I am preparing for a game with a bunch of new players, with a mix of varying familiarity with the setting/system and RPGs in general. To get them to taste the setting ASAP I decided to play a one-off introductory game with pre-generated characters (pregen'd by me - the GM). For my 5 players I have prepared 8 (IMHO) interesting archetypes (like The Soldier, The Conspiracy Theorist, The Psychic etc.) from which they will be free to choose.
But I am perplexed by the choosing process. Surely I think I am going to describe the characters beforehand openly, as in "This guy is The Socialite archetype, he is a fellow passionate about meeting people and maintaining relationships with various interesting people. He has a lot of contacts and retainers in the general entertainment industry and is very strong on social skills - good liar, observant in conversation, likeable and charismatic. However, he lacks genuine knowledge and "hard" professional skills, and is at best mediocre physically."
Then, after going over each one, they would be able to choose, but what to do for the process to be fair and quick?
I have thought of the following tactics:
- Simply hand the sheets to a random person for a round robin, but the ones at the end might feel disadvantaged.
- Distribute them randomly or arbitrarily and let them trade but it feels like it's going to take a lot of time.
- Make them create a list from most preferred to least preferred and then cross-compare them to come up with the best division possible. This again would be complicated and laborious.
- Finally, to have a Need Before Greed approach. After each description if a player feels this is the character for them, he/she yells "need" or "greed" - the first player to "need" gets the char, but cannot choose from the rest. If none yell need, then greeders get chars on round-robin basis without removing themselves from calling later. However, this looks complicated and still a hasty "needer" or an unlucky "greeder" might be upset.
Is there a tactic of distributing chars fairly? I ask under an assumption that (as in point 3) a consensus can be reached and upon hearing the char list/description, the players would have an order of preference.