Friday, February 7, 2014

Find the Path: The Sorting Hat


Here's an idea I had today for a variant for Pathfinder's character creation.  Maybe its a sort of handle on my whole style of Game Mastering, but I think it might make things interesting any way.  This variant plays on a important concept Ben Robbins and others have mentioned, using players as randomizing elements.

I call this method the Sorting Hat method for determining Ability Scores in Pathfinder.  Yes, I'm borrowing from Harry Potter a bit to do that.  Big leap and all.

The very first thing you do when you do this method is have what Character Concept you have in mind for your character ready to go.  No background or anything just yet.  Just know you want to play something, even if its unremarkable as 'Half-Orc Druid.'

You also need to be creating characters together as a group.  If you aren't doing this already, well, to use this variant you're gonna want to.  Besides, its just good policy to make characters together, so you know what each other are playing.

Step One: Take a note (Index Cards work best!) and look at the player to your left.  Ask them what their character concept is.  Now write down a ability score on the index card.  Don't show it to them!

Pass it to them face down.

You are going to be selecting their character's Weakness ability score.  This means you should pick something that won't make their character impractical to play (Paladins shouldn't have charisma as a Weakness, Clerics shouldn't have Wisdom and so forth).  Some character concepts are flexible enough it could be any score, however.

Step Two: Each player looks at the ability score chosen for them, all at the same time.  This is the ability score that must start at 8, and can't have any points added to it.  Its your character's weakest ability, the thing they suck the most at.

Before you blanch, take a moment to think it over before you complain or want to change concepts.  Yes, you can change your character concept to better match the weakness, if you think it'll fit better.

Quick Aside: You could also change things up.  Get a hat.  Before revealing each person's weakness, they put the hat on.  The person who choose the weakness plays the sorting hat, more or less discussing with the player (in character of course, even if it isn't a real character yet!) about their destiny, and what they should be compared to others who've walked it before.  Have fun with it.

Make Character Creation fun for all the players.  :D

Step Three: Each player explains why that ability score is their weakness.  What part of their character makeup or background caused it?

Step Four: Each player then spends the rest of their ability scores, using a 28 point buy.

That's the idea behind the methodology.  Its not a complete character creation setup.  I do think it'll go well with some other ideas I had for modding Pathfinder, although not all of them can be as awesome as this FAE conversion or Green Ronin's fate Freeport conversion.

Still, I have more of these, Black Tome Hacks, that I collect and create for a rainy day.  Whatcha think?  Usable?