There’s no wrong way to start and run your D&D session.
A common recommendation is to agree, as a group, what sort of game you want to play first, create characters that fit into that concept and who have some reason to stay together and then test how that works in a session zero.
Not every single character option that exists in D&D may be suitable for the game you’re about to run or play. There are so many now!
DM Sam Russell has created a Google Spreadsheet, a tool called “Is This Allowed Too?” to help speed things along. It’s a reference to help reduce the number of times players have to ask questions that start with “Is…” and finish with “… allowed?”
Are Unity Clerics allowed?
Are Gunsmith Artificers allowed?
Those sort of questions.
You can find the spreadsheet here, and you’ll need to make a copy of it into your own Google Drive before you can tailor the data to suit your campaign.
The first tab is “Summary”, and it acts as both a key and, to begin with, a master switch. The colourful Sources column serves as a legend mapping book titles to the codes that appear alongside races, classes, backgrounds, feats and spells later.
For example, “Acquisitions Incorporated” has the code “AI” and is coloured a light green which reminds us that it’s an “Official Source”.
That same tab initially acts as the master controller for what’s available. If the word “Allowed” appears beside the source, then everything from that source becomes allowed; otherwise, it’s disallowed.
The other tabs are Races, Classes, Backgrounds, Feats, Other Features and Spells. Here, Sam has taken the time to write out every single possible entry, splitting them into Official or Unofficial (like Unearthed Arcana stuff).
Initially, the “Allowed?” column checks back to the Summary sheet to see whether the master Source has been allowed, or not. If you want to allow some, but not all, of a source, Sam suggests you simply write over their formula with your ruling; Allowed or Disallowed.
That works, but do note that if you do that, then you will break the connection for that entry with the Summary control tab. If you know only a little about Google Sheets function it is easy to re-write, but if not then you’ll either have to make a fresh copy of the whole spreadsheet (as you would when starting a new game) or forever keep that cell updated by hand.
Sam has updated this sheet at least once already, expanding it to add in new Unearthed Arcana and other new rules. Sadly, once you make a copy, any structural changes or updates Sam makes to their master will not appear on yours.
You can keep an eye on /u/SamsyTheUnicorn Reddit’s profile to see if they post about any future updates, and there’s the Reddit chat option to ask questions. Sadly, Google Sheets does not have a system for a parent spreadsheet to send messages, like update alerts, to its children.
You can access and copy the Is This Allowed Too? spreadsheet here.
Creative Commons credit: Goblin Sniper by Plognark.
How do you generally decide which classes, races and other character options are suitable for your campaign setting?