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A New Players Guide to Dungeons and Dragons: Part 3

D&D

Welcome, brave adventurers, to the heart of your DnD experience - character creation. In this part of our guide, we unlock the gateway to boundless creativity, where you shape your hero from the clay of imagination. So without further delay, grab your character sheets, books and pencils and get ready to begin.

Choosing Your Race

Your character's race is the foundational element that discerns their physical and cultural identity. There are a multitude of races in DnD, let's explore some of them and the unique traits they bring to your character:

Humans - Humans are the most adaptable and versatile race, their flexibility allows them to excel in various classes and roles. As a human, your character might come from a bustling city or a remote village, their story is as diverse as the world around them.

Elves - Elves are known for their elegance, keen senses and connection. Choose from High Elves, Wood Elves, Dark Elves and more, each with distinct characteristics. Elves often excel in classes that value spellcasting abilities.

Dwarves - Dwarves are hearty and resilient. Thriving in the heart of mountains or deep underground. Whether a Hill Dwarf or a Mountain Dwarf, these stout folk are known for their craftsmanship and combat prowess. A lot of Martial characters benefit from being a Dwarf.

Halflings - Halflings are nimble and luck-prone. Often living in peaceful, rural communities. Choose between Lightfoot, Stout and a few others, each with unique abilities. Halflings make excellent Rogues, Rangers or Bards.

Half-Elves and Half-Orcs - Half-Elves and Half-Orcs embody the blending of two worlds. Half-Elves inherit the charm of elves and the adaptability of humans, making them excellent Bards and Half-Orcs, with their orcish strength, excel in martial classes.

Other Unique Races - DnD offers a plethora of unique races, from dragonborn to space races. That's right, you can play a space monkey or hippopotamus. Explore these options to create a character that stands out in the fantastical tapestry of the game by looking at all the other books and materials that are available to you.

Remember, your DnD character's race not only influences their physical and mental traits but also their cultural background and worldview.

It's also important to note that each race will have a specific Ability Score Improvement (ASI) that will increase your character's abilities, usually by a +2/+1. If this sounds confusing, don't panic, we will investigate this soon.

Choose a race, then come back to this point. I'd recommend using only materials from the Starter set or Players Handbook to begin. Have you got a race yet? Good, let's move onto…

Classes

Your character's class is the defining aspect that determines their profession, skills and abilities. Let's explore the classes of DnD. To make it easier, we'll go in alphabetical order.

Side note, I include races you may not have access to in DnD right now, so you'll have knowledge of them for the future:

Artificer - Artificers are inventors, thriving in workshops and driven by creativity. Magic Items, better armour and gadgets are things you can create as an Artificer. Fusing Magic
and Materials together and being handy with a range of tools, Artificers can cast spells using Alchemist Supplies, inscribe sigils using Calligraphers Supplies or craft temporary charms using Tinkers Tools. Magical Inventions are what these guys specialise at. Artificers primary ability is Intelligence.

Barbarians - Barbarians are primal warriors who harness their rage to gain incredible strength and resilience in battle. Using a variety of weapons and having immense strength. What they lack in smarts, they make up for in power. Barbarians have a connection to war. Hit things first, ask questions never. Barbarians primary ability is Strength.

Bard - Bards are performers who wield magic through music and storytelling. Whether casting spells, swindling a noble or stealing the spotlight with a rapier, Bards bring creativity to the party. Their home is on stage and the stage is everywhere to them. They fill any role the party needs. The Jack of All Trades class is quite the theatrical role in Dungeons and Dragons.
Bards primary ability is Charisma.

Blood Hunter - Blood Hunters are from the Critical Role books which are partnered content. Most DMs are happy to use it provided you ask first. Blood Hunters are clever and driven warriors, they are pushed and pulled by determination to destroy evil. They use a secret blood magic to protect the worlds from shadows. They do this by sacrificing their own vitality and humanity to harness powers that they use to shatter their enemies. Blood Hunters can be a confusing class to play, but very rewarding once you experience it. Blood Hunters use Intelligence as their primary ability

Clerics - Clerics are divine spellcasters devoted to a deity or cosmic force. They wield holy magic to heal allies and vanquish foes. Clerics can fulfill various roles, from dedicated healers to formidable combatants. They are as varied as the gods they serve and can assist them in many ways. Clerics primary ability is Wisdom.

Druids - Druids are mystical protectors of the natural world, shapeshifting, spellcasting and communing with nature are their specialties. If you have a connection to the wilderness, then pick the Druid class. Although not adept to a fighting lifestyle, they are formidable combatants when in Wildshape. Turning into all types of beasts, Druid's Wildshape to suit
their needs. The primary ability for Druids is Wisdom.

Fighter - Fighters are unparalleled warriors, mastering a variety of weapons and fighting styles. Whether a defender, magic knight or archer, Fighters excel in physical combat and bring versatility to the front lines. They have a martial prowess that is unmatched and a thorough knowledge of combat. Fighters are brave and stare down death defiantly. A Fighter has a choice in their primary ability, Strength or Dexterity.

Monk - Monks are martial artists who harness their inner energy and use their actions to enhance their strikes. A monk excels in unarmed combat or the use of monk weapons that they specialise in. They're agile and elusive combatants, with traditions as varied as can be, with Drunken Masters, Shadows and Dragons. Monks need Dexterity and Wisdom as their primary abilities.

Paladin - Paladins are the holy warriors of the game that swear to an oath. They combine martial prowess with divine magic to become a mighty champion for a Deity or cause, smiting evil and protecting the innocent. Their bond to their oath is powerful and is usually what grants them their magical skills. Whether they swore their oath in the presence of a priest in a church or the dead on the battlefield, their oath, be it an Oath of Conquest, Devotion or Vengeance, is a sacred bond. A paladin needs Charisma and Strength as their primary abilities.

Ranger - Rangers are skilled trackers and survivalists that are most at home in wilds. They are skilled hunters, clever and unbound. Masters of survival that excel at ranged combat and have a bond with animals to form a companionship, they can also cast some spells to enhance their own abilities or their friends. The various conclaves a ranger can belong to is impressive, there are Monster Slayers, Drake Wardens and Beast Masters. The primary abilities of Rangers are Dexterity and Wisdom.

Rogue - Rogues are stealthy and cunning characters. They are skilled in the arts of subterfuge and finding solutions to almost any problem. They demonstrate a resoundful versatility. They exploit their foes' weaknesses in order to gain the upper hand in a variety of situations. Relying on a mixture of stealth, sleight of hand and deception, a rogue can overcome any obstacle that they face. The primary ability for a Rogue is Dexterity.

Sorcerer - Sorcerers possess innate magical abilities, drawing power from their bloodline or an otherworldly origin that they're born with. Their magic talents often manifest in unique and unpredictable ways, whether it be Wild Magic or Shadow Magic. Sorcerers are adventurous spellcasters that excel in a plethora of ways using Metamagic, this allows Sorcerers to bend the rules of magic to achieve feats that no other class, spellcaster or otherwise, would be able to. The ability that Sorcerers primarily use is Charisma.

Warlock - Warlocks make pacts with mysterious entities for eldritch power. They create a special pact, with a patron that gives them their magic prowess. Warlocks seek knowledge from within the fabric of the multiverse, hidden and hard to obtain. They cast their spells with a darker, yet, more enigmatic flare. A warlock can excel in multiple ways, whether they heal using Celestial magic or fight on the battlefield using the Hexblade. Warlock's primary ability is Charisma.

Wizard - Wizards are studious spellcasters who master the arcane arts through knowledge and practice. Wizards learn spells in various schools and need to practice before they are able to successfully cast a spell. They can specialise in various schools of magic, such as Evocation or Illusion, shaping and harnessing their skills to their specialties. They also have the largest spell list in the game. A Wizards primary ability is Intelligence.

Remember, your DnD character's class not only determines their combat abilities but also influences their role in the party and their approach to challenges. Choose a class that
resonates with you and matches your playstyle. Now, the more astute reader may have noticed that every description ends with me talking about their ‘primary ability’ and may be wondering, what is that? In a sense, it means that it is the primary ability score that you need to focus on when using that class. More on these in the future.

Once you've picked your class, come back and have a look at…

Backgrounds

Your DnD character's background is the soil from which their personality grows. It provides context to their past, shaping who they are as a person.

There are so many backgrounds in DnD, that to mention them all would take up a blog on its own, so, I'll be looking at one and talk about how it works and classes I'd pair it with. Ready?
Let's go…

Charlatan

Charlatans are deceivers and good at it. They are perfect con artists, scammers and cheats. Through forgery, disguises or smooth-talking, they navigate social situations with ease. Every background comes with proficiency bonuses. This usually includes skill, tool and language proficiencies. You also get some equipment that is added. For example the charlatan comes with the following;

Skill Proficiencies: Deception, Sleight of Hand
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit, forgery kit
Languages: None
Equipment: A set of fine clothes, a disguise kit, tools of the con of your choice (ten stoppered bottles filled with coloured liquid, a set of weighted dice, a deck of marked cards, or a signet ring of an imaginary duke), and a pouch containing 15gp

Every background also comes with a feature that will give you a small description and feature. The Charlatan gets;

False Identity

You have created a second identity that includes documentation, established acquaintances, and disguises that allow you to assume that persona. Additionally, you can forge documents including official papers and personal letters, as long as you have seen an example of the kind of document or the handwriting you are trying to copy.

This is the favourite scam table.

Every DnD charlatan has an angle they use in preference to other schemes. Choose a favourite scam or roll on the table below.

Charlatans pair well with Charisma based characters such as Bards or Rogues. You're not limited to any one background by choosing a particular class. For example, a Barbarian Charlatan who gets his Rage from schemes that go wrong.

Backgrounds can help you with creating your character from more than just your class. It can fuel your backstory and shape how your character has evolved before you start playing.

Conclusion

Go forth and discover where you came from and once you've done that, it's finally time to roll some dice in the next part, where we talk about all things stats in DnD. Until next time, I bid you
goodbye.