Thursday, November 22, 2012

Making a D&D Next Character

I made a D&D Next character today using the most recent playtest rules (from the set that includes the monk).

The last time I made a character was with the very first set of playtest rules, and quite a bit has changed since then.

We're doing an online playtest tonight, and the group needs a rogue.  Our experience in the Next game that I DM is that the rogue is pretty powerful, but apparently some smack has been talked about them, so I'm interested in creating one to see just what they can do under the newest rules.

So, race comes first.  Everyone plays a halfling thief, so I figure elf or human, or maaaaaybee dwarf if I come up with a good idea.  Perusing the races my latent min/maxer kicks in - I pick the wood elf for the +1 dex bonus, the automatic training in spot and listen and the enhanced ability to hide.  All good things for a rogue.

Stats come next, roll them up using 4d6 drop lowest - 12, 17, 12, 16, 10, 8.  Those are quite good, actually, especially when you realize that you get to add at least 2 point to those scores.

I'll take Str 10 cause I don't need it, Dex 17 of course, Con 12 for a slight HP edge, Int 16 for the skills, Wis 12 for skills and Cha 8.  Yaay for Charisma dump stat!  Add the +1 Dex for being an elf and I'm sitting pretty at 18 Dex.

I already picked the rogue class, so I get another +1 to add to Str, Dex or Int.  Dex it is for the 19 and the +5 bonus.  Finesse weapons here we COME.  And the damage dice increase on shortbows from being an elf don't hurt none either.

On to the Background, Specialty and Scheme.  So many choices here!  I don't like the Backgrounds and Schemes that I see, too much overlap and duplication of what I already have.  It seems like if you get training on a skill you already have you should get an extra +1 or +2 or something.  Is there a rule I missed?

Since I'm not happy with any of the ones I see here, I'll make up my own.  They thoughtfully give me rules to do that, and hellz, I'm a DM, I make up my own shit ALL THE TIME.

Background: 
Brigand. You are a robber or forester who lives in the wilderness. You have excellent forestry skills, and excel at avoiding pursuit or detection.

Skills: Track, Survival, Search, Climb
Trait: Wanderer – excellent memory for maps and terrain, can find
food and water for up to 5 others each day.
Cool art from this blog.

Scheme: 
Nightrunner. The Nightrunner is an elven assassin, spy and saboteur. They are trained in stealth, climbing and agility, as well as sneaky tricks.
Skills: Stealth, Balance, Disable Device, Tumble
Maneuvers: Danger Sense, Precise Shot, Sneak Attack, Spring Attack, Vault, Controlled Fall, Parry, Tumbling Dodge.

Woot - that means I have training in Listen, Spot, Track, Sneak, Survival, Search, Climb, Balance, Disable Device and Tumble.  Thiefy and scouty!  I get a skill mastery maneuver automatically that lets me add my expertise dice to a skill check, so that enhances all these skills.  Being a rogue also gives me thieves tools, proficiency in light armor and basic, finesse, simple and martial missile weapons for a reasonable weapon selection.

Picking a Specialty is actually pretty tough, as there are a lot of Specialties that fit with my character concept (elven Snake-eyes FTW!)  Eventually, I pick Ambush Specialist, getting the Improved Initiative feat.  +4 on initiative and a minimum of 10 on initiative rolls means that I CANNOT get less than 19 on an initiative roll.  Plus my danger sense maneuver lets me add my expertise dice to initiative.  Minimum 20, then, so I will be going first.  And that is good since I only have 7 HP and 16 AC.

For weapons, being an elf gives me enhanced damage dice on the shortbow, that will be a no-brainer.  I also take a katana (SNAKE-EYES!  SHUT UP!) for the higher damage since I can't use a shield anyways, daggers for thematic effect and throwing and a spiked chain (kusari) because it's cool and I could see it coming in handy.  Indiana Jones always found a use for the whip, so a weighted chain should be useful.

Because of the high Dex and the +2 rogue attack bonus, I have +7 to hit with all my weapons, and most of them get a +5 damage adjustment.  I may not be durable, but I'm pointy.

Leather armor is obvious since my Dex is so high.  I'll also take a raft of sneaky gear:  backpack, climbers kit, 2 grappling hooks, caltrops, oil, ball bearings, pitons, tinderbox, waterskin, chalk, thieves tools, a steel mirror and the obligatory black cloak.  That leaves me enough money for all my weapons and about 20 GP left over, as you are allowed to spend 175 GP if you don't take the standard gear recommendations.

Finalized sheet is here:  Cerdwin

I did have the +1 rogue bonus added to STR instead of DEX on this character sheet, but I'll fix that up shortly.

Some thoughts:

It's a bit fiddly if you care about duplicating skills.

Improved Initiative will be nerfed shortly.

Between Class, Race, Scheme, Specialty and Background there is a LOT to choose from.  Maybe too much for a newbie.  Definitely harder than the first couple of rounds of playtest.

It's really easy to customize character creation, which is great.  Min/maxing is there but less of an issue than 4e and you don't seem to need a doctorate in systems design to plan a character like you did in 3e.

These characters remind me a bit of Palladium system characters.  Many of the basic bonuses and skills are set on creation and the characters don't change THAT much as you level.  Sure you get better, but the basics are all the same.

This rogue is going to be nasty if I don't die immediately.

I could easily die immediately.

It's a bit weird having katanas and things in the equipment lists, but I rationalize by saying that they are just elven-style weapons analogous to katanas and kusari and other ninja/oriental stuff.

You could still do old-school characters very easily on this system by removing Scheme, Specialty and optionally background.  The system would still work at least as well as 1e.  Keeping background and Scheme would mean you basically have 2e.

The feats are simple and the Specialties work more like Vampire Disciplines now - neat new powers every few levels.  I like that.

This is flexible and interesting enough that I like creating characters.  Probably the most interesting character creation in D&D since 2e.