Ability Scores

Each character has a set of ability scores that make it unique. Players place your number where you want them – after all this is supposed to be FUN. These abilities are used to check to see if your character passes or fails when attempting a task. Each ability must be between -3 and +3 with an overall total of no more than +5. Races can offer more overall points or higher individual ability scores.

There are 6 Ability Scores: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma


Measures: Natural athleticism, bodily power

Important for: Fighter


  • Attacking and Damage with handheld weapons
  • Athletic Checks – Pulling, Pushing or Lifting
  • Max weight carried is Strength +4 x 25 pounds

Examples of Strength Checks:

  • You attempt to climb a sheer or slippery cliff
  • Cling to a surface while something is trying to knock you off
  • You try to jump an unusually long distance
  • Force open a stuck, locked, or barred door
  • Lift up a heavy gate
  • Break free of bonds
  • Hang on to a wagon while being dragged behind it
  • Tip over a statue
  • Keep a boulder from rolling


Measures: Physical agility, reflexes, balance, poise

Important for: Thief


  • Armor Class
  • Attack with ranged weapons (shooting arrows, throwing daggers, etc.)
  • Balancing and Sneaking checks

Examples of Dexterity Checks

  • Balance on a small ledge
  • Wriggle free of bonds
  • Avoid falling boulders in an avalanche
  • Play a stringed instrument
  • Craft a small or detailed object
  • Pick Pockets (for Thieves ONLY)
  • Disarm Traps (for Thieves ONLY)


Measures: Mental acuity, information recall, analytical skill

Important for: Magic-User


  • Additional Languages
  • Additional Spell Points (Magic Users)
  • Saving vs Magic Effects

Examples of Intelligence Checks

  • Communicate with a creature without using words
  • Estimate the value of a precious item
  • Pull together a disguise to pass as a city guard
  • Forge a document
  • Recall lore about a craft or trade
  • Identifying a magical item
  • Win a game of skill


Measures: Awareness, intuition, insight

Important for: Cleric


  • Gas Attack Checks
  • Listening, Stealth (Hiding and Sneaking) and Searching Checks

Examples of Wisdom Checks

  • Get a gut feeling about what course of action to follow
  • Discern whether a seemingly dead or living creature is undead
  • Finding your bearings underground
  • Locating a secret door
  • Following animal tracks


Measures: Health, stamina, vital force

Important for: Everyone


  • Additional Hit Points per level
  • Dying Check
  • Poison Checks

Examples of Constitution Checks

  • Hold your breath (1 min + 1 min per Constitution plus – min 30 seconds)
  • Resist the effects of hunger or fatigue
  • Drink an entire pint of ale in one slug


Measures: Confidence, eloquence, leadership

Important for: Leaders and diplomatic characters


  • NPC Reactions
  • Monsters Reactions

Examples of Charisma Checks

  • Convince a guard to let you go
  • Create a convincing lie
  • Getting a discount from a merchant
  • Talking a dragon out of eating you

Special: Ability Focus

A character’s ability focus is the characters level divided by 2 rounded up. It is used anytime the character makes a dice roll with the specified ability. The ability focus is determined by the primary class of the character.

Example: A 3rd level Barbarian with an Ability Focus in Strength would gain a +2 (3rd level / 2 = 1.5 rounded up to 2) when attempting any strength checks (bending bars, lifting things, attacking to hit a monster with a sword, etc).

Ability Focus By Level

Level Ability Focus
1 +1
2 +1
3 +2
4 +2
5 +3
6 +3
7 +4
8 +4
9 +5
10 +5

15 thoughts on “Ability Scores

  1. Ok, i must be missing something here… how do you determine what “numbers” you get for your ability scores? I know normally it’s a die roll but i don’t see anything like that here. Please explain!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Each ability must be between -3 and +3 with an overall total of no more than +5. Races can offer more overall points or higher individual ability scores. – You get to choose your numbers, but check the race for limitations.


  2. In what way is Dexterity supposed to modify a player’s Armor Class? I haven’t found anything else about this on the rest of the site, but it’s listed under the Dexterity section on this page.


  3. So what is the ability for thief Stealth? I see here it says dexterity is important for a thief and helps with “Sneaking checks”, but wisdom is listed as for “Hiding checks”. By that do you mean detecting someone hiding, or is wisdom for you hiding? Thanks!


  4. While I haven’t completely read the entire site, would it be possible to see an example of assign attribute values, the +/-3 rule, and race modifiers? I’m not familiar with the aforementioned B/X games; I’m only familiar with the classic 3d6 rolls for AD&D.

    And maybe I’m missing something obvious, but an example would be greatly appreciated.


    • There isn’t a point limit. The restriction is to end up with each ability between -3 and +3 with an overall total of no more than +5. Races can offer more overall points or higher individual ability scores.

      Liked by 1 person

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