[RPG] How to create a D&D character correctly as a total newbie


I am a brand new player trying to create a character for D&D 5e. I have the PHB and a character sheet and am trying to figure out how to proceed, and I'm getting stuck a lot.

I have the normal character sheet for 5e from the D&D website, but lots of the boxes make no sense to me. The character creation seems to require a lot of back and forth throughout the entire book and it's very confusing. I was able to figure out my class (rogue), and race (high elf). I found out my proficiency bonus, and did my stats, but other than that I really don't know what I'm doing. I have lots of small questions that I can't really type into google, and the index in the book has been a life saver but only goes so far. But I am left with a large number of questions I'm having trouble finding the answers to by looking them up in the index, like:

  • What number and above is a success for a death save?
  • What number and below is a fail?
  • What are the lines next to the skills for?
  • What do I put in personality traits? Is that just for fleshing out your character, or is it important to how you play the game?
  • What do I put in bonds? Is that important or just fleshing out?
  • What do I put in flaws? Important or fleshing out?
  • What do I put in ideals? Important or fleshing out?
  • What do I put in "other proficiencies and languages"
  • What do I put in equipment and character notes?
  • What do I put in features and traits?
  • How do I fill out my attacks and spell casting sheet?
  • And more.

How do I get started to where I understand the rules enough to fill out a character sheet like this? There's a lot to the game, it appears, and I have some familiarity with the lingo from Geek and Sundry's Critical Role, but the learning curve seems really high.

D&D looks like a TON of fun, but I need a character first, ya know? How can I get through all these details so that I can get started?

Best Answer

Ask for Help

Unlike many video or computer games, tabletop games are expected to be social experiences. Creating a character without the help of a more experienced player (or preferably, your GM) is going to be frustrating. Your first option should be to ask the rest of the table for guidance.

If everyone at the table is new, consider asking online (like you are doing now). There are many excellent guides online that talk through the character creation process in more depth.

Failing either of these, you might go to your local game store for D&D organized play and ask someone there.

Carefully Read the Rules

All of the questions listed above can possibly be known by carefully reading the entire PHB. The entire first section of that book deals in character creation: races and classes are not all the choices you face. In particular, you seem to have missed the Backgrounds section which explains personality traits, bonds, and other things.

Compare Your Work To Others'

Look at other people's completed character sheets. You can search for pre-generated characters online and the 5E starter box comes with several. This would explain what goes in each cell or line on the character sheet.

The PHB also includes "Building Bruenor" as an example of creating a 5E character. Each section will mention the choices are involved with creating Bruenor and how they contribute to the character. Even as an experienced player, I found these boxes helpful my first time in 5E.

Do It Wrong

You will almost definitely make mistakes. Take this character into a game with more experienced players and let them correct you. Don't get discouraged. Treat it as a learning experience.

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