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Ability Scores

Every creature has six ability scores to describe their physical attributes and mental characteristics: Strength for physical power and prowess, Dexterity for agility and reflexes, Constitution for health and hardiness,  Intelligence for memory and wits, Wisdom for awareness and intuition, and Charisma for force of personality.

Ability scores define some of a creature’s qualities, assets, and weaknesses. The numbers in each of a creature’s ability scores measure a mixture of innate capability, training, and competence in activities related to that ability.

A score of 10 or 11 is the human average, and a truly exceptional person might have an 18 in an ability score. Adventurers often start their journeys with above average scores in some of their abilities, and through hardship and experience can reach scores as high as 20. Likewise, many monsters have above average ability scores, and the most powerful—such as ancient dragons and divine beings—can have scores as high as 30.

Ability Scores and Modifiers

Each ability has a modifier, derived from its score, ranging from –5 (for a score of 1) to +10 (for a score of 30). The table below lists the ability modifiers for the range of possible ability scores, from 1 to 30, but note only through extraordinary circumstances can a player character have an ability score below 8 or above 20.

The three main rolls of the game—ability checks, saving throws , and attack rolls —rely on the ability modifiers derived from the six ability scores. Because ability modifiers affect almost every roll, they come up during play more often than their associated scores.

Ability Scores and Modifiers
Score   Modifier  
1 -5
2-3 -4
4-5 -3
6-7 -2
8-9 -1
10-11 +0
12-13 +1
14-15 +2
16-17 +3
18-20 +4
20-21 +5
22-23 +6
25-25 +7
26-27 +8
28-29 +9
30 +10