DnD Weak Characters – Playing Without A Good Build

Weak Is Not Bad

Character Stats

Artist: Jakob A. Kattner

Is it possible to play a dnd game without a good character build in dungeons and dragons? The answer is yes. Most people tend to over focus on making super builds or one million formulas to make the perfect warrior. I am here to tell you that you do not have to do that. I am pretty sure a lot of people out there will be shocked to here the words play with a weak character, but there is nothing wrong with it.

Let’s present the disadvantages of weak characters. They get beat to death by enemies, they get attacked or yelled at for say the wrong stuff, they are clumsy, some can not even swim well, and they may even lack the ability to flee from time to time.

And I know this is obvious, but the advantage is they give the player room for creativity in role playing as well as learning how to deal with a complicated scenario.

No worries. I will give an example soon that will bring us back to a previous topic that a lot of people shot down at the reddit site. I know a lot of people loved reading some of my posts about the drow, but this is not going to cover them this time around. Instead it will cover some other character I mentioned before.

But before I get in to that, let us examine what an obvious weakness is. Well the most obvious would be low ability scores which tend to be hard to get with the new 4th edition rules. It is however to get them in the older editions. Anything that is lower than an 8 score is most likely a weakness. I have personally played a character that was lower than a 5. There are other weakness that can be caused by curses as well as penalties from armor worn. Being weighed down can cause a temporary weakness. Another downside can be caused from skills that subtract from the die roll instead of being added (most likely linked to a low ability score).

Dealing with a Weakness

So, how does a person deal with this? With a smile and a lot of ingenuity. So if you were to have a low charisma, you better try to get some party members to speak for you. People with a low intelligence or wisdom may do best to avoid certainspellcasters. These are a few obvious things.

Now, let us say the person with a strength score of 3 and a dexterity of 5 ends up in combat. Maybe party members are sick of him and trying to dispose of his sorry butt. What is he to do? Well, first of all, he needs to stop focusing on what he sucks and instead pay attention to his strengths. If he had high charisma, he could hopefully persuade the enemies not to attack him. Another alternative would be to look around at his surroundings. If there was hole, he could drop into it and maybe take some damage due to the fall and survive due to a high constitution (larger bucket of hit points).

The big trick to a weak character is to think outside the box.

Now, as I said before, I am going to go over a previous story I told on another post. This is about everybody’s favorite human rogue who wore plate mail in a narrow passageway. He was cornered between a dead end and a doorway. There were orcs heading his direction.

Backstory of the Rogue


Well, most people have already said that normally any rogue in their right mind would not wear such armor. Which that is very true.

Here is the answer why he wore it. As a background story, he had a father who was a warrior who died in battle. He never had the opportunity to go into the field like his dear old dad. Instead he ended becoming skilled as a rogue and developed attributes in that area. Unfortunately, he still had the inner most desire to be a fighter and so he would from time to time try to act like one by wearing such armor. Another weakness he had was forgetfulness and forgot to bring a weapon with him in the dungeon.

Survived Wearing Plate Mail

So, if he actually payed attention and thought for that split second instead of getting beat to a pulp then an alternate result would have happened. Instead of getting beat to death, he could take off his helmet and attempt to throw at it at the orcs or even better try to play dead. Considering that he has a considerable amount of strength from having to wear full plate mail in the first place, he could attempt to try to break the door down with his bare hands and get to the treasure. So for a screwy situation, it is surprisingly possible for a rogue in the wrong gear to get out of a tight spot.

Just remember, that weak characters are not a burden, but a fun and exciting new aspect to explore for those tired from just focusing on numbers and getting that perfect die roll for character creation. Dungeons and dragons is not about who has the best build. It is about having fun with friends around a table regardless of what characters they may be using.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave one in the comments section below or send me a message on google plus.

Your Fellow Gamer


3 thoughts on “DnD Weak Characters – Playing Without A Good Build

  1. I wanted to point out that the weak character mentioned could survive and it is possible. One person pointed out that he could survive past level 1 if he wore magical armor that causes no weight gain. Yes, that is true. Would the guy live a miserable life if he managed to keep going in life? Possibly. That all depends on the character’s objective. If the guy is of evil alignment maybe he get his kicks out of getting others killed after tricking them into falling for him being weak and helpless. Maybe money is not his motivation. Maybe death of other is what does the trick. Maybe he can persuade the enemies to kill his fellow party member for trying to dump him in the first place and they will thing twice about looking over the weak character. If you look at the stats in the top right corner, you will notice the character has a charisma score of 18 and as he levels up, he can continue raising that score to talk himself out of situations or possibly into forming an alliance with enemies to kill off his fellow team mates who seem to dislike him behind their back. He also has a constitution score of 18 which means he is going to be getting a bucket full of hit points to take a beating now and then. The character would qualify for the wizard class and especially being a sorceror with such high charisma score. He could qualify as a cleric even though not the best cleric.

  2. My first ever DnD PC was a warrior with all around bad stats, the highest stat was 16 in strength and everything else was 10 or below. I’m in a group where everyone else’s characters have a 18 in one stat and at least a 12 in every other stats. How can I get my character to not act as a dead weight. Ingenuity isn’t in the role playing with him because his wisd is 6 and int of 9. How can I have fun when the most significant thing I have ever managed with the character is hit a alligator for 11 damage.

    • It sounds like you should have enough strength for wearing armor and wielding a good weapon. I can see that as difficult without at least a good constitution. I guess it all breaks down to what the game scenario is for one. If it is mostly focused on fighting a lot, then lower stats can make the game rather difficult without thinking out of the box a lot like one of my own players had to do one time. If the game is more focused on the role playing or storytelling aspect, then stats would not really spoil the fun too much and chances are your actions will of course be focused on whatever strength related roles or fortitude saves (if dnd 3.5) you can possibly make when trying to force someone to talk or do something for you. Another positive side is you can still attempt to break down doors and force open locks without the need of rogue being present (although a strength of 18 is preferred, but it is not required). The other thing you might want to consider is following the rules of rolling four dice instead of three and drop the lower number if you are concerned about stats when playing 3.5 that is. If you are playing 2nd edition, then you can keep your numbers but rearrange them like a point pool (with DM permission of course) that way you can get more into the stats (Strength and Constitution if pure Fighter) that matter the most to you and the few lower stats will not be as big of a deal.

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