Friday, April 18, 2014

[ALL GAMES] Alternate Attribute Generation

I am currently working on the second draft of my Dead Reign article.  I am not quite happy with the fiction attached to the article but it is getting closer.  In the meantime, here is a post about a alternate die-rolling method for attribute generation in all of the Palladium Books® games using their house system.

Random attribute generation has been around since the earliest days of the role-playing hobby.  As new games have been released over the years new methods of attribute generation have been devised.  Some games have used a point-buy method, other games have used an assignment method, some other games have used a combination of points plus dice, and there are others I probably do not even know of.

I usually prefer randomly rolled attributes over a point-buy distribution for several reasons.  First, the vast majority of the role-playing games I got into growing up used attribute generation by rolling dice.  I am just accustomed to it because I have used it the most.  Second, most of the point-buy games I have tinkered with use the points for everything from attributes to powers to contacts to whatever other options might be available.  Sometimes it feels like too many options because I can not seem to focus on each area as I am working on them.  I have a bad habit of being concerned about spending points on one spot may keep me from doing what I want in another.  Third, I like the "you're stuck with what you got" aspect of randomly rolled attributes.

My favorite randomly rolled attribute generation method has always been the one used by Palladium Books® in their games. I remember the thrill of rolling 3D6 and hoping that I would get a result from 16 to 18 so I could roll another D6 to add to the score.  If I got really lucky then that single die would come up another "6" so I could roll yet again!  I always liked the chance to possibly roll an extraordinary score during the attribute generation portion of character creation.  The only thing I wanted to change about the process was devising a method to do it all in one roll per attribute.

I have tinkered with the attribute system off and on for several years.  I was brainstorming ideas for my blogs and then a new die-rolling method came to me.  It is so simple to use and implement that I would be shocked to find out that no one else has ever used it.  This method will produce the exact same results and I would imagine that most anyone that has been gaming for a while has the different dice to make it happen.  I have provided two options to pick from when implementing this change.

5 Dice, 3 Colors: To use this method you need 5 six-sided dice - three of a matching color, one of another color, and one more of a different color.  Obviously the three matching dice are still used for the initial roll; if you roll a 15 or less then you do not have to mess with the other dice at all. You should make sure to designate which color is the second roll and which is the third before rolling.  These two dice are used - or not used - exactly as the extra rolls in the official rules.

For example, you could use dice that are red, white, and blue to roll for attributes - the 3 red dice will count for the initial roll while the white die will represent the first bonus roll and the blue die will represent the second roll.  You roll the five dice and get 16 (red), 4 (white), and 2 (blue) as the result. The score for that attribute is 20 because 16 (red) and 4 (white) are the only two results used.             

5 Dice, 3 Sizes: This method works exactly like the one detailed above but the only differences are that the dice are of different sizes and the three dice used for the initial roll must be the same size.

Rifts®, The Rifter®, RECON®, Splicers®, Palladium Books®, The Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game®, Phase World®, Nightbane®, Megaverse®, The Mechanoids®, The Mechanoid Invasion®, Coalition Wars® and After the Bomb® are Registered Trademarks of Palladium Books Inc. RPG Tactics™, Beyond the Supernatural, Chaos Earth, Coalition States, Dead Reign, Heroes Unlimited, Ninjas & Superspies, Minion War, Mysteries of Magic, SAMAS, Thundercloud Galaxy, Three Galaxies, Vampire Kingdoms, and other published book titles, names, slogans and likenesses are trademarks of Palladium Books Inc., and Kevin Siembieda.

Robotech® and Robotech® The Shadow Chronicles® are Registered Trademarks of Harmony Gold USA, Inc.



  1. I actually really liked the alternative stat dice rolling method that was introduced in the updated Robotech books. When making N.P.C.'s, I tend to use that method because it easily lets me make a character already "focused" on a particular stat or concept.

    1. Would you mind gibing a quick explanation of the alternate stat rolling method for those that do not own the updated Robotech books?