Thursday, August 17, 2017

B/X: Ability score adjustments

This is kind of an interesting idiosyncrasy of B/X. Its also one of those odd rules that seemed to make it's way informally into a lot of the 1E campaigns I played bitd, though I remember everyone playing a bit fast and loose with which abilities points could be taken from, as opposed to following the strict guidelines given in B/X.

Its also a mitigating factor to the "3d6-in-order" style of character generation, which some folks seem to lament as not giving characters "high enough" ability scores. Given that only a 13 in a class's Prime Requisite is needed for an xp boost and maybe even a bonus to fighting, saves, or AC, not too many points, on average, even need to be shifted around. And it can make it easier to get those rarer 16's or 18's.


  1. Yep. It's one of the nice features of B/X. I've always used it in my (B/X) games.

  2. In addition, after all these years B/X is still a rock solid system in general. Definitely one of TSR's best games!

  3. Recently I couldn't find any rules for adjusting ability scores in the 1e PHB or DMG. Online people told me the rules started in Moldvay, but I kept insisting we used these rules when I started gaming in 1979, 2 years before there was a Moldvay edition (1981). No luck.

    I got the Holmes (1977) and OD&D (1974) rules around 1980 and only skimmed them. Looking at them now, the ability score adjustments rules are in both of those editions, too. Holmes Pg.6, and OD&D Pg. 10.

    Weirdly, these OD&D/ Holmes rules must have percolated into the common knowledge that was taught by older players to every new player inducted into the game. At least the ones I ever ran into at Scout Camp, School, friends of friends, etc. We didn't know it wasn't part of AD&D. Kind of like how we assumed Critical Hits and Fumbles were in the written rules somewhere in AD&D, and I was shocked to find out years later that Gygax actually hated them and they weren't in the rules.

  4. B/X is interesting, as is Holmes. Both unique ways of tackling the same concept. I agree that attribute adjustments are kind of unnecessary, unless there is a strange scenario and a class/race misses the basic requirements in 3d6 down the line.

    As a sidenote to an earlier post-Gnolls and Gnoles have NOTHING in common, the D&D creature is not related to the Dunsany creature. How do I know? I was correct by E. Gary Gygax himself on EnWorld ages ago. He also said he envisioned kobolds more like the Froud critters than the dog/reptiles, but that is what stuck. :/

  5. Hey, curious where you got that painting in the background of your site. Is that a Boris Vallejo? Do you know what that one is called? Thanks.

  6. that was taught by older players to every new player inducted into the game.

    Genting Crown



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