13th Sage: New Alternative Array Ability Scores

ROB_tileby Jonathan Tweet and Rob Heinsoo

When creating characters in a d20-rolling RPG, some of us will always want to roll ability scores. Others hate the randomness, or the risk of rolling up a less-then-competent characters, and opt for point-buy systems. In our games, we let players choose the method they like. When we make our own characters, Rob has always opted for rolling ability scores while Jonathan uses the point-buy system from the core rulebook.

But while we were creating 13th Age in Glorantha, Jonathan came up with an alternative we both like. It creates more diverse characters, it’s simple, and it’s what we have been using lately and suggesting to our players.

Assign these six scores to your abilities: 17, 15, 14, 13, 12, 10.

This alternative array is better than the point-buy arrays on page 309 of 13th Age, but it’s better on the bottom end. Low scores usually get ignored with point-buy systems; but a bit more emphasis on the low end of the scores helps characters in 13th Age because skill checks call on many different abilities, and your defenses are based on multiple ability scores.

Try it, and see if you like the results!

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