member, 3 posts
Fri 28 May 2021
at 18:50
DnD 5e character creation and advancement variant
Looking at the 5e vs PF discussion (specifically character creation and feat usage), I started thinking about things and came up with something that I think has potential. I would love to hear your thoughts and ask you in advance to excuse the wall of text, I might have gotten carried away.

As I see it, if we are going to represent peopleís abilities with numbers, there should be variation but not too much of it (especially in the ranks of adventurers/heroes), with players having some control over how their characters turn up (without needing to be the perfect specimen for their role).

Let's see how we would create three classics, a Wood Elf Ranger, a Mountain Dwarf Fighter and a Human Wizard.

What I propose is three step stat generation:

Birth - You are born with some potential but canít affect it. Roll partial stats in order. What is partial stat? Something that reaches 12 at most, maybe with a lower bound as well. Suggested methods: 6+d6, 3d6 drop lowest, 4+2d4 (less fluctuation).

We roll in order: 2d4+4,2d4+4,2d4+4,2d4+4,2d4+4,2d4+4 ((2,3,4,3,4,3,1,2,1,4,1,2)) for
STR 9 DEX 11 CON 11 INT 7 WIS 9 CHA 7
Well, Ranger is super happy, Dwarf is Grumpy, and Wizard might be worried.

Childhood - You grow up among your people (or without them), adding race modifiers which might be altered slightly to show non-standard upbringing (thank you Tasha)

Wood Elf is happy as is, Dwarf might decide to change a proficiency. Wizard opts to go for normal human.

Development - As an adventurer-to-be, the character focuses on things that are important to them during their formative years. Gain stat boosts that player assigns as desired. This should reach up to 6. Possible methods: Array (1 to 6), d6s, 2d3s (less fluctuation)

We have the range from +1 to +6 for stats and we add them as desired
Elf:   STR 11 = 9 + 2  DEX 18 = 11 + 5 + 2  CON 14 = 11 + 3  INT 8 = 7 + 1  WIS 16 = 9 + 6 + 1  CHA 11 = 7 + 4
Dwarf: STR 17 = 9 + 6 + 2  DEX 12 = 11 + 1  CON 16 = 11 + 3 + 2  INT 12 = 7 + 5  WIS 13 = 9 + 4 CHA  9 = 7 + 2
Human: STR 11 = 9 + 1 + 1  DEX 14 = 11 + 1 + 2 CON 16 = 11 + 1 + 4 INT 14 = 7 + 1 + 6 WIS 15 = 9 + 1 + 5 CHA 11 = 7 + 1 + 3

So you got to the age of maturity for your characterís race. You might have had good genes or you might have worked hard to overcome your shortcomings and reach your goal. What do they do now? They learn a trade in the form of a background. But why would everyone take the same amount of time? Some might want to play grizzled soldiers and venerable sages, others brash folk heroes and young orphans, the third experienced criminals or investigators. And yet we need the party to start at the same level to be balanced.

Enter advancement variant:

Expertise -Different characters take more or less time learning the ropes before setting off on their own. The longer you studied the better off you are at the start, but learn new things more slowly. You can be either a Novice, Expert or Veteran of your Background. The Background gives you the Special Feature and offers suggestions for characteristics. From there we diverge into Talent points.

Feat costs 4 talent points
Ability score increase (+1) costs 2 points
Skill, language and proficiencies cost 1 (available only at the character creation - otherwise gat a feat for them later)

Instead of getting the fixed skills and proficiencies from your background, you get talent points based on your expertise level, which you can spend on any of the above.

Novice - 4 points, Expert - 8 points, Veteran - 12 points
Or more high level skewed variant
Novice - 4 points, Expert - 9 points, Veteran - 14 points

Which path did the heroes take:
Elf decided to be a Veteran Hermit, protecting a Sacred pond for centuries before having to hunt down someone that stole the water from it. With the points they can get a feat or two and a lot of skills.
Dwarf is a Novice Folk Hero who got a test of adventure after fighting off some goblins and decided to venture into the world. It is simplest to use the default skills and proficiencies.
Human, aware of the limitations spent a lot of time to become an Expert Sage. He can bump his INT to 16, and get some nice skills and proficiencies.

From there we change the ability score increases from +2 every 4 levels to talent points gained each 2 levels, depending on the expertise. Points can be saved until enough are accumulated to purchase an ability increase or a feat.

Novice - 3 points, Expert - 2 points, Veteran - 1 points

Level     1   2   4   6   8  10  12
Novice    4   7  10  13  16  19  22 ...
Expert    8  10  12  14  16  18  21 ...
Veteran  12  13  14  15  16  17  18 ...

So 8th level is the point where they all break even (or 10th with longer game skew). Veterans have the best starting point, but least flexibility and taper off. Novices on the other hand will need a bit to catch up but can adjust to the rest of the group and the game.

Expert is going at the same progress as default game, with 4 more points (one Feat equivalent) at 1st level.

Adventure - Start of the game, characters should be capable and players satisfied, although there will be variations. They all have similar equipment and are the same level, but with a lot of distinctions between paths they took in life. Get playing!

If you are not starting at the first level, it would be good to either, give everyone the same ability increases for the starting expertise (probably Experienced), or avoid having Novices and Veterans together as you will lose the ability discrepancy they should have.
For one offs, the whole party should be of the same expertise, toned towards the feel of the game.

What do you think?
Did I manage to present it well or things need more clarification? If it is understandable would you try either of the options? Why/why not? Any advice/thoughts on the numbers outlined? Most of it is rule of thumb, so I am sure they can be tweaked/improved.

Finally it is likely I might be re-discovering things here, but I had more fun writing it down than I would have googling whether they exist :D
 member, 102 posts
 Jesus Loves You
 Member since 2004
Fri 28 May 2021
at 19:31
DnD 5e character creation and advancement variant
we can give it a shot.