D&D 5.0 Character Creation, Part 3: The Outside Layers


This part will be devoted to the outer skin that overlays the meat from Part 2.


Attacks and Spellcasting.

This section is where you will write information about your most used melee, ranged, and spellcasting attacks for quick reference.

(Ex: Rose has three weapons: the rapier, the shortbow, and the dagger. She may have other weapons about her personage, and will likely have access to other weapons in general, but these are the weapons she is proficient with and will use most often.)

In the example, the Attack Bonus is different for all three weapons. The proficiency bonus is added on top of the weapon’s related stat. Because the melee weapon uses Strength and Rose does not have a Strength bonus, she applies only her base proficiency bonus (+2). Ranged weapons use Dexterity, which means Rose’s attack bonus is 6 (+4 DEX, +2 Proficiency) for the Shortbow. As a dagger can be used as both melee and ranged, it has both attack bonuses listed.

Damage/Type is where the weapon dice and damage types are listed. (Ex: A rapier has 1d8 piercing (P) damage. Rose is not proficient with Strength, so after a successful attack she would roll only the 1d8 for damage. She rolls a 6, and the monster takes 6 points of damage.)

The space below is for Special Attacks and weapon/spell distances. Listed in the example is the Rogue class’ Sneak Attack. At level 1, Rose has +1d6 damage she can deal when having advantage on an attack roll.

Weapon distances are told in two numbers: minimum distance and maximum distance. To throw a dagger and have it deal proper damage, you will need to be 20 ft. away from your target. The maximum distance you can throw a dagger is 60 ft. Because a short bow is less efficient from 10-70ft, you will need to make sure your target is at least 80ft away from you in order to avoid a penalty.

Weapons and their damage/type/range are listed in the Equipment section of the PHB (Pgs. 146-149). Spell ranges, types, and damage are listed in the Spells section of the PHB (Pgs. 207-289).


This section is about Passive Wisdom, Other Proficiencies, and Languages.

Passive Wisdom (Perception) is your character’s current level of awareness when they are not actively searching. This is base 10 + Wisdom bonus + any applicable bonuses. (Ex: Rose has a Passive Wisdom of 14, 10 (base) + 2 (WIS) + 2 (Perception proficiency). As she is walking through an alley on the way to another destination, she is not paying particular attention to her surroundings. There is a sack of gems in a crevice by the road. Because the DC to see the gem is 14, she will notice it in the dust. If the DC was higher even by one, she would walk past without realizing what she’s missed.)

‘Other Proficiencies and Languages’ is just that: shortlisting languages and character proficiencies that are not easily listed elsewhere.

(Ex: Rose is a well-traveled Halfling, who has allied herself with the Thieves’ Guild in a large city. This means she is fluent in her own language, the merchant language of Common, and the subtle sign language of Thieves’ Cant. Her standard proficiencies are based off of her class, the Rogue. The Rogue is proficient with Light Armor, Simple Weapons, Hand Crossbows, Long swords, Short swords, Rapiers, and Thieves’ Tools. Simple weapons cover a decent number of weapons, including daggers and short bows. As an Entertainer, Rose is proficient with one instrument and a disguise kit.)

Proficiencies can be found in the Classes section of the PHB under each class (Pgs. 45-119). Languages can be found in the Races section (Pgs. 17-43) and in the Personality and Background section of the PHB (Pg. 123).


This section is about Equipment.

This section is for any gear that you may want on your character’s immediate person – for combat, trade or exploring.

(Ex: Rose’s combat gear is listed in case she requires her bow for hunting or her rapier for dueling. She has no money listed because she performs & entertains for her room and board. What money she earns she uses to travel in search of her sister.)

A rogue that spends their time dungeoneering may have a range of items, like a rubber ball or roll of twine, for trap detection or determining direction.

All Equipment can be found in the Equipment section of the PHB (Pgs. 143-161)


This section is about Features and Traits.

This section is for shortlisting any features or traits from your character’s race, background, class, etc. This list will fill up as your character levels.

My Lightfoot Halfling, Rose, is Naturally Stealthy due to her size. She can hide behind a creature that is even only one size type above her.  Halflings are considered to be Lucky (though this is not something that I usually adhere to within my campaign). This means Rose can reroll a 1 on an attack roll, ability check, or saving through – and must take the second roll no matter what. Supposedly, Halflings are Brave, which means they have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.

As a Rogue, she gains Expertise at level 1 (and again at level 6). This allows her to have either two doubled skill proficiencies or one doubled skill proficiency and a doubled proficiency with Thieves’ Tools. Rose has selected Perception and Thieves’ Tools. This means her proficiency bonus is doubled when using the ability check for the skill/tools.

[Ex: Rose has to make a Perception check. She has Proficiency and Expertise in Perception, which allows her to double her Perception Proficiency and makes a roll of 1d20 + 2 (Perception) + 2 (Proficiency).]

When I chose the Entertainer background for Rose, I decided she should have a range of performance options that she can fall back on for earning room and board. A person who is good at Storytelling is often welcome at many inns, especially if passing on news. A Singer or Instrumentalist can make surly or loud crowds quiet – or take a sullen crowd and make it boisterous. The Entertainer background has a feature called ‘By Popular Demand’, which means Rose can always find a place to perform – whether that be in an inn, tavern, or even a circus.

Race Traits can be found in the Race section of the PHB (Pgs. 17-43). Class Features can be found in the class section of the PHB (Pgs. 45-119). Background Features can be found in the Personality and Background section of the PHB (Pgs. 121-141).


Thank you for reading! If you ever have any questions or comments about tabletop or GMing, I’d be happy to help. :) You can get in contact with me on Twitter, at @feztivus.