Creating a Character
Use this handy character creation guide; in conjunction with the Basic Rules and the info from the 5E books.
Step 1: Choose a Race
Every character belongs to a race, one of the many intelligent humanoid species in the D&D world. The most common player character races are dwarves, elves, gnomes, and humans. Some races also have subraces, such as mountain dwarf or wood elf.
Character Races has more information about these races.
The race you choose contributes to your character’s identity in an important way, by establishing a general appearance and the natural talents gained from culture and ancestry. Your character’s race grants particular racial traits, such as special senses, proficiency with certain weapons or tools, proficiency in one or more skills, or the ability to use minor spells. These traits sometimes dovetail with the capabilities of certain classes (see step 2). For example, the racial traits of the common gnome (re: 5E halfling) make them exceptional rogues, and high elves tend to be powerful wizards. Sometimes playing against type can be fun, too. Gnome paladins and mountain dwarf wizards, for example, can be unusual but memorable characters.
Your race also increases one or more of your ability scores, which you determine in step 3. Note these increases and remember to apply them later. Record the traits granted by your race on your character sheet. Be sure to note your starting languages and your base speed as well.
Step 2: Choose a Class
Every adventurer is a member of a class. Class broadly describes a character’s vocation, what special talents he or she possesses, and the tactics he or she is most likely to employ when exploring a dungeon, fighting monsters, or engaging in a tense negotiation. The character classes are described in the Basic Rules and the 5E Player’s Handbook. Further information may be found here at Character Classes .
Your character receives a number of benefits from your choice of class. Many of these benefits are class features—capabilities (including spellcasting) that set your character apart from members of other classes. You also gain a number of proficiencies: armor, weapons, skills, saving throws, and sometimes tools. Your proficiencies define many of the things your character can do particularly well, from using certain weapons to telling a convincing lie.
On your character sheet, record all the features that your class gives you at 1st level.
Step 3: Determine Ability Scores:
Much of what your character does in the game depends on his or her six abilities: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Each ability has a score, which is a number you record on your character sheet. The six abilities and their use in the game are described in the Basic Rules and the 5E Player’s Handbook. The ability score table provides a quick reference for what qualities are measured by each ability, what races increases
which abilities, and what classes consider each ability particularly important.
Variant: Customizing Ability Scores
Use this variant for determining your ability scores. The method described here allows you to build a character with a set of ability scores you choose individually. You have 27 points to spend on your ability scores. The cost of each score is shown on the Ability Score Point Cost table. For example, a score of 14 costs 7 points. Using this method, 15 is the highest ability score you can end up with, before applying racial increases. You can’t have a score lower than 8.
|Ability Score Point Cost|
This method of determining ability scores enables you to create a set of three high numbers and three low ones (15, 15, 15, 8, 8, 8), a set of numbers that are above average and nearly equal (13, 13, 13, 12, 12, 12), or any set of numbers between those extremes.
Step 4: Describe Your Character
Once you know the basic game aspects of your character, it’s time to flesh him or her out as a person. Your character needs a name. Spend a few minutes thinking about what he or she looks like and how he or she behaves in general terms.
Using the information in chapter 4, you can flesh out your character’s physical appearance and personality traits. Choose your character’s alignment (the moral compass that guides his or her decisions) and ideals. Chapter 4 also helps you identify the things your character holds most dear, called bonds, and the flaws that could one day undermine him or her. Your character’s background describes where he or she came from, his or her original occupation, and the character’s place in the D&D world. Your DM might offer additional backgrounds beyond the ones included in chapter 4, and might be willing to work with you to craft a background that’s a more precise fit for your character concept.
A background gives your character a background feature (a general benefit) and proficiency in two skills, and it might also give you additional languages or proficiency with certain kinds of tools. Record this information, along with the personality information
you develop, on your character sheet.
Step 5: Choose Equipment
Your class and background determine your character’s starting equipment, including weapons, armor, and other adventuring gear. Record this equipment on your character sheet. All such items are detailed in chapter 5. Instead of taking the gear given to you by your class and background, you can purchase your starting equipment. You have a number of gold pieces (gp) to spend based on your class, as shown in chapter 5. Extensive lists of equipment, with prices, also appear in that chapter. If you wish, you can also have one trinket at no cost (see the Trinkets table at the end of chapter 5). Your Strength score limits the amount of gear you can carry. Try not to purchase equipment with a total weight (in pounds) exceeding your Strength score times 15. Chapter 7 has more information on carrying capacity.
Step 6: Come Together
Most D&D characters don’t work alone. Each character plays a role within a party, a group of adventurers working together for a common purpose. Teamwork and cooperation greatly improve your party’s chances to survive the many perils in the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons. Talk to your fellow players and your DM to decide whether your characters know one another, how they met, and what sorts of quests the group might undertake.
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