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Chapter 2: Tools / Building Creatures

Ability Modifiers

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 59
Next, figure out your creature’s ability modifiers, since these will suggest what their other statistics should be. You don’t have to determine the exact numbers, but it’s good to avoid creating creatures whose ability modifiers are at odds with their abilities, like creatures with a terrible Wisdom modifier and very high Perception. Most of the time, you’ll just be using ability modifiers for untrained skills, so they’re useful as a guide but not crucial.

Table 2–1 shows some benchmarks for your creatures. Use high for the creature’s best ability modifiers, moderate for ones they’re okay at, and low for the rest. If a creature has a truly bad ability, you can go as low as –5. That’s the terrible range for ability modifiers, and doesn’t really change by level. This is most common with animals, which have an Intelligence modifier of –4 (for dogs, dolphins, and such) or –5 (for more instinctual animals like spiders), and for mindless creatures, which have a –5 Intelligence modifier.

Few creatures use the extreme column. A powerful, dedicated spellcaster might use an extreme spellcasting statistic, or a preternaturally charming creature like a succubus or nymph might have an extreme Charisma modifier. However, the most common way extreme numbers are used is for really big, really strong creatures. This happens with only Large or larger creatures from 1st to 5th level, only Huge or larger creatures from 6th to 9th level, and only Gargantuan creatures from 10th to 15th level. Beyond that level, a creature doesn’t gain an extreme Strength modifier from size alone.

Table 2–1: Ability Modifier Scales

LevelExtremeHighModerateLow
–1+3+2+0
0+3+2+0
1+5+4+3+1
2+5+4+3+1
3+5+4+3+1
4+6+5+3+2
5+6+5+4+2
6+7+5+4+2
7+7+6+4+2
8+7+6+4+3
9+7+6+4+3
10+8+7+5+3
11+8+7+5+3
12+8+7+5+4
13+9+8+5+4
14+9+8+5+4
15+9+8+6+4
16+10+9+6+5
17+10+9+6+5
18+10+9+6+5
19+11+10+6+5
20+11+10+7+6
21+11+10+7+6
22+11+10+8+6
23+11+10+8+6
24+13+12+9+7