When you create a new character for a Neverwinter campaign, you should select one of the character themes presented in this chapter. Each theme has unique features and powers. More important, however, a theme provides story elements and potential goals for your character. Though some character themes are more narrowly focused than others, they all provide plenty of room to let you create your own background and personality.
From a strict game mechanics standpoint, your character doesn’t need to have a theme, but without one you might miss out on some of the features that make a Neverwinter campaign special.
Choosing a Theme
A character can have only one theme, which you choose when you create your character. The theme you select grants the following benefits.
Starting Feature: Each theme includes one or more features that you gain when you select the theme during character creation.
Additional Features: Most themes offer additional features at levels 5 and 10. You gain an additional feature automatically when you reach the appropriate level—it doesn’t replace any of your class features.
Optional Powers: Most of these themes include a number of utility powers that you add to the ones you can choose from when you reach the appropriate level.
You can use retraining to replace a class power with an optional theme power or vice versa, exchanging one power for another power of the same type (at-will attack, encounter attack, daily attack, or utility). The new power must be of the same level as the old power or lower. You can also replace an optional theme power with a different optional power of the same theme, as long as the new power is the same type and is of the same level or lower.
Background: You can choose to use one of these themes as a background for your character. Each theme’s “Background” sidebar mentions two or more associated skills. If you choose a theme as your background, then you gain a +2 bonus to checks with one of those associated skills, or you add one such skill to your class’s skills list before you choose your trained skills.
Neverwinter Character Themes
|Theme||Class Prerequisite||Race Prerequisite|
|Dead Rat deserter||--||Human, half-elf, or halfling|
|Pack outcast||--||Human or shifter|
|Heir of Delzoun||--||Dwarf|
|Renegade Red Wizard||Wizard (mage)||--|
|Scion of shadow||--||Human, shadar-kai, or shade|
|Bregan D’aerthe spy||--||Drow|
Themes in Character Creation
You can use one of these themes as a character creation tool. You might choose your theme first, then pick a class or a race that reinforces that identity. For example, a character of any class can have the Oghma’s faithful theme, but choosing that theme for a cleric or a paladin shows how deep your connection to your deity runs.
You can also use a theme to take your character in a new direction, adopting a story role your class or race otherwise might not provide. For example, playing an eladrin wizard with the Dead Rat deserter theme creates a connection between your character and that thieves’ guild.
Like your choice of race, a character theme can be a significant part of who your character is. In all cases, a character theme should inform the background of your character and the choices you make when you roleplay.
Making Fun Choices
As you roleplay your character’s theme, avoid making choices that you think might annoy other players or make them uncomfortable.
For example, your character might be an eladrin Iliyanbruen guardian who, due to your sheltered upbringing in the Feywild, believes the drow to be a wholly evil race. However, if you use that as an excuse to immediately attack your friend’s character, a drow member of Bregan D’aerthe, it’s not likely to make for a good play session.
Think about the fact that your eladrin has just come into a wholly new world and therefore might be unsure about the cultural norms. If everyone else seems okay with a drow in their midst, your character is probably confused by what it means. It could be that drow in this world are unlike those in the Feywild, or it could be that the other people in the world are as evil as drow, and thus everyone might be dangerous. Even if your character encountered your friend’s drow character alone in the woods, choosing to watch and follow that drow (who might have allies nearby or be involved in some larger, dark plot) seems a wiser decision than attacking on sight. Then after you and your friend’s character get to know one another, it will make sense that they become allies (if not friends).
Regardless of what makes sense for roleplaying, sometimes it should take a back seat to what would be fun for everyone. When you’re confronted with a situation in which you think your character should do something that you know the other characters will not like, think about how those characters’ players might react. Sometimes the mischievous, improper, or stupid thing you think your character should do adds to the fun of everyone at the table. Sometimes such an action only makes you the center of attention at the expense of making the game less fun for everyone else. Make sure you know the difference.