Before you can begin your adventures in the uncharted wilds, you'll need a character. D&D characters are larger-than-life, capable of great heroics and incredible feats—but how do you make one?
This chapter introduces ways to randomize character creation in your game with a collection of variant dials.
We don't always get to choose where we start in life—sometimes we just have to cross our fingers, roll the dice, and see what happens. Randomizing your character creation can result in some unusual character concepts, but that's ok—flaws are fun!
To create a new and randomly-generated 1st-level character, take a d100 and follow these six simple steps.
First, determine your character's race by rolling a d100 and checking the Character Races/Subrace tables.
Some races may have additional choices to make—ancestry, proficiencies, languages, etc. Pick these at random using the tables listed in Appendix A ().
Next, roll on the Character Background table below to find out what your character used to do in the past. Your background represents a career, occupation, or experience which left a profound mark on your character and helped shape them into the person they are today.
You gain proficiencies and languages from your background, but you don't gain any equipment or special background features.
Background Choices: If you need to make additional choices as part of your background—tool proficiencies, specialties, languages, etc—then pick these at random.
Once you know your particular background, use the PHB characteristics tables to randomly determine your trait, ideal, bond, and flaw.
Now that you know what your character used to be, it's time to see what they have become. Roll on the Character Class table below to determine your initial class.
You gain the features, skills and proficiencies of your class, but you don't gain any class equipment.
Class Choices: If you need to make additional choices as part of your class—skills, tools, languages, etc—you can generate these randomly, rerolling any duplicates.
If you are a spellcaster, don't roll for your spells—you may choose your starting cantrips and spells manually as per usual for your class.
If your class also requires you to choose a specialization at 1st-level, roll on the Class Specializations table.
|Sorcerer||01-19||Divine Soul||58-76||Storm Sorcery|
|20-38||Draconic Blood||77-95||Wild Magic|
|Warlock||01-19||Archfey||58-76||Great Old One|
A player is asked to create a randomised 1st-level character. They first roll on the race, background, and class tables—they are Viridian, a tiefling noble bard.
Now that you've defined who your character is, it's time to see how capable they are. Follow the five steps below to randomly generate your ability scores:
Your character may have an unusual ability array, but that's ok. Learn how to make the best use of your strengths while protecting your weak spots.
Viridian, a tiefling bard, generates his character ability scores using the five steps:
Swap: Viridian then has a difficult choice to make: he doesn't want high STR, but does he swap it with CON or INT? He chooses to prioritize INT and swaps it with STR to make [STR 8, INT 14].
Viridian is a quick-witted and skilled charmer with a sly, lyrical flair. Well-read and charismatic, he knows how to use words to get what he wants.
He hates any sort of manual labor, however, and—while he loves a good drink—gets drunk very quickly.
Now that you've established the outline of who your character is, you can start to define their more personal details—what do they look like, what drives them, and what do they want in life?
Use the tables below to establish some basic features and backstory. You may then define the particulars yourself, or discover them organically during gameplay.
Roll on this table to generate a significant memory. For each memory, name a unique NPC, faction, or place—create your own to add something new into the world, or use existing lore to anchor your character to the setting.
Character Age: The older you are, the more significant memories you have—young adult (1), early middle-age (2), late middle-age (3), old (4), and very old (5).
|01-08||Achievement||A goal you helped complete|
|09-16||Anger||A time you felt incandescent rage|
|17-24||Conflict||Someone opposed you|
|25-32||Disappointment||Expectations weren't met.|
|33-40||Fear||A moment of pure terror|
|41-48||Friendship||A close bond forged or tested|
|49-56||Greed||A time you succumbed to greed|
|57-64||Happiness||A moment of pure joy|
|65-72||Loss||Something precious was taken|
|73-80||Love||A love gained or lost|
|81-88||Pride||You made someone proud|
|89-96||Trauma||A deeply distressing experience|
Roll to see what your character's primary motivation in life is. This may explain why they became an adventurer, how they react to situations, or what their general goal is.
You can choose exactly how this motivation manifests in your actions.
|01-06||Achievement||To become the best|
|07-12||Acquisition||To obtain possessions or wealth|
|13-18||Balance||To bring all things into harmony|
|19-24||Beneficence||To protect, heal, and mend|
|25-30||Creation||To build or make new|
|31-36||Discovery||To explore, uncover, and pioneer|
|37-42||Education||To inform, teach, or train|
|43-48||Hedonism||To enjoy all things sensuous|
|49-54||Liberation||To free the self and/or others|
|55-60||Nobility||To be virtuous, honest, and brave|
|61-66||Order||To organize and reduce chaos|
|67-73||Play||To have fun, to enjoy life|
|74-79||Power||To control and lead others|
|80-85||Recognition||To gain approval, status, or fame|
|86-91||Service||To follow a person or group|
|92-97||Understanding||To seek knowledge or wisdom|
Everyone has a notable habit of some kind—speaking too loud, constant fidgeting, collecting knickknacks, etc.
Roll on the Character Habits table below to see what habit your character has picked up during their life, or pick a notable habit of your own making.
|19-21||Talking in sleep|
|46-48||Collects odd things|
There is something your character is seeking to accomplish in the short term, either through their own desires or because someone has compelled them to. Your quest may be tied to your motivation or one of your character's significant memories.
Roll on the Character Quest table to see what theme your initial quest takes. You can decide the exact details of your task with your GM.
|01-10||Acquire||To take possession of a specific item|
|11-20||Craft||To create an item or art piece|
|21-30||Deliver||To bring something somewhere|
|31-40||Destroy||To destroy a precious object|
|41-50||Discover||To find a person, place, or thing|
|51-60||Explore||To map out a location|
|61-70||Justice||To apprehend someone|
|71-80||Learn||To gain specific knowledge|
|81-90||Meet||To find someone|
|91-00||Vengeance||To take revenge on someone|
Viridan is tall and thin, despite a habit of constantly snacking on whatever's close to hand. He has a distinctive noble accent that becomes more pronounced when he's angry.
One day, Viridian hopes to meet the legendary bard Vandielle d'Blush and gain her seal of approval.
This supplement includes a variety of racial, class, and feature changes—such as languages, initiative, and darkvision—to help better support a low-powered, dangerous, or darker tone of gameplay.
If the Feature Changes (), Racial Changes (), and/or Class Changes () modules are being used in your game, read through the relevant chapters to see if you need to update anything for your new character.
Now it's time to equip your character. You don't start with any notable gear from your background or class—instead, you start with an amount of gold as determined by your 1st-level class.
Check the table below and make a roll to see how much gold you have—you can then spend this gold to buy starting equipment and supplies appropriate for your character and campaign. Your character may also incur living costs during their downtime, so you might want to keep some gold spare.
|Barbarian||2d4 x 10||20||50||80|
|Bard||5d4 x 10||50||120||200|
|Cleric||5d4 x 10||50||120||200|
|Druid||2d4 x 10||20||50||80|
|Fighter||5d4 x 10||50||120||200|
|Paladin||5d4 x 10||50||120||200|
|Ranger||5d4 x 10||50||120||200|
|Rogue||4d4 x 10||40||100||160|
|Sorcerer||3d4 x 10||30||70||120|
|Warlock||4d4 x 10||40||100||160|
|Wizard||4d4 x 10||40||100||160|
The GM may nominate whether to use random rolls or static values for starting wealth. With static wealth, players gain the average gold for their class—unless it is a particularly low or high-wealth game.
Fate points () allow your character to defy fate and cheat death, acting as a second life should you be caught unawares by a suddenly fatal action.
A new character starts with one fate point—a boon for reaching the heights of 1st-level. It's hard to get new fate points, so keep it safe and use it wisely.
Your character is now ready to begin their adventure. Join the rest of your party, prepare a journey into the untamed wilds, and face the Darker Dungeons below.
If you don't want to use fully randomized characters in your game—or you just want to change character creation in some small ways—try some of these variant dials.
These options allow you to customize how players pick their race, background, and class. Use these to give your players varying control over the core of their character.
You must randomly generate one element of your choosing: your race, background, or class. You may pick the remaining two elements manually as normal.
After randomly generating your race, background, and class, you may reroll one element of your choosing and keep the preferred result.
After randomly generating your race, background, and class, you may replace one element of your choosing with a manual selection.
You may pick your race, background, and class manually. But if you decide to randomly generate an element, you gain a reward—the more elements that you choose to randomize, the bigger the final reward.
|Apprentice||One element||10 gp|
|Initiate||Two elements||10 gp and 1 skill point|
|Artisan||All three elements||10 gp, 1 skill point, and 1 ability point|
This skill point may be added to any skill of your choosing. The ability point may be added to any of your six abilities—though you can't raise an ability score above 15 before applying racial modifiers.
When you roll for your race, background, and class, you may roll twice and pick the preferred result.
This option randomizes the magic selection for spellcasters—good if you really want to mix things up in your game with some unusual combinations.
If you are a spellcaster—or have gained optional spells through your race or background—roll randomly to generate your starting cantrips and spell lists. After randomizing your spell collection, you may swap one of your cantrips for a different cantrip of your choosing.
These options allow you to customize how players generate their ability arrays.
Instead of rolling 3d6 for your ability score, you may roll 4d6 and drop the lowest die value.
Instead of rolling your ability scores in order, you may assign your scores in whichever order you wish.
At the start of the game, everyone helps to generate a shared ability array for the whole party.
Starting from the left of the GM and moving clockwise, each player rolls one 3d6 in turn until six numbers are generated—this becomes the starting ability array used by all 1st-level characters for the game.
Instead of rolling for your ability scores, you take an array of values and assigns them manually to your abilities. The DM chooses the starting power level for the game:
As an optional mechanic, feats are not active by default—and are not recommended for low-power games. But if you do want to include feats in your game, these options may help you to control their scope and influence.
A feat can only be taken once across the entire party—once a feat is taken, it's locked until that character leaves the party, dies, or loses the feat by some other means.
You may only take racial feats. If no appropriate feats are available, you may (with the DM's agreement) reskin an existing feat or create one to highlight a racial feature.
If you want to include feats in your game but exclude some of the more troublesome ones, apply a blacklist.
Players may not take any of the following feats.