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Character Generation Style

Prefered Character Generation Style

  • Total voters

Andrew Boulton

The Adminator
There has been some discussion of different methods of generating characters and prior career/life over in the T5 playtest forum.
Combo of 2 and 3. No, it wouldn't affect my purchase - that'd be influenced by my ready cash...
I'm surprised that more people are saying that it wouldn't affect people's purchase. Chargen is basically the primary interface between the players and the game... though maybe that's why. The people who buy corebooks are usually the ones running the game, and so don't have to deal with making PCs.

Maybe the more important question is "would the chargen method affect whether you want to PLAY the game", rather than whether you want to buy it.
Chargen has never affected my decision to buy a game - I'll buy it either because the gameworld or system as a whole interests me, or because I'm going to be playing it. If the chargen is good, great; if not, well, at least I'll only need it once.

My decision to run a game depends entirely on the gameworld.

My decision to play depends on the gameworld or the GM (eg I'll play Traveller with a poor or unknown GM, but it'd take a good GM to persuade me to play D&D).

I don't think I'm that unusual.
No, it wouldn't affect my purchase
nor mine. the first thing I do when I see something I like is to consider how to fit it into my conception of what the game should be. for a ref there are no rules, only suggestions.

of course some suggestions are better than others.
I usually end up modifying the chargen method or developing one of my own.

For CT, I've incorporated a D6+1 roll to determine how many terms the character serves; and modified the survival results so that success means retirement at the final complete term, and failure means an incomplete two-year final term.

Content and playability are more important than chargen method (although templates do help).
Originally posted by Andrew Boulton:
[QB] Chargen has never affected my decision to buy a game - I'll buy it either because the gameworld or system as a whole interests me, or because I'm going to be playing it. If the chargen is good, great; if not, well, at least I'll only need it once.
Well, the way I do it is that I buy new RPGs becuase they're interesting or because I want to run them.

But when it comes to deciding whether or not to PLAY the game (as a PC, not a GM), then chargen is pretty critical for me. If the chargen process can't generate the concept that I have in mind (or something close to it) - preferably with the minimum of effort - then I won't play it, which is why I loathe the CT system really. To me, it doesn't matter how good the GM is or how great the setting is or how good the game engine - if the chargen can't make what I want it to make, then I definitely ain't playing it.
Don't know why, but the whole "point buy" system does throw me off. I have been a serious collector till just this year. Now I find I am willing to be more selective in my purchases instead of saying, "Look, the word Traveller is on this product, I MUST have it!"
I have even begun to sell off my collection in favor of retaining CT and T20 products only.

BTW-Didn't Hunter(?) come out with two test PDFs for Navy/Marine chargen using the Ramdom(roll for branch assignment) & Choose(pick skills off the tables available to your branch)? I have recently re-printed but haven't finished reading through them yet.
I find that I am a random buyer.

I don't ususally plan my buys in advance but sometimes I will do some research before I commit to a product.

I joined CotI as an "Impulse" buy because I saw some value.

I will buy future products for Traveller as I feel the need.
It does affect my purchases...

I dislike "open point buy" gc systems, ala GURPS and HERO.
I like "Multiple Pool" methods (WWG's Storyteller, TFG's Prime Directive) and "Multiple Template" (ala L5R, Space 1889, or Mechwarrior 2d).
I love the Prior history mode, in various incarnations: MT, 2300, GDW House, FASA-Trek, LUG-Trek, Space Opera, Spacemaster (it's an option in SMC1, Pendragon), Renegade legion: Legionnaire. Some are point buy skills, others pick from list, others still random roll; some are pick from list and grab template, too.

CG is one the major mechanical areas that shapes if and how I run a game.

I make buys for one of two reasons: reading or running.

Reading means it needs either a novel set of mechanics, a good background, or a MAJOR discount (50%+).

Running means it needs playable CG, a playable and intelligible engine, and at least a workable background.

I buy more for reading, but I spend more for playing.
Random Character Generation is my only choice. I don't care for buying or making characters to specs. And it affects my buying habits. But, I'm old and gripey and set in my ways.

Ktm 200xc-w
Last edited:
Originally posted by BlackIrish56:
[...] Now when I introduce new people to TRAVELLER, I don't even let them see the LBB's. They just roll dice and talk. When we are done, they have a character complete with background.
Now that's cool.
It depends on what the game is, I like random for some things, and point buy systems for others. I got used to CT's random system (with house rules, of course), and find that the GURPS point buy system is too messy for Char gen in Traveller (somewhat ameliorated by the templates they have). I like the T20 prior history system, and with some smoothing to clear up the more complicated sections, think it is nearly a perfect crossover from CT to the D20 system, with the added benefit of being able to pick your skills, something we almost always did for char gen in CT.
Well, we use the LBBs, of course. Then we substitute all the skills we don't use, decide what we're going to do about JoT this time, and tweak the mustering out rolls if the group needs a ship (or needs not to have one). Survival (read: 'appendage replacement')rolls became very popular once we introduced our new cybernetics rules.

Then we convert everything to our house version of BRP. :D
Although I loath character generation FASCism. I hate the time wasted in a pick your skills method the quickest and easyest proceadure was the advanced gen system to roll history everything. we took it to a new level when we made a point to edu for rolls a term sorta thing and your choice to the chart approrpriate ie.
Army,NCO,STaff,Command, or MOS skill tables. with cascades there are plenty of choices to be made.
P>S what ya think http://www.geocities.com/coz_10/
I always liked the Ct Character gen system ,and i Really like the D20 Traveller system for its flexibility and its close feel to CT
For me, MT was pretty close to the best ballance.

My players, however, preferred a more TNE/2300 like method.
Originally posted by Malenfant:

To me, it doesn't matter how good the GM is or how great the setting is or how good the game engine - if the chargen can't make what I want it to make, then I definitely ain't playing it.
Here here. Have to agree with you there. Having to play characters with absurd combinations of stats and skills gets old if you have to do it to many times over the years (in my case 20+ years). Personally I prefer the 'point' method as it lets you create what you want. The big complaint has always been that this system favours power gamers. Well, I think that's just bad GM'ing for allowing the characters in the first place. You need a responsible group of people and a fair GM to run, for example, a hero system game. Currently I run T20 and I allow a certain amount of 'fudging' on character creation to let people play what they want. Making people play characters they do not like and expecting them to have fun is just a weird concept to me.
Never forget that the basic concept is for EVERYONE to have fun.

Point systems DO favor munchkin behaviors and power gamers in the majority of players, unless the system is disad-free. (I've actually seen a few point based systems with no disads... they all failed...)

But they also lead to one other fatal flaw: personal investment in character disproportionate to play time.

Characters die in my games. Point generated characters are often more emotionally invested in than random characters. In my exxperience, the random crowd goes "Maybe the next guy will be better"; the point crowd goes "Dammit! now I need to spend an hour writing a new character... How many extra points do I get for this one?" and tend to look rather aghast when I say none...