Constitution dnd meaning

Constitution dnd meaning DEFAULT

Constitution (Con)

Constitution represents your character's health and stamina. A Constitution bonus increases a character's hit points, so the ability is important for all classes.

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Beside above, what do the D&D stats mean? Dungeons & DragonsThe six attributes used in D&D are: "Physical" statistics. Strength - measuring physical power and carrying capacity. Constitution - measuring endurance, stamina and good health. Dexterity - measuring agility, balance, coordination and reflexes "Mental" statistics.

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Dungeons & Dragons (commonly abbreviated as D&D or DnD) is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game (RPG) originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. It was derived from miniature wargames, with a variation of the 1971 game Chainmail serving as the initial rule system.

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DM DavePosted in Articles

Continuing the Monster Abilities series, today I want to take a closer look at Constitution. Constitution is funny to me, because it’s rarely a stat you see players use as a dump stat. After all, its primary function is offering bonus hit points.

Furthermore, easily 33-50% of saving throws in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition revolve around Constitution saves.

But what does it mean for monsters?

In this article I cover:

  • What does each point of Constitution mean?
  • Where do all the Monster Manual monsters stand in terms of Constitution?
  • Observations on 5e monster Constitution.
  • Constitution scores by challenge rating analysis.

What does each point in Constitution mean?

According to the Player’s Handbook, Constitution is a measure of health, stamina, and vital force. In other words, it’s your “don’t die” stat.

A 10-11 in Constitution is supposed to be plain ol’ human. As we’ve learned from the other ability observations, higher than 15 is usually beyond normal human capability, and beyond 16-17 is beyond anything in the real world. Finally, only truly epic beings can have Constitution scores north of 20.

Constitution: Skills & Checks

Constitution holds the distinction of being the only ability score that doesn’t have a skill directly tied to it.  As a passive ability, Constitution keeps your character together, and helps your character do stuff like:

  • Hold their breath
  • March or labor for hours without rest
  • Go without sleep
  • Survive without food or water
  • Chug a beer (seriously)

Constitution: Hit Points

Of course, Constitution’s true claim to fame is in its bonus hit points. For each +1 bonus of Constitution a creature has in D&D 5e, that’s one more point of hit point per hit die they get.

Constitution: Barbarians

If there was one class that lived for Constitution (get it?), it’d have to be the Barbarian. Barbarians are, well… tanks. And the more Constitution they have, the better they tank. Not only because it gives them hit point bonuses, but they can also add their Constitution modifier to their Armor Class.

Constitution: Saving Throws

Finally, Constitution is part of the “big three” of Dexterity and Wisdom. A whole lot of saving throws in Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition involve Constitution. It’s what helps you survive cold attacks, poison, and even disintegration.


D&D 5e Monsters by Constitution

Now that we understand the basics of Constitution and what it can do for players, let’s take a look at how it relates to monsters. Knowing which monsters have which Constitution will help us improve our monster designs.

The monsters in bold are those that currently exist in the real world.

Constitution 3 (-4)
Monsters: gas spore

Constitution 8 (-1)
Monsters: bat, frog, hawk, owl, pixie, raven, sea horse, spider, swarm of ravens, weasel

Constitution 9 (-1)
Monsters: kobold, quipper, swarm of quippers, swarm of rats, winged kobold

Constitution 10 (+0)
Monsters: aarakocra, banshee, blood hawk, cat, crab, dust mephit, eagle, flumph, giant badger, giant wasp, giant weasel, ghast, ghoul, ghost, ice mephit, kenku, quasit, rug of smothering, demilich, drow, drow mage, goat, goblin, goblin boss, lizard, myconid sprout, panther, pteranodon, shrieker, slaad tadpole, specter, sprite, steam mephit, swarm of bats, swarm of insects, violet fungus, will-o-wisp

Constitution 11 (+0)
Monsters: ankylosaurus, awakened shrub, crawling claw, deer, dryad, fire snake, flying snake, flying sword, giant bat, giant crab, giant frog, giant rat, giant sea horse, gnoll, grick, homonculus, jackal, jackalwere, kuo-toa, lemure, poisonous snake, satyr, scarecrow, stirge, swarm of poisonous snakes, twig blight, yuan-ti pureblood

Constitution 12 (+0)
Monsters: axe beak, badger, blink dog, boar, chasme, cloaker, cockatrice, constrictor snake, draft horse, dretch, drow priest of Lolth, duodrone, elk, giant centipede, giant constrictor snake, giant fire beetle, giant goat, giant owl, giant spider, githyanki warrior, githzerai monk, grimlock, harpy, hyena, hobgoblin, magma mephit, magmin, mastiff, merfolk, mind flayer, monodrone, mud mephit, myconid adult, phase spider, pentadrone, quadrone, riding horse, sahuagin, sahuagin priestess, shadow demon, smoke mephit, spined devil, wererat, wolf

Constitution 13 (+1)
Monsters: animated armor, ankheg, black dragon wyrmling, brass dragon wyrmling, bugbear, bullywug, copper dragon wyrmling, crocodile, darkmantle, death tyrant, ettercap, faerie dragon, giant eagle, giant lizard, giant octopus, giant poisonous snake, giant scorpion, giant toad, giant wolf spider, gnoll pack lord, green dragon wyrmling, grell, hippogriff, imp, intellect devourer, killer whale, lion, lizardfolk, lizardfolk shaman, mane, mule, needle blight, peryton, pony, pseudodragon, reef shark, rust monster, shadow, succubus/incubus, thri-kreen, tridrone, vulture, warhorse, water weird, worg, yuan-ti malison

Constitution 14 (+2)
Monsters: air elemental, ape, arcanaloth, baboon, black bear, bugbear chief, camel, centaur, death dog, deep gnome, doppelganger, drow elite warrior, duergar, flameskull, giant elk, giant hyena, half-ogre, half-red dragon veteran, hell hound, hobgoblin captain, invisible stalker, kuo-toa whip, myconid sovereign, ochre jelly, spirit naga, tiger, trogolodyte, werewolf, white dragon wyrmling, winter wolf

Constitution 15 (+2)
Monsters: aboleth, awakened tree, azer, basilisk, bearded devil, blue dragon wyrmling, dire wolf,  giant vulture, gnoll fang of Yeenoghu, githyanki knight, githzerai zerth, grick alpha, hook horror, hunter shark, lamia, lizard king/queen, merrow, mimic, minotaur skeleton, rhinoceros, saber-toothed tiger, salamander, skeleton, unicorn, warhorse skeleton, wereboar

Constitution 16 (+3)
Monsters: barlgura, beholder zombie, black pudding, brown bear, cambion, carrion crawler, chuul, displacer beast, fire elemental, plesiosaurus, gargoyle, giant boar, gibbering mouther, gray ooze, green hag, gray slaad, green slaad, griffon, guardian naga, gynosphinx, helmed horror, hobgoblin warlord, kuo-toa archpriest, lich, medusa, mezzoloth, minotaur, nightmare, nothic, ogre, orc, orc eye of gruumsh, oni, pegasus, piercer, polar bear, quaggoth, quaggoth spore servant, red slaad, night hag, sahuagin baron, sea hag, shambling mound, umber hulk, vampire spawn, weretiger, wight, wraith, wyvern, yeti, zombie

Constitution 17 (+3)
Monsters: allosaurus, bronze dragon wyrmling, couatl, elephant, ettin, giant crocodile, gold dragon wyrmling, manticore, mummy lord, owlbear, red dragon wyrmling, roper, silver dragon wyrmling, triceratops, werebear, young brass dragon, young copper dragon, young green dragon, young remorhaz, yuan-ti abomination

Constitution 18 (+4)
Monsters: barbed devil, behir, beholder, bone devil, chain devil, clay golem, deva, drider, erinyes, flesh golem, giant ape, gorgon, ice devil, ogre zombie, orc war chief, orog, rakshasa, revenant, shield guardian, blue slaad, ultroloth, vampire, vrock, water elemental, yochlol, young black dragon, young white dragon

Constitution 19 (+4)
Monsters: chimera, death slaad, hill giant, nycaloth, otyugh, tyrannosaurus rex, young blue dragon, young bronze dragon

Constitution 20 (+5)
Monsters: androsphinx, cyclops, death knight, dragon turtle, earth elemental, fomorian, galeb duhr, hezrou, hydra, marilith, roc, stone giant, stone golem, troll

Constitution 21 (+5)
Monsters: adult black dragon, adult brass dragon, adult copper dragon, adult green dragon, bulette, frost giant, gelatinous cube, giant shark, glabrezu, horned devil, mammoth, remorhaz, treant, young gold dragon, young red dragon, young red shadow dragon, young silver dragon

Constitution 22 (+6)
Monsters: abominable yeti, adult white dragon, balor, cloud giant, djinni, nalfeshnee, purple worm, xorn

Constitution 23 (+6)
Monsters: adult blue dracolich, adult blue dragon, adult bronze dragon, fire giant

Constitution 24 (+7)
Monsters: dao, efreeti, pit fiend, planetar

Constitution 25 (+7)
Monsters: adult gold dragon, adult red dragon, adult silver dragon, ancient black dragon, ancient brass dragon, ancient copper dragon, ancient green dragon, goristro, kraken

Constitution 26 (+8)
Monsters: ancient white dragon, marid, solar

Constitution 27 (+8)
Monsters: ancient blue dragon, ancient bronze dragon

Constitution 29 (+9)
Monsters: ancient gold dragon, ancient red dragon, ancient silver dragon

Constitution 30 (+10)
Monsters: empyrean, tarrasque

Observations on 5e Monster Constitution

Constitution scores are quite different than any other ability score in D&D 5e simply because they don’t correlate with real world powers.

In fact, the scores would seem almost completely random.

However, I think Constitution scores are relative to the creature’s Challenge Rating and scale somewhat linearly from there. In other words, when CR goes up, Constitution goes up.

Long story short: Constitution scores are purely game mechanics and have no real world application beyond signifying what’s “tough” at certain challenge ratings.

Constitution Scores by Challenge Rating

I’ve gone a step further and broken out each of the Challenge Ratings and averaged out relative Constitution scores. This should give 5e game designers an idea of where their creatures’ Constitution scores should land.

Challenge Rating 0 (10 XP)
Average Constitution Score 9.94
Deadly Encounter Level none

Challenge Rating 1/8 (25 XP)
Average Constitution Score 11.39
Deadly Encounter Level none

Challenge Rating 1/4 (50 XP)
Average Constitution Score 11.53
Deadly Encounter Level none

Challenge Rating 1/2 (100 XP)
Average Constitution Score 12.30
Deadly Encounter Level none

Challenge Rating 1 (200 XP)
Average Constitution Score 12.71
Deadly Encounter Level none

Challenge Rating 2 (450 XP)
Average Constitution Score 14.33
Deadly EncounterLevel 1st

Challenge Rating 3 (700 XP)
Average Constitution Score 14.69
Deadly Encounter Level 2nd

Challenge Rating 4 (1,100 XP)
Average Constitution Score 14.79
Deadly Encounter Level 2nd

Challenge Rating 5 (1,800 XP)
Average Constitution Score 17.22
Deadly Encounter Level 3rd

Challenge Rating 6 (2,300 XP)
Average Constitution Score 17.06
Deadly Encounter Level 4th

Challenge Rating 7 (2,900 XP)
Average Constitution Score 16.80
Deadly Encounter Level 4th – 5th

Challenge Rating 8 (3,900 XP)
Average Constitution Score 17.58
Deadly Encounter Level 5th

Challenge Rating 9 (5,000 XP)
Average Constitution Score 20.00
Deadly Encounter Level 5th

Challenge Rating 10 (5,900 XP)
Average Constitution Score 18.50
Deadly Encounter Level 6th

Challenge Rating 11 (7,200 XP)
Average Constitution Score 21.33
Deadly Encounter Level 7th

Challenge Rating 12 (8,400 XP)
Average Constitution Score 16.00*
Deadly Encounter Level 8th

Challenge Rating 13 (10,000 XP)
Average Constitution Score 19.78
Deadly Encounter Level 9th

Challenge Rating 14 (11,500 XP)
Average Constitution Score 18.50*
Deadly Encounter Level 10th

Challenge Rating 15 (13,000 XP)
Average Constitution Score 20.75*
Deadly Encounter Level 10th – 11th

Challenge Rating 16 (15,000 XP)
Average Constitution Score 22.40
Deadly Encounter Level 11th

Challenge Rating 17 (18,000 XP)
Average Constitution Score 22.00
Deadly Encounter Level 12th

Challenge Rating 18 (20,000 XP)
Average Constitution Score 20.00*
Deadly Encounter Level 13th

Challenge Rating 19 (22,000 XP)
Average Constitution Score 22.00*
Deadly Encounter Level 14th

Challenge Rating 20 (25,000 XP)
Average Constitution Score 25.00*
Deadly Encounter Level 15th

Challenge Rating 21 (33,000 XP)
Average Constitution Score 22.00*
Deadly Encounter Level 16th-17th

Challenge Rating 22 (41,000 XP)
Average Constitution Score 26.00
Deadly Encounter Level 18th-19th

Challenge Rating 23 (50,000 XP)
Average Constitution Score 26.75
Deadly Encounter Level 20th

Challenge Rating 24 (62,000 XP)
Average Constitution Score 29.00*
Deadly Encounter Level all

Challenge Rating 30 (155,000 XP)
Average Constitution Score 30.00*
Deadly EncounterLevel all

*Denotes that the sample size is less than 5.

As you can see, Constitution is fairly linear in growth up until it hits CR 5, then plateaus. It stays flat until about CR 9 and gets another bump, pushing average Con scores into the 20s. But it more or less plateaus again until reaching CR 20. After CR 20, it’s a quick progression up to Constitution score 30.

Each challenge rating has an outlier of sorts such as the lich as a CR 21 creature that only has a Constitution score of 16. I think the idea is 1) they’re supposed to look somewhat frail compared to most other baddies at their level and 2) they balance their shitty health with crazy DPS.

What can we learn from this?

Basically, Constitution is just there to buffer hit points so there isn’t an absurd amount of dice getting rolled for the big bads. It also lends a hand to Constitution saves, but the big bads that have lousy Con relative to their challenge rating (such as liches or the androsphinx) make up for it in Con Save proficiencies.

Thanks for reading!

Hopefully, this information on Constitution is helpful for your 5e D&D monster creation. Constitution is a weird score, but as long you follow the averages per CR, you should be in a good shape.

Next up, we’re going to take a look at Intelligence.

See you then!

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D&D 5th Edition

Six Abilitiesprovide a quick description of every creature’s physical and mental characteristics:

Is a character muscle-bound and insightful? Brilliant and charming? Nimble and hardy? Ability Scoresdefine these qualities—a creature’s assets as well as weaknesses.

The three main rolls of the game—the ability check, the saving throw, and the Attackroll—rely on The SixAbility Scores. The book’s Introductiondescribes the basic rule behind these rolls: roll a d20, add an ability modifier derived from one of The SixAbility Scores, and compare the total to a target number.

Ability Scores and Modifiers

Each of a creature’s Abilitieshas a score, a number that defines the magnitude of that ability. An ability score is not just a measure of innate capabilities, but also encompasses a creature’s Trainingand competence in activities related to that ability.

A score of 10 or 11 is the normal human average, but Adventurersand many Monstersare a cut above average in most Abilities. A score of 18 is the highest that a person usually reaches. Adventurerscan have scores as high as 20, and Monstersand divine beings can have scores as high as 30.

Each ability also has a modifier, derived from the score and ranging from −5 (for an ability score of 1) to +10 (for a score of 30). The Ability Scoresand Modifiers table notes the ability modifiers for the range of possible Ability Scores, from 1 to 30.


To determine an ability modifier without consulting the table, subtract 10 from the ability score and then divide the total by 2 (round down).

Because ability modifiers affect almost every Attackroll, ability check, and saving throw, ability modifiers come up in play more often than their associated scores.

Advantage and Disadvantage

Sometimes a Specialability or spell tells you that you have advantage or disadvantage on an ability check, a saving throw, or an Attackroll. When that happens, you roll a second d20 when you make the roll. Use the higher of the two rolls if you have advantage, and use the lower roll if you have disadvantage. For example, if you have disadvantage and roll a 17 and a 5, you use the 5. If you instead have advantage and roll those numbers, you use the 17.

If multiple situations affect a roll and each one grants advantage or imposes disadvantage on it, you don’t roll more than one additional d20. If two favorable situations grant advantage, for example, you still roll only one additional d20.

If circumstances cause a roll to have both Advantage and Disadvantage, you are considered to have neither of them, and you roll one d20. This is true even if multiple circumstances impose disadvantage and only one grants advantage or vice versa. In such a situation, you have neither advantage nor disadvantage.

When you have advantage or disadvantage and something in the game, such as the halfling’s Luckytrait, lets you reroll The D20, you can reroll only one of the dice. You choose which one. For example, if a Halflinghas advantage or disadvantage on an ability check and rolls a 1 and a 13, the Halflingcould use the Luckytrait to reroll the 1.

You usually gain advantage or disadvantage through the use of SpecialAbilities, Actions, or Spells. Inspirationcan also give a character advantage. The
GM can also decide that circumstances Influencea roll in one direction or the other and grant advantage or impose disadvantage as a result.

Proficiency Bonus

Charactershave a Proficiency Bonusdetermined by level. Monstersalso have this bonus, which is incorporated in their stat blocks. The bonus is used in the rules on Ability Checks, Saving Throws, and Attackrolls.

Your Proficiency Bonuscan’t be added to a single die roll or other number more than once. For example, if two different rules say you can add your Proficiency Bonusto a Wisdomsaving throw, you nevertheless add the bonus only once when you make the save.

Occasionally, your Proficiency Bonusmight be multiplied or divided (doubled or halved, for example) before you apply it. For example, the rogue’s Expertisefeature doubles the Proficiency Bonusfor certain Ability Checks. If a circumstance suggests that your Proficiency Bonusapplies more than once to the same roll, you still add it only once and multiply or divide it only once.

By the same token, if a feature or Effectallows you to multiply your Proficiency Bonuswhen making an ability check that wouldn’t normally benefit from your Proficiency Bonus, you still don’t add the bonus to the check. For that check your Proficiency Bonusis 0, given the fact that multiplying 0 by any number is still 0. For instance, if you lack proficiency in the Historyskill, you gain no benefit from a feature that lets you double your Proficiency Bonuswhen you make Intelligence(History) checks.

In general, you don’t multiply your Proficiency Bonusfor Attackrolls or Saving Throws. If a feature or Effectallows you to do so, these same rules apply.

Ability Checks

An ability check tests a character’s or monster’s innate Talentand Trainingin an effort to overcome a Challenge. The GM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action (other than an attack) that has a chance of failure. When the outcome is uncertain, the dice determine the results.

For every ability check, the GM decides which of The SixAbilitiesis relevant to the task at hand and the difficulty of the task, represented by a Difficulty Class. The more difficult a task, the higher its DC. The Typical Difficulty Classestable shows the most CommonDCs.

Task DifficultyDC
Very easy5
Very hard25
Nearly impossible30
To make an ability check, roll a d20 and add the relevant ability modifier. As with other d20 rolls, apply bonuses and penalties, and compare the total to the DC. If the total equals or exceeds the DC, the ability check is a success—the creature overcomes the Challengeat hand. Otherwise, it’s a failure, which means the character or monster makes no progress toward the objective or makes progress combined with a setback determined by the GM.


Sometimes one character’s or monster’s efforts are directly opposed to another’s. This can occur when both of them are trying to do the same thing and only one can succeed, such as attempting to snatch up a magic ring that has Fallenon the floor. This situation also applies when one of them is trying to prevent the other one from accomplishing a goal— for example, when a monster tries to force open a door that an adventurer is holding closed. In situations like these, the outcome is determined by a Specialform of ability check, called a contest.

Both participants in a contest make Ability Checksappropriate to their efforts. They apply all appropriate bonuses and penalties, but instead of comparing the total to a DC, they compare the totals of their two checks. The participant with the higher check total wins the contest. That character or monster either succeeds at the action or prevents the other one from succeeding.

If the contest results in a tie, the situation remains the same as it was before the contest. Thus, one contestant might win the contest by default. If two Characterstie in a contest to snatch a ring off the floor, neither character grabs it. In a contest between a monster trying to open a door and an adventurer trying to keep the door closed, a tie means that the door remains shut.


Each ability covers a broad range of capabilities, including Skillsthat a character or a monster can be proficient in. A skill represents a specific aspect of an ability score, and an individual’s proficiency in a skill demonstrates a focus on that aspect. (A character’s starting skill Proficienciesare determined at character Creation, and a monster’s skill Proficienciesappear in the monster’s stat block.)

For example, a Dexteritycheck might reflect a character’s attempt to pull off an acrobatic stunt, to palm an object, or to stay hidden. Each of these aspects of Dexterityhas an associated skill: Acrobatics, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth, respectively. So a character who has proficiency in the Stealthskill is particularly good at Dexteritychecks related to sneaking and Hiding.

The Skillsrelated to each ability score are shown in the following list. (No Skillsare related to Constitution.) See an ability’s description in the later sections of this section for examples of how to use a skill associated with an ability.

Sometimes, the GM might ask for an ability check using a specific skill—for example, “Make a Wisdom(Perception) check.” At other times, a player might ask the GM if proficiency in a particular skill applies to a check. In either case, proficiency in a skill means an individual can add his or her Proficiency Bonusto Ability Checksthat involve that skill. Without proficiency in the skill, the individual makes a normal ability check.

For example, if a character attempts to climb up a dangerous cliff, the GM might ask for a Strength(Athletics) check. If the character is proficient in Athletics, the character’s Proficiency Bonusis added to the Strengthcheck. If the character lacks that proficiency, he or she just makes a Strengthcheck.

Variant: Skills with Different Abilities

Normally, your proficiency in a skill applies only to a specific kind of ability check. Proficiency in Athletics, for example, usually applies to Strengthchecks. In some situations, though, your proficiency might reasonably apply to a different kind of check. In such cases, the GM might ask for a check using an unusual combination of ability and skill, or you might ask your GM if you can apply a proficiency to a different check. For example, if you have to swim from an offshore island to the mainland, your GM might call for a Constitutioncheck to see if you have the stamina to make it that far. In this case, your GM might allow you to apply your proficiency in Athleticsand ask for a Constitution(Athletics) check. So if you’re proficient in Athletics, you apply your Proficiency Bonusto the Constitutioncheck just as you would normally do for a Strength(Athletics) check. Similarly, when your Half-OrcBarbarianuses a display of raw Strengthto intimidate an enemy, your GM might ask for a Strength(Intimidation) check, even though Intimidationis normally associated with Charisma.

Passive Checks

A passive check is a Specialkind of ability check that doesn’t involve any die rolls. Such a check can represent the average result for a task done repeatedly, such as searching for Secretdoors over and over again, or can be used when the GM wants to secretly determine whether the Characterssucceed at something without rolling dice, such as noticing a hidden monster.

Here’s how to determine a character’s total for a passive check:
10 + all modifiers that normally apply to the check

If the character has advantage on the check, add 5. For disadvantage, subtract 5. The game refers to a passive check total as a score.

For example, if a 1st-level character has a Wisdomof 15 and proficiency in Perception, he or she has a passive Wisdom(Perception) score of 14.

The rules on Hidingin the “Dexterity” section below rely on Passive Checks, as do the Explorationrules.

Working Together

Sometimes two or more Charactersteam up to attempt a task. The character who’s leading the effort—or the one with the highest ability modifier—can make an ability check with advantage, reflecting the help provided by the other Characters. In Combat, this requires the Helpaction.

A character can only provide help if the task is one that he or she could attempt alone. For example, trying to open a lock requires proficiency with thieves’ tools, so a character who lacks that proficiency can’t help another character in that task. Moreover, a character can help only when two or more individuals Working Togetherwould actually be productive. Some tasks, such as threading a needle, are no easier with help.

Group Checks

When a number of individuals are trying to accomplish something as a group, the GM might ask for a group ability check. In such a situation, the Characterswho are Skilledat a particular task help cover those who aren’t.

To make a group ability check, everyone in the group makes the ability check. If at least half the group succeeds, the whole group succeeds.
Otherwise, the group fails.

Group Checksdon’t come up very often, and they’re most useful when all the Characterssucceed or fail as a group. For example, when Adventurersare navigating a swamp, the GM might call for a group Wisdom(Survival) check to see if the Characterscan avoid the Quicksand, sinkholes, and other natural Hazardsof the Environment. If at least half the group succeeds, the successful Charactersare able to guide their companions out of danger. Otherwise, the group stumbles into one of these Hazards.

Using Each Ability

Every task that a character or monster might attempt in the game is covered by one of The SixAbilities. This section explains in more detail what those Abilitiesmean and the ways they are used in the game.


Strengthmeasures bodily power, athletic Training, and the extent to which you can exert raw physical force.

Strength Checks

A Strengthcheck can model any attempt to lift, push, pull, or break something, to force your body through a space, or to otherwise apply brute force to a situation. The Athleticsskill reflects aptitude in certain kinds of Strengthchecks.

Athletics. Your Strength(Athletics) check covers difficult situations you encounter while climbing, Jumping, or Swimming. Examples include the following activities:
  • You attempt to climb a sheer or slippery cliff, avoid Hazards while scaling a wall, or cling to a surface while something is trying to knock you off.
  • You try to jump an unusually long distance or pull off a stunt midjump.
  • You struggle to swim or stay afloat in treacherous Currents, storm-tossed waves, or areas of thick seaweed. Or another creature tries to push or pull you Underwater or otherwise interfere with your Swimming.
Other Strength Checks. The GM might also call for a Strengthcheck when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:
  • Force open a stuck, locked, or barred door
  • Break free of bonds
  • Push through a tunnel that is too small
  • Hang on to a wagon while being dragged behind it
  • Tip over a statue
  • Keep a boulder from rolling

Attack Rolls and Damage

You add your Strengthmodifier to your Attackroll and your damage roll when attacking with a melee weapon such as a mace, a Battleaxe, or a Javelin. You use melee Weaponsto make Melee Attacksin hand- to-hand Combat, and some of them can be Thrownto make a ranged Attack.

Lifting and Carrying

Your Strengthscore determines the amount of weight you can bear. The following terms define what you can lift or carry.

Carrying Capacity. Your carrying Capacityis your Strengthscore multiplied by 15. This is the weight (in pounds) that you can carry, which is high enough that most Charactersdon’t usually have to worry about it.

Push, Drag, or Lift. You can push, drag, or lift a weight in pounds up to twice your carrying Capacity(or 30 times your Strengthscore). While pushing or dragging weight in excess of your carrying Capacity, your speed drops to 5 feet.

Size and Strength. Larger creatures can bear more weight, whereas Tiny creatures can carry less. For each size category above Medium, double the creature’s carrying Capacityand the amount it can push, drag, or lift. For a Tiny creature, halve these weights.

Variant: Encumbrance

The rules for Lifting and Carryingare intentionally simple. Here is a variant if you are looking for more detailed rules for determining how a character is hindered by the weight of Equipment. When you use this variant, ignore the Strengthcolumn of the Armortable.

If you carry weight in excess of 5 times your Strengthscore, you are encumbered, which means your speed drops by 10 feet.

If you carry weight in excess of 10 times your Strengthscore, up to your maximum carrying Capacity, you are instead heavily encumbered, which means your speed drops by 20 feet and you have disadvantage on Ability Checks, Attackrolls, and Saving Throwsthat use Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution.


Dexteritymeasures agility, reflexes, and balance.

Dexterity Checks

A Dexteritycheck can model any attempt to move nimbly, quickly, or quietly, or to keep from Fallingon tricky footing. The Acrobatics, Sleight of Hand, and StealthSkillsreflect aptitude in certain kinds of Dexteritychecks.

Acrobatics. Your Dexterity(Acrobatics) check covers your attempt to stay on your feet in a tricky situation, such as when you’re trying to run across a sheet of ice, balance on a tightrope, or stay upright on a rocking ship’s deck. The GM might also call for a Dexterity(Acrobatics) check to see if you can perform acrobatic stunts, including dives, rolls, somersaults, and flips.

Sleight of Hand. Whenever you attempt an act of legerdemain or manual trickery, such as planting something on someone else or concealing an object on your person, make a Dexterity(Sleight of Hand) check. The GM might also call for a Dexterity(Sleight of Hand) check to determine whether you can lift a coin purse off another person or slip something out of another person’s pocket.

Stealth. Make a Dexterity(Stealth) check when you attempt to conceal yourself from enemies, slink past guards, slip away without Being Noticed, or sneak up on someone without being seen or heard.

Other Dexterity Checks. The GM might call for a Dexteritycheck when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:
  • Control a heavily laden cart on a steep descent
  • Steer a chariot around a tight turn
  • Pick a lock
  • Disable a trap
  • Securely tie up a prisoner
  • Wriggle free of bonds
  • Play a stringed Instrument
  • Craft a small or detailed object

Attack Rolls and Damage

You add your Dexteritymodifier to your Attackroll and your damage roll when attacking with a ranged weapon, such as a sling or a Longbow. You can also add your Dexteritymodifier to your Attackroll and your damage roll when attacking with a melee weapon that has the Finesseproperty, such as a Daggeror a Rapier.

Armor Class

Depending on the armor you wear, you might add some or all of your Dexteritymodifier to your ArmorClass.


At the Beginningof every Combat, you roll Initiativeby making a Dexteritycheck. Initiativedetermines the order of creatures’ turns in Combat.


The GM decides when circumstances are appropriate for Hiding. When you try to hide, make a Dexterity(Stealth) check. Until you are discovered or you stop Hiding, that check’s total is contested by the Wisdom(Perception) check of any creature that actively searches for signs of your presence.

You can’t hide from a creature that can see you clearly, and you give away your position if you make noise, such as shouting a warning or knocking over a vase.
An Invisiblecreature can always try to hide. Signs of its Passagemight still be noticed, and it does have to stay quiet.

In Combat, most creatures stay alert for signs of danger all around, so if you come out of Hidingand approach a creature, it usually sees you. However, under certain circumstances, the GM might allow you to stay hidden as you approach a creature that is distracted, allowing you to gain advantage on an Attackroll before you are seen.

Passive Perception. When you hide, there’s a chance someone will notice you even if they aren’t searching. To determine whether such a creature notices you, the GM compares your Dexterity(Stealth) check with that creature’s passive Wisdom(Perception) score, which equals 10 + the creature’s Wisdommodifier, as well as any other bonuses or penalties. If the creature has advantage, add 5. For disadvantage, subtract 5. For example, if a 1st-­level character (with a Proficiency Bonusof +2) has a Wisdomof 15 (a +2 modifier) and proficiency in Perception, he or she has a passive Wisdom(Perception) of 14.

What Can You See?One of the main factors in determining whether you can find a hidden creature or object is how well you can see in an area, which might be lightlyor heavily obscured, as explained in “The Environment.”


Constitutionmeasures health, stamina, and vital force.

Constitution Checks

Constitutionchecks are uncommon, and no Skillsapply to Constitutionchecks, because The Endurancethis ability represents is largely passive rather than involving a specific effort on the part of a character or monster. A Constitutioncheck can model your attempt to push beyond normal limits, however.

The GM might call for a Constitutioncheck when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:
  • Hold your breath
  • March or labor for hours without rest
  • Go without sleep
  • Survive without food or water
  • Quaff an entire stein of ale in one go

Hit Points

Your Constitutionmodifier contributes to your Hit Points. Typically, you add your Constitutionmodifier to each Hit Die you roll for your Hit Points.

If your Constitutionmodifier changes, your hit point maximum changes as well, as though you had the new modifier from 1st Level. For example, if you raise your Constitutionscore when you reach 4th Leveland your Constitutionmodifier increases from +1 to +2, you adjust your hit point maximum as though the modifier had always been +2. So you add 3 Hit Pointsfor your first three levels, and then roll your Hit Pointsfor 4th Levelusing your new modifier. Or if you’re 7th level and some Effectlowers your Constitutionscore so as to reduce your Constitutionmodifier by 1, your hit point maximum is reduced by 7.


Intelligencemeasures mental acuity, accuracy of recall, and the ability to reason.

Intelligence Checks

An Intelligencecheck comes into play when you need to draw on logic, education, memory, or deductive reasoning. The Arcana, History, Investigation, Nature, and ReligionSkillsreflect aptitude in certain kinds of Intelligencechecks.

Arcana. Your Intelligence(Arcana) check measures your ability to recall lore about Spells, magic items, eldritch Symbols, magical traditions, The Planesof existence, and the inhabitants of those planes.

History. Your Intelligence(History) check measures your ability to recall lore about historical events, legendary people, ancient kingdoms, past disputes, recent wars, and lost civilizations.

Investigation. When you look around for clues and make deductions based on those clues, you make an Intelligence(Investigation) check. You might deduce the Locationof a hidden object, discern from the Appearanceof a wound what kind of weapon dealt it, or determine the weakest point in a tunnel that could cause it to collapse. Poring through ancient Scrollsin Searchof a hidden fragment of knowledge might also call for an Intelligence(Investigation) check.

Nature. Your Intelligence(Nature) check measures your ability to recall lore about terrain, Plantsand animals, the weather, and natural cycles.

Religion. Your Intelligence(Religion) check measures your ability to recall lore about deities, rites and prayers, religious hierarchies, holy Symbols, and the practices of Secretcults.

Other Intelligence Checks. The GM might call for an Intelligencecheck when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:
  • 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

Spellcasting Ability

Wizards use Intelligenceas their Spellcastingability, which helps determine the saving throw DCs of Spellsthey cast.


Wisdomreflects how attuned you are to the world around you and represents perceptiveness and intuition.

Wisdom Checks

A Wisdomcheck might reflect an effort to read body language, understand someone’s feelings, notice things about the Environment, or care for an injured person. The Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Perception, and SurvivalSkillsreflect aptitude in certain kinds of Wisdomchecks.

Animal Handling. When there is any question whether you can calm down a domesticated animal, keep a mount from getting spooked, or intuit an animal’s intentions, the GM might call for a Wisdom(Animal Handling) check. You also make a Wisdom(Animal Handling) check to control your mount when you attempt a risky maneuver.

Insight. Your Wisdom(Insight) check decides whether you can determine the true intentions of a creature, such as when searching out a lie or predicting someone’s next move. Doing so involves gleaning clues from body language, Speechhabits, and changes in mannerisms.

Medicine. A Wisdom(Medicine) check lets you try to stabilize a dying companion or diagnose an illness.

Perception. Your Wisdom(Perception) check lets you spot, hear, or otherwise detect the presence of something. It measures your general awareness of your surroundings and the keenness of your Senses. For example, you might try to hear a conversation through a closed door, eavesdrop under an open window, or hear Monstersmoving stealthily in the Forest. Or you might try to spot things that are obscured or easy to miss, whether they are orcs lying in Ambushon a road, thugs Hidingin the shadows of an alley, or candlelight under a closed Secretdoor.

Survival. The GM might ask you to make a Wisdom(Survival) check to follow tracks, hunt wild game, guide your group through frozen wastelands, Identifysigns that owlbears live nearby, predict the weather, or avoid Quicksandand other natural Hazards.

Other Wisdom Checks. The GM might call for a Wisdomcheck when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:
  • Get a gut feeling about what course of action to follow
  • Discern whether a seemingly dead or living creature is Undead

Spellcasting Ability

Clerics, druids, and rangers use Wisdomas their Spellcastingability, which helps determine the saving throw DCs of Spellsthey cast.


Charismameasures your ability to interact effectively with others. It includes such factors as confidence and eloquence, and it can represent a charming or commanding Personality.

Charisma Checks

A Charismacheck might arise when you try to Influenceor entertain others, when you try to make an impression or tell a convincing lie, or when you are navigating a tricky social situation. The Deception, Intimidation, Performance, and PersuasionSkillsreflect aptitude in certain kinds of Charismachecks.

Deception. Your Charisma(Deception) check determines whether you can convincingly hide the truth, either verbally or through your Actions. This Deceptioncan encompass everything from misleading others through ambiguity to telling outright lies. Typical situations include trying to fast- talk a guard, con a merchant, earn money through Gambling, pass yourself off in a disguise, dull someone’s suspicions with false assurances, or maintain a straight face while telling a blatant lie.

Intimidation. When you attempt to Influencesomeone through overt threats, HostileActions, and physical violence, the GM might ask you to make a Charisma(Intimidation) check. Examples include trying to pry information out of a prisoner, convincing street thugs to back down from a confrontation, or using the edge of a broken bottle to convince a sneering vizier to reconsider a decision.

Performance. Your Charisma(Performance) check determines how well you can delight an audience with music, dance, Acting, Storytelling, or some other form of entertainment.

Persuasion. When you attempt to Influencesomeone or a group of people with tact, social graces, or good Nature, the GM might ask you to make a Charisma(Persuasion) check. Typically, you use Persuasionwhen Actingin good faith, to foster friendships, make cordial requests, or exhibit proper etiquette. Examples of persuading others include convincing a chamberlain to let your party see the king, negotiating peace between warring tribes, or inspiring a crowd of townsfolk.

Other Charisma Checks. The GM might call for a Charismacheck when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:
  • Find the best person to talk to for news, rumors, and gossip
  • Blend into a crowd to get the sense of key topics of conversation

Spellcasting Ability

Bards, paladins, sorcerers, and warlocks use Charismaas their Spellcastingability, which helps determine the saving throw DCs of Spellsthey cast.

Saving Throws

A saving throw—also called a save—represents an attempt to resist a spell, a trap, a poison, a disease, or a similar threat. You don’t normally decide to make a saving throw; you are forced to make one because your character or monster is at risk of harm.

To make a saving throw, roll a d20 and add the appropriate ability modifier. For example, you use your Dexteritymodifier for a Dexteritysaving throw.

A saving throw can be modified by a situational bonus or penalty and can be affected by Advantage and Disadvantage, as determined by the GM.

Each class gives proficiency in at least two Saving Throws. The Wizard, for example, is proficient in Intelligencesaves. As with skill Proficiencies, proficiency in a saving throw lets a character add his or her Proficiency Bonusto Saving Throwsmade using a particular ability score. Some Monstershave saving throw Proficienciesas well.

The Difficulty Classfor a saving throw is determined by the Effectthat causes it. For example, the DC for a saving throw allowed by a spell is determined by the caster’s Spellcastingability and Proficiency Bonus.

The result of a successful or failed saving throw is also detailed in the Effectthat allows the save. Usually, a successful save means that a creature suffers no harm, or reduced harm, from an Effect.

“Tell me a little about yourself…” It’s that very broad and open ended question that are used in job interviews, networking, and first dates. Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) has simplified way of getting to know your character to 6 simple ability scores. These game statistics describe the physical and mental strengths and weakness of your character for play in D&D. They are called upon and tested in all sorts of ways, and your DM will help you if your not sure which ability applies to the situation.

Ability scores are found on the front left hand side of your character sheet. The higher the number in the box the better your Player Character (PC) is at that ability. The lower the score the less able you are at that ability. A typical range is from 8 to 15 before racial modifiers are applied.


Strength (Str)

The measure of you athletic skill. How effective you PC is at applying brute physical force. Strength is checked when your climbing, swimming, or jumping (both broad and high jumps).

From the Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbook (PHB): The Dungeon Master (DM) might also call for a Strength check when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:

  • Force open a stuck, locked, or barred door
  • Break free of bonds
  • Push through a tunnel that is too small
  • Hang on to a wagon while being dragged behind it
  • Tip over a statue
  • Keep a boulder from rolling

Players should choose Strength if the above speaks to the character you want to play in D&D. Melee characters like Barbarian and Fighter classes favour high strength scores because it allows them to add the ability score modifier to both attack and damage rolls for melee weapons. Skills used by the Strength ability: Athletics.


Dexterity (Dex)

The ability of your body to obey your commands. The higher your score in this ability the more light on your feet you are. If Dexterity is your highest ability score your PC is good at balancing in precarious situations. Your quick reflexes allow you to jump out of the way of harm be it a trap, sword, or spell.

From the PHB: The Dungeon Master (DM) might also call for a Dexterity check when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:

  • Control a heavily laden cart on a steep descent
  • Steer a chariot around a tight turn
  • Pick a lock
  • Disable a trap
  • Securely tie up a prisoner
  • Wriggle free of bonds
  • Play a stringed instrument
  • Craft a small or detailed object

Dexterity should be you top ability score if your character is a rogue or plans to wield finesse weapons and/or ranged weapons (use Dex instead of Str on to hit bonus). Dexterity is used in skills such as Stealth, Sleight of Hand, Acrobatics.


Constitution (Con)

The statistic in D&D that measures your health and vitality. The higher your Constitution the more Hit Points (HP) you get when your PC gains a level. It also measures how long you can hold your breath, survive in extreme environment conditions, battle fatigue, and toxic effects to alter your body through poisons or spells.

From the PHB: The Dungeon Master (DM) might also call for a Constitution check when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:

  • Hold your breath
  • March or labor for hours without rest
  • Go without sleep
  • Survive without food or water
  • Quaff an entire stein of ale in one go

There are no skills associated with Constitution, but enjoy those extra precious hit points. The classes that call on Constitution as the second highest stat in a a build: Barbarian, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard. Melee types like Barbarian, Cleric, Druid, and Fighter can use the extra HP, while the casters like Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard could benefit from bonuses to spell Concentration checks.


Intelligence (Int)

How book smart is your PC? Is your PC logical and able to carefully recall details of history, contents of a room, remember an important and even obscure detail or clue. Intelligence measures these abilities. The higher your intelligence score the smarter your PC is. This attention to detail is reward for spell casters that use Intelligence like Wizard, to remember extra spells and add their ability modifier to their Spell Saving Throw (Save) Difficulty Class (DC).

From the PHB: The Dungeon Master (DM) might also call for a Intelligence check when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:

  • 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

Skills that call upon the Intelligence ability score: Arcana, History, Investigation, Nature, and Religion.


Wisdom (Wis)

The higher your Wisdom the more worldly awareness you have. Your PC has a knack for picking out lies others speak, and being fully present more so than most others. Your PC can puzzle together solutions without having all the evidence in front of them. The difference between Intelligence and Wisdom is Intelligence is knowing while Wisdom is feeling. Wisdom base spell casters are Cleric, Ranger, and Druid.

Taken from the PHB: The DM might call for a Wisdom check when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:

  • Get a gut feeling about what course of action to follow
  • Discern whether a seemingly dead or living creature is undead

Skills based on Wisdom are: Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Perception, and Survival.


Charisma (Cha)

The higher your PC’s Charisma score the more commanding, charming and confident they are. Charisma is a game changer in social interacts. Knowing social queues and when to employ them to your advantage are the hallmarks of a PC with high Charisma. Spell casters classes that use Charisma: Bard, Paladin, Sorcerer, Warlock.

Taken from the PHB. The DM might call for a Charisma check when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:

  • Find the best person to talk to for news, rumors, and gossip
  • Blend into a crowd to get the sense of key topics of conversation

Skills that call upon the Charisma ability score: Deception, Intimidation, Performance, Persuasion.

May your d20s roll ever in your favour.


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Constitution (Con)

Constitution represents your character’s health and stamina. A Constitution bonus increases a character’s hit points, so the ability is important for all classes.

You apply your character’s Constitution modifier to:

If a character’s Constitution score changes enough to alter his or her Constitution modifier, the character’s hit points also increase or decrease accordingly.

Any living creature has at least 1 point of Constitution. A creature with no Constitution has no body or no metabolism. It is immune to any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless the effect works on objects or is harmless. The creature is also immune to ability damage, ability drain, and energy drain, and automatically fails Constitution checks. A creature with no Constitution cannot tire and thus can run indefinitely without tiring (unless the creature’s description says it cannot run).

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Dungeons & Dragons gameplay

For general information on terminology in role-playing games, see Role-playing game terms.

In the Dungeons & Dragonsrole-playing game, game mechanics and dice rolls determine much of what happens. These mechanics include:

  • Ability scores, the most basic statistics of a character, which influence all other statistics
  • Armor class, how well-protected a character is against physical attack
  • Hit points, how much punishment a character can take before falling unconscious or dying
  • Saving throws, a character's defenses against nonphysical or area attacks (like poisons, fireballs, and enchantments)
  • Attack rolls and damage rolls, how effectively a character can score hits against, and inflict damage on, another character
  • Skills, how competent a character is in various areas of expertise
  • Feats, what special advantages a character has through natural aptitude or training

Ability scores[edit]

For general information on abilities in role-playing games, see Attribute (role-playing games).

All player characters have six basic statistics:[1][2][3]

  • Strength (STR): Strength is a measure of muscle, endurance and stamina combined. Strength affects the ability of characters to lift and carry weights, melee attack rolls, damage rolls (for both melee and ranged weapons), certain physical skills, several combat actions, and general checks involving moving or breaking objects.
  • Dexterity (DEX): Dexterity encompasses a number of physical attributes including hand-eye coordination, agility, reflexes, fine motor skills, balance and speed of movement; a high dexterity score indicates superiority in all these attributes. Dexterity affects characters with regard to initiative in combat, ranged attack rolls, armor class, saving throws, and other physical skills. Dexterity is the ability most influenced by outside influences (such as armor).
  • Constitution (CON): Constitution is a term which encompasses the character's physique, toughness, health and resistance to disease and poison. The higher a character's constitution, the more hit points that character will have. Constitution also is important for saving throws, and fatigue-based general checks. Unlike the other ability scores, which render the character unconscious or immobile when they hit 0, having 0 Constitution is fatal.
  • Intelligence (INT): Intelligence is similar to IQ, but also includes mnemonic ability, reasoning and learning ability outside those measured by the written word. Intelligence dictates the number of languages a character can learn, and it influences the number of spells a preparation-based arcane spellcaster (like a Wizard) may cast per day, and the effectiveness of said spells. It also affects certain mental skills.
  • Wisdom (WIS): Wisdom is a composite term for the character's enlightenment, judgment, wile, willpower and intuitiveness. Wisdom influences the number of spells a divine spellcaster (such as clerics, druids, paladins, and rangers) can cast per day, and the effectiveness of said spells. It also affects saving throws and linked skills.
  • Charisma (CHA): Charisma is the measure of the character's combined physical attractiveness, persuasiveness, and personal magnetism. A generally non-beautiful character can have a very high charisma due to strong measures of the other two aspects of charisma. Charisma influences how many spells spontaneous arcane spellcasters (such as sorcerers and bards) can cast per day, and the effectiveness of said spells.

An ability score is a natural number, with a value of 10 or 11 representing average ability.[4] "These ability scores help determine whether [a] character succeeds or fails at something they try" when a player rolls a d20.[5] For example, "a Dwarf with 15 strength can probably lift up a huge rock quite easily. A wizard with 6 wisdom probably won't realize when they're getting conned. A bookish monk with 20 intelligence but just 4 constitution [...], would intuitively know the perfect regimen for training for a marathon, but couldn't even come close completing one".[5]

Ability modifiers[edit]

Beginning with the 3rd Edition, each score has a corresponding ability modifier, where Modifier = Score − 10/2, rounded down.[5] It acts as a bonus or penalty depending on a character's ability scores. This modifier is added to the appropriate dice rolls.[5][6] For example, the strength modifier would be added to the damage dealt by a sword, the dexterity modifier to Armor Class (see below) as the character's ability to dodge attacks, and the charisma modifier to an attempt to smooth-talk a merchant.

Determining ability scores[edit]

In AD&D, ability scores were "determined by rolling three 6-sided die and adding up their values".[7] This had a significant impact on character creations as "certain classes could only be taken up by characters with the right combination of statistics. As a result, players often" re-rolled characters until they ended up with the combination of ability scores they desired.[3]: 149  The point buy system was originally added as an optional ruleset in the second edition supplement Player's Option: Skills & Powers (1995) and while it is "largely incompatible with most of the other books released for AD&D second edition" it still "proved very popular among fans".[8] "A point system to ensure total player control over the character's attributes while at the same time limiting just how powerful the character could become [...] [was] formalized in the third edition".[3]: 149 

There are now several methods of determining a character's initial ability scores during character creation:

  • Rolling dice (3d6): This is the standard method for older editions. For each ability score, the player rolls 3d6, and adds the values, resulting in scores ranging from three to eighteen, averaging between 10 and 11.[7]
  • Rolling dice (4d6, keep 3): This is the standard method since 3rd edition.[9] For each ability score, the player rolls 4d6, and adds the three highest values, resulting in scores ranging from three to eighteen, skewed towards higher numbers, averaging 12.2446, though the most probable result is 13.[10]
  • Predetermined array of scores: Each player uses the same set of numbers, choosing which ability score to apply them to.[6][11]
  • Point buy: In the point buy system, a player has a certain number of points to spend on ability scores, and each score has a certain point cost affixed to it, where higher scores cost more points than lower ones.[6][11]

Optional ability scores[edit]

  • Comeliness (COM): In the first edition of AD&D, comeliness was introduced as a seventh ability score in the supplemental rulebook Unearthed Arcana and Oriental Adventures to differentiate between physical attractiveness and charisma.[12][13] Comeliness has not appeared as an officially supported ability score since,[12] although the second edition supplement Player's Option: Skills & Powers (1995) included optional rules for splitting each ability score into two sub-scores with "appearance" as a "subability" score of Charisma.[14]
  • Sanity (SAN): An optional score suggested in the 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG) for campaigns shaped by the constant risk of insanity.[15] It is checked for actions "around entities of an utterly alien and unspeakable nature" and used with the Madness ruleset.[16]: 265  The 5th Edition campaign guide Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft (2021) added new "Fear and Stress" rules as a replacement for the "Madness and Sanity" rules suggested in the DMG.[17] Christian Hoffer, for, called the previous Madness ruleset "dated"[18] and highlighted that "the 'Stress' mechanic is a more straightforward alternative to the 'Madness" mechanic' [...] With this new ruleset, each player has a Stress Score that increases in trying situations and decreases when players take steps to mentally fortify themselves with care or support. [...] When a player has a Stress Score, they substract that score whenever they make an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw".[17]
  • Honor (HON): An optional score included in sourcebooks such as the first edition Oriental Adventures and the 5th Edition DMG.[13][16] Honor determines how well the character adheres to the respective society's code, how well they understands its tenets, and it may also reflect others' perception of the character's honorability. Mechanically, it is used in social interaction in situations in which it may be more relevant than a person's charisma or in a saving throw. Unlike others, this ability score can not be raised by the player after character creation. Instead, the dungeon master can increase or decrease its value at the end of an adventure according to the player character's actions throughout it.[16] The 5th Edition DMG suggests using honor in campaigns with "cultures where a rigid code of honor is part of daily life"; the DMG also suggests using this score in settings "inspired by Asian cultures, such as Kara-Tur".[16]: 264  Aaron Trammell, in the academic journal Analog Game Studies, wrote that "unlike honor for a paladin in a traditional Dungeons & Dragons campaign, Honor in this context has been detached from the ethical matrix of alignment. Honorable characters in Oriental Adventures can be evil, and dishonorable characters in Oriental Adventures can be good. [...] Honor is a paradigm case of Orientalism in Dungeons & Dragons, as it explicitly compares an imagined Oriental ethic and the West".[13]


Armor class[edit]

Main article: Armor class

Armor class (AC) is a rating used to determine how difficult it is to damage a creature/character. It is based on several factors such as a creature's natural aversion to physical injury, magical enhancements, and any protective garments worn.[3][4] The dexterity ability score grants bonuses to AC.

  • In the original game, armor class ranged from 9 to 0, because armor and dexterity modifiers were applied to hit rolls instead. Negative values first appeared in the Greyhawk supplement, because it first applied them directly to the Armor Class.[19]
  • In editions prior to 3rd, armor class ranges from -10 to 10. Having an AC of 10 was the weakest, and a -10 being the strongest possible written AC.[20]
  • In subsequent editions, armor class instead starts at 10 and increases. Extremely non-dexterous or non-moving creatures may suffer penalties that lower their armor class below 10.


In 4th edition, there are three defenses that function similarly to armor class. Fortitude is based on strength or constitution; it represents a character's endurance to pain. Reflex is based on dexterity or intelligence and can be modified by a shield; it represents a character's ability to dodge. Will is based on wisdom or charisma; it represents a character's strength of mind and resistance to mental attack. These defenses are typically lower than AC, so an attack against fortitude is usually better than an attack against AC.[6]

Hit points[edit]

Hit points (HP) are a measure of a character's vitality or health; they are determined by the character's class or race, and Constitution score. Hit points are reduced whenever a character takes damage.[2][3]

In the original D&D game a character died when his/her hit point total reached 0. First edition AD&D introduced an optional rule in which a character died when his/her hit points reached -10, with beings falling unconscious at 0 HP, and creatures reduced to negative HPs continue to lose HPs due to bleeding, etc. unless they are stabilized by aid or healing (natural or magical). In third edition, this rule became part of the core rules.

In 4th Edition, death occurs when a character's hit point value is reduced to half their total expressed as a negative number.[6] For example, if a character has hit points of 52, the character is unconscious and dying at 0 hit points and death occurs when the character's hit points reach -26.

In 5th Edition, a character is killed automatically if the damage is greater than the negative value of their maximum hit points. Otherwise, a player at 0 hit points must begin making "death saving throws", where an unmodified d20 roll resulting in 10 or above is a success, below 10 a failure. If the player gets three failures before three successes, the character is dead. If three successes are recorded, the character is stable but unconscious. A result of 1 counts as two failures, while a result of 20 is automatic success and the character regains 1 hit point. A fellow player may attempt to stabilize their companion using a medicine skill check, or use more advanced healing options.[11]

Saving throws[edit]

For general information on saving throws in role-playing games, see Saving throw.

Certain situations give characters the chance to avoid special types of danger or attacks. These chances are called saving throws or saves. A saving throw is made when a character would come to harm from extraordinary means such as poisons and magical compulsions in nature.[4]

In the early editions of D&D, there are five categories of saving throws, based on the form of the potential damage:

  • Paralysis, Poison, or Death Magic
  • Petrification or Polymorph
  • Rods, Staves, Wands – against magical devices
  • Spells
  • Breath Weapons – such as with dragons or gorgons

In 3rd Edition, they were reduced to three kinds of saving throw based on what aspect of the character was under threat.

  • Fortitude – A Fortitude save represents physical toughness. Fortitude saves involve a character's resistance to an effect that directly attacks his health, stamina, or soul. Fortitude saves are affected by the constitution ability score.[4]
  • Reflex – A Reflex save represents physical agility. Reflex saves are affected by the dexterity ability score.[4]
  • Will – A Will saves involve a character's mental resistance to mental dominance, confusion, stress, and insanity. Will saves are affected by the wisdom ability score.[4]

In 4th Edition there is only one type of saving throw.[6] Saving throws are usually rolled after a character has already been affected by an attack (by hitting the character's AC or fortitude, reflex, or will defense, defenses which the 3rd Edition saves had been converted into), rolled each round to give the character a chance to shake off the effect. They are meant partly to simplify record-keeping for effects that last more than one round but less than the encounter.

In 5th Edition, saving throws are explicitly tied to the ability scores, and carry their names, resulting in six categories of saves. A saving throw is performed similarly to a skill check, with a d20 roll result added to the relevant ability modifier and, if applicable, the proficiency bonus.[11]


When a character makes an attack, a 20-sided die is rolled to determine success/failure. The result could be adjusted based on any number of possible modifiers the character or its intended target have.[4]

The number added to the die roll is actually several different modifiers combined, coming from different places. These modifiers include the character's proficiency with the specific weapon and weapons in general, the quality of the weapon (masterwork craftsmanship or magical enhancements), the modifier of the ability associated with the weapon (strength for melee weapons, and dexterity for ranged weapons), magical effects improving/hampering the character's ability to attack, and any special experience the character has fighting a certain foe.[4]

  • In the early editions, the final result is compared to a table along with the target's armor class to see if the attack hits. Every general class type had its own matrix-style table, while monsters used the same matrix as the generic fighter character type.
  • In AD&D 2nd Edition, if the final result equals or exceeds the attacker's THAC0 (the pre-recorded number the character needs To Hit Armor Class 0"), the attacker has successfully hit a target with armor class 0. If the target has an armor class different from zero (which is far more likely than not), the target's armor class is subtracted from the attacker's THAC0, and that number is what the attacker's roll must equal or exceed to see if the attack hits. This method was informally introduced before the publication of 2nd Edition as a shortcut for players to use.
  • Since 3rd Edition, the attack hits simply if the final result is equal to or greater than the target's armor class.[21]


The combat mechanic is turn-based and operates in rounds.[4] A round is a discrete time interval (approximately 6 seconds, game-time in later editions, and approximately 1 minute in earlier editions) in which all involved parties act in the combat. The order in which parties involved in the combat act is determined by Initiative.

  • In older editions, characters are allowed to move their speed and attack every round, or perform a reasonable combination of other actions.
  • In 3rd and 3.5 editions, what a character can and cannot do in a given round is more codified; a character may perform one standard and one move action, two move actions or one full-round action in a round, along with any number of free actions, and a single swift or immediate action. Unlike other types of actions, immediate actions may also be taken during someone else's turn, though that counts as using the immediate action slot for the character's following turn.
  • In 4th edition, a character is allotted one standard action, one move action, one minor action, and any number of free actions to be performed during his or her turn. Each action can be downgraded, such as replacing a standard action with a move action or a move action with a minor action. In addition, a character may take one opportunity action during each other character's turn, and one immediate action during any round, defined as the time between the end of the character's turn and the beginning of his next turn. Immediate and opportunity actions each have a defined trigger that allows their use, based on other characters' actions, and are categorized as reactions that are resolved after the trigger or as interrupts that are resolved before or in place of the triggering event. Neither immediate nor opportunity actions may be taken during the character's turn.[6]
  • In 5th edition, a character may move up to their full allowed distance and take an action each turn, in any combination the player chooses. Some class features, spells and other circumstances allow a bonus action as well. Reactions triggered by outside factors, such as opportunity attacks, may occur on a player's turn or someone else's.[11]


For general information on skills in role-playing games, see Statistic (role-playing games) § Skills.

For general information on magical skills, see Magic in Dungeons & Dragons.

Dungeons & Dragons, starting with AD&D 1st Edition and continuing to the current 5th Edition, has many skills that characters may train in.[22][23][4]

  • In 1st and 2nd editions, these were broken down into "weapon proficiencies" and "non-weapon proficiencies".[24][25]
  • In 3rd Edition they are all simply referred to as "skills". Characters gain skill points for buying skill ranks based on class, level, and intelligence.[4] Some skills can only be taken by certain classes, such as Read Lips or Animal Empathy. These skills are called exclusive skills. Others can be used even if the character has no ranks in that skill (i.e., is not trained in that skill).
  • For 4th edition, the list of skills was drastically reduced. This usually resulted in each skill covering a broader range of activities, though some skills were removed entirely, such as profession and craft. The skill rank system was also removed, each skill being instead trained or untrained, with a constant bonus given to any trained skill along with a bonus based on the character's level. A character begins with a number of trained skills based on and chosen according to his class. The character gains new skill training only through spending a feat for that purpose, though these may be chosen regardless of class.[6]
  • In 5th Edition, the skills are more tightly tied to the ability scores, with each skill being seen as an area of specialization within the ability. Any skill check may be attempted by any character, but only characters that have proficiency in the specific skill area apply their proficiency bonus (a flat bonus tied to character level) to those particular skill checks. Characters gain proficiencies from their race, class, and character background, with additional proficiencies added by some feats.[11][25]

A skill check is always a d20 roll, with bonuses added. Sometimes, a skill check may be aided by favorable circumstances (such as you brandishing a weapon while using Intimidate) or hampered by unfavorable circumstances (such as using improvised tools to pick a lock).[4] A skill check is successful when the roll is higher than or equal to the difficulty class (DC) of the task. Usually, the Dungeon Master sets the DC. Sometimes the DC is set by the result of something else's check, this is an "opposed check". An example of an opposed check is spot against stealth: the character is trying to see something else that is trying not to be seen.[4]


For general information on feats in the d20 System, see Feat (d20 System).

Feats were introduced in 3rd edition of Dungeons & Dragons. A feat is an advantage, often some special option for the character (such as a special combat maneuver) or some modification to game options and the mechanics involved.[3][4] Feats can be contrasted with skills, which were also introduced in the same edition, in that using a feat does not usually require the particular success/fail roll that skills do. Instead of possessing a certain rank at a skill, a character either possesses a feat or does not. Many feats require certain prerequisites (such as related feats or minimum ability scores) in order to select that feat.[26]

The 4th Edition feat system is similar to the system in 3rd, with each feat having any number of prerequisites and some beneficial effect.[6] Feats are also categorized by type, though "general" feats lack a category. "Class" and "Racial" feats require the character to be the indicated class or race. The "Heroic", "Paragon", and "Epic" descriptors indicate that the character must be in that tier or higher in order to choose the feat. "Divinity" feats grant a character with the "Channel Divinity" power an additional, alternative use for that power.

In 5th Edition, feats are made an optional character customization feature. As characters advance, at certain levels players increase their characters' ability scores. If playing with feats, they may forgo the ability score increases to take feats, which are structured as a package of thematically related improvements, some of which have prerequisites.[11]


  1. ^Livingstone, Ian (1982). Dicing with Dragons. Routledge. p. 72. ISBN .
  2. ^ abDungeons, Dragons, and Digital Denizens: The Digital Role-Playing Game. Voorhees, Gerald., Call, Josh., Whitlock, Katie. New York: Continuum. 2012. pp. 155, 160–161. ISBN . OCLC 745980158.CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ abcdefTresca, Michael J. (2011). The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. pp. 53–54, 62–64, 118, 149. ISBN . OCLC 697175248.
  4. ^ abcdefghijklmnSlavicsek, Bill (2005). Dungeons & Dragons For Dummies. Baker, Richard (Lynn Richard). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. pp. 17, 24–25, 113–116, 136–138, 169–182. ISBN . OCLC 59760275.
  5. ^ abcdHerkewitz, William (2018-03-20). "So You Want To Play Dungeons & Dragons..."Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 2020-06-04.
  6. ^ abcdefghiSlavicsek, Bill (2009). Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition For Dummies. Baker, Richard (Lynn Richard). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. pp. 77–78, 87, 119–120, 155–156, 187–188, 199–201, 397, 408. ISBN . OCLC 59760275.
  7. ^ abFrank, Harry (1994). Statistics: Concepts and Applications Workbook. Althoen, Steven C. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press. p. 295. ISBN . OCLC 28708614.
  8. ^Appelcline, Shannon. "Player's Option - Skills & Power (2e) | Product History". DriveThruRPG. Retrieved 2021-05-24.
  9. ^Dungeon Master's Guide 3rd Edition, p. 169.
  10. ^Sullivan, Kevin. "D&D Statistics". Archived from the original on 28 February 2007. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  11. ^ abcdefgMearls, Mike; Crawford, Jeremy; et al. (2014). Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook 5th Edition. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN .
  12. ^ ab"D&D: The Comeliness Stat (& Why It Was Dropped) Explained". ScreenRant. 2021-05-12. Retrieved 2021-05-13.
  13. ^ abcTrammell, Aaron (2016). "How Dungeons and Dragons Appropriated the Orient". Analog Game Studies. 3 (1). ISSN 2643-7112.
  14. ^Ashe, Robin (July 27, 2007). "Review of Player's Option: Skills & Powers - RPGnet d20 RPG Game Index". Retrieved 2021-05-24.
  15. ^"Dungeons & Dragons Rules Only Sadistic Dungeon Masters Use". ScreenRant. 2021-04-04. Retrieved 2021-05-13.
  16. ^ abcdDungeon Master's Guide. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins, James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, Rodney Thompson. Renton, WA. 2014. pp. 264–266. ISBN . OCLC 884396716.CS1 maint: others (link)
  17. ^ ab"Dungeons & Dragons Adds Fear and Stress Options as Alternative to Madness Rules". May 13, 2021. Retrieved 2021-05-24.
  18. ^Hoffer, Christian (May 11, 2021). "Dungeons & Dragons: Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft Provides a New Take on a Beloved Campaign Setting". Retrieved 2021-05-12.
  19. ^Mahney, Nathan P. (17 March 2009). "SAVE OR DIE!: The Ultimate Sandbox: Supplement I - Greyhawk Part 3". Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  20. ^Livingstone (1982:77).
  21. ^
  22. ^Ewalt, David M. (2014). Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It. New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. 10–13. ISBN . OCLC 800031925.
  23. ^Children's Play. Scarlett, W. George. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications. 2005. p. 125. ISBN . OCLC 808344042.CS1 maint: others (link)
  24. ^"Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition - Nonweapon Proficiencies". Retrieved 2020-11-02.
  25. ^ abLucard, Alex (July 14, 2014). "Tabletop Review: D&D Starter Set Rulebook (D&D Next/Dungeons & Dragons, Fifth Edition)". Diehard Gamefan. Retrieved 2020-11-02.
  26. ^Player's Handbook. Wizards of the Coast, July 1, 2003. See "Feats".

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Constitution (Con) represents a character's health, stamina, and vital force. Because Constitution affects hit points and healing surges, it is a benefit to all player characters.

Constitution is the key ability for Enduranceskill checks.

A character's Constitution score (not modifier) contributes to his or her maximum number of hit points.

A character's Constitution modifier contributes to his or her number of healing surges per day.

In addition, a character's Constitution modifier or Strength modifier, whichever is higher, will contribute to Fortitude defense.

Constitution and Strength are redundant with each other for the purpose of Fortitude defense. For this reason, Constitution may be less useful for characters who need Strength for attack rolls, class features, or skill checks.

Classes with Constitution as a primary key ability
warlock (Infernal, Star, or Vestige Pact original warlock)
Classes with Constitution as a secondary key ability
ardent (Cha primary, Mantle of Elation or Mantle of Impulsiveness)
artificer (Int primary, healing infusion: resistive formula)
assassin (Dex primary)
barbarian (Str primary, Rageblood Vigor or Thaneborn Wrath original barbarian)
bard (Cha primary, Virtue of Valor original bard)
cleric (Wis primary, warpriest)
druid (Wis primary, Primal Guardian or Primal Swarm original druid, or sentinel, or Circle of Renewal protector)
fighter (Str primary, Battlerager Vigor)
invoker (Wis primary, Circle of Malediction or Circle of Wrath)
monk (Dex primary, Iron Soul)
runepriest (Str primary, Wrathful Hammer)
shaman (Wis primary, Protector Spirit or World Speaker Spirit)
sorcerer (Cha primary, Wild Magic)
swordmage (Int primary, Aegis of Shielding)
warden (Str primary, Earthstrength)
wizard (Int primary, Staff of Defense or Tome of Binding arcanist, Evoker or Pyromancer mage)
Races with a bonus to Constitution
dwarf, goliath, minotaur, mul, orc, warforged (Con/Str)
bullywug, gnoll, halfling, half-orc, kobold, revenant (Con/Dex)
genasi, githyanki, hobgoblin, warforged (Con/Int)
duergar, dwarf, half-elf, mul, svirfneblin, wilden (Con/Wis)
dragonborn, half-elf, hobgoblin, kobold, satyr, tiefling (Con/Cha)

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