So you are ready to start a campaign... The first thing you need to do is create a character. This can be intimidating at first, but if you take it step by step it isn't too difficult. With a little bit of thought, you can make a unique and rewarding character to play.

This lecture will take you step-by-step through the creation of a standard Player’s Handbook level one Dungeons & Dragons 3.5e character. When creating your character, make sure you consult your GM for any special rules or guidelines you need to follow. Throughout this process, you will need to be able to access the D&D 3.5e rules. I recommend getting yourself a copy of the PHB for that purpose, as it is the easiest and most coherent way to learn character building. However once you know how, and for the purposes of this lecture, the rules available at the 3.5 SRD will suffice.

As I explain this process, I will be creating a sample character, a dwarven fighter, at the following link: http://www.thetangledweb.net/forums/....php?cid=73232

Getting Started

To build a character, you will first want to start a character sheet. Ideally, you should use the character sheet available through TW’s Profiler, since it will be able to do calculations of some of your stats for you. You can however find other options for sheets on sites such as Mythweavers.com. To create a new sheet for your character go to the Profiler page of TW and look for the Create New Sheet option. Fill in a name for the sheet (preferably the one you will use for your character if you know it) and select “d20 3.5 DnD” as the template. Hit submit and the page will reload with the new character sheet listed under Characters section of the page. Now any time you want to edit your sheet just click the character’s name to open the sheet in a second window or tab.

Once you have started a sheet for your character, you can start by filling in the basic information at the top of the sheet. Much of this is flavor detail that is completely up to you. This is also the time to select and record the race and class you will be using. Don't worry about race or class features just yet. Generally speaking, GMs will allow you to make whatever choices you would like regarding the appearance of your character. Age, weight, and height are occasionally generated randomly. If this is required of you, go to the race page you have chosen and use the charts there to determine what rolls you need to make. Generally, you will roll a given die, then use any given multipliers or added factors on the result of your roll.

Alignment will be part of the top of your sheet as well. There are two components of alignment. The first is the lawful-neutral-chaotic axis. A lawful character generally follows rules and is against anything too random or uncontrolled. A chaotic character may break rules to achieve a goal or thrive on chaos. The other axis is Good-Neutral-Evil. A good character seeks to help and protect others, while an evil character might try to make trouble or be ruthlessly self-interested. In both cases, neutral falls somewhere in between. You will need to choose one step on each axis. For example, I might have a Lawful Evil character. These are normally abbreviated with the first letters of your alignment. For example, LE. A character that is neutral for both components is called true neutral, which is abbreviated as N. Most campaigns ban evil characters, but all other alignments are usually fair game. If the class you have chosen has alignment restrictions, such as clerics, who must have alignments similar to those of their deities, be sure to consider those, as you can lose certain abilities when you have an incompatible alignment for your class.

Also at the top of your sheet, it is important to note your character's size, which is listed under racial features. This is normally abbreviated S, M, or L. Set your current XP to 0 and your level to 1 unless you are told otherwise. The "Next Level XP" field will auto-fill. The box marked "XP Change" should be left empty. During the campaign, when you gain XP, you can type the amount of XP you gain into that box and it will add it to your total automatically.

As you begin entering your information in the top of the sheet, numbers will begin to appear elsewhere on the sheet. Don't worry, that is completely normal. Never change or delete a number that appeared automatically unless you know for sure that it is incorrect.