The DnD 5e character sheet is the first step to every successful campaign. It is both a home base and a Pokedex. It allows you to keep track of your progress and helps you fully develop your character. Each time you look at those fresh pieces of paper or unfilled pdf, unlock a whole new experience.
Creating a Character (Sheet)
The act of creating a new 5e DnD character is exhilarating. As we travel through the multitude of worlds that exist in the multiverse of this fantasy tabletop game, we find more and more possibilities. The fillable character sheet is your guiding light in the storm.
When it comes time to fill a crisp new DnD 5e character sheet, it’s best to start at the top. It is a good idea to know what you want your character to be before you start. You should have a vague idea of the personality and skills you will want to go for and have an idea of how you want your character to look.
In 5e, at the very top of the character sheet, you will find a space for basic information, race, class and level, background, alignment, and a spot for experience points and a name. The name of a character can come first or last and is entirely up to the player. Go for something silly or scary, but choose your name wisely because names can often lay down the foundation for how others perceive your character.
Unique Character Sheets
If you feel like jazzing up your character sheet, take a look at these beautiful watercolor character sheets from Azure and Copper on Etsy. You can get them in almost any color and they can match your dice!
Check out this super duper cutesy Super Duper Art Character Sheet on Etsy.
Need something dark and angsty? Be sure to check out Gothic Vibes Character Sheet by Gothic Domain on Etsy for your next occult, eldritch, or just plain creepy mage.
These whimsical, cutesy, and just plain unique character sheets are a great addition to your next D&D 5e campaign.
Choosing Race & Class
You then have to decide the race and class. Certain races, known as lineages, pair well with certain classes. In DnD, you can be whoever or whatever you want, but the Player’s Handbook is always a great place to start.
In the Player’s Handbook 5e, you can read descriptions for each class and race. Choose the best match of race and class by comparing class features and racial bonuses. For example, Halflings have a natural plus two to dexterity. These bonuses would benefit dexterity-based classes such as a Ranger or Rogue.
Once you have chosen your class, you must select your alignment — alignments range from lawful good to chaotic evil. The choice is yours but make sure your alignments match your character’s nature and ultimate goals.
Your DM will let you know your level and where you begin with experience points. Write all that information in the banner at the top of your character sheet. You are now ready to do math!
When rolling stats, you are dealing more with numbers than actual math. You can figure out your ability scores in a couple of different ways. Some DMs use a point but others have you roll dice. Once you know, you can fill in the scores on the left side of the sheet. Make sure you also enter the modifiers.
You will see two blanks directly to the right of your ability score labeled Strength. On top is one called inspiration. It is a benefit given by the DM in the game. There is a spaced “proficiency bonus.” Your character level dictates your proficiency bonus.
Just below that, you will see a list of saving throws. Fill in your saving throws with the modifiers found next to the coordinating ability scores. For example, if you have ten charisma, you would write +0 for your charisma saving throw.
Next, fill in the list of skills. Use the corresponding ability score modifiers. Remember to fill in the circle next to all of your proficient skills. At the bottom of this side, the left side of the 5e character sheet, you will see a box marked passive perception — all you have to do here is to add ten to your perception skill modifier.
Use the box under passive perception to record all of your character’s unique skills and languages.
After you finish with the left side, move on to the middle. Continuing the trend from left to right, fill in your armor class or AC. You figure out your AC by considering a lot of different factors. Make sure you add all of your AC bonuses from armor, legacy type, or anything you may carry.
Initiative & Hit Points
Next, fill in your initiative bonus. The initiative is mostly just your dexterity modifier. Next, fill in your speed and current HP. Make note that there is a space for current and temporary hit points. You’ll use this when you finally get to find some adventure.
Attacks & Spells
Under that is the attacks and spells section. Here you can make some quick notes about the type of spells or attacks you’ll be using and the kind of damage they deal. It is helpful to record this information here so you don’t have to refer back to the book or the internet.
Shifting to the top right, you will see a place to record player traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws. This page is where you write a little more about what makes your player unique.
Finish out the first page by recording your character’s features and traits. Then, you’re ready to go to the next page.
On page two, you get to unleash your creative side. You can draw or describe your character and write down all the treasures you’ve collected over your travels. This page is also an excellent place to take notes and write down important events that happen to your character during your campaign.
Now it’s time to move on to page three. Page three is the page that is dedicated to spell casting. You can enter the spells you will be using and add your spellcaster ability spell save DC and bonuses to your attack.
And that’s all, folks! You’ve made it to the end of the character sheet. Yes, there are loads of premade prefabricated easy ways out that will fill out all the information for you. But you get a certain satisfaction from filling in the character sheet by yourself, with the help of the DM, of course.
Now get out there and find your tabletop!
Online DnD Character Sheets
Perhaps the most comprehensive and well-known online character sheet is through DnD Beyond’s system. They have a very easy-to-use interface and a character builder that generates characters levels them up and keeps track of every piece of equipment and ability that the player has.
Even when you print them out there are 3 extra pages for notes, quick references, and spell lists. It can be a little overwhelming when you look at their character sheets as a whole, but it’s probably the easiest character sheet to use.
Pen and Paper
When I first started playing DnD, I was very limited in what resources I actually had access to. We had photocopied sheets from the back of the 3.5 edition book and the amount of online content was actually pretty limited.
There was something always magical about the little spiral notebooks that we doodled in and created our character sheets with. It would eventually sprawl out with dozens of pages of notes, and our first page would be covered in eraser marks and doodling as we attempted to turn our stick figure drawings into the epic characters that we had in our heads.
If you haven’t tried creating your own character sheet I highly suggest giving it a try.
Dyslexic & Visually Impaired Character Sheets
DnD has become much more mainstream than it was in the past. It’s no longer for the outcast weirdos that are stereotypically shown to be interested in DnD. It’s actually become much more inclusive and Wizards of the Coast has actively tried to branch out and include all people in the game that is DnD.
They haven’t quite gotten around to making an official character sheet for dyslexic or visually impaired players, though. But the community is a resilient one and there are quite a few options out there for fan-made character sheets designed specifically for people who are visually impaired or have dyslexia.
For the visually impaired there are a few different options, but the most popular is another resource from the Dungeon Master’s Guild. They have a ton of different options and resources for DMs. If you haven’t checked them out, I highly suggest you take a look.
For those players with Dyslexic, these next 2 resources may be exactly what you’re looking for. The DnD community created these and offered them free online to anyone who needs them. The first is a fillable character sheet with several different styles and types.
This next one is from Reddit which was created by using a font designed to be easy to read by those who have dyslexia. It’s really inspiring to see how many options are available and that people have gone out of their way to make sure that everyone can play our favorite tabletop RPG.
Simplified Character Sheets
If you’re looking for a simplified or easy-to-read character sheet there are several different options. Some can be kid-friendly and are color coded to easily identify what section you need to see. It can be extremely easy to get lost in all the data that’s available on the sheet.
Luckily for us, game designer Emmet Byrne has us covered. He’s designed and released several different DnD character sheets that make that mountain of data easy to understand. His kid-friendly design is free from the Dungeon Master’s Guild Website.
He’s also created class-specific Character Sheets that make it really easy to understand and use. Instead of having to check back through the source books, each class’ specific abilities will have its own section on the character sheet for easy reference. It’s a nice example of a simplified character sheet, without losing any of the data or functionality of the original.
5e Random Character Generators
If you’re feeling froggy, why not leave it all in the hands of the RNG gods? If you have no idea what kind of character you want to play, or just want something completely different there are random generators that can create a character sheet, name, and even a backstory at the click of a button.
The oldie, but goodie Who The F#*& is my DnD Character has been around for ages and is still a fun way to come up with new RP ideas for a character. It’s simple and still funny to this day. They do drop a lot of F-Bombs which you might have guessed from the web URL, but it’s still worth the look if that sort of thing doesn’t bother you.
Another great resource is Tetra-Cube. Players can randomize a full character with class and backstories at the push of a button. If you don’t like what pops up you can lock what you do like and re-roll until you’re happy with your character. It has a complete backstory and class already picked out, all you have to do is add in your stats.
If you absolutely don’t want to make your character and want everything done at the push of a button, then Fast Character is probably the easiest one to use. It creates everything at the push of a button, and you’re ready to play.
If you have a character that’s been with you since your first game of DnD or if you’re planning on a serious long-term character, you may want to look into making your own custom character sheet or getting one custom-made.
There are a ton of talented artists all over the web that will put together an image of your character along with a customized character sheet that fits their aesthetic. It’s a fantastic present and an amazing way to immortalize your favorite characters.
Some of the best places to look are Etsy, Fiverr, and even contacting an artist on Deviant Art directly.