I’m participating in a Dungeons and Dragons podcast for the Flock of Nerds website, and I thought I would quickly go through how to create a character based on the new Dungeons and Dragons 5.0 rules set. If you’re familiar with creating a character, this is going to be pretty routine, but with a few twists here and there.
Roll your ability scores
As I’m not creating the character in front of anyone, I intend to use the standard set of scores:
15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8.
I didn’t want to use the other method of generating an ability score with a point cost because I generally like well rounded characters, and I think the ability point cost system is geared towards min-maxing.
[Full disclosure: I used a random dice generator to generate a set of scores that was mostly 8’s. If it had been mostly 18’s, I might have used that instead!]
Now we can get into actually creating the character.
Choose a race
I generally play humans, and I’m not really going to deviate from the norm here. Human it is. The human section explains that humans are jacks of all trades, and can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The description included is great (as I am finding as I read through the new materials). Well, before you even get to stats, you’re given the various traits of a human, as well as the kinds of humans in the Forgotten Realms. Ah, the Forgotten Realms. I’ve never actually played a game focused in the Forgotten, mainly because my group likes making up our own lands and worlds. I feel like it may be good to get in a campaign in the F.R., mainly because the players could do their own investigations into the history of the land if they wanted to (like homework but with Elves), and the DM would have pre-generated open worlds with their own history and back story.
Anyway, Human. I have to remember to increase each of my ability scores by 1, I’ll also speak Elvish, am 45 years old and am 6 feet tall.
Choose a class
To be honest, I’ve always thought that this is the actual second step in creating the character over picking a race. It just works a lot easier to apply racial bonuses to your scores if you’ve already got your scores locked in. I’m going to play a fighter.
Assign your ability scores
I generally want the fighter to be focused on tanking for the group, since it may not be a very large group, so I’m going to use the following stat line, with the human racial bonus already accounted for.
Intelligence: 9/ -1
Wisdom: 11/ +0
Charisma: 13/ +1
Choose your character’s personality traits, proficiencies and background
I want my character to be a strong tank, who is fairly confident, but not particularly intelligent. This array works nicely. As per the generating instructions, I start the game with 12 hit points (10 plus your Constitution modifier). I then get to choose a fighting style, and I think the Protection Fight Style fits my character nicely – grants disadvantage if a creature within 5 feet attacks a PC other than my character). I’ve also got access to a second wind.
Proficiencies are somewhat new. Starting at level 1, your proficiency bonus is +2. For every skill/saving throw/weapon/armour and tools you get a +2 to your roll when you use a proficient ability or roll a proficient saving throw. Easy enough. I’m going to choose Intimidation and Athletics for my proficient skills.
My fighter is going to be Lawful Good. His Background is going Folk Hero, so I have access to Animal Handling and Survival. This will be useful when I get a trusty steed! I also get a set of artisan’s tools, and a bunch of commonish tools. As a folk hero, you get to roll on a number of tables that assist you in your role playing of your character. I’m going to choose the following traits:
Defining Event: I stood alone against a terrible monster
Personality Trait: If someone is in trouble, I’m always ready to lend a hand
Ideal: Nothing and no one can steer me away from my higher calling
Bond: I have a family, but I have no idea where they are. One day, I hope to see them again.
Flaw: I’m convinced of the significance of my destiny, and blind to my shortcomings and the risk of failure.
This is a fairly good road map of the kind of character I’m looking to shape. I don’t feel very bound to these decisions at this point, but they definitely give me some great ideas.
I rolled a 13 on 5d4, and gain access to 130 gold points, plus my bag of 10 extra gold from my folk hero days. As per the rules, I’ll buy chain mail, a Shield, a light crossbow, a longsword, an explorer’s pack, woodcarver’s tools, a Donkey named Frank and my trinket will be a crystal that glows in the moonlight.
My attack bonus is +5, as I get +2 proficiency when I use strength to attack, and my crossbow gets a +2 to attack. My AC is 18 and initiative is +2.
Develop your character’s personal history (optional)
I’ve created a character who decided to go adventuring when he stood up to a wandering Ogre that was eating some of the local crops. The Ogre knocked him senseless and when he awoke, he was filled with visions of his own daring and boldness. He now seeks to reunite with his son, who he believes he lost contact with many moons ago. He is filled with a zeal to do Pelor’s work and live up to the chivalric code of the Paladin. He will not be put aside from his quests and seeks others to aid him in righting wrongs. He is Don Caesar, protector of the common folk, self appointed knight of Pelor. His loyal Donkey, Frank, rides with him wherever danger may be.
Here’s the first page of my character sheet: