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Characters in D&D have six abilities: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. A character also has a score attached to each ability. Your ability score describes in broad terms your talent, training, and competence when doing things related to that ability. The higher the score, the better your character is with that ability. Your abilities, in many ways, act as your character's foundation and set the stage for your adventuring career.
A typical monster has the same six abilities and follows the same rules as a character for the abilities' use, although a monster relies on its abilities far less than an adventurer does.
A score of 10 or 11 is average for a human adult. A score of 18 is the highest that a normal person usually reaches. Adventurers can have scores as high as 20, and monsters and divine beings can have scores as high as 30.
Ability scores determine the many things your character can do. You use abilities to make attacks, to deal damage, to explore your environment, to overcome obstacles and hazards, and to interact with other creatures.
Your score determines the modifier for that ability. When you attempt to do things with an ability and the DM asks you to roll a die, you almost always use your ability modifier - a bonus or a penalty based on your ability score - to help determine your chance of success. Attacks, checks, and saving throws all involve ability modifiers.
Your ability modifier is your ability score minus 10 and divided by 2 (round down). So, if you have a Strength of 15, your Strength modifier is +2
|Ability Score||Ability Modifier|
And so on…
Strength measures bodily power, athletic training, and the extent to which you can exert raw physical force. You typically use Strength to climb, jump, swim, strike a foe with a melee weapon, break down doors, lift gates, and burst restraints. Any character who fights in hand-to-hand combat can benefit from a high Strength score. Fighters and other warriors, therefore, prefer high Strength scores.
The DM commonly asks you to use Strength when you make a check to climb a sheer wall, jump over a wide chasm, swim through rough water, bend bars, lift a gate, push a boulder, lift a tree trunk, or smash through a door.
The DM commonly asks you to use Strength when you make a saving throw to escape a grapple or bindings, resist being pushed against your will, knock aside a boulder that is rolling toward you, catch a collapsing ceiling, or grab onto a ledge to keep from falling.
You add your Strength modifier to attack rolls and damage rolls when using a variety of Strength-based weapons, such as the longsword and the battleaxe.
Your Strength score determines the amount of weight you can bear. To determine how many pounds you can carry unencumbered, multiply your Strength score by 10. If you carry more than this weight, you are encumbered, which means your speed drops by 10 feet, and you have disadvantage on checks, attack rolls, and saving throws. The maximum weight you can carry encumbered equals twice your unencumbered carrying capacity.
Lift and Drag Weight: Your Strength score tells you how much weight you can push, drag, or dead lift. To determine this weight, multiply your unencumbered carrying capacity by 5. While pushing or dragging weight in excess of your maximum weight, you can move no more than 5 feet on your turn.
Size and Strength: Larger creatures can carry more weight, whereas Tiny creatures can carry less. For each size category above Medium, double the carrying; maximum; and lift, drag, and push weights. For a Tiny creature, halve these weights. The DM has more information on creature size.
Dexterity measures your character's physical agility, reflexes, balance, and poise. You typically use Dexterity to perform an acrobatic action, such as maintaining balance while moving across a precarious surface, contorting your body to wriggle through a tight space, striking a distant foe using a projectile, or slipping free from bindings.
Rogues and other characters who wear light armor prefer high Dexterity scores, since it helps them avoid enemy attacks. A character might also use Dexterity when making attacks with certain weapons: bows, slings, and the like. Any character who wants to react to danger quickly can benefit from a high Dexterity score.
The DM commonly asks you to use Dexterity when you make a check to balance on a narrow ledge, sneak up on someone, tie a rope, wriggle free from bonds, or perform an acrobatic stunt.
The DM commonly asks you to use Dexterity when you make a saving throw to wriggle free of a grapple, avoid spells such as lightning bolt and fireball, dodge a falling pillar, or dive out of the way of a charging horse.
You add your Dexterity modifier to your attack rolls and damage rolls for finesse weapons and missile weapons.
Depending on the armor you wear, you may add some or all of your Dexterity modifier to your Armor Class.
At the beginning of every battle, you roll initiative, which involves rolling a d20 and adding your Dexterity modifier.
Constitution measures your health and durability. You typically use Constitution to hold your breath, do a forced march, run a long distance, and perform a strenuous activity for a long period. All characters benefit from having a high Constitution score.
The DM commonly asks you to use Constitution when you make a check to hold your breath, march for hours without rest, go without sleep, survive without food or water, or accomplish a similar task.
The DM commonly asks you to use Constitution when you make a saving throw to resist disease, poison, or fatigue; withstand a medusa's petrifying gaze; endure the debilitating effects of a deep wound; or ignore excruciating pain.
Your Constitution modifier contributes to your hit points. See the description of your character class for more information.
Intelligence describes your mental acuity, your education, and your ability to reason, recall information, and employ logic to overcome challenges and complications. You typically use Intelligence to remember an important fact, find clues to a puzzle, or cast an arcane spell. Arcane magic, such as that used by wizards, often requires a keen mind for mastery and thus Intelligence is most important to such characters.
The DM commonly asks you to use Intelligence when you make a check to recall a piece of lore, determine the properties of an object or trap, or decipher an ancient map.
The DM commonly asks you to use Intelligence when you make a saving throw to resist spells that attempt to overcome your intellect.
Certain classes, such as wizards, use Intelligence as their magic ability. If Intelligence is your magic ability, you add your Intelligence modifier to the attack rolls of your spells, and the modifier helps determine the saving throw DCs of your spells.
Wisdom reflects how attuned you are to your surroundings, representing general perceptiveness, intuition, insight, and other, less tangible senses. Wisdom is also important for understanding divine edicts and expectations.
Although Wisdom is important to all characters who want to be alert, Wisdom is especially important to clerics and druids, since the ability is crucial for channeling divine power from the gods and the environment.
The DM commonly asks you to use Wisdom when you make a check to determine whether someone is lying, spot a hidden creature, discern a creature's mood, listen for noises, or sense a spirit's presence.
The DM commonly asks you to use Wisdom when you make a saving throw to resist being charmed or frightened, to see through an illusion cast upon you, or withstand an attempt to influence you.
Certain classes, such as clerics, use Wisdom as their magic ability. If Wisdom is your magic ability, you add your Wisdom modifier to the attack rolls of your spells, and the modifier helps determine the saving throw DCs of your spells.
Charisma measures your ability to influence others and the strength of your personality. A high Charisma suggests a strong sense of purpose, whereas a low Charisma indicates a less self-assured personality. Charisma also determines how well you lead those who follow you.
All characters benefit from a high Charisma, especially those who deal with nonplayer characters, such as hirelings, henchmen, and intelligent monsters. Charisma is also important to spellcasters who manipulate magical power through sheer force of will.
The DM commonly asks you to use Charisma when you make a check to negotiate a truce, calm a wild animal, deliver an inspiring speech, or deceive someone.
The DM commonly asks you to use Charisma when you make a saving throw to resist certain magical compulsions, especially those that would overcome your sense of yourself.
Certain classes use Charisma as their magic ability. If Charisma is your magic ability, you add your Charisma modifier to the attack rolls of your spells, and the modifier helps determine the saving throw DCs of your spells.