2016. október 24., hétfő

Ability score generation

I stumbled upon Duane VanderPol's exhaustive overview of various methods that can be used to roll up six attributes in D&D and its derivatives. When it comes to character generation, I prefer a balanced approach: I enjoy the thrill (or "thrill", as you prefer) of randomness, but I like to retain a certain control over the final results. Even with old school or OSR games, I usually go into char.gen with a character concept in my head, and and it can be fun to try and reconcile this basic idea with the ability scores (compromising over class or inventing an element in the background story to explain a low/high stat).
"Dice Demon" by Martin Hanford

One method that caught my attention is the "tic-tac-toe grid".
"A standard 3x3 grid is made with Str, Dex, Con being rows, Int, Wis, and Cha being the three columns. 4d6 are then rolled (or the usual variations thereof) nine times to fill the grid. The player then selects 6 out of the 9 possible scores from either the appropriate row or column for the given stat. Each roll can only be used once so, for example, if you have an 18 in the center square you could use it ONLY for Dex or Wis, but not both."
It is quite random, yet provides you with some interesting choices; and it's also a small, elegant mini-game. The cross-positioning of "physical" and "mental/social" attributes reflects the dichotomy of fighter vs magic-user, inherent to these systems, but this method, as we can see, adds an extra dimension to that.

Let's roll up a character and see where it takes us.
Using 4d6 drop lowest, I fill up the tic-tac-toe grid:

INT
WIS
CHA
STR
12
13
12
DEX
14
12
9
CON
8
11
13

Not a bad set, mostly middle-range.

Let's say I want to make a Necronimus for a FH&W Weird Tales game. I need 12+ in both Wisdom and Charisma. Luckily, I have 13's available for both of them in the grid.

INT
WIS
CHA
STR
12
13
12
DEX
14
12
9
CON
8
11
13

I can assign the highest roll, 14, to Intelligence or Dexterity. Due to my rolls, the weaker stat in this pair will still be 12. I'm putting the 14 in Dexterity, and assigning 12 to Intelligence. Strength is also 12, and, luckily, I stilll have an 11 to put in Constitution.


This is fun. Let's do a second set, this time with straight 3d6 rolls, for some tougher decisions.

INT
WIS
CHA
STR
9
11
8
DEX
4
1316
CON
8
83

Okay, now this is more like how I usually roll. The highest roll (16) can go into Charisma or Dexterity. If I assign 16 to Charisma, I can still get Dex 13, but if I assign 16 to Dexterity, I can only get a Charisma of 8 (or... 3...).
Even with this set, it is possible to hit the Necronimus' requisites, although at a VERY high price: Cha 16, Wis 13, Dex 4!... A wheelchair-bound medium, maybe?

INT
WIS
CHA
STR
9
11
8
DEX
4
1316
CON
8
83

Maybe the novelty of this method will wear off at some point, who knows, but it iss something I definitely enjoy and would like to use.

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