The other day, I thought I’d try an (interesting) experiment in character generation.
Regular readers may recall I hate the point buy system for generating statistics with the fiery passion of a thousand blazing suns. Perhaps I’m an old fart. Perhaps I’m stuck in my ways, but my preferred method for generating stats involves four (normally cursed) six-sided dice. (And if you are like me and are often cursed with bad stats check out this article where I discuss what to do with crap stats).
However—back to the point of this article—I wondered what would happen if I left more than just the character’s statistics to random chance.
(For the purposes of this experiment I only used the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook—partly because I’m a fan of core-only campaigns and partly because I couldn’t be bothered to include other options).
As you’ll see—if you read on—I ended up with rather an interesting character!
I flipped to the front of the core rulebook and rolled a d8 to determine the character’s race. (I would have re-rolled if I’d got an 8). I rolled a 6 and I discovered my character is a halfling. I noted down the racial modifiers (-2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Cha) and moved on.
As an aside, if I was planning to use this character in my Borderland of Adventure campaign I would have used a slightly more sophisticated table to determine the character’s race. Here’s the table I would have used (based on the Living Greyhawk Gazetter’s racial breakdown of Ratik):
- 1-79%: Human
- 80-87%: Dwarf
- 88-93%: Halfling
- 94-96%: Elven
- 97-98%: Gnome
- 99%: Half-elf
- 100%: Half-orc
I decided on 50/50 odds for the character’s sex. I rolled a 5 and so she is female.
I was feeling brave. I rolled two sets of stats using 4d6 and noted them down in order and then applied the halfling’s racial modifiers. (If I was feeling foolhardy, I’d have rolled only one set!)
Because I got a very capable set of stats—the character could literally qualify for any class—I decided to randomly determine class as well. I rolled a d12 and discovered my halfling is a fighter!
Given I’d rolled pretty much everything else randomly I thought I might as well do the same for alignment. Obviously—as this is intended to be a PC—I discounted the three “problematical” alignments: neutral evil, chaotic evil and lawful evil. Obviously (and typically) I ended up with chaotic neutral.
Background Skill (d20)
I’m a huge fan of the secondary skills table in the 1st edition Dungeon Master’s Guide. When I created the Old School Pathfinder character generation guidelines I included a similar table. It seemed natural to use the table for this experiment and I discovered my character was skilled at Handle Animal (I allocated one of my fighter’s precious skill points to the skill to simulate her previous life).
So—what did I end up with?
CN female halfling fighter 1 (Str 14, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 14; hp 13)
Once a stable girl to a local human lord her wild nature saw her constantly in trouble with her master. Her sarcastic personality and acidic tongue got her into many fights with customers and fellow stablehands alike. Eventually, she was thrown out of her position and cast adrift in the world. Wild, carefree and somewhat unpredictable she is nevertheless fiercely loyal to those she calls her friends.
Her skills include Acrobatics, Climb, Handle Animal, Perception, Stealth and Swim.
She is skilled (Precise Shot, Point Blank Shot) with the sling staff (a surprisingly epic weapon I’d never really looked at before) and uses a scimitar in close combat.
This was a fun, interesting experiment. I’ve not played many halflings and fighter isn’t exactly my favourite class. However, the process of randomly generating her details—and deciding how they all fit together—brought Cora alive in my imagination. it was fun to answer questions like, “Why is she chaotic neutral?” and “How and why is she skilled at animal handling?”
It made me want to play her. Perhaps not for an entire campaign—my fighters often die, anyway—but I’d happily play her for a one-shot or short adventure arc. That said, she’s the sum of a series of rather sub-optimal choices. She couldn’t hold her own in a group of super-optimised characters who are using loads of options from all the optional Pathfinder books.
And for me, that’s okay. I think she’d be fun!
What Do You Think?
Is this stupid? Would you hurl yourself across the table and stab me in the eye with a d4 if I suggested it in a game you were playing? Or do you think this looks like fun? Let me know in the comments below! (Or perhaps even post up your own randomly generated character!)