How can I make 20 pregen characters (level 2 or 3 so their class traits are apparent) in a short amount of time? I have Hero-lab, but even that takes a fair bit of time to set up.
This (now archived on WaybackMachine) website has as many pregenerated characters as you could ever want, for every class, specialisation, and level. You can't generate the pregens yourself, but there are so many that I'm sure you will find some you like.
Wizards of the Coast has some free premade characters for levels 1 through 10 at their official web site. Take what you like and leave the rest. Click on the tab that says "PREGENERATED CHARACTERS (LEVELS 1-10)" Also downloadable blank character sheets.
If you are running a game currently then ask your players.
Spend 15 minutes at the start of a session and have everyone create a level 1 character. Maybe 2 (martial classes are quicker to create than spellcasting classes). Do this two or three weeks in a row and you will have a nice pile of characters.
I have use this technique myself with good success. Most recently, I asked my Tuesday game players to create level 1 and 2 pregens that I then used in one-off con games.
Use flash cards, broken into stacks:
- Race/Subrace (multiple cards for the more common races)
- Background (where you roll for each of the background aspects)
- Additional Languages
- Roll for each stat or draw a card for each stat (std array) highest to lowest
- You can even keep a stack of random names for each race (where you can determine if the character is male of female)
At enworld.com, they have a user generated MS Excel thing that does this. You won't find a lot because WoC guards their trademarks with vigor. I didn't create this, but you can give it a try (I have no idea how close to the rules it is): http://www.enworld.org/forum/rpgdownloads.php?do=download&downloadid=1180