Dungeons and Dragons Basics : STATS (you got all 18’s??!?)
Stats in Dungeons and Dragons are also known as Ability Scores. They will further get broken down to determine modifiers (which in turn tell you how successful your character will be at accomplishing a task).
There are 6 stats (ability scores) in D&D and in their most basic definition they are:
Strength: determines how much damage you can do or how much weight you can lift
Dexterity: determines how well you can climb or how balanced you are on your feet
Constitution: determines how resilient you are to getting sick or more importantly how many hit points you have
Intelligence: determines how well you can learn or how many spells you know
Wisdom: determines your willpower or how aware you are of your surroundings
Charisma: determines how good looking you are or how savvy you are at convincing folks to do your bidding
I once saw it broken down like this:
Strength is being able to crush a tomato.
Dexterity is being able to dodge a tomato.
Constitution is being able to eat a bad tomato.
Intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is knowing not to put a tomato in a fruit salad.
Charisma is being able to sell a tomato-based fruit salad.
To determine your stats, there are a few methods, most of which use d6’s (see my previous post about D&D Basics: Dice) and when the rolls are added up they determine your ability scores. In the past I’ve done the ‘roll 5d6, drop the lowest 2 and add the rest‘ method for each stat. If you are rolling and using at least 3 of the d6’s and adding them up, it’s very possible you can get an 18. Rare is it to get multiple 18’s (just based on the law of statistics) but I have actually witnessed a player roll 4 18’s when creating their character (and I verified that the dice were not loaded!).
Why is 18 important? Well, 18 is the highest number you can roll for a stat and the higher the number the better you are in that ability. Likewise, 3 would be the lowest number (but most DMs I know are more friendly than that and will allow the player to reroll if all they got were 1s).
Others may use a point buying system (I’ve never liked that method).
You can either get 6 results and plug them in as you see fit to best round out the race and class you want to play, or you can plug them in to the ability spot (strength, dexterity, etc.) as you roll.
TheDungeon Master’s Guide and the Player’s Handbook go into a lot more detail, but those are the most basic definition of your ability scores and what they do.