After you're finished making a new character, feel free to post it in the Main Thread. If you have any questions that we haven't answered, just ask them in the main thread. We're a friendly bunch, and someone will be more than happy to help you out.
If you're feeling a little lost, check our wiki's New Player Tips section. There's a lot of helpful info there, written by older players - and if you're still feeling lost, there's a New Player Tutorial in the first post of the Main Thread on the forums.
If you would like to simulate leveling your character, simply click the blue text in the box below. It will turn on "Leveling Mode", which will permit you to play around with your character's abilities to some degree and see what they could be like in the future when fully maxed out. This isn't at all necessary for new players, so if you already feel somewhat confused by everything already, don't bother clicking it until you're a little more comfortable with the game's rules and mechanics.
As you begin building your character, you'll start to see links show up on the right-hand side. These link to armory pages on the wiki with appropriate items and weapons for your character build, to give you an idea of what your character might want to use to start with.
Stat points and skill points are each counted separately.
If you have 0 positive points in stats/skills, you need 0 negative points to balance. Not a good idea
If you have 1 positive point in stats/skills, you need 1 negative point to balance. Best at late game and solo play
If you have 2 positive points in stats/skills, you need 3 negative points to balance. Good at everything
If you have 3 positive points in stats/skills, you need 6 negative points to balance. Good at everything
If you have 4 positive points in stats/skills, you need 10 negative points to balance. Best at early game and team play
You cannot have more than 4 positive points in stats/skills with a new character.
You cannot go below a -2 or above a +2 with a new character.
As you complete missions, you will gain stat and skill points to level your character with, and this will permit you to level past +2.