Character Creation

An easy way to make a character (with explanations) is to use D&D Beyond's Character Builder, then print out the character sheet at the end.

  1. Talk with your Dungeon Master.

Before you start making a character for a campaign, make sure you know what content is and isn't allowed in their setting - for example, some DMs don't allow certain classes or races. Most DMs for 5e will state that they allow officially published content only. See how they feel about players using custom content before you build a character using it.

  1. Choose from a selection of Character Sheets.

If you're new, the default sheet is recommended. If you want something a bit fancier and you know what class you want to play, choose a Class-Specific sheet from this zip archive.

  1. Get to Know the Areas on the Character Sheet.

Take a look at this Primer for the 5th Edition Default Character Sheet, and the similar D&D Newbies Character Sheet Guide.

It's a complete instruction set, with page numbers to reference from the Basic Rules and the Player's Handbook.

5. Choose a Class.

(drop-down for an explanation and overview of the ones from the Player's Handbook)

This is your adventurer's job - what special abilities will they have? In the Player's Handbook, you have the choices outlined below. Some vocabulary for you:

  • Classes marked as Support are known to heal allies' wounds, weaken enemies with magical effects, or strengthen allies with magic.

  • Melee attackers are built to deal damage with weapons like swords, daggers, axes, and warhammers. Ranged attackers can use crossbows, bows, and thrown weapons to great effect.

  • Spellcasters have access to spells. They each have a spell list, which includes all spells that can be learned (known) and prepared (to be used that in-game day) by a character with that class. As spellcasters level up, they gain access to more and higher-level spell slots, which are used up when a spell is cast. Many Spellcasters have access to Cantrips, which don't "use up" any spell slots when they're cast.

      • Full-Casters: High number of spells available to use each game day, plus access to higher-level spells

      • Half-Casters: Low number of spells available to use each game day, and the power level of those spells is lower than Full-Casters

      • Divine Spellcasters (Clerics, Paladins, Druids) : Choose which spells you prepare each day from your entire Spell List.

      • Arcane Spellcasters (Bards, Rangers, Sorcerers, Warlocks) : The list of Known spells and Prepared spells are the same for these classes, as they can only gain/replace their known spells upon leveling up.

      • Wizards: "Arcane" Full-Casters who prepare spells each day

          • Number of Known Spells: increases when leveling up (or after finding new spells in the world).

          • Prepared Spells: wizards must choose to prepare spells each day from the list of spells they know (memorize).

Barbarian: Raging High-damage Melee Attacker

    • High health (d12+Constitution per level)

    • Stat focus: Strength, Constitution

    • PHB Subclasses (Primal Path, chosen at level 3): Totem Warrior, Berserker

Bard: Arcane Spellcaster (full-caster) Support

    • Average health (d8+Constitution per level)

    • Stat focus: Charisma

    • PHB Subclasses (College, chosen at level 3): Lore, Valor

Cleric: Divine Spellcaster (full-caster) Support

    • Average health (d8+Constitution per level)

    • Stat focus: Wisdom

    • PHB Subclasses (Domain, chosen at level 1): Knowledge, Life, Light, Nature, Tempest, Trickery

Druid: Shapeshifter (animal forms)/Divine Spellcaster (full-caster) Support

      • Average health (d8+Constitution per level) - your animal form has its own additional health pool.

      • Stat focus: Wisdom

      • PHB Subclasses (Circle, chosen at level 2): Land, Moon

Fighter: Ranged or Melee Attacker with customizable extra abilities (feats)

    • Higher than average health (d10+Constitution per level)

    • Stat Focus: Strength/Dexterity, Constitution

    • PHB Subclasses (Martial Archetype, chosen at level 3): Battlemaster, Champion, Eldritch Knight

Monk: Fast-moving Melee Attacker with some magical effects

    • Average health (d8+Constitution per level)

    • Stat Focus: Dexterity, Wisdom

    • PHB Subclasses (Monastic Tradition, chosen at level 3): Four Elements, Open Hand, Shadow

Paladin: High-damage Melee Attacker/Divine Spellcaster (half-caster) Support

    • Higher than average health (d10+Constitution per level)

    • Stat Focus: Strength, Charisma

    • PHB Subclasses (Oath, chosen at level 3): Ancients, Devotion, Vengeance

Ranger: Melee or Ranged Attacker/Scout/Spellcaster (half-caster)

    • Higher than average health (d10+Constitution per level)

    • Stat Focus: Strength/Dexterity, Wisdom

    • PHB Subclasses (Ranger Archetype, chosen at level 3): Beast Master, Hunter

Rogue: Sneaky hit-and-run Attacker/Scout

    • Average health (d8+Constitution per level)

    • Stat Focus: Dexterity

    • PHB Subclasses (Roguish Archetype, chosen at level 3): Arcane Trickster, Assassin, Thief

Sorcerer: Arcane Spellcaster (full caster) with spell enhancement

    • Lower than average health (d6+Constitution per level)

    • Stat Focus: Charisma, Constitution

    • PHB Subclasses (Sorcerous Origin, chosen at level 1): Draconic Bloodline, Wild Magic

Warlock: Arcane Spellcaster (half-caster) with powerful spells

    • Average health (d8+Constitution per level)

    • Stat Focus: Charisma

    • PHB Subclasses (Otherworldly Patron, chosen at level 1): Archfey, Fiend, Great Old One

Wizard: Arcane* Spellcaster (full-caster) with a specialty in one spell school

    • Lower than average health (d6+Constitution per level)

    • Stat Focus: Intelligence

    • PHB Subclasses (Arcane Tradition, chosen at level 2): Abjuration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Evocation, Illusion, Necromancy, Transmutation

Continue following the guide from Step 4. After copying down all of the relevant abilities from your class, race, and background, you should have a nearly complete first page of the character sheet! If your character is starting at level 1, you may be nearly finished. Make sure that if you've chosen a spellcasting class, you've chosen the spells (and cantrips) your character will be using. If you're not sure which spells to choose, ask your DM for help!

Backstory

Leveling Up