New idea for character generation for a new campaign popped into my head over lunch and I thought, why not take it to the Fear the Boot forums and get their two cents on the idea.
I've been mulling over a new character concept for a new game and I know there is an issue with standard D&D (5e) character creation. And that is that the core concept of selecting a race (with it's inherent bonuses and stat increases) and combining it with a class (that benefits from certain stat increases and bonuses) means that there really are a lesser number of 'effective' combinations and that means you tend to see certain combinations more frequently. You would think with nine core races and twelve core classes, there would be 108 potential combos. Made even more diverse with sub-races and class paths to liven things up. But as I thought about it, you just do not see most of those combinations at the table. Normally, I don't think this is a serious issue. People play what they want. And the factors that influence what they want are deep and cultural and not normally a problem.
But what if you (you and your players) want to stretch your role playing muscles a bit? You know how it is. Some players at the table starts to fall into ruts every now and again. The one guy always plays rogue. Or you really are looking at a semi-random pool of genre-approved character templates and getting a little bored. Maybe one player has come up with a really cool outside-the-box combo but knows it will play down a level or two in effectiveness and feels pressure (real or imagined) to stick to one of the scripts. Whatever the motivation... you want to shake things up.
So here's the suggestion. Every player picks a race or class but not both. The GM then provides the player with a short list of the second choice. A short list generated with the idea of promoting unusual combinations, non-typical of the genre, or challenging in a mechanical sense. The player then gets to choose from that short list.
Before I go on, would that kind of restriction bother you as a player?
I was thinking you get three or four classes to choose from if you pick a race. You get two or three races is you pick a class. Duplicate races or classes would be removed to increase the odds of diversity. So if one player wants to play Wizard and another wants to play a Dwarf, you take Dwarf off the Wizard player's short list and Wizard off the Dwarf player's short list so that you don't risk doubling up? Is that enough of a choice?
I'm gonna keep mulling this over and will probably add a second (or third post) with a rough draft of what those short lists might look like...
 How big a problem it is will probably seem different to different players and groups. Or even at different times. Most of the time, I don't think this is a big issue. I would imagine those of you who think this is a big and constant issue just choose to play games that don't use this kind of character creation core mechanic.
 Yes, the definition of effective is relative.
 For two reasons. Part of the issue here is certainly the culture of character optimization you have at your table. People might not want to play sub-optimal choices. But a big part of the issue is also the thematical and cultural overlap in some combinations as well. We just don't think wizard when we think dwarf. We don't think barbarian when we think halfling. Etc. In large part because there are few (if any) examples of those in the fantasy related pop culture (books and movies). You kind of have to start with the question, "What does a _dwarf_ _wizard_ look like?" for a bunch of combinations.