Building a D&D Player Character – 101
I’ve done a lot of in depth posts on the different backgrounds and classes from the core book, and I’ve done some posts on building out characters before, but I wanted to come up with the simplest way of how to create a character. By this, what is that smallest area that you need to align your character with to have a good character for a game?
One thing you’ll see that I’m not going to be talking about is backstory. I think that a good backstory can make it easier to role play, give the DM a bunch of story hooks, and give you a more rich character, but that isn’t needed for building a character for a game.
What I’m going to recommend is that you start by understanding the campaign and make a character that fits the game you’re playing. If it’s a heist game, making a paladin with AC 22 and stealth of -2 is going to cause issues. Same with a more social based game, just because you have this great half-orc barbarian idea doesn’t mean that it’s going to fit into a game with a ton of social situations when the half-orcs favorite word is supposed to be smash. This should all really be hashed out in a session zero where you come with your ideas for characters and the DM comes with their idea for games and then you figure out what game you want to play and with that, what character idea you can use.
Next, you’re playing in a game with one or five or more players, so build your character to not be Batman. I know what playing the character that can do everything, but the more people you have, the less you need the rogue who dipped into bard to get all the expertise. Make a character that is good at what they are meant to be good at. If you want to make the rogue character, focus on stealth and deception and slight of hand. You don’t need to be better at Arcana than the wizard is just because you can be.
Now, that does sound like you could end up creating a character that isn’t fun for you to play. Maybe you want to be to tools monkey who knows a bit of everything all the time. That’s fine, but then leave of combat. Which is what Batman forgot to do. But for the final piece of advice, play a character that is fun for you, but is also fun for everyone else to play with. Let’s go with the Rogue example again, just because you can steal from the paladin doesn’t mean that you should steal from the paladin. And maybe your paladin is all about being that thief, but at least make it then that he respects at least some of the members of the party enough to not steal from the party. You can certainly try and steal from shops still, but the party is off limits, because when you steal the trinket that the paladin has written a massive backstory for, they are going to be pissed.
And that’s it, it’s a bit of a shorter article. Sorry for missing yesterday, I was out sick. But those are the three things, really two, just with one split out between mechanics and role playing. But this is the simplest level of creating a character that you’re going to have fun playing, and that is going to fit into the campaign and be fun to play with in a game.
Now, this is a bit simplistic, hence the 101 added to the end. I am going to continue until we get up to a graduate level course, just remember that all the information for building a good character is going to build off of one another, so starting at the graduate level course isn’t going to do you that much good.
Have I missed anything important for the extremely basic how to create a good D&D player character?
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