Getting ready for this afternoon's Weird Adventures game using the WaRP system (the OGL rules set derived from Over the Edge, just in case you haven't heard) got me to thinking about how WaRP and D&D could be hybridized, at least partially. Why would anyone want to? Well, because they're there. More seriously, because I wonder if D&D with a more freeform style character creation system would still work pretty much like D&D?
And I saw somebody do it with Tunnels & Trolls, which gave me the initial idea.
Anyway, characters in WaRP are defined by three traits and a flaw.One of these traits is a central trait (i.e.more central to the character concept), and the other two are side traits. These are freeform and player-defined with GM input. These traits are all related to dice pools, where their rating is the number of dice used.
You could adapt this to D&D by having the central trait be character class (or race/class, if you like). You could do these strictly D&D , so player's just choose from a list, or freeform (within reason) defining new classes would be relatively easy, so long as their abilities could be analogized to old classes. Now, instead of dice pools, for D&D you would just use bonuses. Maybe the central trait isn't associated with a bonus, or maybe it gives a +1 to abilities related to your class (to hit for fighter, spell slot for magic-users, rolling for some thief-y thing for thieves--whatever).
The side traits could handle special character defining abilities, but could also take the place of ability scores. Ability scoreless D&D has been discussed before since they don't do much in OD&D besides (at best) provide a bonus for a limited number of specific situations. You could define these two side traits as one for "physical" and one for "psychic/social." So a player could be "strong" or "quick" for the former and "learned" or "natural leader" for the latter with an associated bonus (+1, +2, or whatever depending on the edition of D&D your working with). Of course, they could stay completely open too. Any ability coming into play where one didn't have a bonus from a trait would just be the equivalent of an average, bonusless "10."
Flaws would work like the side trait except in reverse: "clumsy"or "frail," for instance. Or, it could be a freeform trait.
Random generation of characters is part of what a lot of people enjoy about D&D, but you could do that here, too. Just make a chart of side traits with appropriate bonuses, and flaws with appropriate penalties, and have the players' role.
3 hours ago