When you are beginning your character creation for a new Dungeons & Dragons campaign or for a one-off, there are so many options when it comes to, well, everything to do with your character. Deciding what type of character you want to be in terms of race and class is tricky enough, but the real fun (and challenge) comes when you’re creating your character’s backstory and personality. Do you want to play it safe and be a character who’s in-line with your own personality, or do you want to go to the extreme opposite and be nothing like yourself? Or, would you like to be somewhere in-between? There are solid arguments for all of these options, and luckily for you, you can read along now to learn more so that when it comes time for you to decide, you already have some idea of what you want.
“But wait,” you say, “DND isn’t an esport!” Au contraire, my friend, anything can be an esport if you play it online, and DND has one of the most robust and delightful online presences of many, many games. With Critical Role bringing us some of the funniest DND content out there and sites like Roll20 allowing us to play easily with our friends, DND has been spreading across the internet like wildfire. Whether you’re just entering into the world of DND in an online setting to connect with friends throughout the pandemic or you have been a long-time player who might be starting a new campaign soon and playing over the internet, there will be something in this article for you.
One option for creating a character is to come up with a character who is absolutely nothing like you. A lot of the fun of DND is the role-play aspect, and there is certainly something very exciting about playing a character nothing like yourself and letting yourself act in completely new ways in the situations you run into in the campaign. If you’re generally a rather quiet person, this could mean creating a character extremely outspoken and boisterous, and if you are often quite bubbly and talkative, you could go the opposite direction and play a more solemn character. This is a fun way of stepping outside of your comfort zone for a little while, and it is especially fun if you are playing with very close friends, because odds are, you will feel more comfortable being a different version of yourself with those friends. One thing to keep in mind if you decide to go this route is that it will be much easier to play a character that is unlike you if you get a really solid backstory for the character and understand enough about why they are the person that they are so that you’re not just making it up. Then, there will truly be a reason for you to play that role.
The second option is the complete opposite of the first option. There is quite a lot to be said for creating a character very similar to who you truly are, especially if you are newer to DND. If you play a character who shares the same traits as you, there is less for you to work on when it comes to role-playing and you can focus on the game a lot more. This option also makes your gameplay much more seamless, because you don’t have to think about how your character would react in each situation, you can just react as you normally would. This is one of the easier options for character creation, but the fact that it’s easy doesn’t take away any of the fun.
The third option is a happy medium between the first two, which is to say, it’s the option of creating a character similar to how you truly are, but who has some exaggerated and slightly different traits to add some spice and surprise. I’ve played in a couple campaigns and several one-offs at this point, and from all of my experience, I have found that I have the most fun when I play a character very similar to how I actually am, but who has a few characteristics outside of my comfort zone. This type of character gives you the freedom to stretch your imagination, but not in any way that feels uncomfortable. I am currently preparing for a new campaign, and I will be creating exactly this type of character so that I can be myself, but a slightly-heightened version. A fun option within this choice is to choose some characteristics you wish you had a bit more of in real life, so that you get to experience how those characteristics feel in a safe environment.
No matter which option you choose, the important thing is that you are enjoying the game. If you create a character who makes you a bit anxious every time you play, you will struggle to really enjoy the game, but if you create a character who really doesn’t let you act at all, you may find yourself getting a bit bored. Only you can say what type of character will work best for you and for your comfort zone. Whichever route you decide to take, remember, it’s a game, and games are meant to be fun, so if you’re not enjoying it, you should mix it up and create a character who brings you joy as well as excitement.