In a previous post I talked about a method of NPC creation I found over at Mythopoeic Rambling using cards. One thing I meant too mention or clarify on was that Theodrics method is simple enough that you could memorize it and use it at the gamin table with no need for the pdf. Which I'm starting to think sounds better and better since I wouldn't need my computer or even a rule book too quickly find out who a random npc is.
Here is how I imagine me using it and might try tomorrow or Tuesday. We are sitting around gaming and the pc's walk into an Inn in a mixed population town so I have no idea who this inn keeper should be. I have a deck of cards sitting by me and I draw the top one and get a Diamond, that tells me its a dwarf and since I decided to write one or more dwarven names on all the diamonds in this deck I quickly have an option for the inn keepers name.
Now given that he is an inn keeper he is probably just a commoner but if in game it turns out he is secretly something else then I draw another card and lets say I get another Diamond, this tells me he is a thief and the number on the card lets me know that that plus three is his primary attribute (dex) so his dex will land somewhere between 5 and 16 and if I got anything less then nine I would probably just say its a nine so the dwarven thief will either have around average or above average dex.
I would for now assume the rest of his stats where 10's because I find that a quick way to handle things but if I need the rest of the stats I would follow the rest of Theodrics method and be done in seconds. And if I had no ideas at all for the personality then I probably would draw a card for another stat or so until I knew basically who this npc is. A low int and high dex might mean he is street smart and yet illiterate for example.
I'm not sure If I like the 5-16 thing but that's mostly because in the edition I'm playing in you can qualify for a class with less then 9 but in 3.5 I'd just go with the 5 if I drew it.Maybe I would just go with +5 for the main attribute then it would 7-18 but I don't think I would do that all the time either.
Edit: It just occurred to me that using the ace as a 14 you could have a stat as high as 17 in the prime score. I double checked the pdf and found that for rolling the other stats you get from 3-16
Update: I finally got around too looking at Theodrics Gallery of Random Rouges. Which is a pdf of npc's made using his card system. I saw some superior one's and some sub-par ones so I'd have to say it seams balanced in that regard and also It reminded me that you could adjust the attributes for race making it possible to get an 18