Create Your Own Character in Chapter 3 of D&D Encounters: Dark Sun

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The Dark Sun books have hit the shelves at your local WPN store, and players have been waiting eagerly to dive into the cool new options and create their own characters. Rather than wait to fire up a home campaign, test drive the new options at your store first! Starting with Chapter 3 of D&D Encounters: Dark Sun on August 18, all players may create their own 3rd-level Dark Sun character instead of using the provided pre-generated ones. Here are the rules:


  • No divine character classes or options

  • No material from the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide or the Eberron Player's Guide

  • Allowed character races are dragonborn, dwarf, eladrin, elf, half-elf, halfling, human, tiefling (PH1); goliath (PH2); minotaur (PH3); mul, thri-kreen (DSCS)

  • Pick a character theme from the Dark Sun Campaign Setting

  • Characters start at 3rd level with 620 gold to purchase equipment and receive their choice of a +1 magic weapon, +1 magic implement, +1 magic armor, or a +1 amulet of protection

Have fun playing the last chapter of this season of D&D Encounters, and don’t forget that a new season starts up on September 22: Keep on the Borderlands!


DISCUSS!
Michael Robles Community Manager Wizards of the Coast Twitter: @michaelrobles
That is very good news for the retail stores, if not for players.

I think this should be announced as a special e-mail to stores, perhaps with a pdf they can print out and give to players/DMs. Chapter 3 starts next week, so time is extremely short to get the word out... if a player wants to play next week with their own PC, they need to hear about it this Wednesday!

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

That is very good news for the retail stores, if not for players.

I think this should be announced as a special e-mail to stores, perhaps with a pdf they can print out and give to players/DMs. Chapter 3 starts next week, so time is extremely short to get the word out... if a player wants to play next week with their own PC, they need to hear about it this Wednesday!




Oh we've alread thought of that. We're working on all that messaging as we speak! Cool
Michael Robles Community Manager Wizards of the Coast Twitter: @michaelrobles
Only problem I see with this is that not all stores &/or players have the Dark Sun Campaign Setting to pick a character theme from, or even get the thri-kreen details from. It would have been nice if at the very least those options were included in our recent Character Builder update.

Once again I see a lack of thinking things through before offering something desirable to their followers.
Links that I find very useful, will be added here. http://community.wizards.com/vinciente/blog/2010/02/24/useful_damp;d_pageslinks
Only problem I see with this is that not all stores &/or players have the Dark Sun Campaign Setting to pick a character theme from, or even get the thri-kreen details from.



You're right about that. The Core stores have the books now, but this promotion doesn't start until August 18th. The Dark Sun books hit ALL stores on the 17th.
Michael Robles Community Manager Wizards of the Coast Twitter: @michaelrobles

Speaking as a player who has attended the first nine sessions, I hope my group chooses to stick with the pregens.  For me, D&D is fun because of the story.  That's why I show up each week and keep a neat journal.  It would be distracting for me to suddenly have a halfling barbarian replace Phye (or Jarvix, or...) 

I understand WOTC is trying to make things fun, but my opinion is once we're this far into the story we're better off sticking with what we've got.  Honestly, I think the pregens are just fine and our group is having fun.

So Wizards has given up on the storyline then, after pushing the pregens so hard? Maybe it's because it's so late at night here, but I'm getting a too-many-chefs-in-the-kitchen vibe. 

I've already been giving my flocks the option to level themselves up as long as they do it on their own time, and on time. Now they will have the tools to level themselves properly.
I hope my group chooses to stick with the pregens.  For me, D&D is fun because of the story.  It would be distracting for me to suddenly have a halfling barbarian replace Phye (or Jarvix, or...) 

I understand WOTC is trying to make things fun, but my opinion is once we're this far into the story we're better off sticking with what we've got.  Honestly, I think the pregens are just fine and our group is having fun.



my feelings exactly

So Wizards has given up on the storyline then, after pushing the pregens so hard? Maybe it's because it's so late at night here, but I'm getting a too-many-chefs-in-the-kitchen vibe.



i think they've noticed a huge drop in interest in the program nationwide and are scrambling to do something to get alot of that interest back before it's too late.

however, i don't think that the pregens are the biggest problem.  i think that the extreme difficulty level of alot of the encounters, coupled with the fact that most DMs out there WILL NOT adjust the difficulty, is the biggest problem.
We wish to continue using the Pregen characters in Chapter 3.  Are the level 3 versions of the pregens available anywhere?  I received the package for chapter 3 but it only included the level 2 updates to the pregen characters.  I don't have time to go through each and every character and try to figure out how to update each character to make it usable.  If I can't get the level 3 updates, I plan to not run chapter 3 at all.
While short notice I think its not so bad.  Game is about imagination, if comic books can retcon...well so can I as a DM of Encounters.  I can roll with Yuka the Mul turning into Haldok the Goliath.  However I won't stop folks from using the PreGens either.  I want my tables to have fun...and fun they shall have!

In this topic thread you will find bot official versions of the level 3 pre-gens an tweaked versions.community.wizards.com/dungeonsanddragons...
We wish to continue using the Pregen characters in Chapter 3.  Are the level 3 versions of the pregens available anywhere?  I received the package for chapter 3 but it only included the level 2 updates to the pregen characters.  I don't have time to go through each and every character and try to figure out how to update each character to make it usable.  If I can't get the level 3 updates, I plan to not run chapter 3 at all.



I'm second from the left in the picture.


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

wagnert:

If you can't get the level 3 character update info you can just use these:
community.wizards.com/dungeonsanddragons...
 

Mind you, I made these sheets to make it easier on everyone - just print em out and off you go... you don't need the update info as these already have it.

If you don't want to use these for whatever reason, and want to know what the difference is between level 2 and 3 for the characters, the only changes were their hitpoints/surge value and the additional power on each sheet that the level 2's don't have.

 
Some people do really have problems with pregens. I don't, but a few Undermountain players flat out stated they would not come back because of it - and I have not seen them return. Then again, we run 7 tables a week and might grow to 8 if the players that sign up all show up and the usual walk-ons also show.

D&D Encounters is a huge success at our store. This is because our DMs and organizers work hard to tone down chapter 1 and to add a bit to chapter 2. We also work hard to educate our new DMs. More than half of our DMs are new DMs. Almost none of our 40+ players are LFR players. Many are very new or are players of previous editions. DDE can and should be a huge success.

Allowing players to make their own PCs is a good thing. It is a good way to encourage those that hate pregens to get involved. It helps drive store sales. It helps drive excitement for the Dark Sun products. Sure, I would prefer to stick with the pregens, but to be honest there is very little RP inside the adventure for those pregens... it would be different if each session had something specifically for the pregens.

I have a lot of respect for the program. It is very difficult to make such a program work well. It is hard to write so many weeks worth of engaging encounters and have the right difficulty level. Very hard. And yet, the reasons to get it right are huge. My big list of desires:

  • Instead of having to get challenge level right, devote a page up front to making sure DMs understand that the goal is fun and bringing in new players. Give generic tips on how to make encounters less or more challenging.

  • In each encounter, have a paragraph with ideas on adjusting difficulty up or down.

  • Abandon the idea of three places where a DM should look for boxed text and encounter information. Put the information in sequence, the same way old pre-4E adventures did. It confuses DMs.

  • Add more story hooks to each encounter. RP is a hugely important part of selling 4E to new players.

  • Fewer encounters per season. I love DS, but this is a very long season. I think 10 weeks is plenty for a season. Faster turnover allows for more excitement and for players to come back and try a new season. 

  • More info. Give full pregens that are leveled. Give handouts with links to web sites they need. Sell players on more organized play, including LFR. Sell them on the big conventions, etc. Tons of new players are showing up and we want them to be devoted fans that play all D&D has to offer.

  • More DM rewards. DMs need bling for each chapter. You want them 100% happy to be judging. They should feel like fat cats. At our store we give extra stuff periodically to keep them excited.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

Ok, so we can choose a +1 Magic Item.  Is that the basic +1 only or is it any +1 item.  If it's just the basic +1 is there any reason to take a +1 weapon or Implement?  With the inherent bonus at Level 2 it seems pointless to do so.
inherent bonus doesn't include crit damage bonus.
Ok, so we can choose a +1 Magic Item.  Is that the basic +1 only or is it any +1 item.  If it's just the basic +1 is there any reason to take a +1 weapon or Implement?  With the inherent bonus at Level 2 it seems pointless to do so.


Even if it is just a generic +1, you still get the critical dice on a natural 20, and if you roll a natural 1, you only lose it if your re-roll is a 5 or less.
What makes me sad - no more compiled magazines: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/27580349/Dungeon_and_Dragon_Magazine_PDFs&post_num=24#495423645
inherent bonus doesn't include crit damage bonus.


Actually it does.  +1d6 for each +1 (DSCS pg. 209).

Even if it is just a generic +1, you still get the critical dice on a natural 20, and if you roll a natural 1, you only lose it if your re-roll is a 5 or less.



You get crit dice (+1d6) with inherent bonuses and the reckless breakage rules only apply to metal weapons, not specifically magic ones.  You can have magical obsidian weapons.  You could choose a magical +1 metal weapon I suppose.

Even if it is just a generic +1, you still get the critical dice on a natural 20, and if you roll a natural 1, you only lose it if your re-roll is a 5 or less.



You get crit dice (+1d6) with inherent bonuses and the reckless breakage rules only apply to metal weapons, not specifically magic ones.  You can have magical obsidian weapons.  You could choose a magical +1 metal weapon I suppose.


Though I don't see it in the book, I believe one of the Web excerpts had said that metal weapons should be at least +3 enhancement. Metal armor is said to be at least +2 on page 119.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

Though I don't see it in the book, I believe one of the Web excerpts had said that metal weapons should be at least +3 enhancement. Metal armor is said to be at least +2 on page 119.



I looked as well and could not find anything.  There was a brief description about metal weapons only surviving as magical artifacts from long ago.

Show
Also, there's a +2 metal weapon as possible loot in the game day adventure.

The players at my table tonight were very excited about being able to make their own PCs for next week!  The players of Castri and Yuka in particular were looking forward to optimizing their builds since they complain about them every week.  We'll see if they can come up with anything better...
The PC's are split if they want to make new characters for next session for if they do they lose their reknown points they have built.



This was posted on the season 10 thread. Can we get a definitive answer as to whether Renown is per PC or per player? Some scenarios:
  • Player plays Castri for 4 sessions, then plays Yuka for a session to help make a table

  • Player plays Castri for 2 chapters, then makes their own PC for Chapter 3


In both cases, I would assume the renown should be added together.

Here is another case:
  • Player plays Castri at 6 PM on Wednesdays. Same player then plays Shikirr at 8PM.


In that case I would assume the renown should not be additive. The player would need to track each separately and take the highest value when it comes time to determine which players have the most renown.

Is this correct?

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

Over here in Ottawa, we treated renown per player rather than per PC.
The PC stayed with the table.
Now, with chapter 3 allowing players to make PCs we'll probably alter our stance that the PC stayed with the table.

Note we had players can only gain renown for 1 session. If they play the same encounter more than one (have yet to happen for us) then he only gets renown for the first time.
First of all, thank you Wizards for allowing me to throw out this painfully under-optimized pre-generated character that I willingly tortured myself with by playing for the last 10 sessions.

Secondly a question. Does the guideline stating you gain 620 gp to use for gear and a +1 magic item mean that not only do you automatically get a magic item, but you can ALSO buy more (most +1 magic items only cost 360 gold, and alchemical items are fairly cheap as well), or does it mean you have 620 gp which you can use toward buying only one +1 magic item in addition buying other, non-magical gear?
 

Hey ya'll Laughing

D&D Encounters at Knightfall Games has been awesome, 2 tables, 2 days each week and a crap ton of players!

knightfallgames.com/

The question is,

                     " Does anyone know when the character builder software maybe updated with Dark Sun character creation tools?"


Thanks!    -Chris  chris@knightfallgames.com

Hi Chris! I think Portland is giving Seattle a run for the money!    Go PDX! 

One of the podcasts mentioned that getting DS into the CB posed problems. At the same time, the last update was a bit early. With a little luck we would see the update in early September, but it may go longer. For players wanting to make Ch 3 pregens, they should use the CB for the core bits and then substitute as needed (such as adding a feat or weapon). For more complex cases, such as a Mul warlock taking the SK pact, it is probably best for them to just make it on paper.

The easiest thing they can do is to use the ch 3 pregens (found on the Forums) and then modify bits here and there.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

I wish it was in the CB update, my store got the books but they sold out before I could get my hands on one

I'm going to keep playing the same race and keep my name the same but changing my class/powers I doubt will effect the RP very much at all. 
The PC's are split if they want to make new characters for next session for if they do they lose their reknown points they have built.



This was posted on the season 10 thread. Can we get a definitive answer as to whether Renown is per PC or per player? Some scenarios:
 [...]
Is this correct?



I was told for season one that Renown is Player specific, not character specific and that you could only receive credit for special reward only once.  So, 'Moment of Glory' once per chapter per player in season 2; milestone once per two distinct sessions; etc.  We would never give credit for a player attending two session 3's, however, he had two chances to get points for each of the limited rewards.
Secondly a question. Does the guideline stating you gain 620 gp to use for gear and a +1 magic item mean that not only do you automatically get a magic item, but you can ALSO buy more (most +1 magic items only cost 360 gold, and alchemical items are fairly cheap as well), or does it mean you have 620 gp which you can use toward buying only one +1 magic item in addition buying other, non-magical gear?


  • Characters start at 3rd level with 620 gold to purchase equipment and receive their choice of a +1 magic weapon, +1 magic implement, +1 magic armor, or a +1 amulet of protection


Pretty straighforward.  You get both the full money and the +1 item.  And yes, you can buy magic items with the gold.
This is... interesting. May have to reconsider playing, 'cause man, DSCS is amazing, but will a custom character lessen the pain that is Season 2? Who knows!
Hi Chris! I think Portland is giving Seattle a run for the money!    Go PDX! 

One of the podcasts mentioned that getting DS into the CB posed problems. At the same time, the last update was a bit early. With a little luck we would see the update in early September, but it may go longer. For players wanting to make Ch 3 pregens, they should use the CB for the core bits and then substitute as needed (such as adding a feat or weapon). For more complex cases, such as a Mul warlock taking the SK pact, it is probably best for them to just make it on paper.

The easiest thing they can do is to use the ch 3 pregens (found on the Forums) and then modify bits here and there.




Alpha, I sure hope our paths cross at some point.  You've been a fantastic resource for Dark Sun/Encounters. 

Now as for Portland giving Seattle a run for the money -- that sounds like a good challenge.  I play with Kedrith each week at Uncle's Games in Southcenter.  Consider yourself always welcome to come by and check out our scene. 
Now as for Portland giving Seattle a run for the money -- that sounds like a good challenge.  I play with Kedrith each week at Uncle's Games in Southcenter.  Consider yourself always welcome to come by and check out our scene. 


I would love to. Instead, let me buy you guys a beverage at PAX? I know some of the Seattle crew (like those players winning the Open... congrats!!!) and it is a scene I wish I could visit more often!

I only brought this up because in the D&D Encounters podcast (worth a listen - Chris Tulach and the others do a great job) Chris asked other stores to rise to the challenge and match what Uncle's does.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

Ill be at Dragonflight this weekend and all three days of PAX hope to see Alpha and many others there.
I'm second from the left in the picture.


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

Now as for Portland giving Seattle a run for the money -- that sounds like a good challenge.  I play with Kedrith each week at Uncle's Games in Southcenter.  Consider yourself always welcome to come by and check out our scene. 


I would love to. Instead, let me buy you guys a beverage at PAX? I know some of the Seattle crew (like those players winning the Open... congrats!!!) and it is a scene I wish I could visit more often!

I only brought this up because in the D&D Encounters podcast (worth a listen - Chris Tulach and the others do a great job) Chris asked other stores to rise to the challenge and match what Uncle's does.




Well it sounds like you'll be meeting Kedrith (Jeff) at PAX.  I have family in town that weekend so I can't attend.  Maybe we can put together a quick game of Castle Ravenloft or something.  Keep up the good work, Alpha!!
Castle Ravenloft!!!  The wait is killing me!
Hmmm...

Can characters for the 18th use Psionic Power or the latest Dragon (has a nice templar article) stuff?
just look at what it says you can't use, and don't use that.  nothing you asked about was on the "can't use" list, i don't believe
Well, the trick is: Stuff normally isn't legal for "official" (RPGA, Encounters) use until it is put out for the Character Builder. Of course, DSCS won't be out on the Character Builder either at the time of the start of Part 3. So it is a bit questionable I guess.

Though I don't think I'll be using anything from it personally at this point, was somthing that poped in my head.
Well, the trick is: Stuff normally isn't legal for "official" (RPGA, Encounters) use until it is put out for the Character Builder.

That's not accurate.

Although many people won't use options that aren't in the CB, for simplicity's sake, the 'Power' books are legal on release, and Dragon Magazine is legal once the compiled edition can be downloaded (but not while only the individual articles are available). 

Of course the season 2 creation rules don't refer to the RPGA creation guidelines, but it'd be a reasonable assumption that the basic rules there apply (i.e. don't use Dungeon Magazine or other sources of not-usually-player-friendly material) subject to the modifications on the website. 

Running D&D Adventurers League events in Sheffield, UK from August. Contact me for more details.

I have a question on the "can't use" list:  It says no material from FR or Eberron.  Does this mean no Artificers or Swordmages? Because frankly I think swordmages would be cool in DS.

My apologies if this has been asked and answered elsewhere, but I couldn't find it.
Artificers and Swordmages are listed in the books you can't use. So no swordmages nor artificiers for D&D Encounters.

It looks clear to me.