Now anyone who'd played OD&D might reasonably assume that one of those "several methods" would include a straight 3D6 roll, but such an assumption would be misplaced. The DMG explains that
While it is possible to generate some fairly playable characters by 3d6, there is often an extended period of attempts at finding a suitable one due to quirks of the dice. Furthermore, these rather marginal characters tend to have short life expectancy -- which tends to discourage new players, as does have to make do with some character of a race and/or class which he or she really can't or won't identify with. Character generation, then, is a serious matter, and it is recommended that the following systems be used. Four alternatives are offered for player characters.These four methods are:
- Roll 4D6, drop the lowest (or "one of the lowest," interestingly) die from each roll, and arrange as desired.
- Roll 3D6 twelve times, pick the six highest, and arrange as desired.
- Roll 3D6 six times for each ability and retain the highest score for each ability.
- Roll 3D6 in order a number of times sufficient to generate 12 characters and choose the most desirable set of ability scores.