Ryan Thomason

Geek Dad Report: Achievement Unlocked! I Made My First Tabletop D&D Character

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After 30 years of sucking oxygen out of the air, I finally did it. I found a Tabletop D&D group and made my first character.

A one foot tall flying Pixie, that is an Executioner/Assassin. Man, I hope I did this right.

My experience with D&D has mostly been held to video games set in the various realms and some ad hoc games in forums. So, after I got confirmation that a group had been formed and I was going to be a part of it (You’ll be watching us play on the new Youtube channel!) I was very, very excited. One, because this is something I’ve always wanted to do ever since high school. Yeah, I never joined those kids and their lunch adventures, I was a sports guy who thought they were in the social click where nobody would think it was cool. So, I watched them from afar, always wondering what it was like. Hell, One of them was in most of my classes, and I’d sit next to him and we’d talk about the games and he’d show me the stuff he was working on. I’d always say it looked cool, but I never got asked to join in, maybe the Lettermans jacket put him off, I don’t know, it wasn’t a time when I was comfortable showing my geek side and well, we all know what it was like for true geeks back then…in the mid 90’s…you know, forever ago? I’m old.

Anyways, I was so excited to make my character that I spent somewhere around a total of seven hours spread across four really late nights in the creation process.

Yes. Seven Hours.

Which included me reading nearly all Three Players Handbooks and browsing through Nine different Player Supplement guides to decide what kind of character I wanted to play. Granted, this is only because I was really doing this for the first time and I had no idea what I wanted to play. Our DM kindly gifted me his copies of the Players Guides and four of the basic player building books. Thankfully I’ve been working with the developer of D&D, Wizards of the Coast for a couple of years now, they’ve been sending me new player supplemental books every now and then for the website. Aside from glancing through them and doing quick shout outs, I never really had an opportunity to dive into the books for a real reason like character creation. The five books I have are: Book of Vile Darkness, Heroes of the Feywild, Heroes of Shadow, Heroes of the Elemental Chaos and The Dungeon Survival Handbook (Underdark). The book of Vile Darkness was quickly rejected for my character, this one is all about making an evil alignment character, which didn’t suit my wanting to be a good guy type. This book is pretty cool though, and comes with a little campaign setting for a group and teaches you all about being one evil bastard in your D&D group. The Dungeon Survival book was good, but none of the Underdark characters and classes felt like something I was looking for. Yes, I know the Underdark is awesome and all, with all it’s darkness being under things. I just didn’t connect with any of it. The Elemental Chaos book didn’t have what I was looking for this time around, but some of the really cool classes in there I think I’m totally going to make use of in my next character. So, me who typically plays the Giant Brute/Smasher of things type of characters in Role Playing Games, I found it odd that after reading through the Heroes of Feywild book that I decided that a one foot tall, 2lb flying Pixie was an awesome race to play. Maybe it was the fact I can throw pixie dust on people and make them fly, maybe it was that I could shrink medium sized things to my size and use it. Maybe my 2 year old daughter making me watching all things Tinkerbell and fairy related caught me off balance. Regardless, I wanted to make a Pixie, but you know not THAT kind of pixie. This is where the Heroes of Shadow came in handy. I figured, what is the opposite of Tinkerbell? Hey look! An Assassin class! An assassin that likes to do public displays of death! An assassin who can join a guild that is all about balancing society IN BLOOD PAYMENTS! Executioner it is.

Yes, learning to build a character on your own can be a long and daunting process, I can see where a lot of people can get put off by it, keeping them from playing. Through patience, Trial and Error, and a whole bunch of bugging my DM, I got a character out of it. Briarthorn to be exact. The 1 foot, 2lb Executioner class Pixie. Get ready folks, I’m about to toss some pixie dust into your FACE!

Things I learned:

  • Always ask your DM for help if they have experience running a game, it’s what they’re their for
  • USE A PENCIL TO FILL OUT YOUR SHEET. Try erasing a pen mark, I had to throw out my first sheet because of this. You will be erasing and moving a lot of things around as you learn the creation process
  • Once you’ve made a character, you want to make more, and now can do it in 30 minutes, not seven hours
  • If you’re starting at a level higher than 1, the gold you start with is equal to your level in a magic item cost
  • Min/Maxing a character unknowingly sometimes makes you feel like you cheated in one aspect, you didn’t, its just how things go sometimes in the creation process, just hope your DM doesn’t exploit your crushing weakness
  • Google is your friend if your DM is getting annoyed with your questions
  • After you make a character write your background for them, it really helps you get a better idea of how you want to play them
  • Don’t wait to start a game if you’ve been holding out because of social constraints, find a comic shop or look online, find a group, make a character and roleplay your butt off. Nobody cares, and if they do, tell them to grow up.

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