D&D 5E How complex do you like your character creation process?

How complex do you like your character creation process?

  • 1. Super simple. Even 5E's streamlined process is too much.

    Votes: 11 11.5%
  • 2. Simple. 5E's streamlined process fits me well and I use it.

    Votes: 8 8.3%
  • 3. Standard. 5E's typical process, with choices I can think about, is enough.

    Votes: 31 32.3%
  • 4. More. I like 5E's process, but I think we could have some more choices.

    Votes: 28 29.2%
  • 5. Mega-More. I find 5E's process unsatisfying and I want a lot more choices!

    Votes: 11 11.5%
  • 6. Other. Please explain in your post.

    Votes: 7 7.3%

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
I was hoping more for an example, so such as... ???

Would the feature I made be an example:


Or is it something else?

And what if your party has no relationships to one another before the adventure begins??
Yeah, I think that would work. How FATE works is that you tell a story about how you met (PC #B) etc. and then give yourself (or workshop with the group) an "Aspect", which is a wibbly wobbly FATE thing that you can invoke to give yourself advantage in certain situations (or the DM can invoke on you for a disadvantage, which you can accept for a bonus to be used later).

PbtA has "playbooks" which are like classes but not, but everybody has to pick a different playbook and your playbook asks you specific questions about your background with the other players. Some hacks have like playbooks for the party or another way to mechanically set up the group.
 

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DND_Reborn

Legend
There's a decent case that the White Wolf games were class based.
Maybe newer ones? I played Vampire a long time ago, it didn't have classes. 🤷‍♂️

I do not believe you have played any game that uses systems to facilitate things this way. So, with all due respect, your opinion is basically created from ignorance.
No, I haven't, nor do I need to. I get all the character growth out of my character by how I play it and the choices I make. So, as I said, I don't think it is needed.

And these choices had very little mechanical impact. For that matter D&D characters basically don't even pick up wounds when they get hurt thanks to hit points.
Why do you feel you NEED mechanical impact for character growth? Doesn't the way you play your character have more impact than simply what they can do? This is what I meant by your character just being a bunch of numbers and features on a sheet...

That's a total of five mechanical choices made in nine levels of which they made the same choice for the biggest choice.
Again with the mechanical choices issue. What you really mean is that D&D doesn't support giving you mechanical benefits for the choices you make for your character after your subclass is chosen? Correct?

That is why you love warlock and artificer, because all their choices (which as non-martials) gives something nearly every level to choose or replace. You want mechanical benefits to make your character feel organic. I find that rather ironic.

You argue the character is "on rails" when really it isn't. Yes, I had similarity in choices I made for feats, but I could just have easily gone with different selections.

Let's look at Level 4 and on for a Fighter (Champion), which incidentally is one of the most limited (in choices) subclass by design:

4: ASI or feat. You can bump a stat +2, two +1, or select from several feats.
5. Extra Attack (no choice)
6. ASI or feat
7. Remarkable Athlete (no choice, but as I said before can have vastly different impact depending on skill selection).
8. ASI or feat
9. Indomitable (no choice)
10. Fighting Style (choice from 5 remain default options)
11. Extra Attack (no choice)
12. ASI or feat
13. Indomitable (no choice)
14. ASI or feat
15. Superior Critical (no choice)
16. ASI or feat
17. Action Surge, Indomitable (no choice)
18. Survivor (no choice)
19. ASI or feat
20. Extra Attack (no choice)

Nearly half the levels 8/17) you make a choice with mechanic benefits! And, at every level, you have the option to multiclass if your group uses them. Now, you might feel the ASI or feat choice is boring, which is fine, but it IS a choice.

I actually posted a thread about adding more decision points for subclasses, but it got little feedback. I didn't do it because I feel it was needed, I did it because people felt martials were weaker than casters blah blah blah.
 

The weakness here is that every RPG in existence (that allows for campaign play) allows for narrative growth and change. That's not a strength of any version of D&D, that's just part and parcel of campaign RPG play. Making your character grow and change is one of the main reasons to play!

Now, I do think there's a fairly unexplored topic on the differences between games where growth is randomized and procedural (like primarily gaining powers via encounters and magic items) and ones where the growth options are player-facing (like most crunchy games). But I think it's undeniable that 5e, like 1e and 2e, is pretty inflexible at allowing major changes midway through the campaign.
I don't think it's unexplored - I think that it was explored quite a bit in the 80s with things like skills where using them gave you a chance to increase and oD&D where a lot of your power came from treasure. I think that what happened was that in the tabletop roleplaying arena player-facing growth won. There are, however, plenty of modern computer games where randomised growth is used (one of my favourites being Hades where your boons are mostly random; Hades is an amazing game) and it's what e.g. deckbuilders and roguelikes are based on. It's simply that randomised growth works a lot better when you've only got to stick with this build for about an hour rather than an entire campaign.

The other issue is there's a huge difference in feeling between major changes and cumulative minor changes. 5e, unlike pre-3.X (for non-humans) has major changes in that you can change your character class. And given that your character class, in other words what you do, is a huge decision it does allow pivots. Not as well as Apocalypse World where you change your playbook entirely - and one of the times you can is "when life becomes untenable" which leads to the Hardholder, the town boss, being left with a bullet in his head and coming back as the combat monster Gunlugger looking for revenge with no more care for their holding. You can also change playbooks once (but only once per character) by levelling up so a Gunlugger can take over the town and become the new hardholder. But the other type of growth is steady change in focus. There was no point at which the sci-fi character I mentioned earlier made the conscious choice to become the best engineer in the galaxy. They just kept getting more challenges for it and getting better at it until they were. It happened through play and over the course of about half a year of weekly sessions.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
The problem with just giving a free feat is that the feats don't cover enough character concepts and you can easily be left with no viable non-Lucky options, at which point there's still no choice.

More feats are needed is what I'm saying.

And stop calling them 'optional'.
Sure, I am all for more feats which are well designed. I am not for feats which make classes obsolete, like many in Tasha's which I will not allow in my games.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Different games use different systems - and they help. In Apocalypse World there's a section of character creation and mechanics called Hx/History. Each of the character classes has a different one - so one is:
Everyone introduces their characters by name, look and outlook. Take your turn.​
List the other characters’ names.​
Go around again for Hx. On your turn, ask the other players which of their characters you can trust.​
• For the characters you can trust, write Hx-1.​
• For the characters you can’t trust, write Hx+3.​
You are indifferent to what is safe, and drawn to what is not.​
On the others’ turns, answer their questions as you like.​

Another one has the following:
Everyone introduces their characters by name, look and outlook. Take your turn.​
List the other characters’ names.​
Go around again for Hx. On your turn, ask either or both:​
• Which one of you has been with me since before? For that character, write Hx+2.​
• Which one of you has betrayed or stolen from me? For that character, write Hx+3.​
For everyone else, write Hx+1. It’s in your interests to know everyone’s business.​
On the others’ turns, answer their questions as you like.​

Each of the classes represents that character's role in and approach to the world and it works wonders for getting the party on the same page early.

In Blades in the Dark you are a team of criminals working on a heist - and you don't just each have a character sheet, but you have a combined crew character sheet that represents what type of criminal organisation you are. Whether it's assassins, smugglers, a cult, or more. And you don't just have individual XP but also crew XP, and the crew cohesion and network levels up in the same way the PCs do. Your crew has contacts and hangers on - and you can also get special abilities for the crew based on their rep and cohesion, like smugglers getting upgraded vehicles or assassins getting rituals to make disposal of the bodies easier.
Wow, that is pretty bad IMO. I mean, I wasn't for such systems to begin with, but yikes! :eek: What a hassle... I am glad D&D doesn't have this or anything like it.

I mean, if you like it, great for you but no thanks!

Also, I should add, I DO APPRECIATE the explanation, I just don't like the system.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
But I think it's undeniable that 5e, like 1e and 2e, is pretty inflexible at allowing major changes midway through the campaign.
I think 5E missed the boat on things like prestige classes, personally.

Otherwise, a major change can be done with multiclassing in 5E, and in AD&D via dual-classing. 🤷‍♂️
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Yeah, I think that would work. How FATE works is that you tell a story about how you met (PC #B) etc. and then give yourself (or workshop with the group) an "Aspect", which is a wibbly wobbly FATE thing that you can invoke to give yourself advantage in certain situations (or the DM can invoke on you for a disadvantage, which you can accept for a bonus to be used later).

PbtA has "playbooks" which are like classes but not, but everybody has to pick a different playbook and your playbook asks you specific questions about your background with the other players. Some hacks have like playbooks for the party or another way to mechanically set up the group.
Again, that sounds like way too much of a pain to deal with for me.

If D&D had something a kin to a merits/flaws system, but where you could develop them during play or take them as a feat, such as Tag Team, with mechanical benefits then fine, I might be able to support that.

But otherwise, the length these systems seem to go to is basically a conversation during session 0 in my games, and they seem to be about character creation, not choices made later in the game.
 


Maybe newer ones? I played Vampire a long time ago, it didn't have classes. 🤷‍♂️
You mean you entirely ignored which clan you were a part of and which disciplines they gave you an affinity for?
No, I haven't, nor do I need to. I get all the character growth out of my character by how I play it and the choices I make. So, as I said, I don't think it is needed.


Why do you feel you NEED mechanical impact for character growth? Doesn't the way you play your character have more impact than simply what they can do? This is what I meant by your character just being a bunch of numbers and features on a sheet...
I don't NEED more than a single sharp knife in the kitchen. I can cook with only owning one sharp knife. And I can have character growth without any mechanical representation.

On the other hand it is much better and much easier to cook if I'm not using the same knife to cut meat, to cut bread, and to prepare vegetables. And I'm going to produce a wider range of better cookery more easily if I'm cooking with a decently equipped kitchen rather than, the way I was as a student out of basically a single pot and with a single good sharp knife. And I get better character growth more easily and in a more nuanced way when the rules are helping and supporting it than I do when they are getting in the way.

So tell me, why should I stick to only things I NEED? Are you living in a shared house because you don't NEED any more? Do you only have one knife and one pot for cooking because you don't NEED any more? Do you sleep on the floor because you don't NEED a mattress to get to sleep? Or do you have more space because it's useful and desirable, you cook in a better equipped kitchen because it makes it better and sleep on a mattress because it makes getting to sleep easier?

And If you do any of these things rather than live as a hermit aescetic then why do you insist that I in my leisure activity should only every use what I NEED rather than things that make my experience better and make things both easier and more fun?
That is why you love warlock and artificer, because all their choices (which as non-martials) gives something nearly every level to choose or replace. You want mechanical benefits to make your character feel organic. I find that rather ironic.
And that is entirely down to your misconceptions. Levels are not organic. People in the real world do not have levels. They do however have abilities.
You argue the character is "on rails" when really it isn't. Yes, I had similarity in choices I made for feats, but I could just have easily gone with different selections.
Indeed. You could have chosen to start with an Int of 8 - and then gained +2 INT for all your first three ASIs. Except you didn't do that because it would have been ridiculous. You also could bounce around in a dungeon on a pogo stick - but that would be a suicidal choice. You can make bad choices that no one sensible would take.
Nearly half the levels 8/17) you make a choice with mechanic benefits!
In short
  1. At more than half of levels (9/17) you don't make a choice with mechanical benefits. So you're growing completely on rails for more than half your development.
  2. A choice where there is a definite best option isn't much of a choice. Boosting your primary stat and getting whichever of the "core" fighter feats are relevant (Sharpshooter, Great Weapon Master, Sentinel, and arguably Polearm Master and Heavy Armour Master) is an intelligence test as much as it is a choice
Sure, I am all for more feats which are well designed. I am not for feats which make classes obsolete, like many in Tasha's which I will not allow in my games.
If a feat can make a class obsolete then unless the feat is utterly ridiculous then the problem is with the class.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Wow, that is pretty bad IMO. I mean, I wasn't for such systems to begin with, but yikes! :eek: What a hassle... I am glad D&D doesn't have this or anything like it.

I mean, if you like it, great for you but no thanks!

Also, I should add, I DO APPRECIATE the explanation, I just don't like the system.
Gotta be honest, you're missing out. Collaborative character creation is super fun. Beyond the Wall is the best example if you want to stay in the D&D-like area.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I don't think it's unexplored - I think that it was explored quite a bit in the 80s with things like skills where using them gave you a chance to increase and oD&D where a lot of your power came from treasure. I think that what happened was that in the tabletop roleplaying arena player-facing growth won. There are, however, plenty of modern computer games where randomised growth is used (one of my favourites being Hades where your boons are mostly random; Hades is an amazing game) and it's what e.g. deckbuilders and roguelikes are based on. It's simply that randomised growth works a lot better when you've only got to stick with this build for about an hour rather than an entire campaign.
Yea, bringing back more roguelike elements or MOBA-type build elements is a direction I'd like to see D&D go (back) in. Simple starting characters with just a few abilities, and growth is driven by acquisition.
 


DND_Reborn

Legend
You mean you entirely ignored which clan you were a part of and which disciplines they gave you an affinity for?
Clan =/= class.

And despite your rant you never answered my question:
Why do you feel you NEED mechanical impact for character growth?
Unless you count this:
things that make my experience better and make things both easier and more fun
Because by comparison the ideas you cite from other systems hardly make character creation "easier", and I still don't see how those things impact your character later on.

And that is entirely down to your misconceptions. Levels are not organic. People in the real world do not have levels. They do however have abilities.
No, it is based on your responses. Levels are a mechanic, so no they are not organic. But you want mechanics to make your growth feel mechanic. And we aren't discussing people in the real world, as you are well aware of considering our other conversations. Even with levels, PCs in D&D have abilities as well.

Indeed. You could have chosen to start with an Int of 8 - and then gained +2 INT for all your first three ASIs. Except you didn't do that because it would have been ridiculous. You also could bounce around in a dungeon on a pogo stick - but that would be a suicidal choice. You can make bad choices that no one sensible would take.
Now you are being ridiculous to suggest such ill-uses of ASI/feats. There are plenty of feats and ASI options which would be completely different for the two builds without promoting non-sensical choices.

So you're growing completely on rails for more than half your development.
Only if you solely are relying on your mechanical choices and benefits to define how your character grows.

If a feat can make a class obsolete then unless the feat is utterly ridiculous then the problem is with the class.
I agree for the most part, which is why taking metamagic away from solely sorcerers or invocations away from solely warlocks is bad design IMO.

Have you ever tried any other way?
And returning to this, I've tried other game systems so yes, I have, and given your (and others) descriptions of such systems, no they don't sound good to me. I haven't tried squid, but I am pretty sure I wouldn't like it considering my dislike for seafood in general.

Or are you looking at a newfangled invention and saying that things were good enough in your day? Yes you can use landlines all the time - but I'll keep my smartphones, thank you. And point out that land lines have numerous disadvantages.
LOL keep your smartphone. I don't own one. And the cell phone I have I keep only for travel in case of emergencies. Yes, I have my landline still and prefer it because I don't want to be attached to a smartphone as I see nearly everyone doing. I have seen family members ignoring their children because they are too busy on their smartphone...

But I will save my rant on smartphones for a more appropriate place--they are one of the worst pieces of technology ever IMO. ;)
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
LOL keep your smartphone. I don't own one. And the cell phone I have I keep only for travel in case of emergencies. Yes, I have my landline still and prefer it because I don't want to be attached to a smartphone as I see nearly everyone doing. I have seen family members ignoring their children because they are too busy on their smartphone...

But I will save my rant on smartphones for a more appropriate place--they are one of the worst pieces of technology ever IMO. ;)
Apologies, sir, in my youthful exuberance I trespassed upon your lawn and shall depart posthaste, as you have instructed. :)
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Gotta be honest, you're missing out. Collaborative character creation is super fun. Beyond the Wall is the best example if you want to stay in the D&D-like area.
Sure, collaborative character creation is great. 90% of the games I've played in everyone meets to make their characters together and we have a lot of fun. People discuss their character concepts, race and class choices, as well as what the DM's input on the game world, etc.

My point was going through a system such as the ones described seems overly constrictive and not fun.

I'll check out Beyond the Wall and let you know. You mean this, right? Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures, a zero-prep OSR roleplaying game you can play in an afternoon

Otherwise, I think people who want D&D but with skill-builds, etc. should look at the document I attached in the thread:

 


TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Otherwise, I think people who want D&D but with skill-builds, etc. should look at the document I attached in the thread:

Yea, race, background, and the Adventurer class in that document (all feats, all the time) would actually be a super-fun way to play.
 

And despite your rant you never answered my question:
I did answer your question.

I pointed out that I do not NEED them. They just make things vastly better. And then asked why you NEED more than one knife. Your question was a bad one and was the wrong question. I find them useful and desirable in the way I find adding spices to food useful and desirable.
Unless you count this:

Because by comparison the ideas you cite from other systems hardly make character creation "easier", and I still don't see how those things impact your character later on.
And yet character creation in the games I have listed is easier and simpler than it is in D&D if you take the total package.
Only if you solely are relying on your mechanical choices and benefits to define how your character grows.
I'm sorry, but this comes close to being an ad-hominem attack. Mechanical choices and benefits are used in addition to rather instead of relying on fluff to carry the entire thing. And each enhances the other.
I agree for the most part, which is why taking metamagic away from solely sorcerers or invocations away from solely warlocks is bad design IMO.
That's your opinion.

Warlocks in particular are unique enough that sharing invocations is more than fine. There's a lot that makes Warlocks unique including their pact boons and their casting mechanics being only top level spells. And Eldritch Blast plus Agonizing Blast (incidentally you can't take Agonizing Blast with the feat without also multiclassing into warlock because it has a prerequisite). Anyone else can repeatedly take the feat and will not look or play like a warlock.

On the other hand there are some warlock Invocations that are great for other builds. Misty Visions would be the obvious one; the ability to cast Silent Image at will. If an illusionist wizard wants to take it then they will be much better at their themes because they can throw large illusions at will. All you are doing here is cutting down good builds.

As for the sorcerer, remember that I said that any class that could be rendered obsolete by a feat is bad design? Well guess what? The base sorcerer is badly designed with cripplingly few spells known when spellcasting is meant to be their main thing. At least the PHB sorcerer is badly designed. On the other hand if you look at the Tasha's subclasses the Aberrant Mind in particular is definitely unique. It's a concealed full spellpoint class and a Psion in all but name. And the clockwork soul is fine.

The Invocation feat is great - and a way of adding some extra stuff (and possibly some warlocking but frequently just some magical abilities) without spending an entire class level.
And returning to this, I've tried other game systems so yes, I have, and given your (and others) descriptions of such systems, no they don't sound good to me. I haven't tried squid, but I am pretty sure I wouldn't like it considering my dislike for seafood in general.
I dislike squid - but wouldn't say that having had a number of fish meant that you had a clue what squid tasted like.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
@Neonchameleon, we have been so totally at odds in nearly every aspect of the game I see no point in further discussion. Enjoy your game (and your smartphone :p ) and I'll enjoy mine (game, that is, and my landline. ;) ).
 

Yea, bringing back more roguelike elements or MOBA-type build elements is a direction I'd like to see D&D go (back) in. Simple starting characters with just a few abilities, and growth is driven by acquisition.
I don't think I'd want to see D&D go that way tbh but there is game space there. I'd want much shorter games; Japanese style single long sessions would be ideal.
 

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