19 November 2016

Death By Character Generation

OG Little Black Book Traveller had an odd rule during character creation.

You gambled for your stats, like every other game, then proceeded to the Prior Service Table

Where you gambled to enter your chosen service by rolling a target number or higher on 2d6.  If you failed, you rolled 1d6 to randomly select a service.

THEN you rolled to survive your term of enlistment!

If you lived, you check to see if you've earned a commission.  If you have, you then check to see if you've been promoted.

Then regardless of rank and promotion you roll 2d6 to reenlist.  Reenlistment is optional, but if you roll a 12, you're involuntarily reenlisted.

Then you're back to the survival roll... rinse... repeat.

Since the only way to acquire skills is to successfully serve enlistments, you're encouraged to keep going as long as you can.  Successful terms also give rolls on the mustering out benefits table, another inducement to keep rolling.

Most services have a 5+ on 2d6 to survive.  Marines have a 6+ and Scouts have a 7+.  All of them have a high-stat bonus of +2 with the stat varying depending on service.  So if your Intel score is 7+ you get a +2 to survive in the Navy, meaning you need to roll 3 or higher to survive.  Scouts want an Endur of 9+ to get a 5+ roll to live through it.

I mention scouts because they get two skills per term instead of one.  This made them popular.  Scouts also had a chance to get a Type-S scout ship as a mustering benefit.  More terms is more chances to win!

I've lost several promising characters during this process, before I ever got to roll for that elusive scout ship!  Plus, more than once I rolled the 12 on reenlistment to then roll a 2 for survival.  Did I mention my dice are very, very average?

GURPS, on the other hand, is a points based character generation system.  You pick and choose your stats and skills.  Everyone starts with the same number of points, so you can take disadvantages to gain more points to spend.  Having one arm, for example, is worth [-20].

It just gets me to wondering:  What's the point value of Died During Character Generation?

And GURPS has enough values that you can stat-out a corpse.  Sessile, mute... I leave it as a challenge to the reader to make the corpse template.

1 comment:

  1. I'm reminded of a story I've heard about The All Guardsman Party, which was run in Dark Heresy. First, however, it was run as Only War (their military RPG), essentially playing the role of the individual units in an RTS. Rolling up character after character after character, fighting and potentially dying in the assorted battles.

    When it was all done with, the GM took those character sheets and converted them into Dark Heresy, the surviving units of the battle having been drafted into the service of an Inquisitor, giving the party a bunch of spares should one or all fall in service of the Emperor. Skills not related to the Imperial Guard were handled by NPCs attached to the party, who had... significant amounts of personality, shall we say. It's quite the hilarious story, what of it I've read thus far.


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