All Dungeons and Dragons characters have specific attributes (also know as dnd stats), either metal or physical and we’re here to explain what those attributes are. After reading this article, you should have a clearer image of your character’s dnd stats!
Why Do We Need DnD Stats?
Perhaps the two keywords which spring to mind when thinking of Dungeons & Dragons (DnD) are imagination and fantasy. The former because it is a game that takes place as much in the minds of the players as it does via the rules. The latter because the world generally conforms to the epic mythologies of Tolkien, the sweeping grandeur of Robert Jordan’s worlds, and the mayhem and machinations of George R.R. Martin’s Westeros.
But although DnD takes place in some otherworld or imagined realm, it still needs to have structure. The imagination needs to be interoperated by the mechanics of the game and even a fantasy land has to have an internal logic to it. And DnD exists at a point where the player’s vivid flights of imagination are woven together with the rigid rule structure to create a realistic fantasy world. Yes, that’s a thing.
And into this world boldly steps your character. But what do they look like? Are they smart, athletic, likable? What race of creature are they? What do they do for a living? All of this is determined by the character generation process, a mixture of random dice rolls, and important initial choices. It is this first step that fleshes out the core attributes and abilities and starts bringing your character to life.
It should be noted at this point that there are many versions of DnD. Some are official versions that have gone through a logical evolution and revision process over the years. Some Dungeon Masters (DM) opt to change or modify some of the processes to suit their own preferences. But generally speaking, what follows is relevant info matter whichever version you are playing, same more or less.
For DnD Stats All Starts with The Character Sheet
The Character Sheet is where you store all of the information relating to your in-world adventurer. It will comprise numbers and information and much of it will evolve as you become more experienced and adept. But this is day one, so for now we have to determine your starting point and shape this lump of clay into a believable person. Most of the dnd stats which shape your character are the product of dice rolls or choices guided by those rolls. So open that bag of fancy dice and let’s roll!
Your Ability Scores describe, in the form of numbers, the basic physical and mental abilities of your character. Can he leap small buildings…okay, modest fences, in a single bound or does he have trouble unscrewing a pickle jar. Does she get lightheaded just trying to do simple arithmetic or is she a candidate for MENSA. All of this is determined by generating a number between 3 and 18. These are called dnd roller stats due to their pure reliance on the roll of the dice.
The standard approach is to roll 3d6 (i.e. three six-sided die) and adding them together to get your score. This generates a number in the required range but tends to err towards the middle ground of normality. Some DM’s opt for using 4 dice and discarding the lowest score which means that the result is pushed slightly higher and helps eliminate very low scores. You are playing a hero after all, or at least a potential hero.
There are 6 Ability scores that govern the basic makeup of the character.
This is a measure of your physical prowess, your muscle, endurance, and overall stamina. High strength characters tend to become warriors of some sort, they can carry more equipment and have a better chance of hitting an opponent and doing more damage in combat. This score separates the Conan The Barbarian’s from the Colin the Librarian’s.
Dexterity covers a number of aspects. It is a character’s agility, their co-ordination, balance, reaction time, and general reflexes. A high score is useful for those who wish to specialise in missile weapons, it allows you to dodge attacks and helps you to avoid the unexpected. Those with high dexterity and perhaps lower social morals often end up in more nefarious occupations where their ability to climb, hide, creep and pick-pockets make them perfectly suited.
Your Constitution is often a misunderstood ability and is a measure of your physique, health, and general fitness, as well as your resilience to hardship and disease. Someone low in Strength yet hight in Constitution would epitomise the stereotypical, small but wiry type. If the dice fall the other way around, you have someone who is a beefcake but who catches every cold floating around and who probably faints at the sight of blood. Even their own.
You can think of this as a character’s more academic, cerebral qualities, such as learning and reasoning, logic and memory. It is a boon to all characters wishing to take the less physical route such as being a wizard or illusionist.
Again often slightly misunderstood, Wisdom is a measure of guile, will-power and judgment, common sense and intuition. It is the ability that sets people off down the road to a religious career, such as a Cleric or Priest. To understand the difference between Wisdom and Intelligence it goes like this. Intelligence is what tells you that smoking is bad for you, wisdom, or lack of it, is what determines if you actually decide to quit!
Although this is often seen as physical appearance, which does play a role, Charisma is also a measure of your likability, persuasiveness, magnetism and leadership qualities. It is specifically important if a character plans a career as an entertainer but it affects all characters. It is what determines whether you are the life and soul of the party with loyal friends and followers or if you are the slightly brash loner who people cross the street to avoid.
So what next for DnD stats?
Once you have generated the Ability Scores, you have a rough sketch of who you are, and these 6 numbers go on to guide all manner of major choices.
First, you get to choose your race, which varies from the familiar Human to the more exotic Gnome and, depending on your particular campaign, all manner of weird and wonderful creatures in between. Depending on the race you chose you will receive a few bonuses to those recently generated scores. It is probably a bit late to mention this now, but you should fill in your character sheets in pencil, things tend to change unexpectedly. Everything from moving up through the ranks to losing a few fingers after a rather nasty incident with a heavy dungeon door and an unnaturally strong breeze will change your ability scores.
So, you know what your character looks like, in broad terms, and you know what race they are. Now you can choose a profession based on those dnd stats. Are you suited to being a fierce warrior, a feared Necromancer, a notorious thief, or a holy priest? The choice is yours.
After that most of the other Dungeons and Dragons statistics fall into place. Hit Points that determine just how tough you are in surviving combat, your likelihood of striking an opponent, your ability to survive against poison, and myriad other eventualities.
Now choose a name, something in keeping with your nature. Or not. Perhaps Stormin’ Norman is a name chosen to inspire fear but which the Halfling Thief is going to have a hard job living up to. Just go with whatever the vibe of your campaign suggests, be it Galloras Sureshot or Chaos Spikeybits. Have fun, this is your imaginary world.
Once you have completed this character generation process you will start to see your new body lift off the page. You can add a bit of a back story, equip them as much as your meager funds will allow and assign various other skills and abilities.
But now you are ready to go out into the big, wide, and slightly scary world. And apparently, the mayor of the town is looking for stout adventurers to help with a bothersome nest of goblins who have settled nearby. Sounds like a job for….(insert character name here).
Read more about how to create your own DnD character Here!