So, I had earlier had my players roll up stats for the upcoming Pirates of the Underdark game. Some of them were incredibly pleased--the PlatinumChick, in fact, was exceptionally happy, as she ended up with 18, 18, 16, 16, 14, 12. The only problem is that we have players who ended up with stats just the opposite--Chris ended up with a 6!
I usually love having people roll their stats, as it ends up with a unique randomness that point-buy just can't match. However, there was just too much separation here. And, to be honest, I can't stand point-buy. It's bland. Every paladin, every monk, every barbarian always looks the same.
So, with the help of Green Ronin's "Advanced GameMasters' Guide", I developed a new system for stat generation. A cut-throat one. A pirate-y one!
Begin by granting each player 7 points. The points represent a +2 bonus to each stat, which all start at a base of 10.
In order, stats are auctioned off via a silent auction. These stats are, in order, an 18 in Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma....followed by a 16 in each stat. After those are ran through, three "floating 17s" are auctioned for--these 17s can be placed in whichever slot a player likes, instead of the 'assigned' spot as before.
If no player wins a given stat during the silent auction, due to a tie, the auction becomes "live," and the two players can place a mouth bid for that stat. If a player wins during this section, they win that stat. If no winner is found, all bids are returned and the stat moves to the end of the auction, at which time it will be placed up for bids once again.
After all stats have been purchased, any remaining points can be used to raise any stat of 10 on a basis of 1 point = +1 modifier, but only up to a total stat of 14 (+2).
Example of use:
A coming game has 5 players: Adam, Bob, Carrie, Dan, and Elmer. Each of the five players gains 7 points and awaits the coming auction.
The first stat up for bids is the 18 Strength. Adam wants to play a tank-fighter, so he writes on a slip of paper a bid of 3 points. No other player is that interested in Strength, and the next highest bid is 2 points. Adam places an 18 Strength on his character sheet and smiles to himself.
The next stat up is the 18 Dex. Bob is looking to run a Swashbuckler and writes a bid of 3 points. However, Dan is planning on playing an Archer and bids 3 points as well. The GM smiles and asks the two to stand. They do, and the GM asks if either will make a bid of 4. Not wanting to pay full price, and banking on the other settling for a lower stat, neither budges. As such, the 18 Dex goes to the back of the order to be bid on after all other stats.
Bids continue until all 18s, all 16s, and the three "floating 17s" are assigned. Carrie, planning on a Bard, is pleased to have gotten an 18 Charisma and a 16 Intelligence, but is worried about her Dex. She has two points left over, and spends them in Dex, raising it from 10 to 14. Her final array, then, would read: 10 Str, 14 Dex, 10 Con, 16 Int, 10 Wis, 18 Cha.
This form of auction was first presented in Green Ronin's "Advanced GameMaster's Guide," but makes no mention of silent auction as an option, nor does it include the "floating 17s". The 17s were included due to size of group, as well as for a more "controlled" element for players to incorporate. Green Ronin, further, mentions using 10 points, which was reduced for a slightly lower-power setting.