Dungeons and Dragons Next – Playtest packet 2: Character Generation

By | August 15, 2012

The second packet of playtest materials for the next edition of Dungeons and Dragons, currently called ‘Dungeons and Dragons Next’, was released a few days ago. The first packet contained some pregens, basic rules and a brief adventure.  This packet has rules for character generation (for at 4 races and 4 classes anyway) as well as a bestiary.

I can’t claim to be a major D+D player but like a lot of people it was the red box set that got me into RPGing



So, to have a whirl at character generation.

Step 1 is to generate ability scores.  From the playtest rules, can either allocate an array or roll 4d6, pick the highest 3, and do this 6 times.

I rolled:

10, 14, 9, 15, 12, 12.

Step 2 is chose a race.  There are elves, halflings, humans and dwarves to chose between, with subraces.  I am going to chose a High Elf.  This gives my PC low light vision, elven weapon training, keen senses, trance, free spirit, elven and common languages, +1 INT, and one minor Wizard spell.

Step 3 is chose a class and a background and speciality (these later two are optional).  The classes available at present are fighter, cleric, rogue and wizard.  As members of the club will be unsurprised to learn, I’ll pick wizard.

This gives me +1 to either INT or CON, 4 HP + CON bonus, +3 magical attack, +2 weapon attack, no armour proficiencies, and dagger, staff, light crossbow and slings weapon proficiencies.  Class features are arcane knowledge, spellbook, cantrips, and arcane magic.

Skills in this edition work a bit differently to in the past – if trained in a skill, gives a +3 to any attribute check made relevant to that skill, with further increase possible with levels. Arcane knowledge allows me to pick 1 of 4 lores to be trained in, I’ll pick Magical Lore.  Spellbook gives me five 1st level spells written in it, and arcane magic means the PC can cast 3 prepared spells of these/day. Cantrips gives me 3 minor spells that can be cast at will and without preparation.  With the bonus from being a High Elf, this is 4 in total.  I’ll pick the spells later.

Background is a v nice feature. There are a selection of ‘packages’ that tell you what your character did in the past and where he/she came from professionally.  Each package gives you three trained skills and a trait.  ‘Sage’ is one that would work well for a wizard, granting more lore skills and improving researching abilities, but I’m seeing my High Elf as something of a decadent, charming wizard so will pick ‘Noble’.  This grants Diplomacy, Heraldic Lore, and Societal Lore as trained and the trait of ‘retainers’.

Speciality describes the way the PC operates, in combat or investigation, and specific training and knowledge.  ‘Necromancer’ is appealing, as is ‘Healer’ but think will pick ‘Magic User’.  This grants the level 1 feat ‘arcane dabbler’ which gives another 2 minor spells (6 total to pick – 3 from class, 1 from high elf, 2 from speciality feat).

Step 4 is to assign attributes.  The attributes are the same D+D attributes we’ve known and loved for a long time, STR, CON, DEX, INT, WIS, CHA.  I see my High Elf wizard as clever and charming, but not strong or wise.  This allows me to spread the scores I rolled thus:

STR 9 CON 12 DEX 12 INT 15 WIS 10 CHA 14

He gets a +1 INT for being a High Elf and another +1 to either INT or CON for being a Wizard.  I’ll add +2 to INT giving, with attribute modifiers:

STR 9 (-1) CON 12 (+1) DEX 12 (+1) INT 17 (+3) WIS 10 (0) CHA 14 (+2)

Step 5 is figure out combat numbers.

Hit points will be 4+1=5, AC is likely to be 11 given that won’t be wearing armour or using a shield, Initiative +1, Melee attack will be +1, Ranged attack +3 and magical attack +6.

Step 6 is finishing touches.  I’m going to pick an alignment of Chaotic Good, to reflect his good natured but irresponsible attitude, Aelar Meliamne as a name from the suggestions in the playtest material, and rather than buy equipment, take the equipment recommended for wizards including robes, staff, spellbook, adventurer’s kit and healer’s kit.

For his 6 minor spells, I’ll pick detect magic, mage hand, magic missile, ray of frost, ghost sound and light.  For the 5 spells in the spell book, burning hands, shield, charm person, sleep and thunder wave.  Of these, thunder wave, shield and charm person will be prepared.

So, there we are.  My first attempt at character creation for DnDNext.  Must say I rather like it – a blast back to earlier edition (certainly pre-3rd ed) but with nice features such as the backgrounds to give you some history to the PC.

Aelar is now ready – a whimsical, irresponsible, High Elf, troubled by ennui, who has both magical powers and some interpersonal skills – as well as handy retainers to carry all his treasure!


If interested to try it yourself, here is a link to sign up for the playtest http://www.wizards.com/dnd/dndnext.aspx

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