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

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.

I wouldn't say that the troll has zero chance of starting an encounter within 30 feet of the party. As you say, dungeon design can sometimes make that call for the party. Sometimes a room you have to go through is small and has a troll in it. And sometimes the troll gets a lucky stealth roll (and is stealthing for some reason).

I would expect surprise encounters within the open wilderness to be fairly rare for a reasonably balanced party of full casters. If the PCs are perceptive, I expect them to benefit from it. That's what passive perception is for. If the PCs are surprised, either the monster should have skills to facilitate that, or they would need to have rolled well.

I struggle to think of a situation where...
"I don't care what's on your character sheet" is a good way to operate if you want your PCs to believe that their mechanical choices matter.

"What feat are you thinking?"
"I was gonna go Observant or maybe the one that gets me expertise in perception so stuff doesn't sneak up on us"
"Why? The DM doesn't care about that?"
 

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Oofta

Legend
I wouldn't say that the troll has zero chance of starting an encounter within 30 feet of the party. As you say, dungeon design can sometimes make that call for the party. Sometimes a room you have to go through is small and has a troll in it. And sometimes the troll gets a lucky stealth roll (and is stealthing for some reason).

I would expect surprise encounters within the open wilderness to be fairly rare for a reasonably balanced party of full casters. If the PCs are perceptive, I expect them to benefit from it. That's what passive perception is for. If the PCs are surprised, either the monster should have skills to facilitate that, or they would need to have rolled well.

I struggle to think of a situation where...
"I don't care what's on your character sheet" is a good way to operate if you want your PCs to believe that their mechanical choices matter.

"What feat are you thinking?"
"I was gonna go Observant or maybe the one that gets me expertise in perception so stuff doesn't sneak up on us"
"Why? The DM doesn't care about that?"

I have never said anything about the PCs being surprised, I was discussing starting encounter distance. In many cases, it may be that neither side is expecting an encounter. I could see a modified troll having good stealth, even to the point of being almost impossible to spot if it's not moving. But that would be a homebrew monster.
 

I have never said anything about the PCs being surprised, I was discussing starting encounter distance. In many cases, it may be that neither side is expecting an encounter. I could see a modified troll having good stealth, even to the point of being almost impossible to spot if it's not moving. But that would be a homebrew monster.
Fair enough.

I was interpreting a starting distance of 30 ft as something that would only happen if the PCs are surprised or both map and option constrained. Because, before that point, I'd expect that at least one of the PCs would have detected the presence of a threat based on having some skill in doing so. And then the party would have attempted to either avoid the threat or investigated ways to initiate an encounter from a more favorable tactical position.

I think the modified stealthy troll is a great homebrew. Probably(?) shuts the door on encounter difficulty for level 1 PCs though.
 

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