Creating characters: The Dungeons and Dragons method

One thing we like to ask people is how they go about the arduous process of creating characters for their stories. While we’ve never had the same answer twice there have been a few standout answers and I’d like to discuss one of them today.
It comes from our friend Charity Langley and it’s called The Dungeons and Dragons method. I’ll explain this the best that I can, but it helps if you have some knowledge of DnD beforehand.

Basically, you roll stats for your character and include any strengths and deficiencies into them. For the purpose of this exercise I’ll use The Pathology Guy and their standard 5e character generator.

So, here’s the first step. Roll a character. What this means is grab anything from three to six regular six sided dice. You’ll see this written down as 3d6 (Three dice with six sides), 4d6 (four dice with six sides), 5d6 (five dice with six sides) and very rarely, 6d6 (six dice with six sides).

Whatever method you choose, you roll the dice and add them together to get your number. Whatever number of dice you choose to roll, you keep your three highest numbers and add them together. If you pick 5d6 for instance and roll a 6,5,5,4,3, you would keep the 6, 5, 5 for a total of 16. You could then assign that 16 to a specific stat which I’ll get in to later.
Now, there are a lot of numbers coming up so I’ll give a brief explanation on how they work. Basically, 10 is average. The average human will have a score of 10 in most of these categories. The higher you go, the more exceptional that person gets. Normally this caps at 20.

These are the stats I got using the standard 3d6 method (Rolling three six sided dice.)

12, 11, 11, 8, 9, 3

I normally assign the values in the order that they appear so I don’t make things complicated.  The default order for these is this:
Strength (How strong you are, how much you can carry.)
Dexterity (How Dexterous/Agile your character is)
Constitution (In Dungeons and Dragons, this represents Health and Stamina.)
Intelligence  ( How smart your character is)
Wisdom  (How wise they are)
Charisma (How good they are at dealing with other people).

Since I just put the numbers I rolled in order, that would give me the following:
Strength: 12
Dexterity: 11
Constitution: 11
Intelligence: 8
Wisdom: 9
Charisma: 3

Before continuing, I will say that these are the lowest scores I’ve ever rolled because…of course they are.

You’ve now got a brief portrait of your character and what defines them. Our lowest score is 3 which we assigned to Charisma and that will work wonders for our character building because it’s an instant ‘flaw’ that we can add.

One thing I enjoy about this method is (with the exception of now) that right off the bat you are able to have strengths and weaknesses when writing a comprehensive backstory.

For this person, I’d write somebody that is very strong and agile but doesn’t do interaction very well. He or She could be a lone-wolf type character, possibly some type of assassin or a crotchety librarian.
This method is absolutely not for everybody, but if you’re familiar with the Dungeons and Dragons mechanics, it’s a cool system that instantly creates some quirks for you.

I’d like to see you guys come up with something for this character based on these stats. Write a backstory in our comments section or hit us up on twitter.

You can grab character sheets from the official Dungeons and Dragons website here


*UPDATE: Shawn expanded on the dice method and several other things.