- (* = Not Yet Overhauled)
A character in the Dungeons and Dragons and Feelings is a rich being, full of wonder and untapped adventure. This chapter will primarily focus on helping create characters for The Splintering Wheel setting, and will occasionally use terminology relating to that setting. However, it should pose no problem to apply this entire chapter to any setting of your 5th edition D&D game. Wherever your character sits along the loose and ever-changing scales of morality and ethics, every character that inhabits the world of the Splintering Wheel shares one thing in common - they are bound to the Wheel through death and beyond, ever under the lock and key of IA and his Wardens.
When making your character, take the time to consider more than just their raw mechanics and stats; Dungeons and Dragons and Feelings has many systems in play to help you flesh out your character's desires, directions and motivations, in ways that affect the game and the world as you play. Your character's rise in power isn't determined by the slaying of monsters, but rather, the exploration of mystery, the growth of their narrative, and the the basest urge of all living beings: survival.
Accompanied by your (not-so) trusty D&D 5th Edition Player's Handbook1), progress through this chapter and use the following rules in place of the relative rules in the PHB. Grab a D&D&F Character Sheet, or feel free to make your own as you progress. You should also chat with your GM about the ways in which you can tie your character into the history and world of the Splintering Wheel!
Ability Scores are rolled as six lots of the sum of the three highest dice, out of four dice rolled. Assign the resulting six numbers in any order for your character's ability scores.
Any class, race, background, or other content from any form of Unearthed Arcana, whether by the Wizards of the Coast, or from the Curated UA on Reddit may be discussed with your GM for viability of play. A consolidated list of WotC Unearthed Arcana can be found here. The Codex of Unearthed Arcana provides an excellent and regularly updated book-style PDF of all Unearthed Arcana material. Otherwise, searching the correct terms2) from this list, through Google, will reliably link to the relevant, free Unearthed Arcana PDF.
Classes are as provided in 5th edition D&D, with Unearthed Arcana available at your GM's discretion. Multiclassing is wholly available, with Unearthed Arcana multiclassing heavily scrutinised, as UA is playtest material, and specifically not yet balanced with multiclassing in mind. Customised class content is available solely at your GM's discretion. HP gained through Hit Dice per level are always rolled after 1st level.
The races of the Splintering Wheel for you to choose from are provided by the PHB, by Volo's Guide to Monsters, and Unearthed Arcana at your GM's discretion - however, many of them are not thematically identical, or even similar, to what is presented in these 5th Edition publications. Below you will find a new perspective on the traditional D&D races, mingled with the unique setting of the Splintering Wheel.
The races of the Splintering Wheel are defined here according to Hofestede’s Cultural Dimensions, which includes the traits of their societal structures, and the styles of their artisans. Some races of the Wheel do not share exact mechanical duplication of their WOTC counterparts - a list of mechanical racial abilities of those differences in the Splintering Wheel can be found in the Races table. If a race is not included, mechanics will be taken as written in the book. Races included in this list do not necessarily have changes from the books, but listed races are taken as superseding the books. Each race will eventually be a page and include both its cultural and mechanical information.
Backgrounds are as provided in 5th Edition D&D, with an addendum on Background Features. Any Background Feature that allows you to 'always' do something instead grants advantage to that action. Additionally, ideals, traits, bonds, and flaws are not used3) Unearthed Arcana races are available at your GM's discretion. Remember, you can customise your Background by talking to your GM!
Equipment chosen at Character Creation follows the standard 5th Edition rules, choosing either the gear given by your class and background choices, OR rolling on the Starting Wealth table and buying your own gear. The Splintering Wheel isn't your grandmother's Forgotten Realms campaign; there are troves of unique and strange equipment to be found. Don't forget to look into the Equipment of the Splintering Wheel when considering your character's belongings! If you happen upon a trinket, ask your GM about an Item Drop, for more diverse results than the PHB's trinkets table.
Callings are your character’s motivations and beliefs, briefly summarised, and made actionable. They are your character's driving motivations, reasons for living, and/or thoughts and feelings that your character pushes on through the Wastes with. Their Callings are the reason they get up in the morning, the reason they do their best to survive. Each character can have up to three active Callings at any session of game, with a minimum of one, and are used, to the best of your ability, as driving motivation for your character's thoughts and actions. Your character may more than three Callings, but these are held in reserve. Callings can be acted upon, resolved, or even left behind without action - they change and grow with the character, and are in no way a permanent, rigid facet of your character.
Traits are words or phrases that explain the defining features of your character. Traits can be invoked by players and the GM, to grant advantage or disadvantage on rolls where those traits are relevant in the story. It can also be invoked to grant non-roll based benefits or misfortunes. Each character has three traits, and they change and grow throughout the course of a character's career. A trait can come back to a character over time - they are fluid things that come and go, unlike Callings.
Mysteries are the driving force of both narrative play and mechanical progression in Dungeons and Dragons and Feelings. Experience is no longer gained through the killing of monsters. Instead, it is primarily gained through the answering of Mysteries, commonly referred to as Questions. Mysteries are player-held questions about facets of the world that you ask, and then seek the answers to, and only by seeking out this roleplay-rich method of exploring the world can you grow and advance your character.
Experience in Dungeons and Dragons and Feelings has been artfully separated from the process of killing things. No longer does one gain reams of experience by slaughtering rooms and towns filled with rich story potential. Instead, the focus of progressive power gain has been shifted into learning - the more questions you answer as you play, the more you discover, the stronger you become. Every character follows the same experience requirements, and gains experience in the same way. How quickly they grow is tied directly to how many mysteries each player pursues in any given session. It is also distinctly possible that despite a grand adventure, a character may not gain any experience for a given session, though highly unlikely.