FIVEY: Recreating 5e Characters!

I thought it would be fun to take two of my old D&D characters from high school and turn them into FIVEY characters! Actually, not just that: they're my first two characters ever, dating to 2017/2018. Let's see what happens!

Chad, Human Fighter

Chad was born into a merchant family and went to college for business, but all he learned was how to fight, how to party, and how to pick up chicks and twinks despite his average bod and mediocre personality. “If my big sword won’t impress you, my personality probably won’t either.” He also has a pet chihuahua named Sadie whom he takes with him everywhere he goes in a baby carrier. The illustration above was by my partner! Of course, we both imagined him to look like Lucky Luciano.

I played Chad up to level 6, though I think I started him at level 5.

D&D Features & Traits

Chad’s top three abilities are strength, constitution, dexterity, and charisma—for some reason, these are all 18 and 20, so I think we must have randomly determined abilities or intentionally beefed up our characters since it was meant to be a (relatively) high-level campaign. His only two skills were intimidation and athletics—he should have had more skills from his background except it seems like I forgot to list them when declaring his custom background as “frat bro”.

As a level 6 fighter, Chad had the following traits:

  • Great Weapon Fighting: Reroll once on damage rolls for two-handed weapons resulting in 1-2.
  • Second Wind: Recover 1d10 hit points, take a long rest to use again.
  • Action Surge: Extra action and bonus action; use every long rest.
  • Extra Attack: Make two attacks per action starting at fifth level.

As a member of the battlemaster subclass, Chad also had the superiority dice feature; he starts every day with 4 “superiority dice” of d8, and he could spend them to use powers:

  • Commander’s Strike: Use an attack and bonus action to command an ally to attack, adding the spent superiority die to their damage.
  • Evasive Footwork: Add the spent superiority die to armor class while moving.
  • Menacing Attack: On a failed wisdom save, a target must add the spent superiority die to damage taken by my attack and become frightened.

Completely forgot that D&D 5e had this subsystem, which was developed early on in playtests as the fighter class power. Anyway.


The boring thing about D&D is that all character features basically relate to combat. This is because the significance (symbolic content) of D&D is expressed through violence, whether the subjects of that violence are racial-supremacist ubermenschen or gay-analog tieflings. This is just to say that violence is a blank canvas for story-telling more than it has any inherent bend towards reactionary or liberal politics. The more peculiar thing about D&D is that, being a legacy game, it tends to backport the racialized fantasies of its earlier editions in addition to—or even as a metaphor for—its more modern or liberal fantasies. This results in things like tieflings being conceived of as a race whose traits are essentialized by the game-text, despite that being nonsensical and the least interesting way of telling stories where tieflings are characters oppressed for their circumstances of birth. What were we talking about again?

What’s worse in Chad’s case is that his base fighter powers are simple to translate, but his battlemaster subclass relies upon a kinda complex subsystem with resource-tracking and a selection of smaller powers. FIVEY trades classes for customizability, but in doing so it becomes more difficult to give characters more complex and developed abilities. Look at Great Weapon Fighting, Second Wind, Action Surge, and Extra Attack. They’re all boring, sure, but they’re easy to treat as self-contained little feats. Commander’s Strike, Evasive Footwork, and Menacing Attack all rely upon the superiority dice subsystem, much in the same way that GLOG’s wizard template relies upon the magic dice subsystem (meaning that as much as I would like FIVEY to be GLOG-compatible, it’s not as easy as that).

There is one approach we could take, drawing inspiration from a later version of GLOG as well as an earlier version of FIVEY. In both of these rulesets, there is a universal resource which characters spend in order to trigger their special powers (in GLOG’s case, “everyone gets magic dice now!”). The reason why I quietly dropped this rule from FIVEY was because by tying every feat to such a resource, it greatly limited the potential for different kinds of feats with different criteria (and it also made it somewhat difficult to imagine / design every feat as being worthwhile enough to spend a resource). Magic dice are fun, but they become tedious when everyone has magic dice and every feat or power has to revolve around them.

So, here’s a middle ground: bring back a universal resource with a basic use accessible to everyone, and which some feats might require. D&D Fifth Edition actually has three weird mutually exclusive rules which could serve as our basis: inspiration, bardic inspiration, and hero points. Inspiration is a resource granted by the referee which the player can spend to give their character advantage on an ability check, saving throw, or attack roll (they’re all the same thing). Bardic inspiration is granted by bard characters to their allies, giving them d6 which the target can add to any ability check, saving throw, or attack roll (again, they’re all the same thing). Hero points are an optional rule where characters start with, say, 5 points each session, and can spend 1 point at a time to add d6 to an ability check, saving throw, or attack roll (still all the same thing). Did you count that? That’s three different subsystems which all basically do the same thing.

So, let’s try something like this:

  • Hero dice allow a player to add d6 to any stat check, even after it was attempted.
  • Each character begins a session with a number of hero dice equal to their level.
  • Some feats may unlock new ways to spend hero dice.

And that gives us a little resource to work with! It also makes FIVEY compatible-ish with GLOG. After all, we are kind of universalizing (a somewhat weaker version of) magic dice, just in a different way than later GLOG did.

FIVEY Restoration

Being a human, Chad would get to pick a mundane background instead of a weird origin for his level 0 package. This means that Chad will get two backgrounds, which is sort of a pain in the ass since I didn’t even pick an “actual” D&D background for him to begin with, and none of the backgrounds I have right now really fit his vibe. What I’m going to do is reskin two existing FIVEY backgrounds to match Chad. As the player, I get to do whatever I want so long as it’s not like too insane. I’m going to transform the criminal background into the Frat Dude background, replacing the banditry skill with a Partyyy skill but keeping everything else as-is. I’m also going to read the sage background as a business major background, which doesn’t strictly change the formal aspects of the background but it will certainly impact the vibes. I might replace the education skill with a Business one?

Now for the other feats. Let’s actually make Chad a level 5 character in FIVEY just so we have lots of room. I think that Great Weapon Fighting, Extra Attack, and Action Surge are all kind of boring abilities that don’t require thought or positioning on the player’s part. I’ll take Second Wind, Commander’s Strike, Evasive Footwork, and Menacing Attack as his later feats. The titles and skills are kind of difficult because I think they depend on what a character was doing during the campaign in order to attain those titles / learn those skills. I’m going to treat Second Wind as an ability he picked up after falling in love with a local florist, and assign to that row a title called Lovebird and a skill called Botany. The others I’ll just kind of fill in with my imagination.

And there’s Chad, my romantic proto-himbo! You’ll have to forgive some of the 2010s-era meme words, which were already out-of-date by the time I used them on Chad but were part of his characterization.

Ziggy, Half-Elf Bard

Ziggy was actually my first-ever D&D character, but I wanted to convert them after Chad for reasons that will soon become apparent. They are a C-list singer who has toured the continent on shows, though they never made much of a splash on the scene. Their best friend Celene got stuck in a music box after a bad deal with a wizard; Ziggy feels super guilty about it and wants to get her out of it. (This was so that my then-best-friend, now-partner, could theoretically join the campaign.)

I played Ziggy up to level 4, but I forgot at which level they started. I think level 1?

D&D Features & Traits

Ziggy’s highest stat by far is charisma, followed by wisdom and dexterity. Bards in D&D have (limited) spellcasting capabilities, as well as the aforementioned bardic inspiration which a bard can use a number of times equal to their charisma modifier (minimum: once) prior to a long rest, at which point they regain those uses. Something I forgot to mention is that the inspiration die must be used within 10 minutes, which is basically a way of saying it does not last past the encounter. Ziggy was also a member of the College of Valor subclass, which allowed recipients of bardic inspiration to add the d6 to a damage roll or temporarily to their armor class. I’m not super keen on that, honestly.

Except for individual spells, bards are actually kinda simple characters to play?


I feel like bardic inspiration would be much easier to keep track of and use if it interfaced directly with the two other fucking inspiration / heroism / whatever point systems in the rulebook.

I have been stressed out about how spells should be handled, but having a little resource to handle them is really not bad (especially if they are only optionally tied to that resource). I think I want there to basically be a GLOG wizard feat, allowing them to spend a hero die to cast a spell from a scroll without destroying it (and also increase the power of that spell by investing more dice). Other magic feats would involve copying scrolls as a rest action or researching new ones as a downtime action.

FIVEY Restoration

I’m going to make Ziggy a level 3 character, slightly less complex than Chad just so we can focus on two major use-cases: inspiration and magic. They will have an elf origin for their level 0 package and an entertainer background for their level 1 package—not sure what else to call them lol. I’ll fill in their titles and skills for levels 2 and 3 based on the events of the campaign in which I had played.

The spells that I used the most for Ziggy were unseen servant, thunderwave, and cure wounds. Vicious mockery is fun, but it feels like it would be a feat rather than a spell per se—and it’s not a cantrip I used super often with Ziggy. Maybe I can use it as the magic item that elves start with, and combine it with Celene’s music box…

And there’s Ziggy! Much less complicated haha.


I think I’m actually really happy with the inclusion of hero dice or whatever they should be called—maybe inspiration goes harder still? But having them without tying every feat to them is really helpful, I think, in making feats more complex and mutually interactive. It also just feels nice to revisit my memories with my high school friends with whom I first played D&D, and to recreate the characters more like how I imagined them versus how complicated the rules made them. :)

You might also notice I've been at more work with the character sheet! Well, maybe not since the last time I shared it just a couple days ago, but generally speaking. The changes have been leading to the sheet feeling more and more natural to use. The biggest and most recent change was just making the inventory section super big, and removing the hand slots (I did try to add indicators which my friend Ava suggested, but couldn't find a way to make them look nice). I'm actually really happy with there being 20 slots, since the goal is less to be imposing than just to help organize your sheet and make it easy to navigate. I guess I’m a weirdo who likes slots for entirely aesthetic reasons lol.


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