Random Characters

I’ve been intrigued by an idea that I think I heard on the podcast. Guessing someone emailed in and brought it up at one point, but it wasn’t really discussed. Anyway, random character generation or mostly random. Depends on the system you’re using of course, but I’m thinking tables for names, race, height, weight, items, weapons, etc. Roll for ability scores or also numbers in a table. Maybe allow them to pick their class based on what their ability scores are, just so they don’t get stuck with like a fighter with no strength. Or maybe it would be more fun to make them play that way!

And then maybe run a small one shot with a party that all have random generation to see how it goes. More of an experiment, nothing really crazy or campaign like. Think it would be pretty interesting for someone to have to deal with the strengths/weaknesses that their random generated character has. It may suck for some based on what their are stuck with. Or they may be able to roll with it and find some silver linings in the character. Allow the PCs a certain amount of currency to stock up on some supplies that they may not have gotten or “ran out of before generation”.

Anyway, I just wanted to post something and see if others have done anything similar. Pros/cons? How did it go? Tips? Thoughts? Thanks.

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The original Mutant Chronicles game has a really fun random character generation in my opinion and did a job of building a back story for your character so you felt like you were entering the game with a real(ish) person. There were skill choices and you had to try and get into certain professions by making rolls. In all it seemed like everyone enjoyed there characters.

For Gamehole last year everyone was given a character I randomly generated with flaws included. Con game but everyone seemed to have fun.

My only recommendation would be to make sure your players want to do it.

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Completely random characters are totally doable. Here is a character from a tool I have written for Gamma World and MCC. From what I have below, I can totally play Brianko the Wolfman.

Name: Brianko of The Reckless Warg Caste
My Personal Moral Code: Honor: If I dishonor myself I dishonor my whole clan
How I see myself: My eloquent flattery makes everyone I talk to feel like the most wonderful and important person in the world.
What Drives Me: I want to do what must be done.
How others see me: Brianko is a average height Male Humanoid Canine-Wolf with a athletic build, golden eyes, and straight grey hair. His face has a broken nose and he speaks with a accented voice. Everyone knows that he smokes and that he is obdurate.
Suggested Alignment: (Lawful)
Armor: Leather Armor
Weapon: Shotgun with 8 shells
Inventory: 1 Week Rations, Locket on Silver Chain, Watering Can (used), Letters of credit (partially broken), Business Card Book / Face book (partially broken), Bicycle pump (partially broken)
Ability Scores
Strength: 14
Dexterity: 16
Constitution: 10
Charisma: 8
Intelligence: 14
Mental Strength: 13
Hit Points: 48
AC: 10
AI Recognition: 0
Speed (Walk/Swim/Fly/Glide/Swing): 17 / 11 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Attacks:
Bite for 1d6
Baseline Mutations:
Heightened Smell Heightened Hearing
Physical Mutations:
Regeneration, Heightened Strength, No Sensory Nerve Endings (D), Sonic Attack Ability
Mental Mutations:
Will Force, Magnetic Control, Heightened Intelligence, Telekinesis

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I wonder how random characters would work for bringing new people into the hobby? I generally like character creation to draw a bond between someone and their character, but depending on the system the options can be overwhelming and their eyes gloss over. However pregens make it feel like the character still isn’t theirs, like they’re borrowing someone else’s equipment.

Maybe the random process will streamline everything and make them feel connected without the analysis paralysis. Worth considering.

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Highly recommend the random character generation processes in Shadow of the Demon Lord, Knave, and Beyond the Wall.

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That’s an interesting thought. I agree that building your own is best to learn the rules, understand how everything comes together, and to make it your own. But having a middle ground that is kind of like a Traveller character creation still allows the player to be involved, to a certain extent, and feel their die rolls created the character.

You can of course do random generation for the character stats and such, but still allow them to pick class, equipment, feats, etc. To allow them to make their own, but that still not be too in depth? I was just curious about a full on, no user input, random, weird generator that puts out characters that feel like they’re just mashed together and to see if the PCs can make do with what they have. If they want to be involved in that type of experiment of course.

Random chargen is a hallmark of Freebooters on the Frontier, a PbtA homage to OS D and D.