The Essentials Players Book, like the 1983 Mentzer Player’s Book, starts with a solo adventure that teaches the basic D&D concepts. One difference is that in Mentzer, you play a male human fighter – a lovable, goofy, dumb fighter. In Essentials you can build any of the 4 main D&D classes: fighter, wizard, cleric, and rogue. But that choice comes later. First you choose your gender, race, and appearance.
“Your hero can be a human, an elf, a dwarf, or a halfling […]. Your character can be male or female, and can have whatever color skin, hair, and eyes you can imagine.”
Wow, I feel like I’m drinking from the firehose of narrative power! My character will forever define my unique spirit! I think I’ll be an elf with ebony skin and violet eyes!