So, of course, I have restarted running a game. It is pretty haywire at this point - fortunately, only two players (who are also close friends) and I am trying to engage them in systemic decisions while we play - to the extent that they want to do that while we establish some mechanics. They even let me demand random character generation for social-class, race and profession!
The first character has decided not to reveal his name as of yet. He is outcaste mutant dwarf with chitinous skin. I call him "The Clubber". He has a yet undefined rival.
The second character is an upper-class halfling acolyte (read: agent of a diety - not a paladin in the champion/leader/holy warrior sense, but not a vested priest either). When I asked what deity he served, he gave me Dispater. Cool. He also ended up being superstitious and getting a HUGE amount of wealth (3000 gp worth of gems) from random-roll background options. As of now, the player calls him Allen.
I wanted to generate characters quickly, but I also wanted the beginnings of a skill system in place at the outset, so I made a table of 8 'skill categories' and assigned skill points to these categories based on (randomly-determined in this case) social-class, race, and profession, then we defined some of the skills in these families.
Didn't take long at all.
But mechanically, the game is haywire. I'm using my homebrew T&T (more stats for a little finer SR granularity) but a 'to-hit' roll and AAC. Attack rolls are made with 2d10. I used Rolemaster's most recent Character Law for background options,for a few spells the Halfling knew, and a starting point on skills.
They started the game in an isolated, marsh vale - in an economy based largely on the exotic local flora. I had pictured this area as a 'silver economy', at best. I got really uptight about the wealth that had been determined for the Halfling, so I made one of the gems a plot-hook (must be returned to an abandoned temple underground - reverse AD&D PHB cover) - trying to rein in the potential for economic destabilization. It was heavy-handed - in retrospect, I shouldn't have done that, but he still had no problem buying ANYTHING he wanted.
He ended up equipping The Clubber also, which was good, because the dwarf had nothing but a few coppers and some smelly charnel rags. He's intensely anti-social (this so called Clubber). We decided that some segment of the Cult of Dispater deals with burial - so this insectoid(!) dwarf, cast out from the nearby highland castle Absen, wanders south into marsh vale and lurks around the graves. The Cult sends them into the (terrestrial) underworld to restore this valuable gemstone to an abandoned temple.
I have a 100 mile area hexmapped - a lot of mountains with smallish valleys and vales. The setting borrows a few details from Aldiss' Halyconia trilogy - if you haven't read at least Halyconia Spring, do so ASAP. The world freezes and thaws, and there are large underworld settlements (read: megadungeons) to house the population when the surface is too cold or too hot, though that knowledge is only really maintained by organizations and persistent institutions. There is a humanoid race that waxes in the long winters of the world (the ancipitals), and a race that thrives in the warmer period (the humans (which, in this case, includes halflings, dwarves, elves, etc)).
As the Halfling was of high social class, he has available to him an anciptal slave/bodyguard. He decided not to take advantage of this 'resource'.
This post is long, so I'll briefly post-mortem session 1:
1. THEY ROLLED GREAT! I was witness to a stunning series of statistical oddites - they rolled CRAZY!
2. It bugs them to actually look for secret doors, and they are shitty mappers.
3. They are pretty heavily wounded and holed-up in a room behind a secret door (that I openly railroaded them to search for in the first place! Hope they're somewhat grateful...).