Posts Tagged ‘CharGen’

Blog Carnival – Heroes Living and Dead

December 2, 2011 2 comments

Courtesy of Nevermeet Press

The theme for this month’s Blog Carnival is Heroes Living & Dead. For some, it will be an opportunity to tell you all about their favorite characters from campaigns new and old, but I’d like to focus on what gives a hero depth, and makes them worth remembering.

When designing a character (or Hero) focus first on that individuals strengths. Sometimes this is literal strength in the case of a barbarian or fighter, sometimes this is strength of mind (Wizard/Psion), faith (Cleric/Druid/Shaman), or skill (Bard/Rogue/Thief). Generally your character is going to be really good at something. This strong-suit can and should be character-defining, but in order to stand out from the crowd of potential heroes, one must add details to make a character unique.

A good character is going to have a weakness as well. This can be reflected in the numbers on the character sheet (Dump Stat!) but can also be revealed through character background, and role play. A particularly unwise character may charge headlong into battle despite very grim odds. Constitution not your strong suit? Your character may be suffering from a chronic ailment that plagues him, perhaps contracted in a gambit for more power (you guys have heard of Raistlin, right?).

Ok, its too tempting. I’m going to tell you about my character after all. In our pirate campaign, my elven ranger stood his ground, guarding a fallen comrade against a small undead horde while the rest of the party made somewhat of a tactical retreat. We’re first level, so my character went unconscious twice and failed two death saving throws, but survived by the skin of his teeth. In his background his village was ransacked by orcs, and he spent his life training to stand against evil now that he is of age. So when a host of undead pirates land on his beach, he wasn’t going anywhere. The rest of the party did the wise thing in retreating, then had to come swooping in to bail me out of the fire, but it all worked out in the end, and actually added to the story. Since its my turn to DM the pirates for next session, my ranger will be sullenly nursing his wounds now that he knows the breadth of valor of his companions! It should make for some fun interplay between the characters.

So remember, when making a hero its important to think about that individuals flaws or weaknesses as well as what their more heroic qualities. In that way you’ll have a mulch-dimensional protagonist that bards (or at least players) will tell tales of for years to come!

Character concepts – Archetypical or Unique

November 16, 2011 1 comment

courtesy of

The pirates campaign launches this evening! Anchors away! Avast ye mateys, and all that. Most of the party is coming to the table with character concepts in mind (if not character sheets!) which got me thinking; In this new campaign we are starting as members of a pirate crew, each there for our own reasons. I chose pretty much the D&D archetype of archetypes, the elven ranger. Who am I, Legolas? I know, but here is the thing – I *like* elven rangers. I was a boy scout growing up, I always liked woodcraft and archery, and can identify with knowing where I am in the woods and wanting to enjoy and defend nature. Statistically in D&D 4e, it makes *sense* to play as an elf because of their love of the natural world, and the handy bonuses to Dexterity, Wisdom, (optionally Intelligence) and skill bonuses to Nature and Perception. It just feels right. Experienced gamers may roll their eyes and say, “Oh, and I suppose you have a gruff dwarf in the party who doesn’t like boats?”

No. That would be silly for a pirate campaign.

As far as I can tell so far, my character is the only true archetype among us. The rest of the party are unique combinations that will bring a lot of flavor to the campaign. We’ve got a drow artificer, who fancies himself a “doctor” that has engineered clockwork spiders. He seems very keen on the study of anatomy, if only to enhance his own creations. Next, a Gnoll Monk who serves as the ship’s cook. Apparently his cooking is terrible, but who’s going to critique a 7′ Gnoll surrounded by deadly cooking implements? We will probably have a Dragonborn Warlord who maintains the heavy weapons on the ship; ballistae and such. Finally we have a water Genasi Ensnaring Swordmage with longsword fashioned from coral. We may end up with a wizard before the night’s end, but so far, the elf is looking like the normal kid in the bunch.

courtesy of fistfull of coppers

While my character may start like a fairly typical archetype that many who are familiar with D&D would readily recognize, who knows what will happen to him throughout the campaign? He could acquire a beast companion who becomes a life-long friend, or a nasty scar from a future nemesis. Its important to remember that characters evolve as we play them, and my elven ranger would be a lot different from anyone else’s if for nothing but the different experiences and companions that this elf is going to have. To me, character creation should be about what you want to play. If you want something that sets your guy apart from the crowd from day one, D&D certainly provides the opportunity to create someone truly original. Want something more familiar you can slip in to, like an old sweatshirt, worn, but comfortable? All your favorite archetypes are possible too. Which do you like when it comes to creating a new character for a campaign? Tried and true, or something off the wall?

Categories: 4e, DnD, RPGs, Tips Tags: , , , , ,