Matt Makes A D&D Character: Thomas Trask, level 15

I get to play D&D tonight! As a Player! Yay!

It’s been about 4 months since I’ve had the option. Not that I don’t love DMing, but it takes a lot of work to be a Good DM (even with mistakes) and being a Good Player takes a lot less effort. And I can’t imagine a Player burning out without it being due to factors outside of the game.

Making this character has been tricky. First, we’re at level 15, which means there are a lot of little choices to try and optomise. I don’t min-max as much as i did in 4e, but i do love kitchy builds that interact oddly.

The Second thing that makes it tricky is the character is one I’ve played before, in the same setting. Making a character is a lot easier with a clean slate. But with this build, I have to rectify some of the spells and abillites he’s used in previous sessions, so his lore remains consistent. If your character has a pivotal moment where you saved someone with a timely feather fall, removing magical abillity from a new rendition brings up awkward continuity questions.

Oh, and did I mention kitchy builds? Yeah, that’s Trask all over. And I don’t know if you’ve tried it before, but kitchy builds don’t cross editions very well. Fighter McStabbyface is easy to convert and even simple spellcasters just need a new list of spells. But the odd builds depend too much on rule foibles and feats and multiclassing and stuff.

So how do you remake an old character, with 15 levels?

I started by flipping through the 12 classes, seeing what class features fit my ideal. I’m going for a magical detective, who’s good at talking, not that great at fighting, can cast feather fall, and can be good in utility checks. That’s my goal. Barbarian, Monk, Cleric, Paladin, and Druid all felt wrong for what i was attempting. On closer review, Bard and Sorceror didn’t fit thematically either. Mainly cuz thier archtypes are lame. I also hate the wizard savant abillity. And their magic style doesn’t fit me well.

That gave me warlock as my core arcane magic. An odd choice, but I like it’s flexibility. And, if you pick mosty utility like I intended, you don’t have to be evil. I picked pact of blade, since summoning a knife in times of trouble seemed cool. I also went Archfey, because no one does. I’ve wanted to do some fey related stuff for a bit. It can also explain why the Blink Brothers hate me so much, maybe. I mean, I’m sure the crates of acid and anchors I hit them with are in the past.

Anyway, I decided I needed at least 4 levels minimum, and 6 levels would get me all I really needed out of the class. Next on my list to look at was Rogue. Rogues bring great utility. They start with 4 skills, they double prof. on two of them at level 1, and cunning action is way powerful. Oh, and they get sneak attack too. Rogue was a no brainer. I’d feel silly with less than 4 levels, but I’d go up to 10 levels before this started to be a pure rogue.

I knew I wanted a 3rd class in the mix. And I had been considering Ranger for the character, back when I was going to play at level 5. Out of all the classes, Favored Enemy/Terrain felt closest to the feel I wanted of a detective. I’d just have to houserule in some urban bits and-

Long story short, Ranger didn’t work. If I was going to use a ranged weapon instead of spells, maybe. But after thinking on it for 2 days, I realized that most of what I wanted out of Ranger was either available to Warlock with 8 levels, not really important to the build (like Locate Object), or, worst, was roleplay being crammed into ill-fitting houseruled mechanics instead of being just roleplay. Also, Primal Awareness is so garbage, it’s insane.

So with my 5ish levels of Ranger being reallocated, 2 to Warlock (at a solid 8) and not really wanting to dump it into Rogue’s 4, i had 3 levels to play around with.

Multi-ing into classes in 5e is not made equal. Taking 1 level of Druid does nothing for you. 1 level of Ranger or Bard is pretty weak. Raging as a Barbarian doesn’t fit Trask’s play style (aka a spellcasting coward)

Cleric gets some decent power right out the gate, as does Rogue. But, let me tell you, Fighter is AMAZING for multiclass. I love what 5e did with the Fighter. It became a horribly versatile warrior for all occasions. Ranged or melee, damage or defense, any of it works. And, because they work with Dexterity or Strength, you can work a bit of fighter into any build can do some amazing stuff. Second wind heals. Fighting Styles grant a lot of options. And, if you want to go for a 2nd level, Action surge is an incredibly great thing, to get an extra action any time you need one.

So I messed around with spells and came up with a fun build. Its not quite what I want out of it, upon testing (This paragraph here is written AT D&D, in between turns.) I went with the Eldritch Knight for the Fighter and the Arcane Trickster for the Rogue. With those, I had a lot of spells available to me, but not many spell slots. It looked fun, on paper, but in combat I opened wrong. I needed to have more melee capability than I had. Like Hit points. And a to attack. And an AC. Pretty much I sucked in combat. And because I used my spells badly, I was more visible than I should have been. So I do need to go back and tweak things.

I hope this has been an enlightening look at character creation, through my eyes. Characters evolve and this one will be no different. I can’t wait to see where he’ll end up!

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