Reducing the Randomness in Character Creation (A Little)

shammond42

Banded Mongoose
Hello,

My gaming group generally dislikes randomness character creation -- they like to have granular control of their characters' creation. I feel like randomness in the life path approach is pretty fundamental to the Traveller experience. However, I would like to acknowledge their preferences and meet them part way. So, I am considering this tweak to character creation.

1. Each player receives 4 tokens at the start of character creation
2. A token can be traded in for any of the following
* Reroll any 2d6 roll. This can be chosen after the initial roll and the player can select which of the two rolls they want to keep. Only a single reroll of any 2d6 roll is permitted.
* Select a result for a d6 roll. This must be done before rolling, and any available modifiers must be applied. At most one Mustering Out roll can be done this way on either the Cash or the Benefits table.

I am also thinking to use the 12d6 method from page 11 of the Traveller Company for Characteristic general.

I'm curious what people think of this approach? Did I miss any pitfalls?

Thanks!
 

NOLATrav

Banded Mongoose
Sounds pretty good so far.

One thing I’ve done for quite some time, which my group really likes, is to roll for skills then pick an available table to select from. Still random but allows for some agency. We don’t do it for benefits but you might consider that too.

As far as your tokens, I’d let them use the original 2D roll if they prefer. But still charge them the token of course.
 

Geir

Cosmic Mongoose
* Select a result for a d6 roll. This must be done before rolling, and any available modifiers must be applied. At most one Mustering Out roll can be done this way on either the Cash or the Benefits table.
On Mustering Out, this could result in an automatic Ship result, which may or may not be what you want for the campaign.

In general, there is a certain advantage to randomness. As a thought experiment a bit back I ran three mock characters of identical stats through character generation starting with a university roll. In the end, out came an admiral, a countess, and someone who not only washed out of the university, but managed seven careers (including student) in nine terms, rarely finishing any of them without a mishap (but at least avoided any jail time). The latter was not the most skilled and had lousy characteristics, but would have made a more interesting character to play.
 

Condottiere

Emperor Mongoose
There are sort of three general types of character generation, four if you count pregenerated:

1. Random

2. Point based

3. Hydrid/guided

Random is when the players just want to have fun, point based tends to be min maxing, though it could also be a very targetted campaign, and hybrid tends to allow players to adjust results.
 

shammond42

Banded Mongoose
On Mustering Out, this could result in an automatic Ship result, which may or may not be what you want for the campaign.

In general, there is a certain advantage to randomness. As a thought experiment a bit back I ran three mock characters of identical stats through character generation starting with a university roll. In the end, out came an admiral, a countess, and someone who not only washed out of the university, but managed seven careers (including student) in nine terms, rarely finishing any of them without a mishap (but at least avoided any jail time). The latter was not the most skilled and had lousy characteristics, but would have made a more interesting character to play.

I consider an automatic ship a feature for what I'm looking for.

Totally agree on your take on randomness. That's why I want to avoid going with one of the full point buy solutions, but still give the players opportunities to avoid things they don't want and end up with at least some of the skill they do want.
 

ottarrus

Cosmic Mongoose
I address the randomness of specific skills, but leave stats and qualifications alone.
With skill selection, I have the player roll the die and then pick the skill in all eligible skill tables they'd prefer. I do this because most people have a lot of choice of what skills they want to develop in their careers. The choices are limited, however, based on their actual job tasks and the availability of off-time education.
For example, Bob the Survey Scout rolls a 3 on a skill roll. He'd be allowed to pick the skill at 3 on Personal Development, Service Skills, Branch Skills and Advanced Education Tables. In this case that would be +1 END, Mechanic, Pilot, or Seafarer
 

shammond42

Banded Mongoose
I address the randomness of specific skills, but leave stats and qualifications alone.
With skill selection, I have the player roll the die and then pick the skill in all eligible skill tables they'd prefer. I do this because most people have a lot of choice of what skills they want to develop in their careers. The choices are limited, however, based on their actual job tasks and the availability of off-time education.
For example, Bob the Survey Scout rolls a 3 on a skill roll. He'd be allowed to pick the skill at 3 on Personal Development, Service Skills, Branch Skills and Advanced Education Tables. In this case that would be +1 END, Mechanic, Pilot, or Seafarer

I saw this option in the Traveller companion. I do like it and might switch to it, maybe only allowing two 2d6 rerolls.
 

Rikki Tikki Traveller

Cosmic Mongoose
I like to let the players roll the dice First, then pick which skill table to select their skill from. This makes it semi-random, but gives them control too.

For characteristics, I have always used "roll first, then assign" so they get the type of character they want, but still random-ish.
 

Saladman

Banded Mongoose
1. Each player receives 4 tokens at the start of character creation
2. A token can be traded in for any of the following
* Reroll any 2d6 roll. This can be chosen after the initial roll and the player can select which of the two rolls they want to keep. Only a single reroll of any 2d6 roll is permitted.
* Select a result for a d6 roll. This must be done before rolling, and any available modifiers must be applied. At most one Mustering Out roll can be done this way on either the Cash or the Benefits table.

Nothing wrong with this, and I kind of like the possible trade-off between higher stats or finer control of skills. Go for it.

Chapter Two, "Alternate Traveller Creation", in the Traveller Companion, might be of interest to you.

I was really impressed with the package-based character generation, right up until I got to the Career finalization where you can raise any one skill to 4, or any three skills by 1 up to 2, or just take rank. The characters generated are already perfectly fine without that; with it you're emulating a different power level than I'm used to seeing with random rolls. But - it's easy to excise if you're the GM.

... roll for skills then pick an available table to select from.

... the player roll the die and then pick the skill in all eligible skill tables they'd prefer.

I've done this once, and liked it, so I second the recommendation. I like it with a limit on terms though, because it does allow for players to drive skills higher than they'd get with real random rolls. And I really think Traveller runs better with well-rounded characters.
 

Sigtrygg

Emperor Mongoose
Characteristics - roll using whatever munchkin method they want or assign points to be spent on characteristics.
Career - let them choose rather than enlistment rolls.
Skills - keep a tally of how many skills are earned during the career and then let them pick the skills they want from the lists available.
They get the character they want.
 

AdamWillow

Mongoose
We did something like this:
In terms 1 and 2 I've let them choose a skill (to simulate early stages of our life when you try tu pursue your dream :) ).
In term 3 and 4 I've let them choose a table after they make a dice roll (so for example if a 4 was rolled you could choose from 3-5 skills)
In terms >4 normal rules was aplied.
it worked nice for us.
 

Condottiere

Emperor Mongoose
If you microgenerate the likely missions and/or experiences within that four year term, you can control the range of skills likely to be acquired or sharpened by the character.
 

ColinD

Mongoose
These are really great. I offer a Connection Rule Modification where the Character's can get a Skill if they have a bond with an NPC, an Adventure Setting or a Historical Moment in the MTU. This ties them to the game and gives them a hand in shaping the campaign.
 
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