Saturday, June 04, 2011

revised Boot Hill PC generation charts

2nd edition Boot Hill has this weird glitch when generating PCs.  The issue is that the stat charts are designed for generating ordinary, non-kickass inhabitants of the the wilden west.  For PCs you roll percentile dice like everyone else, but then if you roll a low score you get a bonus to the roll.  The bonus is on a sliding scale, so that the lower you roll the bigger the bonus.  The idea seems to be that Blume and Gygax were okay with a random NPC having a Slow speed or Very Poor accuracy, but they had a certain minimum awesomeness in mind for PCs.

I'm okay with this set-up, though I'd be okay with sucky PCs as well.  The problem is in the execution.  Rolling an 01-25 for any stat nets you a whopping +25 bonus, turning the roll into a 26 through 50.  But rolling a 26-50 gets you a +15.  So someone who rolled a 26 ends up with the result of a 41, while someone who rolled lower can end up with a 42 or higher.  That's arbitrary, unfair and dumb. And I hate having extra unnecessary steps in chargen. It makes me feel bad when I slaughter the PCs. The solution is to sit down and write separate charts for the PC-types only.


01-10  Above Average +2
11-35  Quick +4
36-55  Very Quick +6
56-75  Fast +9
76-85  Very Fast +12
86-95  Lightning +15
96  Greased Lightning +18
97  Greased Lightning +19
98  Greased Lightning +20
99  Greased Lightning +21
00  Greased Lightning +22

ACCURACY (roll one for GUNS and once for THROWING)

01-10  Average +0
11-35  Above Average +2
36-55  Fair +5
56-65  Good +7
66-80  Very Good +10
81-95  Excellent +15
96-98  Crack Shot +18
99-00  Deadeye +20


01-15  Average 13
16-45  Above Average 14
46-65  Sturdy 15
66-78  Hardy 16
79-85  Strong 17
86-95  Very Strong 18
96-98  Powerful 19
99-00  Mighty 20


01-10  Average +0  +0
11-55  Above Average +1  +3
56-75  Brave +2  +6
76-85  Very Brave +3  +10
86-98  Fearless +4  +15 
99-00  Foolhardy +5  +15


01-10  No Experience -10
11-40  One Gunfight -5
41-60  Two Gunfights -5
61-75  Three Gunfights +0
76-85  Four Gunfights +0
86-91  Five Gunfights +2
92-95  Six Gunfights +2
96  Seven Gunfights +6
97  Eight Gunfights +6
98  Nine Gunfights +8
99  Ten Gunfights +8
00  You Done Lost Track +10

As you can see, the stat mods in Boot Hill can jump around.  Apparently surviving that seventh gunfight is a big deal, but the difference between Fearless and Foolhardy is minimal.  I'm tempted to smooth them out a bit with some intermediary results but that would produce some egregiously long charts.  I like giving players brief chargen handouts, not vast sheafs of overwrought charts.  I keep the overwrought charts behind the screen.


  1. Being the lazy sort, instead of working up new charts for the PCs, I would just let them flip the one's and ten's dice during character creation so as to give them higher rolls (i.e. if you rolled a 35 on Strength or whatever, it now becomes a 53). That said, I don't have the original charts accessible at the moment, so I'm not certain how much of a difference that would make.

  2. Not bad...this was once a pet peeve of mine as well, but I learned to just accept it. While your charts are good for PCs, it has the side-effect that now you have TWO different set-ups for for PCs and one for NPCs. I think the original method (arbitrary weirdness aside) was more efficient.

    Still...nice work.
    : )

  3. I think the method of adding a set amount for low rolls was standard practice at TSR at a particular point. It was in Gangbusters and the free game Crimefighters.

  4. I think the method of adding a set amount for low rolls was standard practice at TSR at a particular point. It was in Gangbusters and the free game Crimefighters.

    I believe it was also used in 1st ed Top Secret, although I may be wrong.

  5. ReaperWolf11:42 AM

    And Star Frontiers.