Random Character Generation

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Agamemnon
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Random Character Generation

Post by Agamemnon » 07 Oct 2017, 18:26

While everyone is waiting on bated breath, I thought I'd give you this gem. An alternate system for random character generation that will be in the appendix for those times when you need a little help coming up with a concept:
Sometimes you’ll know exactly who you want to play right from the beginning. You threw around a couple quick ideas and everything came together perfectly. You’ve got a strong concept and know just where every point should be spent. Sometimes it’s not so easy. Even the most creative of us get stuck once in a while and could use a little push to get us started.

The concept-first default approach to character creation can sometimes be a little daunting. It makes a lot of demands on your creativity and requires some investment right from the start. Further, some players enjoy working in the opposite direction, discovering who their character is as they go through the creation process. While the priority table grants a huge amount of flexibility, many players will prefer a bit of randomization to nudge them in a direction. Whether you’ve got some old-school sensibilities and are looking for a challenge or you just need a little direction, we’ve got you covered.

Random character generation is completely balanced with the default method. Players within a group can choose which method they prefer on an individual basis without worrying that one might produce characters under or over-powered compared to the other. It does take a bit of creativity on your part, however. The dice have a kind of oracular power. They can sketch out the broad strokes and make suggestions, but it will ultimately require some interpretation to divine the raw numbers into a concept and character.

Random Priorities
Grab a pool of dice equal to the number of priority points you have to spend for the character. Roll the whole pool at once and sort them into groups based on their face values.
  • The number of 1s shown becomes your social class priority tier
  • The number of 2s shown becomes your attribute priority tie
  • The number of 3s shown becomes your skill priority tier
  • The number of 4s shown becomes your proficiencies priority tie
  • The number of 5s shown becomes your traits priority tier.
  • Dice showing 6s are treated as wild dice.
Now you need to do some juggling. Even with the random method, the normal rules for priority points apply. You must have at least a T1 in each priority, with T5 as the maximum. If the dice gave you more than a T5 in any given category, throw the extras in the pile with the wild dice. If any priority is missing, take one of the wild dice and give it a T1. If you don’t have any wild dice to spend, then you may take one from your highest tier priority and reallocate it for this purpose.

Once you have all of your existing priorities represented and within their limits, take stock of what you have established so far. The wild dice give you a couple options. If your current spread already points you in a direction, you can put the dice where you please to help flesh out that idea. Otherwise, pick up all of your wild dice and roll them again, adding the results to your priorities based on their face value just as you did before. If any of those dice come up as 6s, roll them again until they are something else. Eventually, you’ll have all of your priority points allocated.

Now you have something to work with. What does your priorities tell you so far? A particularly high or low social class tells you a great deal about the character off the bat. What about their attributes? Characters with a particularly high or low skill priority can also suggest different character types, as certain concepts require a much heavier investment than others. Proficiencies can be particularly telling, as the higher the priority tier here, the more training and combat experience the character is liable to have had in their life. Traits are a broad category unto themselves, with a high trait priority enables a character to run their own faction, occupy positions of importance, or really invest into character traits that make them personally exceptional in some way. Remember, the purpose of these rolls is to push you in a direction.

Random Attributes
Some people will want to take this a step further, letting the dice decide not just their priority allocation, but their attribute spread as well. This is kind of an old-school concept, taking randomly generated attributes and extrapolating from them ideas about who the character is as a person. The process for this is the same as for the random priority chart, but your dice pool is based on the number of attribute points you have to spend. As before, roll the whole pool at once and then sort them into groups based on their face value.
  • The number of 1s shown becomes your rank in Agility.
  • The number of 2s shown becomes your rank in Brawn.
  • The number of 3s shown becomes your rank in Cunning.
  • The number of 4s shown becomes your rank in Will.
  • The number of 5s shown becomes your rank in Perception.
  • Dice showing 6s are treated as wild dice.
The juggling process begins again. As before, random generation does not supersede the normal character creation rules. Each human character must have at least a 2 in each attribute, and no more in any one attribute than what is allowed per their priority tier. If any of your attributes are over this cap, then its dice get thrown in with the 6s and become wild. If any attribute is below 2, spend wild dice to bring it up to the minimum. If you don’t have any wild dice, then you may take a point from your highest attribute and reallocate it for this purpose.

When the character’s attributes all fall within their allowable ranges, take stock of your spread. If the results suggest anything to you, you can spend your remaining wild dice as you like and flesh the concept out further. Otherwise, you can roll them again and repeat the process, sorting any of the new dice into the existing categories based on their face values as you did before. If any of those result in 6s again, you can allocate them as you please or roll until you have no wild dice remaining.

In some ways, attributes can be even more evocative than the priority results. Look for anything that sticks out. Is any one attribute particularly high or particularly low? Now you’ve got something to work with. If an attribute is high, why is that? Is it a genetic gift, or something cultivated? If they’ve cultivated it, is there something in their trade or background that makes that attribute particularly valuable, or have they gone out of their way to cultivate it intentionally? What does that say about their personality?

If something is particularly low, why would that be? Have they suffered some illness or malformation, or have they just never bothered to develop the faculty? Again, what does that say about them? If it’s a mental attribute, is it due to an actual deficiency or some quirk of personality? Even if your attribute scores are relatively even across the board, a completely well-rounded character suggests a personality and disposition of its own.

Between random priorities and random attributes, you should have enough material to start going back to the concept stage. Who is this person? How can you reconcile the information you have into a character concept that fits? Play around with it. Ask your fellow players and see what they come up with. When you get a handle on it, go back and treat the character as normal, filling out their concept and spending their remaining points as befits the image you’ve come up with.

Making Changes
It’s entirely possible that the dice can turn out in such a way that you either end up with information that is beyond your ability to reconcile, or you get halfway through and come up with a better idea entirely. This is no big deal. There’s nothing in this method that binds you to the results. If you don’t care for the direction it took, you’re free to modify it, scrap it, or do it over entirely. Come up with a killer idea but need to change a few things to make it work? Do it. This is a tool for inspiration and nothing more. That said, don’t be too hasty if you get thrown a curveball. The real strength of this approach is in nudging you towards decisions you might not have made on your own.

An Example of Random Character Generation
Rayner’s group is thinking about a campaign based on noble houses and courtly intrigue. While he loves the themes, he just can’t decide how he wants to fit in. Having a crippling gambling addiction, he leaves it up to fate. He takes 15 dice in two cupped hands and rolls the following:
1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 6, 6, 6, 6.

The result came out:
Social Class T3, Attributes T3, Skills T3, Proficiencies T2, Traits 0, Wild dice 4.

None of his priority tiers were greater than 5, but he didn’t roll any traits. He spends one wild die to raise that to T1 to get that covered. Unfortunately, the spread is a bit bland still and nothing is really popping out to him. He takes his remaining wild dice and decides to roll them again:
4, 4, 5.

The new results come out to:
Social Class T3 — High Freeman, Attributes T3 — 20 (Cap 7), Skills T3 — 32 (Cap 7), Proficiencies T4 — 20 (Cap 9) ,Traits T2 — 4

We’re starting to get somewhere, but the character still isn’t quite formed. The T4 in proficiencies is a big indicator of something interesting, but it’s not enough to give us a clear picture yet. Rayner decides to go ahead and roll the attributes randomly as well. He had 20 points to spend based on his priority tier, so with 20 dice he gets:
1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6.

This gives us an attribute spread of:
Agility 1, Brawn 3, Cunning 6, Perception 3, Will 4, Wild dice 3

That’s an interesting spread, but the Agility is below the minimum. He spends one of the wild dice to bring it up to 2 and then decides to roll the 2 remaining dice. They come to:
4, 4.

This gives us a final spread of
Agility 2, Brawn 3, Cunning 6, Perception 5, Will 4

Now we can take a look at the character as a whole. We have a lot of interesting information in front of us. First of all, that Agility is pretty bad. Not just low, it’s “bare human minimum” low, suggesting that something might be wrong with this character. We know he’s a high freeman, so he has some money to his name. His highest priority is in proficiencies at T4, which is that much more interesting when one considers his terrible Agility. Still, there’s some serious combat training under this man’s belt. He has a decent amount of skills to spend, which is good. While his Agility and Brawn are nothing to write home about, his Cunning is excellent, his Perception is great, and his Will is rock solid. Immediately, some ideas begin to form.

So what’s happening here? Obviously, the character is an accomplished swordsman. He has the proficiency for it and has had some training or experience along the way. Rayner decides that the character being financially pretty well-off suggests that he was a soldier who did something important and was rewarded for it. Maybe he was a war hero or something? He should have enough trait points to cover that. The physical attributes present a puzzle of their own. An Agility 2 swordsman is a strange combination, particularly with the low Brawn. After a moment’s contemplation, the answer seems obvious: He’s old. The character is an aging swordsman well past his prime. Maybe the Agility 2 is the result of an old injury from the war.

On the other hand, his mental faculties are still razor sharp. The combination of Cunning and Perception naturally lend themselves to a character who might be a kind of investigator or inquisitor type and he has the Will to back that up. Now our old war-hero swordsman has become a shrewd and regal old figure, walking with a cane intended to lure potential adversaries into underestimating his capabilities.

He talks to the other players in the group about the idea and they immediately jump on it, deciding that the character would make an excellent Master of Intrigues for the noble house they are forming. Perfect.
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib, the Princess Irulan
KillerRed
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Re: Random Character Generation

Post by KillerRed » 08 Oct 2017, 11:09

Hey....thats Sand dan Glokta
"It has fallen upon me, now and again in my sojourn through the world, to ease various evil men of their lives."-Solomon Kane
dysjunct
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Re: Random Character Generation

Post by dysjunct » 08 Oct 2017, 12:06

Love this. Very Reign-esque.
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higgins
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Re: Random Character Generation

Post by higgins » 09 Oct 2017, 13:25

KillerRed wrote:Hey....thats Sand dan Glokta
;)
"You can never have too many knives."
- Logen Ninefingers, The Blade Itself
KillerRed
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Re: Random Character Generation

Post by KillerRed » 09 Oct 2017, 18:03

higgins wrote:
KillerRed wrote:Hey....thats Sand dan Glokta
;)
So what would his SAs be? Maybe:
I'll get to the bottom of this even if it kills me
God I hope this kills me
Please someone just kill me already.
"It has fallen upon me, now and again in my sojourn through the world, to ease various evil men of their lives."-Solomon Kane
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higgins
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Re: Random Character Generation

Post by higgins » 16 Oct 2017, 04:16

Enemy: Stairs
"You can never have too many knives."
- Logen Ninefingers, The Blade Itself
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Agamemnon
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Re: Random Character Generation

Post by Agamemnon » 16 Oct 2017, 15:19

higgins wrote:Enemy: Stairs
Image
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib, the Princess Irulan
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