Saturday, July 16, 2011

D&D chargen as a party game

Step One

Everyone writes down the usual six stats numbered 1 to 6, like so:

1. Str
2. Dex
3. Int
4. Wis
5. Con
6. Cha

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.


  1. Nice take for the class. I suggested a similar method for the stats in Epées & Socellerie, basically ffo the same reasons.

  2. And...PDF'd and printed.

  3. Anonymous7:06 PM

    Saw that in Epées & Socellerie (great game) but not with the extra class randomness. Not sure I like the idea of players writing the class they most want then maybe not playing it. I think there would be some grumpiness with that aspect. Could be fun as an experiment though. Have you used this Jeff?

  4. This is a GREAT introduction to RPGing for newbies.

  5. Have you used this Jeff?

    No. This was just an idea i had in the shower today.

  6. the method, not the image of you thinking it up in the shower.

  7. I could easily see this turning into a dorm-room drinking game as well. Whenver anyone rolls a 1, they drink. If anyone rolls a 6, everyone drinks. If anyone rolls an 18, they have to chug a beer. Etc.

  8. Anonymous8:52 PM

    As a fan of point buy, I can honestly say this is a sweet idea! I've heard of similar group-roll ideas, but yours has the (dis?)advantage of not producing extra-high stats for everyone.

    Let me just make sure I have this right: if someone dies, then everyone makes new PCs? And then everyone continues the adventure with a few extra NPCs tagging along?

  9. Awesome. I'm trying this next time.

    May all your showers be as fruitful.

  10. Let me just make sure I have this right: if someone dies, then everyone makes new PCs?


    And then everyone continues the adventure with a few extra NPCs tagging along?

    I'm not exactly sure what happens to all those NPCs. Maybe they come along, maybe you just stuff them in a folder labeled "future victims".

  11. I've done this on multiple occasions, especially when I'm low on dice or are playing something like WHFRP.

    Always good results.

  12. This is terrific, pdf'd and printed!

  13. Anonymous7:22 PM

    I wonder if it might be easier to do this with each person making 2 characters the first time around, thereby increasing the chances that they'd get something playable at the end of the process because they could give up class cards for a more mismatched character, for example.

    Neat idea.

  14. Just used this last PM to create the party for a new run through Night's Dark Terror. It was actually one of my player's suggestion!

  15. As a lover of dice rolling trying to balance out the cries for equality from my players I did something similar for stat generation in my previous LL game.

    All stats start at 6, the players collectively roll 8d6, dividing the dice as evenly as they can. They then take those die rolls and add them to their stats. No splitting die rolls and no stats greater than 18 of course. This way instead of one person complaining about crappy die rolls they all can!

    Although I must admit the extra randomness in your method sounds like a lot more fun. I'll have to try it next time.