Building a Character in Dungeons and Dragons

If you are joining our group then you will have to make a new character. For most of you this will probably be your first time creating a character, if not your first time making one with 4th Edition D&D.

For my campaign characters will be built using the Official Wizards of the Coast Dungeons and Dragons Character Builder. You can build a character by hand if you absolutely must, but the Character Builder is extremely easy to use and includes all of the current books and updates to 4th Edition. The CB will also insure that you don’t make any mistakes ;) A demo of the CB is available online, but I can get you hooked up with the full version. It is only compatible with Windows, however. Though a number of our members have PCs (myself included), and we would be more than happy to help you! As we level up the CB will be used to manage our stats and items as we progress. I have found that this is ultimately the most efficient method of playing, and while it can potentially take longer in between session (if we all don’t have copies of the program), the sessions themselves go much more smoothly.

But until you get to that point of coming up with your character’s Race, Class, Attributes, and Skills, I would like you to start thinking about your character and who he (or she!) is. What are your battle tactics? Why? Why did you choose the profession that you have? i.e., what made you become a druid, sorcerer, or whatever class you chose?

Were you on a caravan with your family through the woods, only to be attacked by bandits? Did you barely make it out with your life, only to be found by tribe of nomadic Forest Elves, who to be taught the ways of nature and how to harness it against that which opposes you? Did you abandon your noble father’s trade upon reaching adulthood, and run away from home to a monastery, devoting your life to Bahamut and swearing to fight evil in his name? Or were you a vagabond? Living the hard life of a street rat until one day fortune finally came your way and you were accepted into the local thieves guild, who taught you to hone your skills?

It’s all up to you—and that’s the beauty of D&D. You get to craft your character into whoever, or whatever, you want to be. My job is to create a world that allows you to do that in the most exciting and adventurous way possible—with the potential for a few challenges along the way.

Some other things you could think about:

What are your fears? Why?
Do you have any grudges? Why?
Do you have a favored enemy? [And yes, “Why” can be applied to all of these questions!]
What is your relationship with your family?
What is it you want out of life? Fame? Treasure? Peace? Chaos?
What have you been doing for the last few weeks? Last six months? Last few years?
Have you gone on any adventures in the past?
What do you hate?
What do you love?
Has anyone you loved ever died?
Have YOU ever died?

Creating your character is the easy part. The hard part is applying that creation to the world you play in. That’s called role-playing. And no, it doesn’t mean you have to play with props or accents or anything like that. Though that’s fine, what it really means is thinking as your character, not as a player. If you have the option to finally capture the villain you’ve been pursuing for months, or save the villagers in the burning building, which would it be? Why? What if the villagers in the burning building are from a tribe of Half Elves, and you have a vendetta against Half Elves because of a family feud years ago? Or a traumatic experience as a child And what if the options are morally gray? These are all things that you should think about. And when you get more used to it, you can start applying your character’s personality to more “micro” decisions.

Building a Character in Dungeons and Dragons

Old Campaign DavidWalton