D&D 5E How quickly should ability scores increase in 5e?


The ability scores themselves shouldn't stray to far from their starting point (barring magic). Experience and growth are better represented by the variety and depth of what a character can accomplish. Skills, talents, feats, and the like are all better markers of character growth that ability score bumps.

Now, that said, there are some mechanics to which we've become accustom in 3E/4E that would have to change should the game no longer assume regular ability score bumps. I don't see that as a particularly difficult obstacle to design around. As long as the other areas of the game can satisfy the feeling of character growth, I'd be much happier seeing the core ability scores [mostly] static.

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I hadn't really thought about it, but you're right. Still, I like the flavor of the pools, wishes, and divine favor a ton better than *ding* eight-level power-up.
Better than the idea that "hah, look at these muscles, looks as if all this fighting with swords against dragons and free-climbing cliffs did help!"?

That said, I wouldn't mind forever static ability scores. It seems to me, D&D "prefers" to have them more static rather than dynamic, though I'd say logically they should change more.


First Post
"If it's a number, it can get bigger" is a D&D truism which has been seldom violated across the game's history. Therefore, I expect to see some sort of ability increasing in DDN, though it might be more spontaneous than the preset increases of 4e.

If the system math doesn't "need" stats to grow (which would be a laudable feature) then any stat increases can be implemented as rare gifts, such as via a magical fountain or an Ent-draught. Merry and Pippin surely had their Strength scores raised by this elixir.

Stats are rolled. So the system needs to be robust enough to handle some stat spreads... Maybe increasing lower stats should be easier, so someone who rolled badly will catch up.


First Post
Picture this scenario. Ability scores have absolutely no bonuses or penalty number associated with them. They function almost purely as a the resource for skills and saves. Your ability to attack and damage is a function of your class and feats alone. In this scenario, I say bring on the racial bonuses and penalties and the leveling bonuses. Maybe a single +1 every third level.

On the other end of the spectrum, if ability scores have derived bonuses, and these bonuses are applied to a character mainly through one or two ability scores, I say no thank you. In that scenario racial modifiers and leveling doesn't make a better character to play, it just makes better numbers.


My suggestion: ability scores increase as a function of class level.

For example, at level 1, 3, 9, 15 and 21, a Fighter gains +1 strength; at level 6, 12 and 18, it gains +1 constitution or dexterity.
For example, at level 1, 3, 9, 15 and 21, a Rogue gain +1 dexterity; at level 6, 12 and 18, it gains +1 intelligence or charisma.
For example, at level 1, 3, 9, 15 and 21, a Cleric gain +1 wisdom; at level 6, 12 and 18, it gains +1 constitution or charisma.
For example, at level 1, 3, 9, 15 and 21, a Wizard gain +1 intelligence ; at level 6, 12 and 18, it gains +1 wisdom or dexterity.

Li Shenron

I would like them mostly static.

The game is still full of hundreds of other numbers going up to represent what the characters have learned.

I don't want human characters that can pull-up a dinosaur with bare hands or can outrun a cheetah. That's what superheros do, and I do not want D&D to be a superhero game.

If I wanted to play a superhero game, it would be dead easy to just give everyone a huge free bonus in one or more ability scores. I just don't want it to be the default or starting point for a regular D&D game.


First Post
+1 / 4 levels, but not above racial maximum (18 for humans).

This allows a nice increase over the life of the campaign, but mainly allows those who rolled worse to catch up. If your Wizard started with Int 18 you'll be increasing secondary abilities instead.


I believe PC should be able to train their abilities. Just as real people can increase their strength and smarts via training.

Old school 1e no increases made no sense to me. 3e was sort of okay but it was too freeform. And 4e, too much.

I would have them tied to class, slightly to race, with a minor free point here and there. Then have a cap on Ability Mod.

I'd go 4th, 5th, 8th, 10th and 12th. At 4th, 8th, and 12th, you can increase an ability by 1. But it can't be your race's penalty ability unless it is your classes primary (so no +1 Str to Halflings unless they are fighters or paladins). At 5th and 10th, it is your free choice with no restriction.

But the highest Ability modifiers would be (let's say) +6 because after 22, modifiers don't increase. So Half orc fighters will get to the Str cap fast but other race class could get there easy too.


First Post
This is a nicely spread series of opinions(and thanks to all for keeping it civil). It seems to have advocates for dynamic growth and those which would prefer a more static approach. To me this seems to be a prime candidate for options.

That said, it will be interesting to see who that will fit into balancing

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