How Does Point Buy Work in DnD 5e?


Point buy in DnD 5e is one of those methods we’ve talked about before. I’m referring to the article we did on how to roll for your Ability Scores. If you remember, point buy was one of the methods we mentioned.

So, in this article, we’ll briefly recap what we looked at in the previous article; and then we’ll move on to a more detailed look at the point buy mechanic.

It’s important to mention right from the start that this is just one of the methods which you can use when creating a character. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best method – that is up to you to decide.

Without further ado, let’s recap about Ability Score rolls, then move on to point buy in DnD 5e.

Recap on Rolling Ability Scores

Now, let’s first remind ourselves what it means to “roll for your Ability Scores.”

Truth be told, you don’t always have to roll for your ability scores, there are many methods to get your ability score numbers, it’s just the name that has stuck with the process.

You have to determine your character’s ability scores before you can start the game. The most common methods that players used are.

The Standard Array: This means you have a pool of 15, 14, 13, 12, 10 & 8 points to chose from and arrange as you wish. Obviously, your most required stats should be the higher values.

The Common Way: This is when you take 4d6 dice and roll them 6 times, for each roll remove the smallest dice and the number you’ve achieved will be the value of the ability score.

The Uncommon Way: This method is the same as the previous, but a bit less forgiving. Instead of 4d6 you now have 3. Roll these and the number you receive is your ability score.

The Epic Method: This one was sarcastically named by me, but it does not make it any less bold. You take a d20 and roll it 6 times. Each roll you write down and the pool that you get at the end is your pool to choose from.

With the recap out of the way, let’s get to answering the most important question of this article.

Point Buy in DnD 5e

Point Buy is one of the simpler methods to determining your character’s Ability Scores. But of course, as with everything else in the game – there are pros and cons.

The principle behind this method are as follows. At the start, you have a pool of 27 points that you have to disperse between the 6 stats. Starting with a stat at 8 costs you nothing, anything above that will cost you.
A stat of 9 will cost you 1 point, a stat of 10 will cost 2, a stat of 11 will cost 3, a stat of 12 will cost 4, and a stat of 13 will cost you 5. Now, anything above those stats gets more expensive. Having a stat start at 14 will cost you 7 points, and having a stat start at 15 will cost you 9 points.

Now, let’s get into explaining the pros and cons.

The Pros

The pros are that with this system you get much more leverage with optimizing your character. Luck as a factor is not even considered as with the other methods, as you don’t have to roll anything.
But, on the other hand. You also are responsible for the way you build your character. This can be a pro and a con, seeing as how making the right decisions can make you end up with a pretty beefy character.

But, no method is perfect, so…

The Cons

The responsibility we mentioned earlier is kind of a double-edged sword. Yes, you have more of a say in building your character – but it does not necessarily mean it will be a good build for every situation. You may just end up as either: very specialized or a jack of all trades.

The other con is that this method works in certain parameters. With the other methods, you can get anything between 1 – 20. With this method, you are locked into the 8 – 15 range at the start.

But, regardless. With prudence and a little know-how, this method might be the best for creating a new character.

Related Content:


Your #1 source for the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons! Visit the about us site for more on the project!

Latest news