The other day I discovered a simple little computer program that lets you generate Traveller characters. It's become my new time waster, much in the way that many people play Solitaire or Minesweeper or those little Facebook apps. I actually find it extraordinarily diverting to roll up a random set of characteristics for a character and then see if I can press my luck by getting him into the service I want, with the skills, rank, and mustering out benefits that I'd like as well.
If one is using a computer program, which cannot fudge its results, this process is a lot harder than one might think. There's always a chance that the random rolls will turn against you and your "perfect" character will be killed in action, requiring you to start over. There's also the chance that you won't wind up with the character you intended to create but with someone just as, if not more, interesting. Like a lot of gamers I have certain "types" of characters that, if given the chance, I like to play. In Traveller, I've long aimed to create Naval/Marine doctors -- no idea why -- but often the character generation rules have other ideas. More than a few truly memorable characters were created because of the way Traveller generates PCs. It's why I continue to believe it's probably the best character generation system ever created for a tabletop RPG.
As I think more on it, I realize that I like the "gambling" aspect of character generation a great deal. The kind of risk assessment that comes with creating a Traveller character is something I enjoy and I find myself wishing that more games included character generation as "risky" as Traveller's. Gamma World certainly qualifies as risky, as do Empire of the Petal Throne, early RuneQuest, Stormbringer, and perhaps a few others, but, by and large, RPGs seem to have minimized or move away from such things entirely. That's neither good nor bad in any absolute sense, of course. However, I find my interest in games that lack at least some degree of "gambling" in character creation to be less interesting than those that do -- which probably explains why so few modern games hold my attention for very long.