[RPG] What to do about PC rerolling for great stats


I have a player who in the span of 3 sessions has gone through 5 characters (& made even more, some of which I told them not to play because the stats were too high), because they want "great" stats (as in at least 3x 16's or 2x 17+ stats, before racial bonuses) – this is causing some headaches for me as the DM due to several reasons:

  1. Balance – this player is already by far the most experienced of the group & is min-maxing all the characters
  2. Extra work for me – I need to read up on the class they just created (i.e. runeblade) in order to be familiar with the rules (otherwise they would exploit me not fully understanding the restrictions of their class)
  3. Story continuity – it's hard to keep incorporating different backgrounds / reasons for the character to appear there / etc. into the game

I have tried talking to the player, specifically asking if they could be a level lower than the others (4 instead of 5 right now, I am not dealing with EXP but just leveling up the party when they achieve a milestone) but they want to play the "strongest" character, even though they could do that without the extra stats due to their knowledge

The others in the game like having this player with them, as they are experienced in DnD and greatly help the party overcome obstacles. They also manage to "convince" the other players that they should be rewarded the most loot / best items, which is only aggravating the problem. I haven't decided to create items that are restricted to a specific player/class yet, but I am tempted to do so

My question is how should I handle a player who keeps "suiciding" their character in order to get the stats they want?

I could kill their character even once they do get their "dream" stats, but this is already consuming a larger portion of time and effort than what I want to deal with. I don't think it would change anything other than making the player upset with me.

Most related was this answer (which answers a different question); it confirms that this is an issue for others as well.

Best Answer

Your player is trying to game you, the system and the other players at the table.

Simply put an end to that.

The issues with rolling stats is that you take on the risk of getting subpar ability scores with the desired reward of getting super awesome stats. Other issues are that players will feel the imbalance between them.

Yes, the first option for a DM to employ for generating ability scores is rolling. But the variant provided immediately thereafter is also enforceable. Session 0 should/would have resolved this entirely. As a DM I noticed large disparity in rolled stats for more than 3 decades. I finally had enough and everyone is on a level playing field now with point buy. There were some disagreements and concerns (because players like to roll dice) but no one is feeling outclassed now.

Another option that I have used for slightly higher powered campaigns is that each player rolls a set of 4d6 and the DM writes it down. If you have 6 players you are done, if not divide up the rest of the rolls till you get a total of six stats. Each player gets an array based on those stats. Everyone is even and everyone can place them where they please.

Other options a DM had us used and I have adopted it on occasion is. You roll 4d6 dropping the lowest as normal with the following exceptions:

  1. Reroll 1s
  2. If the sum of the highest 3 dice are 13 you add the fourth die (this could end up being as high as 17, with a 3 4s and a 5)
  3. If you roll 4 sixes instead of 18 (as it normally would be in the base system) it is instead a 19

This increases the overall average of starting stats so I only used it for exceptional campaigns. You can combine this with the previous method of a joint generated array and everyone is even.

Most importantly everyone uses the same system. No one should go off on their own with their own method of generation. That said story reasons could prompt a DM to adjust here and there.

This is a symptom

This could be a symptom of previous games/editions where optimal stats meant they were a whole lot higher than they are now in 5E. This was a hard paradigm for my table to break when we made the switch from 3.X/PF.

Bottom line is that you are the DM, therefore you decide which method to use, not the book and certainly not an individual player. Technically, you would be well within bounds of the rules to feed 4 dice to a dog and wait for them to pass to find out what stats your players would get (a bit extreme though). And especially if this is slowing play and causing issues with other players it needs to end immediately. Put your foot down at your next reiteration of Session 0.