Character Creation: Scarred Lands 5e

To celebrate the announcement of our latest Community Content program, the Slarecian Vault for Scarred Lands, Bill Bodden creates a new character to play. The Scarred Lands Player’s Guide is available for 5th Edition OGL and Pathfinder rules. 

I’ve become familiar with Scarred Lands only since the recent reboot, and now I’m sorry I didn’t pick it up much earlier. The background material is fascinating and creative, and it leaves plenty of room for vast adventures and long-running campaigns. The Scarred Lands setting is a world ravaged by a war between the titans and the younger gods, and the land still bears numerous deep wounds from that earth-shattering conflict.

Intrigued, I decided to create a character for the Scarred Lands setting. It’s important to note that creating a character using the Scarred Lands material requires one of two things: either the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Player’s Handbook from Wizards of the Coast, or a copy of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Book from Paizo Publishing. I will be using the D&D 5E Player’s Handbook, as I’m more familiar with those rules. The basic character creation information begins on page 11, and I’m supplementing my choices with the Scarred Lands Player’s Guide for 5E when appropriate.

Step One: Choose a Race

Besides the usual elves, dwarves, halflings, and humans, Scarred Lands has some interesting new character races, and I’ve decided to take one out for a test drive. I chose a slitherin, a rat-like humanoid with a prehensile tail. The slitherin race description begins on page 40 of the Scarred Lands Player’s Guide. They are one of the Redeemed races, former servants of the titans who have renounced their old ways and tried to fit in with the various societies still existing on the world of Scarn.

“Dinesh” is one of the sample names given in the Slitherin section on page 40, and I like it, so Dinesh it is.

Step Two: Choose a Class

There are a lot of cool magical class options for characters, and I was tempted by several. The Tattoo Adept prestige class particularly made me want to go with a spellcaster so I might eventually have access to it.

Given the slitherin’s natural affinity for sneakiness, though, I chose rogue as my character class. I most often play fighters in D&D — particularly rangers — so I’d like to do something a little different this time. Going with rogue still gives me some kick-butt fighting abilities, but also access to the rogue grouping of skills, which come in handy while adventuring.

Page 70 of the Scarred Lands Player’s Guide also has two alternate Roguish Archetypes to choose from, which give characters additional benefits not available in the D&D 5E Player’s Handbook. They are available when my character reaches 3rd level.

Step Three: Ability Scores

I rolled up six scores using the “roll 4d6, subtract the lowest die” method. I came up with 11, 9, 16, 10, 14, and 15. Since Dinesh is a rogue, Dexterity will be critical, so the 16 goes there. Charisma will be my dump stat: after all, most races of Scarn view slitherin with mistrust and perhaps a certain amount of contempt for their support of the losing side — the titanspawn — in the war, so a slitherin won’t make many friends from first impressions alone. Charisma gets the 9.

Creatures living on Scarn must be hardy to deal with the numerous toxic wastelands left behind as a result of the war. Constitution will be important, but slitherin receive a +2 Constitution bonus as outlined on page 41 of the Scarred Lands Player’s Guide, so I can do okay by holding back a bit. I give Constitution the 14, with the bonus pumping it up to 16. That gives Dinesh a +3 Con modifier, for 3 extra hit points at each level.

Dinesh is most likely young, so his Wisdom is probably not so great yet due to his lack of worldly experience. Also, he’s a rogue. Therefore, the 10 goes to Wisdom.

Lastly, we have Strength. I debated this for some time — whether to give Dinesh extra damage in combat and good athletic skills, or to go with a higher Intelligence so he would have some mental faculties to call on when needed. I opted for greater Strength, even though he’ll rely on Dexterity, to balance out his character’s stats. Dinesh’s Strength is 15, giving him a +2 modifier.

Slitherin also receive a +1 to either Dexterity or Intelligence (again, per page 41 of the Scarred Lands Player’s Guide). Since Dinesh’s Dexterity is already high, I opt to put that bonus in Intelligence. I assign the 11 I rolled to Intelligence, and with the racial bonus of +1, Dinesh is now above average with a 12.

Dinesh’s final ability scores now read like this: STR 15, DEX 16, CON 16, INT 12, WIS 10, CHA 9. Dinesh is clearly a physical being, and being a rogue reflects this to a degree.

Step Four: Describe Your Character

Slitherin are roughly human-sized, perhaps a bit smaller. This impression is reinforced by their crouching, hunched posture, making them seem shorter than they actually are. Dinesh is no different. With good Strength and Dexterity, he is clearly well put together, perhaps a bit on the larger side of the slitherin height range. I decide Dinesh is rather willowy at 4’11” in height, weighing just 79 pounds.

Slitherin tend to favor chaotic or neutral alignments, so I opt for Dinesh to be Chaotic Good. This allows Dinesh to have his lawless tendencies take center stage, while still shying away from truly selfish or evil acts. If the campaign were about titanspawn trying to avenge their side’s loss to the gods, and it meshed with the other characters in the group, I might change Dinesh’s alignment to chaotic neutral or even chaotic evil.

Initially, the slitherin were created as servants of the titan Chern, being fed his foulness to maintain their artificially induced madness. As the titans fell, groups were freed from this thrall, and I determined that Dinesh’s tribe was among the first to be so freed. Born in the years that followed, Dinesh has never known what it was like to suffer and serve under such a yoke, and his curiosity in general — specifically his interest in learning more about those times — leads him to explore places where the titans once held sway. His curiosity is typical of the slitherin ideal of discovering new things to bring back to the tribe.

In the short time that Dinesh has been out in the wider world, he has learned much about the other races, many aspects of which he will teach to his brothers and sisters when he returns home next, expanding their culture and satisfying the slitherin thirst for new experiences and knowledge.

Dinesh’s fur is dark grey, with a slightly salt-and-pepper look to it. Like nearly all slitherin, he has rat-like features. His snout is much more pronounced than a human’s, with a black nose. His ears poke through the holes in his hood (when he wears one) and his teeth are sharp and pointy. He dresses in dark, neutral colors as befits his choice of careers, but when in friendly environments or social situations, Dinesh prefers bright colors, wearing sparkly baubles and jewelry that dangle from his ears, around his neck, and even from a few subtle piercings in his tail.

Dinesh’s insatiable curiosity can get him into trouble; just as often, he discovers some secret piece of knowledge or hidden thing that turns out to be profitable for him later.

He speaks Slitherin and Ledean. (“Height and Weight” and “Languages” can be found beginning on page 42 of the Scarred Lands Player’s Guide.)

Step Five: Personality

As a slitherin, it is incumbent upon young Dinesh to discover new things to share with his people. If he happens to heap fame and fortune onto his name at the same time, that’s also desirable among his people. This makes adventuring a natural choice for any slitherin, and since his people are highly prized by nearly any adventuring party as thieves and scouts, Dinesh’s prospects for employment look good.

The charts on page 127 of the D&D 5E Player’s Handbook provide some fantastic characteristics to help flesh out a character. They are simple, yet they lead in many directions, allowing players the greatest degree of customization in developing character backstory.

I begin with the first chart: Personality Trait. I rolled a 3 on a d8, which gives the following result: “I see omens in every event and action. The gods try to speak to us, we just need to listen.”

Next is the Ideal. I rolled a 3: “We must help bring about the changes the gods are constantly working in the world.” Appropriate for the chaotic Slitherin.

Third, we have Bond, and I rolled a 4: “Everything I do is for the common people.” In this case, it probably refers more to “the common slitherin,” but I get the point.

Lastly, we have Flaw. I rolled a 5: “I am suspicious of strangers and expect the worst of them.” A little world-weary for this young slitherin, but it still seems to fit. Maybe he was ill-treated by someone (or some group) in his past, making him a bit aloof and mistrusting.

Taken together, these characteristics give easy-to-grab handles for better, more effective roleplaying of the character, and it’s one of the little touches that I am most impressed with in D&D 5E.

Step Six: Skills and Feats

Before I get to choosing equipment, I wanted to delve into the subject of Dinesh’s features, skills, and feats. Per the D&D 5E Player’s Handbook, page 95, Dinesh is entitled to choose proficiency in four skills. I choose Athletics, Insight, Perception, and Stealth for Dinesh. Proficiency means that Dinesh gets an extra +2 modifier added to any skill in which he is proficient when making a skill check or attack. (Characters at 1st level have a proficiency rating of +2, which increases as the character gains levels.)

At 1st level as a rogue, Dinesh acquires Expertise, Sneak Attack, and Thieves’ Cant as additional class features. Expertise allows Dinesh to double his proficiency bonus for two skills in which he is proficient: I choose Stealth and Thieves’ Tools for this bonus. Sneak Attack is the most envied ability of Rogues, and it’s a biggie. Doing and extra die of damage on nearly any attack (certain restrictions apply) is a huge benefit. And with Thieves’ Cant, Dinesh will be able to converse with any thief anywhere who is also familiar with the secret, coded language of thieves. This could become important as he travels more. Sharing intel with others of the profession could keep Dinesh’s neck out of trouble!

Feats are listed as an optional rule, and while my eventual DM may choose not to allow them, I find they add a great deal of color and life to a character, so I’m selecting some here. Chapter Four of the Scarred Lands Player’s Guide includes an extensive list of some new, interesting, and useful feats to choose for your character. I chose Wild Scent, from page 115, as Dinesh’s starting feat. It’s a highly useful one to have, as it removes disadvantage when he’s unable to see because of blindness or darkness.

Rogues use d8s for their hit points at each level. At 1st level, Dinesh has the maximum (8) hit points, plus he adds his Constitution modifier at every level, so he has a total of 8 + 3 = 11 hit points. (Dinesh had better hope he can level up quickly; 11 hit points won’t last long in the wild!) Each time he levels up, he will add another 1d8+3 to his hit point total.

Step Seven: Choose Equipment

Using the class “equipment packages” found on pages 124-25 of the Scarred Lands Player’s Guide, Dinesh, by virtue of being a rogue, has in his possession a tail blade, a suit of leather armor, a dagger, a burglar’s pack, a traveler’s outfit, and a set of thieves’ tools. For his racial equipment package, Dinesh adds a shortsword, a short bow with quiver with 20 arrows, and a set of common clothes.

Now I have a fully fleshed-out slitherin Rogue character, Dinesh, ready to seek his fame and fortune in the Scarred Lands. I can’t wait to find a game to play where I can put Dinesh to the test!

If your curiosity is piqued, check out all of our Scarred Lands-related releases on!

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