Thursday, February 18, 2010

Random chargen? I hate it.

Hot topics in the RPG blogosphere always seem to start with something James Maliszewski has to say. Suddenly, his post on the unforgiving nature of Traveller character generation, something of which I have very painful memories, has spawned other posts, rebuttals and comments. I don't really know if any insight can be drawn from all this discussion, but I can tell you why I hate random chargen, because I am a monumentally lousy dice-roller. It's absolutely true. In AD&D, I was almost never able to roll minimum stats for any class at all. Literally, even getting a single 9 on 6 rolls of 3d6 was only achieved after multiple attempts. We had to house rule the chargen process to allow me to play the class I wanted because actually getting a 9 on the appropriate roll to play a wizard or a fighter was astronomically unlikely for me. For all you old school guys who insist the old dice-rolling approach was best, try this, instead of rolling 3d6 for your next character, just roll 2d6+1. That way, you will get a distribution closer to my rolls for the two decades I spent playing AD&D 1e/2e.



A Paladin In Citadel said...

Classic! But, like most things in the OS community, even though 3d6 in order was the "rule", everybody has a house-rule for everything, including chargen.

For example, I have seen house-ruled chargen that uses 2d6+6, which gives you a range of 8-18, average score of 13.

The thing with random chargen is that, in true old-school rules, your stats really didn't matter that much. The best you could have was a +1 adjustment as a result of a high stat.

The game was about the player/GM interaction, and only obliquely related to the numbers on your character sheet.

Incidentally, there was a blogger who recently revealed the true chargen for most players:

(1) roll 3d6
(2) wait til the DM isn't looking, and write down whatever number you wanted for that stat
(3) make sure at least one stat is below 9, to "keep you honest"

Rognar said...

We came up with all sorts of things, like dropping two points from a dump stat in exchange for adding one to your prime stat. In AD&D, ability scores were a bit more important. Magic-users needed decent INT to even cast higher level spells and a fighter without at least a little bit of a STR bonus was considered kind of useless. Yeah, there was a lot of cheating too. By the time 3.0 came along, I had already been exposed to the concept of point-buy from my undergrad days playing GURPS. I quickly jumped at it and haven't looked back.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Yes, that is part of my complaint regarding AD&D, particularly the advent of specialist classes like paladin, ranger, druid and monk .

You had to have high stats to play them, which led to the dreaded (and loathed by me) stat inflation.

Obiri said...

Point buy is boring but I'd rather take decent stats where I want them then suffer bad die rolls.