Gaming Articles

Making an Awesome D&D Character: Step 4

Table of Contents

Ability Score Generation

Okay. So you’ve chosen your class, your background, and your race. These selections grant you with a number of choices of skills, features, and dice rolls. In this section we’ll talk a bit about how to generate ability scores and recommend some ways to assign the scores you get.

There are a lot of ways to generate ability scores. We’ll go into some of the common ones and then talk about important abilities for each class. Keep in mind these are merely instructional and your DM will tell you how to generate scores.

Standard Array

The standard array in 5e is 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8. These basic numbers can be arranged in any order you prefer.

Roll 4 Six-sided Dice and Drop the Lowest

Also known as 4d6dl1, this style is a carryover from previous editions. Rolling this way produces generally higher rolls than it’s predecessor 3d6. It is the preferred method in the Player’s Handbook. Once you have rolled 6 times (one for each ability score), you can then assign them into whichever order is beneficial to you. In the case where you’re not happy with the score, you can replace your score with the standard array: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8.

Roll 3 Six-sided Dice

Also known as 3d6 generation, this rolling method generally produces a wider array than 4d6dl1. This is a carryover from the first edition of D&D and so it has a certain amount of nostalgia. It also a generally more “hardcore” ability score generation because there is less redemption from low scores.

Organic Character Creation

What if you didn’t get to choose your ability scores? What if, just like in life, you were stuck with whatever given talents and abilities you had? That’s what organic character creation is for. Instead of choosing where your abilities will go after they are rolled, you go down a predetermined method and put whatever you roll into that ability. For example, going top to bottom or bottom to top and whatever you roll is what you roll.

I use this style when I don’t know what I want to play and it’s open table because you can get such interesting combinations.

Point Buy

Using a Dungeon Master (DM) determined number of points (usually 27), you use these points to buy 6 ability scores. You can’t be left with any points at the end and the points are spent as below:

Score

Cost

8

0

9

1

10

2

11

3

12

4

13

5

14

7

15

9

Source: https://www.dndbeyond.com/compendium/rules/basic-rules/step-by-step-characters#3DetermineAbilityScores

Ability Scores: Defined

In this section, we’ll discuss the ability scores and what they measure.

There is a great way that I learned from the old Internet back in the day as defined by its relationship to a tomato.

Strength is the ability to crush a tomato or move a crate of tomatoes

Dexterity is the ability to dodge a thrown tomato.

Constitution is the ability to eat a bad tomato.

Intelligence is knowing that the tomato is a fruit.

Wisdom is knowing that you don’t put a tomato in fruit salad.

Charisma is selling a fruit salad made from tomatoes.

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/1s9l2g/dd_stats_explained_with_tomatoes/

In our next section, we’ll talk about how these abilities interact with proficiencies within skills.

Resources for Ability Score Generation:

 

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