Tag Archives: How to Be

How To Be: Sheik

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

It’s June, it’s Fox’s birthday month, and it’s pride month, which means I have to find a character who’s some variety of queer, and also one of Fox’s favourite characters. The good news is that every single one of Fox’s favourite characters is queer, because they’re her favourite characters, and that’s how that works. I’m a media studies scholar.

Let’s talk about a contentious argument from 2001, which we’re all over now. Let’s talk about Sheik, from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

beautiful Sheik art here by Vashperado
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How To Be: Kyo Kusanagi (in 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

Buckle up Dweebenheimer it’s time to KING THE FIGHTERS!

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How To Be: Minfilia Warde (in 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

In deference to this being Final Fantasy 14 Week, a sub-theme in Talen Month, I figured it was time for us to give the fan, singular, what she wanted, and finally write an article about her favourite character, and how I’d go about playing her in a game that she doesn’t play and has no reason to care about.

It’s also an opportunity to talk about negative space and harmonisation.

Let’s talk about Minfilia Warde.

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How To Be: Zelgadis (in 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

There’s always going to be a challenge when you translate a character from a game into a different medium. These How To Be articles are about the process of taking a character represented in a fictional form and move them across into the game so that you can connect with their concept in a mechanical space. What, though, if the character started as a mechanical expression and then became part of a fiction?

What is it like to make a D&D character out of a character who is, in a lot of ways, just someone else’s D&D character?

Let’s talk about Zelgadis, from Slayers.

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How To Be: Akane Tendo (in 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

You know it’s not an intentional thing, but it seems that in the month of February, How To Be returns to the world of Ranma 1/2. Ah, what a wonderful world, the world where we have characters who fight with brooms or teleport or turn into gods and throw lightning bolts. Who are we going to visit here, in this mysterious world of creative martial arts?

Oh wait it’s in the subject you clicked on to go read this.

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How To Be: Some Jojo (in 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

And now, it’s time to engage with something that is a challenge on two axes: First, the challenge presented by unpicking what it even means to make it, and second, the challenge of dealing with the standard memetic conversation that unrolls when you bring it up.

We’ve been a Touhou. We’ve been an Ukyou. And it’s time, now finally, it’s time, to be a Jojo.

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How To Be: Kipo (in 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts is a Netflix TV series created by Radford Sechrist that started its life as a webcomic. The series is something I’ve praised in the past as being uncomplicatedly excellent. Set in a post-apocalyptic far future populated with anthropomorphic animals, it’s a story of a journey of adventure, beset on all sides by a dangerous villain with superpowers who, if he catches our heroes, may destroy their ability to ever defy him. It’s a great adventure structure, and one you should feel free to steal, and central to it all is the character of Kipo, a girl with pink skin whose position in the story is at the intersection of multiple sequences of events, set in motion before she was even born.

And like, I don’t normally do this, but I’m going to put a spoiler warning here. If you read these articles idly, and think you’d like to watch Kipo at some point, you should go do that before reading this article, because I’m going to talk about some stuff Kipo can do that isn’t obvious from the start of the story. I mean, oh okay, shock and horror, Kipo is special, obviously, you know that and I know that just looking at the fact the series is named after her, but nonetheless, I just want you to know, going on, that there be spoilers.

Good?

Good.

Okay, onwards.

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How To Be: Kuchiki Rukia (in 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

In Bleach, one of the most central characters to the early narrative is one Rukia Kuchiki. Introduced in the first episode, she is the bridge of our previous point-of-view character into the spirit world as an outsider. She is a character from another world, deprived of powers in our world, who has to guide Ichigo, a seemingly ordinary dude who can see ghosts, into seeing the immensely complicated reality that spiderwebs about him about societies full of special rules and seemingly arbitary boundaries. Rukia is this sort of mix of gremlin energy, doing things like building a micro room in Ichigo’s closet, ostentatious self-importance due to her noble heritage, and very legitimate expertise in spiritual matters. It’s the sudden loss of Rukia that marks the transition between the first two major arcs of Bleach, where all the fun we’ve had up until now is suddenly framed as something you have to pay for. The society, the life, the world that is waiting outside of the fun of highschool appears and demands that all that fun is over and now there is a duty.

I assume at some point after that she gets super powers and reunites with Ichigo and they have cool adventures and the story doesn’t run in place for nine years.

Anyway!

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How To Be: May (in 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

You may remember that we’ve looked, earlier in the year, at the character Rock Howard, from Garou: Mark Of The Wolves. Fight games are rich fodder for this kind of exercise because they so often about what a character is and less about what the character does. Simply put, fight games don’t make much sense.

There’s a scale at work, of course. Some games make more sense, with a deliberate intention to ground the storytelling in something serious. Some games, on other hand, are pretty silly, and don’t really care about how silly they get.

Anyway, Guilty Gear.

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How To Be: Disney’s Robin Hood (in 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

This month, I felt it was time to approach the challenge from a different angle, of taking something with an obvious, easy, simple solution and then exploring around that. And for that, we’re going to look at a classic character, a character who’s so well known we don’t even remember we’re referencing him when we reference him. A folk hero, a hero who defined a generation and set thousands of people on their path that would determine the kind of person they’d be.

We’re going to look at Robin Hood.

Specifically, the 1973 Disney’s Robin Hood.

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How To Be: Goliath from Gargoyles (in 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

This month, we’re going to look at a challenging build; we’re going to be looking at a powerhouse of muscle and stone, in the form of Goliath from the Disney series Gargoyles.

How To Be: Daryun (in 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

We have a bit of a special one this month: Not a character I know, or am familiar with, but who has been in my life and around me for some time. We’re going to look at the character Daryun from The Heroic Legend of Arslan, a novel series some thirty-five years old, which was reimagined and reinvigorated through the heroic work of Hiromu Arakawa. So, imagine a deep, long-running heroic fantasy war epic, which then had one of the greatest living manga-ka come through and give it a bit of a brush up.

We’re going to talk about a hot prince’s best friend, who he loves so much he was buried with him (but, in a not gay way, if you believe the fandom wiki): Daryun.

Examining Daryun

Alright, for those of you (us) not aware of this preposterous Battle Hunk, let’s have a look at Daryun, Just Daryan, No Surname, Weird. In the story he’s from, Daryun is this sort of violence elemental poured into the form of a Good Good boy, a gifted horseman and knight who, at the start of the story, suffers unfair punishment because he made a bad choice which, it turns out, was, in fact, a good choice, and the person he opposed was a traitor. As this is a story of empires, just because a decision was dumb doesn’t mean that it gets rescinded, especially because stuff went supremely sideways and kicked off the plot.

What we have to start with then is a disgraced knight who was disgraced for being too right and exiled with his prince who is too great, and how they are going to go be awesome at the rest of the empire.

I’m half kidding.

The first thing and most obvious thing about Daryun is that he’s an absolute nightmare of a combatant. In a setting full of Musou combat nonsense, Daryun is a boss monster. There are chapters of the manga dedicated to showing Daryun wrecking shop. There’s a major plot beat about the first time Arslan has to consider that Daryun can die, at least in the hypothetical. In a story full of people whose job it is to hurt people, Daryun is the Employee of the Month, Every Month, Montherfucker.

Daryun is a devoted retainer. Focal to his story is the importance he puts on protecting Arslan and enacting his aims. Fortunately for Daryun’s skillset, these aims are grotesque and overwhelming violence. Still, keep that one in mind: Daryun may be very violent and a very capable combatant, but he is also very much focused on protecting Arslan. That puts us pretty squarely towards ‘defender’ territory.

Daryun doesn’t really… do magic? It isn’t that the Arslan setting lacks for magic; there are sorcerers and wizards after all. But Daryun’s very much more about spears and swords and bows and other spears and good lord, there’s blood everywhere. That pushes us away from magical things. We might be able to squeeze in some things that are magical but don’t look like magic.

As far as abilities go, Daryun’s a bit of a risky one. See, he’s not just a combat juggernaut, but he also isn’t stupid, and he’s terrifying. Enemies that hear Daryun is coming to fight them sometimes desert. While there’s a certain greatness to him in general, it’s hard to argue he’s ‘bad’ at any particular ability score. The closest we can get is maybe the idea that he’s a little lacking in the wisdom department because of his intense dedication to Arslan, but since the ideology of how Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma work can be nebulous, it’s probably best to just assert ‘he’s fine’ in those stakes.

This can be a good thing, of course; it can mean that any of those three mental stats that needs to be good for a build fits. It’s not like your character has to have high stats to convey the right tone, it’s just it’s best to not be markedly bad at things. Have the stats you rely on be the stats that feel right for the character.

Okay, that gives us:

  • Physical combat prowess
  • Ability to protect someone
  • Polearms, swords and bow, if necessary
  • He is feared and fearsome

Oh, and, because it’s Pride month, Daryun can’t have a shield. It’s dodge rolls only.

  • No shields

The Essential Daryun

First up: Daryun needs to be a combat beast. It’s funny this article was coming up while the current bubble of 4e Discourse is going on, where it’d be great to do an article about martial disciplines and rituals and all sorts of non-combat stuff characters can do. Instead, nope, we have a character who approaches every problem like it’s a tree made of meat that needs to be cut down and then he proceeds to do it.

Armour wise, Daryun wears heavy armour and while he’s zippy in it (because it’s a manga) you don’t have that luxury. Getting some gear to make yourself tougher and faster is fine, all the standard options for a defender are going to work here. You are going to have your boot slot taken though, for reasons we’ll get to.

Daryun is an archer and a equestrian in the original story (there’s even a funny bit where Arslan tries to use his bow and can’t draw it), but we’re going to focus on the spear build this time. Particularly beacuse the kind of polearm he uses in the manga looks like a Ji, a really cool type of thing that westerners might go ‘kinda a spear’ or ‘kinda a halberd.’ I’m told – by the Wikipedia page I just linked that it’s not really either of those things, but it’s cool and let’s go with that.

It opens the door to one of those odd little strangles of balance in 4th edition, where there is actually one of those points where a DM might go ‘huh, that might be a problem.’ It’s not that the effect is overwhelming, it’s that over time, with enough 4e players, you’re going to notice players gravitating towards it. It was a comment on the character optimisation boards that for a time there, this grouping of feats was the most commonly obtained thing, and it involved multiclassing fighter.

Which is wild.

You hear that? 4e D&D’s most commonly multiclassed option according to the character optimisation nerds was people wanting to be like the fighter.

Fucking beat that with a stick.

Anyway, Polearm Momentum is a feat from Martial Power. What it does is say that whenever you push pull or slide an enemy 2 or more squares, they’re prone at the end of that. When you look at this agnostically, that’s good. Any of your encounter powers that come with a push or a slide will throw your enemies onto their butts, and deprive them of an action on the next turn where they have to get back up from prone. Great. Then you start to think about it more, and you notice it doesn’t care about encounter powers. Or daily powers. It cares about any time you use an attack to push pull or slide.

Like your at will powers.

Like a not-insignificant number of basic attacks.

Like you can do as an opportunity action.

What happens, you may wonder, if you interrupt someone’s turn with forced movement? Well, it can interrupt their actions. Opportunity attacks happen before the thing that triggered them resolved. If an opponent provokes an attack of opportunity from you while moving past you, and your attack knocks them prone, their movement ends and they have to decide what to do after that point. Most of the time, they want to just get up, but then that’s a whole action. They can attack from prone – if they want – at a penalty. That’s pretty good – it means enemies trying to get around or past you are going to risk being knocked over and forced to fight just you.

Tacking that onto a push however, or a slide, means that you can hit someone, knock them two squares away from you and knock them over. You can use this to position opponents where literally nobody is in reach of their attacks, effectively turning off an entire turn from an opponent. That’s pretty strong! Most of the time, their best option is to get up on their own turn and, without many other options, charge someone. If you position yourself right, they might only be able to charge you. This is a lot of battlefield control, and on your own turn, odds are good you can just huck ’em backwards again. It also starts to mitigate combat damage when you throw in the feat Polearm Gamble.

Polearm Gamble lets you make opportunity attacks against someone when they enter a square next to you.

That means if they do get up and charge you, you attack them and throw them backwards again, and prone them again. Their entire turn is spent doing nothing, and you got to attack them.

This is how a single soldier can kill an army – one at a time.


Now, in order to get this kind of effect you do need to draw some pieces together. Particularly, you want a polearm weapon. While there are a lot of options, they can require more feats; the Greatspear gives a +3 proficiency bonus but needs a feat, while the Halberd can stand in for the Ji (I know, I know). If you want to get axe benefits, the halberd will do the trick. Oh and they’re Reach weapons, so you can whack people at range to throw them around and prone them. That’s cool.

You’re also going to want a way to push or slide things for 2 squares with a melee attack that uses a weapon. That’s easy for some classes, tricky for others. Pushing one square is doable (and we’ll talk about it), and then you can augment that push with the magic item Rushing Cleats. These are a pair of boots that increase your pushes and slides by 1 square. That’s the core:

  • Polearm Momentum feat
  • Basic-attack power that can push or slide 1 square
  • Rushing cleats

From there you unlock a lot of other possible things that make this better; for example, if you’re fighting lots of prone enemies thanks to the Polearm Momentum, and you’re using an axe-polearm like a Halberd, you may want to get Headsman’s Chop. You may want Polearm Gamble in Paragon. You may focus on proning, or forced movement, or on polearm stuff.

Also, for all these builds I’m recommending Daryun take the Guardian theme. You just need to ask someone else to provide the slender willowy prettyboy prince for you to always want to protect (happy Pride).

Representing Fear Of Complexity: Knight

This is the simplest possible build. I’m never that wild about the Knight, because while it gives you a lot of simple, straightforward power, it does so by giving you a set of player choices at level 1 that sort of just… last for the rest of the game. The Knight gains basically no benefit, at base, from Dexterity or Wisdom, but that does mean you can focus on the straightforward ‘hit things good’ stats and abilities.

At the really low levels, you can use your stance for a little advantage in damage. Now, you can start out with a race/heritage option that gives you +2 Dex and Wis, and pick up Polearm Momentum at level 1… and do nothing with it. My advice is instead, focus on getting that strength you want as high as possible, use some stat levelling up to push your Dexterity or Wisdom up high enough to qualify for the feat, and wait until level 6 to get Polearm Momentum. As mentioned above, you really want your Rushing Cleats, which you’re unlikely to have access to at level 4.

Okay, out of the box, the knight starts doing the push-people-around garbage at level 1, and it just gets worse. Next!

Representing Fear Of Flexibility: Fighter

The Fighter gives you a lot more choices and a lot more flexibility. It also has to do some chicanery to have a basic attack with a push or slide on it. Now, you can chase up the old standby from the Thor article, with Mark of Storm and a Lightning weapon. That’ll do a fighter (and anyone else really). But even simpler than that is the Fighter Weapon Talent (which gives you a bonus to hit), and then throw in Forceful Weapon Opportunist (which means you push on all opportunity attacks, regardless of the power used to get them).

But the fighter gets to make more with its shifts and slides when it gets rushing cleats, too, because of a lot of different push-pull-slide powers you can pick up as you go. As a reliable At Will, I’d recommend Tide Of Iron, which lets you drag a thing multiple squares – and two or more squares of slide can be the difference between being flanked or not, and it lets you make choke points for your enemies.

Representing Fear Of Fights With Daryun: Battlemind

Alright, so here’s the awkward one. See, the Battlemind doesn’t get an opportunity attack with a push; but it does get a lot of at-wills with pushes. The one I recommend up front is Bull’s Strength, which is both thematically cogniscant with Daryun but also just can turn into an immense whoah that knocks people down in a great big group.

What’s more, the Battlemind gets to build around Constitution, and can get benefits from Wisdom and Dexterity.  You will need to multiclass as a fighter. Wrathful Warrior will cover you there, and it also only cares about having a good Constitution. Great stuff!

Now this build is pretty stuffed in Heroic, and it doesn’t get to do the opportunity control until you hit paragon – but once you do, suddenly you just become something terrifying. You’ll want Heavy Blade Opportunity and a Polearm that counts as a polearm and a heavy blade (hiya, Glaive!), but once you do that, you’ll be Bulls Strengthing people around off-turn, teleport around with Lightning Rush and hey, maybe even Brutal Barraging people, as a treat.

Also the Battlemind is just one of the most anime fighters in the game. Melee attacks, barrages of attacks, teleporting to take hits before your ally does, striking someone before they strike you – it’s just such a great class for representing an ‘anime fighter’ character. It’s going to work just fine levelling up, but it’ll really get that Daryun-style Who The Fuck Is Better Than Me coherent violence ball once you start opening up at Paragon.

Junk Drawer Options

Now, if you set aside our idea that he has to be a defender you open up a little. The trick is what it opens up. See, Daryun could be a Ranger (you see him fighting with a sword-and-spear at times) and those are generally strong. Warlord, that works too, if you build for a lot of personal attacks and putting yourself at risk. For me, the vibe i get off Daryun is overwhelmingly tough to go with being threatening, so classes like the Rogue and Skald don’t feel like good fits. You can also make the case that a love for his lord, Arslan could be seen as an article of faith, and take him as a Crusader or Paladin, but those classes have a harder time making Polearm Momentum work in Heroic.

The Berserker, if you can handle the theme of Daryun losing his poop over something and flying into a rage, is going to do great with a polearm too. It even has a baseline at-will power for that, Savage Reach.

If you go into Paragon, though, suddenly you open up a lot of options; the Half Elf can take Versatile Master with a power borrowed from another class (like Eldritch Strike). I like that a lot, but it isn’t going to work before Paragon and that’s not how we do here.

This is a long one, I know! And part of why it’s long is because the Polearm Fighter is so powerful that I wanted to present a meaningful, useful way to access it. But I think it deserves special mention that part of how this works is about people wanting to be a fighter who could reliably knock people back and knock them down, whenever they want – which is interesting, isn’t it? 4th edition giving fighters things to do that include reliable combat abilities they can do at will?

Oh well I’m sure it’s nothing.

How To Be: Illidan Stormrage (In 4E D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

Now, are you prepared?

No.

No, you are not prepared.

We’re going to talk about how you can become Illidan Stormrage.

 

How To Be: Rock Howard (In 4E D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

It’s April, it’s Talen Month, and that means we’re going to talk about a character I’ve wanted to talk about for a long time, and a character who I have a deep appreciation for. There’s not a lot of characters that fit in that mould and work well with 4th Edition’s heightened adventure reality, but when I had the idea to tackle this character, I did so with full and wholehearted knowledge that damnit, I wanted to take care of this character in my month.

We’re going to talk about how you can become Rock Howard.

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How To Be: Edelgard von Hresvelg (In 4E D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

Now this month, we’re going to return to How To Be’s roots, and once more we’re looking at a character from Fire Emblem: Some Number Of Houses. Yes, it’s the gal who’s Horny For Priest Murder (And For Other Reasons), the Look Up Other Reasons People Like Her, the One, the Only: Edelgard von Not Pronouncing That!

How To Be: Ukyou Kuonji (In 4E D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

Well, we’ve done some odd stuff with this section, some big ideas about maximising specific character quirks and hitting particularly niche interests like a transforming robot dinosaur, but what if your wants are more hey, what can I do with this simple basis? And, it seems that this month is full of references to Ranma 1/2 and twitter voted on it, and so, here we go, a return to Ranma 1/2 as an option: Ukyou Kuonji.

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How To Be: ME GRIMLOCK (In 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

You know, last year we did a bunch of characters who could be seen as fitting the genre of a combative adventurer reasonably well, and maybe it’s time to try some stuff that’s a bit more weird. With that in mind, let us reach wide, with our tiny, tiny arms, and look at ME GRIMLOCK!

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How To Be: The Covers Of 2020

It has now been a full year of How To Be. These articles are fun to make, they’re interesting to play around with, and I have more of them ready to go, so I fully expect to keep doing them. What I do think, though, from all of those articles I’ve made this year, I was frustrated to find that Twitter and Jetpack, two of the ways I promote this blog, don’t present my hilarious book covers in the thumbnails consistently. That means it’s possible that you might not see these book covers and may not have gone looking for them.

Also, since it’s December, and I am tired and you are tired and everyone is tired, how about I show off this year’s How To Be covers, and let you check them out now, as some long-form throwback reading of the rest of the blog.

Yeah?

Yeah.

Yeah.

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How To Be: Wolf Queen Nailah (In 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

And this month, before we talk about our subject, though I mean she’s in the subject of the blog post that you just clicked on so I mean what are we going to cover, suddenly a swerve and it’s going to be about trotting out pairs of characters that can be Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street. But see, this marks our twelfth How To Be, and it also marks the first year of this feature. It’s fun! I’ve enjoyed doing that!

And because variety is important to me, we’re going back to Fire Emblem. And maybe, being you’re one of my friends, you might be thinking that yes! I’m going to bring up ya girl Edelgard, who is… very, very similar to Hilda.

No, we’re talking about Nailah, from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. And we’re talking about her because she’s cool, and she can do interesting things, and most importantly, because Fox likes her. I started with one of Fox’s favourite franchises, and then with a character she kinda didn’t like one way or the other? Terrible form on my part.

Let’s look at a Wolf Queen.

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How To Be: The Castlevania Gang (In 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

This month, we’re going to examine overlapping skillsets as we look at not creating a character but creating a group of characters: The trio of monster hunters from the Fang-Em-Up Netflix anime, Castlevania.


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How To Be: Tier Halibel (In 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

This month, we’re going to dive into the world of the dead and look to the Queen of Hueco Mundo by the most powerful shounen anime right, the right of default, the underboob to Matsumoto’s cleavage well, Tier Harribel.

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How To Be: Sumireko Usami (In 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

This month, we’re going to become a god damned Touhou.

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How To Be: Chandra Nalaar (In 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

This month, we’re going to talk about the hottest of Pansexual Messes, Chandra Nalaar and you may be asking me ‘well why didn’t you do that during Pride Month?’ and the answer is because Wizards have not been exactly well behaved on this issue and I’m not about to do their marketing work for them just this moment thank you bloody much. Instead we’re going to talk about Chandra on her own time, thank you very much.

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How To Be: A Squid Maid (In 4E D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

And now, it’s Pride Month! Since I haven’t done one of these on a single straight character yet (if you believe my fanfics), I had to do something a bit special and out of the ordinary, and so, let’s do something that’s extremely culturally important.

That’s right. It’s Squid Maids time.

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How To Be: Gardevoir (In 4E D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

And now this time, because you on the Twitters voted for it (whether or not you realised you were voting for it specifically), this month’s choice is the elegant mind dancer Pokemon, Gardevoir.

Examining Gardevoir

Well, this is different, isn’t it? Normally when we approach this question, we start by looking at a person from a specific story, but instead now we’re looking at what, for lack of better terms, is more like a species. And that normally in D&D wouldn’t be necessarily reflected in the kinds of thing you do (your class), but rather in the kind of race you pick at the start of things. That’s going to be the lion’s share of this one.

That’s what a Gardevoir is, but what does a Gardevoir do?

lots of stuff!

Gardevoir has been a fan favourite Pokemon and that’s come with a huge pile of constant updates! Gardevoir has a forked evolution, Gallade; it was given a second creature type after it was already pretty solid; in terms of Pokemon abilities, it can do almost anything, really! There’s some heal support, self-healing blocker duty, walling powers, taunts and manipulation powers, telepathy, and elemental muckery. There’s a lot of things Gardevoir does do.

A thing it struggles with is too much physical confrontation. It does have Zen Headbutt, Shadow Sneak, the Elemental Punches, Headbutt, and even some fighting techniques, but broadly speaking, Gardevoir doesn’t tend to use a weapon. It doesn’t look very heavily armoured, either – it’s wearing a gown, really.

With that in mind, we can be confident in these parameters:

  • Gardevoir doesn’t tend to make a lot of physical contact
  • Gardevoir has links to both psionics and the fey
  • Gardevoir can be used to do a lot of different utility stuff
  • Gardevoir can block a lot of damage, but it doesn’t do it with a lot of raw physical power
  • Gardevoir is lightly armoured

This paints an image for us. We’re probably going to go for something that doesn’t use weapons, doesn’t wear a lot of armour, and probably ties into psionics or fey power sources one way or another.

Option 0 – Starting The Race

Normally, Option 0 is for when we need to talk about some big thing that affects the whole of the build going on. In this case, Gardevoir has a big one: What race do you pick?

Pokemon aren’t like normal D&D characters, not generally. Oh, sure, they advance through combat and have stages of progression, but when you evolve as a D&D character you don’t generally get major transformational threshold. No actual race in the game looks exactly like a Gardevoir, and while your thematics are your own, the nature of Gardevoir in Pokemon is that they’re a whole species of monsters that have a bunch of common abilities.

The race choice informs your class choices, too! It means getting something that works here is pretty important! Way I see it, you have four options, ranging from the least interesting to the most interesting in this space.

  • A Custom race. This is a fair bit of work for not-much-gain. Also, your DM will have to okay it, and it’s very possible for you to mis-identify the power level you’re aiming at.
  • An existing, common, well-supported race, with a visual reskin. This is easy and convenient, but it does dilute the coolness of ‘being a Gardevoir’ when you know under the hood, you and an elf are going to be more or less the same.
  • A slight mix-and-match of an established pair of races. Normally, races are pretty equal across power levels, so asking a DM if you can have (say), an Eladrin’s stats and a Deva’s abilities, might give you something that ‘feels’ like something different, without needing to do the work of a full race revamp.
  • Picking a really unsupported race that exists in the game, that your DM probably won’t ever use, and ask to use those mechanics for your floaty greeny prettything.

Now this last option is the most desireable for me because it creates the least friction. No DM has taken care of everything, even if they want to pretend they have. Your DM might have the policy that ‘every race that exists has a space,’ ala Eberron. Now, that’s reasonable – after all, the game is built around this kind of thing, of always being able to find a place for something, even if it isn’t necessarily as important seeming as it looks.

The wrinkle with all this is that you don’t want to pick a race option that kicks you in the butt or that makes lots of special demands on your DM. You don’t want your Gardevoir character to feel like the Elf in the party, but you don’t want to go to a race that has no real support options to help build your character in a way that feels like they belong to that race. Typically, the most popular races are the ones with the most support, and that support brings with it detail, and typically power. If you pick a race that’s mostly alien to the setting, it’ll probably be a race that also doesn’t have much mechanical support – stuff like the Bugbear and Bullywug, for example.

This is a good example of a problem that’s kind of occluded. You need to have an idea for the way you want your Gardevoir to feel , so you can make informed choices about your race. You need to know how your race options might work so you can guide that class option towards the same place. Effectively, you’re trying to tune a radio with two dials which

now I say it

I realise what that long-ago misunderstood metaphor was about.

Hrm.

Anyway, your race options are pretty limited, but after some consideration, the places I’d start are with the Shardmind and the Wilden, two races that despite being supported in Players Handbooks, are largely forgotten. Neither race is a real powerhouse, but they have enough options that you can find some things to do with them. Wilden are fey, and can make decent Invokers and even do some cute stuff as a Battlemind. Shardmind are definitely inhuman and capable of teleporting around, which can fit with the theme of a Gardevoir and maybe even leaving behind a lot of weird mental static. Finally, for the ultimate ‘look like how you like,’ the mechanics of the Changeling do the job. You could talk to your DM and ask them if it’s okay if your changeling is a Gardevoir, but they’re using psionic powers to make people see them as something other than an elegant floatything. The look of a changeling under the disguise is, after all, very much up to you.

This is how things wind up going when you’re exploring this kind of challenge, mind you. You’re just not always going to be able to find something that works perfectly, and the trick is looking for something that feels right enough. In our discussion of Corvo we got a lot on teleporting, and in our conversation on Thor, we had to talk about her thunder powers – but here, Gardevoir’s biggest challenge is coming in before that!

With that in mind, those three race options aren’t so bad to pick from, so let’s see what we can do that fits.

Option 1 – Wilden Invoker

We’ll get to the psionic stuff, chill for a bit.

The Invoker is a really strong, by-the-numbers controller. It wants wisdom, and Wilden get wisdom. Invokers don’t need support from racial feats to do weird and wild things, and the Wilden race options let you mode change from rest to rest. The biggest reason to go here is this class is simple and behaves. You don’t need to manage power points, you just get dailies and encounters and there’s not a lot of fuss when you build them. Indeed, at the risk of sounding mean about it, if you make sure you pick Rain of Blood, chances are you’ll be able to do most of the job of an Invoker because that power is really good. Rain of Blood had its damage cut in half and its area cut even smaller and it’s still really good.

It’s even untyped, so you can make it like drops of moonlight!

Now, one thing, and it’s kinda silly, but it’s worth mentioning, if you ever do get to Epic, the Wilden can take the feat Fey Shift – which lets you turn your movement into a teleport. Which… well, check out Corvo for ways that can wild out.

Option 2 – Shardmind Psion

Oh hey, you know you’re a real Pokemon when you have four attacks, right?

Joking aside, I like Psions a lot. I like them in part because they can build themselves around a ‘default turn.’ You build the character to work with Dishearten, which is an area attack that imposes a tohit penalty. By default, you plan to Dishearten every single turn, imposing this penalty, and any turn where your more specialised tools can do a better job, you do that.

This is really good for feeling like a psychic mind blasty type out of the box! Your class is also full of options, and your racial power can be used defensively. This is just a solid, basic option.

Option 3 – Changeling Ardent

Now, here’s where things get wrinkly.

See, Gardevoir does have the option of healing itself and others. It’s a little shaky, but there’s definitely some ‘healery’ aspect to the critter. That means that you probably want a leader option, and the Ardent is a psychic Leader, so that seems a easy place to go, right?

The tricky part comes from how Ardents need weapons.

Now, this isn’t hard for me to overcome. Talk to your DM about theming your magical weapon as being for example, a line of light, that strikes people near you – Gardevoir’s Zen Headbutt, after all, works by building up energy between them. Radiant weapons work really well for this, too, and hey look at that, that’s a whole other synergy package!

Then… uh. Well, Ardents do get decent armour?

At this point, we’re a few steps aside from where Gardevoir feels most ‘home’ to me. This is a build I’d want to do, and I’d definitely make it look like a Gardevoir, but I’d understand if someone looked at me sidelong and said ‘I Don’t Choose You.’

Junk Drawer Options

There’s some other stuff mixed in here. Battleminds, for example, work as big brawly tanks and can even make a thing out of using superior bulk to beat opponents down, but that feels more Gallade than Gardevoir. I suggested using Gallade for some of the options here, to Fox, and she laughed at me. Laughed!

Another option if you want to play with fey stuff is a fey pact Warlock? But that’s going to be even more steps away from where we started, since at that point you’re dealing with curses, and summons, and stat diversity takes you in weird places.

Hopefully, this is a useful take for talking to your DM about getting really off-the-wall aesthetics to work with your character and your desire to look like you could use Pokemon Fanart for your character images.

How To Be: Corvo Attano (In 4E D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

This time, we’re going to try and capture the feeling of the Knight Protector of the Empress of Dunwall woops oh no it’s all gone wrong, Corvo Attano.

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How To Be: Thor, from Marvel Comics (In 4E D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

This time, we’re going to try and capture the feeling of THE GOD OF THUNDER Thor from Marvel Comics.

Continue Reading →

How To Be: Ranma Saotome from Ranma 1/2 (In 4E D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines for this kind of project are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

This time, we’re going to try and capture the feeling of gender-flipping Martial Arts Death Machine Ranma Saotome from Ranma 1/2.

Continue Reading →

How To Be: Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist (In 4E D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines for this kind of project are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

This time, we’re going to try and capture the feeling of Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist: A Lot Of Different Things.

Continue Reading →

How To Be: Hilda From Fire Emblem Three Houses (In 4E D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition.

The rules for these posts are going to be standard and yes I am writing something that’s going to be the boilerplate that becomes the core of how all these posts are going to get made going forwards, but here we go anyway:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritive but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something, to give you a place to start.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s less that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

So for our first excursion into this idea, we’re going to start with Hil-Da, Hil-Da from Fire Emblem 3 Houses.

Continue Reading →

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