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Character Creation

Before you can begin your journey into the uncharted wilds, you'll need a character. D&D 5e characters are heroes, capable of great feats even at 1st-level—but we don't always get to choose who or what we are in life. Sometimes, we just have to cross our fingers, roll the dice, and see what happens.

This chapter introduces support for randomized characters and a variety of optional creation dials to help customize your game.

Random Characters

With randomized characters, your core details are determined randomly by a d100. This can result in some unusual characters, 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.

Step 1. Race

First, determine your character's race by rolling a d100 and checking the Character Races table below.

Character Race

d100 Race
01 Aasimar
02-04 Dragonborn
05-19 Dwarf
20-29 Elf
30-31 Firbolg
32-33 Gith
34-39 Gnome
40-41 Goliath
42 Half-Elf
43 Half-Orc
44-50 Halfling
51-90 Human
91 Kenku
92 Lizardfolk
93 Monstrous
94 Tabaxi
95-98 Tiefling
99 Triton
00 Choose

Races are not weighted equally to reflect their respective rarity, so some—such as human—will be more common than others. The exact breakdown of this, however, may depend on your campaign setting.

Some races may have additional choices to make—ancestry, proficiencies, languages, etc. Pick these at random using the tables listed in Appendix A.

Subrace

If your race also requires you to choose a subrace, roll on the Character Subraces table to determine the result.

Character Subrace

Race d100 Subrace d100 Subrace
Aasimar 01-33 Fallen 68-00 Scourge
34-67 Protector
Dwarf 01-45 Hill 91-00 Duergar
46-90 Mountain
Elf 01-10 Drow 51-60 Sea
11-20 Eladrin 61-70 Shadar-kai
21-50 High 71-00 Wood
Gith 01-50 Githyanki 51-00 Githzerai
Gnome 01-45 Forest 91-00 Deep
46-90 Rock
Halfling 01-50 Lightfoot 51-00 Stout
Monstrous 01-10 Bugbear 51-75 Kobold
11-35 Goblin 76-90 Orc
36-50 Hobgoblin 91-00 Yuan-ti
Tiefling 01-12 Asmodeus 57-67 Levistus
13-23 Baalzebul 68-78 Mammon
24-34 Dispater 79-89 Mephistopheles
35-45 Fierna 90-00 Zariel
46-56 Glasya

Step 2. Background

Next, roll to see what your character used to do in the past. This was a career, occupation, or experience which left a profound mark on your character and helped shape them into the person they are today.

Character Background

d100 Background
01-07 Acolyte
08-14 Charlatan
15-21 Criminal
22-28 Entertainer
29-35 Folk Hero
36-42 Guild Artisan
43-49 Hermit
50-56 Noble
57-63 Outlander
64-70 Sage
71-77 Sailor
78-84 Soldier
85-91 Urchin
92-00 Choose

You gain proficiencies and languages from your background, but you don't gain any equipment or—importantly—any special background features.

If your background has additional choices to make (such as tool proficiencies, specialties, languages, businesses, etc.) then pick these at random.

Characteristics

Once you know your background, randomly select your trait/ideal/bond/flaw from the characteristics tables.

Step 3. Class

Now 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.

Character Class

d100 Class
01-08 Barbarian
09-16 Bard
17-24 Cleric
25-32 Druid
33-40 Fighter
41-48 Monk
49-56 Paladin
57-64 Ranger
65-72 Rogue
73-80 Sorcerer
81-88 Warlock
89-96 Wizard
97-00 Choose

You gain the features, skills and proficiencies of your class, but you don't gain any equipment from it.

Some classes require additional choices to be made—skills, tools, languages—so 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.

Class Specializations

If your class requires you to choose a specialization at 1st-level, roll on the Class Specializations table below.

Class Specializations

Class d100 Specialty d100 Specialty
Cleric Domains 01-10 Forge 51-60 Nature
11-20 Grave 61-70 Tempest
21-30 Knowledge 71-80 Trickery
31-40 Life 81-90 War
41-50 Light 91-00 Choose
Fighter Fighting Styles 01-16 Archery 65-80 Protection
17-32 Defense 81-96 Two-Weapon
33-48 Dueling 97-00 Choose
49-64 Great Weapon
Sorcerer Origins 01-19 Divine Soul 58-76 Storm Sorcery
20-38 Draconic Blood 77-95 Wild Magic
39-57 Shadow Magic 96-00 Choose
Warlock Patrons 01-19 Archfey 58-76 Great Old One
20-38 Celestial 77-95 Hexblade
39-57 Fiend 96-00 Choose

Step 4. Ability Scores

Now you've defined who your character is, it's time to see how capable they are. Follow the five steps below and randomly generate your ability scores:

  1. Roll: Roll 3d6 six times, once for each of your attributes in order: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and finally Charisma.
  2. Reroll: Reroll one ability score of your choice and keep the best result.
  3. Swap: After your reroll, you may then make one swap of any two attribute scores.
  4. Racials: Apply your racial bonuses as per normal.
  5. Modifiers: Finally, calculate your Ability Modifiers.

Ability Scores and Modifiers

Score Modifier
01 -5
02-03 -4
04-05 -3
06-07 -2
08-09 -1
10-11 +0
12-13 +1
14-15 +2
16-17 +3
18-19 +4
20-21 +5
22-23 +6

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 ability scores:

  1. He rolls 3d6 six times to generate a basic array: [STR 14, DEX 13, CON 9, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 5].
  2. CHA 5 isn't good, especially for a bard, so he makes one reroll: CHA 15—much better.
  3. Viridian then has a difficult choice to make: he doesn't want high STR, but does he swap it with CON or INT? Does he risk being frail or stupid? He chooses INT (a bard needs a decent vocabulary), swapping it with STR to make [STR 8, INT 14].
  4. Viridian then adds his racial modifiers: +1 INT and +2 CHA to make [INT 15, CHA 17].
  5. Finally, he calculates his total Ability Modifiers.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
8 (-1) 13 (+1) 9 (-1) 15 (+2) 10 (0) 17 (+3)

Viridian is a quick-witted and skilled charmer with a sly, lyrical flair. He hates any sort of manual labor and, while he loves a good drink, gets drunk very quickly.

Step 5. Character Details

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?

Appearance & Family

Use the tables below to establish some basic features and backstory. You may then define the particulars yourself, or discover them organically during gameplay.

Character Details

d100 Age
01-39 Young adult
40-74 Early middle-age
75-91 Late middle-age
92-97 Old
98-00 Very old
d100 Height
01-05 Very short
06-30 Short
31-70 Average
71-95 Tall
96-00 Very tall
d100 Weight
01-05 Very thin
06-30 Thin
31-70 Average
71-95 Fat
96-00 Very fat
d100 Feature
01-20 Scar
21-40 Tattoo
41-60 Piercing
61-80 Birthmark
81-00 Accent
d100 Family
01-05 None
06-30 Small
31-70 Average
71-95 Large
96-00 Disowned
d100 Raised By
01-40 Natural Parent(s)
41-60 Close Family
61-70 Adopted Parent(s)
71-90 An institution
91-00 Yourself

Memories

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 Memories

d100 Memory Description
01-20 Achievement A goal you helped complete
21-40 Conflict Someone opposed you
41-60 Friendship A close bond forged or tested
61-80 Loss Something precious was taken
81-00 Love A love gained or lost

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).

Motivation

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.

Character Motivation

d100 Motivation Description
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
98-00 Choose

Habits

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.

Character Habits

d100 Habit
01-03 Humming
04-06 Dancing
07-09 Sleepwalking
10-12 Facial tics
13-15 Fingernail biting
16-18 Daydreaming
19-21 Talking in sleep
22-24 Whistling
25-27 Name dropping
28-30 Constant grooming
31-33 Foot tapping
34-36 Lip biting/licking
37-39 Coin flipping
40-42 Chewing
43-45 Knuckle cracking
46-48 Collects odd things
49-51 Singing
52-54 Snacking
55-57 Pacing
58-60 Counting
61-63 Snoring
64-66 Beard/hair stroking
67-69 Nose picking
70-72 Apologizing
73-75 Exaggeration
74-78 Superstitious
79-81 Belching
82-84 Repeating others
85-87 Smelling things
88-90 Teeth picking
91-93 Swearing
94-96 Telling secrets
97-99 Repeating yourself
00 Choose

Quest

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.

Character Quest

d100 Quest Description
01-10 Acquire To take possession of a particular 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

Step 6. Feature Tweaks

Some character features—such as languages, initiative, and darkvision—are modified with this supplement to better support a low-powered, darker tone.

Check the Feature Changes section to see if you need to update anything for your new character.

Step 7. Buy Equipment

Now it's time to equip your character. You don't start with any notable gear from your background or class—instead, you have an amount of gold 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 any starting equipment and supplies.

Starting Wealth by Class

Class
Gold
Random Low Average High
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
Monk 5d4 5 12 20
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

Your character may incur living costs during their downtime, so you may want to keep some gold spare.

Random vs. Static

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.

Step 8. Take a Fate Point

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.

Step 9. Venture Forth

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.

Creation Dials

If you don't want to use fully randomized characters in your game—or you want to change character creation in some small ways—try using some of these optional dials.

Race, Background, & Class

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.

Just One Roll

You must randomly generate one element of your choosing: your race, background, or class. You may pick the remaining two elements manually as normal.

One Free Reroll

After randomly generating your race, background, and class, you may reroll one element of your choosing and keep the preferred result.

One Free Selection

After randomly generating your race, background, and class, you may replace one element of your choosing with a manual selection.

Opt-in Randomizer

You may pick their 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.

Opt-in Rewards

Randomized Reward
One element 10 gp
Two elements 10 gp, 1 skill point
All three elements 10 gp, 1 skill point, 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 cannot raise an ability score above 15 before applying racial modifiers.

Roll Twice, Pick Once

When you roll for your race, background, and class, you may roll twice and pick the preferred result.

Randomized Magic

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.

Ability Arrays

These options allow you to customize how players generate their ability arrays—useful if you want to change the base power level of 1st-level characters.

Higher-powered Rolls

Instead of rolling 3d6 for your ability score, you may roll 4d6 and drop the lowest die value.

Roll in any Order

Instead of rolling your ability scores in order, you may assign your scores in whichever order you wish.

Shared Party Array

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.

Static Arrays

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: low (recommended) or standard.

  • Low power: [15, 12, 11, 10, 9, 7] (18 points)
  • Standard power: [15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8] (27 points)

Feats

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.

The Blacklist

If you want to include feats in your game but exclude some of the more troublesome ones, apply a blacklist.

Example Blacklist

Players may not take any of the following feats.

  • Crossbow Expert
  • Great Weapon Master
  • Lucky
  • Polearm Master
  • Resilient
  • Sentinel
  • Sharpshooter
  • Spell Sniper

No Duplicate Feats

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.

Racial Feats Only

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.

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