Like it’s 1981 all over again, part one
We’re sat around the table, and they’re watching me, expectantly. They know this isn’t going to be our usual session as we’re short a couple of players. Little did they expect….
I hand out blank sheets of lined paper with my mostest evilest grin on my face.
“Ok. Roll stats. 3d6, in order.”
“What are we playing?”
“D&D. 4th Edition.”
“You gotta be kidding me!”
I wasn’t. The four of us (me included, I’m generating a character to use as the spare in the event of Sudden Character Demise) start generating characters, only we’re doing it old style. We’re pouring over the books (2 PHBs between the four of us) and there’s not a single laptop, iphone or anything more technical than a pencil sharpener in sight.
Here’s what I rolled:
STR 9, CON 9, DEX 5, INT 12, WIS 5, CHA 7
Hmmm. Maybe there’s a reason why I’m a GM with rolls like that. Thankfully we’re old hands when it comes to Reading The Stats. Inspiration hits.
“I’m playing a Wizard whose mind has been shattered by reading too much Lovecraft late at night.”
The players are rolling equally…. um…… randomly. But y’know what? Random is good. Things have a habit of working out.
“Ok Steve. What you got?”
“11 10 15 11 6 12. That makes me the Rogue then. A very foolish Rogue. I know! He’s a Court Jester!”
“Oh man. I was gonna be the Rogue. 12 13 11 9 8 6. I’ll play the Fighter then. He’s a Thug for the Thieves’ Guild.”
“13 8 12 8 14 13. Cleric. An old, senile pulpit bashing Cleric.”
Steve decides his Jester is a Halfling – that +2 DEX & CHA was too tempting, and the image of a Halfling in a Jester’s suit just cemented the deal. Mike goes for a Human and takes a +2 to DEX, and snarfs Sneak of Shadows as his free Feat (Thief Wannabe!). Don plumps for a Half-Elf for his Cleric, and I stick with Human for the backup Wizard.
They’re all characters that won’t win any prizes on a Character Optimization Forum Thread, but we love ’em already, warts and all.
In all, chargen takes around 20 minutes, and that includes my Wizard and the Mike’s Fighter both rolling for their Powers. Yes, rolling for ’em. Why not?
I scribble the Wizard’s name – Mahkra – on the top of his sheet, and we’re ready to play.
Incidentally, I love the 4e D&D Wizard class. It’s my second favourite after the Warlock (with it’s three-classes-in-one sugary goodness); of all the classes the Wizard has the most out-of-combat potential thanks to at-will Cantrips. In 3e, the out-of-combat king was the Rogue due to his high skill count. Now all of the classes are skill-capable and the excellent Skill Challenges mechanism means they all get to play a part when solving a puzzle, trying to get past the Kings’ Guard or whatever.
The Cantrips give the Wizard an extra ace up his sleeve, and really put across the feeling that this guy, even at 1st level, Knows His Stuff. The Wizard can conjure up a rose to charm a lady, whisper paranoid delusions into the ear of a Duke, cast Light on an arrow to be cast over a battlefield (or on the helmet of a foe to mark a target), summon a spectral hand or soil the Fighter’s pants (always good for a laugh). Flavourful? I’ll say! The Wizard that is, not the pants.
Next time: The game is afoot!