As a Forever DM, a lot of the character ideas that I have had, have made it to character sheets, but only a few have seen action. Even then, it was for one-shots or short-lived campaigns that were only up to level 3. I found my old box full of character sheets done in pencil, and checked out my DnDBeyond characters page to see which ones were my favourites so I could present them here. So here they are!
I played this character once for a one-shot my brother ran years ago, and since then the irate, Mancunian, Copper Dragonborn, Oath of Vengeance paladin has always had a soft spot in my heart. He was a mercenary, now out to track down his old company after they did some questionable things in the name of profit. Therefore he’s more the law-man then ‘man of god’, and his personality was inspired by this particular fellow:
He was rude, dressed down soldiers at every opportunity, hated asking for help himself and those who did. He fought with a longsword and shield so always jumped into the fray, and liked to point a clawed finger at his next target in a battle. He also escaped a prison cell by luring the guards in then breathing fire on them. Nice.
Ever since I had to read up on what halflings could do in 5th edition, I’ve wanted to play one. Before that, I’d never been interested in anything that wasn’t ‘badass’. Humans, elves, dragonborn, tieflings, that kind of thing. I could never understand why people would want to play gnomes and halflings. Until I read the stats, that is.
They represent the Tolkienian hobbit in such a fantastic way – giving them traits like ‘Brave’ that allow them to withstand being Frightened, and being able to move through characters bigger then them, basically through their legs. They’re the perfect race for hiding 90% of the time and then picking their one moment to show everyone what they’re made of.
My character idea would be a Pippin-esque halfling who is quite young, cheeky and a bit dimwitted, loves to sing and enjoy an armchair, roaring fire and a bit of pipe-smoking. Arcane Trickster would give him some of that ability to be getting into and then out of trouble, and further down the line, show immense loyalty and courage to his party.
I always liked the idea of a warlock, it’s just a shame mechanically they are pants (not anymore). Back when it was only the PHB, warlocks had Eldritch Blast and that was about it. Wizards and Sorcerers ran rings around them. Even Bards kind of stole their thunder and had the whole other part of the class to add to it. But I just really liked the idea of the character who is part of this heroic band of powerful adventurers…but actually their power belongs to another, and are taken advantage of.
The Patrons, if the DM is willing, add another layer to the story and the party’s dynamics. It’s a bit of dramatic tension you can sprinkle in throughout the campaign, and I’ve always liked the idea of a loner criminal, thrown in prison, nothing special about them, and then being offered not only freedom, but power. And who’s to say what the Patron will demand, how they will act and will they ever be truly free?
Xanathar’s adds some even cooler Patrons like Hexblade and Celestial, meaning you can have a warlock being pestered by a goodie angel to do nice things, or a sentient weapon. Now that’s some interesting flavour. The cool thing about it is your fellow players will enjoy watching you struggle with this, but in character they will be none the wiser. At least if you make it so.
I’ve played this character more than any on the list, which means for all of about three sessions! My ranger idea was to have a Medjay, essentially an Egyptian elite soldier who knew the desert like the back of his tattooed hand, who had left his people for the lures of civilisation and, you know, shade. As the time lengthens, the opportunity to return grows less and less, and so he becomes a tracker for hire, sometimes a hunter or even a mercenary. That’s when he meets the party, in his search for work.
He’s also the only religious character I would want to play. I like the idea of him clinging to his religious beliefs because that is the only part left of his old life, but also questioning it but not being able to let go. My idea was that he would also quote proverbs from his people to the other PCs, not sure why but doing it all the same. Eventually he would find a purpose with the party.
The paladin in the party as well gave him an opportunity to review his beliefs, since here was a man who could smite a foe (for 45 damage at level 2, Milo you massive power gamer) through the powers of his own creed. Why couldn’t the ranger do this? Was his religion not real, or less powerful, can he have both? Interesting stuff. He carried a longbow, but more often then not liked to get in close with two short swords, as was his tactics fighting over the rolling dunes of the desert.
Since I read about this subclass in Xanathar’s, I’d wanted to play it. The warmage allows the wizard to actually be somewhere near the battle for a change without risk of imminent beheading. It allows you to fulfill that Gandalf fantasy of protecting the party, being in the middle of the fight despite looking like an old man in a pointy hat and robes.
I read a wizard guide once that said that prevention of damage in D&D was way more effective then treatment of damage after the fact. Therefore one of the most effective wizards are ones that provide buffs and debuffs up the wazoo. And they’ve certainly got access to them: fog cloud, blindness, illusion, laughter, sleep, mage circle, dispel magic….seriously who doesn’t want to be the guy or gal who dispels the shitty debuff AoE spell or saves your fighter from getting turned into a goat.
Warmage allows the wizard to get up in there and be effective. I know that multi-classing into something like hexblade or eldritch knight makes it way more effective too, but that’s a bit too advanced for this particular article. There are plenty of guides for builds though around.
So that’s my five characters I really want to play. I have a tendency to think about potential character arcs and progressions as well when I think of characters and I think that’s almost as important as the stuff on the character sheet. Your character will go through many experiences and will change for the better or worse, and it’s deeply satisfying (vicariously, for me) to look at how different they are from the bright-eyed and bushy tailed level 1s, once they reach the mid-point or end of a campaign.
You got any characters you never get to play, or think are cool? Let me know so we can all nick ’em.