May 10th, 2006

Voodoo Dolly


You're rolling up a character for D&D.
You get 18, 18, 18, 16, 15, 14 on 4d6. *
You are given three options at this point:
1)  Keep the rolls and use them.
2)  Re-Roll.
3)  Discard and select your own Attributes (as long as they do not surpass these results).

Me?  I would choose option 1, usually.  Sometimes, I would choose option 2 -- but only if I have a solid idea in mind.

* For reference:  I have my players roll 4d6 (drop the lowest) with the choice of re-rolling up to three results.  They must take the re-rolled result, regardless of it being better or worse.  My results had been 18, 18, 14, 12, 10, 8.  The 12 became 18, the 10 became 15, and the 8 became 16.


This is brought up here, because a friend and I were talking about players who don't care about the mechanics and rules, and just want to roleplay.  I replied I can accept such things, and that's fine, but does it mean simply ignoring the mechanics completely?  If you are making a character, you use the rules for making the character, right?

So, what would you do?
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coffee frog

Random Char-gen.

Spawned from, but different enough from, tashiro's thread to get its own.

I'm not going to discuss the pros and cons of random char-gen. I figure you all pretty much have an opinion on it.

Instead, I'm going to speculate why random char-gen is still around.

Fact #1. All the earliest RPGs used random char-gen. D&D, Traveller, and every other RPG I can think of that was produced in the 70s.

Fact #2. Although not ubiquitous, random char-gen, or char-gen with at least some random elements, is still quite pervasive, the most common being "roll the attributes, buy everything else" however there are some that reverse some of this ... games with random life-path/heritage/option tables for instance.


In the terms of console/computer games ... the mini-game. Right from the get-go, you the player are given a chance to gamble with your eventual character's destiny and abilities. If you are lucky you start out with a foot up in the world (even if that's just a 5 - 10% advantage on skill rolls). If you are unlucky your character will have to fight his way to the top of the bell-curve.

I think this is particularly valid with life-path-like structures. Warhammer FRP's career-rolling and Artesia's heritage and life-paths, even L5R's heritage tables ... are all a little like pulling the arm of the slot machine, never knowing if the results are going to be good or ill.

Whether game designers did so knowingly or sub-consciously, these systems appeal to the little gambler inside all of us. We gain fulfillment from "good rolls" and are disheartened by "bad rolls." Like the one in old Traveller, where your mid-char-gen character dies, and you have to start again. :)

So. Do I need more sleep, or is there something to this?