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New campaign brings new characters and looking at the first sheet I see Int 7, Cha 7. Discussing this with my party members one of them said that it is even possible to drop Cha and Int to 5 choosing an orc. I do not want to discuss if this is reasonable. But I am curious if there is an offical minimum to the ability score when you create a character.

Characters are created using the 15 Point buy method.

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    \$\begingroup\$ By the way to build your characters, you may want to use a calculator like this one or this one. It will simplify everything in the process. \$\endgroup\$ – aloisdg says Reinstate Monica Sep 1 '17 at 15:02
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The minimum score before racial modification when using Point Buy is a 7.

See this short explanation from the SRD (emphasis mine):

Purchase: Each character receives a number of points to spend on increasing his basic attributes. In this method, all attributes start at a base of 10. A character can increase an individual score by spending some of his points. Likewise, he can gain more points to spend on other scores by decreasing one or more of his ability scores. No score can be reduced below 7 or raised above 18 using this method. See Table: Ability Score Costs for the costs of each score. After all the points are spent, apply any racial modifiers the character might have.

So what your players are doing is allowed; dropping scores to a 7 gives them extra points to spend on other scores that are more important to them. And if their race gives them an additional penalty to the stat they dropped, they will indeed start with a 5 in that ability.

That said, you might want to have a talk about what it means to your players to have a 7 Int & 7 Cha. People have very different ideas about that; some claim it's just a mechanical thing and it doesn't matter, others expect such a character to be severely stunted in their ability to think and socialize. Make sure you and your players are on the same page there, or someone might end up disappointed with the game.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @ruedi Some example descriptions of what particular ability scores denote can be found here, which can be used to help your players discuss what these scores mean to their characters. \$\endgroup\$ – royalmurder Sep 1 '17 at 9:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ would it be worth touching on other ability score generating methods, despite being out of the context of what was asked, as a reference for any future visitors with similar questions? \$\endgroup\$ – royalmurder Sep 1 '17 at 9:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Low intelligence is one of the most misplayed stats imho. Cha is a close second, bu that is mostly on the DM. simantics.blogspot.com/2011/01/d-and-iq.html?m=1 and paulcooijmans.com/intelligence/iq_ranges.html note the imitations for the correlated IQ, int of 7 needs babysitting. \$\endgroup\$ – JohnP Sep 1 '17 at 15:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @royalmurder Thanks. That is a good source that i direcly forwarded to my player. I guess with this we can get a common sense and orientation of what each level means. \$\endgroup\$ – ruedi Sep 1 '17 at 18:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TREB there are certainly people who are highly likeable while also being dimwitted and slow. You probably know some. I know I do. Being able to roll good diplomacy and sense motive checks doesn't make you a diplomat. It just means you know how to get people to do what you want, and have an intuitive understanding of what they want in return. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Sep 5 '17 at 10:50
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Differing generation systems have different minimums for each "rolled" stat, before modifiers are applied. In the standard, classic, and dice pool methods, the minimum is 3. In the heroic method, the minimum is 8. In the purchase method, the minimum is 7.

There are a lot of modifiers one might accrue during character creation, and some of them are negative.

Strength can be lowered, among other things, by venerable age and being a gnome, which is sufficient to reduce even the heroic method's minimum to 0.

Dexterity can be lowered, among other things, by being a venerable syrinx, which is sufficient to reduce even the heroic method's minimum to 0.

Constitution can be lowered, among other things, by venerable age and being an elf, which is sufficient to reduce even the heroic method's minimum to 0.

Intelligence can be lowered by being a Trox, and by the Accelerated Affliction manifestation of the Plagued Corruption corruption. It seems there are no other permanent intelligence penalties combinative with race available at level 1, at present. This makes the minimum intelligence score for the rolled non-heroic systems 0, while the minimum for the purchased system would be 3, and the heroic system 4.

Wisdom can be lowered, among other things, by being young, being a Trox, being a steelbound fighter with a cool bonded weapon, and possessing a severe addiction. These are sufficient to lower one's Wisdom score to 0, even in the heroic case.

Charisma can be lowered, among other things, by being a Trox, the Gnashing Bite manifestation of the Ghoul corruption, the Transformed Flesh manifestation of the Hive corruption, and the Accelerated Affliction manifestation of the Plagued Corruption corruption. These are sufficient to lower one's Charisma score to 0, even in the heroic case.

The lowest most scores, neglecting generation constraints, can be when creating a character is 0, but some scores can't be lower than 1. This is because the minimum value for any ability score is generally taken to be 0, and reaching 0 in each score has special effects. If those effects would result in a dead character, the character would start play as a petitioner rather than a member of their chosen race/age/etc and thus would have much higher stats. That's why scores whose special effect on dropping to 0 is death can't go lower than 1 in character creation. If abilities are allowed to become truly negative (there is no strict prohibition against this), then scores that can be 0 can generally be reduced at least a little more, but we're not going to address that here.

A character with a Strength score of 0 is too weak to move in any way and is unconscious, but is not dead, and thus is a valid choice for a starting character.

A character with a Dexterity score of 0 is incapable of moving and is effectively immobile (but not unconscious). Such a character is not only not dead, but may well still be able to affect the world in meaningful ways and serve fairly well as a starting PC.

A character with a Constitution score of 0 is dead. This means that really a starting PC can't have less than 1 Constitution.

A character with an Intelligence score of 0 is 'comatose', which is not otherwise defined in the rules. It probably means they are supposed to have the unconscious condition, but we can't really be sure. In any case, they aren't dead (unless your GM decides that beings move on to the afterlife when medically dead rather than biologically dead, and that int 0 comatosea is a form of medical death). In any case, this is largely academic since you can't reach a score of 0 in the purchased system in character generation.

A character with a Wisdom score of 0 is incapable of rational thought and unconcious. Such a creature is not dead, subject to the same caveats as Intelligence, and thus is an acceptable starting PC.

A character with a Charisma score of 0 is not able to exert himself in any way and is unconscious. Such a creature is not dead, and thus is an acceptable starting PC.

This means, in sum, the minimmum ability scores after acounting for modifiers in the purchased system are as follows:

Str: 0
Dex: 0
Con: 1
Int: 3
Wis: 0
Cha: 0

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If your GM allows you to play an undead, you could drop Con down to zero. I've found nothing saying Undead with 0 Cha are dead. There is a template for Undead PCs, so maybe it could work, but I would wager that most DMs wouldn't allow it. Still, it's the theoretical lowest. \$\endgroup\$ – Appledirt Mar 4 at 3:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Appledirt Unfortunately, the undead have no special protection against dying from having 0 constitution beyond possessing a nonability in constitution as part of the type. Like constructs (who also possess a type-granted constitution nonability), any undead who somehow gains a constitution score will, in fact, die as soon as that score reaches 0. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 4 at 6:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, ok. Thanks for the clarification, I thought it worked differently. \$\endgroup\$ – Appledirt Mar 4 at 20:05

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