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I'm starting a campaign with some people and we all rolled our stats. We all rolled really well. I even ended up nerfing my stats to avoid being too powerful overall. Nobody has any stats under 10 with most stats being 12 or above. Most people have a 20 as well as an 18 on top of many 16s and 14s. This gives our Monk a 19 AC and a +7 to hit at level one. I'm trying to convince everyone that we would be better off using the point stat buy or nerfing our characters. I would nerf myself but then I would be no use to the group with people's lower stats being as high and my high stats. So it's a case of all of us or none of us.

Am I wrong in thinking that this is too overpowered and we should all reroll our stats?

Also, as regards to the self nerf, I have decided I'm going to roleplay my own flaws and reasons for being on the adventure more to the detriment of the party. He's more interested in seeing the story unfold and give him ideas for new stories and stuff like that rather than killing (he is a sorc/bard with the entertainer background, first few levels in sorc and then at least 4 in bard I think).

So my question being would be better to use the point buy system to balance things out?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This seems like it'd be too opinionated. The beauty of role playing games is that nothing is "too powerful" because the DM can always adapt the game to fighting stronger enemies and encountering more dangerous scenarios. It's all down to DM discretion and what they're willing to work with. \$\endgroup\$ – David Reeve Feb 11 '15 at 13:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ 5e's bounded accuracy being a newish concept for D&D I think a question about whether or not gangbuster stat rolls can negatively impact the game it a valid and important question for the site to hold. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith Feb 11 '15 at 15:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ These numbers are astronomically unlikely. I would bet money that many of these statlines were not generated fairly. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 11 '15 at 16:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please reopen - I think the question can be formulated as "Will our gaming experience definitely suffer if I play with these starting conditions" which is a viable question. In many boardgames one could reasonably argue that there is hardly any fun in a game which is clearly won from the start. But for P&P it's different (and I just wrote a 1500 char answer) \$\endgroup\$ – Falco Feb 11 '15 at 16:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Falco Requiring it to be reformulated before it gets more answers is exactly why it's on hold. If it gets edited, it will be judged on the merits of how it's written then. However, that reformulation must be done by the asker, since we're not interested in hosting questions that aren't their real question. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 11 '15 at 17:25
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You've got several parts to this question, and I'm going to break it into 3. Here are the issues I see:

  • Is rolling stats a problem?
  • Are high stats a problem?
  • What can we do about it?

Is Rolling Stats a Problem?

First, rolling is presented as the default option in 5e, though they do require the use of point buy/array for organized play. But, when you read the PHB it starts by explaining rolling stats and presents point buy/array as a secondary option.

However, the big problem with rolling stats is not the situation you're describing. The problem is a different one. It's when one or some but not all characters have ridiculously high stat and the others do not. Or when that one guy rolls 2 8's a 9 and three 12s.

When all of the PCs have similar stat arrays, which is the situation you're describing, there's not a problem with rolling stats.

Are High Stats a Problem?

In a game where all PCs have rolled their stats well, and you have players starting with 18 or 20 in their primary stats almost universally, there are some potential problems.

The biggest problem I see is that you've removed one of the major choices characters make "do I take the stat increases or the feats." However, while this is an important choice, it's not one that is going to break your game if you remove it.

As far as the math goes, your characters are both more survivable and better at their jobs at L1 than they would be with an array/point buy scenario, but it's in measures of 5-15% which although it's meaningful, is not something that is going to break your game.

My recommendation with this is that if you don't want to reroll or adopt a point buy/array situation is talking to your DM about playing the first few encounters straight and then increasing the difficulty more rapidly. If your PCs are hitting to easily, it might be proper to more regularly give enemies better armor or more hit points.

What can we do about it?

This is something you need to communicate with the group. Do you collectively feel it's a problem? What kind of game are you interested in playing? Does the prospect of being better than a normal L1 excite the group in a way that point buy/array just simply doesn't?

If the group is feeling the same way you are (that you're all too powerful and need the nerf bat), then they would probably want to reroll/switch systems to something more equitable that produces more predictable results. However, there's a strong chance based on what you said that they want to keep these.

I'd advise against using an RP nerf to compensate for good stats. It would be much better to simply decide to reroll your stats or use a point buy for your character. However, ultimately, the problem is a group level problem and you choosing to do something about your specific character is only going to cause problems in the group (either your effectiveness will be diminished or your RP element may be something the characters find annoying). At the very least, run this by your DM/group and make sure it's something they buy into.

Overall, what you do about this largely depends on your place in the group. If your the DM it's well within your rights to punch the brakes and say "hey, these are really high, let's make sure this is what we really want." But as a player, you can do the same thing, but if you get pushback, you probably need to understand why your group is happy with this and you are not.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Exactly! One more point: Who guarantees that you didn't use up all your luck in generation and will roll a lot of 1s or 2s in your first encounter against an angry badger who may almost kill you? The other way around - even if you nerf your chars you can get exceptionally lucky and kill your endboss with the first hit! When that happens you celebrate and don't turn back time to revive him ;-) \$\endgroup\$ – Falco Feb 11 '15 at 16:23
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I'm currently playing in a group where the first 2 players rolled their stats and they rolled so well the DM decided to force us to use point buy based on how well they rolled. We started level 1 with 52 point-buy. I'm DMing a different game and I would never do that because it's not my style but as a player for this one, I decided to just play along. So far, the only issue I noticed is the DM is overwhelmed by how good we are. He's an experienced DM but new to 5th edition. There are also other issues unrelated to the stats of our character (role overlap if you're curious) but the solution to this problem is easy to say, more difficult to put in practice.

5th edition is more lethal than other editions we played. It would be easy to just throw more powerful monsters at us but you could end up with a TPK simply because you went a little too far. It's difficult to estimate how powerful the group will be based solely on their stats. Party cohesion, tactics and "playing your class right" are also very important factors.

If you are the player, the only thing you can do is bring your concerns to the DM and work with her/him. That's what I did and the DM said he'll increase the difficulty progressively until he feels we're right there, on the sweet spot.

If you are a DM and you're concerned about this problem, do this:

  • Plan the first adventure following the general guidelines of the DMG. They will probably walk in your adventure like a park and one shot everything but that's ok. Take notes.
  • Next session, turn up the heat. Use slightly smarter monsters/NPC (you'd be surprised how good hobgoblins can be against low level when you play them smart). Increase the level just a little bit. Don't forget to give the PC downtime so they can rest. It's also a good indication of how hard your encounters are. If they insist on taking a short rest after one battle, it was probably hard. Which might be what you want. Maybe they encounter ogres but you realize the group could lose a member or two, you can always have the ogres lose some additional hp (maybe they fought some other predator before and when the party defeat the ogres they realize something else is preying these woods).
  • Rince and repeat until the difficulty reflects the group's expectation. And yes, that includes you.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you sure you mean 52-point buy? That sounds awful high. \$\endgroup\$ – Bailey Feb 11 '15 at 22:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @EpiceneDilettante Yep. 52. Not 25, not 42. Fifty-two. \$\endgroup\$ – user4000 Feb 12 '15 at 1:18
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If the DM is aware of how powerful the party is, he can work around it by increasing the stats of monsters or throwing more powerful monsters at you. As long as you make sure the DM is aware of your high stats as a group, it shouldn't be a problem.

The entire group using the point buy system would also be a good option, but both options could work pretty well, depending on the group

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  • \$\begingroup\$ We did a mock combat against a group of CR1 creatures and a couple of CR1/2 creatures and only got hit once (with a crit from a bear) Then another with 8 CR1 monsters and nobody took damage this time. Nobody saw any reason to roleplay the situation/stealth etc. I definitely felt too powerful in these situations. \$\endgroup\$ – Daymoh Feb 11 '15 at 13:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Daymoh, then clearly you need to be fighting higher CR enemies \$\endgroup\$ – David Reeve Feb 11 '15 at 13:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DavidReeve, one problem with higher CR enemies at level 1 is that you do not have much magic or HP, in case you are hit. I had level 1 clerics fight level 2 players, and the 3d8 damage from a Guiding Bolt proved deadly, each time it was cast. (The players definitively let that happen though... they could have avoided the second hit, at least.) \$\endgroup\$ – Alexis Wilke Feb 12 '15 at 3:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AlexisWilke That's exactly what I thought. \$\endgroup\$ – Daymoh Feb 12 '15 at 3:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then it's obvious that your party needs to be nerfed. If you had no problems against 8 CR1 monsters, your party is too powerful (or you had incredible rolls). \$\endgroup\$ – xanderh Feb 12 '15 at 14:03

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