Dungeons and Dragons Cleric Tutorial, Birth of Bjorn

Dungeons and Dragons was the first and still one of the best role playing games ever created. In order for a group of adventurers to survive and thrive in the Dungeonmaster’s world they have to work together and use all their skills to defeat common enemies and attain their objectives. All characters start the same way but then how they develop in their class helps determine how successful they are. All characters start with a blank slate called the character sheet.

Dungeons and Dragons Character sheet

Dungeons and Dragons Character sheet

I will show you how I created my Cleric to Thor. The first thing we do is decide his race. I like playing humans so he will be a human. I will name him Bjorn.

Name Race and class

Name Race and class

Once you choose the race find that race in the and read through its characteristics and special traits. After reading up on humans in the Player’s Handbook we find that humans can add +1 to each of their traits. They can speak read and write in common and one other language. We also learn that humans have a speed of 30 feet.

When I created Bjorn I rolled 4D6 6 times and removed the lowest die from each roll. These numbers are going to be Bjorn’s ability scores. The totals I rolled were 8, 9. 17, 12, 18, 14. Before we decide where to put those numbers we need to figure out this character’s goals and the abilities we want him to be good at. We check out Thor’s characteristics and traits to see how a cleric of Thor’s might develop through life. Thor  is chaotic good, his domains are tempest and war and his favorite weapon is the hammer.

Next we use the class features to flesh out Bjorn a little more.

His hit die is a d8, His hit points at 1st level are 8 + his constitution bonus and at higher level his hit points go up by 1d8 +his constitution bonus. Wisdom and charisma are his most important traits. He also learns 2 skills. All this can be seen on page 57 of the players guide.Dungeons and Dragons players handbook His starting equipment is there as well. He will start his career with a Warhammer, wearing chain mail armor, a quarterstaff, explorers pack, shield and a Thor holy symbol which will be a wooden hammer dipped in silver and encrusted with a blood red gem in its center.

Now we assign the dice rolls to our abilities and figure out the modifiers. We assign them as follows than add the +1 to each characteristic because Bjorn is a human. Since Wisdom is the clerics trait for casting spells I will give him the 18 there, 17 will be his constitution, 14 his charisma , 12 strength, 9 his intelligence and 8 will be his dexterity. Since he is a human we add 1 to each of these traits so his final scores will be strength of 13, dexterity of 9,constitution of 18, intelligence 10, wisdom 19, charisma 15. Next again referring to the players handbook we figure out the bonuses associated with each ability score. We place the ability score in the small circle and its bonus in the larger circle.

Bjorn's Abilities and modifiers

Bjorn’s Abilities and modifiers

After we figure out the modifiers for his abilities we apply those modifiers to his saving throw stats. These saving throws will come in to play as he tries to do certain things like climbing a wall or pushing a cart out of his way etc. Bjorn gets to add his proficiency to any saves involving wisdom and charisma.

Bjorn saving throws

Bjorn saving throws

We now carry these values down to his skill throw final values. Bjorn gets to add his proficiency bonus to any of the skills that involve his wisdom or charisma modifiers. Those are marked with the small dots being filled. The final value for his skills is the amount he can add on to his d20 roll to succeed at a particular task , to avoid damage etc.

Bjorn's skill table

Bjorn’s skill table

We go back to the cleric table on page 57 of the Player’s Handbook. at first level Bjorn will get a proficiency bonus of +2, spell casting ability, divine domain, 3 cantrips and 2 first level spell slots. Next we have to calculate the save value against his spells, Meaning the save an opponent has to roll to save against a spell that Bjorn has cast against him. In Bjorn’s case it is 8+ proficiency of 2 + his wisdom modifier which is +4 for a total of 14. That means if Bjorn casts a spell at an opponent the opponent must roll a 14 or higher to save against his spell.

The next stat is his spell attack modifier which is his proficiency of +2 +4 for his wisdom bonus for an attack bonus of +6. when Bjorn casts a spell he must hit the opponent’s armor class rolling a d20. He can add 6 to that roll.

Bjorn's magic stats

Bjorn’s magic stats

Next we choose the domain for Bjorn so I will pick tempest since Thor is a tempest deity. Bjorn gets 2 spells from this domain, fog cloud and thunder wave and he also gets proficient in martial weapons and heavy armor. He also attains wrath of the storm ability as seen on page 62 of the players handbook, which he can use a number of times equal to his wisdom bonus before needing to rest. Finally we figure out how many spells Bjorn can have prepared. The number of spells he can have prepared is equal to the total of his level + his wisdom bonus. So he is level 1 +4 for his wisdom bonus is 5 prepared spells total. His domain spells do not count toward that limit so he always has fog cloud and thunderwave prepared to cast as well as 5 others from the first level cleric spell list. In the picture below I have written in what Bjorn permanently has available. He could have 5 more first level cleric spells listed below his 2 domain spells.

Bjorn's Cantrips and permanent abilities.

Bjorn’s Cantrips and permanent abilities.

Now we get to flesh out Bjorn so he can start adventuring.

Next we figure out his armor class. This is Bjorns ability to avoid getting hit. Its a combination of his dexterity armor and equipment. A character with no armor is 10 + his dexterity modifier which in Bjorn’s case is a -1. So without armor he would have an armor class of 9. However Thor has given him chain mail and a shield. Which according to page 145 of the players guide is an 18 AC. We subtract one for his low dexterity and Bjorn has an armor level of 17. That means for an opponent to hit him in battle they need to roll a 17 or better on a D20 after all modification. While Bjorn is slow he is tough to hit because of his armor. Next we have to see how much damage he can take. Clerics use a d8 to determine hit points and add their constitution bonus. I like to give my characters the maximum available for them when they are just starting out at level 1. In Bjorn’s case since clerics use a d8 he will get 8 hitpoints and then add his constitution bonus of +4 for a total of 12 hit points.

Bjorn's armor class and defenses

Bjorn’s armor class and defenses

Bjorn is not going to sit there and get thumped. He is going to  fight back and that’s where this section comes in. He has a Warhammer and a quarterstaff. Both of which are melee weapons. They use Bjorn’s strength to modify the to hit rolls against armor class as well as the amount of damage they inflict. If Bjorn hits with his Warhammer he rolls a d8 for hit points inflicted and adds his strength bonus which is +1 so the Warhammer attack is D8 +1. If he hits his opponent with the quarterstaff he rolls a d6 and adds +1.

Bjorn's Attack Stats

Bjorn’s Attack Stats

That finishes the creation of Bjorn. Now all we have to find out how much money he has and enhance his personality traits. Let me know what you think about this article. Keep tabs out for Bjorn’s adventures to show examples of game play etc. Remember drop a comment and let me know what you think.