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

Hussar

Legend
My image of trolls is too colored by nostalgia.

View attachment 344948

I tried to find a copy of the one-frame cartoon with a party laying down string in a dungeon to avoid getting lost and troll around a corner rolling up the string, but after way too long trying, my search-fu failed me and I couldn't find it. I believe it was in the 1e DMG, but I don't have that handy right now.
I know the picture you are talking about. Found it:

tumblr_m7vxg7U3qh1ro2bqto1_r1_1280.jpg
 

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Mecheon

Sacabambaspis
Yeah, while it may not be a 5E thing I'd absolutely say the wider pop culture image of trolls has them absolutely being able to be impossibly sneaky. They're the prototypical 'blends into nature so well it looks like its stones, or they turned into the stone' creature.

Mind the pop culture image of trolls is affected by like, 12 contradictory sources between "Original myths", "Dungeons and Dragons", "Warcraft", "That one troll in Skyrim who appears out of nowhere and murders you" and even movies taking the 'no one really can classify them' even further. But I'd say there's genearlly a sneakiness to them, or at least an ability to be hidden, and I'd say the generally opinion is they'd be smarter than say, ogres
 

I should note, I don't mind the thematics of apex predator, sneaky, devious trolls.i kinda like it even.

It just isn't how 5e describes them. And it's difficult to talk about encounter expectations and creature behavior when we aren't using the common baseline expressed in the game.

And it's stuff like this that makes 'argument by way of scenario example' difficult. One person uses apex predator troll, and the other uses wilderness drunk uncle troll to craft their scenarios.

The scenarios' results differ and both go "Ah ha! And this is why spellcasters are weak/balanced/overpowered"
 

Hussar

Legend
And, "casters are overpowered" wasn't even the argument really. That's the truly funny part. It was that the intersection between the plain English rules and the spell/power descriptions often leads to all sorts of grey areas which can play merry hell with how the game runs.

Like the earlier example of the Order of Scribes with the Manifest Mind being able to walk through walls. Yes, absolutely, it can't. And it's right there. I was 100% wrong and so was my player. But, we both read that and neither of us saw it. And, if one intangible thing CAN walk through walls - a projected image certainly can, why should any "intangible" thing be able to do the same thing? But, for some reason (well, for game balance reasons) one can and one can't. There's no explanation.

To be fair, I'm coming to realize that a lot of this is simply me being really, really burned out on casters. I'm probably over reacting simply because it's something that's just come up so many freaking times in the past few years of my gaming because we've been playing high single digit levels to double digit levels with almost all caster parties for about three years or more now? Been a fair while anyway.

Talk to me again in about five months after this current Phandelver campaign I'm running wraps up and I'll likely be a lot easier to talk to.
 

Oofta

Legend
I should note, I don't mind the thematics of apex predator, sneaky, devious trolls.i kinda like it even.

It just isn't how 5e describes them. And it's difficult to talk about encounter expectations and creature behavior when we aren't using the common baseline expressed in the game.

And it's stuff like this that makes 'argument by way of scenario example' difficult. One person uses apex predator troll, and the other uses wilderness drunk uncle troll to craft their scenarios.

I don't consider a moose a stealthy apex predator, yet I can speak from personal experience that it is easy to encounter one with less than 30 feet away when hiking in the wilderness. BTW, moose are huge. It doesn't take a creature with a +10 stealth to potentially start a combat at any distance that makes sense for the current environment.

The scenarios' results differ and both go "Ah ha! And this is why spellcasters are weak/balanced/overpowered"

I think we can always come up with scenarios to sat "And this is why [insert class/race/build] are weak/balanced/overpowered". Specific scenarios designed to "prove" whatever we want to support is pretty meaningless. All we do know is that people in 2023 who used DDB chose to play humans more often than any other single race and that they played fighters more often than any other single race.

My not-really-serious scenario to prove that human fighters were superior was level 1 human fighters all armed with polearms and the sentinel feat with a troll starting more than 30 feet away. As it closes, the fighters can likely stop it 10 feet away then back up 25 feet so they can repeat every round. Even if it does get close to a fighter, they can just back away even if it provokes an opportunity attack. If it does happen to get a hit in, they have second wind and will have to spend their action withdrawing next round.

But it's also a pretty meaningless proof. Optimal build just depends on too many factors like what role you want to fill and will enjoy playing. The only thing that matters is what people enjoy playing. Personally? I like playing fighters, monks, rogues, clerics and, yes, even wizards when I get a chance to play. I'd advise people to play what they want and stop worrying about what everyone else is playing or which class is "optimal".
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I get where you’re coming at, and agree that those things are encouraged by the rules but I don’t think in either case the behaviors fundamentally spoil the experience for other players (or rather they benefit players equally) as opposed to grandstanding that leads to one player dominating the game at the others expense.
Players novaing encounters and abusing HW then refusing to continue without a long rest safe haven is disruptive behavior if the most popular class and race can't get one it but 75% of the other classes and races can.
 

I don't consider a moose a stealthy apex predator, yet I can speak from personal experience that it is easy to encounter one with less than 30 feet away when hiking in the wilderness. BTW, moose are huge. It doesn't take a creature with a +10 stealth to potentially start a combat at any distance that makes sense for the current environment.



I think we can always come up with scenarios to sat "And this is why [insert class/race/build] are weak/balanced/overpowered". Specific scenarios designed to "prove" whatever we want to support is pretty meaningless. All we do know is that people in 2023 who used DDB chose to play humans more often than any other single race and that they played fighters more often than any other single race.

My not-really-serious scenario to prove that human fighters were superior was level 1 human fighters all armed with polearms and the sentinel feat with a troll starting more than 30 feet away. As it closes, the fighters can likely stop it 10 feet away then back up 25 feet so they can repeat every round. Even if it does get close to a fighter, they can just back away even if it provokes an opportunity attack. If it does happen to get a hit in, they have second wind and will have to spend their action withdrawing next round.

But it's also a pretty meaningless proof. Optimal build just depends on too many factors like what role you want to fill and will enjoy playing. The only thing that matters is what people enjoy playing. Personally? I like playing fighters, monks, rogues, clerics and, yes, even wizards when I get a chance to play. I'd advise people to play what they want and stop worrying about what everyone else is playing or which class is "optimal".
For me, I'm inclined to discount a lot of personal wilderness experience..since I am not a professional fantasy adventurer and I'm not typically in the fantasy wilderness with a group of professional fantasy adventurers..fantasy adventuring. As such, I tend to at least try and consider what mechanical attributes the D&D adventuring party and the monster have when I'm thinking through what an encounter should look like within a particular environment.

Because, if a a 9ft biped with no stealth skills got within the same distance from my party as the Amazon guy has to walk to drop of my Prime deliveries, I'd expect the party to go..

"Wait..none of us heard or saw or smelt this thing at all before now?"

When that group that could include a 200 year-old wood elf trained in the magic of the forest, a recent graduate of a magical academy with an owl friend to scout the surroundings, and an acolyte of a tangible knowledge deity gifted with a taste of their god's divine power, I find..

"Well, I was once surprised by a moose"..

..to be a rather inadequate response.

Of course..YMMV I suppose.

All that said. My ultimate point is that example-by-scenario is frequently a poor strategy to employ in forum discussions, but it's worse when the parties involved are not using a common baseline, and worse still when some of those differences are contrary to stated game mechanics and descriptions.
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Healing word.

A spell designed for 4e that was converted wholesale to 5e without deep thought in the difference between 4e & 5e because 4e was shunned mechanically during 5e's creation.

4e's healing was cheap because 4e spend Healing Surges to heal and Death saves did not reset upon getting up.

5e copied a lot of 4e's ideas without the internal design mechanic behind that cause problems almost every time despite being popular.

  1. Dragonborn
  2. Tiefling
  3. Fighter action surge
  4. Hit Die healing as healing surge replacement
  5. Healing word
  6. Short rests
 
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Oofta

Legend
For me, I'm inclined to discount a lot of personal wilderness experience..since I am not a professional fantasy adventurer and I'm not typically in the wilderness with a group of professional fantasy adventurers..fantasy adventuring. As such, I tend to at least try and consider what mechanical attributes the D&D adventuring party and the monster have when I'm thinking through what an encounter should look like within a particular environment.

Because, if a a 9ft biped with no stealth skills got within the same distance from my party as the Amazon guy has to walk to drop of my Prime deliveries, I'd expect the party to go..

"Wait..none of us heard or saw or smelt this thing at all before now?"

When that group that could include a 200 year-old wood elf trained in the magic of the forest, a recent graduate of a magical academy with an owl friend to scout the surroundings, and an acolyte of a tangible knowledge deity gifted with a taste of their god's divine power, I find..

"Well, I was once surprised by a moose"..

..to be a rather inadequate response.

Of course..YMMV I suppose.

All that said. My ultimate point is that example-by-scenario is frequently a poor strategy to employ in forum discussions, but it's worse when the parties involved are not using a common baseline, and worse still when some of those differences are contrary to stated game mechanics and descriptions.

Have you ever seen a moose up close? They're much larger than people think. Also, if you've never been hiking in the wilderness I'm inclined to discount people who have no experience with it. I don't care how observant you are, if you can't see through brush or dense trees you can't see. Also let's not discount typical dungeon designs where it could just be around a corner. It's not like the troll is wearing Axe body spray, so I don't know why you think PCs would automatically smell it. Even if you did, you might know it's out there somewhere or has been recently, not enough to change anything.

In any case, I'm just discounting the idea that you could never have an encounter that starts with the troll 30 feet away. As a DM, I need to weigh the capabilities of the PCs and monsters along with multiple other factors including the locale because they can have nearly as much impact as the level of the PCs and the CR of the monsters.
 

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