Dungeons & Dragons is a cooperative storytelling game that harnesses your imagination and invites you to explore a fantastic world of adventure, where heroes battle monsters, find treasures, and overcome epic quests. This page contains the essentials you need to start your D&D journey.

Forge Your Legend

Your first step in playing an adventurer in the Dungeons & Dragons game is to create a character of your own, a combination of game statistics, roleplaying hooks, and your imagination. You choose a race (such as human or elf) and a class (such as fighter or wizard). You also invent the personality, appearance, and backstory of the character.

Creation Steps

Follow these suggested steps, making decisions that reflect the character you want. Your conception of your character might evolve with each choice you make.

Every character belongs to a race, one of the many humanoid species in D&D. The most common player character races are dwarves, elves, halflings, and humans. Your character’s race grants particular racial traits, such as special senses.
Every adventurer is a member of a character class. Class broadly describes a character’s vocation, special talents, and the tactics the character is most likely to employ when exploring a dungeon, fighting monsters, or engaging in a tense negotiation. Your character receives many benefits from your choice of class.
Much of what your character does relies on six abilities: Strength, measuring physical power, Dexterity, measuring agility, Constitution, measuring endurance, Intelligence, measuring reasoning and memory, Wisdom, measuring perception and insight, and Charisma, measuring force of personality.
Once you know the basic game aspects of your character, it’s time to flesh out a backstory and a personality. Your character also needs a name. Spend a few minutes thinking about what the character’s behavior and looks. You will also need to choose a Background for your character.
Your class and background determine your character’s starting equipment. This includes your character's armor, used to determine your Armor Class, as well as the weapons that you wield that determine your attack roll values. Additional adventuring gear is also available through starting equipment.
D&D characters don’t work alone. Each character plays a role within a party, a group of adventurers working together for a common purpose. Talk to your fellow players and your DM to decide whether your characters know one another, how they met, and what sorts of quests the group might undertake.

Gaining Levels

As characters go on adventures, each character gains experience, represented by experience points. A character who reaches a specified experience point total advances in capability. This advancement is called gaining a level.

Other Key Character Mechanics

Additional rules that are important to grasp for your character include:

Your character’s hit points define how tough your character is in combat and other dangerous situations. Your hit points are determined by your Hit Dice (short for Hit Point Dice). After you rest, you can spend Hit Dice to regain hit points.
The table that appears in your class description shows your proficiency bonus, which is +2 for a 1st-level character and gets better as you gain levels. The rules tell you when the bonus applies, most commonly in features or skills where you have proficiency.
Your Armor Class (AC) represents how well your character avoids being wounded in battle. Things that contribute to your AC include the armor you wear, the shield you carry, and your Dexterity modifier. Without armor or a shield, your character’s AC equals 10 + his or her Dexterity modifier.