A character's abilities are the basic statistics that define that character. Each of these six scores represents a particular aspect of the character, and skills that draw from these traits are modified depending on the associated ability modifier. Certain classes also favor one ability over others, and derive much of their strength from a high ability score in these areas.

The six abilities include the physical — strength, dexterity, and constitution — as well as the mental — intelligence, wisdom, and charisma. These abilities have an immense impact on the capabilities of a character, particularly at the lower levels where training has the least effect. For example, at level 1, a skill can be influenced by as much as +4 through training (in the form of skill ranks), and as much as +5 from the associated ability.

In modules, these abilities may take on additional uses. For example, in the original campaign, having an intelligence score under 9 renders the player character unable to speak properly, while an intelligence of at least 9 and a wisdom of at least 14 opens some "insight" conversation options that can make it easier to accomplish certain tasks. In other modules, sufficiently high ability scores may allow a character to perform tasks such as moving objects, conversing in certain languages, or activating magical objects.

Determining scores[]

Abilities are rated by an ability score that can technically range from 3 to 255 (although player characters effectively have an upper limit of 57). The traditional Dungeons & Dragons starting abilities for player characters range from 3 to 18, obtained by rolling three 6-sided dice. In Neverwinter Nights, a point buy system is used instead, and this produces starting abilities in the 8 to 18 range (before adding any applicable racial modifiers, which could then result in a score as low as 6 or as high as 20). Further increases in ability scores are obtained as the character advances in level; every four levels, a player may increase any one attribute by one point. In addition, abilities can be augmented by magical means (items, spells, etc.), subject to a +12 ability cap.

Non-player characters (NPCs) have their ability scores assigned by a module's creator. While these scores are often comparable to that of player characters, the only restriction imposed by the Toolset is that NPC ability scores must be at least 3 and at most 100.

For most purposes, what is important is not the raw ability scores, but the ability modifiers, which are calculated as (score − 10) / 2, rounded down. The exact effects of these modifiers are detailed in the articles for the individual abilities. The two notable exceptions for which the raw ability scores are important are when serving as a prerequisite for a feat and when determining if a character is encumbered.


The traditional order for listing ability scores is the order they appear on the character sheet: strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, then charisma. However, the order of intelligence and wisdom is reversed in the character creation screen. This has been known to confuse some players creating a character based on a build (rather than making the character on the spur of the moment).

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