Friday, May 24, 2019

Encounters: overload your encounter dice

If the standard encounter occurs on a roll of 1 on a d6 by rolling every two turns, you might as well roll a d12 every turn (the encounter still happens on a roll of 1). I don't recall where I've read this first, but of course it's not my idea.
Rolling a d12 allows you to roll every turn, thus it becomes common practice to always roll, every turn, and we never forget (or question if we rolled in the last turn, or the one before).
Having a d12 and rolling every turn seems like a good option to me, also because it increases the range of available results if we want to use the encounter die also as something more.

This started - as far as I know - in the post below.
Originally it included only the concept of encounter and timer.

Overloading the encounter die
by Brendan
The nature of the random encounter check is that of a timer. While it is not a literal countdown (since random results are mathematically independent), it simulates one. It is the danger clock, always ticking [...]
Why not put all these things together systematically? Consider the following rule:
When the party moves into a new area or spends time on an exploration activity, roll the encounter die and interpret the results as follows.
1. Encounter
2. Percept (clue, spoor)
3. Locality (context-dependent timer)
4. Exhaustion (rest or take penalties)
5. Lantern
6. Torch

It seems (and it is! that's the beauty of it!) a simple rule, but it ties together several different themes: Encounters (the encounter itself on a one, the clues leading to it, the dangers or difficulties or peculiarities of the location), Exhaustion (need to rest or consume food), Light (duration).
Rolling for encounters is fun (or at least, thrilling   )

To me, the rule above is already a perfect balance of simplicity and inspiration, but you can take it and tune it and improve it as you wish.
Brendan of course tuned and refined this system, which became the Hazard System - really a thing of beauty. It's an ongoing project, so make sure to check sometimes for a new version.

In the one below (0.3 at the time of this writing) the system included:
- A unified system. with higher roll=better result
- 3 tables, for Haven, Wilderness and Dungeon
- A 4th table for Combat, if you wish to use it

Hazard System v0.3
by Brendan
The Hazard System is a gameplay engine for traditional roleplaying games designed to facilitate fictional consequences of player decision-making while minimizing bookkeeping. [...]
There is also a PDF version (see Downloads).
Hazard die results now follow higher = better principle
Generalized hazard die:
1 setback, 2 fatigue, 3 expiration, 4 locality, 5 percept, 6 advantage
Wilderness Turn Interpretation
1 Setback Encounter (use regional table) or road/bridge out
2 Fatigue Rest and consume rations (1/person) or suffer minor harm (1 HP)
3 Expiration Expire transient wilderness condition
4 Locality Shift weather (or other local change)
5 Percept Spoor or clue regarding next encounter
6 Advantage Free wilderness turn

Dungeon Turn Interpretation

1 Setback Encounter (use zone table)
2 Fatigue Rest and consume rations (1/party) or suffer minor harm (1 HP)
3 Expiration Expire transient dungeon conditions (light, spell, etc)
4 Locality Shift dungeon state (or other local change)
5 Percept Spoor or clue regarding next encounter
6 Advantage Free dungeon turn
Wilderness turns represent travel and making camp, approximately one day and night. Making a wilderness move requires consuming a ration or taking the exhausted condition in addition to rolling the hazard die. If already exhausted, at the start of a wilderness turn suffer minor harm (1 HP). Determine randomly whether setbacks occur during day or night.
Free wilderness moves: access known landmark in current area, survey adjacent areas
Full wilderness moves: travel to adjacent area, search, explore, hunt, track
Wilderness conditions: exhausted, lost
Lost: Travel is no longer an option. Use search to locate a landmark, removing the lost condition on success.
Dungeon turns represent exploration at architectural scale, approximately tens of minutes or a few hours, assuming careful advance into hostile places.
Free dungeon moves: look under a rug, open unstuck door, pull lever
Full dungeon moves: climb, force a door, move to adjacent area, pick a lock, search
Dungeon conditions: candlelight, torchlight, overburdened

Note that Fatigue now includes also rations, and light/duration becomes Expiration: Expire transient dungeon conditions (light, spell, etc). See how it includes now spells?
A single die and you no longer need to track time between rest, rations, lights, spells' duration, other effects... basically, time becomes a fluid entity, with a simple rule.
This is what makes it great.
A simple rule, a simple table (you could do with just one, but here there are more so that you have enough inspiration for different cases and environments), and there is no need to track time anymore and all resources using it.

This is the OSR, so you are supposed to change and tune the system as you wish. See in this article the simple approach by James, for dungeons...
But the article actually contains also an analysis on outdoor encounters and city encounters, and some useful tables and tips for using excel to automate the process of determining an ancounter.

Improving Your Encounter Tables With Gimmicks!
by James Young
[...] Dungeon Encounters
This is based on Brendan Necropraxis' Overloaded Encounter Die aka the Hazard System.
I assume you know how to stock a dungeon encounter table - just put whatever you'd find on this dungeon level in the table, plus maybe a homeless wandering beast or two and some scouts from the next level of the dungeon.
Roll the Encounter Die every 10 minute turn. In my game I track this fairly loosely. Down long hallways I might start eyeing up squares and movement rates, but this usually gets rolled any time the party stops to investigate a room, messes around with the scenery, or they Take a Break to eat and heal.
"Are you guys aware that this will take long enough to need an encounter roll?" is something I say whenever somebody wants to spend time poking around a room.
Anyway, the Encounter Die results are as follows:
1. Encounter
2. Encounter Clue
3. Dungeon-Specific Effect
4. Dungeon-Specific Effect
5. Torch Burnout
6. Torch and Lantern Burnout
3 & 4. Dungeon-Specific Effect
This is the big one. Effects are on a per-dungeon basis and supposed to give some unique character to the locale. A more dangerous area will have more directly dangerous results, while a safer area might simply be set dressing.
Light Source Burnout
Torches have two checkboxes. Lanterns have 4 checkboxes.
On a 5 or 6, tick off a torch checkbox. On a 6, tick off a lantern checkbox.
This means that, on average, torches last 6 turns (1 hour) and lanterns last 24 turns (4 hours). Just like they're meant to! Plus there's some variance in how long they last. How lovely. [...]

There is another overloaded encouter dice, this time by Angus, and again with the familiar events on a dungeon roll, but also with some examples for wilderness travel/hex travel and city encounters.
The thing is, as we've seen already, that the encounter dice can be tuned for diffents uses (dungeon vs outdoor vs city) and might be tied also to a specific location (a certain dungeon, a certain city, etc.).

[...] Dungeon Delving
Every three rooms, or when the PCs spend time putzing around doing things, roll 1d6:
1. Encounter
2. Glint
3. Terrain Effect
4. Hazard/Trap
5. Torch decreases (1/2)
6. Torch and lantern (1/3) decreases
Roll 1/day while on a road or in settled lands, 2/day off the beaten track, and 3/day in truly untamed wilds. Any more than that, and you are probably in an actual dungeon:
1. Encounter
2. Traces
3. Weather (I gave this a whirl and it was interesting, for me at least, and who says the DM can't have a little fun?)
4. Hazard
5. Fatigue (each point fills an Inventory Slot)
6. Hidden Feature

Foraging: At the end of the day, everyone rolls Wisdom (with disadvantage/at -4 if you were moving at Normal speed). If you succeed, you collected enough food along the way to not need a ration. If everyone failed the check, then everyone is out of water as well.
City Crawling
Roll once per day, and a second time if the party is "looking for trouble":
1Pointed Encounter
2Encounter Pointed at someone else/a crowd
3Recurring Character
4City Actions
5Faction Actions
6. Advantageous Situation

Well, before we close, let's look at something from Chris McDowall, the author of Into The Odd.
What I'd like you to focus on is the very last part (although the entire article, nicely brief and to the point like everything else in Into The Odd): making six great entries, rather than spending your whole prep time filling up a d20 table with just-okay entries.
Whether you're working on the overloaded encounter dice, or making a random table for encounters (or another random table), keep it short. And special.
Don't make a redundant d20 or d30 or d100 list... make it short, to the point, and special.

Keep encounter tables short and simple
by Chris McDowall
Sometimes you need to put something together for a game tonight and none of the modules on your shelf feel like the right fit. Throwing together a Route Map is relatively fast, but you're also going to want some random tables, most obviously some Encounters.
I've gone from using d20 to d6 and everything in between. My list of needs for a random encounter table is:
- Make an area feel alive and non-static.
- Project the character of an area.
- Have at least one really dangerous entry to encourage the players to keep moving. 
- Be better than something I can just make up on the fly.
Roll d6
1-3: Common. Three variations on a single encounter either carrying out different actions or varying slightly in composition.
4-5: Uncommon. Two variations of a more unusual encounter, again varying in behaviour or composition.
6: Rare. Something weird and likely dangerous. 
Now you can really dig down into making six great entries, rather than spending your whole prep time filling up a d20 table with just-okay entries. [...]

Design Notes:
- Instead of rolling a d6 for encounters every other turn, roll a d12 every turn (the encounter still occurs on a 1)
- The encounter roll may be transformed into a timer, a clock, and be tied to other concepts such as the expiration of lights or the need for rations or rest
- This becomes the well known Hazard System e Overloaded Encounter Die; it might include any sort of setback (from encounters to fatigue), timers (lights, spells duration), perception (sign of encouter), special events (something tied to the location), etc.
- Just make sure to balance out the odds when you replace a rule with the Hazard System (i.e. certain spells might last less, other more, or for example if rations are tied to fatigue, then you don't ask the characters to consume rations in other cases)
- The table might become a generic one, for diffent uses, using templates such as Setback, Fatigue, Expiration, Locality, Percept, Advantage
- Different tables may be used for Dungeons, Indoor or Outdoor exploration or hexcrawling, city crawling; and specific places may have their own very specific table
- A note inspired by Into The Odd author, Chris McDowall: keep encounter tables (and other random tables) short but meaningful. Write special, great, short tables, instead of boring long ones

Friday, May 17, 2019

Retirement and Funerals

The inspiration for this article came from Funerals for the Fallen by James Young.
It's just a simple, easy rule, with the potential for a tremendous impact on the game, in case of character's death.

Funerals for the Fallen
by James Young
In essence:
Take a dead character's remains to a safe place with a church (or cultural equivalent) and you can buy their experience points on a 1:1 silver-for-exp basis.
This represents money spent on funeral rites and memorials and bar tabs and other things purchased in their memory. The player spending the money does, of course, say what they're spending it on.
It encourages the retrieval of your buddy's corpse from whatever horrific death consumed them, accomplishing my favourite little trick of merging the intentions of player and character together.
On that note, higher level characters "deserve" more lavish send-offs than their lower level brethren. Nobody's going to do much for a level 2 Thief, but that seventh level Cleric is getting a whole damn church raised in his honour.
Getting a corpse back out of the dungeon is interesting logistically, especially if you didn't manage to kill the thing that killed them. I had players venture, against their better judgement, into a spider lair to retrieve a corpse. A corpse! Usually I only see rescue missions to retrieve still-living hostages!

As you can see, a simple rule brings to the table a couple of very important topics:
- The challenge of bringing your friend's dead body back to civilization, with all that implies (managing resources and weight, deciding to go back instead of pushing forward)
- Expending a certain amount of money (a lot if possible), proportional to the level of the dead and, presumably, proportional to the strength of the friendship and bonds with the deceased

This is done by granting XP for gold spent on the funeral, but while the rule is clearly in the "gaming" space of the players' mind, it achieves something which has a powerful "story" impact: taking risks to bring back to civilization the dead body of a fallen comrade, and spending money to give it proper burial and a funeral service.
In other words, it reinforces a certain behavior by the characters, using XP as a leverage.
This approach is described already in the Gaining XP (number 1) post.

While death signifies the end of the game for a certain character, there is also the topic of Retirement mentioned in the title.
This is a slightly different topic, but it still means that the character is out of the game.

So let's see a traumatic option first: what happens when the character is forced to retire, not because it ended a successful career as tomb-robber, but when retirement is used as a replacement for death.
The first post makes use of a Death and Dismemberment table, as in the link below.


This is instead the actual post; as you can see Arnold is using retirement as a substitution for death. Combat with the above rules is harder, nasty wounds may bring a character to retirement.
I find these rules a bit overcomplicated, but the main point is actually using retirement as a way to give characters a way out (a forced way out, in this case) which is not just get-rich-or-die.

Death, Trauma, and Retirement: I'm Gettin' Too Old For This Shit
by Arnold K.
[...] Trauma
PC retirement is a replacement for PC death, not an additional risk.  I'm making death less likely in order to make retirement more likely.  Retired characters are more interesting and more useful than dead ones.  (And a lot less demoralizing.)
For example, ". . . and then he bought a turnip farm and swore never to leave it" is more satisfying end to a character's story than ". . . and then he died in a filthy hole, and the rats nibbled his eyes until he was quite dead".
And of course, forcibly retiring a character still accomplishes the primary punitive aspect of dying: you lose the opportunity to play your character.
So here's my first draft:
Whenever you have a near-death experience (roll higher than a 10 on the Death and Dismemberment Table) and survive, you gain a point of Trauma and put a question mark next to it (if a question mark isn't there already).
Whenever you return to place where your character could conceivably retire, erase the question mark and roll a d20.  If you roll equal-or-less than your Trauma score, your character decides to retire.  You cannot stop them.
[...] Retirement is just retirement from adventuring.  It can be literally anything they way, as long as it's not adventuring and they do not continue on as a player character.  They become a friendly NPC instead.  If they retire with enough loot, they can become a friendly and powerful NPC.  You can retire at any time, not just when Trauma forces them.
Inform the players about everything in the last paragraph.  This rule needs to be mostly transparent.
1. When a player retires, ask them what sort of retirement they intend, and how much wealth they are retiring with.
2. Multiply the wealth by the character's level, and look up the result on the table below.  Adjudicate the details of the new NPC using your vast prowess, using the numbers below as a guide.
Level x Wealth = Retirement Points (RP)
Less than 100 RP - Probably going to die in a nearby gutter.
100 RP - A chance at a normal life.  Apartment, job, loans, loyal dog, relationship problems, taxes.  Just a citizen. [...]
A Softer Death Table
[...] And anyway, I think the forced retirement thing (see below) will help drive them away from adventuring without gimping them towards the end.
Because one of the reasons why I liked the idea of players losing arms and legs, is because it would (a) motivate them to go find a cool new hand, or (b) encourage them to retire their character and roll up a new one.  In practice however, I find that players tend to just drive their characters until they fall apart like an unlubricated Corolla.
So why not create a mechanic that takes a straight path route to that goal, and forces characters to retire directly?

Skerples does the same thing here, which is actually the original post which inspired Arnold.
Note that Skerples encourages even to re-roll and follow-up on the retired character(s) relevant or interesting, or when the players ask.

OSR: Death and Dismemberment Table + Early Retirement Tables
by Skerples
[...] At Level 5, and every time you level up past Level 5, you can retire your character to safety. This means I won't torment them anymore. If they can afford it, they can buy a or rent some land, set up a shop, teach at a wizard college, or beg in the gutter. They won't affect the plot anymore, but the plot won't specifically affect them. General disasters (fire, plagues, war, demonic invasions) will still affect their lives, but they are safe from almost anything else. Feel free to organize your character's retirement ahead of time. You can try and buy a castle, a tavern, or a political position.
Whenever it feels relevant or interesting, or when the PCs ask, I've been rolling on Tito's Retirement Table to see what Tito's got himself into now. Spoiler alert: it's not going well. 
Generic Farmer Retirement Table [...]
1. Prosperity. Extra food, good weather, or good luck.
2. Rumour. May have 1 interesting rumour for the PCs.
3-7. Stability. Just on the edge of starvation.
Generic Monastic Retirement Table [...]
1. Tranquility. The PCs hear a distant rumour of their former companion. They are doing well.
Generic Criminal Retirement Table [...]
1. Escape. Stole enough to start again. The ex-PC vanishes. One day, in a distant land, they might see their old companions and nod slyly.
2-6. Edge of Starvation. No change, but the outlook is bleak.
Generic Beggar Retirement Table [...]
1. Head Above Water. Food, a warm corner, a position in the local hierarchy of beggars, the favour of the local Church. Might even lead to some minor position out of the rain.
2. Minor Improvement. New pants, a hat, a few more coins than last week.
3-6. Edge of Starvation. No change.

Actually, retirement from adventuring is somehow the goal of the adventuring itself. It would be its most logical conclusion in OSR games, where also high-level characters might risk a sudden death in an unbalanced encounter, because of a deadly trap, a bad decision, or an unlucky turn of events.

A successful OSR character does not have to reach a very high level and keep risking its life...
A successful OSR character earned enough money to retire, in safety and wealth - adventuring is like accumulating your pension funds when you have no skills for a decent (safer) job.

So, what rules do you use for retirement? Do you have rules or a random table for characters making enough money or that are better off with a new, less risky life, which you want share?

Design notes:
- Bring the body of a fallen character back to civilization, earn XP for gold spent on the funeral rites
- It reinforces the fiction and risk taking (care for the fallen, effort to save the body, expenses on the funeral) with an XP reward
- About retirement: retirement from adventuring is somehow the goal of the adventuring itself
- Make enough money and retire from taking all these risks; retire in safety and wealth
- But another option is using retirement as a substitution for death; it gives shades of grey in the outcome of a character's life, it's not just rich or dead any more
- Mix nasty wounds, death and dismemberment tables and early retirement tables
- Perhaps allow subsequent re-rolls for retired characters when it feels necessary or when there is a request from players or circumstances change

Friday, May 10, 2019

How Abilities or Attributes define your character

As stated previously, the six core abilities are often one of the first elements in the game to be house-ruled somehow, whenever a GM feels like tinkering with the rules.
See this previous post - Ability Scores (3d6 in order) - for some alternatives to the classic 3d6-in-order method, and for some additional options, adding Luck, Talent and Saving Throws to the mix, from my own rules.

This time, though, we're looking at what's behind those abilities - as a concept, and as linked rules, and what they mean at the table at the moment of char-gen.

The first link is to a long post by Anne, with an interesting approach to reduce the number of abilities. The post is long but takes in consideration several games - not just OSR - to reach the interesting conclusion of reducing the number of Abilities to four: Strength, Agility, Intellect, and Will, which combine physical and mental in different ways, for attacks/defense and by force/by grace.

8 Abilities - 6, 3, or 4 Ability Scores?
by Anne
D&D-style games traditionally have 6 ability scores, but those 6 scores actually represent 8 different abilities. Those 8 abilities, in turn, are simply the combination of three different dichotomies - physical vs mental,  force vs grace, and attack vs defend. [...]
Recognizing the 8 underlying abilities does a couple things. First, it points to the direct parallels between D&D's mental and physical ability scores - Charisma, for example, is mental Strength; Intelligence is mental Dexterity. Second, seeing the underlying abilities gives us some insight into the ways the can be re-combined to make a smaller number of scores. (Jack argues, and I agree with him, that it's more interesting to have a smaller number of important scores than to have a larger number of unimportant scores - which is why I wouldn't suggest expanding out to 8 ability scores, although you certainly could if you want to.)
The Classic 6-Ability Division
D&D's 6 ability scores mostly take these abilities individually, but a couple of them double up. Strength represents physical force attack. Dexterity combines physical grace attack and physical grace defense. Constitution is the physical force defense. D&D's mental attributes are basically mirrors of the physical ones, but there's a slight asymmetry. Charisma combines both mental force attack and mental grace attack. Intelligence is mental grace defense. Wisdom is mental force defense. The broken symmetry, I think, is the result of the organic nature of the way D&D has grown over the years. Yes, in some moments it has been designed, but in-between those moments, it has simply grown by accretion.
Two Possible 3-Ability Divisions 
In the 3.0 ruleset, D&D introduced new Fortitude, Reflex, and Willpower saving throws, representing essentially the physical force defense, physical grace defense, and mental force defense. When other people have tried to simplify the D&D rules by reducing the number of ability scores, the most common reduction mirrors these saving throws.
Possible 4-Part Ability Scores ... and Beyond
Of the two possible 3-part ability scores, my own preference leans toward 2 physical, 1 mental - but if I were planning to write a set of rules with fewer ability scores, I think I might want 4. My current preference would be for a physical force ability (combining attack and defense), a physical grace ability (combining attack and defense), a mental attack ability (combining force and grace), and a mental defense ability (combining force and grace). [...]

A good example of ability reduction is also found in Into The Odd, by Chris McDowall: Strength, Dexterity and Willpower.
In Into The Odd, abilities are used in the most simple way: roll a d20 under the score to succeed in your action. But abilities are also used as a measure of the damage you take. You have a few Hit Points but after you've run out, damage reduces your ability score.
Having a few abilities, there, is functional to fast character creation and having a buffer to absorb damage (with 6 or more abilities, you would have a buffer too large).
The character creation process in Into The Odd is as simple as rolling those score, the HP, and then getting a starter package of equipment which should inspire you to characterize your new character. It's dead simple, but effective.

This other post, by Marquis, again insists on four abilities/attributes, instead of the sacred six.
Note three important elements here: first is how attributes are simplified even further but tied closely to the rules in use (read the original article to see how for example Athletic and Savvy are used in different context). Second is that there is an attribute for body and one for mind or skills, and a third for everything weird, supernatural, magical, etc. Third, make a fourth ability which depends on the setting you want to run.
What I like about these points is that they stress several concepts which somehow are sometimes forgotten when house-ruling abilities:
- Don't just build your abilities to "simulate" a character, but build them with a specific usage in mind (rules tied to abilities)
- Supernatural or magical matters may have their own attribute
- Make sure the setting matters: make an ability or score tied to rule(s) specific to the setting

Exploring Characters pt. 3: Replacing Attributes and Rolling Under
by Mastered by Marquis
Attributes are a sacred cow, which means for me they're good beef to eat.
First off, I'm a big believer that only 4 attributes are needed for a character and that one of these four should always be setting dependent. This means I have a standard 3 + 1 special. I'm a bit afraid that this might make things seem super rules-lite or straight forward, but to be honest, 6 attributes causes confusion both from # and how much overlap they have amongst each other.
The three standard attributes are:
Athletic - This replaces strength, dexterity, and constitution. In a real world situation, most people who are strong are fit, and are usually good with their hands [...] Athletics governs three things: Encumbrance, To-Hit Accuracy, and Damage. [...]
Savvy - This replace Intellect, Wisdom, and Charisma. Essentially, the more savvy you are, the craftier and more skilled you are, both signs of intellect. [...] Savvy governs three things as well: Delicate Matters, Knowledge, and Languages. [...]
Weird - This doesn't replace anything specifically. This is what you use both for dealing with anything supernatural. [...] Weird covers a single thing: your knowledge of Esoteries. [...]

So then, on to the special 4th stat. Again, this depends on setting, but I'll give some archetypal ones.
Corruption/Taint/Radiance - Roll under this whenever you would suffer any of the above. On a success, you only suffer 1 point. On a fail, you suffer however many points are being given. If you have more points than your score, you lose your character or get a mutation or something.
Honor/Glory/Reputation - Roll under this whenever you enter into a scene with NPCs or monsters. On a success, they are awed or cowed by you without you having to do anything. The higher this is, the more well-known you are, the more doors open up for you in terms of exploring a world. Can be increased as rewards for clearing dungeons or helping kings or something.
Alignment [Ambition vs. Harmony/Chaos vs. Order/Light vs. Shadow] - Divide this attribute into 2, but choose one to be higher than the other (so a 12 in Alignment can be a 8 in Chaos and a 4 in order). Refer to this otherwise, though I might update this for the new method.

I don't find the Corruption/Taint/Radiance/Honor/Glory/Reputation/Alignment examples so compelling, but I guess they'll do for now, and possibly you already have your own ideas and inspiration about this.
But I would say that this is interesting especially if you think to change to attribute with regard to the adventure, or even the session's content... I don't know exactly how I would do it, but in a dark dungeon adventure a rule about remaining calm and in control while underground would be cool, while the same characters when facing an adventure in the city might enjoy forgetting that score, and having instead another for social connections and interactions and so on, depending on the content of the adventure.

This last link is a little different... enough with all the theory and reasoning about attributes and how to assign scores, house-rules, changes to the list of attributes... In the end, this is just a game.
Regardless of what you choose as attributes, 4 or 6 or 8 of them, Jeff came up with a simple but entertaining way to generate characters and have fun in the process.

D&D chargen as a party game
by Jeff Rients
Everyone writes down the usual six stats numbered 1 to 6, like so: 
1. Str
2. Dex
Or whatever order you normally use.  The numbers are the key part.  Next just one player rolls 3d6.  Everyone then cheers if it's a good number or boos if it's low.  Then all players (including the player who just threw 3d6) write that number down next to a randomly generated stat.  I.e. roll 1d6 to determine where to plug the number Bob just saddled you with.  Go around the table repeating the process until all stats are full.  [...] 
And more importantly, chargen now involves everyone paying attention to each other for a bit, instead of a room full of silent people rolling dice at the same time and staring down at their own charsheets. [...]

As Jeff points out in his blog post, this process gives the same numbers but on different attributes to every player (so no one has a "better" character) but more importantly, it makes the whole process a group activity, a table activity, instead of a lonely activity.
This is very important and helps create the right atmosphere at the table - we don't play just with rules, but we play with people.

If you want to connect the characters, and not just the players, look at Bonds (put characters together).

Design notes:
- Determine what each ability means and its usage
- Consider reducing the number of abilities, rather than increasing it; a simpler matrix is more effective than a complex one
- Consider how physical and mental are organized, what's used to attack and to defend, what's by force or by grace
- An example is to use just four: Strength, Agility, Intellect, and Will
- Into The Odd uses Strength, Dexterity and Willpower: roll a d20 under the score for actions, and use abilities also as a buffer for damage
- You may simplify even more with Athletic, Savvy and Weird
- Don't just build your abilities to "simulate" a character, but build them with a specific usage in mind (rules tied to abilities)
- Supernatural or magical matters may have their own attribute
- Make sure the setting matters: make an ability or score tied to rule(s) specific to the setting/adventure/session
- Consider how rolling attributes/abilities is the start of your game: make it a group activity and not a solitary procedure
- This can be done by sharing the same numbers for attributes, for example, but assigning them to different attributes randomly
- And/or you can use Bonds, to connect the characters together...
- In general, it's important to be paying attention to what other players are doing at char-gen