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The Guide to Making Good Player Characters: D&D Advice

Dungeons and Dragons is a really fun hobby to enjoy with your friends. However, when it comes to making a character, many players hit a brick wall. How do you make good player characters? It seems like it would be easy, though this question comes up more often than you’d expect.

Today we’re going to look over the various factors that go into making a character memorable, likable and, most of all, fun-to-play. Let’s roll some dice.

Making Good Player Characters

Dungeons and Dragons
Wizards of the Coast

Step 1: Lighten Up

Our first tip for newer players is this: lighten up. Instead of making Garreth Darkblade, a dark elf rogue with a shadowy past and no family, consider, instead, making a character with actual bonds to the world around them. The shadowy drifter with no past is simply no fun to play as or with.

Give Garreth a doting old aunt who worries about him when he goes out on shadowy assassination contracts. Make Garreth have a soft spot for kittens and puppies, and give him an interesting background. Maybe he grew up in a huge manor home with no siblings, and that led to his loner tendencies.

Step 2: Team Players

This is on the same track as step one. When you create a player character, don’t make a loner. Back to Garreth: just because he doesn’t have a lot of friends doesn’t mean you need to play him as an antisocial jerk. Player characters need to have a reason to work with others. D&D, at the end of the day, is a team game.

If the party is constantly cajoling your character to even go on the adventure with them, you’re being a jerk. Don’t hide behind “it’s what my character would do”. You made your character that way, so change them. An antisocial adventurer is a bad adventurer.

You wouldn’t make a player character without any adventuring skills, would you? So, why make one who doesn’t have any desire to work with others? Being a team player is critical for being a successful adventurer.

Step 3: Vices

When thinking about your character, think about what they like. Does this character like reading poetry? Do they have a favorite play, or would they rather spend their free time in the fighting pits? This character might be a gambler, or have too much of a taste for fine ale for their light coin purse. These very human foibles are what make a character fun.

If you’re playing a straight-laced, uptight paladin or cleric, that can be fun, too. Think about the ways your character will clash with the hard-drinking rogue and barbarian. Will this cause tension (of the fun variety) in the party? These are the things that make party dynamics memorable.

Step 4: When in Doubt…

If you’re having a really hard time coming up with a good character idea, look to your favorite fantasy stories. Do you like Lord of the Rings? Who is your favorite character from the series? Make a slightly modified version of that character. It might not be original, but it’ll be good, and that’s a start.

As you play this character, you’ll find them developing a unique personality of their own accord. It’s hard to get started, so use what you can to make the character someone you want to play. D&D is for fun and escapism, after all, so don’t stress too much about the finer details. Just make sure you and your group are all having fun!

Cameron Norris

Cameron Norris

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