Party Creation

A Checklist for Creating a New Character

Pick a Role

Defender – You protect the rest of the party in melee combat, forcing opponents to pay attention to you and blocking them from moving after the more fragile characters. Very good defense, good hit points, and good melee damage are pretty typical.
Striker – You kill things. Either from long-distance ranged attacks, or up close and personal in melee, your primary strength is dealing a lot of focused damage. Melee builds tend towards high mobility to protect themselves, while Ranged builds just try to keep out of the reach of their foes.
Controller – You try to control the battlefield. You slow, hinder, daze, confuse, or dominate most of your enemies, leaving only a few for the Defender to pick up. Often decent damage output, you aren’t usually as focused as the Striker; you are far more likely to debilitate a large group of enemies than kill any single one.
Leader – You support the rest of the party, typically either through healing, or with benefical spells and powers that boost your allies abilities. A large amount of variability in how you accomplish this role, however. Some Leaders are front-line troops, and some stay in the back ranks, helping from a distance.

Pick a Race and Class

Knowing your role, pick a race and class that allow you to fulfill it. You don’t need to spend hours optimizing your character, but it is worth looking at your options, as there exist a large number of builds for any given class, and if you have a particular race or class in mind, it’s usually possible to set up a build that makes sense and plays to your strengths.

This table shows the available classes, builds, where to find them, and their relevant aility scores. Cross-reference with the 2nd table further down on Race to pick a viable race/build/class combo.

Class Build Reference 1st Stat 2nd Stat 3rd Stat
Defender
Battlemind Resilient Battlemind PHB3 Con Wis Cha
Quick Battlemind PHB3 Con Cha Wis
Harrier Battlemind PsP Con Dex Wis or Cha
Fighter Great Weapon Fighter PHB1 Str Con
Guardian Fighter PHB1 Str Dex or Wis Wis or Dex
Battlerager Fighter MP1 Str Con Wis
Tempest Fighter MP1 Str Wis Dex
Brawling Fighter MP2 Str Dex Con
Paladin Avenging Paladin PHB1 Str Cha Wis
Protecting Paladin PHB1 Cha Str Wis
Ardent Paladin DP Str Wis Con
Virtuous Paladin DP Cha Wis Str
Warden Earth Warden PHB2 Str Con
Wild Warden PHB2 Str Wis
Life Warden PrP Str Wis
Storm Warden PrP Str Con
Striker
Avenger Isolating Avenger PHB2 Wis Int
Pursuing Avenger PHB2 Wis Dex
Commanding Avenger DP Wis Int Dex
Barbarian Rageblood Barbarian PHB2 Str Con Cha
Thaneborn Barbarian PHB2 Str Cha Con
Thunderborn Barbarian PrP Str Con
Whirling Barbarian PrP Str Dex
Monk Centered Breath Monk PHB3 Dex Wis Str
Stone Fist Monk PHB3 Dex Str Wis
Iron Soul Monk PsP Dex Con Wis
Ranger Archer Ranger PHB1 Dex Str Wis
Two-Blade Ranger PHB1 Str Dex Wis
Beastmaster Ranger MP1 Str Dex Wis
Hunter Ranger MP2 Dex Wis Str or Con
Marauder Ranger MP2 Str Wis Dex or Con
Rogue Brawny Rogue PHB1 Dex Str Cha
Trickster Rogue PHB1 Dex Cha Str
Aerialist Rogue MP1 Dex Cha Str
Cutthroat Rogue MP1 Dex Cha Str
Shadowy Rogue MP2 Dex Int Str or Cha
Sorcerer Chaos Sorcerer PHB2 Cha Dex
Dragon Sorcerer PHB2 Cha Str
Storm Sorcerer AP Cha Dex Str
Cosmic Sorcerer AP Cha Str Dex
Warlock Deceptive Warlock PHB1 Cha Int Con
Scourge Warlock PHB1 Con Int Cha
Controller
Druid Guardian Druid PHB2 Wis Con
Predator Druid PHB2 Wis Dex
Swarm Druid PrP Wis Con
Invoker Preserving Invoker PHB2 Wis Int
Wrathful Invoker PHB2 Wis Con
Malediction Invoker DP Wis Con Int
Psion Telekinetic Psion PHB3 Int Wis
Telepathic Psion PHB3 Int Cha
Shaper Psion PsP Int Cha Con
Seeker Protecting Seeker PHB3 Wis Str
Vengeful Seeker PHB3 Wis Dex
Wizard Control Wizard PHB1 Int Wis Dex
War Wizard PHB1 Int Dex Wis
Illusionist Wizard AP Int Cha
Summoner Wizard AP Int Con
Leader
Ardent Enlightened Ardent PHB3 Cha Wis Con
Euphoric Ardent PHB3 Cha Con Wis or Dex
Impetuous Ardent PsP Cha Dex Con
Bard Cunning Bard PHB2 Cha Int Con
Valorous Bard PHB2 Cha Con Int
Prescient Bard AP Cha Wis Int
Cleric Battle Cleric PHB1 Str Wis Cha
Devoted Cleric PHB1 Wis Cha Str
Shielding Cleric DP Wis Cha Str
Runepriest Defiant Runepriest PHB3 Str Wis
Wrathful Runepriest PHB3 Str Con
Shaman Bear Shaman PHB2 Wis Con Int
Panther Shaman PHB2 Wis Int Con
Eagle Shaman PrP Wis Dex Con
World SPeaker Shaman PrP Wis Con Int or Dex
Warlord Inspiring Warlord PHB1 Str Cha Int
Tactical Warlord PHB1 Str Int Cha
Bravura Warlord MP1 Str Cha Int
Resourceful Warlord MP1 Str Int or Cha Cha or Int
Insightful Warlord MP2 Str Wis Cha
Skirmishing Warlord MP2 Str Int Wis

This table covers the various available races and the ability modifiers they have, subject to the most recent series of rules corrections (these mostly affect the older races, giving them more flexibility). Unless noted elsewhere, stat bonuses are +2.

Race Source Fixed Stat Bonus Variable Stat Bonus
Deva PHB2 Int and Wis None
Dragonborn PHB1 Cha Str or Con
Dwarf PHB1 Con Str or Wis
Eladrin PHB1 Int Dex or Cha
Elf PHB1 Dex Wis or Int
Githzerai PHB3 Wis Dex or Int
Gnome PHB2 Int and Cha None
Goliath PHB2 Str and Con None
Half Elf PHB1 Con Wis or Cha
Half Orc PHB2 Dex Str or Con
Halfling PHB1 Dex Con or Cha
Human PHB1 Any None
Minotaur PHB3 Str Con or Wis
Shardmind PHB3 Int Wis or Cha
Shifter, Longtooth PHB2 Str and Wis None
Shifter, Razorclaw PHB2 Dex and Wis None
Tiefling PHB1 Cha Con or Int
Wilden PHB3 Wis Con or Dex

I suggest picking a race with ability bonuses that correspond to the primary and secondary stats of your choosen class build. This isn’t a requirement, but if you choose differently, you will find your character a bit underpowered compared to others of a similar level. If you’re up for the challenge, and have a good story-based reason to do it though, have fun with it.

You will be beginning as regular level one characters, and set your ability scores either using the standard array (Method I) or the point-based customization method (Method II). Don’t forget to add in your racial modifiers after this. You should end up with your primary stat around 18, and your secondary around 16.

Inital Powers

Now that you have your race, class, build, and ability scores, it’s time to pick your starting powers. Check your race and class for exceptions, but your class will generally have 2 at-will powers, 1 encounter power, and 1 daily power at level one. Builds have suggested powers associated with them, but you can be a bit flexible if you want. Check to see what relevant ability scores are used to modify the powers, and try to pick ones that use your stronger scores. You will have the chance to change around powers when you level, generally up to one each time you level. You will also accumulate new and more powerful abilities periodically, all of which means you shouldn’t feel locked into your power choices. If something isn’t working out for you, then let me know and we can talk about ways to improve things.

Feats

Equipment and Feats are your next major concern. Look back at the description of your class in whatever reference book it is from. They all list certain types of armor, shields, implements, and weapons that you are initially proficient in. While you can use equipment you are not proficient in, there are substantial penalties for this as compared to equipment you know how to use. If you aren’t trained in wielding a londsword, you might not cut your foot off, but you probably won’t cut your foe’s foot off either.

If you want to use a weapon or armor that you don’t have a proficiency in, this is a good time to consider taking the armor or weapon proficiency feat that allows you to do so. Altenatively, if you have a really good idea what kind of weapon you want, and you want to build your character around equipment, consider taking weapon focus feats or armor equivalents to become that much more impressive. If neither of these seems like the path for you, take a look at racial or class based feats and see if anything looks interesting. There are a lot of feats to choose from, so I find it usually easier to first have a plan for my character, then choose feats to compliment that plan. Otherwise, it’s easy for the choice to be overwhelming, especially in the supplement books.

Note that most feats have some sort of prerequisite to use, often a race, class, or minimum ability score. Obviously, you need to meet these thresholds to use take the feat.

It’s worth noting that you can retrain one feat every time you level, so you aren’t locked into your choices now. Try them out for a level, and if they don’t seem to useful, then consider changing them out for something else that you’ll have more fun with. You will receive more feats over time, beginning with your next feat at level two.

Equipment

Everyone starts with 100gp (gold pieces) with which to purchase their initial equipment. This includes armor, shields, weapons, implements, and general adventuring gear. Level one characters generally do not have a horse or other mount. I’d recommend picking out a weapon or two first. If you’re melee-heavy, also consider grabbing something you can throw or a sling to give you some versatility for ranged combat. Conversely, if you’re primarily a ranged character, it’s not a bad idea to have a knife or other dagger to fall back on if needed. If you’re a magical class that relies on implements, you may want to buy an implement, but only if you have a class trait or feat that gives you a bonus from it. Non-magical implements are more cosmetic than anything else, as powers with the implement keyword don’t actually require an implement to use, generally.

If you’re a melee type, and you’re using a one-handed weapon, consider a shield to improve your armor class (AC). In addition, take a look at the armor you can use and pick out something. Higher AC bonuses are better, but keep an eye on the speed modifiers and check penalties. A brawny rogue might want hide armor to provide better protection in melee, but the stiffness and weight slows and hinders enough to make a large number of skill checks less effective. Doubly true for plate armor, which is generally a bit too expensive for level one characters in any case.

Finally, with whatever gold you have left, take a look at the adventuring gear lists. Generally the standard adventurer’s kit is a good choice, but those with the thievery skill might want a Thieves’ Tools set, a ritual caster wants a ritual book, having someone in the party with a climber’s kit isn’t a bad idea, and having a tent for shelter is often handy. Feel free to pool resources at this point if everyone agrees you should get something like this.

Mechanically, that pretty well covers your character. Along the way, hopefully you’ve gotten some ideas for your backstory, so now’s a good time to write those down for future reference. You should think a bit about what diety, if any, your character worships; this might influence your alignment choice (or vice-versa). Do everyone a favor and steer away from Evil and Chaotic Evil alignments and deities, as they can make a mess of the party pretty quickly, and just aren’t all that fun to play for any length of time.

Everyone will begin in the town of Kurtan at this stage.

Let me know if anything here is unclear or if you have other questions, and we can take a look at it.

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Party Creation

Shards of an Empire Aragus