Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2 Page Character Builder Guide (ver 1.0)

Download these pages, print them out, and affix/glue them into your D&D Fourth Edition Player's Handbook 1. It'll guide you step by step on how to make a character from scratch.

Download these pages, print them out, and affix/glue them into your D&D Fourth Edition Player's Handbook 1. It'll guide you step by step on how to make a character from scratch.

When I run a D&D game, it's usually spur of the moment.

It's also usually at the request of friends/family who're new to the game.

Typically, it's also while away from a printer or internet connection.

Oh, and everyone involved has probably been drinking.

So, with this in mind, I usually have a few D&D books, some dice, and if I'm lucky some character sheets, minis, etc. However, here's the problem...

Wizards of the Coast's layout for every single one of their character sheets for Type IV D&D is broken. Just plain broken. Almost every little box they include for 'Powers' is WAY TOO SMALL to write down all the necessary info for a character's many powers.

The reason all of their character sheets are broken is because WotC expects players to use their Online Character Builder software. It prints out all of a character's powers on seperate 'Power Cards'. These cards are handy (if a little difficult to read), but they're not included in any format outside of the Online Character Builder. If you're not making your character with their software, you're outta' luck.

Rolling up a Type IV D&D character from scratch is almost unheard of now since it's so difficult. However, the upcoming Free Worldwide D&D Game Day on August 6th actually requires players to roll up a character from scratch before beginning. The new character sheets they've provided are pretty, but not as functional as they could be.

Bottom line, if I'm gonna be DMing a game where my players have to roll up a character in a short amount of time, I'm gonna make a tool to make it easier on them*. Making characters from scratch and pouring over a bunch of rulebooks isn't condusive to a tight schedule. Hopefully this'll help.

This is the first draft, so please leave feedback in the comments. I'm going to be using this tool on August 6th, and would to streamline it further, if possible.

*A similar guide was available in the D&D Type 3/3.5 books. I took the overall outline and buffed it up for Type IV.

UPDATE: Few people have commented that 'Skills' are missing from it. They're pre-selected under '3. Choose a Class'. Each class has 3-5 trained skills listed.


  1. @Frank

    They're in the 'Choose a Class', automatically chosen based on each class' strengths. If you want to customize your own skills, go right ahead.

    This guide was created for speed and ease of use more so than customization. Things can always be swapped out later.

  2. Skills are missing but it's a nice work! I would like to see the same stuff for Essential characters.
    By the way... nice blog! I will keep following you :)

  3. I see it now. Thanks! I will use this Saturday.

  4. Ops, you are right! Just noticed the skills ;-)

  5. I would suggest putting more info under the "ability scores" heading. In my experiences, more tables use the standard 22 point-buy set up. Of even just a few standard arrays (16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, etc) provided in the PHBs would be helpful.

    Also, just FYI, power cards can be had in the "Character Record Sheets" set sold by WotC. Really nice set, too. But I think they figured to save room, and have you track powers from the book, like in 3.5.

  6. The thrown weapons in the starting equipment packages don't list a proficiency bonus. AFAIK, they should have one.

  7. I recommend the standard array.
    If you ever need good character sheets look up mad irishman's 4e characters sheets. They are really quite good.