D&D character creation made easier

Creating a character for Dungeons & Dragons can be a daunting task. You’ve got to pick a race and class, write a backstory, deal with lots of numbers and decide if your character is basically good or basically evil (or somewhere in between). I struggled with this for a long time, wishing to come up with a compelling character that would be enjoyable for me and my fellow players. That’s why I empathized with this tweet from my internet pal Lyz*:

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Now, I’ve not written this post to bestow the definitive answer upon the D&D-playing masses. Instead, I want to give a few simple tips that have made the process easier for me. If they work for you, dear reader, great. If not, please share your tips for character creation in the comments below. With that said, onward!

The story


For me, the most confounding aspect of character creation in D&D is the backstory. For years, I would write elaborate, multi-page tales for my characters involving missing parents, burned villages, oaths of revenge, sworn allegiances and “last of my tribe” sorts of thing. All of it pre-history as far as the campaign was concerned. Jonny Ironsword would enter my DM’s campaign hell bent on avenging the death of his father or tracking down his twin brother, drafted into servitude by a nomadic tribe of marauding half-orcs when Johnny and Jimmy were only 12…

Only to have that never come up in the campaign, which is about delivering tainted mead to the Zhentarim’s block party.

Your story arc

That’s when I decided to let my character’s story arc happen in the campaign, not before. Here’s what I mean.

The character I’m playing as of this writing is Reed Greenbottle, a halfling druid botanist. He leaves his village to collect samples of plants to record in his book.

That’s it. That’s his whole story.

This is Reed’s first time “off the farm” if you will and his naivety informs his interactions with the people, beasties and situations he meets.

  • Is that a Kenku? Neat, let me get a close look.

  • In combat, Reed casts a spell in a way that endangers the attacker as well as his allies. He’s never fought anything before, you see, so he kind of sucks at it.

Eventually, young Reed’s belief that all things are inherently good will begin to erode. A few things try to kill him and his new friends. Maybe he gets robbed. Maybe he gets double crossed. After 12 weeks of play, Reed probably won’t be the same person he was at the beginning. In other words, I’m letting my DM’s plans shape who Reed is. It’s a lot less pressure on me, feels more organic, and alleviates the frustration of realizing the intricate backstory I wrote has no place in the campaign.

As for the other aspects of character creation — race, class, alignment, ability scores — just pick whatever sounds cool. As for ability scores, let the dice decide. Maybe you end up with a wizard with very low wisdom. That’s not bad, it’s a story-telling opportunity! Perhaps she flunked out of wizarding school and learned from back-alley charlatans.

Now I understand that “just pick whatever sounds cool” probably made a lot of you cringe. If you enjoy the deep dive, by all means have at it. But if the question is simplicity, this has worked for me. It’s fun discovering who Reed is as I play him week to week.

*By the way, Lyz custom-inks gaming dice and they’re beautiful.

Dungeons and Dragons for adults with Reboot Game Lab

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Earlier today we played Dungeons and Dragons at our home at Cape Cod Coffee in Mashpee Commons. I have to say it was tremendously fun as eight people joined the adventure. For four hours we explored the secret of Yokotoro Village along the Sword Coast. I don’t want to spoil anything but I’ll say that things were not what they seemed.

If you want to join us for adult D&D, follow us on Meetup, as that’s were we arrange things. We’ll be back next Saturday, 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM for more fun.

Never played before? Veteran with a drawer full of characters? This is for you! I provide dice, characters, adventure, and minis (of course, you’re more than welcome to bring your own). I hope to see you at the table soon.

D&D Kids Club summer session starts tomorrow

As I sit here prepping maps and minis for tomorrow’s summer session of our Dungeons and Dragons Club for kids, I can’t help but get excited. The adventure we’ll be running is one I’ve run three times now and it’s a LOT of fun. I won’t name it specifically, just in case and young eyes are reading this, but I will share one minor spoiler: nunchaku made out of pufferfish.

See you tomorrow at Cape Cod Coffee in Mashpee Commons, 12 PM - 4 PM.


Dungeons and Dragons for adults


We’ve been running Dungeons and Dragons Club for kids for several months now. What started with three kids has grown to over a dozen, and summer session is about to start. It’s been a lot of fun, and now several of you have asked:

“What about D&D for adults?” We hear you, and we have a plan.


We’d love to host this for you all. After all, beheading kobolds with friends is one of life’s simple pleasers. The challenge right now is location and timing. Let’s start with location.

Currently, we meet every Saturday and Sunday at Cape Cod Coffee in Mashpee Commons (map). It’s a great spot, albeit a little small. We currently run D&D Kids Club there and that plus drop-in gaming really commandeers most of the available space in that tiny cafe.

The next issue is timing. Many of you have asked for evening D&D, and we get it. People typically work during the day and have free time for leisure activities in the evening. The current location closes at 4:00, so there’s that.

Just like a barbarian swinging his battleaxe with a buff of Bardic Inspiration, there is hope.

Soon, Cape Cod Coffee will move to its new, bigger location across the street from the current spot in Mashpee Commons, and we'll be moving with them. The new place will have a full menu, beer, lots of seats and evening hours. When that happens we can have an RPG night, no problem. That’s great, but what about now?

Until then, we’ll offer one-offs at the current location on Saturdays. Bring your own adventure, or I can even DM a one-shot. We can use Meetup to coordinate the who’s, what’s and how’s. I can provide graph paper for maps and minis. You provide the fun.

It’s not perfect I know, but it’s something to tide us over until we're across the street. Let me know if you’re interested, either here in the comments or on Meetup.

Unboxing: Stranger Things Dungeons and Dragons set


The D&D “red box” has gotten stranger.

Long-time Dungeons and Dragons fans remember the starter set released by TSR in 1983, which shipped in the now iconic “red box,” featuring cover art by Larry Elmore. Today, Wizards of the Coast has teamed up with the gang behind Netflix’s mega hit Stranger Things to release the Stranger Things D&D Starter Set which ships in, you guessed it, a glorious red box.

The set features everything you need to play Dungeons and Dragons:

  1. Rule book.

  2. An adventure “written” by Mike himself, featuring a monster of Mike’s own creation (don’t worry, we won’t spoil it).

  3. A set of dice.

  4. Two Demogorgon minis, one painted and one not.

You also get five character sheets featuring third-level characters that are ready to play, including a half-elf wizard, a hill dwarf bard and a human paladin. What I really like about the character sheets is they tell you what each character can expect to receive at 4th and 5th level. So you can keep playing them as long as you like.

It’s a solid kit and fans of the show will really enjoy playing Mike’s adventure. It’s really meant for players new to the game, but veterans will get a kick out of it too, provided that they enjoy the show. You can pick it up at a game store near you, or online. Check out our unboxing gallery below.

Eager to play? We have D&D Clubs for kids that meet weekly: one co-ed and a D&D Club for Girls. Additionally, if you’re looking for a place to meetup with your adults and play — or you want us to expertly run a terrifically fun one-night adventure for you and your friends or coworkers at your home our business (D&D is a FANTASTIC team-building activity) let us know. We can being the Demogorgon — or the upside-down — to you.

D&D Club for Girls


Tabletop gaming is a hobby traditionally monopolized by men and boys. Our D&D Club for Girls provides a supportive, fun environment for girls ages 10 and up who are ready to pick up the dice and make way for adventure.

Roleplaying Games (RPGs) like Dungeons and Dragons are narrative game systems that encourage cooperation, decision-making and creative thinking. RPG players are immersed in a shared story-telling experience as they work together to overcome obstacles. This program will focus on introducing players to the core concepts of Dungeons and Dragons.

During our five-week session, girls will:

  • Create a custom character and a custom character sheet

  • Receive their own mini figure, representing their character

  • Receive a full set of seven RPG dice in a drawstring dice bag

  • Receive a copy of the basic rules of D&D

Experience screen-free fun while practicing teamwork, cooperation, critical thinking skills and playing lots of Dungeons and Dragons!

Where: Cape Cod Coffee, Mashpee Commons (48 Market Street)

When: Saturdays, March 9 - April 6, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Cost: $150 for five weeks ($35 drop-in)