Tales From the Other Side of the Screen #2: Losing the ‘Loser Characters’
It sucks being the odd man out. And certainly not fitting in is a position a lot of gamers can identify with. So I have to feel some empathy for the guy in our weekly Thursday gaming group who had all those mediocre dice rolls that Darkwarren talked about in his last column. After all, no one wants to end up playing the party’s loser character! It certainly didn’t help that most of the group (minus yours truly) was rolling out in the open in front of everyone, like some sort of who-has-the biggest contest, with him swimming in cold water.
That being said, Darkwarren’s offer to let people roll then take the Elite Array if the Dice Gods were unkind was pretty generous. In fact, I’d say it was TOO generous because it essentially wipes the dice away, potentially making them meaningless. (Full disclosure- I don’t remember that aspect to the process although I rolled for my guy on a different night.) If you want to go for the reward of higher than the 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 of pre-selected stats, than you need to assume the risk that the numbers may not tilt in your favor this time around. No guts, no glory right? To get the former should mandate the latter.
I know it sounds wacky but I’d actually have liked to see an Old School 1st Edition approach: roll in order, no moving the numbers around. Now granted the way we did character creation for the Runelords campaign I ended up with a super sweet setup but it was admittedly just a Min/Max build all the way with the backstory & roleplay coming out of those numbers later. The put-in-order process would have resulted in more interesting results because they’d have been 100% purely organic. Just like ‘nature’ intended. However as intriguing as that might have been it could easily have resulted the party’s 2nd loser character, so you have to bear that possible craptastic outcome in mind if you decide to go with Gygaxian tradition.
In the end the expression, ‘You can please all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot please all the people all the time,” most certainly applies to our hobby. Sometimes a player is just not going to be happy with the character they rolled up.
What do YOU think? Does it sound fun to roll everyone’s dice together? How does your group handle so-called Loser Characters or their grumpy players?