Filling out D&D 4e Character Sheets: A Step-By-Step Approach

Being new to Dungeons and Dragons, we had a lot of trouble figuring out how to fill out every section of our character record sheets. Flipping through the Player’s Handbook, we were getting lost around every bend. To make things easier for people like us, starting out with no veteran player to walk you through it, I’ve made this breakdown to help you out.

It’s a lot more simple once you get through it for the first time, but that first go-through was torture to say the least. Spending hours filling out the sheet, not even sure if what you’ve done so far is even right, it was awful.

Here we go:

First you need to print out this Character Sheet from Wizards of the Coast’s website. Grab a pencil and fill out your character’s Name, Race, Size, and Class. These are the basic things that you probably already know which ones you will choose. If you don’t already know these, look through your Player’s Handbook, Heroes of… book, or Online Homebrew Resources to choose your Class and Race.


Here’s Bob Stevenson, Level 1 Human Rogue. Being a Human, he’s Medium sized, so on his sheet he gets a nice M in the Size slot. I decided he’s 20 years old. Male. Aligned Good. He has 0 experience points and is played by Me.

On page 46 of the Player’s Handbook 1, you will find a table of stats for the Human Race, and you can check the Table of Contents for your race’s page if you aren’t Human.


These stat blocks will tell you all of your Race specific features. Keep this page open for these next steps.

Our next step is to assign our Ability Scores. The base of these scores is 10. You don’t need to write these in, this is just to show you where you’re starting out. Remember to use a pencil for the rest of your sheet, as things here will change over time. You now have 22 points that you can add to these scores however you wish. You can also subtract from the base 10 score if you want to make another higher.


There are a few ways you can go about doing this, either by the method I described above, which is adding the remaining points to your base score, rolling scores on a d20 (not widely approved of), or using a set of predetermined numbers.

For Bob Stevenson, I’m going to use the Standard Array. This is discussed on Page 17 of the PHB1.


Assign the numbers to the Abilities of your choosing. If you look at your Class Features block, you’ll see their recommendations for which Abilities your character should focus on. For Rogues, this is Dexterity, Strength, and Charisma. I assigned those the highest values. (Each Class has a stat block just like Races do, for Rogues this is found on page 116 of the PHB1.)


Now you can find your Ability Modifiers, which are shown in this convenient chart that you can find in the PHB, as well as on several pages online.


Write those in the Ability Modifier blanks in the Ability Scores block, like so:


As a Human, Bob Stevenson has the option to add 2 points to the Ability Score of my choice.


I chose Intelligence. Some Races will afford you Ability bonuses like this, most Races will give you set modifiers, like +2 Charisma and +2 Intelligence (Tieflings). Add yours to the Ability Modifier section. Bob’s +0 Intelligence Modifier is changed to +2, and I add 2 to his Intelligence Score, making it a 12.


Now let’s fill in a little more of the information given to us by our chosen Race. Your character’s base speed will be determined here.



Write it in under Movement. 6 is Bob’s Base Speed. Armor can effect your speed, you would write it in under Armor in the Speed section after you purchase your Armor. Bob will be wearing Leather Armor, though, so his Speed won’t be affected by this. If you do have heavy armor that affects your speed, you will subtract the value given by the Armor’s stats from your Character’s Total Speed.

Some races have special senses, like Low-Light Vision. Humans have Normal Vision, though, and I will write this in the Senses field underneath Movement.


Now for the languages your character knows. According to the Human stat block, Bob speaks Common and One other language of my choice. I chose Elven. If you choose an Elf, you will be given Common and Elven as your languages. Some other races allow you to choose your second language. You’ll find the place to fill this out at the bottom of the first page of your Character Record Sheet.


All characters start out with 1 Action Point. Fill that out in the Action Points section of the sheet, back towards the top.

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Defenses. Fill in the square under Defenses that says 10 +1/2 LVL, which at level one is just 10.



According to the Human Stat block, Bob gets a +1 Misc. Bonus to Fortitude, Reflex, and Will.



You can now calculate your current Defenses. These may change as we continue, when we look at our Class features, Armor, etc.

Let’s look back at our Racial Information:


These things won’t come in until you look at your Class information, so let’s do that now. Bob is a Rogue, his Class Stats are found on page 116 of the PHB1.


For now we’re going to skip over everything until we reach his Defense Bonus, which is +2 to Reflex. Any bonuses to Defenses found here will be added under the Class bonus block of each Defense. You can then add this value to the total as well. Bob’s Reflex is the Base of 10 + 1/2 his level (0) +2 Class Bonus +1 Racial Bonus, giving him 13.


Now we look below the Class Defense Bonus to find your Character’s Hit Points (HP). For a Rogue this is listed as 12 + Constitution Score. This is the whole score, not the Modifier. Bob has 13 Constitution, +12, giving him 25 total Hit Points.


After finding your Max HP, you can determine your Bloodied Point and your Surge Value. Your Bloodied Point is 1/2 your Max HP, and is the point at which your Character is in danger of death. When finding 1/2 of any value in D&D, you always round down. So instead of 1/2 of 25 being 12.5, we round down to 12.

Your Surge Value is 1/4 of your Max HP. Just take 1/2 of your Bloodied Point, and remember to round down if necessary. The Surge Value is how many Hit Points you gain with every Healing Surge. Bob’s is 6.


Now to find out how many of those Healing Surges your character can do in a day. Looking at the next bit of information on the Class Stat Block from our Handbook, we’ll find our equation. For Rogues this is 6+Constitution Modifier. This time we’re just using the Ability Modifier, not the whole Ability Score. Bob’s equation is: 6+1=7. He can do 7 surges a day.


We’ve reached the point now where we can determine our Skills. Before we pick which skills our characters will be Trained in (which gives a +5 bonus to Skill Checks), we need to find our Ability Modifier Bonuses for each Skill. Next to the names of each Skill, you’ll find the associated Ability.


Now look back at your Abilities and find the Ability Modifier for each Dex, Int, Cha, etc. and fill them in under ABIL MOD + 1/2 LVL. Our 1/2 LVL is 0 at level 1, so just write the Modifier. Here are Bob’s results:


Now look at the bottom of your Class Features Stat Block to see what your class’ skills are and how many you will be selecting to be trained in.


As a Rogue, Bob is trained in Stealth and Thievery, as well as four more skills from the list provided. We’re going to fill in +5 under TRND for any skills that are provided as trained in our Class Features.


Now we’ll choose any other Skills from the list provided for each Class. Rogues are allowed to choose 4 extra skills from their list. Bob has: Acrobatics, Insight, Bluff, and Perception. Now we’ll add +5 under TRND for those as well.

Now, looking back at the Human Racial Information, remember that Humans have the option to choose one additional Skill from their Class Skill List. Bob will choose Dungeoneering.

After filling in these stats, we can add them together to find our total Skill Bonuses. You will add these to d20 rolls when making Skill Checks. Bob would be really good at Stealth, Thievery, and Acrobatics related actions.


Now that you know your Skill Bonuses, you can find your Passive Insight and Passive Perception. To calculate your Passive Insight, add 10 + Insight Modifier. For Bob this would be 10+5=15.

Do the same for your Passive Perception, using your Perception Modifier. Bob’s is 10+5=15, again. Fill them in at the top of your sheet here:


Your DM can use these values to determine if your character is aware of things around them, without you actively checking. If it’s high enough, you may see a glint of light in the corner (Treasure!…. or a goblin’s sword?), if it’s too low, you may be completely oblivious to it until doing an Active Skill Check.

Moving on. On your Class Information you will find Class Features. For a Rogue this includes: First Strike, Rogue Tactics, Rogue Weapon Talent, and Sneak Attack. Make note of them here:


There will be information about each of these Features in your class’ section of the Handbook. They look like this:


It’s a good idea to copy the information for each of your Class/Race features onto a sheet of paper, or index cards to keep with you during play.

Rogue Tactics has a choice to be made: Artful Dodger or Brutal Scoundrel. For Bob, I’m using Artful Dodger, which I will now write next to Rogue Tactics on my Character Sheet.


Now, look back at your Race. See if there are any Racial Features to add. Humans don’t have any, but you would write them here.


Now for Feats. On your Class, you’ll see Build Options. For the Rogue, the options are Brawny Rogue or Trickster Rogue. Bob is a Trickster Rogue.


Looking at the next page of the PHB, you can find the details for each build option. Find the information for the Suggested Feats. For a Trickster Rogue build, that would be Backstabber, with the Human bonus of Human Perseverance.




There are also suggested Powers, we’ll fill those out on Page 2 or the Back of our Character Record Sheets. The Recommended Powers for a Trickster Rogue are: Deft Strike, Sly Flourish, Positioning Strike, and Trick Strike. As a Human, Bob also gets to choose one extra At-Will Power. I chose Riposte Strike. Make sure you check your Racial Information to see if you were given any Powers because of your choice of Race.


You can find information on your Feats and Powers on the following pages of the PHB. They look like this:


To keep track of these feats and powers, you can print out Power Cards to keep with you while in play for quick reference so you won’t be flipping through the book to find out what the heck your Deft Strike power does. (Or you can write it on a sheet of paper or note cards.) I made mine using this site. They look like this:


For Equipment you’ll have to spend money to purchase a few items. Everyone starts out with 100 GP. You can find Equipment, Weapons, your Adventurer’s Kit and Thieves’ Tools (for Rogue) as well as many other items starting on page 210 of the PHB1, along with prices and stats.


Write your items down in your Other Equipment section on the second page of your Character Record Sheet. Everyone should start out with the Adventurer’s Kit, armor, and a weapon. Rogues should also have Thieves’ Tools.

Bob has an Adventurer’s Kit (15 gp), Thieve’s Tools (20 gp), 4 Daggers (1 gp each), and Leather Armor (25 gp), leaving him with 36 GP.



Armor Class = 10 + Armor Value + Shield Bonus ( if wearing Light Armor either +Dex or +Int modifier, whichever is highest) + ½ character level (formula from here)


For Bob: 10 + 2 (Armor Value) + 3 (Shield Bonus, Light Armor: higher of INT or DEX modifier) + o (1/2 LVL) = 15 AC


You can find the Armor Value under Armor Bonus (+2 in the image above).

This is how you’d fill out all that AC information.


Also, remember that because Bob has the Class Feature Rogue Tactics: Artful Dodger, he gets an AC bonus equal to his Dexterity Modifier against Opportunity Attacks. If you have anything like this, you should write it down as a Conditional Bonus since it only applies if a trigger is met, in this case, if an Opportunity Attack is attempted against him.


Find your Initiative. Initiative is determined by your DEX modifier + 1/2 your level.


There are some other things that don’t apply to the Human Rogue, but that you may need for your character:

Resistances. For instance, if you are a Tiefling, your Racial Information will give you a 5 + 1/2 LVL Fire Resistance, Humans don’t have this. You would write resistances down here:


Completely optional: Fill out your Character Background Information. Here’s Bob’s just for kicks.


Yes, he’s a twitchy kleptomaniac rogue. He’ll steal anything he can get his hands on.

Alright, I hope that I’ve covered everything, and that I’ve explained it all in a way that is easily understood and adapted to each race/class. If you have any questions at all, let me know and I’ll try to help! Also, if I have missed something, or if you find an error, let me know so I can fix it.

Happy Character Creating!


CharacterSheet-1 Untitled-37

(Bob Stevenson, pretty exotic name for the world of Dungeons and Dragons. xD)


8 responses to “Filling out D&D 4e Character Sheets: A Step-By-Step Approach

  1. This was amazingly helpful, thank you! I’m a complete beginner at D&D making my very first character, and yours was easily the best and most informative guide I could find on how to do it. There was only one thing that confused me, and it wasn’t your guide at all but rather how the feats were written. They say stuff like “1[W] + Strength modifier” or whatever. I haven’t been able to figure out what 1[W] means. Does it refer to Will?

    • I’m glad my guide was helpful, thanks for commenting and letting me know 🙂
      As for the “1[W]” business, I found this thread which talks about this, and references page number 273 in the Rules Book Compendium as the source of the information.

      The “W” Represents the weapon, this value would differ depending on what weapon is equipped. A throwing dagger would use a different die than a broadsword to determine damage dealt. The thread I linked explains it better, but that’s the gist of it.

  2. Hi this was a great help to me and my friends who are just starting out. One part I got kind of confused was the feats. You went with the recommended feats but can you go with any lvl 1 great you want also how do you determine how many feats you get? Is it one per section ? Plus additional if indicated?

  3. So, is the racial bonus for ability scores applied to the ability modifier? I thought it would be applied to the actual ability score. Using this homebrew race I was looking at as an example, they get +2 strength and +2 constitution or wisdom. I thought that, if I rolled a 12 on strength and an 11 on constitution, then I would make my totals 14 and 13, and then apply the ability modifiers that way. I’m just looking for some clarification on this, since I”m new to the game.

  4. This was really helpful to me as well. We’re starting a game where most of us have never played an RPG, and none of us have tried 4th edition D&D.

  5. Great Idea!!!! Really helpful!!!! and a must have when filling out the character sheets xD This goes through every detail and now I plan on doing something like this on my blogg too!!!! since the process was probably worse -.- with 7 people!!!!

  6. Oh and for future Character Sheets

    The +2 that humans and other races have are added to the ABILITY SCORE.

    If INT score is 10… you add +2… the modifier for 12 is +1 🙂

  7. For the defenses shouldn’t you add whichever is higher of the two relevant ability modifers?

    Fort (+1 STR, +1 MISC) = 12
    Ref (+3 Dex, +2 Class, + 1 Misc) = 16
    Will (+2 CHA, +1 Misc) = 13

    PHB pg 17 outlines this part.

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