Like many others, I was excited when 5pm GMT came as thought Wizards of the Coast may be opening up the office and was eagerly awaiting the free download of the the D&D basic rules. I didn’t have to wait long. Mike Mearls’ heart strings were being tugged by pictures of moping pets on Twitter and shortly before 6pm I’d got the PDF on my laptop. The Starter Set is also out and should be with shops who are linked to the Wizard’s Play Network, with UK’s Leisure Games getting some copies tomorrow (Friday 4th July). However, the Starter Set doesn’t contain character generation rules and hence, the rules we have for that will be in the Basic Rules until the Player’s Handbook is out in a couple of months.
So, I thought I’d try these rules out. I have a slight penchant for Tiefling Sorcerers, and have played one in 13th Age, Pathfinder, and D&D 4E. Given that that build isn’t in the rules as yet, I’ll aim for something as close as I can – a Human Wizard, from the Dragonlance setting. Step 1 Race: The ethnicities given are those from the Forgotten Realms, but given that my PC is going to be based on the red-robed Wizard, Raistlin, of Krynn I’ll ignore those. Human traits include +1 to all abilities, I get common language plus one other, a free choice of alignment, base walking speed is 30′. I’ll choose an age of 22 and a height of 5’10”. Step 2 Class: Hit points 1d6/level, at level 1 6 + Con modifier. He is not proficient in any armour, or tools but can use as weapons daggers, slings, darts, light crossbows, quaterstaffs. From my class equipment list I’ll choose a quarterstaff, an arcane focus, a scholar’s pack and a spellbook. Saving throws are intelligence and wisdom and I can choose two skills. I’ll go for Arcana and History. He has a Proficiency Bonus of +2, Class features of spellcasting and arcane recovery, and knows 3 cantrips and can learn 2 level 1 spells, and has 6 in the spellbook.
Next up is abilities. I’ll choose the array suggested: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8. Keeping Raistlin in mind, I’ll allocate the 8 to Str and the 10 to Con, to reflect his poor physique and infirmity, the 15 goes to Int. He can be terse and grumpy so 12 to Cha. Too high a wisdom may be a block to the reckless pursuit of arcane power so I’ll put the 13 in Wis, and that leaves the 14 for Dex. With the +1 for abilities he gets as a Human we have:
Str 9 -1 Con 11 0 Dex 15 +2 Int 16 +3 Wis 14 +2 Cha 13 +1
Step 4 Describe your character: Raistlin is an ambitious young wizard, determined to find greater power. He can be contemptuous of others and taciturn, with loyalty only for his brother. He is thin, leans heavily on his staff and is wracked by coughing fits on occasion. Alignment is tricky for Raistlin – I’m going to go for Chaotic Neutral. Given his adventures in Krynn, his second language will be Draconic. Personality: the rules suggest to look at the highest and lowest abilities. So, for Intelligence I’ll go for ‘obsessed with magical study’, and for Strength I’ll have ‘leans on others for support’. The Sage background looks appropriate and looking at the list of Ideals and Raistlin’s alignment, I’ll choose ‘Knowledge – the path to power and self improvement is through knowledge’. The Bonds and Flaws suggested don’t quite capture my conception of the red-robed wizard. For Bond, I’ll pick his brother Caramon. For Flaw, I’ll adapt one ‘unlocking a mystery is worth suffering for’. The Sage background grants two further skill proficiencies, but in Arcana and History, which have already been picked from the wizard class. The rules say I can pick two others instead – looking back at the other choices for Wizards, I’ll take Insight and Investigation. I gain another two languages and I’ll pick Elvish and Giant. I gain some more equipment: ink and quill, a letter from a colleague, common clothes and pouch with 10 GP. Raistlin was a wizard’s apprentice and gains the feature ‘researcher’, allowing him a knowledge of libraries, universities and scholars and where to track down information.
Step 5 is Equipment. With only 10 GP, Raistlin can’t afford a light crossbow. He will buy a bedroll, backpack and healers’ kit leaving him with 2 GP left. Given that he has no armour or shield, AC will be 10 + Dex modifier, so 12.
Step 6: bringing it together. Raistlin is going to have stay out of melee combat with only 6 HP and no armour. However, he brings a lot of knowledge to any party, plus his spell casting ability. He has 3 cantrips so we’ll choose Prestidigitation (recalling the times entertained people with magic tricks), Light and Fire Bolt. In his Spellbook he has: Sleep, Identify, Detect Magic, Burning Hands, Magic Missile, and Shield. He has memorised Sleep and Burning Hands.
And that’s it. Pretty fun attempting to re-create a level 1 Raistlin in the 5th Ed rules set. Looking forward to more options in the PHB!