1. Choose a Race

Every character belongs to a race, one of the many intelligent humanoid species in the D&D world. The most common player character races are dwarves, elves, halflings, and humans. Some races also have subraces, such as mountain dwarf or wood elf. Chapter 2 provides more information about these races, as well as the less widespread races of dragonborn, gnomes, half-elves, half-orcs, and tieflings.

The race you choose contributes to your character’s identity in an important way, by establishing a general appearance and the natural talents gained from culture and ancestry. Your character’s race grants particular racial traits, such as special senses, proficiency with certain weapons or tools, proficiency in one or more skills, or the ability to use minor spells. These traits sometimes dovetail with the capabilities of certain classes (see step 2). For example, the racial traits of lightfoot halflings m ake them exceptional rogues, and high elves tend to be powerful wizards. Sometimes playing against type can be fun, too. Half-orc paladins and mountain dwarf wizards, for example, can be unusual but memorable characters.

Your race also in creases one or more of your ability scores, which you determine in step 3. Note these increases and remember to apply them later. Record the traits granted by your race on your character sheet. Be sure to note your starting languages and your base speed as well.

Building Bruenor, Step 1

Bob is sitting down to create his character. He decides that a gruff mountain dwarf fits the character he wants to play. He notes all the racial traits of dwarves on his character sheet, including his speed of 25 feet and the languages he knows: Common and Dwarvish.