D&D 4e Character Builder…


This application is now available in all its level 1 to 30 glory to D&D Insider Subscribers (I got a year long subscription for Christmas). For non-subscribers, you can take a look at a trial version that limits you to levels 1 to 3.

I have to admit, it’s a pretty straight forward and simple application. The installation takes a bit of extra elbow grease due to some of the prerequisite software, but the end result is quite straight forward. It’s like they took a look at how video games (i.e. Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights) handled creating characters and said, “Let’s do that!”

Really, it’s step by step with information available per selection you make so you can get an idea of what you’re picking before you look at it. It guides you through building a character and lets you hop back and forth. It also seems to tie into released content, including Dragon Magazine stuff (with a note of where the material comes from if you want to exclude it). It appears to do this by a built in updater – go figure.

Here’s a look of the content it contains:

The current data set available to create characters includes material from:

  • Player’s Handbook
  • Dungeon Master’s Guide
  • Monster Manual
  • Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide
  • Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide
  • Adventurer’s Vault
  • Martial Power
  • Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons
  • Manual of the Planes
  • Online Magazines
  • Dragon Issues 364–370
  • Dungeon Issues 155–161
  • Adventures
  • H1 Keep on the Shadowfell
  • H2 Thunderspire Labyrinth
  • H3 Pyramid of Shadows
  • P1 King of the Trollhaunt Warrens
  • P2 Demon Queen’s Enclave
  • FR1 Scepter Tower of Spellgard
  • Preview Content
  • The Artificer, levels 1–30 (to appear in Eberron Player’s Guide)
  • The Barbarian, levels 1–30 (to appear in Player’s Handbook 2)
  • The Bard, levels 1–10 (to appear in Player’s Handbook 2)
  • The Druid, levels 1–3 (to appear in Player’s Handbook 2)
  • The Invoker, levels 1–3 (to appear in Player’s Handbook 2)

You have to admit, that’s a pretty impressive list considering I don’t even own close to half of those books. I was checking up on this to see how things are coming along. I was thinking about it earlier and wondering if my money was wasted since they don’t have all the D&D Insider Tools complete yet but I am happy to see this.

Still in the pipe is the Character Visualizer, Dungeon Builder and the Virtual Table. I’m have to admit I’m excited about the Virtual Table. I wouldn’t use it to replace my existing group (don’t lynch me guys) but it could be cool for bridging the gap between me and some others who might be interested in playing it.

UPDATE – July 10, 2009:

I just wanted to post a minor update to this entry since it seems to be getting a lot of hits. At the moment, the extra projects have been put on hold or have had development suspended for the time being. This happened awhile back and I did mention it in another entry.

If you subscribe to D&D Insider right now you basically get this tool (which does still get content updates including advanced looks at new source book releases), Dragon magazine and Dungeon magazine (in web or PDF format).

I have to admit, I think this is a good move on Wizard’s part.

By the way, the year subscription cost about as much as a PC game off the shelf.

UPDATE: I poked around with this a little more.

I created some characters from Dragon magazine material and from the Martial Powers sourcebook. I went ahead and made another Ranger, with this one being an Orc (Monster Manual rules for creating Orc characters) and I picked a new build from Martial Powers which has the Ranger give up the weapon spec choices (dual wield or ranged) for focusing on working with an animal companion. Martial Powers also adds a fair number of feats and powers suited to this. Very cool.

Here’s a quick character summary generated by the Character Builder:

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&DI Character Builder ======
Karrn, level 1
Orc, Ranger
Build: Beastmaster Ranger
Fighting Style: Beast Mastery
Beast Companion Type: Cat

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 19, Con 14, Dex 15, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 8.

Starting Ability Scores
Str 17, Con 12, Dex 15, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 8.
AC: 15 Fort: 15 Reflex: 13 Will: 10
HP: 26 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 6

TRAINED SKILLS
Nature, Perception, Stealth, Athletics, Endurance.

FEATS
1: Beast Protector

POWERS
1, At-Will: Circling Strike
1, At-Will: Predator Strike
1, Encounter: Enclose the Prey
1, Daily: Partnered Savaging

ITEMS
Raise Beast Companion, Adventurer’s Kit, Hide Armor, Broadsword, Handaxe, Longbow, Arrows (60)
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&DI Character Builder ======

I also poked around with some of the tabs and saw one called “Campaign Settings” under the “Manage” option. Guess what that lets you do? It lets you disable content from other sources. Don’t like Dragon mag content (Darin)? Just disable it. Cool thing is a DM can go in and set all this then export the settings and pass it along to his (or her) players who import it and can make characters to suit these limitations (basically, limit your choices).

Coming from a group where most of the players have also DMed and we all have varying levels or permitted sourcebooks and materials, this is great! (Unfortunately, we’re sticking with 3.5e…)

Other features include a journal (add entries, add images, etc.), an information panel for adding your background or other fleshing out things, a portrait picker and the ability to set XP and level the character up as needed.

It goes beyond just classes, races, powers, feats and builds though, it also includes items, lots of items, for equipping your characters too including the content from the Adventurer’s Vault.

When I bought the source books, there was no where for me to enter any codes or register that I bought these books so all this content comes to you with the subscription – I’m really impressed!

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5 thoughts on “D&D 4e Character Builder…

  1. Sounds cool, I guess.

    Wish I had a group to PnP with, but I think at this point I’d need a group who were on the same page in a social, game-playing, and probably near my age as well.

  2. I could see that being tough to have a regular schedule, given what you do for a living. I can see why MMOs suit you – log in and play when you want.

    I wonder if anyone will be taking these tools and try to build a world (much like what people did with NWN) or area with them? I’m not sure how well it would work for that. I’m doubtful since it seems very focused on a give area rather than what you’d do in NWN.

    Wouldn’t that be cool?

    Pop on as your 4e character and run about a campaign world created by someone?

  3. Not really, video games don’t allow me the freedom my imagination does. I’m locked into a specific role with specific options and animations.

    I suppose even a chat+voice setup would be better, although probably slower and awkward.

  4. It’s not really a video game, it’s more of a virtual gaming table.

    I’m not really sure what they’ve got planned for communication. Voice would make sense.

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