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How to make a D&D character sheet

For paper, PDF, or an online app

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(Image: © Wizards of the Coast)

Want to know how to make a D&D character sheet? Look no further than this guide.

Getting into Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) has never been easier, especially with the 5th edition of the popular tabletop RPG having a wealth of resources that are helpful for new players. 

All you need is a DM (a dungeon master) that acts like a narrator of sorts, describing the adventure and taking charge of NPCs and circumstances, a player – most D&D groups have around 3-5 players, but D&D can be played with just one person – a set of polyhedral dice, a pencil and, last but not least, a D&D character sheet. 

A D&D character sheet is the player’s bible as they play throughout the adventure. It has absolutely everything a player needs to tell them their character’s health, class, name, level, stats, items, background, and even spell slots if you choose a class that uses magic. It’s everything you need, stacked together in 2-3 pages. It’s a lot of information, but it’s essential for you to create one if you’re going to be playing D&D.

With that said, how do you create a D&D character sheet? Well, it’s simpler than it looks. 

D&D character sheet: getting started

The first step to creating a D&D character sheet is, well, acquiring one! There are a number of ways to do just that, and none will take up more than 5 minutes of your time. For this guide, we’re going to point you to three of the best ways to get a D&D 5e character sheet – and explain why these are the best options out there.

DnD Wizards TRPG Resource: Here you’ll be able to grab a selection of four different character sheets, as well as a number of character sheets for pre-generated characters. Pre-generated characters are particularly helpful for players who want to get in the game immediately and not worry too much about the actual ‘creating’ part, but they can also be efficient at helping players understand what a character sheet should look like at completion. 

Wizards of the Coast 5e Character Sheet: An official, fillable character sheet for your character from Wizards of the Coast. This is great for players who have resources from physical D&D books, and who know how to create a character already without needing much help. 

D&D Beyond: The best place to start if you’re new to D&D. All it takes is signing up, clicking create a character and the website will ease you into making your character with quick, simple instructions. It won’t necessarily teach you how to create a character through the use of rolling dice, but it will ease you into the wonderful world of 5th edition D&D.

Other websites that are particularly helpful with storing information through notes/character sheets are Roll20, 5th Edition Character Sheet on mobiles, as well as a Google Drive folder.

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An example character sheet for D&D Beyond (Image credit: Aimee Hart)

D&D character sheet: ability scores and skills

Your stats, aka your ability scores, are all part of your character’s design and convey what they are and aren’t good at. Ability scores are often chosen by the player through the roll of the dice, and then are either improved, worsened, or remain the same depending on what class – and sometimes race – the player picks. For example, if you choose to play a bard then it makes sense for you to put points into your Charisma ability as that is what powers your spells. The same goes for Intelligence with the Wizard class, or Wisdom for Clerics. Now, if you’re a Tiefling as well as a bard, you get a +2 as a racial bonus to your Charisma, on top of the dice score you’ve put in. 

Following on from the bard example then, what do these ability scores do, and how does that lead into proficiencies and skills?

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A character sheet within the D&D Beyond platform (Image credit: Aimee Hart)

Skills are things that your character can do. The higher the skill, the more effective you’re able to be. Again, the skill score is reliant on your ability score, so if you’re playing a bard with a high score in Charisma, your skill score in Deception, Intimidation, Performance and Persuasion will be higher, and as such, more effective. 

Skills are very important in D&D because throughout your adventures you’ll be able to do different things outside of fighting, though skills are helpful there too, that’ll have you rolling a skill check. These checks are to see whether you succeed or fail, and the outcome of that. For example, if our Tiefling bard decides that they’ll intimidate the guard with a +5 to her skill check – which is a roll of one d20 dice, plus the 5 – and get’s a 18, she’s likely going to succeed. If she gets a 6 instead, it’s highly likely they’ll fail and a brawl might happen. 

D&D character sheet: roleplay and backstory

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The back page of every character sheet (Image credit: Aimee Hart)

So you’ve got your ability scores and stats figured out – what about the actual creation of the character you’re going to be roleplaying throughout the adventure? Your character sheet will ask a lot from you in that regard, such as your height, name, background, personality traits, ideals, flaws, etc. It’ll also ask for alignment, but don’t fret too much about that if you don’t want to, as the alignment system is very dated and for the most part, can be ignored. 

Making a character backstory can be daunting, especially if you don’t know too much of the world as a first-time player. But fear not, there are more than a few websites out there dedicated to helping you figure out what sort of character you want to be. The Who the F*ck is My DnD Character is a personal favourite and is very helpful in getting you started on creating a concept of what sort of character you want to be.

Now that you have a concept, you can fill out the details like eye colour, hair, etc and slowly let that concept link into ideas such as bonds – people that your character may know, either from their past or job – as well as flaws and ideals. Once you understand what sort of character you’re looking to create, these are easy to fill in. And, if you’re really struggling, talk either to your DM or the rest of your group – some of the best characters are made when they are linked to one another and it can really help with role playing throughout your adventure. 

And with that, you know all of the important things about D&D 5e character sheet! Once you have an understanding of your ability scores, skills and your background, you’re pretty much ready to dive into the world that your DM has set out for you.