21 May 2014

Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set Sans Character Creation Rules

The necessary rules for character creation will not be included in the forthcoming D&D 'starter set'.  From Mike Mearls's twitter thing:
To clear up the Starter Set - it's aimed at DMs, so no PC creation in the box. But players will be able to make characters without it.
This strikes me as a dreadful decision.  Players want to create their own characters, not use one of five pre-made generic characters.  When I first started out in this hobby, over three decades ago (!), character creation was a favourite way to pass the time.  Also, it helped me to learn the rules.

More generally, the character creation process promotes a sense of investment in players' characters.  And frankly, not including character creation rules makes the starter set look like a sales gimmick, not a real game.

Very disappointing, WotC.

UPDATE (22 May 2014) from this source:
Approx 15% of the D&D Player's Handbook will be free on WotC site to cover the basics of building characters for those getting Starter Sets. 


  1. Did you see Mearls said "Players will be able to make characters without it"? If you have the starter box, apparently players will be able to make characters-- whether that means a separate free product, a booklet, and online app, or what no one knows. But character creation will apparently be available, to everyone. Those rules just won't be in the box.

    1. Yes, I saw that, and assume that it requires obtaining the character creation rules online (perhaps as a PDF), or using some kind of online PC creator. I really dislike that kind of thing.

      My view is that these rules should be *in* the game itself. If Pathfinder can do it in their starter box, why can't D&D? Forcing people to track down the necessary information elsewhere is a mistake IMO.

  2. It is a flaw to not have character creation in there, but I'm going to get the starter set and just fill in the gaps with house rules or stuff from previous editions.

  3. I really think the Starter Set, being designed for a new DM and new players, doesn't really require character generation. I think those options can bog new players down. However, I think that the Starter Set is going to come with a free month of the new DDI or whatever it is, it's driving sales for the digital side.

  4. I'll be getting the Starter Set. But I'm disappointed it's not going to be 'complete'. I'm not a fan of Pathfinder, but Paizo showed everyone how to do this right.

  5. I've introduced a fair number of newbies in my time and I've found that about half the time chargen just makes them freeze right up. As long as there's a free alternative for those that feel ready for it I don't see any need to complain.

    1. "I've introduced a fair number of newbies in my time and I've found that about half the time chargen just makes them freeze right up."

      What game is that for, though?

      I've introduced quite a few players to RPGs through OSR games and the only slow point is choosing equipment. And ACKS solves that with the templates in the Companion.

  6. WOTC continues to disappoint. How hard can it be to add a simple set of character creation rules to the base set? Allowing online retailers to undercut the FLGS retail price just adds insult to injury.

  7. This development really saddens me. Its nice that the rules will be available online for free, but not including them in the actual 'starter set' seems like a really bad decision to me. I guess Wizards is a fan of the "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back" idea.


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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who divides his time between Milwaukee and Toronto.