I recently started DMing a group of players for Pathfinder. They are completely new to the game (and roleplaying in general) and I'm rather new to Pathfinder and completely new to DMing.
We started with the starter set adventure and now want to play an adventure path. Before that we are playing one or two of the downloadable bonus adventures of the starter set.
For character creation I chose the "roll 4D6 drop worst result, do this 6 times then assign the results to the attributes as you choose". I chose that in contrast to point buy, as I thought it's easier for the players as it requires fewer decisions.
However, on of the players got some really bad roles and ended up with a 5 and a 6. They chose to assign their race bonus (+2 from half-elf) to the 5 to end up with the following array: 17,15,14,10,7(5+2),6 It feels like the +2 is "wasted" to fix a gaping hole in the character. According to this thread the average sum of attributes should be 73, in this case it's only 67 and the chance of getting a 5 or lower should only be about 1%, so it seems like bad luck.
I'm not sure whether I should do anything about it. Is that character severely limited or just "more interesting to play"? I'm tempted to say something like "attributes below 7 are rounded up to 7" to avoid attributes that are too bad. However, I'm not sure what to do about the other players in that case. Overall the players rolled the following attributes:
- P1: 17,15,14,10,6,5 = 67
- P2: 16,15,15,14,12,9 = 81
- P3: 16,13,13,12,11,10 = 75
- P4: 16,15,15,13,11,9 = 79
- P5: 15,11,11,11,10,9 = 67
So rounding up P1's <7 attributes to 7 seems ok compared to P2-P4, as it would increase the "sum of attributes" to 70 only, still well below that of the others. However, P5 actually had the same kind of "bad roll" just a lot more average rolls so their character is actually even more boring.
So I think I couldn't do the simple round up without being unfair to P5. But I can't find a good rule to "fix" the bad attributes that might also allow P5 to increase their attributes a bit without basically just rerolling attributes.
P1 chose to be a half-elven druid with their connection to nature being used for spells from the domain of plants. They chose the character concept "wrath of nature" from the strategy guide so they'll mostly be casting spells. They assigned their attributes like this: STR: 7 (-2) (5 + 2 racial bonus) DEX: 10 (+0) CON: 15 (+2) INT: 14 (+2) WIS: 17 (+3) CHA: 6 (-2)
The 7 for strength seems okay for a caster as they don't need it much afaict. However, @Shalvenay recommends not to use the racial bonus for this but use it for the dependent attribute. While making the WIS go up to 19 (+4) does seem quite attractive, I'm wondering how bad a STR of 5 (-3) really is. For example, if I'm calculating maximum carrying load they could carry almost nothing. Also, their low CHA is worrying as they would like to use animal empathy and "handle animal" which depend on charisma. They could of course move the 6 somewhere else, but the only options would probably be constitution (leading to only 6 hit points, which seems quite low) or dexterity (leading to an armor class of only 11, or 8 on touch), both making them quite fragile. Would that be a huge problem for a caster that's probably trying to stay behind the fighter(s) anyway? I'm especially worried about the constitution here as the group does not have a clear healer, so they only one who currently has healing spells is that particular druid.
As for P5: They chose to go with an elvish Ranger focused on ranged attacks (the "archer" character concept from the strategy guide). They assigned their attributes like this: STR: 11 (+0) DEX: 17 (+3) (15 + 2 racial bonus from elf) CON: 9 (-1) (11 - 2 from elf) INT: 12 (+1) (10 + 2 from elf) WIS: 11 (+0) CHA: 9 (-1)
This seems ok for now, as dexterity seems like the most important attribute for an archer. However, the 11 in WIS might become a problem for the spells of the ranger later on, I guess.
I'm currently thinking of allowing P1 and P2 increase two of their attributes by an additional +2, this would move the group's attribute modifiers to this distribution: P1: +4 P2: +9 P3: +9 P4: +7 P5: +4
So they would still be "weaker" than the other characters (so I hope it will not seem like an arbitrary bonus they should get as well to the others), but would have the possibility of fixing their obvious weaknesses (especially P1) and/or excelling at one of their attributes beyond anything the other group members have (e.g. P1 pushing their wisdom up to 19 (+4) and P5 pushing their dexterity up to 19 (+4)).
Also, the default method of taking [15,14,13,12,10,8] would lead to a sum of modifiers of 2+2+1+1+0-1=+5, so the +4 they achieve is still less than the default. Thus, it still a) reflects their bad luck in rolling and b) is a tradeoff for the higher attributes they could not have achieved via the default method. I'm also thinking about offering them to choose the default array instead of taking the 2 * +2 bonuses (bonus on attribute, not modifier). What do you think?
How should I handle this? Is that kind of attribute distribution actually a problem or can both P1 and P5 play well with their characters? Is the power difference to P2 still reasonable or too big?