D&D 5E The "Sealed Envelope" Character Campaign. Would you play?

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Is this in addition to my regular games, and somehow my wife is going to be ok with me adding another gaming night to the week, but only for this specific campaign?

Sure. Deal me in.

log in or register to remove this ad


I've been thinking about this some more. While I still think having full pregens would be better, I think it could actually be a fun creative exercise to get a race + background (hopefully a little more than just the game element) and then seeing how you envisage that character through class/subclass.


I would be in without a second thought.
Already tried it for a whole campaign.
It was CoS. Characters were complete though...
6 different characters from 6 different worlds, and one was a police officer with guns, riot armor and all. All were taken by the mists.

So your concept is not foreign to me and I would jump on the boat to face the challenge. A shame I have so little time.
Who else got taken by the mists? It's cool that a cop in riot armour got taken, I'm wondering who else rounded out that party.


Weirdly, the fact that they were pre-generated beforehand makes it a bit of a turn-off. I'd totally be on board with doing a random generation if I rolled the race, class, personality traits, etc, on a table, but having someone else do it for me makes me feel not attached.
I've been wanting to run a game where the PCs are all randomly generated by rolling on tables. I even drew up some tables once. Haven't ever used them because I wasn't sure my players would be into it, though.

Not sure I'd like this envelope method myself. Not sure I like the idea of the "if you lose both PCs, you can either make a sidekick or leave the game" restriction either.

Who else got taken by the mists? It's cool that a cop in riot armour got taken, I'm wondering who else rounded out that party.
Shanai, the brother of Subotai in Conan the Barbarian, an assassin.

The police officer was a swat officer (battle master).

The wizard was from Krynn, a white robe (Diviner)

The cleric was from my homebrew world. A life cleric with the additional power of light with the unholy background of warlock Initiate. These cleric do not wear armor as in essence, they have two domains.

Then there was a ranger/rogue dual weilding hand crossbow acting as a demon hunter with auto dart loaders. Inspired from an old Manga in the 80s and from Diablo 3 demon hunter. But she could make paper notes that would burn undead like holy water and she was able to make special darts with different liquids (acid, poison etc...).
A valley elf from Greyhawk (eldritch knight),

The last member was a paladin from Cormyr. Worshipping Lathander.

They were dropped by the mists near the hunted house and the mists forced them I to the house. They couldn't understand how they were able to understand each other but the RP in that game was gorgeous.


Morkus from Orkus
Sometime I did back in AD&D, and of course requires player buy-in, but I wondered if people (in general) might be willing to give this a try:

A dozen (or more) pre-generated PC concepts are made and placed in sealed envelopes. Each concept will include race, ability scores, backgrounds, along with alignment and personality traits.

Each player gets to choose two envelopes to open and review the concepts inside. You MUST play one or the other. You cannot change your race or your background, etc. Ability scores can be adjusted only by reducing a score two points to increase a different score one point.

You then choose your class, starting equipment, etc. as normal.

If your character dies, by default your new character is based on your second envelop selection, using the same rules, but will enter the game at the same level as your deceased character.

If both characters die, you can make a sidekick character to continue playing or may leave the game as a player. If envelopes remain, you can choose a third as well, if your first two PCs are deceased. You may continue to come to view how the game unfolds if you wish, of course!

So, the question: would you play in such a campaign?

There is a challenge here, of course, and I expect players who "only want to play what I want to play" will say "no". I also understand for many people playing time is limited, so having that view is not by default a bad one (no judgement here!).

As I opened with, I have run such games in AD&D with a lot of success, but with modern views I am not certain how well received it would be.
Yes and no. I would be open to a sealed envelope campaign, but the killer for me with this one is not being able to roll my stats myself. I'll play another person's pre-chosen concept, including race and class, but if the stats are pre-done it just doesn't feel like my character to me.

In general, yes. I would be okay with a pre-gen character. I'm assuming all the gaming practices that I'm used to with my group still apply.

I would prefer it with a few minor tweaks.

First, it wasn't explicitly discussed in the OP, but the group is allowed to discuss their character draws before picking which one to play. Let everyone all talk about what was drawn, what they like, and how to properly build the party.

Second, I would either have it be "draw three" or institute a "redraw" rule if the two characters drawn are too similar. If the pool is large enough, I assume it's possible to draw two characters that provide little choice between the two. That just doesn't fit the premise.

Third, I would change this:
If your character dies, by default your new character is based on your second envelop selection, using the same rules, but will enter the game at the same level as your deceased character.

Instead, all un-chosen characters go back in the pile, and players pull two or three fresh draws when they start a new character. It defeats the purpose of random pre-gen to have a specific character waiting in the wings.


In principle, sure.

I’d even be willing to play a pre-selected class, since that could be an opportunity to get more familiar with the abilities of a class I haven’t played before (looking at you, Monk and Warlock…)

I might even appreciate the RP challenge of playing a character I didn’t think through before sitting down at the table.

This could definitely work for a one-shot or mini-campaign. What about saying, “We play the pre-gens from Level 1 to Level 4. At Level 5, you can keep your character, or they retire and you roll up a new one.”

The main downside I see is that my DMs put in a lot of hours of prep work already. Not sure I would be fair to ask one to ALSO commit the hours to generate 12 new characters from scratch.


Pregens are very viable when it’s a one shot and you don’t want to spend hours creating characters, or for new players to get them into things. But these things are undermined by partially created characters.

Either pregen or don’t pregen for me.

It’s sounds like an attempt to control character creation - better to just to put some rules in place. Like the stat array.


Limit Break Dancing
Sure, I'd be down. As long as the campaign is interesting and all of the other players are engaged, I'd be happy to join. I've seen weirder character generation methods.


Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
I would. However, with my group, we are used to restrictive character concepts when creating character. The current campaign I play in has a theme, with all characters members of the same dragonmarked house. So class is free, but race is fixed, background is mostly fixed and you're required to have relationships with the rest of the household and an interest in the clan's prosperity (even if you hate your cousin, you'll help him succeed at a lucrative endeavour because he's working for the family's interest). The only exception being the odd "and one of you can play the half-orc bodyguard that's been hired for so long he's part of the family". Character death means... Pick an NPC established to be in the family and tadaaa it's your next character. So it's not that far away from the sealed envelope scenario.

On the other hand, if I can't choose my backstory, I'd expect the campaign to include arcs about the character and that forced backstory, anything else being a missed opportunity.


I'll try anything, so I'd give it a try. We can always do something else if we don't like it.

Is there a reason for using pre-generated characters?


The High Aldwin
You know, if you added the twist that each player was the one to create the two characters and then everyone placed them in the pile to be drawn randomly, then you might be on to something. Since each player has the chance of playing a character they created, they're going to create interesting, playable characters.
Sure, this would work fine but it might backfire if someone gets the PC you made/wanted to play... But, then again, you might feel glad to see your creation being played, even if by someone else.

An Advertisement