Dungeons & Dragons Online

DnD Ability Scores Explained (Again)

Content of the article: "DnD Ability Scores Explained (Again)"

I was reading this post and I thought some of the descriptions were either incomplete or not exactly correct. After spending some time looking at NPC stats I came up with the following descriptions for ability scores:


1 (–5): Very weak. Unable to move independently. Bedridden or confined to a chair.

2-3 (–4): Can stand with support, but will collapse under any load. Uses a cane, walking stick, or other people for support when not sitting or lying down.

4-5 (–3): Can stand on their own and carry very small loads, but not much more.

6-7 (–2): Can carry a pack with approx. 5% of their own weight for several miles. Visibly weak or feeble compared to average. Can be thrown off balance by swinging two-handed weapons.

8-9 (–1): Can pull a sled with less than their body weight across level ground, but not much more. Wouldn't be picked last in gym, but definitely toward the end.

10-11 (0): Can pull sled with their body weight across level ground. Can carry pack of approx. 10% body weight over several miles.

12-13 (1): Can pass minimum military fitness test. Pull a sled with approx. 1.5x their own body weight across level ground. Can carry a pack of approx. 15% body weight over several miles. Reasonably strong, but not impressively so.

14-15 (2): Can surpass military fitness test without problem. Pull a sled with 2x their own body weight across level ground. Can carry a pack of approx. 20% body weight over several miles. One of the strongest people in their home town.

16-17 (3): Can surpass special force military fitness test. Pull a sled with 3-4x their own body weight across level ground. Can carry a pack of approx. 25% body weight over several miles. Could be competitive in strength competitions.

18-19 (4): Strength bordering on legendary. Can pull a sled with 5x their own body weight across level ground. Can carry a pack of approx. 30% body weight over several miles. World class athlete. Olympian or similar level strength.

20 (5): Legendary strength that surpasses what others would think possible. Can pull a sled with 10x their own body weight across level ground. Confused for god-like strength by non-deities.


1 (–5): Barely mobile. Unable to do even simple coordination puzzles.

2-3 (–4): Incapable of moving without noticeable effort or pain. Can do simple coordination puzzles with obvious effort. Trouble with basic actions like eating/drinking.

4-5 (–3): Partial paralysis or severe lack of balance/coordination. Cannot hold objects without serious effort/focus.

6-7 (–2): Full mobility, but often stumbles/drops things. Cannot catch/throw/use tool kits/sew.

8-9 (–1): Lack of balance or skill at precise tasks. Seen as "not sporty"

10-11 (0): Average ability to balance and can sew/use tools if needed, but not well.

12-13 (1): Can do a basic obstacle course with some effort. Somewhat adept with precise tasks if it's something they've practiced and are concentrating.

14-15 (2): Can hit stationary targets most of the time and moving targets some of the time. Adept at precise tasks. Can nimbly traverse an obstacle course.

16-17 (3): Can hit moving targets most of the time. Skilled at precise tasks that require hand-eye coordination. Can do some parkour or more difficult obstacle courses.

18-19 (4): Olympic level skill at gymnastics/archery/throwing. Can do slight of hand that fools all but the most trained eye. Escape artist/ninja warrior/expert magician/acrobat.

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20 (5): Can get out of any non-magical lock. Almost super-human aim. Can make it through any obstacle course that requires acrobatic skill.


1 (–5): Immunodeficient and/or severe physical disorder (hemophilia, brittle bone disease). Has trouble staying awake due to fatigue.

2-3 (–4): Frail, suffers frequent broken bones and/or serious illnesses. Fatigue makes it difficult to do any task for even a short amount of time.

4-5 (–3): Bruises very easily and/or often sick with mild to serious illnesses. Fatigued by mild activity and has to rest often during trips.

6-7 (–2): "At risk" of serious complications from disease, prone to infection. Can be active in short bursts but takes a while to recover.

8-9 (–1): Often contracts mild sicknesses, above average risk of infection, otherwise reasonably healthy. Able to be active for the most part but tends to lag behind if the pace is increased.

10-11 (0): Average health, gets sick but gets better. Breaks bones and gets hurt at a normal rate compared to the general population. Can keep up with most activities in the middle of the pack. Requires regular breaks and sleep to perform well.

12-13 (1): Rarely gets sick and will recover quickly. Can absorb a fair amount of physical abuse. Has above average stamina and doesn't normally struggle with fatigue.

14-15 (2): Almost never gets sick and easily shrugs off most illnesses. Has had few if any serious injuries in their life and doesn't struggle with fatigue unless extremely taxed.

16-17 (3): Doesn't remember the last time they were sick or had a serious injury. Functions with little loss of ability after very little rest over multiple days.

18-19 (4): Very difficult to wear down, almost never feels fatigue. Does ultra-marathons for fun.

20 (5): Tireless paragon of physical endurance. Almost never gets sick, even to the most virulent diseases.


1 (–5): Unable to understand or follow even simple commands. Not capable of logic or reason. Behavior is reduced to simple reactions to immediate stimuli. Cannot communicate even basic emotions non-verbally.

2-3 (–4): Can follow simple commands but lacks understanding of any language or even most non-verbal communication. Acts on instinct but can still follow simple planning and tactics

4-5 (–3): Very limited speech and knowledge. Often resorts to non-verbal communication to express thoughts. Can follow instructions with several steps, but gets confused by plans with any complexity.

6-7 (–2): Can speak one language poorly. Has a rudimentary understanding of how things work. Often misunderstands cause and effect so is prone to superstition and ritualistic behavior. Can follow plans and tactics that are somewhat complex, but is unable to come up with any plans of their own.

8-9 (–1): Can speak one language but most likely can't read or write. Misuses and mispronounces words. Can be taught, but takes a very long time and still often gets specifics wrong. Can follow most basic plans as long as their role is clearly explained, but can only come up with simple plans of their own.

10-11 (0): Knows what they need to know to get by. Can read or write, but only what is absolutely necessary. Is able to apply practical knowledge in specific areas, but is generally ignorant of anything outside that. Can follow complex plans with some explanation and come up with some plans with moderate complexity.

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12-13 (1): Knows a bit more than is necessary, fairly logical. Can express their own ideas clearly in one or more languages. Prone to overestimate intelligence (this is the Dunning-Kruger zone). Has limited knowledge of a wide range of topics, but further understanding of only one or two. Can read and write at a passable level. Can follow complex plans, but may think their ideas are better.

14-15 (2): Fairly intelligent, able to understand new tasks or ideas quickly. Able to do math or solve logic puzzles mentally with reasonable accuracy. Plans and tactics are well thought out and clearly explained. Has knowledge of a wide range of topics and deep understanding of several of those. Learns from their own and other peoples' mistakes.

16-17 (3): Very intelligent, may invent new processes or uses for knowledge. New ideas are quickly learned and combined with existing knowledge to come up with solutions. Has deep knowledge of a wide range of topics and is the smartest person in most rooms.

18-19 (4): Highly knowledgeable, probably the smartest person many people know or have heard of. Could even be the authority in the world in some specific fields. Plans and tactics are several steps ahead of others with contingencies thought of in advance.

20 (5): Famous as a sage and genius. Able to make Sherlock Holmes level deductions and inductions. Plans are multiple steps ahead of almost everyone with advanced tactics drawing from multiple disciplines.


1 (–5): Incapable of perceiving anything outside their immediate focus, barely aware

2-3 (–4): Has object permanence but little else. Rarely notices items, people, or occurrences.

4-5 (–3): Lacks forethought, but notices some items, people, or occurrences while they are present but doesn't use that information in decision making.

6-7 (–2): Often fails to exert common sense. Acts impulsively with little awareness of what's happening around them.

8-9 (–1): Uses common sense some of the time. Sometimes acts impulsively. Has some awareness of important items, people, or occurrences, but has difficulty reading people that they haven't spent significant time with.

10-11 (0): Notices and remembers important items, people, or occurrences, but can get details confused. Often able to rely on common sense, and is able to exert self-control most of the time. Their hunches are wrong as often as they are right.

12-13 (1): Able to read basic body language to understand people's emotional state. Sometimes can tell that something is off, but doesn't know what it is. Gut feelings are generally right, but can still get mixed signals.

14-15 (2): Reads people and situations well. Is right most of the time when something doesn’t feel right and can tell what that is sometimes. Gets a good sense of a person on first meeting. Can control their own emotions and not act on impulse.

16-17 (3): Often used as a source of wisdom or advise. Notices all but the subtlest of changes in people or situations. Has sound judgment and hunches are rarely wrong.

18-19 (4): Reads people and situations very well, almost unconsciously. Notices and remembers most details of items, people, or occurrences. If they have a feeling that something is wrong, something is wrong.

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20 (5): Nearly prescient, able to reason far beyond logic. It is almost as if they have a line directly to a supernatural power that tells them what is going on.


1 (–5): Cannot think for themselves. Has a repellent personality.

2-3 (–4): Minimal independent thought. Will follow almost anyone. Almost no social awareness.

4-5 (–3): Has seriously flawed personality. Is generally off-putting or cruel. Lacks basic social skills.

6-7 (–2): Has difficulty in social situations. Is reticent, uninteresting, or rude. Can form friendships, but is "an acquired taste".

8-9 (–1): Something of a bore, makes people mildly uncomfortable or is simply clumsy in conversation. Is more comfortable following, but can lead in a pinch.

10-11 (0): Capable of polite conversation. Tends to blend in with the crowd and go with whatever others want to do.

12-13 (1): Mildly interesting or intimidating. Knows what to say to the right people or what buttons to push to get a response.

14-15 (2): Often popular for better or worse. Knows what to say to most people and is very confident in debate. Can be pushy or brash, but convincing.

16-17 (3): Quickly likable, respected, or feared by many people. Knows what to say to individuals and groups of people to persuade them to do what they want. Good at getting their way when talking to people through diplomacy or intimidation.

18-19 (4): Famous or infamous, is seen as someone who should be listened to. The life of the party and someone that people gravitate towards. Attractive personality, but not necessarily beautiful. Can entertain people easily or sway public opinion. Beloved by fans, reviled by enemies, respected by everyone.

20 (5): Renowned for wit, personality, and/or looks. A natural leader and someone who can cause blind devotion in followers and instill fear in enemies. When they talk, people listen.

Source: reddit.com

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