D&D Encounters Season 3 Characters

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on September 22, 2010

D&D Encounters season 3 begins today. Using new rules from the D&D Essentials line, the season 3 adventure is a re-imagining of the D&D classic, Keep on the Borderlands. The adventure is broken into five chapters, each one running four weeks (yes, that’s a total of 20 weeks for those of you doing the math).

Players are encouraged to create their own characters using the new D&D Essentials rules found in the recently released Red Box. Wizards of the Coast hinted that Character Builder would be updated with the Essentials materials in time for everyone to make suitable PCs for D&D Encounters season 3. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. So unless you’ve picked up the Red Box and are happy making a character without character builder, then for at least the first week you’ll have to use one of the six pre-generated characters provided.

For your convenience we’ve scanned the pre-gens and provided them for download below. View each one individually or download the six pre-generated characters as one PDF.

See below for level 2 versions of these characters. We’ve also got level 3 characters available for download.

Berrian
Male Eladrin
Wizard (Mage)
Level 1, UnalignedDownload (2.2 MB)
Eldeth
Female Dwarf
Fighter (Slayer)
Level 1, GoodDownload (2.5 MB)
Hagen
Male Human
Cleric (Storm Warpriest)
Level 1, GoodDownload (2.6 MB)
Merric
Male Halfling
Rogue (Thief)
Level 1, GoodDownload (2.5 MB)
Quinn
Male Human
Fighter (Knight)
Level 1, GoodDownload (2.4 MB)
Sola
Female Elf
Cleric (Sun Warpriest)
Level 1, GoodDownload (2.4 MB)

I haven’t spent a lot of time reviewing these pre-generated characters yet (I only picked up my kit yesterday). Hopefully Wizards did a more thorough review of these sheets than they did of the Dark Sun ones used for season 2. Based on my initial review, these characters look at least a little bit more optimized than our six Dark Sun friends were.

UPDATE

On the Wizards of the Coast, Dungeons & Dragons forums Roger Davis (posting as hoofrog) provided PDFs of all six pre-generated character for download.

Level 3 characters are available now for download as PDFs or character builder files.

Visit the Dungeon’s Master D&D Encounters Archive for all of our ongoing weekly coverage as well as other great D&D Encounters articles and resources.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jason September 22, 2010 at 10:24 am

One thing of note is that the wizard gets +2 to the forced movement of his powers. WotC_Chuck discussed this in his blog on the WotC community site.

2 Captain Spud September 22, 2010 at 11:00 am

Well, one knock against them being optimized: the Halfling Rogue bought 16DEX/16CHA despite the fact that Essentials rogue gets basically no benefit at all from secondary stats (outside or one or two marginal utility powers).

Still, though, I must say that these are some of the nicest-LOOKING pre-gens I’ve seen. They picked really great art for the most part.

3 nightwalker450 September 22, 2010 at 11:10 am

Also they forgot Dwarven Resilience on the Slayer Fighter. Otherwise well done characters.

4 Chris September 22, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Thanks for this information! You always explain everything much more clearly than the crappy official WotC website ever does. It’s like they’re trying to hide this basic information from everyone.

5 Ameron September 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm

@Jason
Thanks for the amendment. I’m sure as we get a chance to use these pre-gens we’ll discover a few other tidbits that were missed or “not present on character sheet for brevity.”

@Captain Spud
Well, you’ve got to put the racial bonus someplace, and at least Charisma is tied to a lot of skills so there’s that up-side as well.

I agree that the character images are pretty cool. It’s too bad that they got lazy with the Rogue and Cleric and took images we’ve already seen in the PHB.

@nightwalker450
Now I don’t have the Red Box but do Dwarves get both Dwarven Resilience AND Disciple of Stone or do they pick one or the other?

@Chris
Glad you found this useful. If I hadn’t attended the D&D Encounters Seminar at GenCon I wouldn’t have realized that the character had to be created using the Essentials rules. I suspect lots of folks will show up at their FLGS tonight and just have regular level 1 PCs ready to go, built using Character Builder because they didn’t know any better.

6 Lahrs September 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Hate to admit I am already breaking rules, as a few are going to make their first level characters with the original 4th edition rules for two reasons.

First, I thought the race/class restrictions were too constricting, so I opened them up to includes Heroes of the Forgotten Lands as well. The book isn’t available yet, but Heroes of the Fallen Lands has a section on the class/race combinations included in the next book. I know Wizards hasn’t updated the character builder (I checked this morning, so maybe it is out by now) but I did receive my Fallen Lands book at Game Day, so we are not limited to just Red Box.

I love the role playing potential in Keep on the Borderlands, and I am excited to begin running it. Due to the role-playing, I want everyone to start building their character now. Wizards said they can start using Forgotten Lands at the start of the third chapter, but nobody wants to reroll their character. I do think once Forgotten Lands comes out, we will rebuild the classes using Essentials, but by then they can have an established character and personality.

This may not be popular with many DM’s, but I am going to give it a shot.

With all that said, the pre-gens do look great, and two of my players will be using them. I would like to see how they stack up to home-built standard, but I think they will do just fine. By the time the pre-gens level, I am sure the character builder will have updated to Essentials, so they can level their own characters.

@Captain Spud – They are nice looking pre-gens, but I also want to say I liked the look of the Game Day pre-gens as well, I just hadn’t had a chance to say that before.

@Jason – Thanks for the errata on the wizard, it will be one of the pre-gens used tonight, mostly for the forced movement.

Lastly, I love but am concerned with what they did to the fighters mark, making it an aura makes it so much easier to keep track of, I only worry is if this will make the defender too sticky. The other pre-gen that will be used is Quinn, so we should find out tonight.

I can’t wait to play.

7 Wimwick September 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm

@ nightwalker450 & Ameron
Having just recieved my Heroes of the Fallen Lands this morning I can confirm that Disciple of Stone is a new feat, not a new character option for Dwarves. It seems they left Dwarven Resilience off the character sheet.

8 Reno September 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I’m getting so tired of Wizards using this event to push their products on us. I’m not going to buy a Red Box, and neither is anyone I know. It’s taking a step backwards. Why would those of us who have already spent hundreds of dollars on the Core set and the wealth of supplement books spend more money on a -starter set-?! It’s no coincidence that the ‘Essentials’ crap isn’t up on the Character Builder, they want us to be faced with the option of either playing with their error-ridden, apocryphal pre-gens, or spend money on something experienced players don’t need and won’t use for anything else.

My location still doesn’t have their package yet, hopefully it will come by tonight, but I fully intend to let my people bring whatever 1st level characters they can build on Character Builder as-is. I can’t imagine a good reason for restricting class and race except ‘only these classes and races are in the MANDATORY Essentials guide’, or perhaps ‘there’s new feats and character options in here you HAVE to make use of!’. If that is the rationale, then Wizards can take a flying eff at a rolling doughnut.

With Dark Sun at least we didn’t have access to the rules of a very distinctive setting, but this adventure seems like pretty generic fantasy. I might feel differently after I read it, but I don’t think I will. In retrospect, we could have played Fury of the Wastewalker with regular CB characters and been just fine.

9 Jeff Johnson September 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm

I am fan of the idea of the essentials line. I also do not complain about it being 4.5x as it is not. However, it took all the strength I had to just read through these builds. Optimized, sure. Fun to play? I cannot imagine! The rogue and fighter builds are so vanilla it hurts to think about. The clerics each look like they have a neat trick up their sleeve, but a cleric with a charging power (Storm Warpriest’s Storm Hammer at-will)? Wow…why not just call him a fighter as well. Also, are each of the cleric’s using Wisdom as their primary attack rolls for melee attacks? It just seems out of place for a class that already has a “str” warpriest from the PHB1

Out of all the classes, the wizard actually looks like a new and improved build imo. Getting magic missile as a class feature is cool but the rest of the powers are at least new enough that it looks like a new build. I’ve played a wizard since the change of MM occured and I find it incredibly boring to just announce X dmg each turn. To me, the rogue and the fighter look like what you would get if you gave every class a “new” magic missle attack. Plain and boring with no flare. Part of the fun of DnD is to announce the power you’re using as it can ellicit cool thoughts and emotions from everybody at the table. Now, people are going to announce…MBA and move on.

Thanks for listening. I can appreciate the concept of the essentials line, however I’m not impressed with the class changes as proposed so far. Perhaps they will add more variety in “at-wills” at higher lvls. I’ll never know until I get the books.

Happy Hunting!

10 Neuroglyph September 22, 2010 at 4:10 pm

While I harbor no ill will toward the Red Box, and think it is a good way to get new Players into the game, I am concerned that this season of D&D Encounters is going to be a non-starter. It is going to be hard for Traditional 4E Players to enjoy the simplified versions of the Fighter (Slayer) and Rogue (Thief), with their limited sets of powers, compared to the regular 4E builds. Hopefully, they can snag one of the more complex Characters like the Clerics or Wizards, and let a 4E newbie try his hand at the simpler builds.
Neuroglyph´s last blog post ..En World Review- Marauders of the Dune Sea by WotC

11 Sunyaku September 23, 2010 at 1:04 am

At my FLGS, Heroes of the Forgotten Lands was always an option for character creation, and since it’s a “premier” store (or whatever the term is), they’ve had the book in stock for almost two weeks.

I had a ton of time to happily roll up a dwarven rogue who uses “unbalancing trick” with the warhammer he wields to bash kneecaps. (^_^)

12 Iszi September 23, 2010 at 9:45 am

Has anyone else noticed – and been annoyed by – the re-use of character images in the pre-gens? I think it would be nice for WotC to actually put some original artwork onto those cards.

I recognize at least two of those character images as having been either on previous pre-gen cards, or in prior publications, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re all recycled.

13 TheClone September 27, 2010 at 4:44 am

Just wanted to say “Thank you” for providing the pregenerated characters. We use them for a Red Box test session (we got short sessions and the solo adventure for char gen got disqualified and the damn HotFL is not shipped yet).
TheClone´s last blog post ..It’s a Whodiak!

14 Ameron September 27, 2010 at 2:41 pm

@Lahrs
Although I’m not the DM this time around, I too would be pretty lenient regarding character creation. I know that Wizards wants people to use the Essentials rules to make characters, but at the end of the day I want the players to have fun and play wheat they want to play. I would encourage players to use the pre-gens or follow the Essentials rules for the first chapter (including using Heroes of the Fallen Lands). By chapter 2 I’d say play whatever you want, Essentials or not.

@Reno
Amen, brother. As much as I like the new Essentials stuff, I’ve bought just about every other 4e D&D product. So in my opinion I don’t need any of these products. Now, if this had been what 4e was like from day one, I’d be much happier and wouldn’t hesitate to run out and buy it.

As far as “mandatory” rules, see my comment to Lahrs above. My feeling is to let the players play the character they want and if they don’t have the Essentials materials, or don’t want to use them, then let them play a regular 4e character. It’s up to each DM to make that call at their table.

@Jeff Johnson
I’m with you on the Essentials. I think we’ll see a lot of 4e Wizards be “re-imagined” and rebuilt using the Essentials rules. As interesting as some of the other classes look, I don’t know if a player running a paragon or epic Fighter or Rogue would want to make changes to how their character works.

@Neuroglyph
You’ve really hit the nail on the head. D&D Essentials is first and foremost designed to entice people into trying D&D. For those already fully immersed (like you and I) the Red Box is interesting but certainly not required. For people who have never played or who haven’t played in a long time this release is perfect.

Regarding D&D Encounters, I also agree with your assessment. I think the die hard D&D players might get bored with the simplified rules. However, I think we’ll see a lot of DMs letting experienced players make their own characters using the traditional rules in order to keep them interested in the week to week encounters.

@Sunyaku
If you’ve got Heroes of the Forgotten Lands I see no reason to restrict your use of this book for character creation for D&D Encounters.

@Iszi
I was just glad that 4 of the 6 images were new. I had the same criticism with the D&D Essentials books. The art is great but a lot of it is reused from previous publications.

@TheClone
You’re welcome.

Making these characters available online lets people (like me) just print up new ones every week and not have to worry about loosing or forgetting the original cards. Plus the sheets provided with the kit are laminated which means you need a dry/wet erase marker to note any damage.

15 Ijiasu October 12, 2010 at 9:40 pm

I think I am missing something. From my calculations they should all be hitting with 1 less to AC and such. I know I am not right but I can’t figure out where the extra +1 to hit is coming from. For example Eldeth, Melee Basic +7vsAC. So, proficient with Axe is +2, +4 from strength mod. Where is the extra 1 coming from. Same with Quinn, i would say +7, yet its +8 on there. I haven’t read the Essentials book yet though, maybe its in there? Or a feat bonus not listed? The reason I ask is I just started a Dwarf Warden using a Warhammer, and I got +6 with my +2 prof/+4Str mod, wondering if it should be +7. Thanks a bunch!!

16 David Schwarm November 12, 2010 at 9:42 pm

I really appreciate you making these scans available–extremely helpful service to the community! Thanks!

@ijiasu agreed! I am trying to rebuild Quinn at second level and I am struggling to figure out how they got to +8–I realize that this is rather late, but any ideas would be very helpful!

Also, are their any ‘official’ level up guidelines this season?

17 Lert November 25, 2010 at 9:59 am

Where’s Berrian’s Arc Lightning power? I used that more than any other.

18 Ameron November 25, 2010 at 11:52 am

@Lert
As I mentioned above, I didn’t update these characters myself. If you find that Arc Lightning is a power you use a lot, then don’t swap it out. The Berrian at our table switches between Arc Lightning and Magic Missile all the time so I understand where you’re coming from.

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