tl;dr: We started playing the new DnD this week. I give a long, boring account of my character creation decisions. Any thoughts, plans, or excitement you guys have about the new edition?
So, my brother just got the 5th edition DnD Player's Handbook in the mail and hijacked my game this Thursday. I was a bit sulky at first, since I'd been GMing (homebrew system) and wanted to figure out whether we were ready to wrap up my campaign and switch over to his planned one or not, and he didn't tell me (or anyone aside from his wife and the two guests he brought with him, also without telling me) that he'd "figured we'd play DnD today" until I showed up to look at the new book. But eventually I was having fun. We've agreed to wrap up my campaign in a couple weeks, since I won't be able to make next week.
Personal stuff aside, we all made characters and RP'd for a few minutes (despite the protests of those who had to get to bed -- we're really bad at ending on time). It's a big group, 6-8 players + DM, depending on which of the two new people can make it on a given week, and 8 of the 9 were there. I didn't get to actually look through the new PHB, but it looks pretty cool.
I didn't want to play a race anyone else had picked, which left me picking last with Human, Half-Elf, Halfling, and Gnome. I don't like playing a human in a fantasy game, never saw the appeal of half-elf, and didn't really want to play a halfling (I'm a jerk like that). So that left me with Gnome, having decided in advance that my next player character would be an illiterate barbarian, culturally if not mechanically. Great.
We already had a paladin in our group, a cleric, and a pair of monks (one of which would be likely to make every week), so we really didn't need more melee. Only one arcane spellcaster (sorcerer), and she might not show up often. Also, no rogue. Only one archer (ranger). Since I found that I enjoyed playing an archer warrior significantly more than a cleric, bard, or sorcerer (surprisingly), I didn't want to do another spellcaster. Despite the rogue being on paper everything I like (skill checks!), I wasn't interested in the archetype. With tons of melee already, it looked like I was cleared for archery duty -- hooray! Even if a balanced party would've required a wizard or something.
So, I was deciding between Barbarian and Fighter. I didn't really care for the rage mechanic, so that's a strike against barbarism. I'd really enjoyed playing a Dwarven archery Fighter in the playtest (Harbek Ungart, boisterous Transylvanian for the win), so I knew that could work well. But I'd already done it. Can you do a Barbarian bowman? We looked through the abilities. There was a fighter build designed for it, but the Barbarian mechanics were mostly based around being hard to kill rather than melee fighting specifically. Rage gave a melee-only bonus, so I'd be missing out on that, but it would apply even to dex weapons if I needed it to. Hm... Well, Barbarian it is, because I don't want to just repeat what I did last time.
So, I built a Gnomish Dex/Con Barbarian with good Wisdom, a little bit of Strength, and neutral Charisma. I rolled fairly well, but not spectacular. No penalties though.
Oh, crap -- I'm a Gnome. No longbow for me. Well, I'll figure something out for ranged and use a finesse weapon for melee. The rage damage bonus applies whether it's a dex or str melee weapon, if we read the rules right.
One thing I really like about the new edition, which they hadn't fully explored in the playtest, is the roleplaying section of the character sheet. You're supposed to pick two specific personality traits, an ideal, a bond, and a flaw. Cool. Plus you get Inspiration points, which I guess are like Savage Worlds bennies, for acting according to your alignment even when it costs you. Alright, I can dig it. Most of the backgrounds I was interested in got picked, which is fine with me, as it helped me narrow down my choices. Outlander and Folk Hero were still available (Hermit and Noble were taken, though our DM did state he was ok with multiple nobles), and of course I went with Folk Hero. This apparently was not a surprise, as the DM laughed and noted that of course I would pick that.
He was probably referring to my Kobold Bard, Bardicus Maximus (II?). Or my aforementioned loud, goofily-accented Dwarven archer-Fighter, Harbek Ungart. Or even my Halfling Barbarian, Stout, who rolled very poor stats (I refused to reroll -- d'oh) and died early on in the dungeon one-shot. Or my (extremely poorly optimized) Goblin Ranger Noble, Stabs-and-Stabs.
I may have a problem.
So, anyway, I ended up picking a backstory that involved standing alone against a terrible monster and surviving, then being told by the village seer that I was destined to be the one to slay it and sent on said quest, with the flaw that I'm afraid of responsibility and don't think I can meet my destiny.
My DM required us all to be good-aligned, which honestly was probably a smart call. It's easier to get frustrated at non-good party members, in my experience, than when everyone's on the same page. It seems like otherwise, a couple people have fun, and everyone else is miserable.
- Dwarven Cleric, Acolyte, misquotes favorite holy texts
Dwarven Paladin, Soldier (we almost had him convinced to play a Charlatan who wasn't a real paladin at all)
Elven Ranger, Noble, ranged build, flaw was, "I am flawless," because the player didn't like any of the ones available and we turned that into a flaw in itself
Gnome Barbarian, Folk Hero, ranged build, CG, reluctant "hero" afraid of facing his so-called destiny
Half-Orc Monk, Urchin, bad table manners
???, regular player who was absent this week
- Dragonborn Monk, Hermit, plagued by violent thoughts
Tiefling Sorcerer, Charlatan