View Full Version : Pregenerated characters: Like 'em or lump 'em?

23 March 2002, 06:59 AM
I'm doing a little bit of, eh, research here about player characters. How many people have used a pregenerated character when going into an adventure? For those who play D6, I mean something along the lines of pre-made characters with complete stats and all, not like the templates. For d20, I mean something like the template characters at the beginning of the Core Rulebook. Do pregenerated characters serve a purpose, or do you think they are just taking up space in a sourcebook that could be used for another purpose?

23 March 2002, 07:06 AM
All of my players always wanted to make their own. I don't think I've every had anyone play or want to play a pregenerated character. (Personally I think the space could be used in other ways, but that's just me, :))

Matt Richard
23 March 2002, 07:30 AM
I choose almost never because I remember at the beggining (when we didnt know what the heck we were doing or what we got ourselves into), we used pre-generated characters. Now, I dont even allow pre-generated characters in the games because we as group dont like them (too impersonal, you cant grow attached to someone if you didnt make it yourself)

23 March 2002, 07:55 AM
I have never and would never use a pregenerated character for anything other than a NPC. Ever since D&D Basic Edition, character generation has been one of the most interesting parts of gaming. I think its more satisfying when a character you've created progresses in the game and accomplishes something epic.

I've always encouraged my players to stretch themselves when creating a character. It helps to avoid the stereotypes that you tend to get with pregenerated characters. In the end, the players appreciate the extra effort they had to go through.

darth maim
23 March 2002, 07:56 AM
I voted never... My friend and I actually love rolling up characters.. we often come up with a concept and roll it up even if we know they'll never be played...

23 March 2002, 08:13 AM
I've used em once or twice, not for myself, but it's handy when introducing a guy to hand em a set of stats and say "well thats your char, have fun with it"

23 March 2002, 08:28 AM
If we have guests that I know are not ever going to be back or for those who are new to roleplaying I use them. For an experienced player or a player to comes more than twice - NEVER.

23 March 2002, 08:39 AM
I don't really play much, I usually GM, but I've used pregenerated characters in two different sets of circumstances:

1) When people come over, and we play a quick, off-the-cuff, improv game. There's no time to waste making characters, so we just grab ready-made ones and save ourselves an hour or more. Plus, I have a couple players who love to agonize for hours over the smallest decision. Fun for them -- boring for everyone else.

2) For my latest campaign, I created a set of entirely premade characters, because I wanted a particular dynamic in thr group. I did this because a couple of my players tend to play "themselves," or the same kinds of characters over and over, and I was getting pretty bored with them always having the same reactions to everything. So I made them characters who couldn't react that way. They got a challenge, and something new to do, and I got to delimit some parameters about how my story would be told. They didn't mind, so everybody wins :)

23 March 2002, 10:40 AM
I fall into the same category as dgswenson in that I mostly GM, and I use pre-generated characters for "introductory players" or for achieving a certain dynamic for the group.

Every 1-shot adventure that I run utilizes pre-made characters. My players have mixed feelings about it, but in the end, they all like what they played.

Let me make one little disclaimer here:
I don't use the premade characters that are in the books. I make my own, with a background that fits the story that I'm telling. I've NEVER used a premade character from the books, other than as a guideline for the characters I make (what to include, what to leave out). So, for the most part, I'd say the space is wasted in that I don't use those people. However, those people SHOULD be included in some way, otherwise people may wonder what the stats are for the heroes or villians in a story.

Nova Spice
23 March 2002, 10:53 AM
I give my PCs a choice and they usually choose No just because they want to see if they can roll and make a more powerful hero. As a GM, I find myself using pre-generated characters when I am in a hurry. Like today, I will be running an adventure in two hours or so and last night I created every NPC by hand from the Core Rulebook and Alien Anthology. I find it more rewarding when I roll their abilities and their vitality. If I spend time creating the NPCs there is a greater chance that I will want to keep them alive and will play them harder and better against or for the heroes. ;)

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
23 March 2002, 11:21 AM
I think the pregenerated chars in the books are great for guidlines and references... Even those sample ones at the back of the books which are specific types such as Gambler or Officer or what not ... When in doubt of making a new char for certain stats & feats, it's nice to have something to draw upon ...

And hey, I do think it's way cool being able to look up our most notable heros and see what their stats are...

I vote to leave them in!

Out of curiosity, how many of you GM's used one or two actual known heros as npc's in a game in some form?

23 March 2002, 11:26 AM
I am in the same boat, but i have used premade ones from ad&d gameing modules... Especially the one for spelljammer.

THe only other reason i have used a premade one, was for experienced gamers, that are in town for 1 or 2 games. THis way they can play, but don't have to worry about much of the hupla that goes into character generation.

23 March 2002, 12:43 PM
I have beefed up some pre-generated characters for combat against the party in other games, but not for PC's.

Now there has been sometimes when a new gamer was joining our party and didn't have a character on paper and used a pre-gen. I've only had to do that a couple of times but all of them actually stayed with it to the end and had fun.

Sometimes it is nice to have a finished PC when starting a new game or system. Sometimes.

Donovan Morningfire
23 March 2002, 03:56 PM
Out of the options given the thread's title, I'd have to add "flush 'em."

For a fast pick-up game that's also a one-shot, I could understand their usage, but otherwise it's so much more enjoyable to roll up your own character, to make them what you wan't them to be.

Besides, one of the best ways, for me at least, to learn some of the ins and outs of a system is to build a few characters.

Ghost In The Holocron
23 March 2002, 05:48 PM
Sometimes I mix and match them for quick NPCs. I've also found them to be helpful references (as other have noted). But I never use them for main characters -- much more fun to get down and dirty with pencil and paper (and a chargen program) for those.

darth maim
23 March 2002, 07:15 PM
I've noticed several people mentioning the stats given for established characters (ie- han solo, luke skywalker, etc)... I don't think Moridin was actually talking about these. I think he was more talking about the "template scoundrel" types in the front of the CR... Just wanted to clear this up for some of you.

Dark Knight
23 March 2002, 09:24 PM
I'm a firm beleiver that anything worth doing right you do yourself. Therefore i may occasionally throw out the typical pre-gen'd cannon fodder but anyone who even has a lick of dialogue or has a hint at being worth anythingis premade by me. Plus it keeps players on their toes knowing that i put just as much into my bad guys as they do their heroes so why would i want to throw all of that away by letting them waste said baddy:rolleyes: B) ;)

Uncle Fuzz
24 March 2002, 10:37 AM
I use them accasionally for a quick NPC Template, but never for PC's, I believe my players get a stronger conection to their characters if they create them.

Mathis Kharr
24 March 2002, 05:36 PM
I personaly prefer to make my own characters. its allways nice to have something you created exceed your expectations insted of using something someone else made.

Korath spelled backwards is Htarok which means absolutly nothing

24 March 2002, 10:02 PM
OK, if I said ONLY AS A PLAYER do you use templates/premade characters and completely excluded NPCs, would that change anyone's vote?

Tannik Tulo
25 March 2002, 08:44 AM
Never never never ever would i use one as a PC (myself or let my players use one) Their my stock pile of NPC and examples nothin more.

25 March 2002, 09:55 AM
when i was new to roleplaying games I was introduced to them with pregenerated characters. that being said , for the *new* player pregenerated characters can be a great aid. In the game i GM currently there is one player who began using a pregenerated character from the CR . she grew into the character and no one even thinks about the fact that it was pregen.

after just quickly IM'ing her she said it was nice to not have to worry about the rammifications of choosing this over that during character creation , and she could concentrate on the games rules.

its been a while since i was a new player and sometimes we can forget that the rules can be a bit daunting if you are new to the cause :)

so my vote is almost never. i feel they have a place in the book , a small one - but still a place. we have to give some love to the newbies. If we dont there wont be any new players supporting our favorite of hobbies.

25 March 2002, 10:59 AM
I like to use them. They may lack originality, but as a GM I can allow a little fine tunning. I am running a game at an upcomming convention, and I only have a 4 hour block to start and finish the game. I need to hand out pre-gen. characters, or else loose an hour or more just making the characters. Also with the pre-gens. I know that the necessarry skill are available for the PC's to complete the module.

25 March 2002, 11:42 AM
As GM I wouldn't allow people to use the ones at the beginning of the book. The players can look at them to get ideas on how to lay out some of their skills and stuff, but I made everyone roll up their stats and make the characters themselves.

As a player I would NEVER want to use a pre-made character. More than half the fun of gaming is creating a character and fleshing them out as games progress. I make up my own backgrounds, and try to fit my skills and stuff along those lines. Sometimes it leaves me lacking in some areas, but it adds to the overall flavor of the game.

I do agree though that pre-made characters might be able to be used to control players who ALWAYS make the same thing. I have a player in my group that is always the same type of character, and it gets kind of old. I don't think he would respond well to using a premade character though, and he would probably just play that character the same as all his others anyway, thus negating the whole plan. I don't think there's a whole lot you can do about gamers like that, and as far as I am concerned, if they want to play the same thing all the time, it's their loss because they miss out on experiencing something different for a change.

Sorry for the off topic rant, that just struck a nerve... :rolleyes:

Talonne Hauk
25 March 2002, 03:03 PM
I use pregenerated characters as NPC's, so I do find them useful in that regard. But when I bought the book, d20 was still brand spankin' new, so as an instant education immersion my group and I sat down and rolled up our characters. As a GM, I always try to give my players choices, so if they wanted to use a pregenerated character, I would let them. But there is a good feeling about rolling a character up, investing your points, ironing out the kinks, and making that character yours. And I'm glad to say that my players feel that way, too. It shows in the way they roleplay.

Ghost In The Holocron
25 March 2002, 04:29 PM
from Moridin:

if I said ONLY AS A PLAYER do you use templates/premade characters and completely excluded NPCs, would that change anyone's vote?

That would change my vote for sometimes to never!

Although I hardly ever get to actually play as a PC, from a player's point-of-view I'd probably never use a pre-generated character -- neither would everyone else I know who plays as a PC. The reason, I think, is because many of us dislike using someone else's idea of a character for our own -- it's exceedingly much better if you made up your own character and stats, even if they end up to be much the same as a pre-generated PC.

That said, there's still some value for pre-gen'd PCs as player reference (like what to do with your feats and skills), but that's a very very small point for them. I'd prefer just general guidelines and advice rather than actual characters, if that's the case -- I'd vote out with pre-gen'd PCs!

Korwin Blade
27 March 2002, 06:38 AM
I am usually the dm/gm. But i have never used them. I have used them for new players to see how it is done, or get a feel for what kind of character they want to play, but then I have them make their own. I never use them in a game though. And i can't remember ever running a one-shot type game where the player's didn't have a character made up already. I do think that they kind of waste space that could be used for other things. And i wiosh that the SW Core Rule Book had been split like D&D is in to a POlayers Guide and a GM's Guide. That way we could get more out of each Book. But that just my 1/2 cents of non-sense. :D

27 March 2002, 12:54 PM
Ok, I'm an Almost Never.

That is, when we're starting up a game, everybody rolls up their own characters. It's part of the game that we all enjoy, and my players (and me, too) enjoy creating something original.

However, sometimes one of the players has a friend staying with them for a few days that overlap with our game. So if that friend is interested in playing, we'll hand them a pre-generated character so they can play along.

The only other time we use a premade character is if a player's main PC picks up a henchman-type, or something similar. That way, the main PC is original, but we don't have to reinvent the wheel just to have a yes-man tag along. :)

27 March 2002, 05:44 PM
I must say pre-gens are handy for new players coming into an established group. Great if you just want to jump in and give the game a try. I myself prefer to make my own. Tailor the character to my style. All in all just give me an idea and assign me appropiate stats. I'm not to worried.

Go your way in peace