Shards of an Empire
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|
|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|
|Monk||Centered Breath Monk||PHB3||Dex||Wis||Str|
|Stone Fist Monk||PHB3||Dex||Str||Wis|
|Iron Soul Monk||PsP||Dex||Con||Wis|
|Hunter Ranger||MP2||Dex||Wis||Str or Con|
|Marauder Ranger||MP2||Str||Wis||Dex or Con|
|Shadowy Rogue||MP2||Dex||Int||Str or Cha|
|Euphoric Ardent||PHB3||Cha||Con||Wis or Dex|
|World SPeaker Shaman||PrP||Wis||Con||Int or Dex|
|Resourceful Warlord||MP1||Str||Int or Cha||Cha or Int|
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|
|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.
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.
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.
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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