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Strength measures a character’s muscle and physical power. This ability is especially important for fighters, barbarians, paladins, rangers, and monks because it helps them prevail in combat. You apply your character's strength modifier to:
  • Melee attack rolls
  • Damage rolls from melee weapons or thrown weapons*
  • Climb, Jump, and Swim checks
  • Strength checks (for breaking down doors, etc.)

*Note: Off-hand attacks only receive half the Strength modifier, while two-handed attacks receive one and a half times the Strength modifier. A Strength penalty, but not a bonus, applies to missile weapon attacks with a bow or sling.


Dexterity measures hand-eye coordination, agility, reflexes, and balance. This ability is the most important for rogues, but it also important for anyone who typically wears light or medium armour (barbarians and rangers) or none at all (monks, wizards, and sorcerers), and anyone who wants to be a skilled archer. You apply your Dexterity modifier to:
  • Ranged attack rolls, including attacks made with bows, crossbows, throwing axes, and other ranged weapons
  • Armour Class (AC) (provided the character can react to the attack)
  • Reflex saving throws for avoiding fireballs and other attacks that you can escape by moving quickly
  • The following skill checks:
    • Balance
    • Escape Artist
    • Hide
    • Move Silently
    • Open Lock
    • Pick Pocket
    • Ride
    • Tumble
    • Use Rope


Constitution represents your character's health and stamina. Constitution increases a character's hit points (HP), so it's important for all classes. You apply your Constitution modifier to:
  • Each Hit Die (although a penalty cannot take it below 1)
  • Fortitude saving throws, for resisting poisons and similar threats
  • Concentration checks


Intelligence determines how well your character learns and reasons. Intelligence is important for wizards because it affects how many spells they can cast, how hard their spells are to resist, and how powerful their spells can be. It's also important for any character who wants to have a strong assortment of skills. You apply your character's Intelligence modifier to:
  • The number of languages your characters knows
  • The number of skill points gained each level
  • The following skill checks:
    • Alchemy
    • Appraise
    • Craft
    • Decipher Script
    • Disable Device
    • Forgery
    • Knowledge
    • Read Lips
    • Scry
    • Search
    • Spellcraft

Wizards gain bonus spells based on their Intelligence scores. The minimum Intelligence needed to cast a wizard spell is 10 + the spell's level.


Wisdom describes a character's willpower, common sense, perception, and intuition. While Intelligence represents one's ability to analyse information, Wisdom is more related to being in tune with and aware of one's surroundings. Wisdom is the most important ability for clerics and druids and is also important for rangers and paladins. You apply your character's Wisdom modifier to:
  • Will saving throws (for negating charm person and other spells)
  • The following skill checks:
    • Heal
    • Innuendo
    • Intuit
    • Direction
    • Listen
    • Profession
    • Sense Motive
    • Spot
    • Wilderness Lore

Clerics, druids, paladins, and rangers get bonus spells based on their Wisdom scores. The minimum Wisdom needed to cast a spell is 10 + the spell's level.


Charisma measures a character’s force of personality, persuasiveness, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and physical attractiveness. It is important to all characters, but especially to those who must deal with non-player characters, mercenary hirelings, retainers, and intelligent monsters. It dictates the total number of henchmen a character can retain and affects the loyalty of henchmen, hirelings, and retainers. Charisma is very important for sorcerers and bards as it determines the number of spells per level that they can cast. You apply your charisma modifier to:
  • Checks that represent an attempt to influence others
  • Turning checks for clerics and paladins, attempting to turn undead
  • The following skill checks:
    • Animal Empathy
    • Bluff
    • Diplomacy
    • Disguise
    • Gather Information
    • Handle Animal
    • Intimidate
    • Perform
    • Use Magic Device