Charactercore Character Core
Character Creation Details & Characteristics
Character Points
Basic Traits Ability Scores

All d20A characters have certain abilities in common, no matter what genre of gameplay they're involved in.

Buying Ability ScoresEdit

You choose your character's ability scores by spending Character Points on them. Two character points increase an ability score's rank by 1, so putting two character points into Strength, for example, raises it's rank from +0 to +1. Remember a score of +0 is average, +1 to +2 is a fair amount of talent or natural ability, +3 is exceptional, +4 is extraordinary, and so forth, per the Ability Benchmarks below.

Reducing Ability ScoresEdit

You can also lower one or more of your character's ability scores from the starting value of +0. Each point you lower a score gives you two additional character points to spend elsewhere. You cannot lower an ability score below -5.

If you reduce an ability score to -5 (for -10 points), you lack that ability entirely .

Ability Cost = Base score of 0.

2 character points per +1 to an ability score. Gain 2 additional character points per -1 to an ability score.

Ability Scores Modifying ChecksEdit

Each ability score modifies certain tasks associated with it, based on how above or below average it is. The ability score is added to die rolls when your character does something related to that ability. For example, your Strength score affects the amount of melee damage you do. Your Intelligence score comes into play when you roll for Knowledge, and so forth.

The maximum score you can have with an ability is equal to the campaign's power level +5. A power level 10 character, for example, cannot have an ability score greater than +15 modifier. Unlike the other ability scores, Strength is affected by the Power Level caps on Effect Modifiers.

The Ability ScoresEdit

Physical Ability ScoresEdit

Mental Ability ScoresEdit

Ability BenchmarksEdit

The Ability Benchmarks table provides guidelines on where a given ability score falls relative to the general population.

Ability Score Description
-5 Completely inept or disabled
-4 Weak; infant
-3 Younger child
-2 Child, elderly, impaired
-1 Below average; young teenager
+0 Average adult
+1 Above average
+2 Well above average
+3 Gifted
+4 Highly gifted, best in the city
+5 Best in a nation
+6 Best in the world
+7 Best ever; peak of human achievement
+8 Low superhuman
+9 Moderate superhuman
+10 High superhuman
+15 Very high superhuman
+20 Cosmic/Divine

Enhanced AbilitiesEdit

Some ability scores may be acquired as Enhanced Traits, as described in the FX Module. Enhanced Traits are FX rather than entirely natural. The key differences between Enhanced Traits and normal ability scores are Enhanced Traits can be nullified (normal abilities cannot) and Enhanced Traits can have FX feats and be used for FX stunts with Extra Effort (normal abilities cannot).

Enhanced Traits and normal abilities have the same cost (2 character points per ability score point). The player decides if a character's ability score is normal or enhanced and, if it is enhanced, how much of it is enhanced. Enhanced Traits are noted with the normal ability score in parentheses after them, such as 10 (3), indicating if the character's Enhanced Traits is nullified, the character still has a score of 3 in that ability.

Enhanced physical abilities often represent capabilities that aren't quite obvious at first appearance. A person with a small school girl's build and musculature, but is able to lift a city bus probably has Enhanced Strength rather than a high Strength score. Similarly, a seemingly frail, lanky man who is actually tougher than steel and at the peak of human health would probably be benefiting from Enhanced Constitution.

Altering Ability ScoresEdit

Over the course of play, your character's ability scores may change for the following reasons:

Whenever an ability score changes, all traits associated with the ability change as well. So if you increase your character's Dexterity, his Dexterity-based skills improve. Likewise, if the character's Dexterity decreases, his Dexterity-based skills suffer. An easier way to track these changes is just to apply the ranks from the increased ability score directly to applicable checks.

A +2 to Dexterity, for instance, is best noted as a +2 modifier to all Dexterity-related checks.

Crippled Ability ScoresEdit

If one of your character's ability scores drops to 0 or below during gameplay for any reason, that score has a chance to become crippled and the character suffers more serious effects. Whenever a character suffers an effect that actually reduces an ability score to 0 or less (such as the Drain FX; simply inflicting a penalty on a character isn't enough), the character must immediately check a resistance (DC 15) to see whether or not the ability score has been crippled. For Physical ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution), make the check with Fortitude. For Mental ability scores (Intelligence, Awareness, and Charisma), make the check with Will.

A crippled ability score leaves a character helpless for any number of reasons:

  • Crippled Strength means the character collapses, helpless and unable to move.
  • Crippled Dexterity means the character is paralyzed and helpless.
  • Crippled Constitution means the character is dying and must stabilize with a Recuperation check.
  • Crippled Intelligence, Awareness, or Charisma means the chacacter is unconscious and incapable of waking until they recover.

Crippled ability scores usually result from an FX (such as Drain) affecting your character. An ability score lowered below -5 during character creation is actually nonexistent; characters only suffer the effects of cripled abilities if an ability score is lowered to 0 during play. Characters who have low ability scores to start (such as a scrawny young thief with a -1 Strength) are at risk of having their ability score crippled if even a single point of their ability score drained.

Nonexistent Ability ScoresEdit

Rather than having a score of -5 in a given ability, some things or creatures in d20A actually lack an ability score. The effect of lacking an ability score is as follows:

  • Strength: Any creature capable of physically manipulating other objects has at least a -5 Strength score. A creature with no Strength score is incapable of exerting any physical force, possibly because it has no physical form (like an incorporeal ghost). The creature automatically fails Strength checks.
  • Dexterity: Any creature capable of movement has at least a -5 of Dexterity. A creature with no Dexterity cannot move (like most plants) and hence cannot make physical attacks. It automatically fails Dexterity checks.
  • Constitution: Any living creature has at least a -5 Constitution score. A creature with no Constitution has no physical body (like a ghost) or is not alive (like a robot, zombie or other construct). The creature always fails Constitution checks. This includes checks to avoid dying and to recover from injury, so creatures with no Constitution do not recover from damage naturally. They must be repaired in some fashion. The same is true of objects. Creatures with no Constitution are immune to fatigue but cannot exert extra effort. Creatures with no Constitution are often—but not necessarily—immune to many of the things affecting living beings (see Immunity in the FX Module for details).
  • Intelligence: Any creature that can think, learn, or remember has at least a -5 Intelligence score. A creature with no Intelligence is an automaton, lacking free will and operating on simple instinct or programmed instructions. Anything with no Intelligence is immune to mental effects, interaction skills, and automatically fails Intelligence checks.
  • Awareness: Any creature aware of its environment has at least a -5 Awareness score. Anything with no Awareness also has no Charisma. It is an inanimate object, not a creature. Objects are immune to mental effects, interaction skills, and automatically fail Awareness checks.
  • Charisma: Any creature capable of interacting with other creatures has at least a -5 Charisma score. Creatures without Charisma are immune to interaction checks and automatically fail Charisma checks.

Inanimate objects have no scores other than their Toughness. Animate, but nonliving, Constructs such as robots or zombies have Strength and Dexterity, and may have Awareness and Charisma (if aware of their environment and capable of interaction). They may have Intelligence (if capable of thought), but have no Constitution (since they are not living things).