Saturday, 14 June 2008

3d6 - What True Heroes Are Made Of

Sham recently made a post on the idea of rolling 3d6 in order for stats in D&D. Apparently later in life he has come to see the attraction in it after having generally used the nefarious 4d6-and-drop method in the past. My thoughts on the matter have already been written about; suffice to say that I've pretty much always used the 3d6-in-order method, and agree wholeheartedly with Sham when he says:

I understand that in modern D&D, it is assumed that the player characters are indeed supposed to be superhuman. I don’t like it, I don’t buy it. I think pretty much everyone involved in my games appreciates the fallible hero theory, that true heroes are those that we as readers or players can relate to, who overcome the odds and along the way become heroes in their own right, regardless of shortcomings. Those very shortcomings that make them ultimately identifiable.

I shouldn't be too self-congratulatory though: I had no such high-minded reasons for sticking with the 3d6-in-order path right the way through my gaming career. Actually the main reason why I've always used that method is because my first DM (my friend's big brother) insisted on it - it generated pathetic characters who were easier for him to squash. Nevertheless, I'm glad I've sticked by "The Method", as I like to call it, because without it I never would have had the chance to play some truly memorable characters - like Hog the Dwarf with his Wisdom of 4 but Strength of 18/00, or Durkin the Mage with a Dexterity of 3: these were the stats dreams were made of. Without The Method I probably would also have never felt the genuine shock and awe that I did on the first (and only) occasion I ever fairly rolled up a set of stats to make a Ranger; Christ, that was a sweet moment. (Goose, the character in question, died in his first session - I'm not sure what that goes to show, but it definitely goes to show something.)

Thinking back on those characters calls to mind an odd period in my old gaming crew when we developed a penchant for naming characters after un-adventurer-like animals. Hog the Dwarf and Goose the Ranger were two; I wish I could remember some of the others. I think the process started because one of use made a character with a cheesy name like Wolf or Raven and the rest of us thought it would be fun to take the piss out of him. Which we did, mercilessly.

Anyway, in tribute, meet:

Walrus, the Dwarf Fighter!

STR: 18/67
INT: 8
WIS: 9
DEX: 13
CON: 11
CHR: 10

Not bad, eh? My dice mojo is strong today. Must be all that buttering-up of The Method earlier on. If only I had a game in which to trot out Walrus and see how much of a survivor he is. Sniffle.


  1. Sloth, Human Magic-User

    STR: 9
    INT: 14
    WIS: 12
    DEX: 6
    CON: 14
    CHR: 8

    Short-sighted, short-tempered, surprisingly sturdy.

  2. Here's one:

    Praxley, Hobbit Fighting-Man

    STR: 13
    INT: 9
    WIS: 10
    DEX: 12
    CON: 5
    CHR: 12

    Amicable fellow. Quick with a Sling and skilled with a Sword. Falls over whenever the wind blows his way.

  3. Mick the Mongrel, Human Thief

    STR: 6
    INT: 9
    WIS: 5
    DEX: 9
    CON: 13
    CHR: 9

    Weak-willed, weak of body, weak of mind - but a survivor.

  4. Swan the Paymaster, human magic-user

    STR: 10
    INT: 11
    WIS: 10
    DEX: 11
    CON: 7
    CHR: 16

    A little too fond of comfortable living, but he can be counted on to hire the tough muscle you need to get the job done. Oh yeah, and he can also sling the odd spell, when necessary. ;)

    - Brian

  5. Tyto Barnaul, human magic-user
    STR 9
    INT 11
    WIS 9
    DEX 13
    CON 10
    CHR 13

    Somewhat naive and weak from years of cloistered amanuensis, his likeable, humble nature has come in handy as often as his quickness.

  6. Stoat the Thief

    STR: 6
    INT: 8
    WIS: 6
    DEX: 16
    CON: 15
    CHR: 12

    Stoat is small, skinny and stupid. Quick, though, and that's what matters.

  7. Launam, Magic-User

    STR: 6
    INT: 12
    WIS: 15
    DEX: 9
    CON: 9
    CHA: 6

    Follower of the Cult of Three, he fights with darts (3/1, d3 damage each) and his three retainers Alpha, Beta, and Also Beta.