Don't understand where to get all the derived stats during character creation

  • I've created a new D&D character and I'm filling in her character sheet. I always gets stuck on what values I should be using for Inspiration, Initiative, Temporary Hit Points, Hit Dice, and Saving Throws.

    I've looked through the 5e Players Handbook and can't work out where I can get the information as to what to put in - Saving Throws I understand the stat bonus but am not sure if my proficiency bonus goes in there too or not.

    My character is an Gnome Bard.

    • Str 14 (+2)
    • Dex 17 (+3)
    • Con 16 (+3)
    • Wis 16 (+3)
    • Int 16 (+3)
    • Chr 18 (+4)

    That includes all the special modifiers for race.

    • HP 11
    • Proficiency Bonus +2
    • Initiative ?
    • Temporary Hit Points ?
    • Hit Dice ?
    • Saving Throws - these aren't listed separately on the sheet but I'm still not sure how to calculate them

    Can anyone clear up where I'm supposed to find those other values?

  • Hit Dice

    Your hit die is located at the top of your class's description page. For a Bard, it is d8. Your hit dice are simply a running count of all the singular hit die you accumulate -- you gain one class-appropriate hit die every time you level up in a class. So, a level 5 Fighter would have 5 (5d10) hit dice. A multiclassing 3 Rogue/2 Sorceror would also have 5 hit dice (3d8 + 2d6). Usually, the hit dice are expressed as the total of the individual pools of dice, so that it's easy to see how many of each die you have. That's important for short rests, when you use them to heal.

    The hit dice system seems weird or unnecessary at first (it did to me when I started playing, anyway), but it makes it really easy for a DM to generate an NPC. If I wanted to generate that level 5 Fighter, for instance, I can just roll five d10's, then multiply his Con bonus by five and add that, and I'll know what his total hit points are. That's exactly the same as if a player had levelled up a Fighter to 5 -- it just takes less time.

    Temporary Hit Points

    This is exactly what it says on the tin. They'll be zero for now, because nobody's cast a spell on you that gives you temporary HP, and you haven't used an ability that grants yourself temporary HP. Subtract from these first when you take damage, if you have them.


    Luckily, this is a really easy one. It's just your Dexterity bonus, unless you have an ability or item that explicitly states* it gives you Initiative bonus.

    *Disclaimer: That's kind of a lie: the Bard's "Jack of All Trades" feature grants a bonus on "ability checks" at level 2. Rolling for initative is a Dexterity check, so you actually get an Initiative bonus from it, even though it's not explicit. Watch out for bonuses to Dexterity checks or ability checks.

    Saving Throws

    Your class is proficient in specific saving throws. The saving throws are classified by attribute; Strength, Constitution, Wisdom, etc. Your saving throw bonus is just the respective attribute bonus. For the saving throws you're proficient in, you can add your proficiency bonus, too.


    This is a special mechanic new to 5e. The gist of it is that the DM can choose to give you points which you can spend for free re-rolls. You can only have one at a time, and it only lasts until the end of the session. Look in your Player's Handbook for details; I believe it's next to the Backgrounds section.

    I believe that there is a bard class option that ends up adding a bonus to initiative without explicitly stating it. Something about getting your proficiency bonus, or half of it, to all ability checks or something, and initiative is explicitly a dex check.

    Sigh. Those Coast clowns and their natural language. I have not played a Bard in 5e yet, so if you have a link or just post those rules explicitly I'll mention them in the answer as a disclaimer. Otherwise it'll have to wait until I get home.

    Jack of All Trades -- kicks in at Bard level 2, so not critical at character creation time

    I think describing hit dice as monster levels is kind of misleading, and definitely well beyond what a newbie player needs to know about HD. They need to know that it's how they get their hitpoints, and that they can spend them on a short rest to heal, which is the point of putting them on the character sheet.

    Hmm -- you're right. I forgot that spells like *sleep* and *color spray* are based on hit points rather than hit dice, nowadays. So no player actually needs to know that. Otherwise, it would certainly be relevant for a Bard, who has access to *sleep.*

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM