As my stint as DM comes to a close, I might get a chance to play as a player! Obviously I’ve been obsessing about this for a few weeks, and so I’ve made a whole bunch of characters. Here’s my favourites so far. I have no idea how I meant to pick just one to use!
I generally like characters who can get stuck in, and smack something in a fight. But I also like having a few more options than just ‘smash it’. Hence why I’ve chosen the classes and archetypes I have.
I’ve made them as level 3 characters, just because that’s when you choose your archetype and so become a proper character to my mind. Obviously I’ll scale them up or down as necessary. They’ve all been created with the standard point-buy and backgrounds from the PHB.
Stik – Human Bard (College of Valor)
Str 14 Dex 14 Con 12 Int 12 Wis 11 Cha 16
Proficiencies: Athletics, Stealth, History, Perception and Persuasion (urchin background)
Equipment: Breastplate (medium armour), broadsword and shield (and sling, and shortbow, and handaxe, and dagger, and…)
Spells: Minor Illusion, Viscous Mockery, Charm Person, Disguise Self, Healing Word, Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, Thunderwave, Suggestion.
Stik grew up on the streets of Baldur’s Gate, picking pockets and running errands for one of the big crime families. He didn’t know his parents, never even knew if he had a name, so he just went by the nickname given to him by the other street kids. When he was very young, he ‘found’ a wooden flute covered in intricate carvings. He always carried it with him, earning him his nickname, and eventually gained some skill with his instrument. While life as a pickpocket was tough, it got tougher once he hit puberty. No longer small and nimble enough to be useful, he was abandoned (once again) and left to fend for himself.
However, Stik was always a charmer, and his skill with music brought him to attention of the Vimes family, who owned the Purple Wrym tavern. Stik was hired to play in the tavern (and help with troublemakers), and quickly became part of their small family. Mrs Vimes decided Stik should receive a proper education, and so paid for his tuition is one the prestigious academies in the city. Mr Vimes, an ex-adventurer, saw to it that Stik also received tuition in several ‘extra-curricular’ activities, such as swordplay and the art of magic. Stik absorbed everything he could, and although he never truly excelled at anything, he could turn his hand to many things.
Forever hearing tales of Mr Vimes’ exploits, Stik’s choice was clear: to head out and find a life of adventure of his own. He would never forget what the Vimes had done for him, and he hoped one day to make them proud.
I really like the 5e bard, it feels like a true ‘jack-of-all-trades’, you really can do a little bit of everything. This should be an easy character to drop into any party role: he’s quite sneaky, can hold his own in a fight, and can heal and support with a few spells (and of course the bardic inspiration).
Jafir – (Variant) Human Fighter (Eldritch Knight)
Str 16 Dex 9 Con 12 Int 14 Wis 12 Cha 12
Proficiencies: Athletics, Arcana, History, Investigation, Perception (sage background)
Equipment: Splint (heavy armour), glaive
Spells: Fire Bolt, Minor Illusion, Charm Person, Shield, Thunderwave.
Feats: Polearm master
Jafir grew up in the libraries of Candlekeep. He was surrounded by knowledge and learned people. His schooling was intense, and his teachers were some of the greatest thinkers of the land. Jafir was an intelligent young man, and devoted almost all of his time and effort into getting in trouble.
It was clear to his parents that Jafir was never going to become a scholar, so they relented, and allowed him to be trained by the Candlekeep guards (as well as his normal schooling), in the hope that would focus him mind better. It did. Jafir become a legend throughout the keep, no-one could match him in combat, even in his teenage years. As he got older, he began to think of himself as invincible, and would bully and dominate those around him.
It was only a chance encounter with a band of goblins who had sneaked into the keep, that made him realise how frail and untrained he really was. His bravado had cost people their lives, and he had failed those he cared about. He had to leave, to get better, to ensure he would never fail again.
I could never play a normal fighter, it would just seem so dull! I like the look of the eldritch knight, even just for the flavour. As with the bard above, this character gives me a few more options, and can be more of a nuanced character. The benefit of this one is that he has a few of the intelligence skills too – if no-one else plays a wizard, intelligence become everyone’s dump stat, so hopefully he can contribute.
If allowed, the feat from the variant human race is massive. I was torn between polearm master and one of the spellcasting ones (magic initiate or ritual caster). Some of the ritual spells could be amazing in the right circumstances…
Ulfur – Half-Orc Paladin (Oath of Ancients)
Str 16 Dex 8 Con 14 Int 12 Wis 12 Cha 14
Proficiencies: Athletics, Animal Handling, Survival, Intimidate, Persuasion (folk hero background)
Equipment: Splint (heavy armour), battleaxe and shield
Fighting Style: Protection
No-one knows where Ulfur came from. Brandy Goodbarrel found the little half-orc baby in her field, chewing on the bones of a chicken he’d caught. Brandy and her husband Stout had never had children of their own, so the little monster seemed like a gift from the gods. The halflings adopted the baby, and named him Ulfurrykins (he never tells anyone his full name these days).
You would think a half-orc growing up in a halfling village would be met with suspicion and fear. But halflings are simple, good people, and if Ulfur was part of the village, then he would be accepted like anyone else. In different circumstances Ulfur might have grown up to be a bully, or a thug, but his parents were strict and loving, and so he became the village’s guard and defender. Several bandits decided against what they though would be easy pickings, once they saw Ulfur in his uniform, and holding his specially-made axe.
But even Ulfur couldn’t help the village when the kobolds came. Everything was burning, villagers lay dead in the streets, and Ulfur lay bleeding, unable to do anything. At that moment he saw a unicorn, somehow untouched at the edge of the fields. He realised it was probably just the neighbour’s donkey and his own blood loss, but all the same he took strength from the sight. He pledged all he had, all he was, to defending this village, this way of life. He just needed the strength to fight, and it was given to him.
After the attack it was like waking from a daze. The village was damaged, but not destroyed, and his parents still lived. Ulfur was changed, and he could no longer just defend his village, when so many things could threaten it. He would seek out the source of the evil and ensure his people were safe forever.
I wanted to make a Paladin, but I’m not that fond of the whole ‘knight templar’ thing they have going on. Oath of Ancients feels much more fun, I can imagine a paladin of ancients actually being quite good fun at a party. Then following on from that, I just really like the idea of half-orc raised by halflings, and so actually being a nice chap.