The real challenge has always been convincing the players that these characters are worthwhile. Rolling a bunch of low scores can make a player feel defeated before they even begin to play. No one likes starting out with negative modifiers, especially when compared to some "better" character at the table. I hate starting a session when someone is disappointed with their character. It kills the mood for everyone. I don't like point-buy systems, or re-rolls, so I used to try bribery. I'd give out magic items to these characters, family heirlooms that only worked for members of their bloodline. It helped to remove some of the sting, but wasn't an ideal solution.
Recently, Roger the GS showed me a better way.
Non-humans as consolation! I should have been doing this ages ago. No better time to start than the present. I've been dragging my feet about which species are playable for my Ezzin setting, but I can at least lay out some groundwork and plug in the Ezzin races later.
Ability Scores ___ Modifier
- 3 __________ -3
- 4-5 ________ -2
- 6-8 ________ -1
- 9-12 _______ 0
- 13-15 ______ +1
- 16-17 ______ +2
- 18 _________ +3
The basic idea here is that all characters default to human. Other species become available if you roll some low ability scores and end up with a negative modifier.
Species _________ Requirements
Halfling _________ Str of 8 or less
Half-Orc ________ Int of 8 or less
Gnome _________ Wis of 8 or less
Dwarf __________ Dex of 8 or less
Elf _____________ Con of 8 or less
Tiefling _________ Cha of 8 or less
Goblin/Kobald ____ 2 Scores below 6
These aren't all going to be available options in my Ezzin setting. Some of them will end up getting replaced by more exotic choices like cyclops and lizardmen, I'm still pondering the setting. Still, I think that this chart is a good place to start.