Shattered Realms, the AD&D version...

The Ability Scores

So, for the most part, you have the standard AD&D ability scores, but you also have a few more. 


Each player creates his or her own character. The players have a degree of choice over some aspects of their character, but basic details are determined by rolling dice.  These details make the characters different from each other, so that some are faster, others are stronger, tougher, more intelligent, and so on.  All creatures are described with the same characteristics, which will allow comparisons to be made later on.  Each characteristic defines some aspect of the character – and, taken together, the characteristics will help to decide what they are good at and what they are not so good at.

Strength (Str): How powerful the creature is and how much damage it can cause in combat. It measures a character’s muscle, endurance, and stamina.
You apply your character’s Strength modifier to:

  • Melee attack rolls.
  • Damage rolls when using a melee weapon or a thrown weapon (including a sling). (Exceptions: Off-hand attacks receive only one half the character’s Strength bonus, while two-handed attacks receive one and a half times the Strength bonus. A Strength penalty, but not a bonus, applies to attacks made with a bow that is not a composite bow.)
  • Climb, Jump, and Swim checks. These are the skills that have Strength as their key ability.
  • Strength checks (for breaking down doors and the like).

Dexterity (Dex): The character’s ability to perform complex, intricate or delicate manual tasks. It encompasses hand-eye coordination and reflexes as well.
You apply your character’s Dexterity modifier to:

  • Ranged attack rolls, including those for attacks made with bows, crossbows, throwing axes, and other ranged weapons.
  • Armor Class (AC), provided that the character can react to the attack.
  • Reflex saving throws, for avoiding fireballs and other attacks that you can escape by moving quickly.
  • Balance, Escape Artist, Hide, Move Silently, Open Lock, Ride, Sleight of Hand, Tumble, and Use Rope checks. These are the skills that have Dexterity as their key ability.

Constitution (Con):  A character’s physical health, including physique, fitness, and physical resistance to hardship, injury, and disease.  It also is the limit of how many times a character can be resurrected in total.
You apply your character’s Constitution modifier to:

  • Each roll of a Hit Die (though a penalty can never drop a result below 1—that is, a character always gains at least 1 hit point each time he or she advances in level).
  • Fortitude saving throws, for resisting poison and similar threats.
  • Concentration checks. This is a skill, important to spellcasters, that has Constitution as its key ability.

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.

Intelligence (Int): A character’s ability to think and understand, or their IQ. It represents their memory, reasoning, and learning ability.  Intelligence dictates how many languages a character can learn.
You apply your character’s Intelligence modifier to:

  • The number of languages your character knows at the start of the game.
  • The number of skill points gained each level. (But your character always gets at least 1 skill point per level.)
  • Appraise, Craft, Decipher Script, Disable Device, Forgery, Knowledge, Search, and Spellcraft checks. These are the skills that have Intelligence as their key ability.

A wizard gains bonus spells based on her Intelligence score. The minimum Intelligence score needed to cast a wizard spell is 10 + the spell’s level.

Wisdom (Wis): Describes a composite of the character’s enlightenment, judgment, guile, common sense and intuition.  It can also affect the character’s resistance to magical attacks.
You apply your character’s Wisdom modifier to:

  • Will saving throws (for negating the effect of charm person and other spells).
  • Heal, Listen, Profession, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks. These are the skills that have Wisdom as their key ability.

Clerics, druids, paladins, and rangers get bonus spells based on their Wisdom scores. The minimum Wisdom score needed to cast a cleric, druid, paladin, or ranger spell is 10 + the spell’s level.

Charisma (Cha): A character’s persuasiveness and personal magnetism.  It is NOT a reflection of physical attractiveness.
You apply your character’s Charisma modifier to:

  • Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Gather Information, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Perform, and Use Magic Device checks. These are the skills that have Charisma as their key ability.
  • Checks that represent an attempt to influence others.
  • Turning checks for clerics and paladins attempting to turn zombies, vampires, and other undead.

Sorcerers and bards get bonus spells based on their Charisma scores. The minimum Charisma score needed to cast a sorcerer or bard spell is 10 + the spell’s level.

Appearance (App):  This determines the physical presence and attractiveness of the character. A character with a high Appearance score would be handsome or beautiful, perhaps even famous for outstanding looks (such as Helen of Troy).

Leadership (Ld): A character’s ability to lead others. A character with a high leadership score is naturally charismatic, inspiring confidence and loyalty, whilst a character with a low leadership score may be rather indecisive.  This characteristic is expressed as a percentage of 01-100%.

Cool (Cl): A creature’s ability to remain calm, collected, even sane, under severe psychological stress.  Some of the creatures that inhabit the world are truly frightening, and may be confronted safely only by characters with a high cool.  Cool is expressed as a percentage of 01-100%.

Will Power (WP): A measure of mental and magical resistance and general magical awareness. It reflects a creature’s ability to shrug off the effects of magic, charms and mental influence.  Magic-using characters will benefit from a high will power, especially if they are to confront some of the hellish creatures of other worlds, which may attempt to infiltrate their minds and distort their personalities.  Will power is expressed as a percentage of 01-100%.

Fellowship (Fel): A character’s social skills, appearance, ability to empathize, sympathize and generally get along with people.  A character with a high fellowship will find it easy to make new friends and will be able to obtain information from others by carefully steering a conversation.  Characters with low fellowship, however, have an amazing talent for saying just the wrong thing, and are always putting their foot in it.  They are impervious to hints, unreceptive to atmosphere and completely without tact.  Fellowship is expressed as a percentage of 01-100%.

Weapon Skill (WS): A character’s ability to fight in hand-to-hand combat, reflecting natural aggression, disposition and training.  It is expressed in a percentage of 01-100%.  The higher the WS, the easier it is to strike a blow in hand-to-hand combat, or parry an opponent’s blow.

Ballistic Skill (BS): A character’s ability to us missile weapons (such as a bow or javelin), throw an object (throwing axe or dagger), or in the case of some creatures, spit venom.  Like WS, this is expressed in a percentage of 01-100%, and the higher the BS, the easier it is to hit a target.

Perception (Per): the character’s ability to notice the things that are out of place or unusual.

Initiative (Init): This reflects a character’s speed of thought, whether she is quick-witted or sluggish. In close combat, it determines who acts first.  This is expressed as a percentage of 01-100%.


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