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Chapter 4: Variant Rules / Ability Scores Variants

Gradual Ability Boosts

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 182
In this variant, a character gains ability boosts more gradually as they level up, rather than receiving four ability boosts at 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th levels. Each character gains one ability boost when they reach each of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th levels. These are collectively a single set of ability boosts, so a character can’t boost the same ability score more than once per set; players can put a dot next to each boosted ability score or otherwise mark it to keep track. PCs also receive an ability boost at 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th level (a second set); at 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th level (a third set); and at 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th level (the fourth and final set).

This spreads out the ability boosts, and using them earlier means a character can increase their most important ability modifiers at a lower level. This makes characters slightly more powerful on average, but it makes levels 5, 10, 15, and 20 less important since characters usually choose the least important ability boost of the set at those levels.