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

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.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Grenadier Battle Axeman

Grenadier Fighting Man Battle Axeman
Grenadier Fighting Man Battle Axeman
Grenadier Fighting Man Battle Axeman
Grenadier Fighting Man Battle Axeman

Painted2009. Grenadier Battle Axeman, code 2005H, from the Fighting Men box set, part of the official AD&D "Solid Gold" line. Released 1980.

While these early Andrew Chernak figures can be a bit crude in places (long arms and overlarge, crude hands, for instance), even here he shows the promise he'll develop further in the Fantasy Lords and Dragon Lords series. Look at this face, for instance. So many sculptures these days don't understand where to put the eyes and nose.

Grenadier Fighting Man Battle Axeman (Detail)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Vault of the Mushmen

I took the plunge with 25mm D&D back in June of 09, and later that fall we made our first foray into the dungeon. The adventure was dubbed "Vault of the Mushmen" and I carry with me quite some affection for said mushmen. Normally I'm fairly canonical about D&D monsters but I made an exception for these guys, who I got in that first box of grimy lead that turned me toward the distant past and 25mm. I'll save the providence and ecology of these particular monsters for when I give them their own showcase (I'm a master of suspense, aren't I). The game is AD&D 1e.

The mushmen spring the trap
The mushmen spring the trap

I cast hold person on the ogre!
I cast hold person on the ogre! I can I do that?

Only a few minutes into the game Nemoc the Red stepped up to the plate with the hold person spell.

The shoop jobs are by a friend of mine, the shadowy overlord of the game club Op-For, to which I owe allegience. The pics are reposts and they were originally shown on the Op-For blog.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Grenadier Solid Gold Line Thief


Thief miniature painted 2009. From the Thieves box set, code 2008 by Grenadier, part of their official AD&D "Solid Gold" line. Released 1980. This was intended to be an elven thief, but I added a mustache and use him as a human.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Grenadier Red Magic-user

Don’t worry, there’ll be more to the blog than pretty pictures, but these are a fun way to prime the pump. Expect more!

Red magic-user
Red magic-user
Red magic-user
Red magic-user

Magic-user painted 2009. From the Sorcerer's Chariot box set, code SS10, by Grenadier, part of the Wizzards and Warriors line. Released between 1976 and 1980.

This fig was a game con fleamarket score—a five-pound box of moldering lead had for $1 a pound. It was that box, in fact, that tipped the scales to 25mm and started a collecting odysse. Others of the figs in that box will see light here as well. It was only after he was painted I realized he was considerably more unusual than the figs that became the Gold Line.

I had an opportunity to play this fig at a local minicon, and if I was to play again as a player (unlikely, but it could happen!) he'd be a go to choice. Starting with a miniature like this can do a lot of work for you in terms of evoking the details of personality.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Grenadier Solid Gold Line Hireling w/ Lantern

A first look at one of those braving the dungeon. Someone to light the way!

Hireling w/ Lantern
Hireling w/ Lantern
Hireling w/ Lantern

Hireling miniature painted 2009. From the Hirelings box set, code 2004 by Grenadier, part of their official AD&D "Solid Gold" line. Released 1980.

You know, there are more decisions than you might think in how to roll out pics in a blog, even once you've committed to a Flickr/Blogger combo. I think I'm narrowing in on a workflow that works but let me know if anything looks amiss! I'm especially interesting in getting the picture size right—big enough to show the essential details right in blog (so you don't have to click through) but without going too big.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A preview of D&D things to come

D&D won't be the only thing you find here, but is has cultivated a considerable parcel of real estate in the landscape of my imagination, particularly in recent years, and so it will do as good as anything as a means to begin this blog. Here then is the tip of an iceberg, one that I hope to be sharing more of for many months to come.

D&D high-level monsters family portrait

Any one of these bad hombres could eat the entire party in my current AD&D 1e game

The ochre jelly and black pudding in the back row are scratch-sculpted, the left mummy is available from Mega Miniatures, and the rest are vintage lead figures from Grenadier, Ral Partha, and Archive Miniatures, c. 1975-1988. Front row l-r: owlbear; intellect devourer; lamia; cave fisher; basilisk. Middle row l-r: shambling mound; two mummies; carrion crawler. Back row l-r: ochre jelly; giant; black pudding.

If you're interested in seeing more of my painted miniatures you can visit my other site, Null Horizon Studio and my gallery at coolminiornot.