|Is the kitty licking the d12?|
Probably a prepared character-- a "pregen" made for times like this--and a set of dice. Both character and dice tend to be uneventful. The PC has average or less than average stats and skills. The dice are the ugly ones brought out for such occasions as new players at the table or to "humiliate" an experienced player that forgot his. By many accounts, those loaner dice are pink. Because it is humiliating to provide something that would be chosen by a "girl." It's okay. Some things are ingrained in us from the beginning and it never occurs to think of it as insulting until dozens of "ugly" pink sets of dice are handed out to prospective players to show them that they are still new, less, and unprepared for the game by not having a battle trained set.
A friend of mine sat in on a few sessions of HackMaster last spring and summer. She came over to spend time with people, to get out of the house. The game was just a bonus. Her one request was a set of purple sparkle dice. I went through my entire collection to find her color. I never thought about ignoring that request. I didn't even think it was odd until I ran across a conversation on the Kenzer and Company forums about giving dice to new players. Some of the replies reminded me of times when players showed up at tables without and were immediately given by way of punishment the "unlucky" or unwanted dice. We even had one of those pink sets for a while. When my friend asked for purple sparkle, I didn't ignore that or jealously hand over my purple dice. Instead I gave her the dice that she wanted.
I'm in favor of having good dice and great characters for new players. I know the thinking goes that if they get below-average examples of both, they will get competitive and get their own, but I want those new players to like the game. Sometimes my friends have been the new players. From the time we are little, we are taught to share with our friends. It's tough when there is a favorite toy at stake, but most of gamer types have a lot of dice. How about giving the new player a great experience now instead of promising one later?