Rolling A New Character Is My Favorite Part Of Dungeons & Dragons

Illustration for article titled Rolling A New Character Is My Favorite Part Of Dungeons & Dragons

This Sunday, my D&D group got to the halfway point of our adventure. We all chatted about things we wanted to try in the next half, which means I get to do my favorite thing to do in a roleplaying game: roll a new character.

When I joined this game, I took over for a player who had to drop out. I wasn’t sure how frequently I’d be able to play, or even if we’d get along, so when they handed me the character sheet for Mari Evenwood, a half elf warlock, I just rolled with it. There’s a lot to like about Mari. She has some great spells, like Phantasmal Force, which can convince an enemy that they’re being attacked by a phantasm. I’d also found and hatched a dragon egg during my time with the character, and now I have a dragon wyrmling that’s imprinted on Mari’s face. She isn’t my character though, and I’ve been eager to create someone to play who is my own. As soon as we started talking about potential new characters, I opened up a baby names website to come up with a suitable name.

Empty character sheets are exciting to me, especially after you’d spent some time with a system and have a better idea of your playstyle. With a fresh character sheet in hand, I got a chance to make a character that filled gaps in my party and also made the game more exciting for me to play.


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Who I came up with at two in the morning when I couldn’t sleep is Saarika Seaswift, a tiefling druid. Unlike the rest of our party, she’s got a high intelligence and wisdom, and her ability to turn into animals like a bear or a giant eagle finally gives our party a tank. Fifth edition Dungeons & Dragon allows you to give your character a background that gives them a few proficiencies. I liked the sound of making Saarika an Acolyte with a proficiency in religion, then remembered that our party’s cleric told me that religion had been pretty much useless to him in our adventure. Instead, Saarika is a Haunted One with a dark past that she’s running from, giving her a proficiency in Survival, which is more useful to our party. On the superficial side of things, at first Saarika was a human, but then I started thinking about the anime Darling in the Franxxx, and I decided I wanted to play a babe with horns.

Whenever I make new characters that explore parts of the game I haven’t played as much as others, I worry that they won’t be as fun to play as they were to roll. I’ve played a druid once before, for a one shot, and it was definitely fun, but maybe I’ll end up missing having a laser beam I can shoot out of my fingers from 300 feet away. I’m itching to play as Saarika Seaswift right now, but I’m sure as I play I’ll discover all the small things about her character and skillset that I don’t like. The potential of what she can do and the new stories I can tell with her are giving me life right now, though. And also my DM let me keep the dragon, so, score.

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So, how does 5E play versus stuff like Pathfinder? Is it still “quadratic wizards, linear fighters,” like previous editions, or has this edition finally lessened the gap between power tiers?