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  • Brady Antalek

How to create a compelling D&D character

In a game where players are allowed to create their own characters and perform as if they are in the action themselves, one of the most upsetting and disappointing things is when someone chooses not to be creative. If I were a Dungeon Master, I would go out of my way to ruin the game for someone just so I wouldn’t have to put up with a dull creation. No one likes a boring character, people play the game to be entertained and have fun. Just imagine the protagonists from some of your favorite books or television shows. What makes them interesting?

Roll for Initiative

Before starting your character sheet, you should have an idea of what you want that character to be. There’s a few attributes that must be filled out such as the character’s race, class and abilities. You can use tools to help you with the specifics like the “Player’s Handbook” and The app and website for the latter are especially beneficial for newcomers. They provide a digital character sheet that removes the need for a physical piece of paper you write, erase and smudge information on.

The Flaw Law

When it comes to details that make your character eccentric, you want to think of traits that make them captivating. Think of a traumatic backstory or a serious flaw that would pin them to be a courageous underdog. Seasoned D&D player Chaysen Wylde agrees. He stated, “The best thing is a good backstory. You need a good direction for your character to go.” In essence, you should create something that the other players could become attached to. If you do a good enough job, you may convince the DM to keep your character around. Wylde also elaborated, “They can’t be perfect. They can’t be the best. They can’t be the coolest. They gotta have a weakness.” A good example would be Rocky Balboa. He may be a charismatic muscly man, but he is also 5-foot-10 and doesn’t win every fight. That hasn’t stopped him from being the center of an entire film franchise and having a statue in Philly.

Quirks that Work

Adding small quirks to your character will make them even more well rounded. These could include having the character refer to themselves in the third-person or speak in an outrageous accent that is connected to where they’re from. When asked about the most interesting character he’s played with, Wylde mentioned, “it was ironically the last D&D I played in kind of a while, it was a warlock who was kind of like a cowboy/westerner.” The character had “a patronage god who was a vulture” and a wand that “was in the shape of a revolver.” I’d argue that this treads more into “gimmick” territory because it encapsulates the entire character. But that’s also okay if that’s how you desire your character.

Ultimately the presentation of your character is up to you. But for the sake of those around you, the game wants you to be creative, so be creative. Wylde put it best: “How much people are going to be invested in your character depends on how much you invest in your character.”

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