- (* = Not Yet Overhauled)
Your character is the heart and soul of your interaction with the setting you play in. Dungeons and Dragons and Feelings pushes you to explore that character, and not just how, but why they interact with the world, above and beyond the Kill-Monster-Get-Loot framework of traditional 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons. The optional systems provided to players in D&D&F are designed to reconnect mechanical progress and existing game mechanics to playing a character, someone so much more than just a swinger of swords and slinger of spells. Below, you'll find rules and clarifications for engaging your character's motivation, personality and interaction with the world in a mechanical sense, giving you a skeleton with which to build, and explore, the character of your, well, character.
Dungeons and Dragons and Feelings Character Sheet - by Acegiak
The main visual space of this sheet is taken up by Callings and Traits, while the important stats appear in a column down the left of the page. Things like attacks, spells and other abilities are all lumped into a “Actions” section while passive things like Stonecunning and Darkvision appear go in the “Features” section. The “Skills” section allows players to jot down their proficiencies in Skills, Languages and Tools. “Gear” is a general space for listing all equipment the player has.
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!
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.