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Build Them, and Games Will Come
Dragon Editorial
by Chris Youngs

If you don't visit the D&D site except to read these awesome editorials, you might have missed a big moment for D&D Insider last week. We launched the Character Builder last Monday, January 26. This is the full version for characters of levels 1-30, provided you're a subscriber.

So there it is. I already transferred all my regular character data for one campaign to the CB, and I'll do the same for my second character in a couple months when Player's Handbook 2 is out. You know, because I'm playing a shaman, which you can preview here.

While I was making my character the other night, I started to get a familiar itch -- and not one you can solve with medication. No, this was the character creation itch. I like to build D&D characters. The Character Builder makes doing this easier, but when you're done with all these characters, you're still limited by the number of games you're playing. And that brings me to my main point this month.

I've talked in past editorials about giving DMing a try. But I want to give you the encouragement again. I used to be a confirmed player. I didn't have an interest in running a game, unless doing so was the only way I could play. Even then, I was constantly looking for someone to pass the reins to. It wasn't until 3rd Edition that I became genuinely interested in running a long-term game. But even then, I did it more out of a sense of responsibility to my job and less because I felt like it was fun. I played in two other campaigns and loved it. But DMing? It never felt like it was for me.

That's changed now. As we've said elsewhere, DMing 4th Edition is easier than in any other edition of D&D. We do more of the work for you than ever before, and monsters and encounters are sweetly simple to adjudicate. Plus, the system gives you unprecedented freedom to make changes and decisions that suit your game -- you're enabled, not constrained. Heck, one of our regular columnists, Shelly Mazzanoble, just ran the game for her parents recently (they'd never even cracked open a rulebook), and it was only the second game she'd ever run.

So what's this to do with the Character Builder? Well now that you've got all these spare characters sitting around, make a deal with your group that you should all start taking turns behind the screen. If you volunteer to take first alternate DMing shift, you can coax another player into following behind you. If you want to keep it really simple, grab a copy of Dungeon Delve in a few weeks and just run a few delve sessions to get started. Get enough rotating DMs in, and before you know it, those characters won't just be gathering dust. There's no better way to play more than to run more.

What's been your favorite aspect of the Character Builder so far? I'm partial to not having to do any math, but I also enjoy being able to add custom elements to my character throughout the process. So what about you? And what was the first character you built? Send us your class, race, and level to We'd love to hear from you!