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Cheat Sheet

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition For Dummies

From Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition For Dummies, 2nd Edition by Bill Slavicsek, Richard Baker, Mike Mearls (Foreword by)

When you’re creating a character for your Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition game, you want to choose the best powers, feats, skills, and gear for your character’s race and class. This Cheat Sheet provides tips for making wise power, feat, skill, and gear choices when you’re creating a new Dungeons & Dragons character. Once you get started, use the printable battle grids for roleplaying encounters.

Learning New Powers in Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition

One of the great things about roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons is that you get to completely customize your character, starting from scratch. When you’re creating a new 1st-level character for your Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition game, you get to select the following types of class powers:

  • Two 1st-level at-will powers (for a human character, pick three)

  • One 1st-level encounter power

  • One 1st-level daily power

As your character gains experience levels, he or she gains additional powers. For example, at 2nd level, your character gains one 2nd-level utility power; at 3rd level, one 3rd-level encounter power; and at 5th level, one 5th-level daily power. Your character is gaining other benefits, too, but the opportunity to choose new powers is one of the most interesting and useful parts of gaining levels.

Start your character creation with a character sheet from the official Dungeons & Dragons Web site.

Planning Your Feat Choices in Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition

Choosing feats in the Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition roleplaying game can be pretty daunting because there are so many to choose from. It’s a good idea to have a plan for which feats your character will select over the next few levels so that you can make sure you get the feats you want as quickly as possible. Try the following process when evaluating your feat choices:

  1. Choose your character’s class (if you haven’t already), and then decide which build you want your character to follow within that class.

    A skillful Guardian Fighter, for example, needs to learn different feats from a muscle-bound, axe-wielding Great Weapon Fighter, even though they’re both fighters.

  2. Consult the feat recommendations for your character’s class and chosen build, or design your own feat plan.

    After you’ve played the game for a while and you’ve made up a few characters, experiment with building feat plans that exploit feat choices not outlined in the rulebook.

  3. Make any extra feat selections you have coming to you, such as the bonus feat that human characters get at 1st level.

  4. Record your feat selections on your character sheet.

Choosing Your Character’s Skills in Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition

When you create a 1st-level character in Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, you begin roleplaying with training in a certain number of skills. The number of skills your character gains training in depends on your character’s class and race (humans begin with one extra skill as a racial benefit). The list of skills you can choose for your character is limited by his or her class. Here’s are five skills with key game effects that you shouldn’t ignore:

  • Bluff: Rogues can use the Bluff skill to manufacture sneak attack opportunities with the Gain Combat Advantage skill application.

  • Diplomacy: This is a great catch-all skill for convincing nonplayer characters (NPCs) to help out your character, leave him or her alone, or give your character something he or she needs.

  • Stealth: This skill covers hiding and stealing up on the bad guys without making a sound.

  • Perception: If you don’t like monsters surprising your character, look for a way to gain training in Perception so your character will know they’re coming.

  • Acrobatics: Your character uses this skill for balancing on things like narrow ledges above pits of molten lava. It also gives you the opportunity to escape from enemy, and you can even use it to try to reduce falling damage.

Make sure you use your character sheet to keep track of your character's skill points.

Sample Starting Gear in Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition

Part of the fun of roleplaying games, such as Dungeons & Dragons, is customizing a character. But sometimes you just want to get down to the game. Want an easy way out of shopping for your 1st-level Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition character? Just choose one of the equipment packages here and add it straight to your character sheet:

  • Fighter, Great Weapon: Scale mail (40 gp), greataxe (30 gp), standard adventurer’s kit (15 gp), 2 javelins (total 10 gp), sling and 20 bullets (2 gp), 3 gp left over.

  • Fighter, Guardian: Scale mail (40 gp), heavy shield (15 gp), longsword (15 gp), standard adventurer’s kit (15 gp), 2 javelins (total 10 gp), sling and 20 bullets (2 gp), 3 gp left over.

  • Rogue (any): Leather armor (25 gp), short sword (10 gp), 3 daggers (3 gp), standard adventurer’s kit (15 gp), sling and 20 bullets (2 gp), thieves’ tools (20 gp), 25 gp left over.

  • Cleric (any): Chainmail (40 gp), mace (5 gp), crossbow and 10 bolts (26 gp total), standard adventurer’s kit (15 gp), holy symbol (10 gp), 4 gp left over.

  • Wizard, Control: Cloth armor (1 gp), quarterstaff (5 gp), orb (15 gp), spellbook (50 gp), standard adventurer’s kit (15 gp), 14 gp left over.

  • Wizard, War: Cloth armor (1 gp), dagger (1 gp), wand (7 gp), spellbook (50 gp), standard adventurer’s kit (15 gp), 26 gp left over.

The standard adventurer’s kit includes a backpack, bedroll, flint and steel, belt pouch, 2 sunrods (4 hours of illumination each), 10 days of trail rations, 50 feet of rope, and a waterskin. If you’re really worried about getting caught in the dark, buy some extra sunrods (2 gp apiece) or torches (10 for 1 gp).

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Battle Grids

Take your Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition character on an adventure using these battle grids. One battle grid is blank, so you can customize it to your particular adventure, or just use it as a large, open area to practice combat against monsters. The other battle grid is divided into several rooms, which you can use as the basis for a small dungeon.

Ideally, each square on a battle grid should be one inch square. By that standard, the following battle grids are 14 inches wide and 9 inches tall — including the nonplayer character (NPC) squares that you can cut out and place on the map. To use these battle grids, you must either shrink them down to fit the size of your paper, or print them on larger paper (11 x 17, for example).

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Click here to download and print the blank battle grid.

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Click here to download and print a battle grid with some walls already added.

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