D&D 5E Challenge: how long does it take to create a 1st level PC?

Li Shenron

This is a simple experiment. I want to check how long it takes for other people to create a 5e character, because I was expecting it to be faster than how it is for me.

These are the guidelines:

- the target is to create a 1st level PC using DnDNext, and fill a complete character sheet with it

- it is not a competition i.e. do not "rush it" to prove you are faster than others, or to prove it can be done under 5 minutes... be relaxed and be yourself (i.e. if you're a natural optimizer go ahead and min-max, if you're light-hearted make light-hearted choices, etc.)

- decide a general character concept before starting (at least class, race and general idea of what she can do), without looking at the written rules (but I presume you know what classes/races are available), and do not count this time into your total

- pick any method you want for ability scores generation suggested in the playtest rules

- choose freely from every character option available from current playtest packet

- write everything to a character sheet or blank paper (printed or digital doesn't matter); it's enough to write the name of things (e.g. "Rage") and terms of use (e.g. 1/day, you don't have to write the description of how things work (e.g. "Gain this and that...") unless it's a variable that might depend on ability scores or can change later (e.g. bonus damage); but the character sheet has to be complete, writing "Background: X" is not enough, you have to write all the individual benefits at least in name

- you can skip the choice of cosmetic details (even name, gender and alignment), but you cannot skip equipment (however you can pick the suggested equipment, but you still have to write it down to the character sheet)

Then post to this thread the CLASS of your character, and how many minutes it took, from since when you decided on the character concept including class/race, to until when you finished completing the character sheet. (Optionally, you can mention if you took some package such as equipment or background, or if you custom-made them).


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I will try it later if I get a chance. My guess not very long, but I never take a long time making characters for any edition.

What are your results?


32 minutes to make a Human Mage. Rolled ability scores in order, took the Sage background and equipment, added staff and daggers. A good chunk of time was spent choosing spells and writing down their effects on the character sheet.

I strongly desire fast and easy chargen. For a mage, the first time making one with these rules, and with having to bounce around different PDFs in a not-user-friendly presentation, I am satisfied. I think it would have gone a bit faster with the Mage spells all in one place, and ordered by level.


Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
This was done in August by someone else:


And then some comparisons:



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19 minutes to make a Hill Dwarf Fighter. Rolled scores, arranged to taste. Took Soldier background, but selected my own equipment. It seemed most time was spent writing down all the Dwarven racial abilities!

Again, I like the speed. With a bit more familiarity and a well-presented book, I think I could knock this down easily to 15 minutes.

While classes look quite complex, because things like martial paths and arcane traditions come in at later levels, initial character generation moves along quite fast. I went with the bog standard backgrounds just to get that old B/X feel, but I think even taking some time over backgrounds wouldn't increase chargen time too much. Also, I like the simple math required. Proficiency + ability modifiers is basically it. It's not quite B/X fast, but 'twill serve.


First Post
Half-Elf Bard, using the point-buy system, adding the Guild Thief Background, and using bought equipment to taste.

Luckily, bards get no spells at first level, so I didn't have to worry about them.

Took 21 minutes to bottom out, and I was happy with it.

I was writing things down longhand: even using HeroForge (and I'm good at using that), I don't think I could have put together a first level bard as quickly.

What about listing the weight of equipment? Even in 5e, one might be surprised at how easy it is to overburden a Str 12 rogue with a list of items that seems appropriate. And the equipment packages are insufficient to represent what an actual adventurer should be carrying.

I find that is what really slows me down, and it is almost *never* accounted for in the figures people give.

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Just over half an hour to make a half-elf LIGHT CLERIC. Point-buy. Custom equipment, but incl. adventurer's kit. Probably the biggest time sink was reading all the cantrips, and deciding which artisanal background to pursue. The character's ready to play, though.


It appears that things won't take much longer for higher level characters. I just tried to recreate my current 3.5 character. It took me about 40 minutes.

Became Wizard 9, Rogue 2, Avenging Paladin 3.


Guide of Modos
Making a 3rd level character in Next took me well over 30 minutes. The biggest time-drains were sorting through different PDFs (instead of one book) and adding on racial abilities.

Having the books and knowing 3.5, I could probably make the same character in 15 or less.

I'd like to see the system where the time to make your character takes 5 minutes per character level.

Voidrunner's Codex

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