For the most part, go step-by-step through the character generation rules in the Player’s Handbook. You can start with the “crunch” of game mechanics (“I wanna be an elf ranger!”) or you can start with the “fluff” of character backstory and motivation (“I wanna be a peasant hero whose hometown was destroyed and now he’s adventuring for the fortune to help his friends rebuild!”)
If you need a character sheet, you can get one from the D&D official website . You’ll need one to print off and bring to the game, of course. Write in pencil rather than ink, most everything on the sheet can change. Once you’re done, put your character writeup in the Characters section of this site.
Characters who worship gods should use the Greyhawk gods listed on page 295 of the Player’s Handbook, as those are the most commonly-worshipped around the nations where the game takes place. The nonhuman gods on page 296 are also present and worshipped by their respective races or particularly broad-minded humans.
Characters who worship other gods come from very far away and should write that sort of thing into their backstories. Characters may worship pantheons, such as “all good-aligned gods”, “the elf gods”, “all gods of War”, etc.
Race: Choose from the options starting on page 17 of the PHB. I’m going to discourage monstrous or bizarre options not listed there. Choose subraces normally. If you want to use the variant human rules, go for it. (Fluff: the only races younger than humans are tieflings, half-elves, and half-orcs; those races derived from humans. All three are extremely rare. Everyone else suffered under the Reign of Giants.)
Class: I’d rather you choose something you really want to play than choose based on “what the party needs”. If I end up with a party of two rogues, three wizards, and a bard, that’s gonna be a really interesting game even without the typical defender-striker-controller-leader spread. We’re not going to be using multiclass rules, so choose carefully.
Level: We’re all starting at level 1, with 0 EXP. Level 1 is for new players and people learning the rules for the first time, and that’s us, bubby. Level 1 is also kind of dull, since you’re too green to have any nifty powers or abilities yet, but the experience margin to hit level 2 is quite low. It’ll be over quickly.
Ability Scores: Use the point-buy on page 13. If that seems needlessly complicated, assign 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 to your strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma as you desire.
Proficiency bonus: As a first-level character, your proficiency bonus is +2. What that applies to depends on your race, class, and background: if you are proficient with a skill, you get the bonus to any use of that skill. If you are proficient with a weapon, you get the bonus to hit enemies with that weapon. If you are proficient with a tool or instrument, you get the bonus on any roll needed to use those devices.
Languages understood: As determined by race. If your background gives you extras that you get to choose, use the list on page 123.
Backgrounds, Traits, Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws: Pick one of each except for Traits, of which you get two. Use the options presented starting on page 123, or make up your own. (If you make up your own Background, I’ll come up with what mechanical benefits it grants your character.) Your Background is is the circumstances of your pre-adventuring life, your Traits describe your character in general terms, your Ideal is a one-word description of what drives your character into the dangerous job of adventuring, your Bond is a tie you have to a non-adventuring character or group, and your Flaw is a vice or compulsion that may drive you to compromise your Ideal or betray your Bond.
Alignment: Chaotic, lawful, or neutral; good, evil, or neutral. If you want to play a selfish prick or an up-and-coming tyrant and go for Evil alignment, well, okay, but you’ll still be expected to get along with the rest of the party. You don’t have to like them, but through manipulation or long-term planning you should be capable of working with them.
Wealth and Equipment: Either take the packages and kits offered by your class and background, or buy your equipment a la carte from the chapter starting on page 143. If you buy a la carte, your starting wealth is based on class, as follows: Bards, Clerics, Fighters, Paladins, and Rangers start with 150 gp; Rogues, Warlocks, and Wizards start with 120 gp; Sorcerers start with 90 gp; Barbarians and Druids start with 60 gp, Monks start with 15 gp.
Trinkets: As on page 160. If you want one, pick from the list or roll the d100 and take what you get. Write it into your backstory!
Feats: We’ll be using them, as on page 165. Only humans can start the game with one, and then only under the “variant” rules listed under that race entry. If you’re a variant human, pick one. If you’re not, you’ll have to wait until level 4.
If you have questions or want to talk about ideas you have, post in the forums . I encourage players to tie their backstories together before the game begins to give the party a sense of camaraderie and teamwork; reflect this in your backgrounds and bonds if you like.