REDUX: A Wee Challenge and a Wonderful Character Generator

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I've found myself at the head of another Dungeons and Dragons group recently, and we just lost our first character after our third session. It got me thinking about rolling characters and how I might be able to shake things up a bit this time around. I was reminded of this character generator and the interesting quirks it throws out. I'm throwing this out there again for anyone thinking about a new character but isn't sure where to go with it. Check it out.

As my family and I have been experimenting with 5th edition, I've taken to the net to find a few tools to handle one or two elements to the game. I'm not looking for an out or saying that the game is too complex, rather I'm looking for ways to further streamline the experience for my daughters. One of the ways I streamlined the game for our old Pathfinder was to make up a pool of characters for players to choose from when their previous ones expired. It greatly sped up the pace of the game and kept players from having to be silent observers to the surviving party. I aim to keep my 6 and 9 year old daughters interested in the game so I focused my search on a character generator.
I know many of you will scoff at my decision. There is a subtle joy to crafting a character that can't be ignored. The way your abilities play off each other, the slow pour of XP that fills the mold you created for your character from the beginning; it's great, especially when pulled off just right. 5th edition's rules-light system already takes a lot of that careful planning away making it much easier to roll up multiple characters in a short period of time. With the process made so much simpler, why  would an experienced DM choose to let a random generator make his character pool for him?

What I wanted was something to give the characters a bit more spontaneity to their attitudes and personalities. A good friend of mine pointed me to, a very very simple site that creates some very interesting backgrounds for characters. One of the first results I received from the site was a "Blunt Gnome sorcerer from a tropical paradise who insists they are the reincarnation of a legendary warrior." It's a cute and often hilarious novelty site at first glance, but I've decided to take it a step further and roll up some of the characters it spat out.

What this site provides isn't a complete character but more of a foundation or a shell to fill out. The basic race and class are taken care of and some of the background pieces it adds in are actually quite compelling. Amongst the funnier bits are quite a few serious or potentially serious character traits and backgrounds. A good role-player could really get into a character that, for example is afraid the rest for the party will try to kill him if he tries to leave.

Here is my challenge to you. Roll up at least one character from the site. The rules are simple; You go to the site to get a character. If you don't like the first one, you can "re-roll" up to two more times but have to keep whatever the third one is (provided that you don't settle on one of the previous two). Once each player in the group has done this, finish out the character sheets, but do not discuss or show your character to any other party members. It's best if you all discover those new quirks naturally.