Friday, February 24, 2012

D&D character generation. Return of an old... friend?

So, tonight I made my first new D&D character in a while! Some friends of a friend have been playing in a campaign for the last five or six years, and now they had an opening. Never being one to pass an opportunity to play, I jumped at it.

Have you made a character in 3rd ed. D&D recently? I can tell you I haven't. I bought the book when they were new, never got on the revised bandwaggon, and ran a campaign for some years. I don't even remember how long time it was! Five years? Three?

I at once felt how some things in that game didn't make sense, already at the character generation step. Many skills are kind of wonky, and the cross class system is clunky. Also, the feat tree is something of a mess. The fact that I got to generate a level 8 character to be on par with the rest of the party might have made it fiddlier than usual, though.

Tinkerer as I am, I started thinking how you could streamline things. How about you take out the hierarchical system for the feats, making it all flat? How about you remove some skills like Use Rope and Escape Artist and merge agile manoeuvres into a few sensible skills, and social interaction skills into active and passive ones? There are many loose ends to start pulling on! I still really like the idea of metamagical feats, though.

I ended up with a multi-classed human Rogue 3/Wizard 5 character. It will be interesting to see how it feels in play!


  1. I think just about every d20 game that came out after 3.0 streamlined the skills in some way or other. 3.5 merged some of the skills. d20 Star Wars, most 3rd party games (d20 Conan, True 20, etc.) did, Pathfinder and 4E did as well.

    d20 Modern might be about the only one that didn't combine some of the more pointless skills into others.

  2. I would have gone further than 3.5, though.

    d20 Modern I never looked at, and that fact it didn't combine skills makes it even more the red headed step child of the family than I even expected!

  3. I'm a confirmed True20 diehard - I use it for all my old-school style games. It's very bare-bones and streamlined, written to be tweaked and houseruled for your own campaign. Replace their wonky damage track system and fatigue-based, non-Vancian magic, and you've got 3.5 without the drama and bookkeeping.

  4. I have heard much good about True20, but I have never seen it in a game store so I haven't been able to browse it. Maybe one of these days...


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