One of the biggest problems I had with the pre-made characters provided was that they were not always well implemented characters. In fact, I find that they often had a plethora of poor choices in the design process. While there is something to be said about providing something to be improved upon, the idea that these characters felt like they had been made by somebody who did not understand the game was disheartening. Further, when a new person arrives and plays with a group of "regulars" with their own characters, the deficiencies of the pre-made characters became quite apparent.
With the new season of Encounters, a new stock of pre-made characters have finally been included for players to choose from. As this new season centers around the Drow and their machinations, it only made sense that a set of Drow adventurers would be included with the adventure content. The biggest problem with these characters is that they are actually just the previous six characters with the race option switched to "Drow." Some of these characters are so poorly implemented as to beg the question: Why print them at all? In response to that, I decided to look at each one in turn and see how I would have better developed it.
For once, I have chosen to abide by all of the official rules. This character is developed entirely from standard Essentials content. He is a Drow Slayer Fighter and all of his choices come from those allowed in the Essentials core books.
|Drow + Slayer? Not the standard combination.|
|It's amazing what a good feat choice can do.|
The net effect was astounding. This new Ryltar was better at hitting his opponents AND dealt more damage. I swapped out his hand axe for a dagger so his ranged attack became absurdly more effective. With a high Dexterity, he was able to wear lighter armor and benefit from the natural Dexterity modifier, making his speed higher and most of his armor-affected skill checks better.
Honestly, after making this Dexterity based Ryltar, I could not see a way in which the original was superior. My Ryltar, made only using the elements of the Essentials books, was simply a more finely crafted character. A new player who picked this character up would still be able to compete with Encounters participants who made overly-optimized "super characters." Although not perfect, I think it better fit the intent of the original character while retaining it's Drow-iness and Slayer-iness.
NOTE: The image for this character card was taken from scans of the official D&D Encounters character card. Due to that, it bears characteristics of the medium. Once high-resolution images of the Drow characters are available, it will be updated accordingly. This website apologizes for the quality issue.