Momanatrix’s Musings: Character Creation

Momanatrix’s Musings will be a spotlight for the newest writer on staff here at The Dread Gazebo, who also happens to be my amazing and beautiful wife. Life long girly-girl and relative newcomer to the gaming scene, she’ll bring a fresh and different perspective to the realm of gaming and D&D

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My Character Dilemma

I am about to be a player in a new D&D campaign and I’m very excited, but also a very conflicted. I’m not sure what class to play. I usually just go for the spell caster types, in the past I’ve been a Warlock, a Sorcerer and I made a Mage once that I never got to play. I also played a Slayer once for a very short time and it was a blast. I am currently playing a Knight in our Ravenloft campaign.

This time I’ve decided that I want to do something different. I decided that I wanted to try a rogue. I never had much interest in being a rogue until I read The God Catcher. I wouldn’t say the book was great, but the author did a really good job describing very intricate details in certain parts. In particular, the way that lockpicking was described made me want me run out and buy my own set of thieves tools! Anyway, so I had my heart set on a rogue and then Jerry mentioned to me that I should try a pre-essentials Rogue, an Assassin (Executioner) or a Thief. It took me a while but I finally decided on a Thief, or so I thought.

Some Complications…

A couple days later Jerry brought home Mortal Kombat and that really got me thinking about making a character based on Kitana (she’s my favorite)! Jerry suggested that I make a monk but I hated that idea because for some reason I thought that monks were lame with all their no-weapons and the permanent vision of a silly haircut etched into my mind. A few people on Twitter suggested different classes that could pass as Kitana too and I was back to square one with having way too many possible options for my character.

After much nagging from my husband I decided to make a monk so I could show him that I wouldn’t like it. I was so wrong. I made a monk and it seemed so awesome but I still wasn’t sure about playing a character based on Kitana. So then Jerry told me that I consider a warlock because he likes to drive me crazy.

He informed me that there are now three different types of Warlock, but I immediately shot down the Binder class because it just wasn’t my cup of tea, I prefer the vanilla warlock and its curse mechanics. The hexblade was also something I considered for a few days, tinkering around in the character builder as usual…

Adela is Born!

Fast forward to a few days before the launch of the new campaign – I finally decided to stay with my original idea and I roll up Adela, my Vryloka Thief. I can officially say I’m pretty happy with my decision as I got to play her this past weekend and she is awesome! I think I’ll have to get used to the whole stealth thing and being sneaky but I know I’m going to have a lot of fun with this character throughout the campaign.

I’m also going to try out one of the new character themes that WotC released recently, probably the alchemist. Something about brewing fiery potions that explode just seems to pair well with a Rogue class. Right off hand I can already see myself using Nimble Fingers to plant an alchemist flask on someone and then precisely striking it to send them up in flames!

All of my indecisiveness in my character creation has got me thinking, do you have a specific process you go through when making your character? Do you always make the same race or class archetype or do you mix it up? Do you determine your race depending on your class or vice versa? Maybe you do it all randomly? I’d love to hear from everyone, I think creating a character is a very fun and sometimes tedious/intimate process. Let me know in the comments!

6 Comments

  1. I personally like to make characters. I enjoy trying to match my perfect characters from insperations like you did with Kitana. Recently I’ve been thinking of a way to introduce a character to my players (when we play) that is similar to a member of the Belmonts. I’m still reading and doing a little research on it and playing with the character builder.

    Good article and look forward to the next.

  2. I like playing the more high charisma characters. I’m more of a Face player than a B.A. Baracus. This tends to be more rogue or sorcerer, but it’s fun to be able to back up your words with a fighter type. 😀

    Skills, feats, and spells enhance this by picking more bard-ly types. I love the roleplaying aspect though. 😀

  3. I rarely make or play the same character/class twice. sometimes I choose based on class, sometimes I choose base don the sort of character I want to portray.

    Pre-4E, that usually meant starting with the stereotype of that class and finding some twist to make it interesting and non-standard. This usually had more to do with how I portrayed a character but some mechanical choices follow that. For example, I used to mark of spells on my cleric’s spell list as thing that he/she would *never* cast based upon their beliefs.

    Most recently, I created a Savage Skald (bard variant) for a Pathfinder game that I participate int. Somewhere I once heard/read the phrase “He sang as he slew…”–probably something to do with Rohan in The Lord of the Rings–and had the image of a barbarian-bard. I’ve had that image in my head for years before I had the opportunity to pull him out. Fortunately,

    Post-4E I’ve been playing stereotypes instead: a Dragonborn Paladin, a Teifling Sorcerer… I figured that it was the best way to learn how the system works. I’m only on my third PC and I’ve not had a reason to reconsider since (although the Half-Orc Monk might’ve raised an eyebrow or two).

  4. When I build a character I have a fairly well established pattern. As someone who suffers with Character A.D.D., I’ve spent a lot of rainy days with my character builder and I’ve developed a system that works well for me.

    It always starts with a concept of course. Like your example, I may be trying to replicate a non D&D fictional character. I might have a very strong story concept in my mind I’m trying to turn into a playable PC. Or, it could be a mechanical goal. It could be as simple trying to max out damage or healing ability or having a lot of movement, or something more broad like trying to figure out what class/build combo is the best at a particular role. Regardless of what I’m after(story, mechanics or a blend) the goal is always the first thing.

    Once I have my target in mind, I tend to go through the following process fairly consistently:

    1) Examine the classes that best suit my goal at level one and pick the one that has the best natural tendencies/head start for my purposes

    2) Examine the available races and find one that plays best with the class(ability bonuses, racial features that offer synergy etc.)

    3) Examine the available backgrounds and see if there is something that suits the build either story or mechanically

    4) Look at the available power suite for the class, and choose the ones that best suit my concept

    5) Look at the available skills and choose which ones to train based on the concept and the mechanical choices I’ve made up to this point. I usually think about these two questions most: Does my race/background offer a bonus? Does my character need a particular skill to suit the concept regardless of how good/bad they’ll be at it?

    6) Then I adjust the ability scores to make the best use of the powers and skills I’ve chosen

    7) Examine the available Feats for my race/class/ability score settings and choose ones that suit the concept

    8) Go shopping.

    8.1) If I’ve made a level 1 character for a real game, I take non-magical gear and all the usual adventuring kit. I try not overlook some of the potential in combining mundane items with abilities, as you talked about with your idea to put Alchemist’s Fire in someone’s pocket then strike it to set them on fire. Also, I consider how gear might help me solve problems(the classic case is carrying a ten foot pole to look for pit traps, or a scroll tube to carry gems, chalk to mark walls in a maze etc)

    8.2) If I’m making a character just for fun, I usually build them at level 4 and then I would select three magical items as per the instructions in the builder. One at character level, one at level +1, one at level -1. This is usually a weapon, armor and a concept specific item. Deciding which level each of these items is tends to revolve around the class or role. If I’ve built a Wiz, the Implement is the level +1 item. If I built a striker, it would be the weapon. Etc etc.

    I usually spend the most time choosing the initial class. I likely shuffle back and forth a bit between steps 2 and 6 as I fine tune things. The last two steps are often quick because by then I know what this character is all about.

    As you can see, I do take a fairly mechanical/mathematical approach to things. Even if I have a great story concept as the motivator, I still realize I’m playing a math based game, so I try to keep an eye on the numbers. And, truth be told, I like doing it.

    Also, I can’t roll a d20 to save my life, so I need every number bonus I can squeeze out of the builder! 🙂

    Good luck on the blog. I hope you enjoy writing here, and I look forward to your next post.

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