Character Creation Notes

I recommend you read Tale of a Darkwoods Crossing , Historical Notes, and List of Dieties Present then come up with a character idea first. The setting is settling in now but there’s always room to add more nations, races, etc.

Technical Notes on Character Creation

This is the short form of character creation notes for those familiar with 4th Edition. A tutorial follows for those not!

Generally, I do not allow content from D&D Insider (Dungeon/Dragon) or content specific to a particular setting (e.g. Eberron, Forgotten Realms, etc.-only stuff). I am not interested in debating whether this is a fair or sensible policy. I just have seen that Dungeon/Dragon tends to be less well-tested than other material and the setting-specific material links into setting background that just may not exist here. I’m open to a case-by-case argument but I think we’ll have plenty of setting-specific items, monsters, etc. to keep things interesting!

Anyone creating a character I urge to use Character Builder (sign in top righthand corner) with my login/pass: bluebrian and (password from GM) . Use my login/pass as much as you want to look around and make characters!

Some specifics:

  • Ability Scores: Use method 2 (standard point-buy). In the Builder, this is under “Points”
  • Races: Any except as noted above.
  • Classes: Any except Psychic and Shadow power source (without GM approval).
  • Alignment: Any non-evil (unless GM consulted). I generally play to character backstory much more than enforcing alignment.
  • Skills: Any. Note that Thievery and Nature tend to be under-represented. Also, for those new to the system, you can generally attempt the same actions untrained and trained (some significant exceptions exist) and I will often give circumstance bonuses to skill checks (e.g. due to background, good roleplaying, etc.)
  • Equipment: Standard equipment appropriate for level as given by Character Builder but consult with GM about upgrading slightly.
  • Gender: Unlike my earlier campaigns, I’m good with cross-playing gender. But be aware that I will have my eye on such characters – it had been not be just “hey, I have boobs” when you use them and forget your gender otherwise!
  • Themes: Not allowed. Yes, I know, you want to but I’m trying to keep it a little simple on the system end!
  • Backgrounds: Any
  • Additional Character Options: None allowed for now (this is the list under Manage Your Character in Character Builder)
  • Reminder: A full page of character description (with background and proper nouns!) is also requested!


Just a quick list of steps to creating your first character using Character Builder. First, although I’m a Mac-user, I recommend using a PC if you can – Silverlight (the technology behind it) is spotty on the Mac. For example, I can’t type text at all using it!

When the Character Builder loads, you’ll see 3 options – choose the middle one (Custom Character). On the next screen, choose “Home” (we’re not in a specific pre-built setting). Then you’ll be sent to the standard interface.

On the left is a list of the parts of the character sheet you are building. The most important, saving, is under Manage Your Character (but you might wait until you name him or her).

In the middle is the list of whatever you’re selecting right now. If you click on, say, Druid, more information about the class. Since all players making characters here have played some form of D&D (including Pathfinder) in the past, I’m hoping you can slug through what is being said here. One thing new: There are now “roles” that give you some idea what you will be doing as a character in combat (while this campaign is not focused on combat, it helps to be aware!). I suggest not controller or hybrid starting out – leader is basically “healer”, striker is “damage dealer”, and defender is “tank”. I may ask the more experienced player(s) to “fill a role” with their character, leaving those with less experience in 4e a free choice.

I suggest a race that fits your backstory and the class you chose (e.g. fighters might want to be a race that emphasizes Strength). Humans are actually pretty decent in 4e too. Depending on your race, optional options may pop up – you can choose any that look interesting.

Details tab has your name, age, weight, etc. I’d suggest not choosing a diety unless you want a particular Western one. We’re not doing Themes but you can choose a Background (which grants an extra skill or skill boost) – be sure to look at the bottom as many of them come from Dragon magazine which is not allowed.

Under Assign Abilities left tab, click Point Buy near the top of the interface then assign those points to ability scores (note the check box to assign your racial bonus). Under Train Skills, you select the skills you are trained at – being untrained generally just means you’re not as good at it (especially at 1st level). Select Powers is where you’ll have a lot of choice – every class has a variety of powers they start with. One at-will (use whenever you want), one encounter, and one daily at first level. Select Feats lets you select one feat (or two if you’re human) – read through them and see what looks good, you can change it later. If you’re truly at a loss, Toughness and Improved Initiative work decently.

Under Get Equipment, just hitting Add Gear For Me will generally give you the best buys given what you have selected earlier (at first level – later, it kinda blows). Last, Manage Your Character is where you will go to level up, retrain (change things as you level), and save your character!

When done, save your character and click Character Sheet in the upper-right. Then wait – it takes a little while to load the character sheet and, if you print, it will take a while to do that too (do not close the window that pops up while printing). If you want a backup or to transfer the character to another D&D Insider account, clicking Home then selecting your character and Export should work.

Character Creation Notes

Darkwood Crossing patterbj