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Why Use a D&D Character Creator?
Dungeons and Dragons, and indeed any pen-and-paper role playing game, can have many characters playing many different roles. As a player, creating your character is a very personal thing. No one knows or understands your character like you do. Most players will take care and spend as much time as needed to make sure this character is exactly the person that he or she had in mind. When that character is created, the player will stand back and look at the filled out character sheet with a sense of pride and excitement.
While the same could be true for a game master, the creation of characters does not stop after the first one is completed. Any solid gaming world will have perhaps an arch villain or group of them, and many dynamic non-player characters. As much fun as it is to create a character right down to the color of his underpants, most game masters will tell you, there aren't enough hours in the day, so often times, they wing it.
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A Face in the Crowd
Chances are, if you have a good idea of what this character's role is going to be, you'll have a good idea of what stats you're going to need for him (or her). For instance, if you need a short-term villain, you're not going to bother allocating his skill points, because
honestly the chance you're going to need to role a listen
check for him are slim to nil.
I'll be the first to admit to having done it... I've half-created NPCs before, not expecting to need their details, and when pressed for them, I've spat out numbers on the fly. So what's wrong with that? Well, at the end of the day, nothing really. But if you don't have to, why would you?
Instead of shooting from the hip, consider utilizing a D&D character creator for your characters, villains and NPCs! Using a D&D character creator makes sure your details are all available in the unexpected event that they're needed, so your characters aren't just another face in the crowd.
There is no shortage of online D&D character creator, but which ones are the best?
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3E - Sourceforge D&D Character Creator
- Has lots of "help" buttons available, in case you get stuck.
- This is a fairly self-explainitory and quick to use D&D character creator.
- Includes a random name generator.
- Ability scores can be generated randomly and edited manually.
- When randomly generating ability scores, they cannot be shuffled among abilities, unless edited manually, adding an extra step to the convenience of being generated randomly.
- There are no provisions for prestige classes.
- You are only able to choose from 7 basic races and 11 basic classes.
- Character sheet output is in TXT format. It contains a lot of unnecessary information. For example, it lists all classes and how many levels this character has taken in that class, even if the value is 0.
- There is also no real eye candy in this D&D character creator. It has what it needs to create a fairly basic character, and nothing else.
Overall, this is a fair D&D character creator. If you need a quick character with no special out of the ordinary features, this will do the job.
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3.5 - The Pathology Guy D&D Character Creator
- Options. This D&D character creator includes a ton of options for races, classes, equipment, etc.
- Abilities can be randomly generated, assigned to any ability, and manually modified.
- There are nearly two-hundred races to choose from including Aarakocra, Grimlock, and Troglodyte.
- Characters can be saved in HTML, or Word format.
- This D&D character creator page includes a ton of information about what is available within the creator itself. So much information, the actual D&D character creator itself doesn't start until about a quarter of the way down the very long page.
- The selections are made by clicking radio buttons next to your selection in a veritable wall of text. it feels very jumbled.
- Although this creator is comprehensive, there is little eye candy on this page, except for some fantasy based art pasted randomly around on the page. The character sheet output is a step above a text file summary.
- No random name generator
Overall, this is a decent and thorough free 3.5 D&D character creator, though a bit overwhelming and jumbled looking.
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4e - The Pathology Guy Character Creator for D&D
This D&D character creator is a lot like the 3.5 D&D character creator from the same source.
- The pros for this one are all the same as the 3.5 version.
- There is even more information crammed into this single web page D&D character creator. This page takes a very long time to load. The last couple times I opened the page, it timed out, and each time I clicked the option to wait. After the second time, it finished loading.
- Just like it's 3.5 predecessor, this D&D character creator, as far as layout it's got everything it needs, and little more. There is no real eye candy, save for some fantasy based art.
- Once again, the text layout of this D&D character creator lacks a bit of aesthetic organization, and tends to overwhelm the eyes.
Overall, this is a decent D&D character creator, if it doesn't crash.
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4e - WotC's Character Builder
This D&D character creator has it all. The term "You get what you pay for" will never ring more true as it does in this case.
- This is a program that is downloaded and installed on your machine. It runs independently of the internet browser, and does not require an internet connection to load. [EDIT] THIS IS NOT TRUE ANYMORE. See * Below.
- With an active subscription to D&D Insider, this program updates with options and information from any Wizards of the Coast Dungeons and Dragons source book.
- If you don't recognize a particular spell, or feat, you can select it and get the text from the source book that tells you what it does.
- Once completed you can print out your character, the output is a fully completed character sheet that looks exactly like the official release character sheets. It even adds a picture of your character that can be zoomed and moved in the character portrait window.
- This D&D character creator is as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional.
- Characters can be saved to a file that can be shared among others who have the Character Builder installed.
- There's a quick create that only requires basic information to generate a character on the fly.
- Random name generator included.
- Again, you get what you pay for. This D&D character creator is not free, it requires an active subscription to D&D insider.
- If you're not entirely familiar with the 4th edition, there's enough information available here to make you feel a little intimidated.
- Requires installation on the hard drive. Cannot be used unless you have your computer with you.
This D&D character creator is by far the best I've found, if you can afford the D&D Insider subscription, which if you're into gaming is also well worth it.
* - Recently this became a web-based product. You must log into their website to use it. This means you are no longer required to download updates, and can access it from anywhere that you can log into their website. This also means that you can use it from a Mac computer now!
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Obviously, these aren't the only available D&D character creators, so if you would like to share other ones, or perhaps just share your thoughts on the ones mentioned above, please add your comments below!