Thursday, December 3, 2020

Character Advice from Ginny Di (and Aisling!)

I have gone on record with my love for the newest generation of D&D Players.  They are passionate about the game they play and they LOVE their characters.  I know that can sometimes feel a bit odd to the old-school crowd, but I don't care.  They have passion and energy and it is them that will carry role-playing into the future for the next generations, not us.

Among all these "New School" players one of my favorites is Ginny Di.  I'll provide some links below.

I featured her last week as the start of my Tasha's Week of Everything. She did a cosplay of Tasha, sponsored by Wizards of the Coast. It was a fun video and I enjoyed seeing all the work she put into the costume. 

This week she is back with another great video.  Here is her Twitter post for it.

And the video itself.

I know what you are thinking and to quote the Ninth Doctor, "I bet you are fussing and moaning right now, typical."

But really, how is this any different than what we all used to do anyway?  Roll 3d6 in order and deal with it.  Ginny is not so much against "Old School" as she thinks.  Maybe against the "Middle School" of character optimization (positive spin) or Min-Maxing (negative spin).

It is also great advice.  Characters should never be perfect.  Flaws, quirks, and shortcomings make for far more interesting characters.  Stan Lee knew this well. Peter Parker was a neurotic teen struggling to make ends meet. Doctor Strange was an arrogant prick before and even after his accident.  Tony Stark was an arrogant prick alcoholic.  I have/had a cleric who is afraid of the dark, a warlock who is colorblind,  a dwarven thief that was kicked out of his clan, loves opera, and hates ale (one did not cause the others).  

One of the things the New School D&D players do and do well is to think about their characters and try to build a good group dynamic.  This is mocked in Old School circles as "back story" but that is a rather naïve or limiting way of looking at it.   It is simply a different way of having fun with the same game.

Here is another video where she talks about 50 Character Builder Questions to ask of your character.  Now in a game like D&D where characters can grow and change a lot based on what happens around them then I say it is ok to answer "I don't know yet" or even change answers later.

She does these before each session (not all of them of course) and I think that is a good way of doing things.  I have been looking at her list and thought I might use some of them for my 31-day character challenge in January. 


An aisling is a poetic dream or vision and an Irish name for girls.  It is also the name of Ginny's elf warlock/druid character.  And she is also such a great character!   Here are some videos about her character.

Count me among those that have grown to love Aisling as well. She is such a great character and sounds like she is a lot of fun despite no because of her various flaws. 

Since I feel that Ginny's advice is actually in line with Old School character creation ethos I wanted to try to recreate Aisling for old school/OSR D&D.  Since she is a warlock/druid "witchdaughter" it makes sense to me that she is a type of witch.  Her Fey patron, Ùir, the Woman of the Soil, would make her a good Faerie Witch, but given her multiclassing into a druid and other factors, I see her as a Green Witch.   All apologies to Ginny for borrowing Aisling here.

Aisling by Ginny Di
Aisling by Ginny Di
Female Elf
5th Level Witch (Green Witch Tradition) 

Strength 8
Intelligence 14
Wisdom 15
Dexterity 13
Constitution 15
Charisma 15

Saving Throws
Death Ray/Poison 13
Magic Wands 14
Paralysis, Polymorph 13
Dragon Breath 16
Rods, Staffs, Spells 15

Hit Points: 19
AC: 7 (leather)
To hit AC 0: 18

Occult Powers
Familiar: Psuedo dragon "Nightshade"
Herbal Healing

1: Fey Sight, Fury of the Ancestor
2: Blazing Gaze, Evil Eye
3: Bestow Curse

Patron: Ùir, the Woman of the Soil
Coven: Solitary

I think this works well. 

There is a lot of "fan art" of Aisling out there.  Here is one from joenni, an artist I want to feature one day.

Aisling by joenni
Aisling by joenni

I can't do fan art, but I can do character write-ups.  I hope I did her justice.

check out Ginny's sites and especially her video content. It is all great fun.



Unknown said...

I was pleasantly surprised when Ginny Di began doing fun D&D videos. I first encounered her youtube when she did an excellent Harry Potter parody songs (still love her Ravenclaw song).

Tim Knight said...

Great article about a great (new) gamer and what she, and her 'generation' can bring to our ever-adapting hobby.

I really enjoyed Ginny's "build your character wrong" piece, but, to be honest, I'm not a fan of "building" a player's character in the first place.

I still enjoy the randomness of dice rolls. And the idea of "optimisation" is a total anathema to me, as it leans way too far into my perception of "video game territory".

But, ultimately, it's whatever works for a particular group at their table. As Ginny points out: "It's only a game!"

Dick McGee said...

She's one of the better youtube creators out there in the TTRPG sphere, no denying it. Up there with Seth Skorkowsky and Questing Beast, which is high praise least from my POV.

The comic geek in me insists on pointing out that Stan Lee had nothing to do with Tony Stark being an alcoholic. That started with Michelinie and Layton's scripts in 1979, and prior to that the character never showed a hint of having a drinking problem (despite attempts to retcon "hints" into flashback stories published later on. Prior to that Stark was a much more "generic" character type whose outsatnding feature was being a rich industrialist who (unlike Bruce Wayne) actually spent time on his business empire.

It's an important story arc in comics history, up there with the Green Lantern/Green Arrow "Snowbirds Don't Fly" story in 1971 which addressed drug addiction issues (albeit not quite as well as the "Demon In A Bottle" arc dealt with alcohol abuse IMO).

Timothy S. Brannan said...

@Dick McGee, duly noted! I am a bigger DC fan than a Marvel fan, so I know all about "Snowbirds Don't Fly."

JB said...


I don't think love for one's character is something absent from the "Old School" gamer's standard operating process. There was a LOT of love for characters Back In The Day (not to mention a lot of adding quirks and background notes). The main difference, however, is we didn't fall in love with a character BEFORE it had actually played in the game (i.e. it wasn't the chargen itself that generated the love).

I like passion and creativity in players...but character creation isn't the game.

Tom H said...

Sound advice, sub optimal characters have always been my thing!

Sadly a significant proportion of the people I have played with over the years build their characters to "win" - which sucks a lot of the fun out of it for me. Non-optimised characters create more interesting stories IMO, and the story is what I game for.