Thursday, 11 September 2014

Dungeons and Dragons 5e + Blackhawk Campaign Character Creation

D&D 5e: The new Traveller & GURPS?
Monday night, game night. Three of us gathered to game and I decided D&D would be an excellent opportunity to open my new 5e Players Handbook. Over a few beers and tales of glory days gone by, many other books were pulled from the shelves. Secret backgrounds were revealed; Dave played Traveller back in the day!

So, after discussing the sudden shrinking of halfling feet, I read the first line of Chapter 1: Step-by-Step Characters (page 11).

YOUR FIRST STEP IN PLAYING AN ADVENTURER IN THE DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game is to imagine and create a character of your own.

AC 10? Dex penalty!
Well! With that sage advice, I closed the book! We started rolling dice. Deciding on 4d6 drop the lowest, in order (Str, Int, Wis, Dex, Con, Cha), I gave each player 5000 xp to divide amongst three characters. Obviously, the 5e idea of 300 xp to attain 2nd level was laughed at. 900 xp for level 3 is ludicrous! AD&D 1e xp tables were consulted and rounded down by 1 point. Thus you could begin with a 3rd level Magic-User and two other 1st level characters.

Additional 2 attribute points yet to be allotted.
Classes were chosen based on ability scores and the concept of each character being a member of a covenant, in the vein of Ars Magica (Whitewolf). This gives the players a base of operations. A place which their characters call home. This was enough juice to come up with nine characters.

Race was decided along with Class. HPs were rolled based on classic D&D B/X , or AD&D 1e. Whether or not we move to the inflated Hit Dice in 5e is not yet decided but perhaps unlikely. There will surely be House Rules on this.

A trio of troublemakers!
Equipment was left out, except for a few items that define each character. Things you couldn't imagine them not wearing or wielding. Other mundane items will be available at the covenant, or nearby.

Names were given and we're ready to go! The rest of the character development comes through play. This may be a foreign concept to the modern gamer but it's certainly the way we've always played D&D. It also saves a lot of time! No matter how many options you provide in a rulebook, decisions made on the spur of the moment during play will make for more interesting and varied characters. It's part of the fun. Building a character with a planned pre-destined career path is ultimately boring.

About half of the D&D 5e Player's Handbook is devoted to character creation (Part 2: Playing the Game, starts on page 171). That's a lot of options! It almost puts Traveller and GURPS to shame! I prefer character progression defined by choices players make while playing the game. Still, if you can't be inspired while playing D&D, there are certainly heaps of potential ways to customise your character in the Player's Handbook.

What next? I guess it's due time to complete the design of a Blackhawk Campaign character sheet.

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