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These six abilities provide a quick description of your character’s physical and mental characteristics. Are you muscle-bound and insightful? Brilliant and charming? Nimble and hardy? Your ability scores define these qualities—your strengths as well as your weaknesses.

Each of your ability scores is a number that measures the power of that ability. A character with a 16 Strength is much stronger than a character with a 6 Strength. A score of 10 or 11 is the normal human average, but player characters are a cut above average in most abilities. As you advance in levels, your ability scores keep getting better.

Your ability score determines an ability modifier that you add to any attack, check, roll, or defense based on that ability. For instance, making a melee attack with a battleaxe is a Strength attack, so you add the ability modifier for your Strength score to your attack rolls and damage rolls. If your score is 17, you’re pretty strong; you add +3 to your attack rolls and damage rolls when you make that attack.

Generating Ability Scores

You can use one of three methods to generate ability scores. In each method, you can take the numbers you generate and assign them to whichever ability score you want. Remember, your class determines which ability scores are important to you, and your race modifies certain ability scores.

Ability scores increase as a character gains levels. When you assign your initial scores, remember that they’ll improve with time.

The table to the right shows how to determine ability modifiers.

Score Modifier Score Modifier
1 -5 18-19 +4
2-3 -4 20-21 +5
4-5 -3 22-23 +6
6-7 -2 24-25 +7
8-9 -1 26-27 +8
10-11 0 28-29 +9
12-13 +1 30-31 +10
14-15 +2 32-33 +11
16-17 +3 and so on...

Standard Array

Take these six numbers and assign them to your abilities any way you like: 16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10.

Apply your racial ability adjustments after you assign the scores to your abilities.

Customizing Scores

This method is a little more complicated than the standard array, but it gives comparable results. With this method, you can build a character who’s really good in one ability score, but at the cost of having average scores in the other five.

Start with these six scores: 8, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10. You have 22 points to spend on improving them. The cost of raising a score from one number to a higher number is shown on the table below.
Here are some sample ability arrays you can generate using this method:
Score Cost Score Cost
9 -(1*) 14 5
10 0(2*) 15 7
11 1 16 9
12 2 17 12
13 3 18 16
*If your score is 8, you can pay 1 to make it 9 or 2 to make it 10. You must buy your score up to 10 before you can improve it further.
14 13 13 13 13 13
14 14 13 13 13 11
14 14 14 14 12 8
15 14 13 12 12 11
15 15 13 12 11 10
16 15 12 11 11 10
16 14 14 12 11 8
16 16 12 10 10 10
16 16 12 11 11 8
17 15 12 11 10 8
17 14 12 11 10 10
18 13 13 10 10 8
18 14 11 10 10 8
18 12 12 10 10 10

Apply your racial ability adjustments after you determine your scores.

Rolling Scores

Some players like the idea of generating ability scores randomly. The result of this method can be really good, or it can be really bad. On average, you’ll come out a little worse than if you had used the standard array. If you roll well, you can come out way ahead, but if you roll poorly, you might generate a character who’s virtually unplayable. Use this method with caution.

Roll four 6-sided dice (4d6) and add up the highest three numbers. Do that six times, and then assign the numbers you generated to your six ability scores. Apply your racial ability adjustments.

If the total of your ability modifiers is lower than +4 or higher than +8 before racial ability adjustments, your DM might rule that your character is too weak or too strong compared to the other characters in the group and decide to adjust your scores to fit better within his or her campaign preferences.

You can’t roll ability scores for a character you plan to use in RPGA events.

Abilities

Strength

Strength (Str) measures your character’s physical power. It’s important for most characters who fight hand-to-hand.

  • Melee basic attacks are based on Strength.
  • Clerics, fighters, paladins, rangers, and warlords have powers based on Strength.
  • Your Strength might contribute to your Fortitude defense.
  • Strength is the key ability for Athletics skill checks.

Classes reliant on Strength:

Fighter
Warlord
Ranger
Warden
Runepriest
Barbarian
Paladin

Races with a +2 bonus to Strength:

Dragonborn (+2 Cha)
Goliath (+2 Con)
Half-Orc (+2 Dex)
Longtooth Shifter (+2 Wis)
Warforged (+2 Con)
Minotaur (+2 Con/Wis)
Genasi (+2 Int)
Orc (+2 Con)
Bugbear (+2 Dex)

Constitution

Constitution (Con) represents your character’s health, stamina, and vital force. No class relies solely on Constitution, but all characters benefit from a high Constitution score.

  • Your Constitution score is added to your hit points at 1st level.
  • The number of healing surges you can use each day is influenced by your Constitution.
  • Many warlock powers are based on Constitution.
  • Your Constitution might contribute to your Fortitude defense.
  • Constitution is the key ability for Endurance skill checks.

Races with a +2 bonus to Constitution:

Dwarf (+2 Wis)
Minotaur (+2 Str)
Half-Elf (+2 Cha)
Warforged (+2 Str)
Goliath (+2 Str)
Wilden (+2 Wis or Dex)
Duergar (+2 Wis)
Orc (+2 Str)
Hobgoblin (+2 Cha)
Gnoll (+2 Dex)
Revenant (+2 Dex)
Bullywug (+2 Dex)
Kobold (+2 Dex)
Githyanki (+2 Int)

Dexterity

Dexterity (Dex) measures hand-eye coordination, agility, reflexes, and balance.

  • Ranged basic attacks are based on Dexterity.
  • Many ranger and rogue powers are based on Dexterity.
  • Your Dexterity might contribute to your Reflex defense.
  • If you wear light armor, your Dexterity might contribute to your Armor Class.
  • Dexterity is the key ability for Acrobatics, Stealth, and Thievery skill checks.

Classes reliant on Dexterity:

Assassin
Rogue
Monk

Races with a +2 bonus to Dexterity:

Half-Orc (+2 Str)
Drow (+2 Cha)
Elf (+2 Wis)
Wilden (+2 Con)
Halfling (+2 Cha)
Shadar-kai (+2 Int)
Eladrin (+2 Int)
Githzerai (+2 Wis or Int)
Changeling (+2 Int)
Razorclaw Shifter (+2 Wis)
Bladeling (+2 Wis)
Bugbear (+2 Str)
Gnoll (+2 Con)
Revenant (+2 Con)
Bullywug (+2 Con)
Kobold (+2 Con)
Kenku (+2 Cha)
Goblin (+2 Cha)

Intelligence

Intelligence (Int) describes how well your character learns and reasons.

  • Wizard powers are based on Intelligence.
  • Your Intelligence might contribute to your Reflex defense.
  • If you wear light armor, your Intelligence might contribute to your Armor Class.
  • Intelligence is the key ability for Arcana, History, and Religion skill checks.

Classes reliant on Intelligence:

Wizard
Swordmage
Artificer
Psion

Races with a +2 bonus to Intelligence:

Tiefling (+2 Cha)
Shadar-kai (+2 Dex)
Eladrin (+2 Dex)
Githzerai (+2 Dex)
Gnome (+2 Cha)
Changeling (+2 Cha or Dex)
Deva (+2 Wis)
Shardmind (+2 Wis or Cha)
Genasi (+2 Str)
Githyanki (+2 Con)

Wisdom

Wisdom (Wis) measures your common sense, perception, self-discipline, and empathy. You use your Wisdom score to notice details, sense danger, and get a read on other people.

  • Many cleric powers are based on Wisdom.
  • Your Wisom might contribute to your Will defense.
  • Wisdom is the key ability for Dungeoneering, Heal, Insight, Nature, and Perception skill checks.

Classes reliant on Wisdom:

Seeker
Cleric
Avenger
Druid
Invoker
Shaman

Races with a +2 bonus to Wisdom:

Githzerai (+2 Dex)
Shardmind (+2 Int)
Dwarf (+2 Con)
Wilden (+2 Con)
Elf (+2 Dex)
Longtooth Shifter (+2 Str)
Razorclaw Shifter (+2 Dex)
Deva (+2 Int)
Minotaur (+2 Str)
Kalashtar (+2 Cha)
Duergar (+2 Con)
Bladeling (+2 Dex)

Charisma

Charisma (Cha) measures your force of personality, persuasiveness, and leadership.

  • Many paladin and warlock powers are based on Charisma.
  • Your Charisma might contribute to your Will defense.
  • Charisma is the key ability for Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Streetwise skill checks.

Classes reliant on Charisma:

Warlock
Ardent
Sorcerer
Bard

Races with a +2 bonus to Charisma:

Shardmind (+2 Int)
Changeling (+2 Int)
Halfling (+2 Dex)
Gnome (+2 Int)
Dragonborn (+2 Cha)
Half-Elf (+2 Con)
Drow (+2 Dex)
Tiefling (+2 Int)
Hobgoblin (+2 Con)
Kalashtar (+2 Wis)
Kenku (+2 Dex)
Goblin (+2 Dex)

Defenses

Your ability scores also influence your defenses, since you add your ability modifier to your defense score.

  • For Fortitude defense, you add the higher of your Strength or Constitution ability modifiers.
  • For Reflex defense, you add the higher of your Dexterity or Intelligence ability modifiers.
  • For Will defense, you add the higher of your Wisdom or Charisma ability modifiers.
  • If you wear light armor or no armor, you also add the higher of your Dexterity or Intelligence ability modifiers to your Armor Class.

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