Visions of the Arcane
Character Creation Rules
Listed as how they’re presented in the handbooks with any notes for campaign following them. A race represents the genetic heritage of your character, and oftentimes the cultural heritage as well.
Of all the civilized races, humans are the most adaptable and diverse. Human settlements can be found almost anywhere on Garulia, and human morals, customs, and interests vary greatly. Humans have many lands and their cultures vary greatly in each. Humans come in a wide variety of heights, weights, and colors. Because of their inherent ambition, humans are widely prevalent and still the most common race on the continent of Garulia. Humans are sometimes called by their regional names as if that separated them into a race.
Descended from both elves and humans, half-elves are a handsome race in whom the best features of each people often appear. They share some of the natural grace, athleticism, and keen perceptiveness of elves, along with the passion and drive of humans. But in their own right, they are charismatic, confident, and open-minded and are natural diplomats, negotiators, and leaders. N’ali is what they’re called by elf-kin when in their presence, meaning not kin, or not elf. Half-elves tend to be sturdier of build than elves but more slender than most humans. Half-elves have the same range of complexions as humans and elves, and like elves, half-elves often have eye or hair colors not normally found among humans. Male half-elves can grow facial hair, unlike male elves, and often sport thin mustaches, goatees, or short beards. Half-elves’ ears are about the size of human ears, but they are tapered, like the ears of their elven ancestors.
Fierce warriors who combine human resolve with orc savagery. From their orc blood, half-orcs inherit great physical strength and toughness. Their human blood makes half-orcs decisive and bold, resourceful and self-reliant. Shunned from Garulian orc cultures almost universally, they have no society of their own, living within whatever society will accept them, or where they can thrive. Other orc-kin call them Bruk (bruuk), meaning broken. Half-orcs favor their human lineage in appearance, but are distinguished by skin that tends to various shades of gray, broad jaws, and prominent lower canine teeth—though these are still a far cry from the jutting tusks of orcs. On average, they are taller and stronger than humans as well. Their hair is usually black, though it grays quickly with age. Most half-orcs who live among humans favor human styles of clothing and hairstyle, but a few adopt orc traditions, tying small bones or beads into long braids or bunches of hair.
Rare immortal spirits who embody virtue, born and reborn to mortal life in the world, Devas are very similar to humans, but with an unearthly beauty and an uncanny stillness about them. Deep in the recesses of memory, devas recall what they once were, but this is often buried in their subconcious. Some believe that their souls have been reborn to wage an endless war against the forces of darkness for millennia. Devas’ coloration distinguishes them most strongly from humans. All devas have patterns of light and dark colors on their skin. The light portions are chalk white or pale gray, and the dark areas range from blue or purple to dark gray or black. In any individual deva, either light or dark can be dominant, with the opposite shade appearing in simple, elegant patterns on the face, chest, and shoulders. A deva’s hair is typically the same color as these skin patterns. When sitting or standing at rest, devas remain almost perfectly still, except for the occasional blink of the eyes. They don’t fidget or twitch, and their eyes move only when they are actively examining something.
Carved from the bedrock of the universe, mountain dwarves, or Branekar, endured an age of servitude to giants before winning their freedom millenia ago. Their mighty mountain fortress-cities testify to the power of their resolve. Even those dwarves who live in human cities are counted among the staunchest defenders against the darkness that threatens to engulf the world. They are often hard working, stern, organized and tenacious. Dwarves average about 4½ feet in height and are very broad, weighing as much as an adult human. Dwarves have the same variety of skin, eye, and hair colors as humans, although dwarf skin is sometimes gray or sandstone red and red hair is more common among them. Male dwarves are often bald and braid their long beards into elaborate patterns. Female dwarves braid their hair to show clan and ancestry. Dwarven attire and equipment, including weapons and shields, are decorated with bold geometric shapes, natural gems, and ancestral faces.
Known as Low Elves, or Ver’ali. Wild and free, elves guard their forested lands using stealth and deadly arrows from the trees. They build their homes in close harmony with the forest, so perfectly joined that travelers often fail to notice that they have entered an elven community until it is too late. Elves are slender, athletic folk about as tall as humans. They have the same range of complexions as humans, tending more toward tan or brown hues. A typical elf’s hair color is dark brown, autumn orange, mossy green, or deep gold. Elves’ ears are long and pointed, and their eyes are vibrant blue, violet, or green. Elves have little body hair, but they favor a wild and loose look to their hair.
Also known as High Elves, or Sen’ali. Eladrin are creatures of magic who have strong ties to nature. Eladrin live in shining cities in the “twilight” realms of the world. Their cities lie in mountain valleys or deep forest glades, visible briefly, before fading back into the Twilight. Eladrin are of human height. They are slim, and even the strongest simply look athletic rather than muscle-bound. They have the same range of complexions as humans, though they are more often fair than dark. Their straight, fine hair is often white, silver, or pale gold, and they wear it long and loose. Their ears are long and pointed, and their eyes are pearly and opalescent orbs of vibrant blue, violet, or green, lacking pupils. Eladrin can’t grow facial hair and have little body hair.
Originating from the Twilight realm, gnomes suffered in servitude to fomorians for ages. It was here that they learned that the best way for a small creature to survive is to be overlooked, to hide, to mislead, to deflect — and by these means – to survive. The same talents sustain them still, allowing them to prosper in a world filled with creatures much larger and far more dangerous than they are. They are a curious, funny and tricky race. They are sometimes called Gendlings by those of other races. Gnomes are smaller even than halflings, rarely exceeding 4 feet in height. Apart from their size, they resemble elves or eladrin, with pointed ears and chiseled facial features such as high cheekbones and sharp jaws, but looking wilder and more like the elf cousins of the eladrin. Males rarely have any facial hair and that which they do tends to be wild tufts on their chins.
Goliaths are large, mountain-dwelling nomads who see life as a grand competition. Their scattered bands have never been major players in the politics of the lowland world, but they have wandered the mountain ranges of the world since the primordials first shaped the peaks and valleys. Tall and massive, goliaths revere the primal power of nature and use it to enhance their own strength whatever their chosen path. They have come out from their mountain homes in recent years to form an alliance with the dwarves of Garulia. Dwarves of Garulia call Goliaths Kordak (kor-dahk). Goliaths tower over most others in civilization, standing between 7 and 8 feet tall. Their skin is gray or brown, mottled with darker patches that they believe hint at some aspect of each goliath’s fate or destiny. Their skin is speckled with lithoderms, coin-sized growths of bone that appear like pebbles studding their arms, shoulders, torso, and head. A bony ridge juts over their gleaming blue or green eyes. Male goliaths are bald, and females have dark hair they typically grow long and wear in braids.
Halflings are a small race known for their resourcefulness, quick wits, and steady nerves. They are a clannish folk who make homes near waterways and marshlands, or, if they settle near cities, tend to make communities within other races’ communities. No people travel farther or see more of what happens in the world than halflings. Halflings are an affable, warm, and cheerful people. They survive in a world full of larger creatures by avoiding notice or, barring that, avoiding offense. Halflings stand about 4 feet tall and weigh about 80 pounds. They resemble small humans and are proportioned like human adults.
Heirs to ancient, infernal bloodlines, tieflings have no realms of their own but instead live within human kingdoms and cities. Their bloodline is tainted by their diabolical connections, passing to their descendants through all generations. In many ways, they are human; they can have children with humans, for example, but their offspring are always tieflings. Through the mistrust they often see, they are generally self-reliant, proud, and sly. Tieflings are not common, by any means, but most have met one by the time they reach maturity. They have large horns; thick , non-prehensile tails that range in length from 4 to 5 feet; sharply pointed teeth; and eyes that are solid orbs of black, red, white, silver, or gold. Their skin color covers the whole human range and also extends to reds, from a ruddy tan to a brick red. Their hair, cascading down from behind their horns, is as likely to be dark blue, red, purple, or any of the common human colors.
Listed as how they’re presented in the handbooks with any notes for campaign following them. Classes are the vocation, occupation and passion of your character. It’s how a character accomplishes things. A Wizard may stand back and use powers to control and damage, a Rogue may sneak on the edges of combat, looking to strike hard and fast, and a Fighter may wade into the thick of battle, daring to take on the toughest foes weapon to weapon.
Fighters are determined combat adepts trained to protect the other members of their adventuring groups. Fighters define the front line by bashing and slicing foes into submission while reflecting enemy attacks through the use of heavy armor. Fighters draw weapons for gold, for glory, for duty, and for the mere joy of unrestrained martial exercise. Regardless of your level of skill and the specific weapons you eventually master, your motivations determine who you defend and who you slay. You could be a noble champion who pledges your blade to gallant causes, a calculating mercenary who cares more for the clink of gold than praise, a homeless prince on the run from assassins, or a blood-loving thug looking for the next good fight. Your future is yours. When you unsheathe your weapon, what battle cry flies from your lips?
As mountains stand fast against the buffeting wind and trees bend but do not break in the storm, wardens are stalwart protectors who draw on the primal spirits of nature to defend the natural world from those who would corrupt or destroy it. Some wardens use the power of earth and stone to shield their allies from harm, whereas others summon the primal strength within themselves to increase their ferocity and tenacity. As a warden, you might be the staunch defender of a tribe, chosen by the spirits to be your people’s champion. Perhaps you were visited by spirits at a sacred grove and charged with protecting it against a spreading corruption. You might have been raised by a bear or nurtured by dryads, chosen from infancy to stand fast against nature’s enemies. Primal power waits in the ground beneath your feet, surges with every beat of your heart, and flows through your lungs with every breath. The world cries out to you, calling for a champion to defend it. Will you heed its call?
Swordmages apply the arcane arts to melee combat. The combat skills they possess are enhanced by the magic they wield. The flourish of a swordmage’s blade not only bites with steel, but also with fire, lightning, or other powerful forces. You studied and practiced for years to master your skills. You mastered the fundamentals of arcane magic and combined this academic study with endless hours of physical training. You might be a young eladrin in search of your fortune, a stranger to the wider world outside the seclusion of your homeland; a self-trained genasi sellsword, gifted with an affinity for elemental magic; the scion of a disgraced noble human family, taught by the finest tutors in your youth but now a footloose expatriate; or a half-elf arcane champion, rigorously trained in a war magic academy to serve in the armies of your homeland. Magical barriers of force swirl around you, protecting you from harm. The blade you carry is an extension of your being, both body and mind. It pulses with eldritch energy as you prepare to defend your allies and unleash magical fury against your foes.
Warlords are accomplished and competent battle leaders. Warlords stand on the front line issuing commands and bolstering their allies while leading the battle with weapon in hand. Warlords know how to rally a team to win a fight. Your ability to lead others to victory is a direct result of your history. You could be a minor warchief looking to make a name for yourself, a pious knight-commander on leave from your militant order, a youthful noble eager to apply years of training to life outside the castle walls, a calculating mercenary captain, or a courageous marshal of the borderlands who fights to protect the frontier. Regardless of your background, you are a skillful warrior with an uncanny gift for leadership. The weight of your armor is not a hindrance; it is a familiar comfort. The worn weapon grip molds to your hand as if it were a natural extension of your arm. It’s time to fight and to lead.
Bards are artists first and foremost, and they practice magic just as they practice song, drama, or poetry. They have a clear sense of how people perceive reality, so they master charm magic and some illusions. Sagas of great heroes are part of a bard’s repertoire, and most bards follow the example of many fables and become skilled in a variety of fields. A bard’s artistic ability, knowledge of lore, and arcane might are widely respected, particularly among the world’s rulers. Art and magic share a sublime beauty, and, as a bard, you seek the place where the two meet. You might be a naturally talented wanderer who casts impressive spells almost instinctively, a student of a bardic college who learned ordered systems of magic and epic poetry, a warrior skald who mixes skill at arms with thundering music, a dashing performer known for putting on a good show even for your enemies, or a perfectionist who seeks the consummate formula that blends art and magic into a higher force. A steady rhythm beats in the back of your mind as you brandish your sword. Your eyes and ears pick up the motion of the villains that surround you, and one glance tells you everything you need to know to defeat them. You whistle three staccato notes, letting your allies know the symphony of battle is about to begin.
Shamans are inspiring and dangerous battle leaders. They command powerful spirit guides, and through them lead their allies. These nature spirits bolster their allies’ attacks and offer protection and healing when needed. In a rite of passage or initiation, you pledged yourself to the spirits, to be their voice and hands in the world. Through ancient song and sacred ceremony, you have called a powerful spirit companion to your side. The primal spirits of nature affirm your will, guide the actions of your allies, and deal mighty attacks against your foes. You might be a venerable advisor to a tribal leader, a young traveler seeking to bring tales of a wider world back to your people, or a scholar devoted to the pursuit of nearly forgotten lore. The spirits and voices of nature guide your every step. Their power flows through you, calling you to lead, to fight, and to triumph.
Barbarians are savage warriors who deal out powerful blows from their mighty weapons. They charge from foe to foe and seldom feel the pain of an enemy’s strike. For barbarians’ foes, the moments of greatest terror come when barbarians call upon primal forces to lend power to their raging spirits. These rages, although temporary, give a barbarian incredible powers, a combination of skill, willpower, and a legacy of ancient tribal rituals. As a barbarian, you have a link to powerful nature spirits and other primal forces bound to the warriors of your tribe by the songs and totems of your legacy. These spirits lend energy to your rages, transforming you into a devastating force on the battlefield. As you become more experienced, these rages transcend mortal limitations, manifesting directly as waves of elemental power or gifting you with supernatural recuperative powers. When the heat of battle is upon you, will you respond with a sudden charge that fells with one mighty swing of your weapon, or with a prolonged rage that leaves destroyed foes in your wake?
From high in forbidding mountains to the alleys of a city’s meanest district, the ascetic warriors known as monks practice their art. By focusing on their minds and bodies, honing both to near perfection, they master a psionic fighting art that allows them to deliver a punch with the force of a giant’s club and to absorb attacks as easily as a heavily armored knight. Monks tap into the psionic potential that rests within themselves, turning that energy further inward to fortify their bodies and sharpen their minds. Perhaps you set out on this path to put a dark past behind you. Or your village was victimized one time too many by an evil lord or marauding beasts, and you now seek justice. No matter what your motivation, the path of the monk transforms you into a living weapon. The road opens wide before you. With little more than a walking stick and perhaps a satchel of food, you are ready to take on whatever the world can throw at you. Your years of training taught you to turn your eye inward. Now it is time to look outward and test yourself against the world’s dangers.
Rogues are cunning and elusive adversaries. Rogues slip into and out of shadows on a whim, pass anywhere across the field of battle without fear of reprisal, and appear suddenly only to drive home a lethal blade. As a rogue, you might face others’ preconceptions regarding your motivations, but your nature is your own to mold. You could be an agent fresh from the deposed king’s shattered intelligence network, an accused criminal on the lam seeking to clear your name, a wiry performer whose goals transcend the theatrical stage, a kid trying to turn around your hard-luck story, or a daredevil thrill-seeker who can’t get enough of the adrenaline rush of conflict. Or perhaps you are merely in it for the gold, after all. With a blade up your sleeve and a concealing cloak across your shoulders, you stride forth, eyes alight with anticipation. What worldly wonders and rewards are yours for the taking?
Rangers are watchful warriors who roam past the horizon to safeguard a region, a principle, or a way of life. Masters of bow and blade, rangers excel at hit-and-run assaults and can quickly and silently eliminate foes. Rangers lay superb ambushes and excel at avoiding danger. As a ranger, you possess almost supernaturally keen senses and a deep appreciation for untamed wilderness. With your knowledge of the natural world, you are able to track enemies through nearly any landscape, using the smallest clue to set your course, even sometimes the calls and songs of beasts and birds. Your severe demeanor promises a deadly conclusion to any enemy you hunt. When you catch sight of your quarry, will the transgressor perish by swift bow shots from a distance, or by the twofold blades that glint and glitter in each of your battle-scarred hands?
The sorcerer is the arcane antithesis of the wizard. Wielding raw, barely contained magical power, sorcerers channel bursts and blasts of arcane energy through their bodies. They gain their power not through rigorous study of esoteric tomes, but by harnessing magic in their blood, waiting to be tapped and shaped. If wizards wield magic as fighters wield swords, a sorcerer’s magic is the arcing greataxe of a raging barbarian. You might be a proud dragonborn scion of ancient Arkhosia, calling on the draconic power of your heritage, or perhaps you were bathed in dragon blood as an infant to fill you with that power. You might have been born in a place where planar forces converged in strange eddies, infusing you with chaos, or perhaps you survived implantation of a slaad embryo, which left the taint of chaos upon you. Magic pulses through your veins, calling on you to give it expression. As it grows ever stronger, will it consume you or transform you into magic incarnate?
Warlocks channel arcane might wrested from primeval entities. They commune with infernal intelligences and fey spirits, scour enemies with potent blasts of eldritch power, and bedevil foes with hexing curses. Armed with esoteric secrets and dangerous lore, warlocks are clever and resourceful foes. However you came to your arcane knowledge, you need not accept the poor reputation warlocks sometimes endure. You could be a libram-toting scholar captivated by ominous lore, a foot-loose wanderer searching for elusive ultimate truths, a devil-touched hunter using infernal spells to eliminate evil, or even a black-clad mercenary who uses sinister trappings to discourage prying strangers and unwanted attention. On the other hand, you could be a true diabolist using your gifts to tyrannize the weak—some warlocks unfortunately are exactly that. The pacts are complete. The rites have concluded. The signs are drawn in blood, and the seals are broken. Your destiny beckons.
Seekers are primal champions who scour the wilderness in search of those who would defile it. Versed in hunting techniques handed down through the generations, seekers combine thrown weapon and bow techniques with primal evocations. The combination allows seekers great range in which to deliver deadly attacks that confound and hamper their enemies. When a seeker looses a missile, the primal spirits bound to it through ancient evocations are freed, sometimes as terrifying beasts and sometimes as nature’s raw destructive potential. As a seeker, you are both a hunter and a mystic. You attune yourself to the wilderness you call your home, but you are equally tied to the spirits that dwell in the world around you. With your people’s traditions and whispered advice from the spirits, you navigate the wilds with ease, at home as any beast. If an enemy appears, you have nothing to fear, both because you have mastered your weapons and because the spirits to whom you have bound yourself add their savage might to your attacks. Whether you use lightning strikes, grasping vines, or spectral beasts, your enemies cannot stand against your assault.
Secretive and enigmatic, druids call the wilderness their home. They are capable of running with a wolf pack, speaking with the most ancient trees, and watching thunderstorms from atop the clouds themselves. They regard challenges as tests, both of their fitness and of their connection with the wild places of the world. And though many druids project an outward calm, they have the cunning of the beast and the fury of the storm. Whether you were born to the wilds or retreated from civilization, whether you chose your path or answered a call that whispered in your heart, you share a bond with the primal spirits of nature. You are neither their servant nor their master, but winds, trees, and beasts heed your words, for they recognize you as kin. Call to the spirits, and they will entangle your foes or smite your enemies with the storm. Unleash your own spirit, and you will become the Primal Beast, uncaged and untamed.
Wizards are scions of arcane magic. Wizards tap the true power that permeates the cosmos, research esoteric rituals that can alter time and space, and hurl balls of fire that incinerate massed foes. Wizards wield spells the way warriors brandish swords. Magic lured you into its grasp, and now you seek to master it in turn. You could be a bespectacled sage searching for dusty tomes in forgotten sepulchers, a scarred war mage plying foes with fireballs and foul language in equal measure, a disgruntled apprentice who absconded with your master’s spellbooks, an eladrin upholding the magical tradition of your race, or even a power-hungry student of magic who might do anything to learn a new spell. A cloak of spells enfolds you, ancient rituals bolster your senses, and runed implements of your craft hang from your belt. Effervescing arcane lore pulses through your consciousness, a constant pressure craving release. When will you know enough magic to storm the ramparts of reality itself?
Ability scores are the measures of your characters strength and weaknesses in the following six areas: strength, constitution, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom and charisma. Higher ability scores are better. Each class has abilities scores that help its powers function more effectively. Races will have bonuses to certain scores as part of their nature.
A fighter often wants a higher strength, for example, and possibly a reasonable wisdom, dexterity and/or constitution. The same fighter may not care as much about intelligence and charisma though, and you can use the point buy method to better customize your character to your primary focuses.
The Point Buy method:
The characters get 24 “points” to improve their scores. They start with six 10s their six scores and build from there. Remember that the bonuses based on your scores increase on EVEN numbers, and that as you level you can raise scores with a point at a time.
The point costs are as follows:
- 11-13 costs 1 pt each increase
- 14-16 costs 2 pt each increase
- 17 costs 3 pt over 16
- 18 costs 4 pt over 17
- Note that 18 is the highest you can buy. Racial bonuses can get you to 20.
Using the above, the following are the costs per score based on having a 10 to start in a stat you want to raise:
- 18 costs 16 pts
- 17 costs 12 pts
- 16 costs 9 pts
- 15 costs 7 pts
- 14 costs 5 pts
- 13 costs 3 pts
- 12 costs 2 pts
- 11 costs 1 pts
So, for example, you could have the following sample scores to place into your six abilities:
|18 top – a. 18-14-12-11-10-10, b. 18-15-11-10-10-10, c. 18-12-12-12-12-10|
|17 top – a. 17-17-10-10-10-10, b. 17-16-13-10-10-10, c. 17-14-13-12-12-10|
|16 top – a. 16-16-12-12-12-10, b. 16-16-14-11-10-10, c. 16-14-14-14-10-10|
|15 top – a. 15-14-14-13-12-12, b. 15-15-14-14-10-10, c. 15-14-14-14-12-10|
|14 top – a. 14-14-14-14-12-12|
Remember that your class decides what scores you care most about, and some of the other options in the game, like multiclassing, may ask that you have a minimum score in an ability that you normally wouldn’t care about. If you have any questions, just ask.
If using the DnD Character Builder , start with all 10s and then build til the point total is negative 4 (-4). You should end up legal by these rules.
- Freeform design from whatever comes to your mind when thinking about your character’s life
- Your character has a life prior to the adventures we will build. This is your background. Your background can describe just about anything, and can be as little, or as much as you want it to be. The background should link your character to the setting in some way. You are free to invent a background for your character. As DM, I expect that you will allow me to see it and possibly make changes or recommendations based on setting, but this is only to enhance the story. Otherwise, this aspect of background is entirely up to you to describe your character’s life path. One you make your race and class choices, you will be given some basic freeform background ideas that pertain to your choices.
- Some categories to help guide your thoughts:
- Geography and Nationality of Homeland
- Education and Occupation
- Friends, Relatives and Societal Relations
- Choosing sample general backgrounds to expand some of the options for your character
- This is a fairly simple idea. These optional choices simply show that your character had the opportunity to expand your subset of knowledge outside of the normal race and class options, or enhance some pieces of it. An example of this might be taking a Streetwise background for your Ranger character. The Streetwise background gives an idea that the character was raised on the streets, or had a lot of dealings with city folk and became more worldly or sly in the process, thus expanding the selection of skills available to that character. This Ranger became skilled in Thievery because of this (see the Skills section next for more explanation).
- The general background selection options can be found here
Alignment is your character’s basic philosophy with regard to morals, good vs. evil, and law. It’s used as a guideline and not a strict rule that must be followed. While there is of course evil in the world, player characters are never “evil,” per se. The three options for player characters from the Dnd 4e Player’s Handbook, page 19, are:
- Unaligned – “Just let me go about my business.”
- You aren’t someone who has really chosen a side; you have chosen whatever is best for you in a given moment. You will follow laws when they help you, and you will help others when it benefits you, or you find a good reason to. You’re not out to hurt people, generally, and you mostly keep to your own devices until your life is impacted.
- Good – “Fighting against those who would harm others is the proper thing to do.”
- You believe in helping others who need it. You’re not afraid to fight for a cause, though it doesn’t mean you always willingly put your life at risk, without promise of reward at least. You are fine with rules and laws, as long as they’re not oppressive or corrupt, and you won’t blindly accept an unjust rule.
- Lawful Good – “Following the laws that protect us, binds us together as a people, and makes us stronger.”
- Authority and law earn your respect and you believe using law and upholding it is the way to a better land. You believe that the health of a people is promoted by just laws, and life must be fought for, even at the risk to oneself as long as evil is stopped. Honor, integrity and compassion are lenses through which you view the world.
Evil and Chaotic Evil are the counterparts to Good and Lawful Good. Many of the enemies will fall into these guiding principles.
Skills represent categories of knowledge from your background, interests or training. You have competence with every skill in the game and your competence improves with your character level, but you have a certain number of “Trained Skills,” dictated by your class by default, with which you have specialized learning, knowledge and practice by some means. Skills can be found on p. 176 of the DnD 4e Player’s Handbook.
Your class will give you a number for skills you can have mark as trained, and possibly give you one guaranteed. You can choose your trained skills from your class skill list; this list best represents what the path of your class would have had exposure by normal means. Your chosen background(s) can add to the list of available skills to choose from and you can also spend a feat to learn more skills.
The skills in the game are:
For further information, please see the Player’s Handbook. and the other handbooks.
Feats are options that improve your character’s existing abilities, allow you to modify the way something works, or grant you new capabilities. You gain a feat roughly every other level and as such they provide a number of good options for customization. Each character gains one feat one creation; Humans gain one extra at creation.
There are too many feats to list in any one place. The best bet for choosing feats may be to talk to the DM, or someone else who can help you choose. There are many options and you usually take a feat only once. You can find the compendium and the feats here. You may want to try to limit to the heroic and other categories as paragon and epic feats do not apply until you’re level 11 and 21, respectively.
Powers are the major abilities of your class. These are generally the options you will use in combat encounters. Powers are broken up into categories to make it easier to see which power options you have to select, and when. Each class has their own power options; there are no overlaps. As powers are level based and you only choose them from certain types when you level, the numbers are very controlled and it should be easy to go through them to find ones that suit you.
There are powers you will use to attack your enemies, powers you can use to hinder or control your enemies, powers to grant utility effects, like invisibility or flight, and powers you can use to help your allies, like healing powers. Every class will feel a little different and has different options.
As with feats, its best to use the compendium to look through the list of the powers available for your class at a given level and make your choices from there. If you need any help with this, please ask.
All adventurers use equipment, from the mundane, like a backpack or a torch, to the exotic, magical items and lost relics. Most characters start by choosing equipment for their characters, and you’re welcome to do so using the Character Builder or checking out the player’s handbook listings. However, in this campaign, early equipment will be sparse and you will eventually come to find what you need depending on your choices. I wouldn’t worry so much about this category for now except to see what options are available and get an idea for what you can use for imagining your character.