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Ability Scores Explained

Your character is composed of six abilities, each with its own score. These define certain aspects of your character and how that character will perform at the gaming table. The higher the score the better.

Knowing how to use these scores and what they represent are important in making sure that your character is more than just a bunch of numbers scribbled on a character sheet. How do these numbers define the character and under what circumstances do you use these numbers? These are important questions that hopefully we will be able to answer for you.

Strength measures your athletic skill, your physicality, it determines how easily you can kick in a door, lift a heavy object, or, in epic cinematic fashion break the bonds that tie you. Strength is certainly important if you want to be a fighter, but not all fighters rely on strength.

Conan the barbarian, has a high strength score.

Dexterity is a measure of your reflexes, your ability to perform complex gymnastics tasks, your ability to aim and be true. You may use your dexterity score to balance on a precarious ledge, pick a lock, squirm out of bonds too strong for you to break, or leap from one moving object to another.

Legolas from the Lord of the rings, has a high dexterity score.

Constitution measures health and stamina. While your fighter may be extremely strong and was able to pick up the portcullis, he may not be able to hold it up for several minutes while the party makes made a stunning escape, not unless he has a high Constitution score. Constitution is used if you’re trying to hold your breath for a long period of time, your ability to survive without food or drink, or to stave off the effects of disease.

While there are no skills associated with Constitution, those individuals with a high Constitution enjoy an increase in hit points.

Pretty much everybody in the Lord of the rings had a high Constitution. All they ever seem to do was either walk or run throughout the entirety of middle earth.

Intelligence measures the acquisition of knowledge. It is also a gauge for how well your character can remember an important detail that others may have forgotten. It can be how well they process a clue that is given, recall the layout of a room or an important and obscure bit of history.

Intelligence will help your character solve puzzles, estimate the value of a particular item, or to conduct an effective investigation. These are the individuals who, with a high enough intelligence, and no formal training in a particular skill can effectively pull off an educated guess.

Tony Stark a.k.a. Ironman has a high intelligence score.

Where intelligence measured the acquisition of knowledge, wisdom is how well your character applies that knowledge. This individual has worldly knowledge, their street-smart if you will. They may be able to pick up on when someone is not being truthful, they may be able to come up with clever solutions to problems, these are the individuals whose gut feelings can effectively direct their actions.

Intelligence is knowing, wisdom involves feeling.

Obi Wan Kenobi has a high wisdom score.

Contrary to what many may believe, charisma is not a measure of physical beauty. Charisma is how charming and confident your character is. It can also be a measure of one’s command presence. These individuals are socially present, they are artful and engaging in society. These individuals are skilled in picking up on social cues and went to advantageously employ them. Those individuals with a high charisma score are natural leaders.

Again, you cannot measure physical beauty with your charisma score. The physical beauty of your character is simply flavor, if you want them to be pretty or handsome just make them that way. One can be physically attractive and still not be very charismatic.

Han Solo has a high charisma score.

There are many ways in which you can define Ability Scores, and this is just one way.

See you next time in the dojo.

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