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Ability Score

In Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), Ability Scores are fundamental numerical representations of a character's raw physical and mental attributes. These scores are the bedrock upon which a character's capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses are built, influencing everything from combat effectiveness to social interactions. D&D uses six Ability Scores to quantify the basic aspects of characters and creatures:

  1. Strength (STR): A measure of physical power and force. It affects the ability to lift and carry weights, the power behind melee attacks, and athletic prowess.

  2. Dexterity (DEX): This score reflects agility, reflexes, and balance. It influences ranged attack rolls, Armor Class (AC), and skills such as Acrobatics and Stealth.

  3. Constitution (CON): Constitution indicates health and stamina. It directly impacts hit points (HP) and the ability to resist disease and poison.

  4. Intelligence (INT): A measure of reasoning and memory. Intelligence affects the number of languages a character can learn, knowledge-related skill checks, and the effectiveness of spells for wizards.

  5. Wisdom (WIS): This score denotes perception and insight. It influences how well a character can read social situations, detect hidden objects or enemies, and the potency of cleric and druid spells.

  6. Charisma (CHA): Charisma measures force of personality, persuasiveness, and leadership. It affects interactions with NPCs, performance skills, and the spells of bards, sorcerers, and warlocks.

Determining Ability Scores

There are several methods to determine a character's Ability Scores, commonly at the discretion of the Dungeon Master (DM):

  • Standard Array: Provides a balanced set of numbers that players distribute as they choose among their Ability Scores.

  • Point Buy: A system where players allocate a set number of points to their Ability Scores.

  • Rolling for Scores: Players roll dice to randomly generate their Ability Scores, traditionally six-sided dice (4d6), dropping the lowest die and summing the remaining three for each Ability Score.


Each Ability Score has an associated Ability Modifier, calculated as (Ability Score - 10) / 2, rounded down. These modifiers are applied to rolls for actions related to the ability, such as attack rolls, skill checks, and saving throws. For example, a Strength score of 16 gives a +3 modifier to Strength-based checks and attacks.

Importance in Gameplay

Ability Scores influence a wide array of game mechanics:

  • Combat: They affect attack and damage rolls, Armor Class, and saving throws.

  • Skill Checks: Modifiers are added to rolls for skills tied to each ability, such as Stealth (Dexterity) or Persuasion (Charisma).

  • Spellcasting: Certain classes rely on specific Ability Scores to cast spells more effectively, impacting spell save DCs and spell attack bonuses.

  • Carrying Capacity: Strength determines how much a character can carry without suffering penalties.

  • Health: Constitution impacts the amount of hit points a character gains each level.

Enhancements and Changes

Ability Scores can be increased through level advancement, magic items, and spells. Many classes allow for score improvements at certain levels, enhancing a character's proficiency in various aspects of the game.


Ability Scores are a critical component of D&D, encapsulating the core physical and mental characteristics of characters. They serve as a quantifiable measure of a character's potential and play a pivotal role in the mechanics of gameplay, influencing nearly every aspect of a character's abilities and actions

Ability Score
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