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2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 26: Dungeons and Dragons Essentials

Day 26 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge is not a repeat from my 2021 Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition entry. I am using a book titled Dungeons and Dragons Essentials: Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms. I had picked up this book from a thrift store in 2022 and added it to the bookshelf thinking it was just a fourth edition supplement. Then last year I was looking through the book and noticed that it contained some rules, a character sheet and a character creation process. I looked up the book online and discovered that it was published a few years after the fourth edition core books came out. It appeared that WotC may have attempted to streamline the rules if I understood it correctly. So is Essentials a version 4.5? I figured that I would add it to the 2024 challenge and see how it compared.

This is a digest sized book with 365 pages. The ISBN number is 978-0-7869-5619-7 and the original cover price was $19.95 (I still had the receipt from the thrift store, I paid $5.35 after tax). The character sheet is two pages and the character creation steps starts on page 32.

Step one was to select a class. This book only had classes for Druids, Paladins, Rangers and Warlocks (oh my). Out of these, I selected a Ranger. When I read the description, I needed to choose a sub-class, so I selected scout. I wrote down the details including the special powers that made this game feel like an off-brand MMORPG that cursed the fourth-edition.

Next we were instructed to select a race. While all of the races were mentioned, only the Dragonborn, Drow, Half-Elf, Half-Orc, Humans and Tieflings. Since the Drow was a race I had not used, I elected to use that one. I wrote down the racial stats and abilities (and powers) that were listed.

Step three is to determine the ability scores. These are the same that we commonly know from Dungeons and Dragons. But instead of rolling them, we selected one of three predetermined sets. I selected one that with the racial abilities, made a lot of sense, but I ended up with two ability scores at 18. Hey I won’t turn that down.

Now we determined the skills. I think I did it right. I had to go look at the skills section to double check a few things, but I’m not certain. But moving on.

Step five is choosing powers. I think they over-used this term in this game (again probably in a vain attempt to attract the MMORPG crowd). I think I selected these correctly, but I didn’t write down everything they did because of a lack of space on the character sheet.

Feats don’t fail me now. But I only get one feat at first level so I selected one quickly.

Step seven is to fill in the equipment. The rules stated that I only had 100 GP to spend on stuff. Luckily there was an adventurer’s kit that had a lot of the basic items. I selected the weapons I thought a Drow Ranger-Scout would have.

The last part was filling in the numbers. Some sections I got or were able to locate. Others I could not. I just left them blank. But I did select a character name from the list of name examples listed in the book for the Drow. This guy is known as Pelloth Graysoul. Ooohhh, sound gothic and mysterious. Here are the character sheets.


I remember being impressed by the fourth-edition character sheet when I used it in the 2021 challenge. This character sheet was lacking and seemed to be missing a few sections.

There was a section in the character creation process about roles, but nothing about what they meant in the game. So I skipped it as it seemed unnecessary. There was a lot of fluff in this book for “simplified rules”.

When I closed the book after making this character, the comment I made to my wife was “Fourth edition still sucks.” Now that I’ve had a chance to go through this process, I don’t think of this as a version 4.5, I’m thinking it was another attempt to try to explain the fourth edition. Perhaps if I had read the D&D Rule Compendium (4e) it may make better sense. But I seriously doubt it. I’m not going to go out of my way to pick up these books. If I find them at a thrift store like I did with Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, I’ll grab them. But that’s about it.

Come to think about it. I don’t think I know anyone who has told me that they actually played fourth-edition. Did we just dream this up? Did these books come from an alternate universe?

Additional Notes:

This is the third day in a row where I make up the character first without stopping to type in my thoughts. I’m getting through the creation process (somewhat) faster, but it’s still taking a while with systems that I don’t have a lot of familiarity with. I’m also concerned that I might miss a thought when I go to type these in later. What do you guys think of these last few entries?

Coming Up Next:

Cowboy Bebop

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