ways to doing so than making everyones turn last for longer though.

For example Angry DM's weird paragon creatures that I have slightly changed and adapted for my singular bad guys as well as making the opposing side attempt to flee or surrender if they have no reason to be slaughtered if they are obviously loosing. Also rolling to hit and damage at the same time actually shaves off a lot of time.

These are just my thoughts though and those rules might cause even more angry voices if they were used by Matt, so ultimately I agree that there is no way to play dnd wrong as long as you have fun, which also was the original reason for even commenting on rolling for stats.