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Darmend West Marches – Character Creation


Character creation in west Marches is somewhat different from the standard process for 5th Edition. It follows a more organic path and incorporates both player choice and some random elements to produce a character that is unique and perhaps not exactly what you expected when you began.

Step 1 – Character Ability Scores

West Marches uses the “Point Buy” system for Ability scores. Players begin with a score of 8 in all abilities, then use a pool of 27 points to increase individual scores as desired. The cost for increase is as follows: (page 13 of the PHB)

Score Cost   Score Cost
8 0   12 4
9 1   13 5
10 2   14 7
11 3   15 9

You’ll notice that there is no purchase cost to raise above a 15. This is intentional as there are other methods to do so later in creation.

Step 2 – Choose Character Race

Now that you have your base scores, you must decide what race your character will be. In the town of Darmend, humans make up a vast majority of the population- therefore human will be the “default” choice. However, there are a few families of outside races that reside in Darmend – Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings do reside there. Be aware that choosing a race other than human may result in townspeople treating you differently from the majority population. Please discuss this more with a GM if you have questions.

Rules for choosing race follow the PHB for the most part, but variant race rules are allowed only after approval from a GM.


Step 3 – Choose Character Background

The next step involves choosing a “Background”, which describes the apprentice work your character does as a part of their day job. Professional adventurers don’t really exist in Darmend, where the population works hard just to maintain a peaceful, stable way of life. Adventuring is seen as a frivolity by most townspeople, while learning a trade is far more valuable.

Choose a trade from the following list:

Apothecary Clergy Leatherworker Shepherd
Baker Cook Mason Smith
Barber Farmer Miner Tailor
Bowyer Fisherman Potter Thief
Brewer Furrier Porter Trader
Butcher Gardener Rancher Tutor
Chandler Gravedigger Scribe Weaver
Carpenter Hunter Servant Woodcutter

Your choice will result in an ability increase to one score, two proficiency gains, and some starting gear. The benefits match the choices thematically, but are not disclosed to the player beforehand, as the GMs would like players to think about their PC’s lives and histories as a part of the creation process rather than focus only on building the exact character they want mechanically.

You may wonder after looking at your starting equipment “what about gold?” and the answer is, simply, there is none. Darmend’s economy is based upon barter, with only a few citizens wealthy enough to afford shiny trinkets and the like. Equipment, weapons, armor, and the usual adventuring “gear” must be acquired through successful adventuring or other in-game means.


Step 4 – Acquire a Quality

At this stage and with a GM present, roll a d100 and present the result to the GM. The roll will result in your character gaining a Quality, which is a descriptor that also results in the gaining of a score increase or other benefits. This is another random element that distinguishes your character from others.


Step 5 – Choose Character Class and Alignment


The last stage involves choosing a character class, following the rules as written from the PHB with one exception: the Monk and Warlock classes are not available for 1st level characters. These classes do not fit thematically with the town of Darmend and its inhabitants. A warlock living in this small, quiet village would soon find themselves dangling from a noose in short order!

And finally, your character may choose an alignment as described on page 122 in the PHB.