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Dungeons and Dragons for Teens

This guide is to enhance the enjoyment of Dungeons and Dragons during our biweekly Dungeons and Dragons for Teens

To create your character use the following guides to help you fill out your character sheet.

You can use DnD Beyond or you can download and print a copy of the character sheet. Use these directions to create your character for Guild of Forgotten Tomes. If you are in another GM's game, they may have other requirements, so please check with them.

In the Resources for Players box, you will find resources to help you build your character. Any player can begin with the Basic Rules PDF, but may not find all the character options they want in this text. The Player's Handbook is a more complete explanation of characters with more Races, Classes, and Backgrounds available.

Resources for Players

Step 1: Choose a Race

Step 2: Choose a Class

Step 3: Determine Ability Scores

Step 4: Describe Your Character

Step 5: Choose Equipment

Step 6: Leveling Up

1. Choose a Race

Players choose a race, or one of the intelligent humanoid species in the DnD universe. These races each have their own traits which act to either help or hinder players in their chosen actions. For example, halflings have Luck, which allows the player to reroll a dice roll of 1, but they also have a move speed of 20 feet. These traits can be combined with class traits to benefit the character.

The most common races are human, dwarf, elf, or halfling. Information about these can be found in the Basic Rules PDF linked above, on pages 13-19. Other races can be found in the Players Handbook (pages 17-42) or other books. These books have information on other races, such as Tieflings, Dragonborn, or Half-elves.

The allowance of Homebrew races will be determined by the individual GM.

Make note of racial traits, weapon proficiencies, languages, base speed and which ability scores you have an increase to.

3: Determine Ability Scores

Ability scores determine how good your character is at specific tasks. They are divided into Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. A score is between 0 and 20, where 10 is a perfectly average human, 0 is dead, and 20 is exceptional. The score will determine your modifier, which is used for Saving Throws and Skill Checks.

For Guild of the Forgotten Tomes, we will be using a standard array to determine our ability scores. This means that you will assign the numbers 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 to one of the abilities below. It is suggested that you place the highest number in the ability that is most important for your class. For example, a Warlock would put 15 in their Charisma while a Barbarian would put the 15 in their Strength. Once you have assigned these, go back and add the ability score bonuses from your race.


Strength measures your natural athleticism and bodily power. It is used to determine how much weight you can carry or if you can jump across a chasm.

This is an important skill for Barbarians, Fighters, and Paladins.


Dexterity measures physical agility, reflexes, balance, and poise. It determines if you are able to hide from the enemy, climb a wall, or pick someone's pockets.

This is an important skill for Monks, Rangers, and Rogues.


Constitution measures your health, stamina, and vital force. It helps determine your hit points and whether you can withstand illness or toxins.

This is an important skill for Everyone.


Intelligence is a measure of mental acuity, information recall, and analytical skill. It helps to determine if your character knows a specific bit of lore or how to navigate the city.

This is an important skill for Wizards.


Wisdom is a measure of awareness, intuition, and insight. It can help you determine if an NPC is lying or deceiving you or understanding how something works.

This is an important skill for Clerics and Druids.


Charisma is a measure of your confidence, eloquence, and leadership. It will help you convince people to agree with you or fight by your side or to believe your lies.

This is an important skill for Bards, Sorcerers, and Warlocks.


Determining Your Ability Modifier

Now that we have our ability scores, we can determine what our modifier is. This is the number that will be added to ability checks and saving throws.

Ability Score Modifier
1 -5
2-3 -4
4-5 -3
6-7 -2
8-9 -1
10-11 0
12-13 1
14-15 2
16-17 3
18-19 4
20 5


5. Choose Equipment

Your class and background help determine your starting equipment. Both sections will list the equipment that you start with, so you should begin by listing any equipment on those lists. There is more information about this equipment (weight, purpose, attack and damage) in the Equipment sections of the Basic Rules PDF (45-46) and the Player's Handbook (143-149).

Armor Class

Armor class is determined by your dexterity, the armor you wear as well as other equipment or sometimes spells. This is how protected you are during a battle.

AC starts at 10, then you add your Dexterity Modifier, and the AC for any armor, shields, or equipment you are wearing/wielding.

To effectively wear armor or use a shield, you must have proficiency with them. Heavy armor, like mail or plate, with also give you a negative modifier to your dexterity.


Weapons all have different attack and damages stats. Sometimes this may even change with your size - a small creature might have a different attack modifier than a medium creature. You should check these on the charts in the equipment lists.

Melee Weapons, like swords, use the Strength modifier for attack and damage (if listed as Finesse, use dexterity).

Ranged Weapons, like a crossbow, use the Dexterity modifier for attack and damage (if thrown, like a handaxe, use strength).

2. Choose a Class

In DnD, a class acts as a character's vocation or job. This determines special talents and which kind of tactics they will use. For example, a rogue will rely on stealth and their ability to hide or sneak, while a barbarian is more likely to attack directly.

Classes also provide different benefits from each other. These are called class features and include abilities, proficiencies, and more. You'll want to record this information on the character sheet.

Information about each class can be found in the Basic Rules PDF (pages 22-31) or the Player's Handbook (pages 45-112). The Basic Rules PDF covers Cleric, Rogue, Fighter, and Wizard.


Your class level determines which abilities you have in that class. As you progress through the game, your character will gain more abilities and skills, such as new spells or new ways to attack an opponent. Each GM will determine which system they use for leveling up, but in general, level is determined based on Character Experience. A first-level character starts with 0 XP. Since this number changes frequently, record this in pencil.

Hit Points and Hit Dice

Hit points determine how well your character withstands dangerous situations. It is a combination of your Constitution score and your hit dice roles.

You start with 1 hit die and gain 1 every time you level. The type of hit die is determined by your class and may be a d6, d8, d10, or d12. For example, a Level 3 Cleric has 3 d8. You will roll 1 of your hit die when you level to add to your hit points.

Hit dice are also used during a short rest to replenish your hit points. You can spend up to your total amount of hit dice during each rest to gain back hit points. However, you must take a long rest to gain back any spent hit dice.

Proficiency Bonus

Each class has a Proficiency Bonus table. Your proficiency bonus is added to certain dice rolls to increase your chances of success. Your class determines what your proficiency bonus applies to and it may be:

  • attack rolls with specific weapons
  • attack rolls for spellcasting
  • ability/skill checks
  • saving throws

4: Describe Your Character

This is where we start to determine our character's personality and background. We give them a name and think about what they look like and how they act.

The information for this section is in the Basic Rules PDF (pages 35-38) and the Player's Handbook (pages 121-125).

Your physical features can be rolled randomly or chosen more specifically if you already have an idea in mind. There are charts and suggestions to help you make choices.

DnD 5e discusses Sex and Gender as a singular entity in the binary, however, we do not have to play this way and players are welcome to choose from the wealth of Gender Identities we know and recognize today.

Your Background helps explain your call to adventure - why are you on your questing journey? It can also provide more proficiencies, languages, and a set of equipment to get your character started. Backgrounds have suggested characteristics - the ideals, bonds, personality traits, and flaws that will help guide your role-playing. You can role these randomly, pick from the list, or create your own to help explain who your character is.

6. Leveling Up

Each GM will determine how they want to handle leveling up. They might choose to level everyone up based on the completion of storylines or large events within the campaign. They can also use Experience Points (XP) to determine how to level you up.

The Guild of Forgotten Realms will be using Experience to determine levels.

Experience Points Level Proficiency Bonus
0 1 2
300 2 2
900 3 2
2700 4 2
6500 5 3
14,000 6 3
23,000 7 3
34,000 8 3
48,000 9 4
64,000 10 4
85,000 11 4
100,000 12 4
120,000 13 5
140,000 14 5
165,000 15 5
195,000 16 5
225,000 17 6
265,000 18 6
305,000 19 6
355,000 20 6

When you level, you want to make sure you add all the new information you need.

  1. Check your Class description for the leveling chart. This will list all new spells, spell slots, and abilities that you gain at your new level. It will also tell you if you have an ability score increase (+1 to 2 abilities or +2 to 1 ability) or a proficiency bonus increase. Make these changes on your character sheet.
  2. Gain a hit die. This hit die is now part of you pool of hit die to spend at a short rest. Roll the hit die, add your Constitution modifier to your role, and add to your hit point maximum. For Guild of the Forgotten Tomes, if you roll a 1, reroll and use the new number instead.
  3. Write down any new spells or abilities you have learned.

Resources for Players