Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Old-School CharGen for 4E?

Old School CharGen for 4E

When 3E was introduced, one of the first things I noticed was the point-buy system for stats, instead of rolling 3d6 for them. The designers made this change for the sake of balance. The natural progression from point-buy stats is the standard array, which is what we wound up with in 4E. Every character is balanced against each other in this way right from the get-go (and nevermind the perfectly balanced races and classes as well). 


One of the best things from my DragonQuest days was the character generation system. I'm pretty sure it was our DM's set of houserules, as I only ever saw it on sheets that were printed off a computer, but the gist of it was roll a percentile to determine how many points you get to distribute and what your maximum score could be, and roll percentiles for everything after that on several charts. Background and family, race (!), money, hair, height, weight, eye color. 

The best part, though, was the bogey chart. If you didn't qualify for any race besides human, at least you got four rolls on the bogey table, which were mostly helpful but sometimes not. Everything from bonuses to ability scores, to cheaper prices for ranks in certain skills, to access to psionics was an option. Sometimes, with the right rolls, you could get a pretty powerful character right from the get-go. Of course, the flip side of that coin is that with the right rolls, even the most powerful of characters could suffer a career-or-life-ending grevious injury. 

So it was all kind of balanced in that way. And a whole lot of fun. There were still plenty of options to sift through at chargen, but the randomness of the possibilities made for a whole lot of fun. 

So, in that vein, I'm thinking of writing up an old-school chargen guide for 4e, with some modifications to races, and a full-on bogey chart. Anybody out there interested? I think it might work really well in a FourthCore style setting. I'm thinking we ought to go back to rolling for attributes, and rebalance through different possible random bonuses. Sounds more fun than just paging through the books to optimize your character.

On a not-so-random note, critical hits in 4e should have at least the remote possibility of instant kill. Or at least causing a Save-or-Die situation. Any thoughts?


  1. Nice nod to Dragonquest Sully, the point allocation system is part of the game, bogies were an addition that came along sometime in '83 or '84 I think. I wish I could remember the book that gave me the basis for them. Chargen is still on of my favorite parts of a game, even if it can get long and drawn out in Dragonquest.

  2. Your CharGen charts have given me a lot of inspiration for my own homebrewed fantasy RPG that I'm working on, Padre. I peruse your DQ Frontiers site quite a bit. And DQ CharGen can be pretty quick compared to D&D 4E! Options, options, endless options...

  3. Reminds me of the random character gen in heroes unlimited, where your random power could be darn awesome, or hopeless,
    My personal favourite was Speak with Plants.