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New Player's Guide to Character Creation: Picking a Class and Race

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

Being a new Dungeons and Dragons Player can be a daunting experience. In this blog we will start the process of character creation with the fundamental and arguably most important parts of character creation: Class and Race selection. Pull out your blank character sheets and let's get fantastical!


Character Basis


The first step to making a character is starting with a general idea for your character that will help form the choices you make with your character sheet. Here are some examples of this:

  1. A large and burly warrior with a rough exterior but who cares deeply about those close to him and will throw himself in harm's way to protect them.

  2. A mysterious nomad who stalks their enemies from the shadows until the perfect time to strike arises.

  3. A natural being who is connected to the natural world and channels that connection in the form of magical feats.

  4. A hermit who portrays himself as frail but when he chooses can unleash magnificent displays of the arcane arts.

Let's use the character basis examples to start creating some base characters. The arguably most important parts of a new character that help shape and steer the process are the selection of a character's Class and Race.


Class


A character's class defines their role when it comes to what exactly a character does and can do. When picking a class based on an idea, it is best to look at the parts of the character idea that specify what the character does and how they do it. Below we will highlight each part of the character basis from which a class will be chosen.


  1. A large and burly warrior with a rough exterior but who cares deeply about those close to him and will throw himself in harms way to protect them. From the highlighted parts of this example we can deduce that the player wants to use a class that is fights aggressively and can soak up a lot of damage. The best classes to play for this character would be a Fighter or Barbarian.

  2. A mysterious nomad who stalks their enemies from the shadows until the perfect time to strike arises. This example shows that the character in this case would be best suited for a class that uses their stealth and dexterity to sneak around and then deliver powerful surprise attacks. The best class for this character would be a Rogue.

  3. A natural being who is connected to the natural world and channels that connection in the form of magical feats. This example showcases a spellcaster who channels the powers of nature. The best class to play for this particular character would be a Druid.

  4. A hermit who portrays himself as frail but when he chooses can unleash magnificent displays of the arcane arts. The highlighted parts of this example describe a spellcaster who uses magic that they have trained, studied, or been gifted to wield. The best class options for this character would be a Sorcerer or Wizard.



Race


Race is best to choose after picking the class of a character due to the fact that each class has races that benefit them more. This is not to say that you can't play an unusual class and race combination but for new players picking your class first can help narrow down your race options and have a class and race combination that commonly makes more sense narratively. Each Race has bonuses and unique features that bolster the class of a character as well as provide narrative structure and a base for character lore. Here are some examples of common class and race pairings and why they work so well.


  • Halfling Rogue: Halflings are a race of small humanoids who are known for their nimbleness and bravery despite their size. Rogues are sneaky assassins who benefit most from the Dexterity attribute and from features that allow them to move swiftly and undetected. Halflings gain benefits to Dexterity as well as have racial features that allow them to sneak and move nimbly around other creatures.

  • Half-Orc Barbarian: Half Orcs are a strong and mighty race that were born from the union of Humans and Orcs. Barbarians are fierce warriors who benefit most from the Strength and Constitution attributes and from features that enhance durability and combat endurance. Half-Orcs gain bonuses to Strength and Constitution as well as have racial features that allow them to stay alive longer and hit harder.

  • Gnome Wizard: Gnomes are also small humanoids like halflings but are a very different race who are known for their intellect and creativity. Wizards are spellcasters who gain their magic through study and practice and benefit most from the Intelligence Attribute and boosts to their mental prowess and resolve. Gnomes gain benefits to Intelligence as well as have features that add to their magical abilities and enhance their mind's resolve against magic.

  • Half-Elf Bard: Half-Elves are born from Humans and Elves and are known for possessing the curiosity and ambition of Humans and the senses and prowess of Elves. Bards use the power of music and performance to harness magic and benefit most from the Charisma attribute and boosts to social skills. Half-Elves gain benefits to Charisma as well as have features that boost their skills and magic resistances.

After looking through the Race and Class options available and picking the combination that is best for your character, you will have a foundation that you can build on and perfect to create a unique character to take into the Forgotten Realms. This is the first installment of the New Player's Guide to Character Creation and is just the first of many to come. Thanks for reading and feel free leave a comment sharing anything about your new character, any questions about the post you may have, or whatever other cool D&D related stuff you want to share! Source: D&D Player’s Handbook (Dungeons & Dragons Core Rulebook)


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