Many features and rules refer to a creature's "game statistics".

For example, True Polymorph says:

The target's game statistics, including mental ability scores, are replaced by the statistics of the new form.

and Possess Corpse, an ability of a Dybbuk, says:

It otherwise uses the target's game statistics, gaining access to its knowledge and proficiencies but not its class features, if any.

Sometimes it instead just refers to "statistics" as in the description for a character with lycanthropy in the Monster Manual:

A character who becomes a lycanthrope retains his or her statistics except as specified by lycanthrope type.

What all is included in a creature's "game statistics" or "statistics"? Where in the rules is this defined?

Note that the term is used interchangeably between things intended for PCs and things intended for monsters and other creatures so answers should cover all those possibilities.


3 Answers 3



What counts as statistics for monsters is defined in the Monster Manual introduction in the section "Statistics". It begins by saying:

A monster's statistics, sometimes referred to as its stat block, provide the essential information that you need to run the monster. (MM 6)

We have here a general rule that is easy to apply: if it is in a stat block then it is considered part of that creature's statistics.

The book describes each aspect of the statistics in a short sub-section (MM 6-11).

  1. Size
  2. Type
  3. Tags
  4. Alignment
  5. Armor Class
  6. Hit Points
  7. Speed
  8. Ability Scores
  9. Saving Throws
  10. Skills
  11. Vulnerabilities, Resistances, and Immunities
  12. Senses
  13. Languages
  14. Challenge
  15. Special Traits
  16. Actions
  17. Reactions
  18. Limited Usage
  19. Equipment

Class and class features are part of statistics too (including feats)

Monsters, by default, are not given class levels and thus no section was dedicated to talking about them as part of the statistics. However, a later section talks about the option of adding class levels to monsters:

You can use the rules in chapter 3 of the Player’s Handbook to give class levels to a monster. For example, you can turn an ordinary werewolf into a werewolf with four levels of the barbarian class (such a monster would be expressed as “Werewolf, 4th-level barbarian”).

Start with the monster’s stat block. The monster gains all the class features for every class level you add, with the following exceptions:

  • The monster doesn’t gain the starting equipment of the added class.
  • For each class level you add, the monster gains one Hit Die of its normal type (based on its size), ignoring the class’s Hit Die progression.
  • The monster’s proficiency bonus is based on its challenge rating, not its class levels.

Since class levels and class features are also added to a monster's stat block, and the terms "statistics" and "stat block" are defined to be interchangeable (per the first quote in this answer), monster class levels and all the features thereof count as part of a monster's statistics.

Feats appear to be generally given by a class:

At certain levels, your class gives you the Ability Score Improvement feature. Using the optional feats rule, you can forgo taking that feature to take a feat of your choice instead.

Thus, as a class feature, Feats are also considered to be part of a monster's statistics.

Legendary Creatures have Legendary Actions as part of their statistics

When a creature is a legendary creature it sometimes has special actions called Legendary Actions inserted into their stat block. These (as with everything else in the stat block) are considered part of the creature's statistics.

Note that some legendary creatures also have lair actions and regional effects. However, these appear outside the stat block and the Monster Manual makes it clear that not every legendary creature with those listed even has access to them. So these would not be considered as part of that monster's statistics.


An NPC's stats can be generated in several different ways as defined in the DMG section called "NPC Statistics":

When you give an NPC game statistics, you have three main options: giving the NPC only the few statistics it needs, give the NPC a monster stat block, or give the NPC a class and levels. The latter two options require a bit of explanation.

Using a Monster Stat Block

The Monster Manual contains statistics for many generic NPCs that you can customize as you see fit, and chapter 9 of these rules offers guidelines on adjusting their statistics and creating a new stat block.

Using Classes and Levels

You can create an NPC just as you would a player character, using the rules in the Player’s Handbook. You can even use a character sheet to keep track of the NPC’s vital information.

Class Options. In addition to the class options in the Player’s Handbook, two additional class options are available for evil player characters and NPCs: the Death domain for clerics and the oathbreaker for paladins. Both options are detailed at the end of this chapter.

Equipment. Most NPCs don’t need an exhaustive list of equipment. An enemy meant to be faced in combat requires weapons and armor, plus any treasure the NPC carries (including magic items that might be used against the adventurers).

Challenge Rating. An NPC built for combat needs a challenge rating. Use the rules in chapter 9 to determine the NPC’s challenge rating, just as you would for a monster you designed.

It is clear that what counts as statistics for an NPC are the same as what counts for monsters and PCs. However, the DM, for simplicity's sake, has a lot of leeway on how many of those statistics they need to define when making an NPC. Of note is that NPC class levels and equipment are also considered part of their statistics.


The statistics for a PC include all of the same things as for monsters and NPCs. The description of building an NPC like a PC (above) confirms that creatures built this way count those things as statistics and really that just makes sense.

Basically, anything on the standard PC character sheet is considered to be a statistic.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Something I think I've just realized that might be worth pointing out is that knowledge and proficiencies (such as with weapons) don't seem to be included in statistics, both of which the Dybbuk gets when possessing a corpse. Or I've simply missed something somewhere \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 16:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I did find this quote in the MM in the same pages as the stuff you discuss above: "Assume that a creature is proficient with its armor, weapons, and tools. If you swap them out, you decide whether the creature is proficient with its new equipment." \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 17:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 That's a very interesting point that I'm not quite sure how to work into the answer. Thoughts? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 17, 2020 at 17:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was honestly debating opening a question all its own on whether weapon/armor proficiecies are part of a monster's statistics, just worried it'd directly be a duplicate of this... I suppose I could add a bounty specifically asking about that aspect \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 17, 2020 at 17:40

There is no single listing of what game statistics are

But looking through Sage Advice, I've found several things that game statistics include (and I'm not saying this is a complete list, this is just what I've come across):

  1. When you true polymorph (yourself) you speak the language the new form knows

@JeremyECrawford if a PC is polymorphed into a troll (by polymorph spell) does PC retain languages, or can only speak giant? — David Pozorski (@DavidPozorski) July 7, 2015

@JeremyECrawford If transformed by the true polymorph spell, the creature would speak what the new form speaks.

  1. When true polymorphed you gain the class features of the new form

@LeMarcSharma @JeremyECrawford If a raging barbarian is polymorphed through the spell Polymorph, is the rage still ongoing?

@JeremyECrawford Polymorph replaces your game statistics, including class features, with those of the beast. If you're a barbarian, you lose Rage. #DnD

  1. However if you use true polymorph to change your race, you can retain your own class and spellcasting features

@Zephilinox · Apr 25, 2016 @mikemearls Would True Polymorph allow someone to change their race? What would happen to their class? Spellcasting?

@mikemearls @Zephilinox i'd swap out one set of racial stats for the other, spellcasting remains as do class levels

  1. And you've already quoted that the mental ability scores are taken from the new form, which would mean your ability scores are replaced by the creature you're changing into.
  • \$\begingroup\$ While these are interesting pieces, I am looking for one answer that has all the information in it. Please work to make this a more complete answer if you can. Also, please consider basing your answer primarily on what the rules say and not on designer Tweets if at all possible since JC is known to be unreliable. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 14:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose Sadly all I've managed to find in the PHB and DMG are exceptions when changing the characters game statistics, ex: in the Druid's Wild Shape it's stated the Druid retains his Charisma and Wisdom, skills and saving throw proficiencies. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 14:55
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ IMO, Jeremy Crawford's rulings aren't that unreliable, generally, though the RAW is sometimes arguably illogical - but Mike Mearls' rulings are not official, and often contradict the clearly stated rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 4:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast thanks for the heads up. I'm relatively new to Sage Advice so I wasn't sure what tweets are considered unreliable compared to RAW. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 8:24

The game statistics of a PC is their character sheet and from a monster is its statblock.

It consists of every info that is translated to paper as a measurable characteristic. However, it doesn't cover things that are not measurable that makes the character being what it is. For example, true polymorph could make the target of the spell to have the exact same abilities of the creature mimicked, having the same ability scores, skills and extraordinary abilities, but don't give the target any of the memories of the mimicked creature. You can get his appearance and could try to impersonate a certain heroic male knight and get his abilities, but you don't know his mother's name, his wife quirks or his mistress existence.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Unless specifically mentioned otherwise (e.g. the Dybbuk's Possess Corpse ability mentioned in the question does allow it to gain access to the target's knowledge and proficiencies). \$\endgroup\$
    – PJRZ
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 13:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ Aspects of a PC's personality are written on a character sheet: the default PC character sheet has their Ideals, Bond, and Flaw. Would those be included then since they are written and, in a sense, measurable? What about alignment? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, can you cite the source of how you came to this answer? Where in the rules does it say this? Right now, I have no idea if this is your opinion on what it should be or what the rules say "game statistics" mean. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 13:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PJRZ True Polymorph gives the everything the mimicked creature has, except personality and alignment. You get abilities and proficiencies but don't get what makes that creature what it is (alignment, personality, bonds, ideals etc). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 12:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose I answered based on what I understood from PHB and MM. As you said, ideals, bond and flaws are not included and are not measurable. While alignment is also qualitative, you can argument it is measurable as the distance from the centre of the chaos-order/good-evil axes. As a person that had partial amnesia, I see knowledge and memories as different things since I kept the knowledge and lost the memories and this might have biased my opinion on this matter. As I said, nowhere in your character sheet is meant to write the details of your interpersonal relationships. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 13:04

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