Ability Scores

Ability Scores
Each character has six ability scores that represent his character’s most basic attributes. They are his raw talent and prowess. While a character rarely rolls an ability check (using just an ability score), these scores, and the modifiers they create, affect nearly every aspect of a character’s skills and abilities. Each ability score generally ranges from 3 to 18, although racial bonuses and penalties can alter this; an average ability score is 10.

Generating Ability Scores
There are a number of different methods used to generate ability scores. Each of these methods gives a different level of flexibility and randomness to character generation.

Racial modifiers (adjustments made to your ability scores due to your character’s race—see Races) are applied after the scores are generated.

Default: The player has a pool of ability scores that can be assigned in any order to the ability score of their choosing. This is the quickest method of generating ability scores.

For low fantasy games use: 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9
For standard fantasy games use: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8
For high fantasy games use: 16, 14, 14, 13, 12, 10

Standard: Roll 4d6, discard the lowest die result, and add the three remaining results together. Record this total and repeat the process until six numbers are generated. Assign these totals to your ability scores as you see fit. This method is less random than Classic and tends to create characters with above-average ability scores.

Classic: Roll 3d6 and add the dice together. Record this total and repeat the process until you generate six numbers. Assign these results to your ability scores as you see fit. This method is quite random, and some characters will have clearly superior abilities. This randomness can be taken one step further, with the totals applied to specific ability scores in the order they are rolled. Characters generated using this method are difficult to fit to predetermined concepts, as their scores might not support given classes or personalities, and instead are best designed around their ability scores.

Heroic: Roll 2d6 and add 6 to the sum of the dice. Record this total and repeat the process until six numbers are generated. Assign these totals to your ability scores as you see fit. This is less random than the Standard method and generates characters with mostly above-average scores.

Dice Pool: Each character has a pool of 24d6 to assign to his statistics. Before the dice are rolled, the player selects the number of dice to roll for each score, with a minimum of 3d6 for each ability. Once the dice have been assigned, the player rolls each group and totals the result of the three highest dice. For more high-powered games, the GM should increase the total number of dice to 28. This method generates characters of a similar power to the Standard method.

Purchase: Each character receives a number of points to spend on increasing his basic attributes. In this method, all attributes start at a base of 10. A character can increase an individual score by spending some of his points. Likewise, he can gain more points to spend on other scores by decreasing one or more of his ability scores. No score can be reduced below 7 or raised above 18 using this method. See Table: Ability Score Costs for the costs of each score. After all the points are spent, apply any racial modifiers the character might have.

The number of points you have to spend using the purchase method depends on the type of campaign you are playing. The standard fantasy campaign use 15 15 points, low fantasy campaigns use 10 points, high fantasy campaigns use 20 points, and epic fantasy campaigns use 25 points. Average nonplayer characters (NPCs) are typically built using as few as 3 points.

Table: Ability Score Costs
Score Points Score Points
7 or less –2 8 –2
9 –1 10 0
11 1 12 2
13 3 14 5
15 7 16 10
17 13 18 17

Determine Bonuses
Each ability, after changes made because of race, has a modifier ranging from –5 to +5. Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells shows the modifier for each score. The modifier is the number you apply to the die roll when your character tries to do something related to that ability. You also use the modifier with some numbers that aren’t die rolls. A positive modifier is called a bonus, and a negative modifier is called a penalty. The table also shows bonus spells, which you’ll need to know about if your character is a spellcaster.

Abilities and Spellcasters
The ability that governs bonus spells depends on spellcasting character class you have taken. In general, arcane archers, eldritch knights, and wizards use Intelligence or while clerics use Wisdom.

Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells
Ability Score Bonus Spells per Day (by Spell Level)
Modifier 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1 –5 Can’t cast spells tied to this ability
2–3 –4 Can’t cast spells tied to this ability
4–5 –3 Can’t cast spells tied to this ability
6–7 –2 Can’t cast spells tied to this ability
8–9 –1 Can’t cast spells tied to this ability
10–11 +0 No bonus spells
12–13 +1 1
12–13 +1 1
14–15 +2 1 1
16–17 +3 1 1 1
18–19 +4 1 1 1 1
20–21 +5 2 1 1 1 1
22–23 +6 2 2 1 1 1 1
24–25 +7 2 2 2 1 1 1 1
26–27 +8 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1
28–29 +9 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1
30–31 The pattern continues…

The Abilities
Each ability partially describes your character and affects some of his actions.

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