Grand Poobah of the D.O.N.G.
- May 31, 2018
- Reaction score
As with all things it depends on the intent of the GM and what the players expectations are set to.I guess my problem with this sentiment is, "what's wrong with randomness"?
Stormbringer chargen never seemed excessively random to me. Then again, I've only generated a couple of characters for some online games that didn't last long.
I submit that going into any RPG for me as a GM (less so as a player) is more about my attempts to give maximal freedom for players to do the things they want to do within the context of what I'm willing to run.
So there is always some give and take. But when I set parameters of This is the Setting, this is the System, this is the Starting area and situation, *everything* is up for negotiation. I have nothing against randomness, I'll use random table generators pretty frequently on things that don't matter on the surface. But for character generation, as a GM, it's a bit different.
As a player you have to be open enough and honest enough (or unable to articulate what you want) to settle for random characters generation. And it goes without saying - you either have to trust your GM, or understand your GM enough about the games they typically run to brave the rolls of chance that can, and will, produce very oddball characters from time to time.
I have no problem with a player telling me they want to randomize it. What I have a problem with is them not wanting to play the results and wasting our collective time trying to get their shit together, and eventually just doing it the way everyone else is doing it.
Which says something about me as a GM too. My players know fully well my NPC's aren't necessarily optimized for numbers, they're optimized for their places in the setting. The world they're going to playing in isn't created by random chance per se, but by the typical things that drive societies and cultures (or lack thereof) to do what they do. It's not quite complete social Darwinism, but those elements are in effect in various ways allowing for gross exceptions for political and cultural realities. So the problem with random generation for *my* games is less the fact that you're using random generation, than the fact that most random generation processes in games will not comport well for the kind of play my players expect.
THAT SAID - I can, and have had, many players that will do random chargen for the sheer challenge of it from which they derive a lot of fun. And I will back their play every time as long as they're committed to the results once we contextualize it to the game to our mutual agreement.
TL/DR - There is nothing wrong with Random Chargen as long as players are committed to the results.
Corollary: If you're willing to commit to random chargen as being a thing - then it can never be said that minimal/maximal results possible for random character generation is unbalanced. Especially free of context.
Again the problem with this notion of implicit systemic balance is it excludes the discretion of the GM from larger scope of the game. I.e. RAW alone does not describe how every game is conducted by intent or by fiat without the GM granting (de)emphasis on what aspects of the setting matter or don't. If someone is making the claim that system alone decides that - then why do you need a GM at all?