Ability Scores, D&D 5e, Dungeons & Dragons

Alternative Ability Score Rolling Methods, Part 1

Lately I’ve found myself thinking about different methods for rolling your basic Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) style ability scores; and because this has been kicking around in my head for a while I’m going to call this part 1 – even if a part 2 never actually develops.

d100 Point Buy

All abilities begin with a single (1) point in each. You then roll a d100 to determine how many points you have to allocate to your scores. Arrange your points as you would like. No score can go above an 18.

3d4 Method

Each ability begins with six (6) points. You then roll 3d4, adding the result to the first ability score. Repeat this process by moving on to the second ability score and continue until all ability scores have been increased.

Draw Card Method

All ability scores begin with seven (7) points. You then draw six (6) cards from a standard deck of 52 cards. All values are their face values; with Jacks, Kings, and Queens worth ten (10) points. Aces are worth 11 points. Each ability score can only be raised once (1), and each card can only be used once (1). Arrange as you desire.

A player may choose to redraw their six cards once (1). To do so they must return all their cards to the deck and it must be shuffled by the DM. The player may then draw their six (6) cards again for a final time.

The Gambler’s Choice

A player rolls their scores according to the standard method called for in the Player’s Handbook. They may then elect to select a die (either a d4, d6, d8, d10, or d12) and roll. The results from the roll may be added to a single ability score; however, the points must be removed from another ability score. No score may be raised above an 18.

The Low Roller

Each ability score begins with 21 points. The players then roll 3d6 and subtracts the result from the first score. This is repeated until all scores are generated and provides players with a range of 3 – 18.


5 thoughts on “Alternative Ability Score Rolling Methods, Part 1”

  1. Nice. It would be interesting to see each method’s average rolls and likelihood for 3s and 18s.
    The d100 method seems prone to producing a lot of “unusable” sets for AD&D, but I suppose they’d be allowable in basic D&D. (I mean you need to roll over a 11 to get straight 3s, and to be AD&D legal you’ll need 4 stats over 5, and at least one 9, so 28% of the time you’ll be re-rolling…)

    Liked by 1 person

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