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Strength and other character traits - the six attribute values explained
In today's post for beginners, I'll explain the six basic values, what they are used for in the game and what effects they can have on your character and your role-playing game.
The attribute values of the 5th Edition D&D are strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom and charisma. So while the first three describe physical abilities, the other three define the mental capacities of your character.
These values are determined for character creation. There are three options:
Roll values: The most common way to determine your values is the dice method. You roll four six-sided dice (D6) and add up the three highest results. If you roll a 1, a 4, a 6 and a 3, the first result is a 13. The method with the extra dice is intended to prevent you from getting particularly low values, as it is very unlikely to roll a 1 or 2 four times . You carry out this process six times and distribute the numbers to your values after you have added the bonuses of your people.
Default values: If you don't want to take any chances, there are also six default values in the player manual. These are 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8. You can also freely allocate these to your values and credit the bonuses of your people.
Buying points: The last possibility to determine your values is to tailor the attribute values. Every value between 8 and 15 corresponds to a “price” between 0 and 9. Your budget is 27 points and you can put together any combination of values that is often a bit more average than the standard distribution. Almost anything is possible between 15, 15, 15, 8, 8, 8 and 13, 13, 13, 12, 12, 12. Your people bonuses are also counted according to this method.
Before you distribute your stats, think about which class you have chosen and which weapon you want to use. While magicians desperately need intelligence for their spells, warlocks or paladins need charisma. So find out beforehand where you want to put your highest attribute value. A good guideline for this is the “Quick Creation” section, which can be found in the player manual * in front of the class characteristics for each class.
A modifier results from the respective values, which in turn is counted towards all possible throws. The modifier always increases every two points in a value. The lowest possible modifier is -5 (at a value of 1), and the highest for most characters is +5 (at a value of 20). The average values, 10 and 11, give a modifier of +0.
In the options for determining your attribute values, we have already seen that low values can also result with negative modifiers. I will explain why that can be good under the individual attributes.
Strength.Muscles tighten in his arm and leg as the sturdy orc lifts a boulder and hurls it at his opponents. Strength rating determines your ability to handle many weapons, climbing and swimming ability, and the amount of weight you can carry. Traditionally, fighters and barbarians in particular are dependent on a high strength value, rangers or some warlocks can also benefit from using a close combat weapon, for example a great sword or long sword. You also need strength if you want to grab, hold, or push other creatures.
Influence on character: A character with a high strength value is usually muscular above average and may also be vain enough to show that, if his armor allows it. Think about how your character uses his strength, whether he is a gentle giant or an aggressive angry. Even a low strength rating can be a good opportunity for role-play, either through comedy when the magician fails to climb the cliff or dramatically because the villain cannot hold onto his best friend who is carried away by a raging river.
These races give you a bonus to strength:Dwarfs (mountains) (+2), dragon-blooded, half-orcs (+2)
Skill.With one quick movement the elf draws and fires his bow before disappearing over a thin rope bridge between the trees.Dexterity is one of the most versatile attribute values in D&D. In addition to dealing with ranged weapons, he also influences stealth, initiative and acrobatic tricks, and lets you avoid many spells. You will usually find a high level of skill in villains, rangers and monks, but many magicians also put their second highest attribute in skill in order to be able to evade enemy attacks more easily.
Influence on character:A skilled character is likely wiry, possibly even smaller than others. Or a figure that you don't trust to be on your feet so quickly. Does the agility of your character show through artistic evasive movements? Or is he always nervous and suspicious of his surroundings? A low dexterity value can be expressed through awkward movements, slow reactions or stoically enduring magic effects. Coupled with a little too much self-confidence, there is one or the other opportunity for playful idle hours for your character.
These races give you a bonus to skill: Elves (+2), Halflings (+2), Gnomes (Forest) (+1)
Constitution.Although they have already hit several arrows, the dwarf just shakes and continues her onslaught on the goblins.At first glance, constitution appears to be the least important value, as no skills are linked to it on the character sheet. But constitution has a direct influence on your health and your hit points. A high value here can ensure a much longer survival. Constitution also affects how long you can hold your breath and poison saving throws are also based on this value. Monks and barbarians particularly often trust high constitution values because they go into hand-to-hand combat without armor. Mages, wizards and sorcerers usually try to make up for their low hit dice with high numbers in this area.
Influence on character:A high constitution value can be characterized by a particularly healthy appearance, a lower one by signs of illness, such as yellowish eyes or unhealthy skin color. A well-known example of a very powerful character with physical weaknesses is the magician Raistlin from the Chronicle of the Dragon Lance, who often coughs blood after casting a spell or is depressed for days, but still likes to influence the events of the world.
These races give you a bonus to constitution: Halflings (stocky) (+1), dwarves (+2), gnomes (rocks) (+1), half-orcs (+1)
Intelligence.With a strained look a gnome looks at an old scroll, lets the words roll over his tongue in the almost forgotten language and conjures up a portal into another dimension with a single sentence.Intelligence and wisdom are often difficult to tell apart, as they both cover certain areas of knowledge and brain ability and are both somewhat vague terms. In D&D, however, intelligence almost exclusively refers to knowledge that can be learned. So only the spells of the magician, who copies them from books and scrolls, are dependent on intelligence. Apart from that, however, the “arcane deceiver” archetype of the villain and the “mystical knight” archetype of the fighter also benefit, since they also use intelligence to cast their spells. In addition, many skills depend on this value. You can improve your knowledge of magic, nature, history and your ability to understand the mechanics of traps or secret doors with this attribute.
Influence on character:An intelligent character will definitely be well-read, but is he someone who spends every free minute nosing into his reading, or is he a charming storyteller who loves to share anecdote or two? Also keep in mind that social status can play a role depending on the campaign world. Rich people tend to have easier access to libraries, education, and mentors. In contrast, a low Intelligence score doesn't have to mean that you are stupid, just that you don't know much. But even a stupid character can be a lot of fun in the game. Ignore tactical considerations and just act out of the gut. Who has to decipher the strange runes on the secret door when you can just break them in?
These races give you a bonus to intelligence: Elves (high) (+1), gnomes (+2), lowflies (+1)
Wisdom.A druid observes the horizon through the eyes of his eagle shape. Later on, on the ground, he throws bones painted with runes. The result makes a smile appear on his face.Most of all, wisdom affects your senses. Perception, the art of survival, dealing with animals, medicine and recognizing motives all depend on this attribute. Wisdom saving throws test your willpower and let you resist spells that want to control you. Druids, clerics and rangers express their connection to divine and natural magic with a high level of wisdom. Monks also benefit from high wisdom, as they can count it towards their armor class and the level of difficulty of their Ki skills is calculated with it.
Influence on character:Someone with a high level of wisdom can rely on a good gut feeling and feels confident enough to make decisions even in unfamiliar situations. A high level of self-confidence can therefore be a character trait that follows. But maybe you are also filled with a deep religiosity or rather stay in the background to only give your group some advice from time to time. A low wisdom value goes hand in hand with a low perception. Your character is probably inattentive or easily distracted and does not always know how to draw the best conclusions from the knowledge you have learned. The character may even be easy to influence.
These races give you a bonus on wisdom: Elves (forest) (+1), dwarves (hills) (+1)
Charisma.A smile, a wink and a few seconds later the Tiefling girl slips through the city gate, which was supposed to be closed.The last attribute value is charisma, a quality that measures your social skills, especially the influence you have on other people. With Charisma you can intimidate NPCs, convince them of your goals or deceive them with a clever ruse. Bards as well as paladins, warlocks and wizards use charisma as a magic skill.
Influence on character:A very charismatic character is well aware of his effect on others, regardless of whether the character is terrifying or charming. That doesn't mean you have to be particularly pretty to do it, a good entertainer always has a joke or a song on his lips. With paladins and warlocks, their charisma also expresses their connection to their beliefs and patrons. Low charisma, on the other hand, stands for clumsy manners, maybe even a gruff, unfriendly character. When distributing values, take a moment to consider how your character should react to interlocutors and whether these reactions should be controlled or uncontrolled before you decide on a charisma value. At the same time, don't be intimidated by a high value, you don't actually have to play every word, every sentence of your character. After all, that's what the dice are for.
These races give you a bonus on charisma: Elves (Dark) (+1), Halflings (Light Feet) (+1), Dragon-Blooded (+1), Half-Elves (+2), Tieflings (+2)
Humans and half-elves play a special role in relation to attribute values. While half-elves can distribute two points at will in addition to their charisma bonus, humans have one bonus point per attribute value. If you play with the alternative rule (ask your game master) you can only distribute two single points and choose a talent. This makes both races practical all-rounders that can serve as a good choice if you have classes or characters in mind that have to rely on more than two attributes, for example if you plan to play class combinations.
The next tutorial articles will deal with the various terms and topics that could only be mentioned as secondary in this entry. By then, I hope to have given you a good overview of the six attributes. If you have any questions, please ask them on Twitter!
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