Character Creation Tips

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on July 26, 2010

When creating a new character there are many things to take into consideration. Everyone’s got their own idea of how to make the best character; there isn’t just one right way to do it. The abundance of choice can often be overwhelming so we’ve poured through our archives and found some great resources to help steer your decision making.

Creating a unique character

If you’re heading to Indianapolis for GenCon next week and you’re planning to create a new character, we offer some tips to help make your PC truly one of a kind. These tips are relevant whenever you’re creating a new character, but it seems timely to share them with GenCon just around the corner.

Anyone who participates in a gaming convention like GenCon is likely just as enthusiastic about gaming as you and I are. That being said, one thing I quickly learned during my first GenCon was that you see a lot of similar characters. All of the overplayed, standard and even predicatbale stereotypes are represented – Dwarven Fighter, Dragonborn Paladin, Elven Ranger and Tiefling Warlock, for example.

In addition to these tried and true architypes you also have a lot of overlapping when it come to outside-of-the-box, power-gaming, builds. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with multiple Daggermaster Sorcerers (or at least there wasn’t before it was nerfed in a recent errata). The point is that all of those concepts that seem cool and original at your local gaming table are less likely to be all that original in a setting like GenCon.

In Make Your Character More Than Just Numbers we provided some direction and resources for developing your PC’s appearance, motivation for adventuring, occupation beyond just being an adventurer, reputation and cultural traits.

Skill training

Skill challenges are here to stay folks. Every single LFR adventure I’ve ever played in has included at least one skill challenge. Don’t overlook the importance of skills when creating your PC. Since most of the skills are drawn from your bottom three ability scores, it’s often a good idea to ensure that your Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma don’t end up 10, 10 and 8 (in any order). It’s worth lowering your exceptionally high Strength or Dexterity by a point or two if it means that your worst abilities will go up by a few points each.

Resist the temptation to train your best skills. They’re likely good enough already to beat a moderate DC more than half of the time. Training your worst skills will often make the biggest difference. And if you find that you’re always failing a check becasue you didn’t train it, just retrain when you level up.

When training your skills, remember that knowing a monsters powers, resistances and vulnerabilities can often make the difference between victory and failure, so train those knowledge skills.

The right tools for the job

Your choices are pretty limited if you’re starting play at level 1, but with the recent changes to the RPGA character creation rules, you can create characters at higher levels now. In these cases you can pick magic items as part of your initial equipment.

In order to mitigate damage, we suggest that you look for items that offer energy resistances (Heroic | Paragon | Epic). They may not come into play every battle, but when they do it makes all the difference. I’ve found that some energy types seem to show up more often than others in LFR adventures. A Viper Belt (resist 5 poison) and a Skull Mask (resist 5 necrotic) should be high on every adventurer’s magic item wish lest.

The other suggestion is to look for consuamables that make use of healing surges. Use your resources to their fullest potential and make sure you’re not going into extended rests with any surges remaining.

Help, I’m hurt!

When 4e D&D gave every character the ability to heal themselves, it changed the way combat ran. But some players still play with old-school thinking and expect their Cleric (or leader) to be at their beck and call. Many players running leaders don’t appreciate this outlook and carefully ration out healing magic.

One way to reduce your dependency on others is to choose your magic items carefully. Many magic items allow you to expend healing surges or recover lost hit points without the assistance of any other character. Any PC who takes lots of damage should have one of more of these on his character sheet.

But the best way to stay on your feet is to play smart and know when it’s time to press the attack or stratigically withdraw.

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