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D&D > Off Topic > Tabletop RPGNov 23, 2021 6:00 pm CT

Yes, you should go ahead and make that weird character in your D&D game

You really want to play a Halfling Barbarian, or a Warforged Druid, or for whatever reason, you rolled a character with no stats above 11 and you really want to play it despite it being utterly terrible at everything. You know what? That’s cool, you should get to do that.

Playing your idiotic, weak, uncharmismatic Sorcerer can actually be a lot of fun — if you have a group and DM willing to roll with it, and help you get fun story out of it. And remember, there are ways around a character conception that isn’t min-maxed or what most players are used to.

It is okay to want to play something odd

Your Tiefling Paladins, your Aasimar Warlocks, your Hobgoblin Clerics, your Bugbear Bards — all of these and more are quite workable in D&D, especially now that you can switch your racial ability score bonuses around to suit your character concept. A character with significantly low stats can absolutely work, and doesn’t have to be played in an proscribed way, either. Let’s say you’re playing a Cleric with an 8 Intelligence and 11 Charisma, but a 16 Wisdom. How does this work? Well, they don’t have to be illiterate or hideous — you can role play that low Int as being impatient and intolerant of foolish behavior even when it would be better to keep that in check. Your character is wise enough to know better, but not in control of their temper enough to think fast and stifle their initial outburst.

One of the things that some DMs still have trouble with is that idea that certain races can’t or shouldn’t play certain classes. It’s a holdover from earlier editions of Dungeons and Dragons, but it’s not supported by the current edition, and it’s one you should absolutely abandon. Even before the change in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything that made ability score bonuses flexible, there were no restrictions on class based on race in D&D 5e. And while low scores can make multiclassing difficult, there are no rules in the game that require you to have a high score in the most important ability for your desired class to take up that class. You can be a Druid with a 10 Wisdom — your spell DC will be low and other aspects of the game will be affected, but you can absolutely do it.

Be the DM who says yes to your players even when it’s weird

As a DM, if a player comes to me with a weird character concept, I want to help them achieve it. You should of course be wary of players who want to play something entirely because it’s ridiculously OP, but 5e has ironed out a lot of that kind of thinking — while there are some races that offer pretty strong bonuses and abilities, nothing is so powerful that it utterly overshadows anything else. And even a really weird concept can be made to work — a player comes to you wanting to play a literal Dragon? I’d offer them the chance to play a Dragon Wyrmling, and bump up the starting level of the campaign to 3rd so the other characters can get a head start on power levels from classes while the Wyrmling player would start as just a Wyrmling — I’d end up having to homebrew some stuff, but ultimately, as long as the player was sincere and not just powergaming I’d find a way to make it work.

So yes, I’m totally down for a brutal, strength based Elf Fighter who swings a greatsword around and belches along to Dwarven drinking songs, or a Loxodon Rogue — yes, that’s right, a Loxodon Rogue, they can be Rogues too — or any other class and race combination. But what about weird backstories? You want to play a Reborn Spore Druid who is literally the moss-encrusted corpse of a former Artificer who died in the swamp because a rival Wizard set your laboratory on fire while you were testing a new Potion of Plant Growth formula? First off, I congratulate you on stealing the origin of Man-Thing and Swamp-Thing, and secondly, as your hypothetical DM I will move heaven and earth to let you play as a bog monster.

D&D is a game. It’s meant to be fun. If playing a Rogue/Barbarian who is an obvious Batman homage — yeah, homage, we’ll go with that — is what you want to do, then I say, justice is the best sauce for the meal that is revenge. Let’s get weird up in here.

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