I’ve been tinkering with a random Swords & Wizardry White Box NPC generator and I’ve reached a point where I’m ready to post a sample for feedback.
The generator currently only creates fighters, clerics, and magic-users, no demi-humans.
I’ve stuck to standard White Box rules, though I will probably develop a version that incorporates our own house rules once the standard is completed. Here is the methodology I’ve used:
- 3d6 in order for abilities
- Class determined by prime requisite
- Hit Points rerolled each level, keep if higher than previous level
Where I had to stray from by-the-book random generation was with weapons, armor, and magic items. I’ve tried to create a sensible system to arm and armor NPCs, with a chance for magical arms and armor based on level.
Additional magical items are even trickier. What I’ve tried to do is get a list of magic items for each class, rank them subjectively by “power” and make more powerful items only available to higher-level NPCs, and determine the number of magic items based on NPC level, taking previous determination of magic arms and armor into account. Suffice it to say that I feel my formulas need some tweaking yet. At the same time, I don’t think I’m too far off. And I’ve learned over the years that seemingly-inconsistent random results can force a DM come up with rationalizations that are far more interesting than mundane results would have created.
For instance, #37 on the list is a 10th level fighter with no magic items whatsoever. What’s his story? Were his items recently stolen by the local thieves’ guild? Was he a captain in the royal guard but cast out (perhaps over an affair with the duke’s daughter)? Maybe he’s a gladiator that won his freedom but hasn’t two coppers to rub together. Or maybe he didn’t win his freedom, he’s actually an escapee from the games with a massive reward offered for his return. (Good luck convincing him to go back to the pits below the arena…) Of course, the DM is always free to adjust anything as he or she sees fit, but working sense out of senseless randomness can be half the fun.
All that said, I do want NPCs generated by this to conform more or less to standard expectations. I want outliers to be the exception, not the rule. If I’ve overlooked anything, don’t be shy. Let me know.
UPDATE: I should add that actual errors (wrong armor class, impossible hit point total, wrong saving throws or base hit bonus, etc.) are of the utmost importance. For AC, for instance, the number should be correct taking dexterity, armor, shield, and magic items in consideration. (One possible problem would be if a character ends up with two cloaks or protection, for instance. Right now they would both count.)