5E Preferred way to build your characters: - Page 5

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

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  1. #41
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    Man, there's a lot of answers to this question.

    First, this is an answer for 5e. The truth is there's a lot of mechanical influence on concepts, things I rarely think of because I've been playing so long but was really brought home to me when I was teaching my daughter. This was a number of years ago and she wanted to create a character. i figured I'd talk her though the concept and then handle the mechanics myself. She stated describing what she wanted, and while it would have been balanced it didn't fit any class. (First example of how mechanics control concept). So I explained the classes to her. And she wanted a druid among the choices. But then I made the "mistake" of explaining ability scores, so prominent on the character sheet. She wanted her defining characteristic to be agile "like Peter Parker". And among the others she wanted to be naive with a low wisdom. The hghi dex doesn't carry over to animal forms (something she wasn't expecting), and the low wisdom hurt all spellcasting DCs, spell attacks and the like. I might try it as a unusual character but there's no way I'd hand it to a new player when they have the assumption that they'll be just as able to contribute as everyone else.

    Anyway, all of that was to say that in any version of DD&, mechanics will strongly coral your concepts, unlike in some other systems.

    For myself I usually work in one of three ways on 5e characters.

    1. If joining an existing group or we're all creating characters together, I'll plan with the others what niches to cover mechanically.

    2. I like voices and vocabulary choices as my triggers for getting into character, so I'll often work out dialog ahead of time (in the shower) and from there a personality. Once I have that, I see what type of build would fit it.

    3. I will play around with builds just to play with the mechanics, and sometimes those will get married to one of the earlier steps. Other times I just build something new.
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  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue View Post
    First, this is an answer for 5e. The truth is there's a lot of mechanical influence on concepts, things I rarely think of because I've been playing so long but was really brought home to me when I was teaching my daughter. This was a number of years ago and she wanted to create a character. i figured I'd talk her though the concept and then handle the mechanics myself. She stated describing what she wanted, and while it would have been balanced it didn't fit any class. (First example of how mechanics control concept). So I explained the classes to her. And she wanted a druid among the choices. But then I made the "mistake" of explaining ability scores, so prominent on the character sheet. She wanted her defining characteristic to be agile "like Peter Parker". And among the others she wanted to be naive with a low wisdom. The hghi dex doesn't carry over to animal forms (something she wasn't expecting)
    This would have been trivially easy to houserule, that your physical stats stay the same relative to whatever species you shift into - thus a highly dextrous weaker-than-average human would be a highly dextrous (for a bear) weaker-than-average bear when shapeshifted.

    And - though it'd be tricky for a new player to manage - it's quite possible to play a naive character with a high wisdom score as simply not being world-wise. For a Druid this might mean someone who's very wise to the ways of the forest (and religion, if applicable) but is quite adrift in any other setting e.g. town, dungeon, interaction with more than one person at a time, and so forth.

    2. I like voices and vocabulary choices as my triggers for getting into character, so I'll often work out dialog ahead of time (in the shower) and from there a personality.
    I've done this also. Showers are good for creativity.

    Lanefan

  3. #43
    Where is the option for 'Complete rip off from book/game/movie/tv?'
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  4. #44
    Sooo….a nice block of replies and some interesting spreads of replies too. Some quick observations about the numbers.

    I should’ve put “Role First” as one fo the options as judging by a number of the replies saying “Mix”, there was a definite theme of looking at the party makeup and picking a handful of mechanics/classes that would fill that role….So I think probably mehcanics first is a little higher than 5% because of my own poor wording.

    Another interesting point was the vague blurring of race and class – a lot of people seem to put the two together in their replies. I’d be interested to find out if this is a more visual thing (I am envisioning an Elf with a spear), or if it’s a natural lean actually towards stats (I am envisioning a high STR character – so large and martial). Again, I think perhaps the stats lean is a little higher and the class a little lower mainly down to my poor wording.

    Also interested how few people equated rolling a random stat block with taking a Stats first approach – I think this is part because I used a poor example, but also how much people don’t see Stats and Character operating in sympathy with each other – this is slightly supported by the number of replies that seem to treat the concept and the mechanics as a distinct two stage process (“I pick a narrative, background and class – flesh that out a bit – then I pick the mechanics”). This, possibly as much as anything else, highlights the slight conflict between D&D’s two halves: The Role playing, and the Game.

    Overall though, I’d probably weight the replies about 2:1 Mechanics Vs Story as the main driver for character creation (considering the survey and adjusting for replies to mitigate my poor wording choices), which as much as anything else tells me there’s a large contingency of players in numerous styles of games (Mechanics Vs Story is not a dichotomy, rather two non-parallel continuums producing a vast range of game styles). I might have to think on how to do a survey that would highlight differing players approaches to stats and skill and how they drive or react to character – I think that would be very enlightening…..

  5. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Immoralkickass View Post
    Where is the option for 'Complete rip off from book/game/movie/tv?'
    Concept first

  6. #46
    I tinker until I come up with a holistic representation of a character that I'd enjoy playing. There has to be synergy in the character between concept, stats, abilities, etc. Not so much power-gaming or optimisation as it is coherence. People generally don't go against their own strengths and focus all their efforts and education on their weaknesses. A person bad at math doesn't generally try to become a mathematician. The backstory and abilities also have to meld into a coherent whole that makes sense to me and has an evocative feeling to it. If I can't marry up an optimised human paladin with a concept that I think would be cool to roleplay, then that's not a fun or interesting character to me.

    So it's not really a mix of any of the choices. It's experimenting, chopping, changing, adapting, compromising and molding until I get to something I'm satisfied with and will enjoy at the table. That... often takes many hours.

  7. #47
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    Stats first, but not how you describe.

    For me, I prefer to roll my stats in order, then see what I can make.

    I strongly dislike "no rolling for stats" games.

  8. #48
    I answered "other". Anything on your list (any many other things besides) can serve as an initial inspiration. After that, for me it's a recursive process where thematic or mechanic elements inspire other ideas that would mesh well, which in turn inspire yet more ideas. When it works well, each iteration of the character has an ever-improving fit between the mechanics and the thematics, even as both stray from the initial inspiration. (Build/concept harmony is what I usually optimize for.)

    When it doesn't work well, the nascent concept can get too broad, and sometimes split into several different competing versions of the character (or even multiple characters). Sometimes that just gives me more ideas for future characters, but other times I'm left with too many character pieces, some of which are mutually exclusive. In that case I look at how the pieces conncect to see if there is a core concept lurking in some subset of the various options. (If that fails I usually pick my favorite bit and start the process over with stricter criteria on what new ideas I'll consider.)

    The two primary advantages to my method are (1) it produces multi-faceted characters I'm proud of with a very tight integration of mechanics and thematics, and (2) it's a delightfully fun process in its own right. The biggest downside is the time required: a new 5e character can take me ten hours or more to take from initial inspiration to ready-to-play character. (By contrast, a new 3.5 character could take 40 hours or more.) A secondary downside is that my character creation approach makes starting at 1st or 2nd level unappealing to me: there simply aren't enough moving pieces to make the process interesting.
    Last edited by Xetheral; Sunday, 15th October, 2017 at 09:47 PM. Reason: typo
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  9. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by the Jester View Post
    Stats first, but not how you describe.

    For me, I prefer to roll my stats in order, then see what I can make.

    I strongly dislike "no rolling for stats" games.
    Have you considered rolling randomly from a pregenerated list of arrays? This way all the results are both balanced and surprising.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yaarel View Post
    Have you considered rolling randomly from a pregenerated list of arrays? This way all the results are both balanced and surprising.
    I was just about to suggest my system - randomly place the Standard Array:

    Roll 1d6 to pick where the 15 goes.
    Roll 1d5 to place the 14 among the remaining stats
    1d4 for 13
    1d3 for the 12
    1d2 for the 10
    And then stick that 8 in the loser spot.
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