As the most primitive of the games, the character creation options are more limited. Characters can be created from any of six races (Human, Half-Elf, Elf, Dwarf, Gnome, or Halfling), and any of four classes (Fighter, Magic-User, Cleric, or Thief); any multi-class combination of two classes except Cleric/Thief is allowed, and triple-class combinations Cleric/Fighter/Magic-User and Fighter/Magic-User/Thief are allowed.

Unlike later games, Rangers and Paladins cannot be created, and humans cannot change classes.

In general, as per cluebook, a party should have four characters who can fight well (fighter multi-class), two characters who can cast cleric spells, two characters who can cast mage spells, and one thief. The thief can generally be done away with if desired, although a few areas are inaccessible or more difficult.