[RPG] How to choose Spells Known when creating a new character above 1st level


It's not clear to me how to choose Spells Known when creating a new character at a higher level.

Let's take the Bard as a working example first:

Bard level 2:

  • Spells Known: 5
  • Slots per Spell level: 1st × 3

Bard level 3:

  • Spells Known: 6
  • Slots per Spell level: 1st × 4, 2nd × 2

I'm interpreting this to mean that, if an existing 2nd-level Bard gains a new level (level 3), he's gaining 1 (one) new spell known. He can then choose the new spell known to be either 1st or 2nd, correct?

What I don't understand then, is the case of creating a new character starting at a higher level; say, creating a new Bard at level 3.

In that case you're forced to choose 6 spells, which must be from the list of 1st- and 2nd-level spells, correct?

When making this 3rd-level Bard from scratch, though, can I select 2nd level spells for all 6 spells known?

As another example, say you're creating a very high level Bard from scratch, starting at level 15. The book says your Spells Known is 19, and your spell slots are 1st × 4, 2nd × 3, 3rd × 3, 4th × 3, 5th × 2, 6th × 1, 7th × 1, and 8th × 1.

So, for those 19 Spells Known, you can choose any spells from 1st through 8th spell level. Am I free then to select as many spells as I can at 8th spell level (5 in number), working backwards, and in the end ignoring the 1st, 2nd, 3rd level spells entirely?

As another example, the Ranger doesn't know any spells at 1st level, nor have any spell slots, but the book says “You know two 1st-level spells of your choice from the ranger spell list.” Does it mean at 2nd level and above?

Long story short: When choosing Spells Known for a spellcasting character created above 1st level, am I allowed to choose my Spells Known at whatever spell level I like, just so long as I have at least one spell slot of that level?

I'm working on a D&D 5e character generator and need to clarify this.

Best Answer

Your confusion seems to originate in how you create characters that are above level 1 when starting. The players' handbook doesn't have a way to create characters that start above level 1, other than creating a level 1 character, and then leveling him up to the appropriate level. Let's take the level 3 bard as an example.

When you create your level 3 bard, you start out with building a level 1 bard. He has 4 level 1 spells, chosen from the bard spell list. When he reaches level 2, he gains another spell known, and can exchange 1 known spell for another one. He now knows 5 level 1 spells. When he reaches level 3, he gains another known spell, along with 2nd level spell slots. He can also exchange one known spell for another one. He now knows 6 spells, and up to 2 of them can be second level.

For your character generator, I recommend either only doing first level characters, or doing first level characters you can then level up. This is most intuitive for you to program, and doesn't overwhelm the users with too many options immediately.

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