Preparing the players using D&D Beyond and the Starter Set
From the outset I knew there would be constraints here because I did not have access to the entirety of the D&D source material, in fact, I only had one source, the D&D starter set. However, I viewed this as a more positive constraint, mainly because two of my players where complete newbies to D&D so this would help limit the field for them.
The D&D starter set comes with 5 predefined characters, which I sent to my budding players and asked them to recreate them as best they could in D&D Beyond.
But before I asked them to do this … I had a go myself first to see what it was like and what difficulties they might come up against…
Things I learned about D&D Beyond
Overall its actually pretty simple, the guided creation process really serves to simplify the amount of options you have to think of at once. I find the following helps massively your first time
- Use ‘standard array method’ for defining ability scores
- This massively simplifies things whilst still allowing for a lot of ‘uhmm-ing’ and ‘ahh-ing’ over trade offs.
- Go for character over optimization when picking proficiencies and feats and whatnot.
- Sorry, I just think its better and you worry less about the future and more about how your character feels now
- Pick ‘equipment’ over ‘gold’
- When given the choice of equipment or gold, pick equipment
- Look through the equipment after
- I don’t know if it was just something I did… but my characters started encumbered … this is because they had like 300lbs of day rations on them … some other stuff as well… like crossbow bolts… also had waaaaaay too much.
- You can make mistakes and its ok
- Amazing! Feel like you got something wrong … just go back and re-tweak it! Awesome sauce!
Before handing it over to players I probably created 5 or so characters of my own of various types, I felt like this was necessary to be able to guide my players through the process as even for the players in my group who had played before, this was the first time they had used D&D Beyond and the first time they had had full control over the process.
The starter set also serves as useful examples for those new to the game, as well as being helpful to those with a bit more experience, as a way to show what is possible and provide guidance as to which stats are useful and which are not so useful, without being overly ‘optomised’.