Wednesday, October 19, 2011

D&D sans chargen

Today -C over at Hack & Slash talks about the way building characters discourages newbies, especially in games that lock you into long-term decisions during chargen.  To avoid decision tree gridlock I prefer rolling characters.  Well, that's one of the reasons at least.  Standard D&D chargen in most editions is actually a hybrid of the two concepts, since you randomly generate your six stats, hit points and starting gold but you select race, class, alignment and equipment.  I've had some success streamiling chargen by using random starting equipment charts.  I'd play a random class, race and alignment but I don't think everyone else feels that way.

Ditching initial character generation is not altogether is not impossible, though.  If I recall correctly one of the early print editions of FUDGE contained a variant for chargen during play.  No one has a Strength score until you encounter a door that needs opening, then everyone rolls 3d6 and writes down a number.  Whoever is brave enough to pick up the strange book and use the arcane formulas therein suddenly becomes a magic-user.  The player who puts on the chainmail and grabs the sword is obviously now running a fighter.  That sort of thing.  Everybody would start out as undifferentiated, undefined peasants, in the vein the DCC 0-level rules or the old module N4 Treasure Hunt but even less defined.

(How do you say "-C"?  Is that "Negative C"?  "Minus C"? "Dash C"?)