Character progression planning, how do you do it?

How do you handle character progression planning?

  • Plan out the whole thing baby! By the first session I know what level 20 will look like

    Votes: 1 2.5%
  • Plan out the next few levels at least ahead of time.

    Votes: 3 7.5%
  • I have a general idea, but that's subject to change. Usually don't plan more than 1 level ahead

    Votes: 19 47.5%
  • No planning, I make my choices at level up based on what makes sense for what's going on in game

    Votes: 10 25.0%
  • No planning, I make my choices based on how I feel at the moment I hear "DING!"

    Votes: 4 10.0%
  • I plan ahead, but it all goes to crap anyway so who really knows?

    Votes: 3 7.5%
  • Planning? I START OUT at level 20, man. I've got a whole folder of just level 20 builds I made!

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


It varies by character and actual play.

So characters are builtto a concept that requires certain things - druid-paladin "warden", barbarian-druid "wilding", Bard-Wizard "stonesinger".

Some start simpler abd develop from changes in play.

But one constant is - background and backstory - i try and include seeds inthose that tie in with various choices that might come up. If multi-classing is possible to tgis or that, not anethema to the concept, i want to seed those possibilities in background, backstory and nurture them in play.


I enjoy building characters. Generally I build to 10-13 level since it is around there the the campaign dies and a new one picks up. For everyone I have played, I've built 5 more. Some are optimized, but the majority are built around a theme. Like the Halfling Summoner I played who devoted 3/4 of his feats to tricking everyone including the party that he was a human child. The first session the other players just thought when he talked about his Eidolon, he was talking about an imaginary friend.
The most critical thing for me is that a build is not set in stone. It is the direction I want the character to go before I've started playing him. Before I've seen what my fellow players are bringing to the table. And most importantly, before I know what sort of story we are all going to tell together. Rarely does a character I play look exactly the way I built it originally. Sometimes it's just a minor change like a different spell at a particular level or picking a better feat to synergize with a party member. Other times, the story "forces" my hand; such as when my "fucking hate magic users" Slayer found out his real father is a demigod of Evil and Magic... Switched to Inquisitor (Sanctified Slayer). It explained some of the weird shit happening around him as well as daddy's bloodline coming into play.
Since I try so hard to make sure my character's skills fit their backstory, I have to plan at least a few levels ahead; sometimes up to five levels ahead.
Good example: Staring a new campaign soon and playing a drow rogue. But, the backstory portrays him as a young and learning diplomat from a family that aspires to grow out of the underdark (friend's world, not all drow are evil). So I make him an arcane trickster. All spells are diplomacy based: comprehend languages, detect magic, etc. No damage spells. Took the Courtier background just to learn two extra languages.

Not sure how others go by a whim, especially if they are considering the character's backstory. But to each their own.


Morkus from Orkus
Sometimes I have a vague idea of where I want a character to go, in terms of advancement, sometimes I don't. In all cases, I allow any prior idea to be influenced by in-game events, so even the vague idea doesn't really hold true.
This is what I do as well.