The question popped into my head this morning, and I had to review a couple other character creation systems to answer it before I realized it was fairly straightforward. It was affirming and a little vexing at the same time.

Why roll 3d6 for ability scores?

I like to be challenged when I roleplay, and I want the challenge to begin with character creation. A game master might provide me with a campaign standard before I even begin play, but I don’t think anything challenges me faster than rolling the dice and trying to interpret the results.

It’s a little like divination, I think. “What are the dice telling me?”

Then there’s the process of putting all the dice together for ability scores. Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Charisma — whatever scores your system uses, with all other things being equal I’d rather roll than use point-buy any day.

Point-buy I can see working well for tournament modules, but I don’t think I’d use it in a home campaign again. “Not at my table,” as the saying goes.

The bell curve provides for characters who are on average, “average people,” once you assume for the plus-or-minus-zero as the baseline for the ten/eleven of an ability score. Plus-or-minus one to two is fairly common too. I like that.

What remains then, to make the player characters into heroes — beyond choosing a race and/or class for them — is choosing to act heroically. Not everyone will of course, but that’s their prerogative. And I like that.