The Guided Path
This is in most cases the best method, especially for newcomers to the system. Its also useful for new groups as the GM can steer things so the party is more cohesive and covers important roles.
- Ask the player for their concept.
- Suggest the main things they will need, this includes advantages, skills, and attribute ranges. Try to just hit the core items to leave room for later.
- Add up the items to see how much it costs.
- Suggest optional abilities and tweeks,
- Consider appropriate disadvantages.
In practice that goes something like this...
Player: I want to be a fighter.
GM: Ok, a swashbuckling expert type, brute force barbarian, or a tank? Maybe a martial artist? Player: I think a swashbuckler, good with a rapier.
GM: Ok, so this is a DF cinematic type game where your heroes of legend or soon will be. So you should have a good DX to handle Acrobatics, good fencing skill and lets say Weapon Master to represent awesome natural talent or trained by an expert. Say DX 14, Skill 16, Weapon Master (Fencing Weapons) and lets add Cloak, Acrobatic, and Running skills. That covers that, before we look at rounding you out or increasing those abilities is there anything else you want to be good at?
Player: I want to be a Mage!
GM: Ok, were using the default magic system si each spell is ts own skill. Do you want to be great at one signature spell and have several others? Or do you want to be a very rounded mage with a LOT of spells of all kinds?
Player: I mainly want to be great in combat and have some utility spells too.
GM: Ok an elemental college is a good choice. They all have some attack, defenses and utility spells. Do you prefer Air, Earth, Fire, or Water?
Player: Can I do more than one? I want fire but water to put things out might be good.
GM: Sure, just have normal Magery instead of limited Magery. So Fire, Water, and lets set aside say 10 points for 10 other spells you can figure out a bit later. So Magery 3 and IQ 14 eat up 115 points which is almost half your budget (250 point game) but is a good break point since 1 point on a spell will usually give you skill 15 and make them 1 FP cheaper to cast. So you can toss a 1d fireball at no cost!
GM Ok, for Fireball you need 3 other spells as prerequisites so that is 4 points. We can make you better at those spells or pick more but your going to want to hit with that fireball so I recommend you buy Innate Attack skill to say 14. Also anything else you want to do before start choosing spells?
More complex concepts of course take longer and fine tuning things can also add to the work. In general I recommend a player stash a few points in reserve that allows them to buy things matching their background on the fly. At least for the first few adventures. Munchkins and minmaxers will take longer as they try for ultimate optimization, but thats true in most systems.
That said the above examples are enough to get the game started and people starting their fun.