By Natania Barron
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
Although I’ve been playing a 4th Edition campaign for over a year now, I hadn’t had a chance to play with the D&D Character Builder yet. While our campaign has been extremely successful –the longest-lasting most enjoyable we’ve ever run– my husband, the DM, wanted to give one of our other players a chance to run a game. So we decided to take a break and start a campaign with some new characters at 11th level (the level of our current characters) to mix things up a bit.
I’d been putting off using the character creator, admittedly. But because I wanted to play a bard, which has been heavily supplemented in the new Arcane Powers book–a book we don’t currently own–I thought I would boot up the PC and give it a try.
And I’ve got to say I was pleasantly surprised. Granted, it’s not pretty. There are parts to the character creation that feel really, really clunky (especially the background/feats portions). The UI is far from intuitive, but once you get the hang of it, it totally manageable. It’s definitely important to have a leg-up on the 4th Edition terminology, but it’s certainly preferable to sifting through various handbooks and cross-referencing everything and doing all the math yourself. I wanted to pick powers and feats that spoke to my character, rather than just selecting stuff to do the most damage, and the character builder made that process really easy. Not to mention it’s just a blast to play around with and experiment.
Yes you do have to be a D&D Insider subscriber to join, but there’s also a demo that lets you try it out for free. If you enjoy rolling up characters, or want to experiment with a variety of builds without wasting paper it’s definitely the way to go and certainly worth the subscription, especially considering all the other stuff you get with it in addition.
While there are some D&D 4th Edition naysayers out there, I’ve got to say one of the best parts about the most recent version is the character creation process in general. It’s faster than previous editions I’ve played, even without the fancy character builder, and for me that means it’s also more fun. I spent about two hours last night putting my little gnome bard together, and now I have a lovely character sheet for tomorrow’s first game, equipped and ready to roll.