Dinner for Dragons

Retro-Post: Character Creation Night

Character Creation Night

So, I figured I’d blog my D&D campaign, and remark on any notable things that happen.

A little background. I’ve never played D&D or any other pen & paper RPG, although I have watched and listened to the Penny Arcade D&D podcasts/livestreams. It looked fun, and my wife wanted to play, so I thought I’d take a shot at starting a campaign with some co-workers.

For Christmas this year, I dove right in and purchased the following D&D items:

Red Box (Starter Kit)
Dungeon Masters Kit
Monster Vault Box
Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms
Heroes of the Fallen Lands

I also purchased a pound of dice, as I had none, and one month of DDI to try it out.

I spent a few weeks reading through the Red Box material and most of the DM book, until I had a basic understanding for most of the rules.

I invited 5 players to my game, and we had a character creation night last Friday. I think it went reasonably well, although it probably could have been better organized. Myself and two of my players have had next to no experience with D&D. Two others had played a few adventures, and I’m still not sure how experienced they are. The last player was familiar with 3e and other pen and paper games, but not with 4e in specific.

We first started trying to do character creation via pen and paper, but found that I (or anyone else) wasn’t familar enough with the process to guide everyone through very well. It was kinda a mess. I should have read the players guide first before attempting to do it this way.

We ended up firing up a laptop and using the DDI character creator to simplify things. Since I didn’t have a printer (something I rectified over the weekend), we couldn’t print the sheets made yet.

One who is not a gamer of any sort, was so new that she had no clue about the various class and race paradims, even though they are pretty well established across the fantasy genre. She slowed things down a bit and I think was overwhelmed to the point that she just started picking things after a bit when it came to power selections and feats. I think she was a bit bored by the end of the session, but hopefully wasn’t too disuaded now that this part is over.

Naturally, the player of other pen and paper games spent a lot of time trying to convince me to switch games. That’s fine and good that he holds that opinion, but I actually like many things about the 4e ruleset, and am not really looking to switch. I think he was bored by the end of the night as well.

The other players seemed reasonably interested and entertained during the evening, including my wife, which is important . The two who had played before had brought a PHB, which I wish they hadn’t as I think it confused things a bit. I was trying to keep things restricted to the essentials books for now, but they kept suggesting feats from the other book to people. Which wasn’t helpful since we were using the DDI quick essentials character and modifying. Much of the stuff out of PHB wasn’t available in those selections.

By the time we were done with character creation, it was too late to start anything, so we retired for the evening. I guess we’ll see if we lost anyone before then.

We ended up with the following characters:
Eladrin Mage
Half-Elf Sentinal
Human Slayer
Tiefling Warlock
Half-Orc Scout

I was hoping to see a defender class in there as well, but I guess we’ll see if we can make due without one.

The big takeaway I came away from here was that the players books were not that useful. Since we only had one set floating around, they slowed things to a crawl. It seems that a DDI subscription and access to the character creator can wholely replace the players books. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I feel like I could have saved that $40.

Next session we’ll start playing. I’m sure there will be some major hiccups there as well, but hopefully it will go OK. We’ll being doing the Twisted Halls from the Red Box, and I feel reasonably prepared for it. Hope it goes well.



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