5e Character Creation in 8 steps

The part of 5E that has bothered me a little is the assumption that a new player to the system will instinctively know the steps to put together a character. Perhaps one could follow the Player’s Handbook through the process, but for myself, I got lost a bit, not being sure which pieces should follow which.

There were also cases where I wasn’t completely sure of all the options and choices before me and what they did exactly.

Just when I think I understand things, there are new kits, and numerous other pieces I haven’t seen before. Ultimately, use whatever process your DM and your group prefers, but here I will outline the process to help my group, and my players get up and running quickly with the process I use myself.

For my worlds, I am still holding to the general basics of 5E character creation. Backstory usually comes pretty quickly and organically for my players, so I will graze it lightly in this process, but not require it.

Some notes before we begin:

In my mind, I usually lump Race, Alignment, Class into one describing thought to start off a character type I want to play – I.E. “Halfling, LN, Thief”. This is MY way, not the only way or necessarily the right way. It is simply how I think when approaching the topic. Therefore the Race, alignment, class sections may be out of the typical order with other methods or approaches.

Character Creation Step by Step

Step 1) Gather your dice and a basic character sheet, which can be found HERE.
* I still prefer rolling ability scores. If you do not (for some strange reason), the PHB has point buy and flat out basic stats you can apply.

Step 2) Choose a Race (PHB pg 17):


(PHB pg18)
Con +2
Age: 50-350, Align: Lawful (Good tendency), Size: 4′-5′ 150 lb average
Speed: 25 (Not reduced by armor)
Darkvision: 60′
Dwarven Resilience: Advantage on Saves vs Poison
Dwarven Combat Training: Proficiency with Battleaxe, Handaxe, Light and War Hammer.
Tool Proficiency: Proficient with artisan tools of your choice Smith tools, Brewer supplies, Mason tools.
Stonecutting: Whenever you make a check vs the origin of stonework you are considered proficient in the History skill as it relates to stonework. Add double proficiency bonus to check.
Languages: Speak, read, write Common and Dwarvish.

Sub Races:
Hill Dwarf – 
Wis +1, Dwarven Toughness – HP Max +1/lvl
Mountain Dwarf – STR+2, Dwarven Armor Training – proficient with Lt and Med Armor.
Duergar – Consult your DM


(PHB pg21)
Dex +2
Age: 100-750, Align: Chaotic (Good tendency), Size: 4.5′-6′ slender build
Speed: 30
Darkvision: 60′
Keen Senses: Proficient in perception
Fey Ancestry: Advantage on saves vs. Charm, immune to most magical sleep.
Trance: Do not need to sleep, meditate deeply for 4hrs / day instead of sleeping 8.
Languages: Speak, read, write Common and Elvishish.

Sub Races:
High Elf-
Int +1, Elf Weapon Training -Proficient with Long & Short Sword, Long & Short Bow, Cantrip – You know one Cantrip from Wizard list (Int), Extra Language – Speak, read, write one extra language.
Wood Elf – Wis +1, Elf Weapon Training -Proficient with Long & Short Sword, Long & Short Bow, Fleet of foot – Movement base 35, Mask of the Wild – can attempt hide when only light obscured by nature.
Drow – Consult your DM


(PHB pg26)
Dex +2
Age: 20-250, Align: Lawful (Good tendency), Size: 3′ 40 lb (Small)
Speed: 25
Lucky: When you roll a 1 on Attack, Ability Check, Saving Throw, you can re-roll and use new result.
Brave: Advantage on saves vs. fear.
Halfling Nimbleness: Move through space of creature size larger than your own.
Languages: Speak, read, write Common and Halfling.

Sub Races:
Lightfoot – 
Chr+1, Naturally Stealthy -can attempt to hide even when only obscure by creature larger than you.
Stout – Con+1, Stout Resilience – Advantage on save vs poison and resistance to poison damage.


(PHB pg29)
All +1
Age: 17-80, Align: Any, Size: 5′-6′ (Medium)
Speed: 30
Languages: Speak, read, write Common + 1 extra

Variant Traits (optional rule): Consult with your DM


(PHB pg32)
Str+2, Chr+1
Age: 15-80, Align: Good or Evil (To extremes), Size: 6’+ 250 lb (Medium)
Speed: 30
Draconic Ancestry: Dragon type affects breath weapon and resistences (See PHB pg34)
Breath Weapon: once per rest. See above for ancestry.
Damage Resistance: Depends on Ancestry
Languages: Speak, read, write Common and Draconic


(PHB pg35)
Age: 40-400, Align: Good, Size: 3′-4′ tall 40lb (Small)
Speed: 25
Darkvision: 60′
Gnome Cunning: Advantage on all Int, Wis, Chr saves vs magic
Languages: Speak, read, write Common and Gnomish

Forest Gnome – Dax+1, Natural Illusionist know minor illusion cantrip (int),Speak with small beasts – simple communication
Rock Gnome – Con+1, Artificer’s Lore – 2 x proficiency bonus on history check to devices (See PHB pg 37) Tinker – Profient with Tinkerer tools can create clockworks (PHB pg 37)


(PHB pg38)
Chr+2, +1 to two others
Age: 20-180, Align: Chaotic tendency, Size: 5′-6′ (Medium)
Speed: 30
Darkvision: 60′
Fey Ancestry: Advantage on saves vs. Charm, immune to most magical sleep.
Skill Versatility: Proficiency in two skills of your choice.
Languages: Speak, read, write Common, Elvish, +1 extra



(PHB pg40)
Str+2, Con+1
Age: 14-75, Align: Chaotic tendency – usually not Good, Size: 5′- 6’+ (Medium)
Speed: 30
Darkvision: 60′
Menacing: Proficient in Intimidation.
Relentless Endurance: Once per rest if dropped to zero, can drop to 1 instead.
Savage Attacks: When critical hit scored, roll one extra damage dice for weapon.
Languages: Speak, read, write Common and Orc.



(PHB pg42)
Int+1, Chr+2
Age: 17-100, Align: Chaotic tendency, Size: 5′- 6′ (Medium)
Speed: 30
Darkvision: 60′
Hellish Resistance: Resistant to fire damage.
Infernal Legacy: Some spell abilities level dependent (See PHB pg 43).
Languages: Speak, read, write Common and Infernal.


Step 3) Choose Alignment

Step 4) Roll or assign ability scores. Our table typically uses 4D6 6 Discard the lowest, arrange as desired.
1 (-5)
2-3 (-4)
4-5 (-3)
6-7 (-2)
8-9 (-1)
10-11 (0)
12-13 (+1)
14-15 (+2)
16-17 (+3)
18-19 (+4)
20-21 (+5)
22-23 (+6)

Step 5) Choose Class – includes spell choices if required (PHB pg 45)
Barbarian  –  hd –D12 Prime Req – Str  Saves Str, Con
Bard  –  hd –D8 Prime Req – Chr  Saves Dex, Chr
Cleric  –  hd –D8 Prime Req – Wis Saves Wis, Chr
Druid  –  hd –D8 Prime Req – Wis –  Saves Int, Wis
Fighter  –  hd –D10 Prime Req – Str or Dex Saves Str, Con
Monk  –  hd –D8 Prime Req – Dex & Wis Saves Str, Dex
Paladin  –  hd –D10 Prime Req – Str & Chr  Saves Wis, Chr
Ranger  –  hd –D10 Prime Req – Dex & Wis Saves Str, Dex
Rogue  –  hd –D8 Prime Req – Dex Saves Dex, Int
Sorcerer  –  hd –D6 Prime Req – Chr Saves Con, Chr
Warlock  –  hd –D8 Prime Req – Chr Saves Wis, Chr
Wizard  –  hd –D6 Prime Req – Int Saves Int, Wis

Step 6) Number adjustments. Anything you are proficient in, gets the proficiency bonus added. Includes Saves. Maximum HP at level 1, Base AC 10

Step 7) Background (PHB pg 125)

Step 8) Equipment (PHB pg 143)




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