Monday, March 3, 2014

March Madness OGBC: Day 3

"Which game had the least or most enjoyable character generation?"
As a CharGen fanatic, it would be difficult for me to find a character generation rule I disliked, so I suppose I'll focus on the game with the  most enjoyable character generation I've experienced. And, because I've enjoyed it so recently, I'm going to go with Pendragon's Knight creation.
Pendragon was a BRP mod before it took on a life of its own, and that may contribute to my utter enjoyment of the CharGen. There is seemingly less glut with the character sheet, as most of the dice rolls are based off a d20, so you'll be working with a range of 1-20 for each Skill, Trait, Passion, and Attribute. But first, let's go over each, because just about everything in Pendragon's character generation informs some of your player Knight's backstory and family history.
Pendragon is the first game I've seen to utilize an alignment mechanic more in-depth than Lawful/Chaotic/etc. In Pendragon, your "alignment" is based off a series of dichotomous traits that range from Chaste/Lustful to Valorous/Cowardly. Each trait is given a set number x between 1 and 20, and the opposing trait receives a value equal to 20 - x so, for instance, Sir Pace has a Lustful of 13 and a Chaste of 7. Each trait informs you of how your character's actions would default in certain instances.
Arthurian Legend is all about passion, being swept up in one's love for their lady or liege, or their hate of a certain dismembered black-armored knight voiced by John Cleese. Passions indicate who or what your character feels strongly about, whether the Love of your family drives you or the defense of your Honor, and it can empower your abilities on occasion to superhuman levels.
Skills are pretty standard fare now in RPGs, and thus are grasped easily. A higher number is a skill is always better, and lets you know how effective you are (on a scale of 1-20, remember) at performing a certain activity, like Hunting or Flirting. What I really enjoy are the eclectic skills that seem to have little value at first. Falconry is a personal favorite: utilizing birds of prey in the hunt is a fantastic touch of the setting, as is the in-game recognition of the differences between Flirting and Romance, two completely different skill sets.
Lastly, attributes are brought in from BRP almost entirely, with the notable exception of the INT attribute, which has been excised in favor of a player using their own, out-of-character intelligence. Of note, however, is the APP attribute, which was originally in BRP as a throwaway attribute; it is now almost a necessary attribute because a negative APP costs you honor in Pendragon, which is basically the system's XP.
Now, along with the big 4 character creation sections, there is also the option to randomly determine your wealth level, family traits, vassal and family knights, and the ability to generate a home manor for your character, which evolves throughout gameplay.
So yeah, Pendragon is kind of awesome in the CharGen sense in that you're performing light CharGen almost every single session. So cool.

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