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Character
Before you start following this, you should know how to create a Character Sheet. Go to "Tools" => "My Characters" (not "My Characters (old)"). Where you see "Character Name" type the name of your character, choose which Character Sheet template you want to use, and press "Create". After than you will be able to see the list of your characters under "Characters".

1) Choose Who You Wish to Be

a) Decide on the race. There are 7 of them: Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, Half-elves, Half-Orcs and Halflings. Each race has its own advantages and disadvantages.

b) Choose your class. This could basically be called your character's occupation," and it's probably the feature that affects roleplaying of your character the most. Choose from:

1. Barbarian: A ferocious warrior who uses fury and instinct to bring down foes.
2. Bard: A performer whose music works magic—a wanderer, a tale-taller, and a jack-of-all trades.
3. Cleric: A master of divine magic and a capable warrior as well.
4. Druid: One who draws energy from the natural world to cast divine spells and gain strange magical powers.
5. Fighter: A warrior with exceptional combat capability and unequaled skill with weapons.
6. Monk: A martial artist whose unarmed strikes hit fast and hard—a master of exotic powers.
7. Paladin: A champion of justice and destroyer of evil, protected and strengthened by an array of divine powers.
8. Ranger: A cunning, skilled warrior of the wilderness.
9. Rogue: A tricky, skillful scout and spy who wins the battle by stealth rather than brute force.
10. Sorcerer: A spellcaster with inborn magical ability.
11. Wizard: A potent spellcaster schooled in the arcane arts.

c) Choose your Alignment. This is very important as it will decide the way you are going to roleplay. Are you going to be a lawless character who might spurn tradition, but does whatever he feels is good? Or an evil character who strictly follows his God’s dogma? A cool and unflappable type who acts according to her own moral code, with regard only for the most profitable course? There are many shades of gray...

(Caution: some classes have restrictions for their alignments. See the details in each class description.)

d) Choose Your Name. A name can tell a lot about the character. Most likely you will not be able to change it, so choose something appropriate for your race and campaign setting.

e) What Does Your Character Look Like? Your character's look is a huge part of your overall concept or vision for this alternate self you're making. Such details as gender, weight, height, hair and skin color and so on have no practical impact on your character's abilities. But they are your chance to build an actual person who your fellow players will remember and enjoy interacting with.

Gender: Male/Female. No impact on game play.

Age: Your age has to be at least equal to an adult of your race. (Remember, though, an 18 year old human fighter who happens to be 15th level isn't really believable...) It's best not to go above the middle age unless you're prepared for some ability penalties and bonuses.

Height & Weight: These details add to your character's apearance and maybe personality. Again, they have little practical effect on the game. (One exception would be if you are dead, for example, and another character needs to carry you out of the troll's lair. If your DM is using Encumbrance rules, you could be, literally, a drag on the party...)

2) Character Statistics

a) Ability Scores: Basically determine in what you will excel. Will you be strong and tough? Very intelligent but weaker? A fast talker with style and quick hands...? You choose. The Abilities are: STRENGTH, DEXTERITY, CONSTITUTION, INTELLIGENCE, WISDOM and CHARISMA .

The greater number for each of these, the better you are at them. From your Ability Scores you can also derive Ability Modifiers (If you use the Character Sheet on this site it determines them automatically), which are the numbers that affect Skills, saving throws and the like.

There are two main ways to determine ability scores, and also many variations not discussed here. The Dungeon Master (DM) will tell you what system s/he wants the players to use. The most common ways are:

- Roll 4d6 six times. You will end up with six sets of numbers. Take away the lowest roll in each and combine the remaining (highest) to give your six stats
- Point buying system: You have a certain number of points you may assign at will among your abilities

b) Hit Points (HP). This is the number that is often called “life” in other games. When it reaches 0 you’re disabled. When it comes to -1 you are dying. At -10 you’re dead.

This number is mainly based on your level and class. Check your class description to see which die you'll roll: physcally stronger classes like Fighters use a d10, and classes such as Wizards that don't depend on raw might use a d4. At first level you'll automatically get the maximum possible, and your CON score may add to (or subtract from!) your total. Every time you gain a level, you get to roll that die for more HP to add to your total.

c) Armor Class (AC). This determines how easy it is to hit you. Higher is better, because someone has to roll a d20 when they take a swing at you. The AC number represents a combination of what you're wearing, how fast you are, and any magical protection you may be lucky enough to own.

d) Saving Throws. Three kinds:

Fortitude: These are saves against attacks that are directed mainly against your vitality and health (poison, petrification). Based on the Constitution modifier.
Reflex: This save is basically your ability to dodge or avoid danger (trap, arrow etc.). Based on the Dexterity modifier.
Will: Your resistance against mental influence and magic (illusion spells, charm etc.). Based on the Wisdom modifier.

Our character sheets will figure these for you automatically, but you have to input the correct Base Save Bonus, which is determined by your class and level. Check your class description for those numbers. Also, some races have save bonuses too.

e) Base Attack Bonus: This is a bonus that is added every time you attack, to modify your chance for success. It is dependent on your class and level, and can be modified for high (or low) STR, magic weaponry and so on.

3) Skills, Feats, Special Abilities, and Languages

a) Skills are important. Skills are very different for each class and character, and are one of the things that makes each character unique. You use them to determine what your character can be good at: swimming, climbing, searching, arcane facts and legends, etc. They are greatly affected by your abilities. Each skill has a base modifier, and this is determined by the Ability Modifier. For example, the Climb skill is STR-based. Characters whose STR bonus is +2 will receive a +2 to their Climb skill.

Each class has its own Class skills, skills that are somehow related to the class. For example, a Rogue character has Hide, Listen and Spot for class skills, among many others. (Find out what your Class Skills are in your class's description.) Now, each level, you'l have a certain amount of Skill Points to distribute as you please among the entire menu of Skills...

- Skill points are calculated differently for each class. Fighters, for example, get 2 Skill Points, plus their INT modifier, each level. Others get more. Each Skill Point you spend buys you 1 rank in the Skill you select.

However, that's only for your Class Skills. Any Skill not in that Class Skill list of yours is considered a Cross-Class Skill (CC), and it takes 2 Skill Points to rise one rank in those. In other words, you must spend twice as many points to get good at something you're not really trained for.

*Note: many feats (see below) add points to certain skills.

b) Feats can be considered special abilities of your character. At first level you start with 1 feat (except if you are a human; then you start with two). Be careful because some feats have prerequisites, such as high ability scores, or other feats which must learned first. Some classes also get free feats.

c) Special abilities. These are based on your character's race and class. Elves don't need to sleep and Dwarves can see well in the dark. Again, check your class and racial decsriptions.

d) Languages. Every character speaks a certain number of languages, which can be often very useful because adventurers find maps and so on that may be written in other tongues; or have to deal with people or creatures who don't speak Common. Your specific languages depend on your race and sometimes even class. (For example, elves must speak Elven, and Druids get Druidic for free at lvl 1). To these languages you may add a certain number of others, depending on your Intelligence Modifier. Thus an elf with a INT modifier of +3 gets 5 languages.

4) Prepare yourself for the journey

a) Money, Money. Money is a very important part of the game. Your DM will tel you how much cash you have to start out with. Early on you want to equip yourself as best you can, and as you progress in levels, the challenges will get tougher, necessitating an unending search for improved gear. The most commonly referred to currency is the Gold Piece (gp), but there are also other coins of greater and lesser value.

b) Weapons and Armor. Choose your weapons and armor wisely. Every class and race has certain weapon proficiencies, and using different arms earns you penalties. (You can, however, choose a weapon proficiency feat to become proficient at a weapon of your choice). Buy weapons with your starting cash, and you can also buy or find different ones during the game.

c) Other Possessions. You can also purchase and carry other equipment such as torches, backpacks, food, water, rope, etc. When choosing this, think about your character and the setting of the story. For example, if you're heading into a dungeon, lanterns and perhaps some tools might be in order. Outdoor adventuring wll be a lot less fatiguing with blankets, tents, and maybe a mule or a horse.
(Caution: as in real life, every character can carry only a certain weight, depending on your STR score.) If you have a mount, be sure and buy some saddlebags, so you can give it some of your load to decrease your own.

Bard
When you make a bard, there are some important considerations to consider, the most important being in which abilities you want to focus. Bards are decent fighters, reasonable spellcasters, and have some unique abilities that help support the party. Of course it goes without saying that ideally the character concept should be more important than making the most powerful character, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep the nature of the class in mind.

Lets start with Ability scores:

Strength
Strengh is not used by a bard except in combat situations, and then rarely, because a bard's weapons are predominantly light. It's safe to put one of your lower scores in STR...but, remember a score lower than ten means a penalty to your attack and damage rolls, so its a tough call.

Dexterity
Bards get good reflex saves, and a good DEX makes them better. The Tertiary skills for the bard are DEX-based as well, and if you choose Weapon Finesse as a feat you get to use your DEX to determine your attack roll with most of your weapons. Also, DEX improves your AC since you'll most likely be wearing only light armor. Putting your third best score in DEX is one way to go.

Constitution The only benefits that constitution give you are: increased hit points and a boost to Concentration. While the first can be important, especially early on, the second doesn't come into play that often because Bards spells are just not designed to be cast up close. You could find yourself struggling to decide which among CON and STR can take the worst score, but if you want a combat-oriented Bard you may want to avoid hurting yourself in the hit point department.

Intelligence After the Rogue, Bards are the most skill-oriented base class, and INT is very important for skills. The bardic knowledge class feature also works off of intelligence, so if you want that to be useful, you might want to consider a high score here.

Wisdom Wisdom may well be the ability that can suffer the most and still turn out a solid bard. A bard's good Will save will make up for a lower WIS, and while you'll take a hit on Spot and Listen checks, Listen and especially Sense Motive can be propped up by the skill ranks you get from a high INT.

Charisma This is by far the most important ability for your basic Bard. The bardic music class feature and his spellcasting depend on a high Charisma, and that is good because so many of his primary skills are also CHA-based. The only time you should even consider not putting your best score here is if you're purposefully trying for a variant bard type, like a combat or knowledge based bard, both of which are significantly weakened because of the shift in focus.

Next, lets look at Race: The human and the gnome are the best choices if you're looking to make an effective bard, with half-elf or elf coming in a respectable third. In 3.5 gnomes and bards were basically designed to mesh with each other, but its hard to say no to the bonus skills and feats you get as a human. If you choose another race then you need to remember that you're not fully taking advantage of either your race or class, and so you should focus on developing a unique personality for the character, as he/she will be unusual.

Now on to the good stuff. The primary choices you need to make about your bard are:

What Perform Skill(s) should get the focus?
With a few exceptions, it doesn't really matter, but keep in mind that your bardic music abilities require a minimum rank in at least one perform skill, so you need to choose one or two to consistently dump ranks in. Also, this choice goes a ways to defining the character of your bard. A bard that plays the flute lends herself to a different personality than one who plays percussion instruments or oratory.

What skills will you use? The bard has the rare ability to have a high rank in a wide variety of skills, but there are different groups or skills, and it is usually best to focus on one above the others.

Knowledgable bards use their bardic knowledge class feature to help their party figure out what is going on or what they need to do. They also invest in Knowledge skills at every opportunity to augment that ability. This is the natural way to go if you've gotten a high Intelligence score.

Stealthy bards focus on Hide and Move Silently. If you have a high Dexterity score you might want to tack these skills onto your list to take advantage of it.

Social bards take on the role of spokesman for the party. They focus on Bluff, Diplomacy (a very powerful skill), Gather Information, and Sense Motive. Because it is so beneficial to have a high CHA, this is usually the default primary skill group.

Finally, Bards have a few knacks that other classes lack. Don't neglect them, because they can make a huge difference in how useful you are to a party.

Bards are the only class that has Speak Language as a class skill. Anytime you find yourself with a spare skill point, think hard about putting it here.

Bards and Rogues have the Use Magic Device skill, which allows you to use any magic item (including scrolls and wands). If you can keep making those rolls, and have a source of scrolls (such as a wizard in the party), then in that one little skill you've basically doubled the party's magic firepower. Bards who want to maximize their Use Magic Device will also put ranks in Decipher Script and Spellcraft, in order to know what strange magic items are likely to do, and especially to get those synergy bonuses.

Feats Once you've picked out which skills you want to focus on, then choose feats accordingly. Lots of feats give a bonus to skills, and you might consider those. If you want a bard that doesn't shy away from combat still consider picking up Point Blank Shot, or Weapon Finesse if you had to deal with a lower Strength score. Also, Dodge, Great Fortitude, or Toughness (though only useful in early levels) can help make up for a low Constitution and keep you alive long enough to build up all those skills.

Equipment What weapon you use will be pretty obvious once you've done all of the above. Longsword if you have the Strength, Rapier if you have the DEX instead. Any of the other primary melee weapons will need you to design a bard around their use--especially the whip--so best to forget about them when you're just starting out. You will also want to take one of the ranged weapons available to you. It might come in handy.

Spells Finally, there are spells. At first level, they aren't that huge a deal, as you only get cantrips (0th level spells). Each of these has their good points, and the only comment here is that you shouldn't underestimate the lasting utility of Dancing Lights, Ghost Sound, Mage Hand, and Prestidigitation. A high-level bard might still use those four quite frequently. For example, even if you're locked in a cell without clothes, those four, employed cleverly, can get you out. Also, if the Perform skill you chose requires an instrument, why not throw in Summon Instrument just in case.

By the time you hit second level you should have come up with some idea about what kind of character you're playing. Because bards cast spells like sorcerers, just go down the list and look for spells that match your personality. There are spells that help you know things, help you support the team, help you deal with strangers, and those that let you use illusions to conceal or distract.

Remember: Bards are great all-around characters, but because they can really only excel in one thing (social interaction) they will eventually be overshadowed in the other areas by their team-mates. This is not a bad thing. A well-rounded bard can fill in for almost any party member, if only temporarily.

Fighter
Step 1: check with your DM. Is a fighter needed for the party? Great! Let's go. We'll build a simple fighter who can fit in most 1 level games.

Step 2: roll for stats. Let's say that after rolling, we have:

9
13
17
8
12
12

Step 3: Choose Race.

We'll choose a human. It's an easy race, and the bonus feat always comes in handy (you'll see). Human traits: (from page 13-14 in the 3.5 edition PHB)

Size = Medium: As Medium creatures, humans have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Land speed is 30 feet.
You get an extra feat at 1st level.
You also get 4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill point at each additional level. Since Fighters get the worst skill points of any class, this is handy.
Automatic Language: Common. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic). See the Speak Language skill.
Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass human takes an experience point penalty, his or her highest-level class does not count.

Step 4: Choose Class.

Our Fighter will be (naturally) a straightforward combat specialist. Fighter Features (from page 38 in the 3.5 edition PHB):

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A fighter is proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with all armor (heavy, medium, and light) and shields (including tower shields).
Bonus Feats: At 1st level, a fighter gets a bonus combat-oriented feat in addition to the feat that any 1st-level character gets and the bonus feat granted to a human character. The fighter gains an additional bonus feat at 2nd level and every two fighter levels thereafter (4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th, and 20th). These bonus feats must be drawn from the feats noted as fighter bonus feats. A fighter must still meet all prerequisites for a bonus feat, including ability score and base attack bonus minimums.
These bonus feats are in addition to the feat that a character of any class gets from advancing levels. A fighter is not limited to the list of fighter bonus feats when choosing these feats.

OK, you got that...? Your Fighter starts the game with three feats. That elven wizard over there...? She gets one.

Step 5: Assign Ability Scores.

The fighter’s needs are in the physical part of the abilities: Strength, Dexterity and Constitution. You'll want to use them slightly diffeently depending on if we have an effective ranged warrior, or if you want an in-your-face melee character. Using the scores from earlier:

For Melee:

Strength: 17 (+3)
Dexterity: 12 (+1)
Constitution: 13 (+1)

For Ranged:

Strength: 12 (+1)
Dexterity: 17 (+3)
Constitution: 13 (+1)

See the difference? Place the highest stat where it'll do the most good.

Brainpower isn't always so important for a fighter. This depends on your character concept, of course; and also keep in mind that high INT will boost the meager amount of skill points you have to work with. Let's consider two examples: a skill-oriented fighter, and a mounted warrior.

Skill oriented:

Intelligence: 12 (+1)
Wisdom: 9(-1)
Charisma: 8 (-1)

Mounted-type:

Intelligence: 9 (-1)
Wisdom: 8 (-1)
Charisma: 12 (+1)

Why? Because putting the 12 in INT boosts skill points in the first instance, and putting it towards CHA will help with Handle Animal in the second.

Step Six: Check the Starting Package.

The starting package is useful if you don't want to be bothered with shopping for your gear. Some people enjoy it; to others it's tedious and slows down playing the game. A human Fighter in the 3.5 edition of the PHB gets the following:

Armor: Scale mail
Weapons: Greatsword
Shortbow
Skills: choose a number equal to 3 + intelligence modifier. Then max the ranks out.
Feat: Weapon Focus (greatsword)
Bonus Feat (for being a Fighter): if your STR is 13 and up: Power Attack. If your STR is 12 or lower: Improved Initiative.
Bonus Feat (for being human): Blind-Fight.
Gear: Backpack with waterskin, one day’s trail rations, bedroll, sack, flint and steel, quiver with twenty arrows.
Gold: 2d4

Let’s take a look at what they chose here. The scale mail armor gives a +4 to the armor class, but also a -4 armor check penalty, and slows your speed down to 20ft. So you won't be as good at Climbing, Swimming, etc. But that may be an OK trade-off to make; you're likely to spend more time in melee combat, and the armor will sure come in handy.

Your weapons are a greatsword and shortbow. The greatsword does a very large amount of damage, which will be just the sort of thing that will make your fellow travelers smile; and the short bow is good for a few quick shots before you enter melee combat.

A fighter is limited in the skills he can use, so just fill in the useful ones, and if you have extra points, consider Listen, Search or Spot. This depends on your character concept, though. The feats chosen give him +1 to attack with his greatsword as well as some other useful combat abilities. The gear is standard gear and you can use it as is; or else add to it if you have the gold and don't mind doing some shopping.

Now, if you're happy, skip to Step 12. You're almost done! If you want to fiddle with the starting package, though, read on.

Step Seven: Record Racial Traits.

Humans don't have much to go here. We're the base race, the 'normal' ones.

Medium: As Medium creatures, humans have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Human base land speed is 30 feet.
1 extra feat at 1st level.
4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill point at each additional level.
Automatic Language: Common. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic).
Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass human takes an experience point penalty, his or her highest-level class does not count.

Step Eight: Select Skills

The fighter’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Ride (Dex), and Swim (Str). Seeing these you may want to put the higher of your mental skills into charisma, since two of your Skills rely on it. Since we're a Human Fighter, we'll get ((2 + INT modifier) x 4) + 4 (for being human)

((2+1) x 4) + 4 = 16 skill points. (See...? Tell your friends D&D improves your math skills!)

Unless you have pressing reasons to do otherwise, assign as follows:
Climb (Str) 4
Craft (Int) 4
Handle Animal (Cha) 4
Intimidate (Cha) 4

Step Nine: Select Feats.

For a first level human fighter you will start with 3 feats. We've covered these choices above; read the SRD or your Player's Handbook for details. Remember: whenever you gain a feat from being a Fighter, it must come from one of the choices specifically designated as such!

Step Ten: Buy Equipment.

You need to roll for starting gold for a first level character for a fighter that will be 6d4 x 10 gold pieces. Let's say that after rolling, we get 150gp. So, hit the Player's Handbook and go shopping. Be sure to check with your DM as to what level of technology is accessible in the campaign. Also, the campaign may alter the choice of items you can have. For example, in a desert nomad campaign, you'll have different equipment available than an undersea adventure.

Step Eleven: Combat Modifiers.

The numbers for a first level fighter can be found on the chart of page 39 of the 3.5 edition of the PHB. Plug these into the appropriate spots on the sheet.

Base attack bonus: +1
Fort Save: +2
Ref Save: +0
Will Save: +0

How many Hit Points will you have? Well, Fighters get a d10 for these, and at first level, you automatically get the maximum possible. So that's 10. But wait--don't forget your Constitution modifer--+1. So you've a total of 11 HP to fce the world with!

Step Twelve: Details.

Who are you? Where did you grow up? Was it pleasant? Tough? What clothes or armor do you wear? Are you outgoing? Shy? Taciturn? Do you have any mannerisms or habits? Here's where you fill in some of this character's personality. Why are you a Fighter? Ever been in love? You're limited only by your imagination. It's not necessary to rewrite War and Peace here, but do some justice to all this number-crunching you've put yourself through. Breathe life into this creation! Now: get out there, be careful...and have fun!


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