Dungeons and Dragons is easily my favorite tabletop game of all time. The pure amount of freedom, creativity, and fun to be had with this game is unparalleled to me. But god knows it’s not accessible without a proper guide. Sure, 5th Edition has made it a lot easier to get into, but there’s still a certain barrier to entry.
Today, we’re gonna talk about one of the biggest errors many new players make: aiming for the most effective character.
Ultimately, D&D is about creating and role playing a character in a fantastical world. It’s not just killing monsters and getting treasure. You’ve gotta be able to talk, to sneak, to tame animals, to create objects, pretty much anything you can imagine. So naturally, with all these challenges in mind, players typically hope for the best possible roles for their stats while they’re creating their characters. They want to succeed.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone wants to succeed. But a lot of people don’t even consider the possibility that it would be more fun to be less effective.
For example, say I wanted to play a Rogue. But whilst creating him, I didn’t want to fall into the typical archetype of a tall, slender and sneaky thief. So what do I do? I choose to play a dwarf, make him 350 pounds, and put his lowest roll in Dexterity. Sounds horrible, right? Sounds completely ineffective, I’d die within a single encounter.
But instead of complaining and waiting to die, I decide to change the way he plays. In combat, I stay in the back firing arrows at the enemy. When I need to sneak, I just walk up to whoever I’m sneaking around and use my high Charisma stat to talk my way around them. Instead of being pretty but underhanded, like if I were a Human or Elf, I use my Dwarfish charisma and friendly personality to get closer to the people I want to swindle or steal from.
Does that sound fun? Because that sounds like a god-damn blast to me!
My point is, D&D is at it’s most fun when you’re just playing. Not playing to succeed or fail. Just playing for the sake of playing. Playing for the sake of becoming something totally absurd, such as a Dwarfish Rogue with a silver tongue.
So the next time you’re creating a character, don’t think “How can I make him the most effective?” while rolling stats. Think “How can I make him the most fun?” because in the end, that’s the whole point of the game.
Or are we not allowed fun anymore?