D&D 5E D&D Beyond Releases 2023 Character Creation Data

D&D Beyond released the 2023 Unrolled with data on the most popular character choices for D&D. The full article includes a wide variety of statistics for the beta test of Maps, charity donations, mobile app usage, and more. However, I’m just going to recap the big numbers.

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The most common species chosen by players are Human, Elf, Dragonborn, Tiefling, and Half-Elf. This contrasts with the stats from Baldur’s Gate 3 released back in August 2023 where Half-Elves were the most popular with the rest of the top five also shuffling around.

Also, keep an eye on the scale of these charts as they’re not exactly even. It starts with just over 700,000 for Humans and 500,000 for Elf, but the next line down is 200,000 with the other three species taking up space in that range. This means the difference separating the highest line on the graph and the second highest is 200,000, then 300,000 between the next two, 100,000 between the next, and finally 10,000 separating all the others.

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Top classes start off with the Fighter then move onto the Rogue, Barbarian, Wizard, and Paladin. The scale on this chart is just as uneven as the last, but the numbers are much closer with what appears to be about 350,000 Fighters at the top to just over 100,000 Monks in next-to-last with under 80,000 Artificers. This contrasts far more from the Baldur’s Gate 3 first weekend data as the top five classes for the game were Paladin, Sorcerer, Warlock, Rogue, and Bard.

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And the most important choices for new characters, the names. Bob is still the top choice for names with Link, Saraphina, and Lyra seeing the most growth and Bruno, Eddie, and Rando seeing the biggest declines from last year.

Putting that together, it means the most commonly created character on D&D Beyond is Bob the Human Fighter. A joke going as far back as I can remember in RPGs is, in fact, reality proven by hard statistics.
 

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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott

Oofta

Legend
It is also pretty amusing, this depiction of trolls as these cunning, capable, stealthy hunters..

When (in 5e at least) they are literal giants..with negative mental attribute modifiers..across the board..and no stealth proficiency (their only stealth benefit is a +1 dex)..and no mention of cunning or hunting or stealth..at all..in their statblock or description.

Like..not one piece of the characterization is supportable based on what the game tells us about the monster

Most predators play to their strengths. Nobody is saying trolls are lurkers, just that there is no reason to believe they are inherently suicidal. That, and if your encounter is not happening on salt flats, line of sight may not extend indefinitely.
 

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Most predators play to their strengths. Nobody is saying trolls are lurkers, just that there is no reason to believe they are inherently suicidal. That, and if your encounter is not happening on salt flats, line of sight may not extend indefinitely.
They are 9ft tall stubborn bipeds, prone to rage..with no skills or behaviors that suggest they should be able to easily approach the party unawares.

Meanwhile D&D party members will frequently have skills and abilities which are designed to help them detect and avoid danger.

It's fine if you want to give trolls the benefit of quantum impenetrable obscuring terrain and preternatural situational awareness, but your thumb is on the scales.
 

Oofta

Legend
They are 9ft tall stubborn bipeds, prone to rage..with no skills or behaviors that suggest they should be able to easily approach the party unawares.

Meanwhile D&D party members will frequently have skills and abilities which are designed to help them detect and avoid danger.

It's fine if you want to give trolls the benefit of quantum impenetrable obscuring terrain and preternatural situational awareness, but your thumb is on the scales.

So you're on team "Monsters are stupid automatons that always fight to the death and you can see as far in the woods as you want?" Okay.
 

Oofta

Legend
One other note on this, the troll is one of the most vulnerable CR 5 monsters for starting an encounter at 50 feet against a group of PCs that have effective ranged attacks. A hill giant for example, has a 60/240 foot ranged attack that will take out any level 1 PC it hits. A gorgon has a charge attack or a breath weapon. A bullette can burrow. A barlgura could turn itself invisible or cast entangle. That's just a handful of larger monsters from the MM that I selected with a random roll of the die.

Which was what this whole argument started about - that a first level party of casters could easily take out a CR 5 monster. So if you pick the right monster, the right spells for the casters (and assume they have both spell slots), ignore the inherent capabilities of the monster and run them as mindless automatons that don't know their own capabilities, sure. Then throw in stuff about how the troll will always be visible 100 feet away in the woods.

So of course it gets pushback. Want monsters to be easy to kill? Go for it. Want to complain that it is impossible to challenge a level 1 party of casters with a CR 5 monster without likely losing at least 1 or 2 PCs? It gets pushback.
 

So you're on team "Monsters are stupid automatons that always fight to the death and you can see as far in the woods as you want?" Okay.
I'm on team 'canonically stupid (and unwise!!) monsters are canonically stupid (and unwise!!)"

And on team "passive perception is likely high enough to detect literal giants who have no canonical inclination to attempt stealth, and no skill to help them do so"

And on team "if they want to run away and hide, they should need to use the hide action to do so just like the PCs would"

Edit:..like there are rules and stats and skills that govern how well characters do at these kinds of activities, and it seems you're willing to just give the monster the W.
 
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Oofta

Legend
I'm on team 'canonically stupid (and unwise!!) monsters are canonically stupid (and unwise!!)"

And on team "passive perception is likely high enough to detect literal giants who have no canonical inclination to attempt stealth, and no skill to help them do so"

And on team "if they want to run away and hide, they should need to use the hide action to do so just like the PCs would"

Edit:..like there are rules and stats and skills that govern how well characters do at these kinds of activities, and it seems you're willing to just give the monster the W.

Wolves are "stupid" yet successfully hunt because they use reasonable tactics. Same with every other major predator. I'm not talking about a troll being a genius, I'm saying that it would be logical that if they realize they are losing a fight they would back off, regenerate, and attack again because they're going to lean into their strengths. They know they regenerate while most of their prey does not.

I'm not talking about hiding, I'm talking about line of sight. In many forest environments, losing line of sight after 30 feet or less is likely and something I've experienced more than once. In the summer you can barely see my house from the road which is set back probably just under 100 feet from the street because we have native landscaping and a bit of elevation change at the front. During the winter? If we had grass like everyone else? No problem. With the landscape we put in because we want to support the birds and the bees? Hard to see from directly in front.
 

Wolves are "stupid" yet successfully hunt because they use reasonable tactics. Same with every other major predator. I'm not talking about a troll being a genius, I'm saying that it would be logical that if they realize they are losing a fight they would back off, regenerate, and attack again because they're going to lean into their strengths. They know they regenerate while most of their prey does not.

I'm not talking about hiding, I'm talking about line of sight. In many forest environments, losing line of sight after 30 feet or less is likely and something I've experienced more than once. In the summer you can barely see my house from the road which is set back probably just under 100 feet from the street because we have native landscaping and a bit of elevation change at the front. During the winter? If we had grass like everyone else? No problem. With the landscape we put in because we want to support the birds and the bees? Hard to see from directly in front.
And I'm saying nothing about the troll's 5e description..literally nothing.. supports the behavior you are describing. You know..in the way that wolves' tactics are reflected in the MM by the "pack tactics" ability. (Edit: also..wolves are wiser than trolls..by kind of a lot)

I'm not sure real world experience is all that helpful in picturing how well a literal giant would be in breaking line of sight when they are recklessly running for their lives. Maybe they could in some cases, I don't know.

We could experiment. Try playing hide and seek in the woods but where one person dresses up in one of those big sumo suits, doesn't hide, and just runs around howling and see how hard they are to locate.
 
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There are plenty of monsters that do not have ranged attacks. It is pretty suicidal for such creatures to try to attack characters with ranged attacks on an open plain. I think the CR must assume at least rudimentary tactics that take into account the circumstances.
 

Clint_L

Hero
They are 9ft tall stubborn bipeds, prone to rage..with no skills or behaviors that suggest they should be able to easily approach the party unawares.
They are camouflaged predators with a much higher intelligence than most, and they are about the same size as a large alligator or bear. I have no problem imagining a scenario in which a troll lurks and surprises a party who are not being very cautious.
Meanwhile D&D party members will frequently have skills and abilities which are designed to help them detect and avoid danger.

It's fine if you want to give trolls the benefit of quantum impenetrable obscuring terrain and preternatural situational awareness, but your thumb is on the scales.
No, that's just how large predators behave. They don't blunder about and hope they stumble upon unconscious prey. They wait and stalk. Same as human hunters. Wild animals are really good at not getting eaten, with all kinds of skills and abilities designed by evolution to help them. Predators have to be up to the job.
 

TheSword

Legend
Which was what this whole argument started about - that a first level party of casters could easily take out a CR 5 monster. So if you pick the right monster, the right spells for the casters (and assume they have both spell slots), ignore the inherent capabilities of the monster and run them as mindless automatons that don't know their own capabilities, sure. Then throw in stuff about how the troll will always be visible 100 feet away in the woods.
I think I might have started it by saying my first level party was going to get one to deal with early on, and that a separate but similar party already had. Which was itself a hyperbolic response to the claim that a CR3 opponent was unreasonable for 1st level PCs.

However my trolls were in fairly controlled circumstances - having just crawled up the well into the Yawning Portal, and were spending the first round disemboweling patrons.

It all spiraled out of control from there.
 

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