How to Play D&D – Episode 2
So now that you know the core that D&D is built on, it's time to start exploring the rules, but first, let's take you on a tour of a character sheet so that as we talk about these rules in more depth in future episodes, you'll have a reference you can follow along with.
This is Badaar, Badaar is a Dragonborn Barbarian and he's just set out into the world to find adventure, he's a level 1 character, and he's going to be our example throughout this series.
Using Badaar, I'm going to show you how character building works, and today we're going to take a tour of Badaar's level 1 character sheet.
There are lots of places to get character sheets, and each one will look slightly different, but they all contain the same core information.
To start with, we have the basic information about our character, this is usually placed at the top of the character sheet and includes the character and player names, as well as what race, class, and level the character is.
In this area, you'll also find their character background, alignment, and how much experience they have.
Over on the left side of the sheet we have the ability scores, we're going to be covering these in-depth in the next episode, but they are the core of your character and they are used to determine a lot of things in the game.
Next to that, we have Inspiration, this is a special rule that your dungeon master can award you that allows you to roll with advantage, which we covered in episode 1.
Below that is our proficiency bonus, which we also covered in episode 1.
Next, we have your saving throws, which are used when you need to react to certain things, and which we will cover in episode TK.
And below that are your skills, which you use whenever you do something outside of combat that has a chance of failure. We'll cover these in episode TK.
Below the ability scores and skill, we have your passive perception core. This represents how aware of your surroundings you are, and is based on your perception skill.
At the top of the middle column on the character sheet, we have 3 large boxes.
Armor Class represents how hard you are to hit, and is the number your enemies need to beat to be able to hurt you.
Initiative represents your readiness for combat and is used at the start of every combat encounter.
And finally, your speed is how far you can move as part of your move action in combat.
Next, we have all the information about your hit points, how survivable your character is. There's space for your maximum hit point value, your current hit points, and any temporary hit points you have, which are extra hit points you get from certain abilities.
Beneath that, we've got a box for your hit dice, which is one of the main ways you determine your hit points and will be covered in episode TK.
And then we come to death saves. These are a special type of saving throw that determines whether you succumb to your wounds and die, or whether you keep on fighting. We're going to cover these in episode TK.
Next, we have an area for you to list what attacks your character can make, followed by a place for you to track your loot and equipment.
Then over on the right side here we've got information about your character.
Personality traits tell you about who your character is.
Ideals tell you what your character wants or believes in.
Bonds tell you how your character is connected to the world.
And flaws tell you what shortcomings your character has.
All of this will be covered in more depth in the episode on character backgrounds.
And then we've got a section for you to write down about special rules your character gets from their race, class, background, or some other source.
The next page is all about the character as a person and gives you space to note down their physical description, draw a picture of them, expand on their backstory, talk about their allies, and add additional information on their features or treasure.
Finally, we come to the spellcasting page, which is often the most confusing page for new players as it's got the least contextual information.
This page is where you keep track of all of your spells if your character is a magic-user.
You can track what spells you know, how many spells you can cast in an adventuring day, and which spells you have prepared for the day.
We'll cover all of this in our spellcasting episode, so don't worry if you're still confused.
Throughout this series, we're going to dive into each of these elements and talk about them more in-depth, then I'm going to walk you through the entire character creation process, beginning to end, and show you how I came up with Badaar's stats.
You can download a copy of Badaar's completed level 1 character sheet below, along with example character sheets for Badaar's friends, Helga the Dwarf cleric, Lyla the Tiefling rogue, ad Emyr the Elf Wizard.
In the next episode, we're going to explore the ability scores, the foundation of what makes your character work in the game and the first step on your journey to being an epic adventurer.