On a Fast Generator Method of Characters, Applicable to 5th Edition

What takes too long?

Character creation. Let's speed it up.

Method I (old school)

Roll 6 individual d6 and 1d10.

Subtract three from each of the D6. Assign these down the line of statistics as modifiers. Divide the d10 result by 2 and round up. This is your number of odd ability scores. There are no re-rolls in this method.

Example: 1,6,4,4,5,6 — 5/2 = 2
Scores are
Strength: 6 (-2)
Dexterity: 16 (+3)
Constitution: 12 (+1)
Intelligence: 12 (+1)
Wisdom: 14 (+2)
Charisma: 16 (+3)

Then you can select any two of those numbers to make odd, based on your roll of the d10. You choose Strength and Dexterity, making them 7 and 17.

Then you use the first three d6 results and the d10 roll to determine your background selections randomly. If you're using the Hack & Slash Compendium I with the d30 random background table in the back, use the last d6 roll and the d10 roll to act as a d30 in order to randomly select your background. In the example above, you get background 25; Sailor, from the Player's Handbook.

Method II (Second edition)

Roll 6 individual d6 and 1d10.
Subtract three from each of the d6. Assign these modifiers as desired. Divide the d10 result by 2. This is your number of odd ability scores. Use the first three d6 results and the d10 roll to determine your background and background selections randomly.

Method III (Modern)

Roll 6 individual d6 and 1d10.
Subtract two from each of the d6. Assign these modifiers as desired. Divide the d10 result by 2. This is your number of odd ability scores. Use the first three d6 results and the d10 roll to determine your background and background selections randomly.

Reroll all dice if you have total positive modifiers over +15 or under +5.

Method IV (Heroic)

As Method 3 with no upper limit on the positive modifier.

Method V (Point buy)

Roll 3d6 and 1d10. These are your total bonuses. Assign them to stats to a maximum of +3.

Example: 2, 5, and 1. 3 on the d10.
Your total bonuses are +8. You are playing a fighter so you assign 3 to Strength, 3 to Constitution and 1 to Dexterity and Wisdom (for medium armor and perception). You pick 2 of those scores to be odd, Strength and Wisdom.
Strength: 17 (+3)
Dexterity: 12 (+1)
Constitution: 16 (+3)
Intelligence: 10 (+0)
Wisdom: 13 (+1)
Charisma: 10 (+0)

For further variants, Check out my post On Ability Auctions.

Other tips to increase speed.
To get started playing as quickly as possible, write down only:
Race, Class, Stats, The three choices of starting equipment, background name and the four background trait numbers. Then, during the inevitable lull in play, you can start listing out the background traits on the sheet, what's in the equipment list, etc.

Hack & Slash 
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8 comments:

  1. Rolling stats does not take long, assigning them might. What takes long time is buying equipment, choosing spells, choosing skills/power/feats/whatever, explaining rules / options.

    Random or fixed equipment and spells.

    Another option is to push decisions into play, mark down you have 4 skill slots, when something comes up you want to do, fill in slot and roll. Repeat with other "chooseables".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As noted below, standard 5th edition characters make no skill/power/feat choices at first level.

      Yes, the classes with first level spells will have to make picks if they refuse to take the suggested first level spells listed in each class.

      Delete
  2. This looks like it could be a bit of a time-saver for a DM rolling up lots of NPCs, if they need them fully fleshed out like a PC. But as Norman says, I find equipment and spells, special ability choices, and the like take the most time. Especially when using a new system where I'm not sure what all the options are.

    Just for example, the other night I rolled up a 5E character using the Basic pdf (slows things down comparing different options, at least for me). Since I'm still new to the system, it took me about an hour (granted, the last 10-15 minutes my son insisted on doing the typing into the character sheet for me). The next night, I rolled up a character for the 1991 edition of Gamma World, a game I know but haven't played much recently. Even with more complexity in the selection of mutations, it only took about 20 minutes. But that character didn't need any gear selected.

    The 5E fast-pack selection for gear is nice, so I do think as I get more familiar with 5E (and when my PHB finally arrives), char-gen will get faster.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, as I note, just writing down the three free class selections and background means no picking gear (gear comes with the background). The three equipment class selections are three A or B choices.

      As far as everything else, the only classes that have anything else to pick at first level are first level spellcasters. The other classes are pretty well set and don't make any major choices till level 3.

      Delete
  3. The whole point of rolling ability scores is to get a bell curve on each score. You use a linear distribution, which skews this a lot. For example, rolling 3d6 gives a score of 16+ less than 5% of the time. Your system -- 10+2*(1d6-3) -- increases those odds to more than 16%.

    Also, if we are calculating modifiers from the get-go, why are we even bothering with the ability scores themselves? They are traditional, I know, but their only actual use is the calculation of modifiers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right, but since you're rolling for the entire array, it should be bell curved in shape. Also, recall that 5e suggests 4d6 drop lowest, which raises the odds of higher scores.

      Delete
  4. Method II (Second Edition)... Second edition of what? AD&D 2e didn't have Background selections; so I assume you mean some other second edition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Second edition style as in assigning your stats where you want them to be.

      Delete

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