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Shop Till You Drop
Mike Mearls

T his week, we're taking a look at a change in character creation that's fairly easy to implement but has a real impact on how players—especially new players—approach D&D.

In earlier editions, you purchased gear as part of character creation. You rolled dice or took a set amount of cash and spent it on armor, weapons, adventuring gear, and other stuff. Shopping for equipment is fun, but it can take a while. Some editions provided starting packages to speed up this process, but those packages often limited your options and made characters feel the same.

As part of the design of D&D Next, we took a long look at every part of the character creation process. I've talked before about how we moved several choices out of 1st level to make creating a character faster and easier. For many classes, your biggest choices don't come into play until 2nd or 3rd level, giving you a chance to play your character a bit before committing to one path or another.

Despite these changes, purchasing equipment loomed large as one of the most time-consuming parts of the character creation process. Even worse, new players often have a lot of trouble figuring out where to start. Though armor and weapon choices are usually straightforward, the rest of the equipment list is filled with potentially useful items that new players can easily get lost in.

To streamline things, we've made purchasing gear with a starting budget an optional rule. The default method delivers equipment to a new character in two ways.

First, your background provides you with the basic tools of your trade, a few interesting trinkets, and your starting cash. You typically start with enough money to cover your living expenses for up to a week.

Second, your class provides you with your weapons, armor, and your choice of a "character pack" that includes a range of equipment useful for adventuring. Packs are designed to focus on different skill sets, and include choices for dungeoneers and wilderness explorers, diplomats and entertainers, burglars, priests, and scholars.

For weapons and armor, starting gear doesn't limit your character to a single choice by class. Rather, you select from a short list of options, choosing a combination of armor and shield, simple and martial weapons.

In addition to the adventuring gear familiar from previous editions, we've also created a giant table of random, weird trinkets. Players each roll once on the table to see what sort of bizarre items their characters might have picked up, including a diary written in a language you don't know, a candle that can't be lit, and other oddities. The trinket might be a flavorful but ultimately mundane addition to your equipment list. Alternatively, you and your DM might decide to attach more importance to a trinket and the roleplaying opportunities it creates.

These overall changes represent our fundamental philosophy in designing D&D Next. We want to make sure that the fastest, easiest method of character creation is as fast and easy as possible. You can still buy gear if you want. But if you just want to roll some dice and play a pick-up game of D&D, you can create characters with pencil and paper in only a few minutes.

Gaming has changed tremendously in the past ten years. Long setup times are no longer the norm, and gamers want to get into actual play as quickly as possible. It's easy to write off that trend as purely a digital thing, but it extends to tabletop play as well. From the process of designing board games like Lords of Waterdeep and Castle Ravenloft, we've learned that if a game is easy to set up and quick to start, people will play it more often.

With D&D, we've always had the option for long, intricate, character creation sessions. However, the game hasn't supported truly quick character generation in many years. This change is part of our overall philosophy of making the game more accessible, easier to play, and quick to dive into.

Mike Mearls
Mike Mearls is the senior manager for the D&D research and design team. He led the design for 5th Edition D&D. His other credits include the Castle Ravenloft board game, Monster Manual 3 for 4th Edition, and Player’s Handbook 2 for 3rd Edition.
Its very good to have starting kit based on class and background to speed up character creation, and I love the idea of strange background/lore item.

With a mix of starting kit of class, background (and race, I hope), and lore item, the character will start soon and uniqueness is guaranted.

Good job!
Posted By: Eilistraecomeback (4/6/2014 6:07:59 PM)


Being someone who plays Warhammer 40K regulalry, I can safely say I HATE random table rolling. And as someone else stated, it will get old very quickly. I don't see any benefit to this system at all.
Posted By: X-Bumble (3/30/2014 4:00:30 PM)


Love it! Weird trinkets are an excellent idea!
Posted By: Pyrate_Jib (3/27/2014 11:47:17 AM)


Dreamstryder wrote: "...If they can be sold for value, but they can also serve to provide background ideas for the character even if sold. "Why did I have this?"

It seems to me that folks are getting things mixed up.

Based on my experience, the things I've read online, etc., when a group starts to focus on or worry about "story," background history, motivations, and the like, they're also more interested in durable characters. They make not have script immunity, but the characters are expected to be around for a while. It's at that point that *they want to spend time on character creation*. That's when shopping makes the most sense because a) it helps differentiate the character and b) the effort will return the most reward in the long run.

Selecting a starting package makes the most sense for one-shots, short campaigns, or games where the characters are less characters in the narrative sense and more like CRPG avatars.
... (see all)
Posted By: Seanchai (3/27/2014 11:02:09 AM)


Trinkets here aren't stated or implied to be exclusive to the packet option.

It is true that more narrative-heavy characters are expected to be around longer to realize their narrative potential, but quick set-up does not equate to lack of story (need thereof). Some of our group's narratively important characters were initially quick, experimentally made characters for an experimental campaign. It was due to how they were played that a narrative and character came about.

In fact, one such campaign was started to play old adventure modules with no story or setting so as to have a "fall back" adventure that needn't be worked into any continuity, and with very little prep time. Because of a random background system I was tinkering with at the time using The Great Dalmuti cards, one of these no-prep, quick-play characters became the pirate heir to a throne, and suddenly we became curious where she was heading.

They needn't all develop like this, b... (see all)
Posted By: Dreamstryder (3/29/2014 7:06:04 AM)


It is definitely my experience that the games my group plays most often have effortless set-up times.

I'm happy that buying starting equipment is still an option (and I see myself using the quick options as well; they're both useful for different moods), but above all I lovelovelove the idea of rolling on a huge table of starting curios, and hope that can be used alongside buying starting equipment too (I wonder if Wizards got this idea from DCC RPG). I just hope they are all as story-provocative as the examples in this article.
Posted By: Dreamstryder (3/27/2014 2:30:22 AM)


I hope there is a mechanic like Spycraft had for just "spawning" common items of negligible cost into your inventory when needed, so you didn't have to write every little thing on your character sheet. It was called a Gear check and basically boiled down to a Wisdom check, which you could do so many times per adventure.

Also if you are doing a table for random trinkets, I hope that it is either a stupendously large table or rolling on two tables to combine traits into one item, so it doesn't get old fast.
Posted By: Fuzzypaws (3/26/2014 6:48:35 PM)


I am a little surprised at the complaining on this one. I am not a fan of DnD Next, and am not sure I will play it over just sticking to 1st, 2nd and 4th Edition. But this change makes sense. And it is not even a change. Buy equipment if you want to. But there are some pre-packaged item sets to make it easy for new players. Many, many RPGs have this. And it is so much easier for new players.
Posted By: The_Roc (3/26/2014 11:06:24 AM)


The oddities table is going to get old. It's going to get old FAST if there are only 50 items on it. I like that somebody has already thought of a strategic use for one of the examples, but that is an example of why it should be random rather than pickable, and probably use subtables to keep exploitable items under DM control. There should be similar tables of more powerful items in the DM's Guide and upgrades in supplements to take advantage of this modularity.

Speaking of weapons, specifying rules that a medium character does +1 damage using a one-handed weapon two-handed, and imposing disadvantage on a small character using a two-handed martial weapon, simplifies things by eliminating the need for versatile and heavy weapon properties. I would like to see more flavorful weapons on the weapons list and this idea opens it up by making it more readable.

Deriving equipment from background, a non-subclass oriented concentration within the class, and some sort of... (see all)
Posted By: RadperT (3/25/2014 6:24:15 PM)


I imagine many of the trinkets will be quickly sold to purchase the character's first +1 weapon... - John
Posted By: Seanchai (3/25/2014 7:40:31 PM)


...If they can be sold for value, but they can also serve to provide background ideas for the character even if sold. "Why did I have this?"

Either way, I don't think this is a bad way to serve both players who want extra coin for bolstering equipment and players who want more story and role-playing inspiration.
Posted By: Dreamstryder (3/27/2014 2:37:40 AM)


Not sure that I like the direction this is heading. I would rather that the class and background provide a choice of armor and weapons (all adventurers should have both a melee and a ranged weapon; even if one is just a dagger (thrown and melee)), and a focus if needed by the class.

I would like to see 4-6 pre-packaged adventurer's gear (dungeon, outdoors, urban, trickster, warrior, mix) that does NOT include armor and weapons (provided separately by the class) of about 15 items. And then a list of costs for items in a separate table for the players to purchase items later (after 1st adventure).

Such pre-packaged gear should all include the adventurer's kit (as listed in the public playtest) and a light source (torches, lantern, sunrods,etc.), but then they should diverge. I.e. the warrior's kit might include tools to do minor repairs to metal armor. The trickster's kit may include a mirror, marbles, and string. An urban kit may include a ream of paper, ink, scro... (see all)
Posted By: Rlyehable (3/24/2014 11:53:49 PM)


Back in either 2nd Ed, or in 3rd Ed, there was a book published by Wizards entitled 'Aurora's Complete Equipment Catalog', which offered plenty of mundane and slightly not-so-mundane items with which to outfit your character. I would enjoy seeing an updated version of that tome offered for sale, AGAIN.
Posted By: arnvid2008 (3/25/2014 6:29:32 AM)


I like the kits and pre-built sets, too, as options. (Or as part of the default rules - just not *the* default rule.)

However, as they stand, I'm not sure how much time they save. You still have to write everything out. Even if you buy, say, the standard Fighter package and the Adventurer's Kit, you still need to write down the details of everything you selected, even if that's just name and number. Because, for example, you'll want to know how many torches you have left.

Further commentary.

Personally, I think new players should purchase equipment. It helps teach them how the game works. The DM shouldn't drop a 50 pound book in front of them and say, "Go to town." (Get it? It's a pun!) However, selecting equipment and noting its details helps teach them about light sources, how healing will work, how damage works, etc..

Also, I think a certain focus on equipment is expected by new players. That's how fantasy RPG video games wor... (see all)
Posted By: Seanchai (3/25/2014 11:37:19 AM)


Or at least publish adventures that are designed and tested to be run off the page with no pre-play study required.
Posted By: Libramarian (3/24/2014 9:27:06 PM)


If you want to play a game in which there is no need to prep or read ahead, then I think rpg's might not be for you. You might want to play cards, or a video game instead. Every rpg, no matter what genre, no matter how old or new, requires the person acting as the GM to do some sort of prep work. It's a complicated thing, running an rpg. It's also complicated to play one.

That being said, I think it's a great idea to have the kits/packages of gear as part of the game. Sometimes you don't have a lot of time to create a character, or you have a new player. Having that option will be very useful in those cases. Some of us though, like to take our time, and kit out a character the way we want to. Basing some of the selections on class and background makes sense as well. And honestly, I think the trinket idea, while a bit of a gimmick, is a good one. Always interesting to see what a DM can do with those random bits of oddness.
Posted By: Tulloch (3/25/2014 2:01:10 AM)


Solo-adventures (where the player and DM are assumed to be the same) are by their nature made to be payed without pre-reading and are written like a choose-your-own-adventure book. BECMI's black-box Zanzer Tem dungeon, for one, had a solo version of its adventure to teach new players, then a filled-out version to teach new DMs that was written so it could be run in short chapters, effectively breaking up the pre-reading time into smaller sessions.

I find that when the big-picture info for the DM is consolidated and organized, pre-reading is painless, but I think solo-adventure-style writing can be valuable for veterans as well.
Posted By: Dreamstryder (3/27/2014 3:04:42 AM)


Getting the average group to play more frequently has almost nothing to do with the complexity of character creation. Obviously most sessions after the first are not going to begin with making new characters. Getting people to play 2 or 3x/week is all about reducing DM prep between sessions. If you want to make DnD a pickup game where you can just roll some dice with no prep, forget about chargen; you need to totally change the role of the DM in the game. You would need to make a random dungeon the default mode of play, like a dungeoncrawler board game.
Posted By: Libramarian (3/24/2014 9:22:50 PM)


I'm glad to see here that there are players who prefer to buy their equipment. I agree that an option for players to have a starting package, or to receive equipment as part of their background helps speed play, and is desirable, but it would also be nice for me to be able to buy my own equipment for those not in a hurry to start right away.
Posted By: Diamondfist (3/24/2014 8:49:32 PM)


Hurrah for not having to pick through a list of items and wondering what not to take in order to squeeze in that ten-foot pole...
Posted By: Khilkhameth (3/24/2014 7:36:57 PM)


As a DM for a lot of organized play events, I'm very much in favor of having faster character gen options. And the random trinket table is inspired. I've done up my own tables like that for years, and they've always provided the right amount of oddball flavor to make sure that nobody feels they're playing a cookie-cutter character. I also like that the "search-and-purchase" option is being allowed. As long as the two balance well together at the same table, then it's the best of both worlds!
Posted By: JoeyLast (3/24/2014 5:02:39 PM)


I also would like to hear if there have been any changes to the armor/material setup. As it stands in the playtest packets, having 'dragon' this and 'mithral' that seems silly to present them as basic (and mundanely default) armor types. Materials shouldn't be a new class of armor, but supply some modifier on an existing armor type. I wrote a big comment about it in an earlier playtest survey, but basically:

"Here are the basic armor types. At some point you may be able to get armor fashioned from stronger materials and here's what the benefits are:
Dragon-hide: +500gp cost - +1AC
Mithral: +5000gp cost - +1 AC / reduced encumbrance
Elder Dragon-hide: +5000gp - +1 AC / resistance to an element depending on dragon type

It opens up tons of non-magical customization options (I wonder what Beholder-hide does?!) but doesn't force flavor and commonality on things that should be rather unique and fantastic. The cost could also be modifi... (see all)
Posted By: Khassix (3/24/2014 4:48:49 PM)


While I agree that the materials should be handled differently than in 4E I am uncertain about the whole skinning a defeated creature to wear its hide as armour. I have played several games (in 2E) where whenever we came across a powerful beast we cut off horns, extracted teeth and removed scales to bring to craftsmen to make stuff for us.
The issue I have however is that it isn't really a lawful good thing to do. Many divine characters would upset their deity by skinning a down foe. Druids, rangers etc would be fine with it but they will use hide and maybe ivory. Dragonscale would be almost useless unless they use a shield.
The other issue is that untrained people will damage the hide if they cut it out wrong, making it useless.
I do however like the idea of having a quest where a craftsman has asked for the party to get exotic material for him and they bring back carcasses for him to extract what he needs.
Posted By: Rartemass (3/24/2014 5:09:48 PM)


Comment part two because I typed a lot.

I've used a few RPG systems over the years, and what stands out to me from DnD is that it makes things easier. Random encounter tables, and for that matter the Monster Manual, exist to make it easy to come up with a battle on the fly. Class-based abilities and equipment packages make it easy to make a character without getting bogged down in details. So, tentatively optimistic and waiting to hear what the release date will be.
Posted By: Skoldorf (3/24/2014 3:24:16 PM)


I have to agree, DnDN seems to make every thing easier to do, without sacrificing fun and randomness. I too would like to get a release date :D Pretty please Wizards?
Posted By: moes1980 (3/24/2014 3:28:53 PM)


Interesting. So, kind of like splitting the old "starting package" up for a bit more customization while still making it fairly simple. I'd houserule in buying a la carte if it weren't already a thing, but honestly using the packages makes sense to me. My brothers and I usually go for a fairly standard set of items anyway - there's items that a sensible adventurer carries and items that we usually skip, so having it be a package just helps speed things up.

My attention is grabbed by the "random trinkets" table - particularly as I like having something to spark my interest when building a character, and it can be fun to build up something about why the barbarian carries around a fine china teacup or what have you. Again, something that seems optional but could be fun.
Posted By: Skoldorf (3/24/2014 3:23:21 PM)


FANTASTIC! Even as a long time gamer, being to just pick basic gear from a list rather than going through all the spending gold and recording weight is going to be great! The addition of a table of random trinkets is also super cool! I love these kind of random elements to help make the character creation process feel more organic, without interjecting a risk that your character turns out to be over/under powered. (So I hope the random personality traits like bonds and things stay in the game, and a random table for rolling up backgrounds as an option would be great too!)

Can't wait to get my hands on this edition!
Posted By: moes1980 (3/24/2014 3:15:07 PM)


Perfect - exactly what I hoped for... a sincere thank you.
Posted By: Kazadvorn (3/24/2014 3:11:26 PM)


When I'm making characters, choosing, recording, and determining price and weight of equipment is one of the slowest parts of the process. It's a pain. Sure, I want to have the equipment that fits my character--especially for a long campaign, but when I'm putting together some pregens for new players or a one-shot, I don't want to agonize about where each gp and lb. goes.

This system is great for that. I had suggested something like the different types of packs for different focuses a while ago, and I'm glad to see others like the same idea enough for it to get in the game.

Being able to make a few choices and have a good set of representative equipment, with weight listed for each component pack so I only have to add together 3 or 4 numbers rather than 15-20 to get encumbrance is great.
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (3/24/2014 2:15:40 PM)


While I'll probably just let people buy their own equipment, that's not a bad solution. I don't it's really bad at all. I don't see what the problem some people have with it. You can still just give them money and have them buy stuff, right?

But those trinkets sounds AWESOME! I really like the sound of a quick and easy way to give characters a little more flavor. I love the idea of their random nature. I'd totally make them important at some point, or at least encourage players to. For example, my players might give the candle (that can't ever be lit) to the cultists for their dark ritual, and since it can't be lit, they delay it. Or maybe that mysterious journal has a different owner...and he wants it back. I can create awesome quests out of that simple little system. I LOVE that trinket idea!
Posted By: Claymore65 (3/24/2014 1:42:28 PM)


We were able to take starting packages before. Why the need to change? - John
Posted By: Seanchai (3/24/2014 10:40:57 AM)


Should be a reply to Shroom-Mage down below. A more cynical person might suggest that a company that can't figure out a functional comment system on its website probably is just as incapable of putting out a functional RPG product... - John
Posted By: Seanchai (3/24/2014 10:44:12 AM)


Aye! I tried about ten times, but I do not seem to be able to close those tags properly. Whatever that means.
Anyway, like Krayt1 said, I already feel insulted. Once more. The oversimplification of this once great system will be the nail in the coffin that drives veteran players and even hardcore fans away. When WotC started talking about a modular approach, I thought or rather, hoped, that they would come up with something like the old BattleTech basic rulebook. It had a beginner, advanced and expert section with increasing amount of detail rules. So your rules knowledge would grow alongside your player experience. It was only a scifi tabletop wargame, so there was less room to cover than in a fantasy RPG, admittedly. Still, I think something along those lines would have made a better approach, than a sidebar or box on every second page in the rulebook, methinks.
Posted By: Schmieth (3/24/2014 11:35:57 AM)


I can't agree stylistically, but at the same time the linearity of AD&D is not coming back. Sadly, they don't seem able to distinguish between functional elegance and oversimplification. As far as your opening closing problem, look up HTML tags in some online reference. I threw my HTTP coding book away years ago but you can basically use any tag here which doesn't have an end. I would have put carets around that but I only remember how to make an &, which is all I need to remember!
Posted By: RadperT (3/24/2014 10:15:36 PM)


Mostly fine with this option as long as you are very explicit about it being an option. I think, rather than making two editions (and splitting your demographic into Basic/Advanced) as has been suggested by other on here, have one be the default and the other provided via easily implemented sidebar options labelled as Basic/Advanced (whichever makes more sense as the supplement).

Past this, I would REALLY like to hear more about the Weapon/Armor issues many have brought up. For example, what is going on with Weapon/Armour Material/Properties? Most people seemed to agree they needed to be separated out from the baseline Weapon/Armour entries and, if your goal is to have the baseline as stream-lined as possible, doing this would go a LONG way toward that goal, especially for new players who have no idea how dragon leather compares to mithral chain or whatever. I know these aren't meant for first level characters in the playtest, but if someone wanted to roll up a new characte... (see all)
Posted By: OskarOisinson (3/24/2014 10:06:44 AM)


Lovely. I can either make quick decisions to start playing as soon as possible OR I can micro manage my equipment to the copper piece if I feel like it?

Brilliant. Well done, guys. DDN Just keeps getting better. Now give it to me.
Posted By: Timmee (3/24/2014 9:38:22 AM)


EXCELLENT! Speeding up entry for new players, pickup games, and organized play is much needed.

Reading the comments here, people need to chill out and read what Mike wrote. If your group wants to, you can still roll for gold and go shopping for gear just like you've always done. All they are doing with 5e is giving you an option for gear selection. No one is going to force you to use this system if you don't want to. The knee jerk reactions here are ridiculous.
Posted By: Style75 (3/24/2014 9:08:32 AM)


Welcome to the internet. :D
Posted By: Ashrym (3/24/2014 12:56:45 PM)


True. What they could have done, however, is made purchasing equipment the default and had starting packages and kits an option. Just like they've done for the last several editions. - John
Posted By: Seanchai (3/24/2014 1:57:48 PM)


Pluses as seen by me...
1. New players won't have to think as much. People love that when they don't know anything about a subject, but only before they get hooked.
2. "Hey, my character died in our ongoing campaign... okay well, at least it won't take TOO long to roll up a new guy."

Minuses as seen by me
1. The "OPTION" of limited choice packets may seem like it is a requirement if this is not outlined well enough!!!
2. Streamlined options hamper imaginative thought about a character by making it seem that a given character class is supposed to follow the rail road. It may not be a requirement, but if the presentation makes it SEEM that way, it could limit how players see each class. The most important note about this minus is that it will make things appear too common and boring.
3. Encouraging players to go with the default, streamlined options is basically encouraging laziness. Sure its nice to build a quick character. Bu... (see all)
Posted By: Sands666 (3/24/2014 7:14:03 AM)


Posted By: sjap (3/24/2014 6:04:47 AM)


I'm quite happy with this. Acquiring new items during play is much more fun than just getting them from the outset.

My main gripe with equipment is "useless" items. For example why use a spear, say, if a warhammer is always better? I think every item should have some kind of desirable benefit.
Posted By: Chimpy20 (3/24/2014 5:48:27 AM)


Eeeeeehhhh. I'd much, much rather see "Recommended Gear" packages than have this be an ACTUAL RULE that exists, even if buying gear normally is an OPTIONAL rule besides. I can easily imagine most of the veteran gamers I play with being outright insulted by this.
Posted By: Krayt1 (3/24/2014 5:11:03 AM)


I would like to know more about online options as well. Character builder, DM tools, monster builder etc.
Posted By: kerred (3/24/2014 3:26:11 AM)


I like it as long as it's not required. I like fast character creation if it can fit a basic concept that I want to play and anything to speed up character creation with recommended lists etc is a good idea.

An advanced option in addition for those groups who prefer it would still be beneficial.
Posted By: Ashrym (3/24/2014 3:19:17 AM)


Organizing things into packets is a step forward. Well done!
Posted By: SirAntoine (3/24/2014 3:00:46 AM)


No. Frak no. This is a horrible thing to do.

Choosing the equipment, and style of equipment, is part of building the character you are playing. It's an extension of the character concept you are creating. It doesn't need to be simplified, any more than character creation did.

5E is being built for simpletons, unwilling to put the time into actually making a character. If you need pre-built PC packages for newbies to use, fine give them that. Stop making it worse for those of us who actually enjoy the character creation process.

I guarantee it's a larger portion of the player base than you assume.
Posted By: LupusRegalis (3/24/2014 2:59:41 AM)


so including options for some gamers to speed up one process is a terrible idea? why does your approach to character creation get to be the only one? did you miss the part where they said it was an option?
Posted By: Ramzour (3/24/2014 3:10:48 AM)


Including options or making them the default option? - John
Posted By: Seanchai (3/24/2014 10:51:50 AM)


I see nothing wrong with making it the default option. Experienced players who want to buy gear a la carte will still be able to do so. Newbies, and experienced players who don't want to be bothered with equipment selection, can go with the default.
Posted By: Dausuul (3/24/2014 12:38:31 PM)


Except that there will be several multiples more experienced players used to - and probably desiring to - purchasing equipment individually. Personally, I think it's great as an option. But just that - an option. - John
Posted By: Seanchai (3/24/2014 1:55:43 PM)


With so little to define your character at 1st level, being distinguished by your choice of equipment has a faux-old-school feel to it. It goes hand-in-hand with class features like cantrips or Fighting Style, but the way differences between types of armor and especially weapons have been erased in order to promote the reassuring illusion of balance, i.e. "nerfing," a feeling of sameness is going to inevitably creep into players' initial impressions of distinctiveness. We're not actually seeing these tables, so I hold out hope that one will be able to evaluate a number of mini-adventurer's kits in each of those and several categories of equipment and supplies. An approach which speeds up the process while still allowing the character to be prepared for specific situations which can be imagined, is worth waiting a level or adventure until some more flavorful weapon or armor becomes available.
Posted By: RadperT (3/24/2014 4:41:45 PM)


It's hard to tell what I'm holding out hope for in that paragraph. Mike says "Your class provides you with your weapons, armor, and your choice of a 'character pack'," obviously expanding on the recommended starting gear in Third and Fourth Editions. I think there need to be more subtle distinctions than Archery/Finesse Weapon/Great Weapon/Two-Weapon /Versatile Weapon kits and Dungeoneering, Guard, Reconnaissance, Wilderness & whatever socially themed packs they're busy coming up with. Other than that I agree with LupusRegalis & John that whatever options are provided need to be put in a sidebar to keep them from confusing new players who are trying to make sense of the character creation process upon seeing it for the first time. Frankly, it's a lot simpler to just have starting gold in the Classes text and have the DM decide if s/he wants the characters to start with more than armor & a couple of weapons.
Posted By: RadperT (3/24/2014 9:54:57 PM)


I like the idea of having both options. For long home campaigns, you definitely want to be able to take your time with it. But for quick, "let's get together tonight and run something" type games... I like the idea of having standard options. Great thinking guys.
Posted By: Spykes (3/24/2014 1:49:21 AM)


I would also like to know what kind of online support we are going to have. Wizards has been disturbingly mute on this topic.
Posted By: Etrigaen (3/24/2014 1:04:39 AM)


I sure hope there is no online character builder and rule's reference. That killed local game store sells and resulted in 4th ed disappearing from my local gaming community despite its initial popularity. When every one at the game store stopped buying 4th ed books because they could download the rules for a fraction of the cost, 4th ed games ran by the store got replaced with pathfinder (one of my least favourite gaming systems).

If DnDN is to be a success, it needs to be the friend of FLGS, not its enemy.
Posted By: moes1980 (3/24/2014 3:22:56 PM)


I am the kind that likes to tweak every detail and I like a lot of customizable options. I respect the fact that not all are like few are. So I get why they are trying to make the creation process faster. I just hope that this is done by making the system more elegant. Not by stripping options. I understand the "easy mode" character philosophy, I still hope there is an option for the hardcore audience who want to have a truly unique character and want to adjust every detail. (I am a strong believer that one should be able to make 10 same level wizards and have them all be unique in some way, at level one. not all early level characters of the same class should feel the same. )
Posted By: Etrigaen (3/24/2014 12:58:26 AM)


Why does everything have to be fast and easy? I started playing TTRPGS back in 1989 because I LIKE the complexities, and I LIKE how that alienates the slow, impatient, and illiterate from the game.

TTRPG's aren't FPS video games, reality television shows, or sports. They should be mentally challenging.
Posted By: seti (3/24/2014 12:55:17 AM)


I agree. Though I find nothing wrong with having an easy option. So long as we, those who like complexity, are not forgotten about.
Posted By: Etrigaen (3/24/2014 1:06:08 AM)


Thus the reason you're still able to buy things a la carte just as before. Or are you suggesting that your preference should be the only option available and everyone else can take a hike?
Posted By: Shroom-Mage (3/24/2014 2:40:39 AM)


I don't want to pay for a PHB that's for beginners. I've always loved how DnD puts out a beginner box, AND hardcover rule books for people who have already played. If I buy into 5e, I don't want to feel forced into buying the 'red box'.

Having an accessible, quick and easy option for newbies is good for the hobby, and for business. I just don't want or need it at this point.
Posted By: seti (3/24/2014 9:07:00 AM)


I dislike the endless shopping. It wastes time and it's often boring to the players. So I've always just assumed the PCs have some basic equipment but not the high-order stuff such as horses and chainmail. I'd rather have PCs with too much than not enough. If it's a case of an unusual item then there's a 1-in-3 chance that the PC has it. So rope, tinderbox, a handful of gold, light armour, a spellbook, rations, several torches, a weapon or two appropriate to the class are easily possible. Whereas a chicken, a 10' pole, silk rope and a bull's-eye lantern are less likely. Anything that makes it easy and clear will be welcome.
Posted By: Maerlius (3/24/2014 12:50:21 AM)


The starting equipment is one of my favorite things in character creation so far. The background+class combination is nice that it creates a starting party with an odd assortment of things rather than a party of people with adventure kits. I have also found that players don't know what mundane equipment to buy, but love using whatever they come across in their adventures.
Posted By: MacEochaid (3/24/2014 12:13:11 AM)