OD&D ability scores

Ability scores are explained on pages 10, 11, and 12 of Men & Magic. Here is an alternate presentation.

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Str Ftr XP -20% -10% +5% +10%
Int M-U XP -20% -10% +5% +10%
Lang. Common + Alignment +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8
Wis Clr XP -20% -10% +5% +10%
Con HP -1 per HD +1 per HD
Survive 40-50% 60-90% 100%
Dex Missile -1 +1
Cha Hirelings 1 2 3 4 5 6 12
Loyalty -2 -1 +1 +2 +4

I think this table makes the effects of ability scores much clearer without needing to shoehorn them into a common pattern. This table could be printed on character sheets, and then the character attributes could be circled, or highlighted like a bar graph, as shown below.

10 thoughts on “OD&D ability scores

  1. Timrod

    The first graphic is a brilliant illustration, but the bar graph approach in the second figure could, I think, be confusing to the uninitiated.

    I’m smart enough to understand what you’re getting at, but purely from a graphic presentation standpoint, bar graphs imply cumulative information, suggesting that the entire range of the highlighted area is pertinent to your character. For instance, for Strength you’ve highlighted -20%, -10%, and +5% Ftr XP when really the only relevant point of information is the +5%. Likewise, one could assume that the language bonuses you’ve highlighted are cumulative, which would mean that this particular character gets not 7 but 28 bonus languages.

    Sorry for being a jerk, it really is a great presentation of the fundamental information.

    1. Brendan

      You’re not being a jerk at all; I had the same thought. To be really clear, one should probably circle the relevant number or modifier at the top of the bar. I just kind of like the visual bulk of the bars, as they give a sense of how a character’s abilities are distributed.


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