View Full Version : From the ground up

2010-02-12, 03:34 PM
I've read the character building and optimization threads on this forum with great interest.

One question, though. If you know you are going to have to actually *play* a character from Level 1 on and spend several sessions at lower levels, does your choice of feats or class change compared to, say, a build that will start play at 10th level?

This might be a bad example, but would you take Toughness at Level 1, for instance (esp. in a low-point buy campaign), in order to stay alive and avoid restarts (and levels lost compared to longer-lived party members) even when it has no place on an optimized character tree?

I've seen this sort of thing in a limited extent in my own group over the years, and given the more intricate level of character planning I've seen on these boards, I was wondering if the same thing held true here, too.

2010-02-12, 03:38 PM
I always plan my characters as playable from level 1 up, even if we are starting at a higher level.

2010-02-12, 03:52 PM
In my experience the answer is: yes, but only a little bit.

For example, a build might take the same feats in a different order, or end up with Suggestion instead of Charm Monster ... but usually you can make it playable at every level, without having to change the final build much.

Retraining rules, of course, change this drastically. Suddenly, Toughness at level 1 actually does become quite viable.

2010-02-12, 04:23 PM
Well, certainly not toughness. :smallyuk:
The key differences between the two generally occur because when creating a higher level character it seems like I've always forgotten something. Either I meant to take it and didn't or my concept really should have had something and it never crossed my mind and it comes up in play later. As I play through I go "Wow, I really should have that." and can pick it up.

2010-02-13, 02:06 AM
If retraining is allowed, I might pick Toughness at some point on particularly low HP characters (though note that Con is effectively always my #2 stat meaning I tend to have at least 14 in it even on Elite Array). I also may do some other early "feat gambits" that lose their luster later on, like Adamantine Body or Precocious Apprentice. If retraining isn't allowed though, I'll build my level 1 characters just the same as my level 20 characters. I make a plan, start on that plan and make do with what I've got.

I may reprioritise some levels as necessary (e.g. level 1 in Barbarian for the extra HP over Rogue for the skill points, though this rarely as I love skilled characters to no end) and reorder feats as possible (maybe, if I need Weapon Focus as a prerequisite later, I'll pick it on level 1 when it's comparatively more useful), but by and large the character will look the same whether made on level 1 or level 20. This is a function of how I build level 20 characters, of course (with the exception that I might use alignment shifts more on non-1 characters; but that's only 'cause I find alignment-based restrictions ridiculous outside Paladin).

2010-02-13, 02:38 AM
Some combos, like gishes, will require you to make pretty drastic changes in how your character approaches situations until certain PrC's start to kick in, so yes, how you build the character can change in the two situations. But it is entirely possible with planning to have a character who makes the transition without wasting feats and the like.

2010-02-13, 02:46 AM
Unless the feat is a prerequisite for a prc, I usually take general-purpose feats which remain useful all the way. This way, my PC is not disadvantaged in the present or future.

It is the best compromise for me, since I don't like taking feats I know will soon become useless, nor do I want to waste slots on feats which are of no immediate benefit to me.

2010-02-13, 04:25 AM
It depends upon the DM and the game.

If the game is equal parts role-playing and combat I usually just increase my level as we go and only have a basic plan. I never know what I am going to need. (What do you mean the groups moving to the frozen wastes for 2 years.... All I took was sandstorm feats....)

If the game is combat based and less role-playing then a well planned out character is needed. You can't get caster level 26 at 10th level without planning your character out ahead of time or if your DM is the "lets kill the PCs" type of person, then your going to need to plan out your character.