The people have spoken, and our latest Patreon Poll has come to a close. Asked to choose which Hero was most deserving of a wardrobe change/makeover, the good folk of Handbook-World voted for Cleric in a landslide. I hope you will all join me in passing our resident rules lawyer his fair share of compliments. (Better luck next time Bard, Druid, and Necromancer!)

As for Wizard’s confusion, I think today’s little tableau serves as a fine illustration of “the rich inner life problem.” We’ve talked about this concept in terms of acting, but it applies to a character’s appearance as well. Basically, the rich inner life problem shows up every time your character’s complex identity is invisible to the rest of the table. You’ve got this fascinating PC in your head, but no one else gets to experience it. Confusion and miscommunication are the result.

When it comes to costuming and appearance, so much comes down to your initial character description. That’s because first impression are hard to shake. Players are easily distracted creatures, and it’s all too easy to miss a crucial detail. For example, do you remember that one time my buddy the paladin thought his Nordic love interest was a bad opera stereotype? That can easily happen to you as a PC. Your youthful wizard might become an old man in the table’s collective imagination. That all-important burn mark on your character’s face might disappear, leaving your dragon slaying motivation un-foreshadowed. You might even go through half a campaign before your human partymates realize you’ve been an elf the whole time!

For these reasons, I think character art is a vitally important tool for setting the right tone. Trawling through Google Images, doodling something yourself, or even paying for a commission can all go a long way toward locking in your alter-ego. If you like the look of Laurel’s stuff (shameless plug alert) we can definitely talk shop about commissions, but I’d encourage you all to hit the Artist’s Alley at your local game con or shop around on Deviant Art. Because even if you know exactly what your character looks like, getting that information to the rest of the table is easier said than done.

So what about the rest of you guys? Has your table ever missed an “obvious” detail about your character? Do you try to avoid confusion by using character art? Or do you prefer to let the mind’s eye do all the work? Tell us all about your character’s appearance, costume, and important visual details down in the comments!


THIS COMIC SUCKS! IT NEEDS MORE [INSERT OPINION HERE] Is your favorite class missing from the Handbook of Heroes? Maybe you want to see more dragonborn or aarakocra? Then check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on the The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. You’ll become part of the monthly vote to see which elements get featured in the comic next!