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Abilities
Characters are defined by six ability scores, each explained below the table. The Abilities Modifiers and Bonus Spells table (below) shows the modifier that each score gets and if the ability is used to control bonus spells, how many bonus spells each score provides.

 Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells
Score
Modifier
0
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
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
---
---
---
---
---
---
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
24 - 25
+7
---
2
2
2
1
1
26 - 27
+8
---
2
2
2
2
1
28 - 29
+9
---
3
2
2
2
2
30 - 31
+10
---
3
3
2
2
2
32 - 33
+11
---
3
3
3
2
2
34 - 35
+12
---
3
3
3
3
2
36 - 37
+13
---
4
3
3
3
3
38 - 39
+14
---
4
4
3
3
3
40 - 41
+15
---
4
4
4
3
3
42 - 43
+16
---
4
4
4
4
3
44 - 45
+17
---
5
4
4
4
4
Etc...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Strength (STR):

Strength measures your character's muscle and physical power. This ability is especially important for fighters, barbarians, paladins, rangers and monks because it helps them to prevail in combat. Strength also limits the amount of equipment your character can carry.

You apply your character's Strength modifier to:

  • Melee attack rolls


  • Damage rolls when using a melee weapon or a thrown weapon (including a sling). (Exceptions: Off-hand attacks receive only one-half of the character's Strength bonus, while two-handed attacks receive one and a half times the Strength bonus. A Strength penalty, but not a bonus, applies to attacks made with a bow that is not a composite bow.)


  • Dexterity (DEX):

    Dexterity measures hand-eye coordination, agility, reflexes and balance. This ability is most important for rogues, but it's also high on the list for characters that typically wear light or medium armor (rangers and barbarians) or no armor at all (monks, wizards and sorcerers). It is also critical for anyone who wants to be a skilled archer.

    You apply your character's Dexterity modifier to:

  • Ranged attack rolls, including those for attacks made with bows, crossbows, throwing axes and other ranged weapons.


  • Armor Class (AC), provided that the character can react to the attack.


  • Reflex saving throws, for avoiding fireballs and other attacks that you can escape by moving quickly.


  • The Hide, Move Silently, Open Lock, Sleight of Hand and Tumble skills have Dexterity as their key ability.


  • Constitution (CON):

    Constitution represents your character's health and stamina. A Constitution bonus increases a character's hit points, so it is an important ability for any class. If a character's Constitution score changes enough to alter his or her Constitution modifier, the character's hit points also increase or decrease accordingly.

    You apply your character's Constitution modifier to:

  • Each roll of a Hit Die (though a penalty can never drop a result below 1 that is, a character always gains at least one hit point each time he or she advances in level).


  • Fortitude saving throws, for resisting poison and similar threats.


  • Constitution is the key ability for the Concentration skill and is therefore important for spellcasters.


  • Intelligence (INT):

    Intelligence determines how well your character learns and reasons. This ability is important for wizards, because it affects how many spells they can cast, how hard their spells are to resist and how powerful their spells can be. It's also important for any character that wants to have a wide assortment of skills.

    A wizard gains bonus spells based on his or her Intelligence score. The minimum Intelligence score needed to cast a wizard spell is 10 + the spell's level.

    An animal has an Intelligence score of 1 or 2. A creature of humanlike intelligence has a score of at least 3.

    You apply your character's Intelligence modifier to:

  • The number of skill points gained each level. (But your character always gets at least one skill point per level.)


  • The Appraise, Disable Device, Search and Spellcraft skills all have Intelligence as their key ability.


  • Wisdom (WIS):

    Wisdom describes a character's willpower, common sense, perception and intuition. While Intelligence represents one's ability to analyze information, Wisdom represents being in tune with and aware of one's surroundings. An "absentminded professor" has low Wisdom and high Intelligence. A simpleton (low Intelligence) might still have great insight (high Wisdom). Wisdom is the most important ability for clerics and druids and it is also important for paladins and rangers. If you want your character to have acute senses, give him high Wisdom.

    Clerics, druids, paladins and rangers get bonus spells based on their Wisdom scores. The minimum Wisdom score needed to cast a cleric, druid, paladin, or ranger spell is 10 + the spell's level.

    You apply your character's Wisdom modifier to:

  • Will saving throws, for negating the effects of charm person and other spells.


  • The Heal, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot and Survival skills all have Wisdom as their key ability.


  • Charisma (CHA):

    Charisma measures a character's force of personality, persuasiveness, personal magnetism, ability to lead and physical attractiveness. This ability represents actual strength of personality, not merely how one is perceived by others in a social setting. Charisma is most important for paladins, sorcerers and bards. It is also important for clerics, since it affects their ability to turn undead.

    Sorcerers and bards get bonus spells based on their Charisma scores. The minimum Charisma score needed to cast a sorcerer or bard spell is 10 + the spell's level.

    You apply your character's Charisma modifier to:

  • Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, Perform and Use Magic Device checks. These are the skills that have Charisma as their key ability.


  • Checks that represent attempts to influence others.


  • Turning checks for clerics and paladins attempting to turn zombies, vampires and other undead.