Help a noob with Char. creation,please

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Hi, Im new to 4e. I have played D&D and AD&D 2nd about 10-15 years ago. I loved playing and i have picked up a ton of 4e books and went to start a character and all the sudden became very lost. I am trying to create a Dragonborn Blackguard. I made it to the ability scores which i believe i did correctly. Im confused about paragon paths, both class and racial. (do i get to pick only one? Either race or class?) I remember when my DM explained everything to me when i first started to play it was all alot simpler than the books made it out to be. I would just like some one on one type help with this, the books seem to jump around alot and have alot of "fluff". i understand roleplaying is a huge part of d&d but when im trying to understand core gameplay i could really care less about the origins of some evil diety in the middle of a chapter. All my books are e-books and my char. sheets are fillable pdf files. so copies are availible for reference if it helps.(im not handing out full copies of books :P)
I'm assuming that you're starting a new character at level 1, if this is wrong please correct me.  If this is the case you won't have to worry about Paragon Paths, or Epic Destinies until you hit level 11 and level 21 respectively (not that you shouldn't plan ahead a little for them when you get close).  You only get one paragon path, and only one epic destiny. 

As for creation I suggest starting small even if you're making a character at a higher level than level 1, in other words always start at that first level and slowly pile the stuff on.  For a Dragonborn Blackguard at level 1 all you have to choose left is a feat, trained skills, which of the two vices you have.  The choices of powers are for later levels whenyou can choose some of the paladin stuff, but for know it's not too bad.  I would suggest picking a weapon expertise feat, and whatever skills you'd like, but you can't really go wrong since you can retrain (replace a skill feat or power) each level with a new one if it doesn't work out.

If you need some more help feel free to ask
-bump-  basically can someone walk me through character creation on a technical level while explaining the uses of skills,feats,etc. i need this explained in detail, the players handbook is kind of vague and theres so much ref. material. 3 phb!? come on WotC...jeez.

www.mediafire.com/view/?i3ig2vmkxzven6m

thats a fillable char. sheet pdf with what ive got so far. feel free to fill it in and explain what and why you did it. i think that might help me.

oh and from what i understand there are more than 2 vices and did i read it wrong? only non-evil BG have to choose 1 vice. it says evil BG "embrace ALL vices as a way of life."
Alright since you have a Race and a Class picked out I'm guess we don't need to go through that part (once again assuming you're level 1 here).

(I use stat and ability score interchangebly in the following sentences)

Next is to assign ability scores.  This can vary whether your DM had you roll dice, or whether they had you use arrays.  In either rolling or the array method you'll have 6 numbers to allocate to the 6 stats of Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Charisma.  From here you assign 1 of your 6 numbers to a different stat.

For the Stat math it works as follows
Stat     Modifier
1          -5
2-3       -4
4-5       -3
6-7       -2
8-9       -1
10-11   +0
12-13   +1
14-15   +2
16-17   +3
18-19   +4
20-21   +5
and so on (never played 2nd so I assumed it was the same, forgive me if I'm incorrect).  These bonuses will be applied to actions that correspond to each of those abilities.

Then you apply any racial modifiers to the stat, so for a dragonborn you'd further increase charisma and strength by +2.

The easiest thing to figure out is HP, bloodied value, healing sugres and healing surge value.  To calculate HP take your consitution score (not the modifier) and add the black guard hp to it (15 + con for a blackguard).  Bloodied value is half that (round down) and Healing surge value is 1/4 your hp or half your bloodied value.  Lastly calculate healing surges which for a black guard (per page 33 on Heroes of Shadow) would have 10+ con mod value of surges. 

Example  a con 17 blackguard would have 32 HP (17con + 15class), Bloodied value of 16hp (1/2 of 32), a healing surge value of 8hp (1/4 of 32), and a total of 13 healing surges (10from class +3 from the modifier of 17 con).

The next easiest thing to do is figure out your skills.  On the blackguard page it will have a list of skills and tell you to choose a number of them.  It's 4 skills for a blackguard and you can choose them from the list on pg 33 in heroes of shadow.  Skill bonuses are calculated as 1/2 your level (round down) + 5 if it's trained + ability modifier for skill + any other bonuses that you have.

Assuming our dragonborn friend has endurance (a con skill) as a trained skill it would be +8 (+5 training, +3 con mod of 17 and +0 half level).  If endurance was untrained it would be a +3 (+3 con mod of 17 and +0 half level).

Choose a blackguard Vice
either choose Domination or fury for your blackguard (page 46 or 47 in Heroes of Shadow).

For powers you'll have Dark Menace, Shroud of Shadow, Vengance strike, and whatever your vice gave you.

Choose a feat this part is really whatever you want to do with.  Pick one of the feats in the heroic tier section of the materials you have provided you meat the prerequisite.  If you don't see a prerequisite it doesn't have one.  These can help improve your attacks, defenses, skills, or allow you to do other actions.  Unfortunately this is one of those things that will take a while to find what you would like for your character.

Get equipment.
Look through the equipment in your rulebooks and buy what's appropriate for what the DM gives you for starting gold. 

Calculate Defenses
Ref = 10 + 1/2 level + dex or int modifier (you choose) + any other modifiers you have
Fort = 10 + 1/2 level + str or con modifier (you choose) + any other modifiers you have
Will = 10 + 1/2 level + wis or cha modifier (you choose) + any other modifiers you have
AC = 10 + 1/2 level + Armor bonus + If you are wearing light armor Dex or Int modifier (you choose) + any other modifiers


To calculate your attack bonuses here is what you do:
For a basic weapon attack it's the proficiency of your weapon + 1/2 level + relevant ability (usually strength or dex).  This calculation is used for any of your power attacks as well using what ever the relevant ability listed in the power.  The only exception is if you have an attack that does not say weapon in the keywords of the power (it will say implement instead) in which case you don't add proficiency

To calculate damage it if it says #[W] then it means it uses a weapon damage Dice. For basic attacks it's usually 1[W] + Str/dex depending on the weapon. 

I hope this is a bit more clear.  If not please ask more questions and feel free to get a bit more specific to what parts are confusing you.
in reference to calc def, since im lvl 1 and according to core rules always round down, my Ref,Fort,Will and AC are dex/int,str/con,wis/cha modifiers+any others (i.e.: at lvl 1 only the modifiers apply?) oh my stats,if you didnt want to open the pdf are, 18 STR,13 CON, 10 DEX, 11 INT, 12 WIS, 16 CHA. after racial bonus. so with those stats my Ref is 0,Fort 4, and Will 3?

oh and a side note, as far as a dm goes...its nil...im just trying out char. creation first. i planned on dming a few encounters for me and my g/f(shes never played) before we tried to join up at the local comic shop. so im working my way up to dm...ive got alot on my plate.

also on another side note, would it be bad to show u to a table top game with just e books and the offical wotc dice roller program?(im broke :P)

Ok I first off I forgot to mention that the Defenses get +10 base, I edited it back into the original post.


 


So looking at the character sheet I’m going to assume that you’ve already added the +2 Str and Cha.  If not you’ll have 20 Str and 18 Cha.


 


So HP wise following the rules on (Heroes of Shadow pg 33) you will have Max HP 28 (13con + the class’s 15), bloodied value of 14 (half the 28), and surge value of 7 (one fourth of 28).  You’ll have 11 healing surges/day (10 from the class + 1 from the con mod)


 


For the skills in the Ability Mod + ½ level column record your ability modifiers for each stat.  So in that column it should be 4 for any Str skill, 1 for any Con skill, 0 for any Dex skill, and so on.  Then you’ll choose 4 skills from the list on page 33 Heroes of shadow and mark a 5 in the trained column for those skills. For the racial bonus to intimidate and history mark that in the Misc column as a +2.  Then add up each row and record the result in the far left in the bonus column.  You’re done for now, but we’ll have to come back after you get armor for a few skills.  Some skills have negative modifiers for certain types of armor.  You’ll find the armor penalties in the equipment section in the player’s handbook on page 214 in the tables under the check column.  So assuming you get plate armor and a heavy shield you would mark a -4 (-2 for each of those types of armor) in each of the places that aren’t n/a in the armor penalty column.


 


A few examples assuming plate armor a heavy shield.  Also assuming training in Intimidate, Endurance, but not trained in Acrobatics or Arcana. 


Endurance = +2 ( + 1 Con mod, + 5 trained, -4 armor)


Intimidate = +10   (+3 Cha mod, +5 trained, +2 racial)


Acrobatics = -4    (+0 Dex mod, -4 Armor)


Arcana = +0        (+0 Int mod)


 


For the Defenses I’m going to assume Heavy Shield and Plate armor for this exercise again.


In the first column it’s 10 + ½ level so 10 at level 1. Ability/armor is only applicable if you have light armor for the ability mod.  Since we’re using Plate armor it would be just the armor value of +9 if you were wearing say leather armor it would be +2 for the armor and +0 for dex or int.  Then you add any additional applicable bonuses from other sources in the other columns.  If you have a class feature, a feat, enhancement, or any other bonuses in the misc.  Going back to the plate mail with shield example we find that we do have another bonus a shield bonus that we would record as a +2 in the Misc column so our AC would be as follows


AC = 20 (10 base + 8 armor from plate + 2 Misc from shield).


 


For Fort = 15 (10 base + 4 from Str mod (you could use Con mod here for +1 instead) +1 blackguard class)


For Ref = 13 (10 base + 0 from either int or dex mod + 2 shield bonus, +1 blackguard class)


For Will = 14 (10 base + 3 from Cha mod (could use Wis mod +1 here) +1 blackguard class)



Hope this helps out.

ok, cool, im getting it kinda...sorry, im kinda side tracked with icewind dale 2...youre helping alot though...im more of a 1 on 1 learner than book wise...like i said the char. creation chapter jumps alot, i can tell it means well but i dont need 2 pages of good/evil deities and 2 pages of theirs life stories in the alignment chapter. do you understand what i mean? the rp stuff needs to be kept from the core dice/number based stuff. it adds alot of confusion and misinterpretation. I.e.: in HoS it states
"Vices
Each blackguard selects one vice to embrace above
all others, but only evil blackguards embrace all vices
as a way oflife. Two vices, domination and fury, are
included in this book."(copy and pasted for HoS)

ive done research to find there are more than 2 vices, i believe Dragon names Lust and some others, but does this mean Evil aligned BG can use multiple vices?

i read somewhere earlier that BG get plate as base armor...i dont know. ill just assume full plate,heavy sheild and long sword.

also if i choose Scion of Arkhosia paragon, are my wings limited by my armor? do i have to have holes in my plate for my wings...what affect do they have? one of my main reasons for a DB BG is reigning death from above, a flying divine striker.
...wow,re-reading my post, ths is what im talking about....im just trying to build a character and all this stuff i dont need to concern myself with is being thrown at me, like dragonborn dont get wings till like forever. but the Evil BG vice thing does concern me, im planning on being evil, does that mean i get to pick one thing per level from each vice or what? why would Wizards put that in there if evil bg didnt take vices differently? it sounds like vices functions differently for them, but why not explain in detail? whos going to play a bg besides an evil pc? or even look at a bg without and evil pc in mind?

 A blackguard picks one vice. The particular vice you chose at character creation will determine some of your powers and class features. The class chart for the blackguard tells you exactly what you get at each character level, and will indicate when your vice determines what power you get.

 Also, don't look at all the information at once and get overwhelmed - most of it you don't need to know or won't need to know until later.

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...wow,re-reading my post, ths is what im talking about....im just trying to build a character and all this stuff i dont need to concern myself with is being thrown at me, like dragonborn dont get wings till like forever. but the Evil BG vice thing does concern me, im planning on being evil, does that mean i get to pick one thing per level from each vice or what? why would Wizards put that in there if evil bg didnt take vices differently? it sounds like vices functions differently for them, but why not explain in detail? whos going to play a bg besides an evil pc? or even look at a bg without and evil pc in mind?

You definitely have to kind of read things through and pick out what are definite rules and what are just sort of fluffy general statements, like the thing about blackguards and vices. Somewhere it says "pick a vice" and that's the rule, the other statement being just more background info.

I wouldn't worry too much about what your character will be like 10 or 20 levels from now. There's a vast amount of adventuring to do between now and then. You may well find that there is some specific PP or ED that will just be "the right one" when you get there. I wouldn't worry about it. I wouldn't worry too much about "how do my wings work" or etc either. You may want to explain that, but a lot of players don't really bother and just assume it is magic and it works.

Personally I have to admit that I hate the organization of the classes they came up with in Essentials (and use in HoS too). PHB1 classes are ironically a lot easier to read and understand...

Anyway, the best advice is to just ignore anything that doesn't actually tell you a specific procedure to follow. Most of that is just fluff. You'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
 
Personally I have to admit that I hate the organization of the classes they came up with in Essentials (and use in HoS too). PHB1 classes are ironically a lot easier to read and understand...

Anyway, the best advice is to just ignore anything that doesn't actually tell you a specific procedure to follow. Most of that is just fluff. You'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.



Nothing ironic at all...  .. they werent targetting new players by adding different progression charts and other fiddlies, they were really targetting well you know who.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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