I have recently found that it is supposed that I am inflexible where it comes to character generation ~ that once a player chooses, say, where their stats go, what their proficiencies are or what spells they might want to use, that's it, the player's decision is set in stone ~ no matter what.
First of all, I rush to say this isn't true. I am more than flexible where it comes to player's character decisions, because I want the player to be happy. An unhappy player will quickly lose interest in a game. An unhappy player will fret and complain, and ultimately stop being in the game. There is no percentage in making a player unhappy.
That is why I am more than willing to let characters swap around their stats, their decisions about what weapons they'll use and what spells they want up until the last moment before they actually join the game. They should feel that if they have miscalculated or misunderstood some rule, that they have the right to redress the situation. I have always felt this way. If the character's weapon proficiency is too expensive, and the character wants to change that proficiency, then DO. It is no skin off my nose.
Why should it be? I am not invested with characters having such-and-such a wisdom or such-and-such a weapon. They're all available and they can all be chosen ~ or not chosen, as the case may be. None of them will ultimately guarantee the survival of the character . . . though yes, some will certainly detract from it.
This goes Double for situations where the rules are in flux ~ the sage abilities, for example. Here the characters are guessing at what will work for them in the long run from a list that, for the most part, is fairly crude. I am forever working on these damn things, the range of possibilities are vast and it is inevitable that I will have fallen short somewhere in both description and invention. I still haven't got sage abilities at all for the monk and bard, whereas for most of the classes they are outlines at best.
Which means I must be considerate, here. I want happy players. I don't intend to get gamed by a player who chooses one set of sage abilities for one adventure, then tries to set themselves up with a different set for a different adventure. But at the same time, prior to the start of the game, any decision regarding any part of the character's creation can be reconsidered. After the start of the game, well . . . I will take that on a case-by-case basis. I have allowed characters to choose different spells or shift other details, particularly in situations where I have made changes.
For example, a few years ago I rewrote all my mage and illusionist cantrips. I added quite a few interesting ones and threw out a few from the old days. Once I finished, I allowed all the casters affected to change re-choose their cantrips from scratch. That was only fair.
That's how it goes sometimes. The rules change and everyone gets a clean slate.
Hey, we're all just doing our best and it is only a game. It might help not to embrace some image of me that I'm an uncompromising martinet.