This week Will started his campaign at the school club. Or at least he got us rolling up characters.
We're playing Imagine and he has outlined that we have travelled by boat down-river to a port city on the edge of the kingdom of Albion.
There are three players and it's up to us how our characters came to be there.
First step... create characters.
"I fancy a Mage"
So, here's the thing. I fancied playing a Gray Elf Mage. I rolled crappy. I am now playing a Civilised Human Priest. How did that happen?
Don't get me wrong: this is not a complaint. It's just an observation: I'm not playing my character.
I'm playing a character that fits the group's game. It came about largely by chance and mixed only a little bit of choice.
Oh, and it was my third choice.
I never used to really think much about the age-old tradition of "rolling up" a hero. You know, roll the dice for each attribute and see what you get. Maybe that's because, when playing D&D (for example) the GM would let us roll the six stats and then assign the numbers to whichever ability we wanted.
Imagine defaults to a rolled attribute system. You roll multiples of d4 to discover each of the stats, removing lowest dice from several of individual rolls. It's very simple but totally emphasises luck. While there is a Points Buy system in the GM's Guide, our newbie GM wasn't using it.
For me, the process was fun but it also destroyed my plan to play a Mage. The problem was further compounded when, shortly after quietly discussing (with the GM) the possibility of playing an Assassin, another player bellowed, "Hey, I'm gonna play an assassin!"
In the end, given my collection of scores, I decided to play the Priest. The party has a Mage and an Assassin. Neither of them is played by me.
Is Random Wrong?
Random isn't wrong. It's just wrong for me.
When we began to write UbiquitousRPG
I chose to emphasise my own feeling that characters should be designed, not randomly rolled. We use a simple "spread the points around" system which lets players customise the attributes to fit their character idea.
The downside of design, as opposed to random rolls, is that players can min-max the numbers. That's already happening in our Tikhon campaign, especially as (due to frequent rules changes) I have permitted massaging the numbers after the first few sessions.
Yet... at least the guys are playing the characters they chose to play.
What do you think?
Labels: characters, fantasy, Imagine