Posted by : David Guyll January 12, 2010

According to this article, one d10 roll on four separate tables.

Ba-dum, psh!

I've always had a love-hate relationship with random background generators, partially because they are inherently too limited, but also because I often ended up with a bat-shit crazy history. The latter rationale is closely linked to my dislike of random character generation elements, period (you know, ability scores, hit points, etc).

I know some players think that having random ability scores is more "realistic", but realism usually never works out when it comes to balanced game mechanics. Players should be in total control of character building, relying on random dice systems if they want to gamble on it.

On that tangent, I'm also of the opinion that randomized generation, when used, shouldnt result in a superior character than what you would get through picking what you wanted. Like, we did a game once where we randomly rolled our races and classes, which in 3E could easily result in a crap-tastic character. Perhaps we could try it again with 4E?

Going back to the reason of this post, this article does not give you anything that you couldnt get by simply picking shit yourself. In a word: yay! "But Antioch," you inquire, "why the fuck would we use it?" I suppose that if you cant think of anything on your own, want some ideas, or just enjoy the challenge of taking random historical events and trying to arrange them so that they form a complete (if anarchic) picture. So, something for everyone someone...I guess.

In all seriousness I figured that, what the hell, I'll give it a shot. Actually, I'm going for a two-fer and rolling up two sets of random backgrounds using my trusty GameScience d10 (which has an equal chance of rolling all sides!). Why two? For the first set I'm going to pick a race and class ahead of time and try to shoehorn the plot to fit, while the second one I'll roll first and ask questions later.

Character one will be a tiefling wizard, since I like tieflings and wizards (and I dont give a fuck what anyone on any forum says).

*roll x4*

Okay, I got 10, 8, 6, and 7.

Well...hrmm. Looks like she was raised by angels...imprisoned for a reason to be determined later...uh, given a divine decree by a god/godly envoy...and eventually chose to live a peaceful life as a commoner (before shit hit the fan and made her an adventurer anyway). Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that each of these random rolls actually made more or less cohesive sense which is ironic given that it has a lot of angels and a part-devil. Hmm. Technically angels dont have to be good guys, so I'm going to say that they were angels allied to Asmodeus.

That picture is weird.

I could crib from Dresden Files and say that this character was born under specific conditions for a purpose, or perhaps given away as part of some kind of insidious bargain with a devil. Nebulous, perhaps, but I like to iron out the cold hard facts with the DM on hand. Since I elected the wizard class, obviously she was taught arcane magic during this period of time, but for an unknown purpose.

For the early life phase, the most immediate logical thing that comes to mind is a shitload of adventurers show up and start ruining the angels' shit, and when the astral smoke clears they're left with an infernal child. Not wanting to kill her outright, she gets taken away and locked up for awhile as authorities try and figure out what to do with her (like kill her later).

Next up is that fucking divine decree. Oi, in hindsight maybe this isnt as logical as I originally had thought...

I figure that perhaps while in the slammer she gets released under the watchful eyes of a paladin or other good-aligned divine character. Not wanting to steal too much shit from Dresden Files, the ruling authorities decide to put her under house arrest for a lengthy period of time in order to determine if she's fit to be a contributing member of society.

Eh. Not bad for working with what you got given the time constraints (ie, wrapping this up in two hours so I can do homework).

Next up is the mystery character. My second set of rolls are 4, 7, 6, and 2. This character was born a noble, took up with a band of dwarven misanthropes, also got a divine decree (sigh), and recently got lost in the feywild for a "spell".

Since this character starts out as a higher-class citizen but ultimately hangs out with the wrong crowd, I'm strongly considering going with rogue. He's dislikes the boring life of a noble and wants some excitement. Since the "wrong crowd" is a bunch of dwarves, why not make him a dwarf as well? Dwarves like money, but they are usually well "grounded" in tradition, so it makes for a fairly unique character.

The divine decree really bites me in the ass. I think that perhaps while touring around underground he accidentally found a holy relic, or maybe even awoke an ancient evil. He might also ended up doing something really bad, like accidentally kill one of his own family members during a botched heist and seeks to atone for it. I'll go with that, since going after his former gang of misanthropes makes a pretty easy Heroic tier goal to tackle.

Given this twist, I'd go with avenger with some rogue MC to top if off. Very much against character tropes, which is something that I enjoy a lot.

Shit, he's also lost in the Feywild. Umm, I'm going to say that while he was pursuing his targets that he ended up getting shunting into the Feydark, which is fine since its technically a part of the Feywild. He barely managed to escape alive after making a deal with an ancient spider god, and will have to make good on that later (another adventure hook, yay!).

Huh.

I'm actually somewhat impressed with this generator. I ended up making a character that I normally would have never played, ever, and am passably interested in it. I even managed to get two viable hooks to throw at a DM. I'd give it a shot, especially if you are feeling lucky and/or...adventurous.

{ 1 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Perhaps the divine decree should BE the spidergods bargain?

    He was shunted to the feydark as bard of a botched heist/plunder expedition.

    Just a thought, divine mandate doesn't mean GOOD divine mandate.

    ReplyDelete

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