So you’ve decided you want to give this D&D thing a try! You’re ready to go and want to play, but you’ve reached your first obstacle. How do I make a character? I’ve got this character sheet and there are all these boxes and I’m supposed to put numbers in them. Where to the numbers come from? What do I do? If you are like me this can be intimidating. Thankfully, there are several places on the web that can help you out. (Youtube was a life saver for me this time around. Particularly, this video by WASD20.)
Now you maybe thinking to yourself, DwarvenDad why are you writing this article about character creation when so many have already done it? Well it’s more for me than you. I want to write this all out so I know the process better and possibly learn along the way. (I’m sure someone will let me know if I’ve done it wrong. This is the internet.) So lets get started!
Step 1 – Who are you? What’s your background, motivation, goals, name, etc…
You may already have a general idea of what kind character you want to play as. A heroic dwarven paladin who has been sent out with the charge of purging the land of an evil undead presence.
Step 2 – Select a race and class
Now you can select a race and a class if you haven’t already. If you are having trouble deciding you can let the dice decide. Get a d10 and roll for race. 1-9 are the nine races and if you roll a 10 roll again. You can do the same for class. Get a d12 and 1-12 are the twelve classes. Now you can get some weird combinations so if you don’t enjoy that kind of chaos you can just skip on down to step 3 and let your stat rolls decide your class.
Step 3 – ROLL FOR IT!
6 numbers are needed. (Strength, Dexterity, Consitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma) You can roll 4d6’s and drop the lowest. Now you can just roll 6 times and plug the stats in the fit the class you’ve already selected or you can use the stats in the order you rolled them to decide your class! Example: I rolled a 14/13/11/12/8/12. So the highest stat being STR I should probably be a fighter. Now we go chose our race to help bump up our stat a bit. My CON is lower that I would like for a fight so we’ll choose dwarf as our race. (dwarves get +2 to CON.) So that bumps me up to a constitution score of 13. Now you can take this further and choose between a hill dwarf or a mountain dwarf. Hill dwarves get a +1 to WIS and mountain dwarves get a +2 to STR. So I’m am mountain dwarf. That brings my strength score up to 16!
Step 4 – Tally up those modifiers!
Now there is a lovely table in the D&D players handbook (p.13 of 5e.)that gives you the numbers to put in for you modifier. I suggest you memorize it and never forget it. You are always going to be using this. So, according to the table our STR score of 16 gives us a +3 modifier. DEX of 13 is a +1. CON of 13 is a +1. INT of 12 is a +1. WIS of 8 is a -1. (our dwarf is a little dim witted.) CHA of 12 is a +1.
Step 5 – Proficiencies and Skills!
As a dwarf we have darkvision, dwarven resilience, tool proficiency, stonecunning, language (common and dwarvish), and as a mountain dwarf we get dwarven armor training. As a fighter we are proficient in all armor and shields. Simple weapons and martial weapons. Our saving throws are STR and CON. We also get to choose two skills and I’ll pick Atheletics and Intimidation. Also at level 1 you get a proficiency bonus of +2 (so if you are proficient in something is gets a +2), pick a fighting style, and you have the ability second wind. (I pick the fighting style dueling.)
So, there you have it. Your character is all made and ready to go! Hopefully, this will help you in filling out the character sheet. I know at first it can kind of seem a little esoteric but once you know why the boxes are there and where the number come from it makes it all come together. If you feel I wasn’t clear (left something out) or any an questions leave a comment!