Sunday 15 February 2015

D&D 5 Basic: Dwarf

I mentioned recently on google+ that I've been a bit frustrated by the complexity of character creation in D&D 5. Though they've eliminated much of the complexity of equipment selection (a very welcome change, in my books!), there's still a lot of different stuff to choose, which can be very overwhelming for new players.

I had a few ideas about how to remedy this: making some very simple summaries or conglomerations of all the choices during character creation, or maybe bringing back race-classes.

Just to see how feasible this might be, I had a quick attempt at making a description of a race-class (the dwarf) which fits on a single side of A4 and includes all of the relevant options, including a background.

Here's what I've come up with:

You can download it as a PDF here.

  • This is a mountain dwarf fighter with the soldier background, all rolled into one.
  • The only thing that I left out was the background flaws, bonds, etc. I figure players can just make stuff like that up.
  • I replaced the "choose two weapons" in the equipment section with suitably Dwarfish weapons, just to reduce the number of choices required.
  • I made a single small change: adding Medicine to the list of skills. (I found it odd that the soldier background lists "healer" as a posibility, but the Medicine skill wasn't available.)
  • Some of the text was based on Konstantin M's marvellous condensed basic rules.
[All D&D 5 basic classes: Elf, Dwarf, Halfling.]


  1. Excellent work. This is the first piece that's made me interested in 5e. Tasty and concise.

    1. Hey Scott, that's great to hear! There's a lot of nice stuff in 5e, I just think it's not necessarily presented in a way that appeals to those of us who like simplicity.

  2. Agreed on all accounts- there are waaaayyy too many choices for a first timer (and in some cases even a second or third timer). I run 5e Encounters and Expeditions at my FLGS and get to help new players with chargen almost weekly, usually 3 or more at a time. To alleviate this I tackle things in this order:
    1. Background- provides some skills and some equipment.
    2. Class- provides the rest of the skills and equipment and abilities.
    3. Race- provides stat bonuses and traits.
    4. Roll/buy/assign stats.
    This gets the basics of what a character needs for an introductory adventure on paper and while I'm going over game basics they can fine tune their equipment and flaws/bonds/ideals. We can usually get everyone set up and the adventure started in about an hour from the time we sit down. This might seem careless but with public play we retain about 60-70% of new players for multiple weeks (I live in a college town so there's always new blood) and those that choose to come back and play regularly get more focused attention during subsequent sessions. This all goes out the window during a home game, however, as we can take all the time we like to pound things out. At home I, too, limit choices on equipment and even have a very simple spell system to alleviate some of the issues inherent when you have 5 casting class forms. Will you be doing more of these for select class/race combos? Nice work as usual!

    1. That sounds like a nice way of handling things, and I wish I'd thought about this kind of approach a bit more before my chargen session. Oh well, you live and learn.

      I've got a basic elf class in the works, coming soon!

  3. This is great. It seems like a lot of people are recreating the classes of yesteryear and making a more streamlined 5E. I definitely love seeing everyone's take and presentation and this one is one of the best yet!


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