Friday, March 13, 2009

How much is too much?

I never really enjoyed the overly structured character creation in Traveller. The alpha numeric universal code stats seemed too Dewey decimal system, and the flow charts one had to roll on to determine a characters background and skill choices seemed overly programmed. .

While I am a big fan of Traveller in general, we only used the charts to sort of get a character back ground ideas and pulled from where we liked to make characters.

So as I develop my own RPG, I have come to what I hope is a happy medium. First, I am creating charts with 36 different entries per chart. There will be one for Dwarves, one for Elves, one for villages, one for cities, one for the wilds, one for wizards and one for priests...and maybe one for dire elves. I dread that I probably won't stop there and will probably do one for fighters and one for rogues as well.

Use of these charts will be completely optional, a player may pick one appropriate chart, and roll one time. One little two sentence background will be a hook for a player to use as a bit of back story. It could include a stat bonus, a skill, a special item, or a negative impact event.

So only a dwarf can use a dwarf chart...but he could also choose almost any other chart to roll on if he liked. With one roll at the start of character creation, you may find a unique character (or back story for the GM to use) comes to life. With over 300 possible back stories, and a less than 3% chance of rolling any one on any one chart, it should provide lots of unique backgrounds. My hope is that small seed could grow a players imagination and concept for their character.

I sometimes question why I am working on adding these charts that are strictly optional and unnecessary to overall game play...except that it seems like a fun option, and in the end aren't fun and options the hallmark of good game play? I guess time will tell.
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