DnD's portrayal of me

Following up on last year's look at how Dungeons and Dragons (popularly abbreviated DnD) describes me (albeit according to an internet poll using self-assessment, so let's not take this too seriously) I found yet another variant on the results: seventh level human sorcerer with Str=12, Dex=16, Con=11, Int=16, Wis=16, Cha=16. It seemed like a good moment to come up with a table of results seen so far, with a final column I'll call consensus (without any particular effort at justification):

Druid (7)Sorcerer(7)Sorcerer(7)
Druid (−4),
Fighter (−4)
Druid (−4),
Fighter (−4)
Fighter (−4),
Monk (−4),
Ranger (−4),
Wizard (−4)
Ranger (−1),
Druid (−2)
Halfling (−1),
Elf (−1)
Halfling (−1),
Elf (−3)
Halfling (−1)Halfling (−1),
Elf (−1)
Halfling (−1),
Elf (−1)
AlignmentNeutralNeutralLawful NeutralNeutral GoodNeutral GoodNeutral Good
TendencyGoodGoodNeutral GoodLawfulLawful Neutral

Inferred values
Hit points4+6d44+6d48+3d8+3d48+6d84+6d44+6d4
Spells knownall@0 +5@1 +8@{1,2}
5@0 +3@1
all@0 +4@1 +8@{1,2}
5@0 +3@1
all Druid spells
5@0 +3@1
all Druid spells7@0 +5@1 +3@2 +2@37@0 +5@1 +3@2 +2@3
Spell/day4@0 +4@1 +3@2
6@0 +6@1 +1@2 +1@3
4@0 +4@1 +2@2
6@0 +6@1
5@0 +4@1 +2@2
6@0 +5@1
6@0 +5@1 +3@2 +2@3 +1@46@0 +7@1 +7@2 +5@36@0 +7@1 +7@2 +5@3
Skill points504058706058
Feats444 (+5)4 (+8)44

As previously concluded, for the Wizard(4)/Sorcerer(3), I'll have a rat as my familiar, to compensate for my lousy Fortitude save with a +2 bonus. I am proficient with all simple weapons (a bit of a stretch in reality) but not with any armour or other weapons. I know Common and two other languages (that's close enough to true); as a human sorcerer I have no particular bias as to which those would be.

Can I chose spells, feats and skill ranks that, with the above, give a character reasonably similar to me in competences ? Naturally, some adaptation shall be called for, given that I inhabit a world without magic and don't possess the ability to spontaneously cast spells; but it's not too wild a stretch to map that onto my real-world competence with computers and algebra (which are apt to seem magical and arcane to many people) and knowledge of science, technology and mathematics.


The sorcerer class skills (and their relevant abilities) are: Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int). All but Bluff fit me reasonably, albeit Craft less so than the rest. Cross-class skills I can consider include: Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Int), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha) and Use Rope (Dex) – plus smatterings of: Decipher Script (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis) and Sleight of Hand (Dex).

I might even throw in some Skill Tricks while I'm at it. Candidates with a reasonable semblance of foundation in reality include: Nimble Charge, Quick Swimmer, Twisted Charge and Up the Hill. At level seven, I can have at most three of those; but all the skills they require are cross-class, so cost me two skill points per rank. Taking all three that I can would use up thirty-six of my fifty skill points, leaving only fourteen for everything else; which would leave me unrealistically short of other skills. Balancing the degrees of unrealism implied by spending my skill points, I find Nimble Charge and five ranks in Balance, for a total of twelve skill points (almost a quarter of my total available), the most compelling of the options. The five ranks in Balance I need to qualify for it, combined with my dex of 3, make me appreciably better at crossing difficult ground generally; I'm 40% more likely to keep my balance wherever I wouldn't, otherwise, be guaranteed to fail. Giving me an almost even chance of tight-rope walking would probably be unrealistic, but not if the rope is replaced with a rigid (non-slippery, unobstructed and horizontal) beam of similar width (under two inches), which is what I understand the rules to actually be describing (as DC 20; with a skill modifier of 8, I have a 9/20 probability of keeping my balance).

Next, let's consider the diverse kinds of Knowledge, given that I do know quite a lot. I'll rule out dungeoneering; all the rest either are things in the real world about which I have moderate knowledge or require interpretation and do map reasonably to areas about which I'm not entirely ignorant. I'll read: nobility and royalty in terms of who now holds the kinds of power nobles and royals held in the mediæval world (corporate bosses and politicians); the planes as places you can't get to by normal means from Earth's surface (astronomically distant places: alien planets, galaxies far far away); and, of course, arcana as technology, science and mathematics. The last is a class skill for me, unlike all the rest, so I'll take plenty – let's say five, since that qualifies me a +2 synergy bonus on Spellcasting checks. Knowledge is a trained-only skill, so I need at least one in each of the rest to reflect that I do know something about them; and even putting only one into each of architecture, geography, history, local, nature, nobility-and-royalty, religion and the planes will cost me fifteen skill points, for a total of twenty-one (dangerously close to half my total) on knowledge, so I think I'd better let it go at that.

That leaves me with just seventeen skill points for everything else. Spellcraft deserves at least five of those (probably more, but I can't afford it), which gives a +2 bonus to Use Magic Device. I'll pass on Craft, I think; but I should keep at least one for Profession (it's trained only) if I can identify a profession reasonably matching me; that should enable me to earn around six gold pieces a week, which is ample for subsistence, so reasonably faithful to my reality. Quite what profession corresponds to a software engineer I don't know, but if programming is sorcery it'll be some form of applied magic. Concentration deserves a few points (I am reasonably good at not being distracted when something needs my attention) and it's a class skill, so I'll give it five of my remaining eleven points, leaving six for cross-class skills (other than Knowledge and Balance). Decipher script, Tumble and Use Magic Device are trained only and I'm not entirely incapable, so they get one each; and that uses up everything. So I've spent skill points as follows:

Class skills
Cross-class skills
Skill Trick
Nimble Charge

I can run or charge across treacherous surfaces without risk of losing my balance. That costs 2 skill points.


I know seven level-0 spells, five of level 1, three of level two and two of level three. (Where it comes to casting them, I have six shots at level 0, seven at level 1, seven at level 2 and five at level 3; I can use each shot on any spell of its level, or lower, that I know.) These are drawn from the spell lists for Wizards and Sorcerers; the rules suggest I may have other options open to me, but these are the obvious options to work with.

At level zero, Read Magic and Mending are clear equivalents to things I really can do. Everything else departs too far from reality to correspond with things I can actually do – beyond the sense in which everyone in my world can do Message (mobile 'phone), Open/Close (keys) and Light (torches) – so it's time to just accept that we can't be much more realistic than to invent what I might plausibly have learned, given my temperament and character. Detect Poison, Detect Magic, Dancing Lights and Mage Hand are natural fits, taking us to six; for the seventh I suppose Resistance will do.

Level 1 offers far more options and I only get five of them. Reasonable options include: Alarm, Endure Elements, Shield, Mage Armour, Unseen Servant, Comprehend Languages, Detect Secret Doors, Identify, Floating Disk, Animate Rope, Erase, Expeditious Retreat and Feather Fall. I think the most realistic matches to my life are Endure Elements, Comprehend Languages, Identify, Expeditious Retreat and Feather Fall.

The interesting candidates at level 2 include: Detect Thoughts, Locate Object, See Invisibility, Continual Flame, Invisibility, Darkvision, Knock, Levitate, Rope Trick, Spider Climb and Whispering Wind – plus the ability enhancers: Bear's Endurance (Con), Bull's Strength (Str), Cat's Grace (Dex), Eagle's Splendour (Cha), Fox's Cunning (Int) and Owl's Wisdom (Wis), each of which grants +4 for one minute per level. So many nice options, but I can only know three of them. I think I end up with Locate Object, Knock and Darkvision. Finally, for my two level three spells: Dispel Magic and Tiny Hut.

You might notice that nothing here is at all martial or even particularly useful for committing crimes; those simply haven't been the things for which I've had any need. Indeed, as spell level increases, the spells on offer get noticeably more oriented towards winning in conflict rather than assisting in co-operation; this made level 3's chosing significantly easier than level 2's. If I were actually to find myself diverted into a life of adventure, you can be sure I'd be exercising the Sorcerer's ability to, when gaining a level and the new spells that go with it, trade in one lower level spell for another of its level.

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