To paraphrase an infamous former Australian prime minister: “This is a character sheet. Don’t worry it won’t hurt you!”. Of course, the obvious counter to that would be paper cuts are a real serious danger when engaging in pen and paper roleplay scenarios.
I’m not disputing that fact but I urge you to face your fear and join me for another entry of D & Duh where I breakdown various parts of the Dungeons and Dragons experience to make it easier for people giving D&D a crack.
This week, we’re looking at one of the most important and time-consuming parts of the Dungeons & Dragons experience – filling out a character sheet. It’s a bit of a daunting process but stick with me and I’ll do my best to guide you through it.
Okay, so what is a character sheet?
-A character sheet is a document that contains the following information about your D&D character:
-Basic character details (name, race, character class and level).
-Character’s ability stats (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma).
-The number of hit points.
-Combat stats (initiative & speed).
-Defense statistics (saving throws, armour class and resistances).
-Weapons on hand and other inventory items.
This sheet is a key resource for all D&D players as it serves as a “cheat sheet” as it were and a hub for all the information about your character. They’re also fun time capsules and museums of past characters if you ever want to take a trip down memory lane at all.
How do I fill out my character sheet?
This depends on what type of character sheets you’re using – digital or pen and paper.
For all you analogue squares out there using pen and paper like it’s 1914 in the trenches, it’s pretty easy, just go through and fill out the basic stuff like the name, race, character’s class etc. Then we get to the fun stuff – the player’s skills and abilities!
Now for the abilities, you just bust out your D20 dice and get to rolling. Roll six times, noting each roll’s number down, these rolls will serve as the base stats for each of your character’s stats. Now the allocation of these numbers has to be handled with some care and forward-thinking in regard to your class build and your character’s role within the party.
As a rule of thumb, the typical classes and their most important abilities that is recommended to prioritise.
Warrior: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution.
Ranger: Dexterity, Constitution.
Rogue: Dexterity, Intelligence, Charisma.
Bard: Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma.
Mage: Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma.
If you don’t know what class you want to be or have got some shockingly low numbers with your rolls, then my advice would be to focus on Dexterity and Constitution and flip a couple of coins and see where the chips are fall.
Personally, I really enjoy playing a sneaky Ranger class so I’m always dumping my best rolls into Dexterity, Constitution and Charisma because a trusty bow by your side is good for most things, but it doesn’t hurt to have a silver tongue at your disposal.
Now that’s all sorted, we’ve got to check out the skills available to your character. Again, this all depends on the class you’ve selected. Depending on the class you’ve selected, there’s a set number of skills specific to that class that you can pick. There are a ton of online resources that can fill you in on what skills you’d need for the specific build you want to run with your character.
Now for those of you that are more hip and into this crazy information superhighway fad, there’s the online resource D&D Beyond. It lets you create your own character, character sheet, campaign and a whole bunch of stuff which is very useful if you’re doing an online D&D session or lost all your pen and paper with the turn of the century.
To be honest, the easiest way to learn about your character sheet is to start playing and filling them out and realising you fucked up and making a mental note not to do that again.
Now get out there and start creating all those cool characters.
What character sheet tips do you have for new players? Let me know down below.
Enjoyed the blog post? Make sure to subscribe so you know as soon as each new one drops. You also get monthly newsletters from yours truly.
If you're looking for something else to read in the downtime, check out my short stories!
You can also check out my Couch Soup content here.