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).

You may see some duplicate character suggestions under some classes. This is intentional—there are several ways of building these characters, loosely associating their abilities with the D&D class they're listed under.

Barbarian: Raging High-damage Melee Attacker

Conan the Barbarian, Red Sonja, Hercules, Kratos (God of War), The Incredible Hulk (Marvel), The Mighty Thor (Marvel), Drax (Marvel), Dr. Mundo & Sion (League of Legends)

    • High health (d12+Constitution per level)

    • Stat focus: Strength, Constitution

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

Bard (full caster): Inspiring Arcane Spellcaster Support

Jaskier (The Witcher), Shakespeare, Tulio + Miguel (Dreamworks, The Road to El Dorado), Star-Lord (Marvel), Lucio (Overwatch), Sona & Seraphine (League of Legends), Miguel (Disney's Coco)

    • Average health (d8+Constitution per level)

    • Stat focus: Charisma

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

Cleric (full caster): Divine Spellcaster Support

Katara (Avatar: The Last Airbender), Belle & Rapunzel (Disney), Thor (Tempest Domain Cleric), Rey (Star Wars), Soraka & Taric (League of Legends), Mercy (Overwatch)

    • Average health (d8+Constitution per level)

    • Stat focus: Wisdom

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

Druid (full caster): Shapeshifter (animal forms)/Divine (Nature) Spellcaster + Summoner Support

Radagast (Lord of the Rings), Ant-man (Marvel), Vixen & Beast Boy & Aquaman (DC), Hagrid (Harry Potter), The Lorax (Dr. Seuss), Nidalee & Zyra (League of Legends), Hiccup (How to Train Your Dragon), Dr. Dolittle, Prince Ezran (The Dragon Prince), Mowgli (Disney)

      • 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)

Knights, Gladiators, Soldiers, Weapons Specialists. Amos (The Expanse), Captain America & Hawkeye (Marvel), Vi & Darius & Caitlyn (League of Legends), Sokka (Avatar: The Last Airbender), Mulan (Disney), Aloy (Horizon: Zero Dawn), Lara Croft (Tomb Raider), Link (Legend of Zelda)

    • 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

Aang & Korra (Avatar: The Last Airbender / Legend of Korra), The Jedi (Star Wars), Rocky Balboa, Jackie Chan, Lee Sin (League of Legends)

    • Average health (d8+Constitution per level)

    • Stat Focus: Dexterity, Wisdom

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

Paladin (half-caster): Oath-bound High-Damage Melee Attacker/Divine Spellcaster Support

Uther (World of Warcraft), Wonder Woman (DC), Captain Marvel (Marvel), Adora (She-Ra), Optimus Prime (Transformers), Judge Dredd, Darth Vader (Star Wars), Robocop, John Wick, Punisher (Marvel), Garen & Leona (League of Legends)

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

    • Stat Focus: Strength, Charisma

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

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

Legolas (Lord of the Rings), Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher), Boba Fett (Star Wars), Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games), Aloy (Horizon: Zero Dawn), Hawkeye (Marvel), Green Arrow (DC), Varus & Ashe (League of Legends), Susan (Chronicles of Narnia)

    • 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

Black Widow (Marvel), Catra (She-Ra), Bilbo Baggins (Lord of the Rings), Robin Hood, Captain Jack Sparrow, Han Solo & R2D2 (Star Wars), Indiana Jones, Rayla (The Dragon Prince), Westley (The Princess Bride), Jayne (Firefly), James Bond, Aladdin (Disney), Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones), Rocket Raccoon (Marvel), Talon & Akali & Katarina (League of Legends)

    • Average health (d8+Constitution per level)

    • Stat Focus: Dexterity

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

Sorcerer (full caster): Arcane Spellcaster with spell enhancements

Dr. Strange & Scarlet Witch (Marvel), Elsa (Disney), Steven Universe, Harry Potter & Dumbledore (Harry Potter), Care Bears, Mary Poppins, Tenzin & Prince Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender), Raven (Teen Titans), Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Eleven (Stranger Things), Claudia (The Dragon Prince)

    • 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 (half-caster): Arcane Spellcaster who gets their powers from a Patron

Saruman with Sauron (Lord of the Rings), Magical Girls with Incubators (Madoka Magica), Sailor Moon, Sabrina with Satan (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Light Yagami with his book (Death Note), Adora with She-Ra, Ice King with his crown (Adventure Time), Viren (The Dragon Prince)

    • Average health (d8+Constitution per level)

    • Stat Focus: Charisma

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

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

Gandalf (Lord of the Rings), Merlin, Mickey Mouse (Disney's Fantasia, Kingdom Hearts), Howl (Howl's Moving Castle), Ryze (League of Legends), Callum (The Dragon Prince)

    • 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!


Giving your character a Personality

Leveling Up