5E Preferred way to build your characters:

Poll: What is your (PREFERRED) way to build your characters

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  1. #1

    Preferred way to build your characters:

    After seeing a couple of conversations recently about stats/skills/building characters I started to notice a couple of things. Firstly: players have very varied ways of approaching stats, skills, and character motivations (sort of like a multi-dimensional chicken and egg continuum). Secondly: these approaches often lined up with the anecdotal or example methods of how those characters came about. And Thirdly: Often this was in reply to one person or another commenting how some mechanic in the game was pointless/OP/Only worked one way.

    So in the interest of examining the variability of player approaches, a survey seemed suitable at this point. That way, when two peoples views on preferred playstyles start to cause friction, theres referenceable evidence that differing approaches to building characters (Or not I dont know yet) is not an absurd position.

    I use the term Preferred in the survey question because we all take different approaches from time to time (Sometimes you really wanna play a Dragonborn and to hell with complex backstories!).but generally most people will have a go to process when they start to flesh out a new character.

    I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts about how your character Building approach influences the way you go on to play that character. For example, I tend towards Backstory over class and stats - so regardless of what my attributes are, my character is often going behave in a manner befitting his history, rather than his skills (e.g. My ex-general Half-Elf Barbarian who's cursed with mild madness (by a Lich) is going to lean heavily towards talk, reason, and politics, despite having better stats for punching and intimidating people......
    Last edited by Hillsy7; Tuesday, 10th October, 2017 at 04:18 PM.

  2. #2
    I almost always start with class, as I try to form balanced parties (or, at least, not terribly unbalanced). If no one wants to be the healer, I'll step in. If everyone else wants to play martial characters, I'll play the wizard. This also gives other players a chance to try something new, e.g., warlock. I can have fun with any class, so it makes sense to let others choose first and I'll fill in the gap.
    XP KahlessNestor, Yardiff, Tallifer gave XP for this post

  3. #3
    I went with "Mechanics First" But its only partially true. I really like hearing a vague concept "I want to be a muscle wizard!" And figuring out both mechanically the best way to accomplish that and do respectable damage (Obviously every idea isn't going to compete with SS Xbow Masters) AND what story will thematically fit with this unique character.
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  4. #4
    I generally choose an inspiration from some other story or media and use the rules to build that character. I have used as inspiration:

    Hulk: Half-orc barbarian with Tavern Brawler for the d4 damage die and bonus action grappling. Best moment was when he helped rescue some hostages by kool-aid man going through a wall, grappling the guard, knocking him prone, and ground pounding him.

    Lindsey Stirling: Human bard that dances and plays the violin. This was a spare character I have not had a chance to play yet.

    Percival de Rolo: Reimagined as a warlock with that shoots eldritch blast and other cantrips from a revolver (a reskinned magic wand). He selects the chamber to select the cantrip. Best moment was taking out a white dragon wyrmling, a shaman, and a barbarian chief while outside of their range followed by tripping a trap that cast meteor swarm and casting dimension door to get to safety.

    I also made a couple characters for my brother who is newer to D&D he wanted to play:

    Ichigo from Bleach: Pact of the Blade warlock who was a backup character that did not get played.

    Vegeta: Dwarf barbarian with magic initiate for eldritch blast.
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  5. #5
    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)

    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    New York
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    Block hawkeyefan

    I said class first. It's really probably more of a mix in that I usually have a concept for what I want to play that contains more elements than just the class (backstory, home country, outlook, etc) but class is the most definin characteristic for game terms, so that's usually the biggest component in the process.

  6. #6
    Had to think about this for longer than I thought I would, and almost chose the fence option. But in the end, for me, I think its all about the high concept I want to play a cowardly thief on the run from their guild, or an aged barbarian seeking a glorious death. There are elements of visual, race, and class in there, but ultimately they all are tied to the concept.

    Rules dont really enter into the concept until later on. I have no interest in trying to squeeze every little mechanical benefit I can out of the characters configuration (though mechanical concerns arent completely tossed by the wayside), I just want to play a character that I think is interesting.

  7. #7
    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)

    Mercule's Avatar

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    Jun 2002
    The tall corn
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    Block Mercule

    I said "mix", which means either the concept or the background, first. Sometimes seeing a new class, race, etc. will inspire me towards a concept, but I really, really dislike starting with actual mechanics for character creation. I want to know what makes the character compelling, not what makes them statistically significant.

    That said, sometimes it's OK to just want to play the game. I'd love to play a 5E Monk, just because the class looks like it would have interesting ways to interact with the rules. I just wouldn't do it unless I could also wrap a background or concept around the mechanics.

  8. #8
    Greater Elemental (Lvl 23)

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Lawrenceville, NJ
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    Block TwoSix

    Mechanical concept first. I usually think of something like "I want to play someone who only uses cantrips" or "I want to play a full support character" or "I want to play a low-Int wizard". Then I look for options to fit that, usually looking for good third party stuff to fill the niche.

    I also keep a decent amount of backup concepts stockpiled, to support point-buy games, array-only games, high stats rolled, low stats rolled, PHB only games, etc. I try never to fixate on one concept so I never feel stuck, no matter what the table.
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  9. #9
    High Concept. Either my own, or inspired by a literary or media source. For example, I reread the Pawn Of Prophecy last year, and was inspired to make a PC after Barak. So I look at what classes can best emulate that. in this case, start as a barbarian bear totem, and after level 3, move to druid (wild shape into bear). I'll look for feats and backgrounds that help support that concept rather than look at what's more optimized or not. I really don't care about optimization.

  10. #10
    I voted "Mechanics", but what I'm really trying to do is see what the group needs and fill a spot. Like I recently stepped into an Against the Giants Campaign that didn't have any healers, so I wanted someone good at that to fill the need, and while I wasn't in the mood to play a straight Cleric I ended up making a Cleric of Life 1/Paladin 10. Aura of Vitality with the Cleric of Life feature is really, really good.

    I enjoy finding flexible combinations of races, classes, feats, and backgrounds to achieve what I'm looking for though, so I almost never go in thinking "I want to play a Elf Fighter". It's more "I need someone who's good at stealth/scouting and reasonable at ranged combat" and then think about ways to achieve that.
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