D&D 5th Edition Character Creation checklist

The Player’s Handbook is a great resource and lovingly produced, but one of my frustrations with it, is that it doesn’t provide a quick step-by-step guide of how to create a character and exactly what it all means. Here I am going to briefly outline the steps you need to go through and where to look for stats. You’ll still need a copy of the Player’s Handbook handy.

  1. Decide on a Race and Class
  2. Roll or generate your abilities – i.e. roll 4d6 six times and choose the best 3d6. Then assign those scores to abilities depending on which class you want to go for.
  3. Add any Race modifiers to ability scores (page 12)
  4. Use the modifier table to assign modifiers based on ability score (page 13)
  5. Proficiency bonus is +2 at first level – write this in
  6. Initiative – write in Dex modifier
  7. Looking at the detail for your race in Chapter 2, determine name, language and other race specific characteristics.
  8. Go to Chapter 3 on Classes and determine which skills get proficiency modifiers. You can then add your +2 to the skills you select as well as the ability modifier for each.
  9. However, you may also want to choose a Background (e.g. Acolyte, Criminal, Noble etc). These come with skills as well so you should add your proficiency bonus for these first before choosing skills under class.
  10. Calculate Hit Points depending on Class – Chapter 3.
  11. Determine Proficiencies depending on Class
  12. Saving Throws for each Class get the +2 proficiency bonus
  13. Determine Equipment – again based on class
  14. Determine Tradition – e.g. what type of Fighter are you – a Champion, Battle Master or Eldritch Knight?  You get different Features depending on your choices here and your level. There are variations and complexities for each class.
  15. If you have spells read the relevant section in Class and work those out.
  16. Nearly there – in Background, you can use tables to determine further details like height and weight. More interestingly you can also randomise your Bonds, Ideals etc. These are quite fun as they can provide inspiration which you can then mold into a back story for your character and they also help avoid players falling into cliche of the same old characters each time.

I’m sure I’ve missed something or got part of the process muddled – please let me know – you can find my contact details on the About Me page.