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Dungeons and Dragons (a.k.a. DND or D&D), now in its fifth edition, is a role playing game of epic proportions that requires all players to have a strong handle on their character’s personality, abilities, and weaknesses, among other things. And if you’re new to the game, it can seem pretty overwhelming to make a D&D character sheet that covers all of your bases.

Depending on who your Dungeon Master is, you may get an overview of D&D character sheet best practices prior to that first roll of the dice, or you may be left to tackle your sheet on your own. In either case, we’ve put together this quick overview of how to make and how to use a D&D character sheet so you can start your adventure with confidence. 

d&d dice
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Want to know what your character’s biggest strengths and weaknesses are? Simply roll the dice. 

What Are D&D Character Sheets?

character sheets
Source: D&D Wizards
An official sheet.

The function of a D&D character sheet is the same as it’s always been: to outline the background of your character and help set their narrative moving forward.

Creating a character is the first and perhaps most important step you’ll take as you enter the D&D universe, and it will have major implications as you progress through the journey of the game. Although your character will grow and evolve over time, your D&D character sheet sets out their basic characteristics—including those that dictate their motivations and their place in this magical world.

What Should Be Included in a D&D Character Sheet 5e?

You’ll make a series of selections regarding your D&D character, all of which will be outlined in your character sheet. These include:

  • Race/species and class
  • Background
  • Ability scores
  • Character description
  • Equipment
  • Proficiencies and language
  • Attacks and spellcasting

We’ll get into how these are determined in the next section.

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How a D&D Character Sheet Works

The character sheet sets the stage for all that’s to come throughout the game. It determines what your character can and cannot do, as well as why, and is organized in such a way that you can quickly refer to this information throughout your adventure. Details within each section are determined in set ways, with both randomness and imagination at play.

Race and Class

The D&D universe is inhabited by a range of characters, each of a specific race and class. Examples of D&D races include elf, halfling, and human, and classes encompass everything from powerful wizards to mischievous rogues. Your race dictates things like your age, speed, size, and language, while your class sets parameters around what sorts of actions you can perform.

Background

Your character’s background has implications for their skills and proficiencies. Possibilities range from folk heroes and artisans to criminals and charlatans and set the tone for your character in gameplay.

Ability Scores

There are six core abilities: strength, wisdom, charisma, dexterity, intelligence, and constitution. Where your character falls on the spectrum of each ability is determined at random by the roll of the dice, with each score noted on your character sheet.

Character Description

Other traits outlined on a D&D character sheet include your character’s alignment (i.e. their moral compass), as well as their flaws and ideals. Look to the basic rules for guidelines on these factors, and modify as needed to fit your character concept.

Equipment

Your starting equipment is determined by your character’s class and background. Alternately, you could choose to use your provided gold to purchase equipment of your choosing—things like armor and weapons. You’ll pick up additional equipment as you play.

Proficiencies and Language

These are determined by your character’s race and background and may include tool proficiencies based on equipment as well.

Attacks and Spellcasting

These are your character’s advantages in combat. They’re determined by your race, class, and equipment. This section will also include the amount of damage each of your attacks can cause.

How to Make a D&D Character Sheet

You have a couple of options when it comes to how to make a D&D character sheet. The quickest is to print out a D&D character sheet PDF, which will include all of the relevant sections. You could also maintain a virtual character sheet.

Keep in mind that you’ll be editing certain information quite a bit as you play, so it’s best to use a pencil if you’re keeping your character sheet by hand, as well as to keep track of changes on a separate piece of paper.

Using a D&D Character Sheet Generator

Defining your character is a quintessential part of D&D gameplay, but it’s also quite time intensive. If you prefer, you could use an online D&D character sheet generator to quickly set out all of the specifics of your character. Some generators that you might want to check out include the one at Dungeon Master’s Vault or Fast Character.

Note that with most generators, you’ll still choose details like race and class, but things like your proficiency scores and armor class will be pre-set.

Regardless of how long you spend on it, with your character sheet created you’ll be ready to embark into the world of D&D—and all of the magical adventure that it contains. Have fun!

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