By which I mean; it's foreplay. If you get new players, get a new system, start a new campaign, one-off, whatever, your players are going to be turning dice into characters*. This is great for various reasons, but let me backtrack a little...
don't pre-load my players with a lot of setting information. It's
boring, unengaging and your friends probably forget it once they've
finished rolling their Strength score. By ditching that junk you keep
things simple: Everything gets moving, people start playing and the
experience is generally improved. The downside of this is obvious:
The players don't know who or what they are, why they care about
anything, or what is even around to care about. This is fine, really,
because that all becomes apparent eventually, but we can do better.
me, the trick is to weave the essence of your setting into your
character generation. I always include simple and, ideally,
entertaining steps in char-gen that A; imply things about the
game/setting and B; imply something about the character. These things
should either allow or demand creative interpretation from your
players, to start them engaging with your setting and their character
before you start throwing skeletons at them. The correct answer to
any question about what they've rolled is probably “I don't know,
make it up”. The players will come up with a reason to have a
squirrel for a hat if the dice give them a squirrel for a hat. Trust
the dice and your players will hit the ground running.
Anyway, I have for you today some selection of such
things that I've included in my chargen for New Feierland. Feel free
to borrow or steal, but you'll probably want to change it all to work
for your game.
Or His, or whatever.
you pregen, but that's a waste of time and
UPON ARRIVAL, YOU FEEL (D6):
1. A Sense Of Impending Doom (+1 to all saves)
2. An Overwhelming Need To Vomit (+2 to poison saves)
3. An Urgency To Purge These Abominations (+2 to initiative rolls)
4. Contemptible Ambition (+10% XP)
5. A Need For Cynicism And Discretion (Can always safely flee any reasonably fleeable situation)
6. Elf Pox. (Roll D6 at start of each session, flares up on a 1 or 2. Symptoms are yellowish rings over skin, a love for dance and a taste for mead. Must make a Save vs Whatever in the presence of NPCs or grasp their hands and dance for D6 minutes or until struck facewise. Disease is spread by touch (Save avoids). Gains 25XP/Level for each NPC afflicted (Deliberately Or Otherwise). Also gains 5XP/Level for each pint of Mead consumed in the session.)
YOU CONSIDERED YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY? (D10 Twice):
A heavy, sodden piece of wood
salty spear or axe
leatherbound sword with shadows of rust
D6 oily throwing knives
A fraying bow
D6 Feierlish javelins
battered wooden shield
tarnished coat of hardened leather (Light Armour)
An aging iron byrnie (Medium Armour)
WHAT IS THE
DEAL WITH YOUR HEAD? (D20):
2. A mouldering
3. A Skullcap
4. A tangled,
6. Sea Captain's
7. A serviceable
8. Irish braids
9. A dark,
10. A simple mask
11. Bearded Or
12. Dark red
14. Long, flowing hair
15. A pigeon or
small, furred beast
A thousand-yard stare
YOU LIKE A RANDOM THING? (D10 ) (Actually D200 at home)
A long-stemmed pipe and some spliced herb.
An Arabian-style lamp
small, oiled bag of rat pieces.
accurate local map of browning goat leather.
A precious iron pot
A pet pig named ________
An earthenware tea set
damp, well-used set of tarot cards
full set of Knucklebones in a marshwood box
A goat-horn box of beetles.