You can trade points from one ability score to your prime at a 2:1 ratio. However, not all scores were created equally- An 11 can become a 9 and still be a +0. A Fighter who rolls 13 STR, and 11 everything else can convert that into 18 STR and 9 everything else, and he’ll still have exactly the same success chances when attempting charismatic/dextrous actions.
Is there any scenario where an 11 is better than a 9?
Scenarios that the DM resolves by a simple comparison of ability scores, like arm wrestling. I don’t believe that there are any formally described subsystems that use this resolution method, but some Judges use it to resolve things that come up for which there is no formal subsystem. I don’t think that I have ever resolved anything that way, however.
There are also a few rare cases where stats are reduced by a fraction, such as on certain mortal wounds table results. Also, the Nobiran Wonderworker has a ability minimums of 11 in all stats.
Generally, however, dropping stats down to the nearest bonus cutoff is the best strategy (as at least until your prime requisite(s) get past the cutoff for the final stat bonus you’re going for). This is what I generally do. Considering you’re rolling 3d6 in order, you shouldn’t feel too cheesy with using this level of fiddling.
As a house rule, in my games I use a “roll Xd6 under your stat value” system to resolve some situations, so the full numbers come handy.
Or if you have “ability checks” work like Open Doors (DC 18+, minus [4xModfier]), but for the other ability scores.
Like if you had Dex 16, then the DC would be (18-[4x2]) = 10+
Waaait, that doesn’t help at all. Is there a delete post function?
if you don’t mind making d20 rolls where low is good, having someone roll d20 less than a stat is a quick way to make every point matter.
The thing is, the person who rolls a 13 STR and 11 everything else is an awesome combination of rolls. Heck, if I had that happen I might go with a Barbarian, Explorer, Assassin, or Paladin with a 16 STR, a 13 CON, DEX or CHA (depending). Heck, 13 STR and 11 everything else could become a 17 INT Mage with 9s in everything else.
Yes, any time a player gets all better than average rolls they ultimately get more control over what they want to play at the cost of some of the stats being lowered.
But, the moment you start getting back towards the average you lose that. If you get a stat below 9, the only way to raise it is if you pick a class where that low value is the prime stat and lower other stats to buy it up. And that only works if your Judge doesn’t require you to qualify for a class before you tweak the stat numbers.
The worst example is often an especially low con, since everyone needs some hp to not die and most big-HD characters are expected/encouraged to melee and characters who are meant to avoid combat tend to have small-HD and bad armor (and, in the case of mages, a big target on their head). Plus, there are very few classes that have con as a prime requisite (barbarian and mystic are the only two that come to mind) and they are traditionally melee classes and have other prime requisites to worry about too (since you can’t drop a prime requisite, the mystic can be in trouble).
With those stats, I’d make a Nobiran Wonderworker, then laugh at everyone from atop my double-casting mary-sue awesomeness.
Having mild lesdyxia, I always see that race as “Nobrain”.
An apt description for a class which is essentially “Mage + Cleric + 5 Free Proficiencies”. If you roll all stats over 11, it’s pretty much a no-brainer to select it.
Having some dyxlesic blood in me, I always think it’s “Nobirian”, and feel like that would be easier or more natural to say.
Every 11 that you can’t drop to 9 is one point less of prime requisite and you have to bump up both int and wis, so you are going to have lower prime requisites. As a mage, you will probably have only one or two extra spells from int and as a cleric you are lacking any fighting ability. Plus, you are going to level slowly. Nobiran Wonderworker is a good class if you can meet the requirements, but you will have a smaller arcane spell repertoire and level so slowly that you’ll be more than a full level behind where you’d be as a normal cleric. It may be a bit over-hyped.
Now making an elf class with equivalent spell-casting ability? THAT would be over-powered because of low ability requirements.