Many players have a preference for a certain kind of character, and will make that character over and over again. I almost always play rogues, for instance.
It is, however, good to force a player to play outside of their “comfort zone,” and promote diversity and variety. For that reason, I propose the following method of choosing a character:
1. Choose a Race:
Roll a d%. Use the following to determine your race:
96-99 Dragonborn (or half-dragon template and roll again)
100 Other (Choose)
“Other” gives near complete freedom, with some specific caveats: A race that can fly is not permitted below level 5; A race with level adjustment requires negative level adjustments to correct this (as seen in Player’s Guide to Faerun); A race with racial hit dice requires negative levels if playing at a level below that race’s number of HD.
2. Roll Ability Scores
Roll 4d6, and drop the lowest die. Assign the sum of the remaining die to Strength.
Repeat this for Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, And Charisma.
Make note of the ability modifiers at this point. If the sum of the modifiers is less than +1, redo this process.
3. Apply Racial Bonuses
Add the appropriate racial bonuses to the ability scores. Note that intelligence cannot be reduced to below 3. If a racial penalty would reduce Int to below 3, it reduces to 3 instead.
4. Choose a class.
Choose the class that is best suited for your character at this point.
5. Level the Character
Ideally, all characters would be created at first level, so that the player can enjoy growing that character in its entirety. Practically, however, new PCs often need to join an adventure at a higher level. So, there are some rules:
If a new character replaces a character who died (or otherwise dropped out) in a four-player game, the new character will enter the game one level below the level of the character it is replacing. Its experience points will be midway toward leveling.
If at any point a character falls more than two levels below the ECL of the highest level PC in the party, that PC will need to be brought up a level: if possible, this character should partake in a solo adventure.
If the number of PCs is not 4, either their levels or the adventure should be adjusted to ensure the proper level of difficulty.