Monday, July 14, 2014

5e & an Overlooked Character Creation Method

Oh man so we played some 5th Edition D&D last night. It took about an hour to make characters using the free Basic Rules (knowing nothing and shooting the shit, so don't go quoting that time as official 5e Character Generation Time please) and we played for about two hours just using downloaded playtest monster stats and one of Dyson's Delves. In the pic we're playing on a grid but we didn't really stickler on the whole 5-foot steps or anything, in fact, gridless miniaturing is my favorite kind of D&Ding and 5e hits that sweet spot perfectly.

Anyway, this isn't really a review; and I don't want to go into detail on What Makes Fifth Edition Fifth Edition-y or anything - other folks are doing that nicely (+Nathanael Cole found this nice sum-up on Reddit). But I've always found that Character Generation has always been a pretty big part of D&D's fun and I wanted to touch on what that was like:

  • Rolling stats and picking race and class took 15 minutesish. There are subraces now for a bit more fidelity.
  • Flipping around the PDF to fill in the blanks on proficiencies, equipment and subsequent combat numbers are an improved experience in my opinion, took about half an hour: between Class and Background, equipment more or less picks itself. I have nothing against D&D "shopping" as a fun thing in and of itself but I feel like it's always this big hiccup between "ooh this is what my character is like" and "let's get playing"- which is why I usually just make class kits or quick-pick lists.
  • Finally the storygamey stuff gave us about 15 minutes of table-rolling "what's my personality like" fun. This is ignorable-but-there-if-you-want-it Personality Traits, Ideals, Bonds and Flaws. And they throw in a d100 Personal Trinket table in there too.

The thing about D&D, no matter the edition, every game-runner has usually hacked and fine-tuned their favorite character creation process - no surprise, there's a magical thing about that first time a group builds characters for an adventure. Thinking about that, I realized that one of the most common Character Creation Processes I've seen used throughout my D&D playing career I've never really seen touched on: Character Creation through miniature selection.

Like, I'd say that about 20% of the D&D characters I've seen hit the table were based on a miniature. We've been loving the Reaper Bones Set at mine, and here were last night's characters:

Mara Nemetsk, Snarky Human Thief
Professor Thistleblossom, Long-winded Elf Wizard
Oral Nemetsk, Intolerant Human Cleric

I was thinking for my next game of formalizing that process. Laying out the minis first and having players pick one before they ever put pencil to character sheet. Could be interesting! Anyone else done that?