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
  • Saving Throw vs Paralysis

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)
  • Magic Saving Throw

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
  • 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
  • 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

This is shown on the character sheet as a checkbox by the ability score. What this means is, whenever that character makes any Check they can add a bonus (LEVEL divided by 2 then rounded up) bonus to their check.

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, hit a monster with a sword, etc)

8 thoughts on “Ability Scores

    • 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

  1. 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.


  2. 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!


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