Dungeons and Dragons, colloquially shortened to DnD or D&D, is a tabletop role-playing game that has become very popular in recent years. DnD is a game primarily set in a high-fantasy world, enabling players, alongside their Dungeon Master (DM), to delve into dangerous dungeons, explore pirate ships, save villages from monstrous invaders, or run a caravan of loot-peddling travelers. With the rising buzz around this fantasy dice-rolling game, many people have become interested in creating a dnd character and getting into their own game. With this growing interest, our team of explorers has banded together to explain the character creation options in DnD available in the Player’s Handbook (PHB) and help new players start their own adventures.

Choose your Race

The first step in DnD character creation is choosing a Race. Dungeons & Dragons has a variety of classic fantasy races to choose from, such as Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, and of course, Humans. There are also some more unique, setting-specific races to choose from, such as Tieflings, Aasimar, and Dragonborn, offering a large selection of options that allows players to create the exact character they want.

When creating a DnD character, your character’s race is an important decision, since it defines changes to your ability scores, your potential Racial Traits, and the beginnings of your character’s backstory. The race you choose during DnD character creation largely affects how your character looks in the game too, so think about what parts of the race stand out to you. The horns of the Tiefling, scales of the Dragonborn, or the stoutness of a Dwarf; all of these qualities are character traits to better represent what your character looks like and who they are.

Choose your Class

The next step in our DnD character creation guide is choosing your Class. Your character’s class defines how they interact with the world, as well as the actual abilities available to you as a player during combat and exploration. There are twelve core classes in the PHB, and several more in the other Wizards of the Coast sourcebooks. Each of these twelve classes also has a subclass, which help to further streamline and strengthen your character’s powers and options available.

A dice collection by a DnD character sheet.

If your DnD character is at level 1, you only need to worry about the main class. When creating a DnD character, think about what you want your character to be able to do, and what it represents about them.


Using feats of strength and pure, unbridled rage, the Barbarian can destroy any obstacle in their path.


Using piety, love, or a code of Honor, the Paladin stands by their beliefs and uses their force of will to protect allies.


With the power of tunes and tales, Bards can heal allies, trick enemies, and provide many useful utilities for a party.


An outlander who fights on the edges of cities and forests, the Ranger is adept at traversing difficult terrain and nature.


Using powers bestowed by a powerful God, the Cleric is adept at healing friends and hurting enemies.


One of the most classic choices in DnD character creation, the Rogue is skilled at getting into places they shouldn’t be, taking things that aren’t theirs, and saying things that might not be true.


A naturalistic magician who pulls their powers from nature, the Druid is adept at manipulating nature around them to their will. They are also capable of shape-shifting into animals.


A magician with an innate power from their bloodline, the Sorcerer can deal heavy magical damage to all kinds of foes.


Another of the classic DnD classes, Fighters are versatile masters of the martial arts. No matter what kind of weapon you want to use, or how you want to use it, the Fighter is capable.


A magician with a power from an entity from beyond this Plane, the Warlock is incredibly versatile and adaptable to many situations.


A martial artist who is particularly skilled at hand-to-hand combat, Monks gain mastery over their own bodies to better use it against others.


The ultimate DnD class, and Gary Gygax’s personal favorite. The Wizard is the quintessential spellcaster, learning magic from repetition and study. spells.


Each of these classes also gets a subclass at level 2 or three, so this decision is critical in your DnD character creation! Don’t worry though, all of these classes are powerful and can be further adapted throughout the campaign to better fit your vision of the character.

A DnD fighter on the back of a dragon

Choose a Background

The next step of DnD character creation is choosing your character’s Background. A character’s background represents where your character came from before they were an adventurer, or the line of work that made them into an adventurer. When you choose your background, your character gets a number of skill proficiencies, languages, and equipment to represent their life in that profession. A character’s background doesn’t have a lot of mechanical implication, so use your imagination to create an epic backstory for your DnD character! Where do they live? Who are their friends? What tragedies have they witnessed that pushed them to make a change?

Ability Scores

The final step of DnD character creation is defining your character’s Ability Scores. Ability Scores are numerical representations of your character’s Abilities in certain skills, organized by Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. These six scores each have skills attached to them and are the modifiers for virtually everything you do in D&D.

Most people will roll dice for their Ability Scores, but DMs who want a more organized or less chaotic ability score spread may instead opt to use Stat Arrays instead, a collection of preset numbers that can be allocated as a player wishes. In either case, players receive six numbers between 3 and 18 that they can place in Ability Score slots as makes sense for their character build.

Gather a Party and Get Rolling

Now that your DnD character creation is over, the only thing left is to gather a party and start your campaign! Whether you become the DM yourself, find a friend, or use an online DM to run a game for you, Dungeons and Dragons can be an invested game. It’s important to relax after a heavy play session, and our bath bomb sets can help you with just that. Get refreshed and relaxed with D20 Alchemy’s alchemical scents, and get a brand new die at the end of it all!

Carl Carngey