Article: Basic Character Creation
Writer: ShadrachVS (email@example.com)
Character Creation, a dreaded thing to many, in 3rd Edition is relatively simple. Though sometimes laborious and extremely slow, most people should have little trouble creating their first character. With simplified statistics, more general rules, and a few Variants 3rd Edition has a very well thought out creation process. The process is easily broken down into six steps: Ability Scores, Race Selection, Class Selection, Skills, Feats, and Personal Touches. I will Explain each step, give variant information (if any), and provide personal hints and suggestions.
Ability Scores: Where loaded
Dice come in Handy (just kidding).
Ok, every seasoned Veteran knows this stage all too well.
In Olden Days there were about 15 Variants for Rolling Dice, many of which
required a calculator or Eidetic memory. In 3rd Edition there is the basic
dice rules and only one listed Variant. The basic roll is 4d6 per stat,
dropping the lowest of the dice.
Example: Roll 4d6, assume the dice land on 6 3 4 2, you would drop the 2. Leaving 6 3 4, making an ability score of 13.
Now the Basic rule also notes that, as long as the DM allows it, you can scrap all 6 Ability rolls if your total modifiers are 0 or Below, or your highest score is 13 or lower. The Variant listed for the DM is to allow Players to Reroll natural 1's on Dice for Abilities. This Variant allows for Characters to have a better chance at high Ability scores.
Ability Scores range from 3(minimum) to 18 from the dice,
though through equipment, wishes, leveling, and race a character can exceed
18. An Ability score of 3 is abysmal, while a score of 18 is nigh perfect.
A person with 3 Intelligence would have difficulty with even the simplest
words, while a person with 18 Intelligence could keep up a riveting conversation
with Einstein. The average Ability Score for a Human is 10, thus a 10
means that you are normal in that stat. Anything above 10 means you are
above Average. Fighters should look to have 15+ in the top 3 scores; while
Mages, Clerics, and the like would do best to have 15+ in their classes
My Suggestions for Ability scores; dig up some 2nd Edition rules for Dice Rolling Variants, test them out yourself, choose which you like the best. Also as a DM you should decide for yourself whether you want Higher Ability Scores on your Characters (so you can make challenges a little harder) or whether you want the most random rolls as possible. Ultimately it is up to you.
Race Selection: Short, Smart,
and Quick vs. Tall, Slow, and Dumb.
This seemingly simple decision can make or break a character in any story. Want a Wizard? Steer clear from the typically Magic-hating Dwarves and Ignorant Half-Orcs. Want a Powerful Melee Tank? Stay away from the Diminutive Halflings and Gnomes. Each Race has its Pro's and Con's. Some races have nice abilities and ability changes, but they also will have things that make them less useful in certain situations. For every Advantage a race has, that race will have an equal disadvantage. In a well-balanced campaign race should just be a decision that will allow a greater customization and uniqueness to the character.
Class Selection: You shall
decide your future!
To some, including me, Class selection is the first step
to a character's creation; but to WOTC it comes later. Choosing Class
this late in Character Creation is not a bad thing, both ways end out
the same. Anyway, Class Selection is vital. That simple, if the campaign
you are in is going to take place in the middle of a city and focus on
political intrigue… a Warrior type might not be smart, unless you make
some interesting choices in creation. On the other hand, if you are playing
in a game that is mostly hack-and-slash a Warrior of any type is a nice
idea. Each class, like races, has many have Pro's and Con's. I will explain
briefly each class and focus mainly on strengths, with a short explanation
First, we will discuss the Series
of Classes loosely referred to as the Warrior Class; Fighters, Rangers,
Paladins, and Barbarians.
1. Fighters: Fighter's are the basic Warrior they have good
Hit Dice (Responsible for Hit Points), can wear any armor, use almost
any weapon, and gain an enormous amount of feats as they advance in levels.
A Fighter's main drawback is his lack of Magic, both in abilities and
in his defenses against magic.
2. Rangers: Ranger's are a mix between the Fighter and the
Druid Class. Ranger's have the same Hit Dice of a Fighter, gets bonuses
for fighting with 2 weapons in Light Armor, the ability to Track, Favored
Enemies, and after several levels the ability to cast spells like a druid.
A Ranger's drawbacks are no heavy armor, a few weapon restrictions, and
the penalty when dealing with (not trying to fight) a favored enemy.
3. Paladins: Paladin's are a mix between the Fighter and
the Cleric Class. Paladins have no armor restrictions, no weapon restrictions,
special abilities like Detect Evil at will, Cleric spells after several
levels, and a Paladin Mount at level 5. A Paladin's drawbacks include
his alignment (always has to be Lawful Good), Code of Conduct, and Association
4. Barbarians: Barbarians are the 'wild' version of a Fighter.
A Barbarian has the largest Hit Dice of any character class, the powerful
ability to Rage, faster movement, and unique Barbarian Abilities as he
levels. A Barbarian's drawbacks include alignment restrictions (always
chaotic), armor restrictions, Illiteracy, and limited skills.
Second, we will go over the Priest
class, which contains; Clerics, Druids, and Monks.
1. Clerics: Clerics are the servants of various Deities,
the 'Holy Men', even though they serve the gods they are not weak. A Cleric's
advantages include no armor restrictions, decent Hit Dice, powerful spells,
Divine Abilities, and the power to Turn Undead (Destroy, Injure, or force
to Flee). A Cleric's drawbacks are low to hit bonuses, serious weapon
restrictions, and any religious restrictions.
2. Druids: Druids are the servants of Mother Nature, or
one of the Nature Deities. A Druid's advantages lie in Shapeshifting,
Powerful spells, and interesting abilities. A Druid's disadvantages are
required alignment (True Neutral, Neutral Evil/Good, Chaotic N, or Lawful
N), serious weapon restrictions, and religious limitations.
3. Monks: Monks are martial artists seeking perfection,
with Ki energy they are very dangerous even barehanded. A Monk's advantages
are his fast movement, interesting armor class additions, number of Unarmed
attacks per turn, and unique class abilities. A Monk's disadvantages include
his alignment requirements (always Lawful), his inability to wear any
armor, weapon restrictions, and low to hit value.
Third, we are covering the 'Rogue'
Class, containing the Bard and Rogue (formerly known as the Thief, I will
use Thief because I'm used to it.).
1. Thief: The Thief is well a thief, but also a lot more.
The Thief's advantages include the ability to backstab, unique class skills,
and unique class abilities. The Thief's disadvantages are armor restrictions,
weapon restrictions, social distrust (in most cases), and lower Hit Dice.
2. Bard: The Bard is a 'Jack-of-all-Trades' type. The Bard's
advantages are his Unique singing abilities, his mix of class skills,
ability to use magic, and decent combat abilities. The Bard's main drawbacks
are simple; his relatively low Hit Dice, limited armor use, and generalization
make him capable at a lot of things, but good at little.
Finally, we have the Arcane Caster
Class, containing the Wizard and Sorcerer.
1. Wizard: The Wizard is the stuff D&D is made of… Magic.
Wizard's advantages lie in the many Powerful Spells they can wield, the
knowledge of Magic they have, and the tactical use of their powers. The
Main disadvantages are their low Hit Dice, Inability to wear armor without
penalty, lack of melee power, and the 'low-level blues' (Wizards at low
level are extremely weak, but at higher levels a Wizard is a force to
be reckoned with.)
2. Sorcerer: The Sorcerer is brother to the Wizard. The Sorcerer's powers are his access to arcane spells, ability to cast many spells per day, and tactical use. The Sorcerer's disadvantages lie in his limited amount of spells learned, low hit dice, the aforementioned 'low-level blues', and melee powerlessness.
Skills: What can you do?
How well can you do it?
Skills have replaced the Non-Weapon Proficiencies of the
old days, not that NWPs were a bad thing; they just do not offer the range
of customization that the Skills of 3rd Edition allow. Skills are fairly
simple to understand. The basic skill is made up of 3 possible inputs
to the total;
Ex: Skill Total = Skill Modifier (Base Stat) + Ranks + Additional Modifiers
To elaborate, the Skill Total or the final skill number
is three variables added together. The Skill Modifier is the modifier
from the applicable base attribute (Climb = Str Mod + R + Ext). While
Ranks are the total amount of skill points spent into training the skill,
each level has a maximum amount of ranks to balance the game. Finally,
Additional Modifiers can be anything from additions due to feats, race,
or items; to subtractions due to armor, weight, and race. This may seem
complicated but it is relatively simple, most characters will have a few
skills they focus on, while others may be blessed enough to focus equally
on all skills.
Skill Points are dependent on 3 things: Class, Intelligence, and Race. Class is important because some classes have more skills than others, the more class skills the more skill points per level (Usually). Intelligence can garner you more skill points in the fact that to figure skill points per level up you get to add your Intelligence modifier to the Class Skill point per level total. Race can also affect this, Humans get 4 extra skill points at first level, and 1 extra for every level thereafter. There is a simplified way to calculate skill points that I use; (SPL + IntMod + Racial [if any]) * (3 + Current Level). The SPL is the class skill points per level number, the Intelligence mod is self-explanatory, and the Racial mod is really only useful for humans (use a 1 there for humans), Tally this score first. Then move to the other Parentheses take the Current Level and add 3 to it, this number is a simple bit of math, the books tell you level one SP are equal to [(SPL + Int Mod) * 4] if you simply subtract one from four you get three. After you check the math it should be correct, this is a shortcut when creating higher level characters. It should make high level characters easier to calculate skill points for.
Feats: Nifty tricks for Fighter,
Mage, and Cleric alike.
Feats are broken down into four areas; General (Anyone Can use), Item Creation (as in Magical item), Metamagic (Casters Only), and Class Specific. Since I am not allowed to go into great details, I will just give a few tips and ideas. In the massive list of General Feats several stand out as 'must-have' for some classes, while some other classes (Wiz and Sor) have trouble picking these. Most General feats deal with Combat, Equipment, and Skills; few deal with Casting and Magic. Think of General Feats as the Fighter's best friend, they not only get the most feats, but most feats are almost geared to combat. Another hint for feats, find out what systems your DM uses, some feats become useless if you do not use some rules. Item Creation Feats are useful to the Wizard, Sorcerer, Cleric, and Druid. Each feat allows a different spectrum of items to be made, and has a prerequisite level. Metamagic feats are add-ons to spells, they increase the level required to memorize the spell in return for improving the spell in some fashion. Class Specific Feats are class-restricted feats that add on to class ability or grant extra power to the prerequisite class.
Personal Touches: I want my Paladin in Pink Armor with High-heel Boots and a Matching Purse… (DM Shudders…).
This is the area where you name your creation, roll Random height/weight/age by race, decide Alignment, and whether or not you follow a Deity (If the DM is using the standard Deities, or Deities at all for that matter). These choices have varying magnitudes on Game Play; decisions like height/weight/age will matter relatively little, while decisions like Alignment and Deity can have serious Impacts on the Game. All of these choices are to allow you to create your character the way you want him/her. There is little to add to this, except make your choices so that you can play this character. I have found that people who create characters purely for Power-Gaming flounder when their character is forced to think, speak, and interact in non-combat situations and negotiations. If you get Power Gamers, don't let them roll Diplomacy, Bluff, and the like… make them 'Act' it out. This won't always work, but it often does.
Every character has six basic Ability Scores:
The Score of these Abilities ranges from 0 to infinity.
The normal human range is 3 to 18.
STR 0 means that the character cannot move at all. He lies helpless on the ground.
DEX 0 means that the character cannot move at all. He stands motionless, rigid, and helpless.
CON 0 means that the character is dead.
INT 0 means that the character cannot think and is unconscious in a coma like stupor, helpless.
WIS 0 means that the character is withdrawn into a deep sleep filled with nightmares, helpless.
CHA 0 means that the character is withdrawn into a catatonic, coma like stupor, helpless.
Keeping track of negative ability score points is never necessary. A character’s ability score can’t drop below 0. Some creatures lack certain ability scores. These creatures do not have an ability score of 0 - they lack the ability altogether. The modifier for a non-ability is +0.ABILITY MODIFIERS
Each ability will have a modifier. The modifier can be calculated using this formula:
(ability/2) -5 [round result down]
The modifier is the number you add to or subtract from the die roll when your character tries to do something related to that ability. A positive modifier is called a bonus, and a negative modifier is called a penalty.
Any creature that can physically manipulate other objects has at least 1 point of Strength.
A creature with no Strength score can't exert force, usually because it has no physical body or because it doesn't move. The creature automatically fails Strength checks. If the creature can attack, it applies its Dexterity modifier to its base attack instead of a Strength modifier.
Any creature that can move has at least 1 point of Dexterity.
A creature with no Dexterity score can't move. If it can act, it applies its Intelligence modifier to initiative checks instead of a Dexterity modifier. The creature fails all Reflex saves and Dexterity checks.
If a character's Constitution changes enough to alter his or her Constitution modifier, his or her hit points also increase or decrease accordingly at the same time.
Any living creature has at least 1 point of Constitution.
A creature with no Constitution has no body or no metabolism. It is immune to any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless the effect works on objects. The creature is also immune to ability damage, ability drain, and energy drain, and always fails Constitution checks.
Any creature that can think, learn, or remember has at least 1 point of Intelligence.
A creature with no Intelligence score is an automaton, operating on simple instincts or programmed instructions. It is immune to all mind-influencing effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns and morale effects) and automatically fails Intelligence checks.
Any creature that can perceive its environment in any fashion has at least 1 point of Wisdom.
Anything with no Wisdom score is an object, not a creature. Anything without a Wisdom score also has no Charisma score, and vice versa.
Any creature capable of telling the difference between itself and things that are not itself has at least 1 point of
Charisma. Anything with no Charisma score is an object, not a creature. Anything without a Charisma score also has no Wisdom score, and vice versa.
</> <>CHANGING ABILITY SCORES
Ability scores can increase with no limit.
Poisons, diseases, and other effects can temporarily harm an ability (temporary ability damage). Ability points lost to damage return on their own, typically at a rate of 1 point per day.
Some effects drain abilities, resulting in a permanent loss (permanent ability drain). Points lost this way don't return on their own.
As a character ages, some ability scores go up and others go down.
When an ability score changes, all attributes associated with that score change accordingly. </>