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

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Hi - just a thought on using Character Builder.  I just built a party of six Dark Sun characters.  This can be done with a little bit of customization. 

Under 'Manage' / 'Campaign Settings' you can add elements for a custom campaign, so I added the Mul and Thri-keen races, the language Thri-Keen, and a bunch of Gear for the Dark Sun weapons.
Obviously this does not give you full functionality, but it still can give you a decent sheet as follows:

If building a Mul or Thri-Keen character you need to houserule the stats to add the right bonuses, and also houserule language selections.  Then under 'Session and Campaign Notes' section I typed in the Racial Bonuses and Racial Power.  I deleted the blank 'Racial Features' panel and added the 'Session and Campaign Notes' in its place on the front sheet.  The other racially determined items can be added or adjusted on the character sheet manually such as the skill bonuses, movement, and things like the extra Healing Surge for a Mul.

Then for all characters I used the 'Mannerisms and Appearance' panel to record the Character Theme and related power as well as the Wild Talent.  I also put that on the front by making the Feats panel a lot smaller (these are Lvl 1 so no issue with space at this point).

Fortunately, I didn't choose any Dark Sun feats so that was a non-issue.

Then the trickiest thing left is weapon bonuses.  To simulate the correct power bonuses I gave the character a weapon with the same bonus and damage as the Dark Sun weapon.  For example, using Mace for Carrikal as both are +2 1d8 - but I added a note also in the 'Session and Campaign Notes' that the primary weapon is actually a Carrikal with Brutal 2.  I also added a 'Carrikal' in the equipment list as a reminder.

So - obviously not for everyone - but worked fairly well for me and I find it easier than sketching the character completely from scratch.

Next I plan to translate them into Lvl 3 versions and perhaps bring them to my Encounters game Wed. in case folks are desperate for a new character to replace a pre-gen (but I expect most will stick to the character they have been playing).  Most folks at my store, Double Midnight Comics, in Manchester, NH, will not have had time to acquire the book and build a new character yet.
Link here:

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!


At my store, we're splitting the difference: players can use the leveled-up pregens as is, or they can use the pregens as a template but do the level-up part themselves.

We've had very few complaints about the pre-gens; it's not like the new players can tell they're somehow inferior, and this should appease the copuple of munchkins in the crowd.

-Jim C.
Jim Crocker, Managing Partner Modern Myths, LLC Northampton, MA
I am a DM for Encounters at Legends of Comics and Games in San Jose. The plan here is to have someone be at the store early to help with changing characters. There seems to be a desire to change the pre-gened characters rather than make new ones. Say give characters range attacks, switch some powers around, get some feats that seem to be glaringly absent or maybe shift Yuka to be the Gladiator he should be and Castri to the Wasteland Nomad he should be.
I do find it strange that with the Inherent Bonuses replacing magic items that the new characters get a +1 magic item - which is much like the Inherent Bonus (not completely like it, but close) and 620 gp which basicly equates to a Level 2 magic item. For new players or players that don't have characters changed, I was going to bring a number of suggested items. Just playing the 3rd Level Pre-Gens without the magic items that the customized characters will have, would put some characters at a disadvantage.
Game On!
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.

There was a storyline?  Man, my DM just set up the pieces and ran it like a war simulation on a small scale.  I think I was the only player to actually not like that too much.

Ramses, Castri is a Gladiator... read his fluff...

4e is a Skirmish game. The Encounters format works well for that. Especially since we (DMs) don't get the full module, so we had both hands tied when it came to making chapters 1 & 2 interesting...

I plan on using this module for the openner for my DS campaign... it will be a lot more fun, and less Overkill...

All-in-all it was poorly written, poorly balanced, and poorly executed.

Is it legal to pick a background from "Scales of War Adventure Path" (with a benefit) when creating your own character?

Nothing in the creation rules suggest that I can't, but it seems non-intuitive. 

It is legal player source...

I would have to say yes

There can be a lot of story and RP if you are willing to work as players and with the DM to have it be there. React to things, RP your background, RP your social role, etc.

With regards to legal backgrounds, there will always be legal things that don't really fit. Either make it fit RP-wise, re-skinning as necessary, or choose something else (whatever will be most fun for everyone). The remaining combats are fairly reasonable and you should not need any PCs stronger than the pregens unless you have a really tough GM.

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Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

So, are inherent bonuses applied to Player created characters?
There can be a lot of story and RP if you are willing to work as players and with the DM to have it be there. React to things, RP your background, RP your social role, etc.

Depends what you end up having for characters if you don't have a full group. Even still I would not say "a lot" to story.

I would say yes since inherent bonuses are a DS campaign issue not unique to the pregens.
I'm second from the left in the picture.

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

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.

On the contrary, this is just business savy.  If the Dark Sun character options where immediately made available on the Character Builder, WOTC would loose out on significant book sales, since many players would not bother with the books if they could just use the Character Builder.

"As the good archmage often admonishes me, I ought not let my mind wander. It's too small to go off by itself"

Danilo Thann