Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Sergeant_Crunch

Random Character Generation

Recommended Posts

For my own WFRP 2e game, running tonight barring bad weather, I threw out the random character creation and implemented a build point system. <snip>

I've GMed and played both WFRP 1e and 2e with random characters, with chosen PCs or some sort of point build, and even with GM generated PC, although only once in GWs setting - the rest have all been homebrew campaigns using just the WFRP rules/mechanics. All have been fun campaigns - the longest running and most successful one actually started off with random characters. There is nothing wrong with generating a WFRP PC either way.

 

But when speaking of "random character generation" - WFRP, like Traveller, truly has a more random system than D&D. FREX, in WFRP 2e, you start off by choosing a race, and the rest of the process to a playable character (stats wise) is pretty much determined just by dice. There are even decently populated charts in the PC generation section of the book for things like hair & eye color, height, etc.

 

Whereas D&D, you roll your six stats, then make all your choices. In later editions, you don't even roll for hit points at first level. Rolling for six stats isn't really "random character generation" in my book - so why roll for stats? The only reason I roll in D&D is the possibility of beating the spread I could get with a point buy.

 

In most cases, starting with a randomly generated character isn't much different than playing with a GM generated PC - which, although I know a lot of people don't like - can be a lot of fun, if you approach it with the right mindset.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I prefer Random, I just like the idea of players working a backstory or so around a character they rolled randomly. Funny thing is that Gurps is probably my favorite gaming system, though I haven't played it in years, But in last few Gurps campagins i ran I created characters ,usually double the number of players, packed the Charsheets in envelopes and let them pull on randomly...worked great for my group of (lazy)players :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We've agreed to disagree...

That's something more gamers need to do as well, instead of bashing each other. I was reading through one of the enworld forum threads the other night where a topic like this was really getting out of hand between people who weren't even in the same country where they would have to play with each other.

 

See, told you that discussing RPG mechanics is akin to discussing religion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm for the random but assign your stats where you want them. As D&D is pretty much the only game I do these days & most of the time back in my heyday of gaming. We usually did the 4d6, toss out the lowest assign where you want & we were generous as well, if you rolled a extremely low score like a 5 you could re-roll it. (even then I normally didn't as it became part of the character.)

 

I think we tried once or twice just roll & slot the dice but if I recall it wasn't fun nor memorable as I can't even recall what character I was for that game. I think even in other systems we played, our GM let us assign the scores when possible.

 

Now one shot or say Con games, I'll go with random just cause its not gonna be a lasting game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My group uses a 30 point buy system, but in a few weeks we're doing a side campaign for a month or so and we rolled stats for our characters. 2d6+6, assign wherever you want. We used the rules in 3.5 DnD where if your highest score is a 13 OR if the sum of your ability modifiers is no more than 0 you get to re-roll all stats. One player got something ridiculous like a 60 point buy result, I got a pair of 16's and a pile of 12's, and one guy got junk for stats, re-rolled, and now has a workable group of numbers. In all I think the random rolling we did worked in our favor over point buy.

 

I like point buy because if you want a certain type of character you can make stats to fit it.

 

I like random generation because you can create a character around a set of stats.

 

It's kindof a question of intent to me - create the sort of character I really want, or let the dice fall where they fall and follow them into a character concept. I think it would be fun to roll all stats in order for the entire party just to see what type of group you get that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For my demo games, I used a point buy mechanic of my own devising:

 

Ability score 10 cost 0 points

Scores cost 1 point for every point above 10 plus the bonus so a 15 cost 5 + 2 or 7 points

Scores below 10 gave a rebate of 1 point per point below 10 minus the penalty so a 6 gave you 6 points.

No more than 2 scores could be identical.

 

Generally I gave point sufficient for 17, 15, 13, 13, 11, and 9. Those wishing to expedite things simply spread out 17, 15, 13, 13, 11, and 9.

 

'Course I always had players who claimed they could roll better with their 'lucky' dice. Back when I was running Al-Qadim using AD&D 2e, I had one guy who had two special sets of dice: one high-rolling set for attacks and saving throws and one low-rolling set for ability checks and non-weapon proficiency rolls. After a quick test I found his dice were significantly biased. It turns out he went to Gen Con a few years back and spent hours and hours rolling and re-rolling dice and evaluating the spread with his Palm Pilot running a Chi squared program in order to find biased dice. He claimed the dice weren't loaded because he hadn't deliberately modified the dice, he only found them. He actually thought since he hadn't had a hand in fixing the dice he thought he'd beaten the system. When I asked him how was this different than buying loaded dice from a vendor, he simply smirked and shrugged. After I was unable to convince him to use another unbiased set, I simply reached over and rolled his dice whenever the monsters attacked his character. Surprise! Attack successes were in the 85%+ range No surprise here but he was incensed.

 

>>ReaperWolf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
See, told you that discussing RPG mechanics is akin to discussing religion.

Some places are worse than others. Around here, folks are pretty civil for most topics.

 

I recall the GM Mastery Yahoo Group a few years back kept having knock down drag outs over the concept of alignment in RPGs, while everything else remained fairly civil. Other places, like enworld, I don't like to visit so much because of the hotheads.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When I asked him how was this different than buying loaded dice from a vendor, he simply smirked and shrugged.

I can see both your viewpoints here - yeah, it's kind of like buying loaded dice, but OTOH, I ask you - how is it different than the guy who's been using the same two sets of dice every week for five or ten years, to the point he knows which roll low more often, and which roll high more often? Would you make the same demand to switch dice of a player who'd been using the same set(s) for 5, 10, even 15 years and knew them well?

 

Face it, unless you're buying high quality balanced (IE, expensive) dice, just about all dice are biased in some fashion. It's just that most people don't know exactly how their dice are biased. All the guy really did was shortcut what he would have learned by using the same dice for years.

 

In the end, if it was bothering you, I think the only real "solution" to your problem was exactly what you did - start using his own dice against him. Either that, or have every one at the table use the same pool of dice.

 

Now, to attempt to bring this back to Random Character Generation. This unknown dice bias is why I like to have a special set of dice exclusively for each character I have. I feel the bias of the dice themselves lend quite nicely to lending the PCs unique qualities. In my mind, it makes my PCs a bit more than just their stat - sure, I might have a high strength giving a great strength bonus, but if my D8 always rolls low for damage, it lends character to the PC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can see both your viewpoints here - yeah, it's kind of like buying loaded dice, but OTOH, I ask you - how is it different than the guy who's been using the same two sets of dice every week for five or ten years, to the point he knows which roll low more often, and which roll high more often? Would you make the same demand to switch dice of a player who'd been using the same set(s) for 5, 10, even 15 years and knew them well?

 

It's one thing to have a set that's a little biased, it's quite another to have hand-selected a set for the biased quality.

 

>>ReaperWolf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's postulate that you have a deck of cards that you've used for years. In that time, it's gotten a bit beat up, though you've never tried to intentionally mark it. After all this time, you've come to know that the Queen of Diamonds has a creased corner, the Four of Clubs has a water spot in the middle of the back, and the Seven of Spades has a smudge a little ways down one side.

 

If you use that deck to play a game of poker, you are cheating.

 

The same is true if you use dice you know (or even strongly suspect) have non-standard randomization, whether that is caused by poor manufacture, two minutes in a microwave, or embedded lead shot.

 

"I thought it was just vitamins" doesn't cut it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For my demo games, I used a point buy mechanic of my own devising:

 

Ability score 10 cost 0 points

Scores cost 1 point for every point above 10 plus the bonus so a 15 cost 5 + 2 or 7 points

Scores below 10 gave a rebate of 1 point per point below 10 minus the penalty so a 6 gave you 6 points.

No more than 2 scores could be identical.

 

Generally I gave point sufficient for 17, 15, 13, 13, 11, and 9. Those wishing to expedite things simply spread out 17, 15, 13, 13, 11, and 9.

 

'Course I always had players who claimed they could roll better with their 'lucky' dice. Back when I was running Al-Qadim using AD&D 2e, I had one guy who had two special sets of dice: one high-rolling set for attacks and saving throws and one low-rolling set for ability checks and non-weapon proficiency rolls. After a quick test I found his dice were significantly biased. It turns out he went to Gen Con a few years back and spent hours and hours rolling and re-rolling dice and evaluating the spread with his Palm Pilot running a Chi squared program in order to find biased dice. He claimed the dice weren't loaded because he hadn't deliberately modified the dice, he only found them. He actually thought since he hadn't had a hand in fixing the dice he thought he'd beaten the system. When I asked him how was this different than buying loaded dice from a vendor, he simply smirked and shrugged. After I was unable to convince him to use another unbiased set, I simply reached over and rolled his dice whenever the monsters attacked his character. Surprise! Attack successes were in the 85%+ range No surprise here but he was incensed.

 

>>ReaperWolf

Wow, that's some kind of special goin' on there.

 

See, told you that discussing RPG mechanics is akin to discussing religion.

Some places are worse than others. Around here, folks are pretty civil for most topics.

 

I recall the GM Mastery Yahoo Group a few years back kept having knock down drag outs over the concept of alignment in RPGs, while everything else remained fairly civil. Other places, like enworld, I don't like to visit so much because of the hotheads.

Which is why I posted the question on this forum. Yall can actually have a reasoned conversation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with the cards analogy is that the Queen of Diamonds with the creased corner is always going to be the Queen of Diamonds, whereas the d6 that has a tendancy to roll 5s can still roll a 1 or a 2. It's not as cut and dry as the card.

 

From my perspective, the thing about this is, well, frankly, is it worth calling someone a cheater in an RPG? When you're gambling for money - like poker, or craps - it's a big deal, there are stakes. In a friendly card, board or miniature game where there is a clear winner at the end, depending on the people involved, cheating can be a big issue.

 

But there are no winners or losers in most RPGs. GMs are even encouraged to "cheat" in order to make the game more fun for the players. So if a player is using "loaded" dice, is it really worth causing strife and calling them on it, when as the GM you have many different tools available to lessen their impact?

 

That's not to say there isn't a point at which I would call shenanigans on someone - like grabbing the dice real fast and lying about what they rolled, or bumping their stats between games. But as long as the dice still have a fairly decent random factor to them, I wouldn't consider them worth arguing over as long as I have tools to make the bias irrelevant, or even work in my favor.

 

For the record, I'm not advocating cheating. Particularly in games with winners/losers and especially when money or prizes are involved. I'm just pointing out that sometimes worrying and fussing over "cheating" does more to damage the fun than the act itself does, especially if it's not so cut and dry about being an advantage and in a game that has no winners/losers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with the cards analogy is that the Queen of Diamonds with the creased corner is always going to be the Queen of Diamonds, whereas the d6 that has a tendancy to roll 5s can still roll a 1 or a 2. It's not as cut and dry as the card.

 

But the Queen of Diamonds usually won't come up in play, and when it does, you might not be able to see that corner.

 

In both cases, the cheater is gaining an advantage by manipulating probabilities outside of the agreed framework.

 

From my perspective, the thing about this is, well, frankly, is it worth calling someone a cheater in an RPG? When you're gambling for money - like poker, or craps - it's a big deal, there are stakes. In a friendly card, board or miniature game where there is a clear winner at the end, depending on the people involved, cheating can be a big issue.

 

In poker with strangers, it's just money. And at least there's a reason for cheating. In gaming with friends, it comes down to honor. If you're willing to cheat your "friends" when there's nothing at stake, that bothers me quite a bit more.

 

Is it "worth calling someone a cheater in an RPG"? I've done it; I thought it was worth it then and I haven't changed my mind.

 

But there are no winners or losers in most RPGs. GMs are even encouraged to "cheat" in order to make the game more fun for the players. So if a player is using "loaded" dice, is it really worth causing strife and calling them on it, when as the GM you have many different tools available to lessen their impact?

 

Yes. Cheating is almost never as hidden as the cheater thinks it is. And the cost (in tension and irritation) to everyone else at the table is significant. The best tool for the GM to use against cheating, frankly, is the banhammer: "Go away and never darken my doorway again." (I can't say that I always have, or always would, take that drastic an action though.)

 

As I see it, cheating in RPGs does serious damage to the other participants in the game and it should be stamped out. Obviously, our opinions vary.

 

ps. I think that the role of the GM is so qualitatively different in most RPGs that it's not useful to compare his manipulation of probability with that of players. (In games like Descent, where the roles are more tightly constrained, the GM should be no more allowed to fudge dice than the players, of course.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We've agreed to disagree...

That's something more gamers need to do as well, instead of bashing each other. I was reading through one of the enworld forum threads the other night where a topic like this was really getting out of hand between people who weren't even in the same country where they would have to play with each other.

 

See, told you that discussing RPG mechanics is akin to discussing religion.

 

I read the Wizards D&D forum on my lunchbreak, and man, there's a lot of DM bashing there. And always by the same vocal group of people that need someone to say "you're right" in order to obtain validation of their opinions. And it was just over DM styles of play!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We've agreed to disagree...

That's something more gamers need to do as well, instead of bashing each other. I was reading through one of the enworld forum threads the other night where a topic like this was really getting out of hand between people who weren't even in the same country where they would have to play with each other.

 

See, told you that discussing RPG mechanics is akin to discussing religion.

 

I read the Wizards D&D forum on my lunchbreak, and man, there's a lot of DM bashing there. And always by the same vocal group of people that need someone to say "you're right" in order to obtain validation of their opinions. And it was just over DM styles of play!

 

I used to frequent those boards daily dishing out DM advice and trying to explain to unruly players why a rule existed and whether their DMs were right or wrong to make the decisions they did.

 

There's no doubt a few people were playing with wonky or new DMs who just did not have the experience or chops to match the advanced situations they were getting into.

 

But it was clear the majority of complaints were coming from people who undervalued the work their DMs were putting in, who did not understand what was fair themselves, and/or who wanted something ridiculous and, as you've said, wanted validation for their own bad behavior and unfair demands. My feeling was there were a great many youngsters and new players among the most vocal, who just were not yet sophisticated enough to understand what it was they were complaining about.

 

And no, that does not mean I think all younger players are unsophisticated. I'm just speaking of the general appearance of a certain lack of maturity amongst the most vocal of that group.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...