Wednesday, January 1, 2014

OCEANs and Streams

It occurred to me belatedly that yesterday's post amounted to an elaborate way of randomly selecting one of 40 character traits. Then I realized, this is a roundabout way of doing what every other random trait table does. What would make this more systematic or scientific (not saying that anything needs to be either of those in an RPG) would be to have a way of clustering traits together. So I came up with a quick alteration of this method:

  1. Roll on the 1d20 - 2d6 table first, and roll three times.
  2. Determine which of the three numbers is the most "extreme", i.e., the furthest from seven. Two and twelve would be equally extreme, as would eleven and three, et cetera. If all three numbers are equally distant from the middle, or if the two most extreme values are, choose one at random and bump it up (if over seven) or down (if below) by one. If all three are either twelve or two, select one at random and move the other two closer to seven by one point.
  3. Randomly determine which three of the OCEAN criteria these represent. The most extreme one will be the Controlling Aspect.
  4. Determine which two traits the NPC has by combining the Controlling Aspect with the other two.

For instance, suppose you roll 7, 12, and 15. Checking the d20 - d26 chart, this represents rolls of  5, 9, and 10. 10 will be the value of the Controlling Aspect. Now determine which three aspects they are: suppose they come out Openness, Extroversion, and Neuroticism. Combining with the other two, in order, that means High Openness, Low Extroversion = Un-Filtered, and High Openness, High Neuroticism = Sensitive. So we have a romantic type who wears his heart out on his sleeve.

Combinations that wouldn't happen, however, would be something like Volatile and Amiable, because one requires Neuroticism to be High, and the other requires it to be Low.

You could, if you chose, average out the values that went into composing a trait, so in the example above, the average of ten and nine would be (rounding up) ten, so our Poetic Soul would have Sensitive(10), and averaging ten and five, we'd have Un-Filtered(8). Or just use them as simple descriptors, and go by that. In any case, knowing two character traits makes for a better grip on the character than knowing only one.

cheers, Adam

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