Sunday, September 7, 2014

15-minute character creation

Have a few friends, also lapsed gamers, mildly interested in pick-up games, and the question arose, "How long will it take to make up a character?" Good question, so I rifled through my file folders and came up with what I think/hope is essentially a 15-minute method for statting, creating a little color and background, and equipping a PC in OSR-dom.

1. 3d6, in order, swap 2.
2. Choose race and/or class (sticking with the original four classes/four races for now).
3. Race/class subclasses (optional) per Dyson Logos.
4. Character background (optional) per Chris Kutalik
5. Starting equipment per Chris Kutalik (alternately Built By Gods Long Forgotten)
6. Random headgear (REQUIRED) per B/X Blackrazor
7. Stat out bonuses, saves, spells, etc. Max HP at 1st level, roll for additional levels.

Kutalik's quick-generator also has pre-rolled stat blocks, but they seem a bit above-average.  I favor having more luck of the draw (i.e. average characters doing extraordinary deeds...).


What I rolled:
S 11 I 12 W 7 Co 12 D 14 (+1) Ch 12
No swaps
Chose Human Thief (Halfling would have been a good option, too.)
Subclass: 'Guild Thief' (+10% pick locks/pockets)
Background: 7th born (poor mom!), parent was weaponsmith/armorer (potential to repair/craft), led a nomadic life (itinerant crafts-people?), spent adolescence/young adulthood in borderlands or wilderness area (possible wilderness survival skills).
Starting equipment (per BBGLF): Leather armor, sword, dagger, lock picks, backpack, pouch, tinder, 6 torches, 2 days of salt pork, a bottle of ale, 50' rope and grappling hook, large sack, blanket, 4 SP.
Headgear: veiled hood in periwinkle (mysterious, yet festive!)

Yup, old-school char-sheet, and my wife's penmanship is as bad as mine...

What my wife rolled: ("Why are we doing this at 10 PM?" "Because I'm experimenting with quick character setup. Remember how long it took to make Pathfinder characters?" "Oh...OK." "And you get random starting gear so you don't have to go through the whole equipment list debating whether you should buy a 10' pole." :)

S 17 (+2) I 11 W 8 Co 11 D 10 Ch 14 (+1)
(Swapped original W and Co)
Chose Human fighter
Didn't roll for subclass; she decided she was Conan.
Background: 5th born (everyone's parents were fecund!), parents were shopkeepers in dry goods (perhaps she got strong from humping around bags of flour?), spent part of her childhood helping a local hedge wizard collect spell components and herbs (potential useful knowledge, like finding catnip to distract the smilodon), home village or town was wiped out by humanoid raiders (put her on the road, possible vendetta).
Starting equipment (per Kutalik): Chain mail, battle ax and short sword, backback, waterskin, week's rations, tinder box, bedroll, belt pouch + 'Bundle C' (5 torches, 5 oil flasks, 50' rope and grappling hook, long pole), 5 GP, riding pony. ("I got a 10' pole after all..." "Good for you.")
Headgear: Reversible hood in pea green and periwinkle (also festive!)
(Done at about 10:15 PM)

We were both fortunate with mostly average/above average rolls.  The BBGLF basic equipment generator takes a bit more picking and choosing, and is a bit more lean on starting equipment - a bad roll could start a character with all "basic" gear (e.g. poor/basic weapon, padded (or no) armor, few belongings). Although this could make for some creative/desperate game play (heh) I had to buy 'down' (traded a 'Good' roll for two additional 'Basic' items) to get the backpack and supplies plus lock picks. Kutilik gives everyone the class requirements (e.g. thief's lock picks), backpack/basic supplies, plus a good chance for a mount.  His list also allows for quick equipping of a higher level character, as well.

Any personal preferences, ideas?


  1. It's great to see my table being used. It is kind of harsh but that was the intent. I actually really like Brendan at Necropraxis' take on random starting equipment. It can't be beat if your goal is expediency, he uses a single 3d6 roll. I can't find it right now or I'd post a link.

    1. I like your table for its trade-offs and potential for 'incomplete' kitting out. I think it definitely has its applications for creating a bit of atmosphere for beginning characters.