Dungeons & Dragons

Ho there, curious adventurer! Back for more Dungeons & Dragons tips and tricks, I see? The previous lesson must have tickled your fancy.  Well, take out ye notebook and grab thine fancy dice! Today we will be rolling up your very own D&D character!

Making Your Character

Making a Dungeons & Dragons character is one of the more fun, creative, and potentially frustrating experiences this game offers.  On this quest, we will traipse down two roads of character building, which, for simplicity’s sake, will be called the Easy Way and the Intense Way.  For those clicking to find a quick character-building strategy, please scroll until you see “The Easy Way” in bold.  Fair warning, however…the character you find might seem a bit hollow.

Firstly, imagine you’re about to begin playing as this character you’ve built. Now ask yourself these questions three; is your character:

1.) Who you would be if you were in this world?

2.) The opposite of you in every way?

3.) Something so odd and beyond imaginative that the DM (Dungeon Master) is intimidated?

Interesting choice, little adventurer…now let’s create!

The Intense Way

In order to create a character you not only are comfortable playing, but also believe in, you need to be intimate with this building process. You will be given several options on race, class, and background, then you will be left with the name, appearance, and backstory of your character. The options you’ll find here are the same found in the D&D 5th Edition Player’s Handbook. I highly recommend using this handbook and reading on each of the options that interest you. We will start with the Race of your character, then move to Class, and lastly Background. Each of the options will have a few key words that describe their reputation. Take a look at the Race options:

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With nine options packed to the point of the wizard’s hat with personality and possibility, you will start to understand why building your character is so difficult. The three questions at the beginning of this journey should have helped you narrow down your options. Your class will aid in creating your backstory, so write down your choice and a few key traits you want to see.  Next, let’s look at Class options:

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As the options grow wider, your character becomes sharper.  The Class you choose will have a great impact on your backstory, as it will decide some of the proficiencies of your character.  Write down your Class, then say aloud your choice of Race followed by your choice of Class. Now marvel at this thing you’ve created! But there is still more clay to shape; let’s discuss the Background:

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The Background is not as strict as the Class and Race for a character. The purpose of the Background is primarily backstory related, as it will decide your character’s history, hobbies, trade, flaws, and motivations.  Write down your Background choice with your Race and Class. I would do a few Google image searches of your choices in different combinations (i.e. Dwarf Bard, Wizard Criminal, etc.) to get a better visual of what you might have just created.

Physicality & Personality

You’ve created a beautiful shell of a character, but now you need to fill it with physicality and personality to set it apart.  But wait, what’s your character’s name? That’s one of the more important traits, as it will probably be whispered across the land! With the name, you need to be creative.  Take something from your favorite book, Google your favorite food in Elvish, or type blindly on your keyboard.  Regardless of your method and inspiration, make sure it fits. All that’s left is how your character looks and how and why it feels. Fill in these blanks:

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There’s no doubt about it; your character is a sight to see! Think about other traits like scars, tattoos, deformities, clothes, etc.

Finding your character’s personality will be a challenge. In the D&D 5e Player’s Guide, when you get to the Background section (pg. 114), you are given a few options to find your character’s Personality Trait, Ideal, Bond, and Flaw.  Some players take these very seriously, others use them to shape the backstory. For new players, I suggest seeing these as law.  They will help you better understand and play as your character.  You can roll to let fate choose these for your character, you can choose them based on your interest, or you can make them up yourself! Use this table below to fill these choices and some of the other necessary personality traits:

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An important trait determines most of your character’s tendencies is their Alignment. However, because Alignment is such a great topic, it will be covered on the next adventure. Anyway, if your character causes you to swell with both pride and enthusiasm for D&D, then you’ve done a wonderful job.  Feel free to step away and return to your character tomorrow to check and see if you’re still feeling it.

The Easy Way

If you need a character now, try these links below:

  • For hilarity (and vulgarity), I suggest this!
  • For a quick generator, go here, here, or here!

Next time we will discuss character alignment, how to fill out character sheets, and how to determine skills and abilities.  Until he next adventure!

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