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 a brief 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:

  • Spellcasters have access to spells. The number of spells you can cast per day (using spell slots) and the general power level of those spells is higher for Full-casters than for Half-casters. Divine Spellcasters choose their spells every day, whereas Arcane Spellcasters generally are stuck with the same spells until they gain a level (although Wizards choose their spells every day, from a limited list). Every spellcasting class has access to a different list of spells they can choose from.

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

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

Barbarian: Raging High-damage Melee Attacker (PHB 46)

    • 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 lots of 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 magic 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!

Leveling Up

Backstory