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Optimization Against Customization

Updated on July 31, 2019

Dungeons and Dragons offers the most potential for mix ups and interchangeable sets being a character of any game that has been produced to date. Any playable race, either official or Homebrew, can be any class that is either official or Homebrew as well. You can be a noble Half-Orc Rogue or a knight Dragonborn (an actual dragon person, not the Skyrim one for new people) Sorcerer. There is really no limit to what you can do, or who your character can be.

Anyone can be anything and there really is no limit other than a level cap, which is not even truly a "hard cap". The level cap can go above and beyond what it currently at, which is 20, and go into a mode that is not unofficial but has no real guideline for Game Masters or players called “Epic Boons”. A player can choose to start off as a Cleric and end up becoming a Sorcerer, possibly even preferring it. Aside from the class a player can select, they get to selected the background for their character and then decide what exactly the background was all about, the character's reasoning for being an adventurer. However, with all of these options, there comes a sense of needing to optimize your character when you are creating one. It makes sense to want your character to be the best at what they do or what they are. Depending on the game or your goals it can be a hard choice to make- optimize or customize?

There are some pros to optimization. Optimizing a character does make sense, a Sorcerer wants to have as high as possible Charisma so that their spells will not fail. The same goes for a Cleric wanting high Wisdom for. It makes sense for someone creating a Sorcerer to pick a race such as the Aasimar, that does get a bonus to their Charisma score along with an additional ability score depending on the variant race of Aasimar (Scourge, Protector, and Fallen) that is selected by the player. Then, you should select a background which gives the proper bonuses that work in favor of what the player wants to do in the campaign. In example a Sorcerer will have a higher Charisma so a player will probably want to select some skills that use Charisma modifiers such as Persuasion or Deception. Players naturally want to have the best possible combination to make their character the best at what they do. This becomes even more wanted, if not needed, when a player starts to work with their group members beforehand to determine what each player is going to do.

However, optimizing is not the end all be all for your character, and sometimes it can make game play boring or repetitive. That being said, optimization can certainly help a player make sure their character is the glorious monster killer they truly want it to be. While it can make game play easier, it does not always equate to the most fun experience. There is a great example of a player that did not use an optimal play style for their rogue but in the end, looked like they were doing pretty well. This was the “You do not see Grogg” where a Half Orc Rogue decided to not be sneaky but rather intimidate anyone who saw him. A post which I have linked below. I play Dungeons and Dragons, I truly do enjoy the challenge of things while having fun with it.

Creating a character that does not have the best optimization can be even more fun than creating the absolute best of the best for a character. In fact, when possible I would recommend the much more creatively rewarding character customization. Create a character that most people in your world would be surprised as seeing. A Gnome Barbarian, a Half-Orc Wizard or a Goblin Paladin. Having such abnormal class and race combinations can truly lead to memorable experiences such as your Half-Orc Wizard being expected to smash down a door only for him to mention he would never do anything so undignified. Follow this with the Gnome Barbarian giving a sigh and running straight through the door. Doing the unexpected can be even more fun than doing the normally expected.

https://www.dndbeyond.com/forums/class-forums/rogue/1675-you-do-not-see-grogg

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