By dvaeg 14 Comments
Starting a CharacterMy first inclination was to select a pre-made character. I'm no stranger to D&D 3rd Ed, and I knew what the setup would cost me in terms of time and anguish, but having loaded both expansions, my selection of pre-mades had jumped to 24 options. Taking stock of what that meant, it didn't give me much reprieve from the overwhelming nature of character creation in D&D. I set aside 30 minutes and decided to create my character from scratch.
Bad idea. There are 8 races to start with, and most of those have sub-races to further delineate them.
- Dwarf - Gold, Gray or Shield
- Elf - Drow, Moon, Sun, Wild, or Wood
- Gnome - Deep or Rock
- Halfling - Lightfoot or Strongheart
- Half-elf - normal or half-drow
- Planetouched - Aasimar, Tiefling, Air Genasi, Earth Genasi, Wind Genasi or Fire Genasi
To simplify my life, I'm playing a human.
Next up, class choice. There are 14. Keep in mind that if you want to eventually get a Prestige Class, you need to start planning now. There are 22 of those.
I'm not going to even attempt to count out skills and feats, the likes of which easily exceed half a hundred individual options.
Since the number one source of frustration I have in games like this is traps and locked chests, I went with a rogue. Later on I'll find out this is a stupid choice because you are forced to group with a rogue about 2 hours into the game.
Getting ready to head into the world I took stock of where I was: Human, Rogue, Chaotic Good, high dexterity (for dodging and ranged combat) and the ability to cast wands and scolls, in addition to picking locks and defusing bombs. Or something.
In search of originality I am a staple of the genre. This is revealed to me almost instantly -- I am an orphan, raised by a generous man in a small villiage. There is a mystery surrounding my family/origin and as expected there is a mysterious magical object in my past as well. I believe I am the product of almost every major fantasy trope in existence. If nothing else, Neverwinter Nights 2 has set me up for the most traditional of Fantasy Settings, and although it's hard to fault a game that's almost 4 years old for not being as exciting as Dragon Age. Or maybe I can. Wikipedia tells me that the Forgotten Realms are somewhere between 23 and 43 years old, which leads me to believe that the setup as I see it so far is probably familiar ground. Is it too much to ask for a twist on the formula? Probably, but a man can dream, right?
Tropes exist for a reason, some might say. They are tried and true representations of the collective expectations of the genre, and therefore they deserve a place of reverence on that pedestal, to be worshiped as originators, if not original anymore. Bullshit, really. If you're asking me to come to a well-trodden locale using well-established character parameters in an over-mined genre, then you better bring your A game to loop me into your narrative. Make me an escaped slave, give me a pet monkey that throws feces at my female companions, or slap me with narcolepsy that strikes at the most in-opportune of times.
Next up, why the dialog system works against immersion.