Princes of the Apocalypse
Use the Standard Array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8) for your ability scores.
Choose a Standard Race, or Genasi or Aasimar (which is found in the Adventure book and DMG respectively). Humans may be basic or the one which gets you a feat (like you’d choose the first option). Make sure to choose an ethnicity for your human character, as laid out in the PHB. Think about where your character is from, Toril is a really big place!
Choose only classes from the Player’s Handbook, though you may be a Swashbuckler, a Storm Origin Sorcerer (both found in Waterborne Adventures Unearthed Arcana), or an Artificer (Found in Eberron’s Unearthed Arcana). You may also utilize the Mariner Fighting Style, found in Waterborne Adventures.
Choose a background from the PHB, or create your own by mixing options from multiple different ones as presented just before the premade backgrounds. More importantly, you need to clearly define the characteristics of your character, either by rolling randomly from your background tables, or simply choosing (if doing the latter, it’d help me to note what the base table you chose from was).
You receive starting gear for your class and background. This keeps book keeping down and generally makes character creation simple. Make sure to roll for a trinket, either from the PHB, or from here. That link provides fun new trinkets appropriate for this adventure path.
If you may choose spells, you may find the complete spell list of elemental spells in the back of the adventure, which I will share with you when needed. This applies to the following spell lists: Bard, Druid, Ranger, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard.
You need to choose a god, or small pantheon, to worship, as it is incredibly rare for atheists to exist in the Forgotten Realms. You need not be fervent in your faith, nor an apostate. It is worth noting that the largest group of ‘atheists’ in canon are secluded hermits who worship a god a level above the greater gods, and they do not receive spells or benefits from divine magic. Offended clerics, however, can still blast their heresy away like nobodies business.
Finally, you may belong to one of the Factions found on the Characters page. While you do not need to belong to one, there are a few benefits to belonging to a group: first, you begin the game with Inspiration; Second, it will affect your available Traits (very similar to Ian’s game, but not my creation; they are an option function in this adventure); Finally, belonging to a group is very profitable and safe for new adventurers, and joining one requires you to spend time proving your worth and loyalty, I’m being nice by allowing you to start in one.