I used to think those books were a cool idea for building up PCs -- but after using them just a bit, I realized that it always felt like the characters story was done before you actually played the character in a game... The system generated so many twists and turns in a character's backstory, it either became hard to reconcile them all together, or they developed obvious motivations that would conflict with playing adventures. A case of covering all the bases, instead of the bases that needed covering for the adventure/campaign you were actually playing.
You could strip the results down, but then you've spent a lot of time to just settle on a couple of ideas.
Using them for NPCs, on the other hand...
Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!
Pbp Secret of Bone Hill characters:
Flavia, WAR, Beekeeper, L, Str 10, Agi 10, Stm 7, Per 10, Int 12, Lck 7, AC 10 hp 5, staff, jar of honey, 10-ft pole, 1 pc chalk, 50' rope, 2 torches (1 lit)
Hector, DWARF Apothecarist, L, Str 5, Agi 11, Stm 12, Per 10, Int 6, Lck 10, AC 10, hp 11, sword, shield, cudgel, steel vial, chest, flint & steel, empty flask, lg sack
Chendris, WIZ, Alchemist, N, Str 11, Agi 9, Stm 12, Per 15, Int 13, Lck 15, AC 10, hp 3, staff, empty flask, 50' rope, 2 candles, lg sack, oil (1 flsk), 1 torch, snakeskin tome; speaks gnoll
Darrow, CLR, Hunter, N, Str 11, Agi 12, Stm 8, Per 16, Int 7, Lck 12, AC 10 hp 5, short bow, 6 arrow, 10-ft pole, deer pelt, torch (lit)