Creating a character in D&D can be tough. There’s a lot riding on it, and your early decisions will greatly dictate your later playstyle. But it can also just be hard work. Traipsing through the Player’s Handbook, tracking each ability score, furiously min-maxing a build, all the while honing your character’s background, and roleplaying base. For new players especially, starting a D&D campaign with character creation can feel like little more than a chore.
Fortunately, some cracking online tools can speed up the process, taking number-tracking and decision-mapping out of your hands. They automate creation, clearly laying out each step, and recording your choices, before compiling a completed, tidy character sheet, ripe for adventuring. And some of them even offer full auto-generation, so you can whip up a ready-to-use character in no time.
We’ve created this list of the best D&D character creators available. All of them are simple, use 5E rules, are visually appealing, can be easily integrated with online tabletop sessions, and – the best bit – are free to use.
Embrace the digital revolution.
By far the most expansive option, D&D Beyond’s integrated character creator is likely to offer all the choice, guidance, and customisability you’ll need. Part of Wizards of the Coast’s official D&D digital toolset, it’s free to use (requiring only that you create a D&D Beyond account), and includes all 5E material that can be freely accessed under the game’s Open Games License.
From a player’s perspective, that means all classes (bar the artificer), each with at least one subclass, all standard player races, along with a couple of extras thrown in are available for free.
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If you want to use material from other sourcebooks, you’ll need a member of your D&D Beyond campaign to have purchased it through the platform, and share it with the rest of the party. But even if you want to take the wholly free route, D&D Beyond’s character creator is still a rosy option.
Each step is presented intuitively, new players can use tooltips to navigate the choices, and generic game options, such as selecting a leveling system or encumbrance options, can be fine-tuned to keep track of your character’s progression in whatever level of detail feels right for your game. Rules are automatically accounted for, so you can sit back and let the computer do the number crunching.
And if you’re totally new to D&D, you can even use the Quick Build feature to whip up a competent adventurer in a flash. Select a class, pick a race, and choose a name – that’s it. Perfect for some speedy roleplaying.
Each step is presented intuitively, and tooltips help you navigate the choices
If you’re going to be holding your actual play sessions online, character sheets can be exported to PDFs or integrated into a Roll20 campaign (using this handy browser extension) – but it’s D&D Beyond’s digital character sheets that really shine. Ergonomic and interactive, every ability score, every skill, and every section is clickable, bringing up a panel explaining their rules, and application in-game. And it cuts out the need for physical dice, too. Click on an ability score or skill, and a virtual dice will roll on screen, sharing its score in the central log for all your fellow adventurers to see.
There’s also the option to create and use homebrew content when building a character. D&D Beyond lets you add your own subclasses and races, particularly useful if you’re keen on expanding your campaign beyond official sourcebooks, or want to use the official D&D content you own in a physical format, but haven’t bought it digitally. Manually enter a class’s stats in the homebrew panel, and it’s as if they’re available to you as the real deal.
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There are some limitations, however. Feats aren’t available to players who haven’t bought, or have access to, the digital PHB, and, as you progress, you’ll need to spend some cash to unlock the character creator’s full features. But if you’re only looking for a means of building a level one character, and won’t be recording their progress through D&D Beyond’s automatic leveling system, you’ll be missing out on nothing.
Dungeon Master’s Vault
Dungeon Master’s Vault isn’t as replete as D&D Beyond, but useful for players who know what they’re doing, and are simply after a quick set up. Particularly useful for homebrewers, with options to add complete custom subclasses, races, and backgrounds in a few clicks, it automates everything in a tidy array. It also gives short descriptions of each option, and their influence on your characters’ stats – which comes in useful if you’re playing a class or race you’re not so familiar with.
Brilliant if you have a particular build in mind
What makes this character creator stand out, however, is that it builds your character in real-time. As you’re picking skill proficiencies, or weighing up two subclasses, you can easily see how the choices will influence your modifiers and ability scores at a glance. It’s especially useful if you have a particular build in mind, or are trying to min/max your character with optimum efficiency.
And for new players, it also offers the “character builder for newbies” option, stripping away all the usual D&D jargon, and replacing them with several generic questions. The idea is that you don’t need to know anything about D&D to use it, but can have a vague understanding of fantasy tropes, pick some general character cues that sound like fun, and it will do the leg work for you.
If you’re looking to waste no time, know exactly what you’re doing, and just want a quick means of automatically compiling a stat sheet, look no further than Fast Character. A web page solely dedicated to creating D&D characters, it’s, as you might expect, mightily speedy, and massively streamlined.
Use the dropdown menus to select all the essentials, add any feats that your character has acquired, write some roleplaying notes if you’re so inclined, and, hey presto, you’ve instantly got a spiffy sheet. Although it automatically calculates your character’s stats, Fast Character doesn’t track progression, nor is it intended to guide you through the creation process.
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If you’re familiar with D&D, or have the PHB sitting in front of you, it’s a useful way of creating your character digitally, but not learning how to do so.
Spanning the contents of a good few additional sourcebooks, Fast Character includes a lot of subclasses outside of the PHB, but there are a few restrictions to its use. Rough and ready, it can’t cope with multiclassing, and won’t display a spell list for any magic users, so you’re going to have to keep track of these elsewhere. Use it if you need to quickly create a digital sheet for a new or existing character.
Who the fuck is my DnD Character
A sillier option, but surprisingly useful in moments, Who the fuck is my DnD Character isn’t a usual character creator. It doesn’t build a character sheet for you, and it won’t teach you how to fill one. Rather, it provides random, pithy, and often tongue-in-cheek character descriptions, to serve as a basis for your build. Perfect if hours of adventuring has sucked all the roleplaying imagination from your brain.
Some of the backgrounds its serve up include:
- A naive Dwarf Fighter from the Salt Flats who always wanted to be an artist
- A sophisticated Gnome Monk from a poorly run orphanage who is in way too deep with the wrong sort of people
- A reliable Halfling Sorcerer from a poor dairy farm who doesn’t speak a word of common
Will it help you to quickly create a character and get adventuring? Probably not. But even a character with the most rigorously balanced stats will be no fun to play if there’s not an engaging roleplaying base backing them up.