Dungeons & Dragons
Guide to Character Creation, Part II
There are twelve classes you may choose from at level 1.
- Barbarian (PHB 46-50, SCAG 121)
- Bard (PHB 51-5, SCAG 122-4)
- Cleric (PHB 56-63, SCAG 125-6)
- Druid (PHB 64-9, SCAG 126-7)
- Fighter (PHB 70-5, SCAG 127-8)
- Monk (PHB 76-81, SCAG 129-31)
- Paladin (PHB 82-88, SCAG 131-3)
- Ranger (PHB 89-93, SCAG 133-4)
- Rogue (PHB 94-98, SCAG 134-6)
- Sorcerer (PHB 99-104, SCAG 136-7)
- Warlock (PHB 105-11, SCAG 138-40)
- Wizard (PHB 112-19, SCAG 140-42)
I will be allowing for characters to multiclass in certain prestige classes at later levels. Multiclassing rules are in Chapter 6 of the Player’s Handbook.
Classes are distinguished from one another by whether they are spellcasting or non-spellcasting. There are two types of spellcasting, Divine (Cleric, Druid, Monk, Paladin, Ranger) and Arcane (Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard). Barbarian, Fighter, and Rogue are not magic users, though there are subclasses of Rogue and Fighter that learn a small set of spells (Arcane Trickster and Eldritch Knight, respectively).
When you pick a class, be sure to write down all the things that you can do at level one. Wizards should assemble a spellbook at level 1, because they can cast spells at level 1. Meanwhile, Rangers can’t cast spells at level one, so they don’t worry about it at the time. And Barbarians can’t ever cast spells, so they don’t even have to worry about it at all. In fact, if you play Barbarian, you practically only have to deal with two dice: the d20 and d12. Write down all your starting equipment in the ‘Equipment’ section on your character sheet.
Choosing a Background
Your Background gives you several additional skill proficiencies. It also gives you more starting equipment, so make note of that. Make note of whether you start with any gold, either. (There are additional rules in the PHB about rolling for starting with gold based on your class, but we are not using those rules. If your background does not give you gold to start off with, then you start with 0 gp.)
- Acolyte (PHB 127)
- Charlatan (PHB 128)
- City Watch (SCAG 145)
- Clan Crafter (SCAG 145-6)
- Cloistered Scholar (SCAG 146)
- Courtier (SCAG 146-7)
- Criminal / Spy (PHB 129-30)
- Entertainer/Gladiator (PHB 130-1)
- Faction Agent (SCAG 147-8)
- Far Traveler (SCAG 148-50)
- Folk Hero (PHB 131-2)
- Guild Artisan / Guild Merchant (PHB 132-3)
- Hermit (PHB 134-5)
- Inheritor (SCAG 150-1)
- Knight of the Order (SCAG 151-2)
- Mercenary Veteran (SCAG 152-3)
- Noble (PHB 135-6)
- Outlander (PHB 136-7)
- Sage (PHB 137-8)
- Sailor/Pirate (PHB 139)
- Sewer Mapper (custom background designed especially for this game)
- Soldier (PHB 140-1)
- Urban Bounty Hunter (SCAG 153)
- Urchin (PHB 141)
- Uthgardt Tribe Member (SCAG 153-4)
- Watchmaker (custom background designed especially for this game)
- Waterdhavian Noble (SCAG 154)
Picking an Alignment
There are ten possible alignments: three good alignments, three neutral alignments, three evil alignments, and ‘unaligned’. The three good alignments are lawful good (LG); neutral good (NG); and chaotic good (CG). The three neutral alignments are lawful neutral (LN); neutral (N); chaotic neutral (CN); then there is lawful evil (LE); neutral evil (NE); and chaotic evil (CE). Refer to the Player’s Handbook, page 122. Nowhere does it say that you must let other people know your own alignment, so it is best to keep your alignment a secret between you and the DM. There are no ‘know alignment’ spells in 5th edition, so if your character has a low intelligence, they might not be able to deduce that a character in the party is, in fact, evil. Inversely, you can ‘act’ good and secretly be lawful or neutral evil. You can pretend to be chaotic good (think ‘Robin Hood’) but secretly be chaotic neutral. It all depends on the type of character you want to play. You may wish to let the DM know about these personality traits, but that is up to you.
Creating Your Character
Now that we have a race, class, background, and alignment for our character, and have filled out the Equipment section of the character sheet using the starting equipment for your class and the equipment provided by your background, we can turn to the actual stats.
There are six primary abilities that all adventurers share, to differing proportions:
Think about your character’s mental and physical abilities. You can choose to distribute the standard set of ability scores (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8) amongst your six abilities; or you can use the twenty-seven point buy system outlined in the PHB. You will also add some sort of racial ability score bonus, found in the description of your race in the PHB.
Take the distance from 10, divide by two, round down to get ability modifier. When you have these stats, then make note of your race’s saving throws and choice of proficiencies (your race, class, and background should provide you with several proficiencies) by filling in the bubbles on the character sheet. Write down all your tool proficiencies, and any other proficiencies, on your character sheet somewhere, so that you remember that you have them. You have a proficiency bonus that increases as you level. You may add this to any check involving a skill, weapon, or saving throw you are proficient in.
Your proficiency bonus as a 1st level character is 2. That means you can add ‘2’ to any ability modifier for a skill check involving a skill in which you are proficient. You add your proficiency bonus 2 to any saving throw You can also add ‘2’ to any spell’s attack roll if you’re proficient in spellcasting, and you can add ‘2’ to any attack roll using a weapon you are proficient in.
Your armor class (AC) is 10 + DEX.
So when you have all these stats, then you should be in a good position to fill out the rest of your character sheet. Here’s a checklist of things you will need:
[ ] Race
[ ] Subrace (if applicable)
[ ] Class
[ ] Choice of class proficiencies
[ ] Background
[ ] Choice of background proficiencies
[ ] Alignment
[ ] Adventure Hooks
[ ] Ability Score Distribution
[ ] Roll for a trinket!