One of the most interesting and flavor-choked character generation elements in first-edition Stormbringer is its character Nationality chart. A single random roll not only tells the player what part of the Young Kingdoms she hails from but has a profound effect on what the character will be. Her range of class backgrounds, magic accessibility, cosmic allegiances, body type even, all hinge on that single roll.
The resultant character positively drips with Moorcockian Swords & Sorcery ambiance--while providing for some really interesting asymmetrical surprises for the player--a hell of a nice hat trick in game design.
Though I have been busy dumping the Young Kingdoms formal dress in my (non-commercial) SB hack for the second Domain Game phase, I am not-surprisingly deeply reluctant to dump those kinds of elements in the mash-up system.
So what's the work around? How do you create something that can hit those notes without being bland as white toast, buying into a big-boy licensing feature, or straight-jacketing co-creation?
Solution A is create a generic, sociological system. Solution B is to tie it around a specific, hardwired setting of my own. Insert the sound of a loud, strident game show “wrong answer” buzz here.
Solution C is to try and play to that strength of that original chart and go even more random—and weird (and tongue-in-cheek). I, of course, voted for that.
Below is part one of my random S&S nationality generator. The first part is more generalized and can be used for nearly any fantasy rpg, the second part will have more mechanical applications to my hack--but should be relatively easy to adapt into other games if desired.
As always eager to hear any feedback.
Swords & Sorcery Nation Generator
Step 1. Roll on Nationality Name. Change or modify results to suit your own taste.
Step 2. Roll on National Features.
Step 3. Based on Step 1 and 2, compute background paths.
Step 1: Nationality Name
Name Structure Chart
|2-3||[Syllable] + [Syllable]|
|4-6||[Syllable] ' or - [Syllable]|
|7||[Syllable] + [Syllable] + [Syllable]|
|8||[Place Name] “of” [Descriptor]|
|9||Color of Your Choice + [Place Name]|
|10||[Descriptor] [Place Name]|
|Endless/With No End|
|[The First Word that Comes Into Your Head]|
Place Name Chart