Everyone writes down the usual six stats numbered 1 to 6, like so:
Or whatever order you normally use. The numbers are the key part. Next just one player rolls 3d6. Everyone then cheers if it's a good number or boos if it's low. Then all players (including the player who just threw 3d6) write that number down next to a randomly generated stat. I.e. roll 1d6 to determine where to plug the number Bob just saddled you with. Go around the table repeating the process until all stats are full. If any d6 roll indicates a stat you already have a value for, just skip down to the next empty slot. Now everyone has the same raw numbers but distributed differently. No more whining that Fred got kickass stats and you wound up with a scrub. And more importantly, chargen now involves everyone paying attention to each other for a bit, instead of a room full of silent people rolling dice at the same time and staring down at their own charsheets.
Now look over your stats and figure out what class you'd most like to be. Write this down on an index card. The ref takes all the cards and shuffles them, handing a card to each player. Don't show your card or tell anyone what it says. Now, start with the player the left of the last person to roll 3d6 in Step 1. That player must make a choice:
Keep the card they hold and play that class.
Trade with the person on their left, without knowing what the other player is holding.
The person to the left cannot opt out of the trade and the person initiating the trade is stuck with whatever they just got in trade. Optionally, you can signal your decision by dramatically flipping over your own card or that of the person to your left. If you trade, give your card face down. Repeat until everyone has a class.
When someone dies, repeat the whole rigamarole. You might get a better stat/class fit the second time around. Excess PCs generated this way could be put into a henchmen pool.
[map] An architect's bad design
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