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Title says it all, my group has been using our ability score instead of ability mod and I've noticed that none of the creatures in the Monster Manual get such a high initiative bonus so early.

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

It's your dexterity modifier.

Pretty much the only thing in 4e that uses your actual ability score instead of the modifier is hit points, which are based on your CON score rather than modifier.

From the RC, p80 (emphasis mine):

Initiative Modifier: The character's initiative modifier includes the following numbers:

  • One-half the character's level

  • The character's Dexterity modifier

  • Racial or feat bonuses

  • Any other bonuses or penalties

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