D&D Next Character Creation – Creating My First Character

By Ken Wai Lau

D&D Next Character Creation

Get those creative juices flowing…
Artwork © by Kathryn Lee Steele

Today, I’m going to look at character creation in Dungeons and Dragons Next. It goes without saying that you can’t play D&D without a character. You can forgo creating your own character entirely and use a pre-generated character instead. But… why would you? It shouldn’t take long and part of the fun is designing your own character down to the very last detail.

Rather than write about the process of D&D Next character creation step by step, I’m going to have a go at creating my own character by following the rules (or suggestions, if you prefer) in the playtest. Hopefully by following the example, you will have a good idea of how a character is created.

Roll Before Role

A character’s ability scores can be determined in one of several ways: elite array, point buy, roll 4d6-drop-lowest-roll or roll 3d6 and allocate in order.

Point buy is considered an optional rule in the game and 4d6-drop-lowest is assumed to be the default method of generating your stats. It’s up to you which method you use. I’m going to go for point buy because I want to create a nice, balanced character and you could end up with anything with 4d6-drop-lowest.

I’m going to create a female, high elf bard who is neutral good and these are the stats I am going to go with:





Strength 8 -1
Dexterity 15 2 +1
Constitution 14 2
Intelligence 15 2 +1
Wisdom 8 -1
Charisma 15 2

This results in a character who has a certain aura about her. She is also in pretty good shape, not to mention exceptionally nimble and intelligent as you might expect from a high elf.

Her weakness is her relative naivete (think wide eyed innocent type) so others might find it easy to deceive her. She’s also pretty weak, therefore she’s not going to do an awful lot of heavy lifting for the group.

Skills and Proficiencies

I’m going to select skills that leverage her strengths:

  • Bluff – her ability to bluff compliments her skill with disguise.
  • Arcana – she is well versed in arcane knowledge.
  • Acrobatics – her natural agility makes her a great acrobat.

She also knows how to play the flute, lute and pipe.

Every story…

Initially, I was going to go for the guild thief background so we could do away with the rogue entirely, but it does not appear to align well with my character concept. Therefore I will choose the minstrel background for her.

This means the character is very well known locally as a gifted performer and she can enjoy free lodging at any inn she stays – provided she performs for the customers each night she intends to stay. Her elegance and charm endears her to the crowd, so she often gets along well with the locals.

Her background grants her additional skills:

  • Persuasion – can talk her way out of trouble. Also a skilled negotiator and peacekeeper.
  • Perform – she is a natural performer and has known the stage all her life.
  • History – knows much about the history of the campaign world.
  • Disguise – useful for when she doesn’t want to be recognised.

She is rarely seen without her instrument of choice and she carries with her several sheets of paper and some ink in case she comes across something that inspires her next song.

Far East Movement

This character will also be inspired by Asian culture. She will have brown (almost black) eyes, dark hair which is long and a skin tone that is light. She is 5’5” tall and weighs 115lb.

Her combat style will mirror the Wuxia genre, but without all the impossible aerial stunts since D&D Next does not have mechanics to support this.

I think the rapier (1d8 piercing damage) makes a good stand in for the Chinese Jiang, which is essentially a long sword that can be finessed, Li Mu Bai style.

Speaking of which, you also need to be well equipped if you are to survive a campaign.

Armed and Disciplined

You will get 175gp to spend on whatever you want when you start out. You can also use the pre-determined list of equipment for each background instead.

Here’s what our bard comes equipped with:

Rapier, dagger, longbow, 20 arrows, fine clothes, traveler’s clothes, pipa (lute), adventurer’s kit, ink (1 oz), paper (5 sheets), disguise kit, tinderbox, lantern.

Total Weight: 68lb
Money left: 30gp

You’ll notice I’ve not equipped her with armour, in keeping with the spirit of the Wuxia genre where the protagonists rarely wear protective gear. She’s not expected to fight in the front lines, in any case.

I’ve also given her a longbow to take advantage of her racial proficiencies.

As for the background, the playtest suggests coming up with some goals, motivations, a personality, etc. I’ll come up with these in another post. Watch this space.

The character design above was created by Kathryn Lee Steele. You can support her by purchasing her products from Society6.

Please read the affiliate disclaimer.


  1. Leon Faulkner April 7, 2014 10:22 am  Reply

    Hmmm nice character, but brave of you to have two dump stats?

    • Ken Wai Lau April 8, 2014 12:50 pm  Reply

      Personally, I don’t see a problem with it.

      To be honest, I was only going to dump wisdom at first, but then I saw so many high stats so I thought something had to give :).

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