Stuck on what type of character to make for your next session?
I know I am. I’m constantly getting stuck on half-baked ideas or one-dimensional personalities. At times it feels like it’s almost impossible, especially if you’re committed to making somebody original. But never fear! As it turns out, somebody has already written a character like yours before and you probably won’t do it any better than them, so you’re basically free to do whatever the heck you want! Including blatantly copying Wolverine from the X-Men comics. Check out 5 options for inspiring your D&D character below.
Also, keep your eyes peeled next week for five MORE characters to base your D&D characters on. That’s right, we’re covering all 10 (/12) classes!
1) Logan/Wolverine — Marvel Comics
“You were an animal … but we took you in. I gave you a family.” — Charles Xavier, Logan (2017)
Whether it constantly bubbles below the surface or is worn like a furious badge of pride, Barbarians all carry a wild rage in their hearts. Typically characterised as hulking brutes who relish the taste of battle, prone to shrugging off grievous wounds like they were paper cuts, the Barbarian has little patience for complicated or non-confrontational battle plans. These vicious fighters are usually drunk on violence, hailing from brutal cultures or wild spaces where strength is all that really matters.
But what if the rage that the would-be Berzerker is inebriated by was something they saw as a curse rather than a boon?
Though depictions differ across movies and comics, Marvel Comics’ poster X-Man, Wolverine, is in constant conflict between his desire for peace and the raging fire in his soul. In 2017’s Logan, the post-western sees an elderly Wolverine forced to engage in the violence and fury he’d tried to leave behind in order to protect those he cares about.
Try injecting a little of Logan’s conflict between his animal rage and his human soul into your Barbarian: A Half-Orc shut-in trying to drown the screams for violence in her blood under gallons of ale; A Bugbear warrior left for dead who is forced to question everything after being nursed to health by a kindly Sage; A feral Tabaxi raised alone in the wild struggling to trust the love and warmth they feel amongst their fellow adventurers.
2) Poison Ivy — DC Comics
“They can bury me in the ground, as deep as they like. But I’ll grow back. We always grow back. Don’t we, baby?” — Poison Ivy, Batman: The Animated Series
Druids are, in my experience, usually flower children who prefer the company of trees and animals to that of humanoids. They often grow up surrounded by flora and fauna and struggle to relate to the strange and arbitrary cultures of contemporary civilization. Background-wise, they make for good hermits and outlanders and usually focus more heavily on the animal aspect of nature than the plant-life. Which makes sense considering that the transformative “Wild Shape” is such a big feature of the Druid’s arsenal. Ain’t nothing like punching Goblins as a bear.
Pamela “Poison Ivy” Isley is a human-plant hybrid who wages war against mankind on behalf of all plant-life. She controls the flora around her and can cause it to spontaneously grow from the smallest seeds and spores, an ability she often uses to ensnare and assault denizens of Gotham City she perceives as infringing on her precious flora. She also naturally secretes a deadly, intoxicating poison from her skin and/or lips.
A Druid in the Poison Ivy vein should have an unhealthy, almost absurd relationship with plant-life. They will violently oppose the collection of firewood, weep over crushed flowers, and speak to trees like old friends. Humanoid life should mean very little to them, and the laws of nature should be the first and most important factors in their decision making. Perhaps they join the party exclusively to find exotic new plant-life to cultivate and nurture?
Also, you should work with your DM to think of creative ways to adapt the Wild Shape ability to primarily feature plant-creatures like Dryads, Myconids, and Treants.
3) FN-2187 “Finn” — Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Race(s): Human, Orc, Goblin
Alignment: Neutral Good
“I was raised to do one thing, but I’ve got nothing to fight for.” — Finn, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Fighters are truly the meat and potatoes of D&D. By nature of their versatility and deceptive simplicity, most new players tend to pick them at first — no doubt reminded of the honorable and heroic Aragorns and Jon Snows they admire from popular fantasy narratives.
FN-2187 was conscripted at a young age by the villainous First Order and, according to prequel novel, Before the Awakening, was considered an extremely promising recruit. Fortunately, his natural empathy and unwillingness to kill saw him desert his post and reluctantly join the Resistance to try to liberate the galaxy.
A Finn should struggle with their recent desertion of an evil legion. Perhaps they grew up as a simple grunt in a Goblin or Orc warband, or a faceless soldier of an insidious Human cult. They should struggle with life outside of the strict military structure they grew up with, and, while good and brave at heart, will instinctively act out of cowardly self-interest. In combat, they should be hesitant to kill unless absolutely necessary and would prefer to humanely subdue or talk down their adversaries, especially if they perceive them to be simple soldiers. They show little mercy to tyrants, however, and will strike them the hardest.
4) Jake the Dog — Adventure Time
“This dolphin fell in love with me!” — Jake the Dog, Adventure Time
The Bard can be a difficult nut to crack characterisation-wise. Typically in the games, I run they tend to occupy a space between the cheeky Rogue and the wise Druid or Wizard. One thing that does usually bring them together, however, is their impressive ability to seduce mostly anything.
Enter Jake the Dog, legendary viola player and shapeshifter, who is happily married to Lady Rainicorn, the Korean-speaking magical rainbow Unicorn, with whom he has a healthy litter of pups. So … yeah. Jake’s a pretty impressive Bard.
If you’re going to make a Jake, you should pick a Changeling and use your nifty shapeshifting powers with reckless abandon. Sure, the rules might not state that you can become a “klik klik” suit of armor or turn your hands into keys, but that’s what bugging your DM is for. You should also break into song at any and all opportunity, especially if there’re breakfast foods involved. Also be sure to prepare some folksy musings and sage advice to drop on the party when they’re being a little headstrong … not that that usually works on Jake’s adventuring buddy, Finn.
5) Blade — Marvel Comics
“When you understand the nature of a thing … you know what it’s capable of.” Blade — Blade
You hear that? That’s definitely not the sound of me scraping the bottom of the barrel of which character can be considered Cleric-like in order to write this list. No, sir. Okay, so I can see how Wesley Snipes’ Vampire-Hunter is a bit of a stretch. But listen up, because the more I thought about this one the more it actually kind of made sense.
Clerics are characterized by their faith, their devotion to a deity, and their hatred of the blasphemous Undead. They usually make for kindly, devout characters who seek to ease suffering wherever they see it and offer counsel to the other party members while preaching the word of their Lord. They can also reign down a righteous fury on the unholy with all the wrath of a God’s own hammer. They’re pretty complex creatures.
While Blade, the Human-Vampire hybrid (or Dhampir), is not exactly devout, he does have that fervent desire to crush the Undead by any means necessary, even if it is beneath his combat boots rather than Her holy word. Also, the first movie has a blood sprinkler techno rave vampire massacre in it so that has to count for something.
Imagine a Cleric blighted with the faintest kiss of undeath who is hell-bent on destroying the very same monster that gave them life. Who perhaps hollowly, almost begrudgingly, invokes the word and prayers of their Lord as if they’re just a tool to smite and never to heal. Who carries their desire to eradicate the Undead with them constantly, instantly judging any denizen of unlife as a roach to be squashed before their infestation inevitably takes hold.
I told you it made sense.
Feeling inspired? Let us know who your next character will be in the comments. Bonus points if it’s a shameless clone of Batman.