Sunday, August 28, 2011

What's my chance at Paladin? Gnome illusionist?: AD&D Character Gen Statistics Wizardry, Pt. 1

When we rolled up characters for my current AD&D 1e campaign, one player rolled the ideal Paladin. 17 chararisma. 17 dex. Everything else you could want. Another player made ranger. A third player was hoping for a gnome illusionist, and though I was rooting for him, the the dice didn't deliver. Then there was some talk along the lines of, "huh, what are the odds?" Well, our would-be gnome illusionist (and real-life math wiz) set off to find the answer, and here, gentle reader, are the cold hard facts. All credit goes to him.

I had the players use a fairly standard system to make characters. They rolled stats in order, rolling 4d6 and keeping the sum of the highest 3. I also let them roll five characters total and keep one to play and one as a backup. This seemed to me middle-of-the-road in terms of how brutal the odds stacked against the characters, and even with the allowance of a pool of characters to choose from, less easy-going than just about any method that lets players arrange stats to their liking afterward.

In this first of three posts, I present the breakdown of what your chance is to be which character, according to a million simulated stat lines and using the method of rolling 4d6, keep the highest three, stats rolled in order. Here are the numbers looking strictly at class.

Class% chance of eligibility
thief85.45
cleric85.43
magicuser85.42
fighter84.01
assassin27.17
druid13.60
ranger2.94
illusionist2.92
paladin1.40
monk0.91

And here is what it looks like listed by class and race. This gives the chance at every possible character.

Character type% chance of eligibility
human thief85.45
half-elf thief85.45
human cleric85.43
half-elf magicuser85.42
human magicuser85.42
half-elf cleric84.44
human fighter84.01
half-elf fighter83.95
gnome thief80.18
gnome fighter79.23
elf magicuser77.75
elf thief76.49
elf fighter75.59
halfling thief67.77
halfling fighter67.04
dwarf fighter58.27
dwarf thief58.24
half-elf assassin27.17
human assassin27.17
gnome assassin25.91
elf assassin25.21
half-orc fighter23.06
half-orc cleric22.46
half-orc thief22.44
dwarf assassin19.25
half-elf druid13.60
human druid13.60
half-orc assassin5.89
human ranger2.94
half-elf ranger2.94
human illusionist2.92
gnome illusionist2.75
human paladin1.40
human monk0.91

Glaringly obvious findings:
  • You have just a 1.4 % chance of being a paladin, and though you are twice as likely to be eligible to be a gnome illusionist, the odds are against you in a big way for either.
  • The monk is the rarest of characters.
  • I can dispell any doubt I had as to whether I was being a softy GM for giving the players five stat lines to choose from.

If you have other thoughts or insights, please share them in the comments!


Stay tuned next week for the next in the series of posts! My friend expands the inquiry to compare various popular methods of character generation presented in the 1e Dungeon Masters Guide.