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When rolling a new character for DnD, I roll (SUM 4 * D6) 6 times:

  • [15, 15, 13, 12, 9, 8]

then throw the lowest one away leaving me with 5 numbers:

  • [15, 15, 13, 12, 9]

If my class is a Barbarian, my primary ability is Strength, and my saving throw proficiencies are Strength and Constitution.

Is it most logical to assign the 15 to Str and 15 to Con, and the rest don't matter so much?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Bill, welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour to find out how things work here, and visit the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Feb 1, 2020 at 10:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the warm welcome Nathan \$\endgroup\$
    – Bill
    Feb 1, 2020 at 10:55

1 Answer 1

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You aren't quite rolling your ability scores correctly

From Determine Ability Scores:

You [can] generate your character’s six ability scores randomly. Roll four 6-sided dice and record the total of the highest three dice on a piece of scratch paper. Do this five more times, so that you have six numbers.

So for each ability score, you should be rolling 4d6, then removing the lowest die roll to get to the total for that one ability score; so if you roll 4d6 and get 2, 3, 4, 5, you drop the 2 to get 3, 4, 5 = 12. That is your first ability score.

You then repeat that five more times, so that you end up with 6 ability scores, not 5 ability scores as per your question.

STR and CON are usually the most important for a Barbarian

From Creating a Barbarian, the Quick Build sidebar specifically:

You can make a barbarian quickly by following these suggestions. First, put your highest ability score in Strength, followed by Constitution. Second, choose the outlander background.

The recommendation is that STR and CON are the most useful two ability scores for a Barbarian. I'd recommend DEX as your tertiary stat due to this ability:

Unarmored Defense. While you are not wearing any armor, your Armor Class equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Constitution modifier. You can use a shield and still gain this benefit.

After that, INT, WIS and CHA aren't as important; you can assign those based on who you think your barbarian character is from a roleplay perspective (I usually go WIS, CHA, then finally INT as the "dump stat").

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the clarification, I was indeed rolling wrong. Is it safe to say that the highest ability scores should be assigned to the classes Primary Abilities and then to Saving Throw Proficiencies so regardless of class I can always use this as a logical guide? \$\endgroup\$
    – Bill
    Feb 1, 2020 at 10:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bill If by Primary Abilities, you mean what the Quick Build guide for each class recommends, then yes, I'd say that first, then following the Saving Throw Proficiencies, are a good way to prioritise your ability scores. There might be a few exceptions, such as Paladins, where the Quick Build recommends STR and CHA (good choices), but then the Saving Throw Proficiencies are WIS and CHA, and for a Paladin I'd definitely prioritise CON over WIS. That's the only exception off the top of my head, though... I think your rule holds up otherwise. \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Feb 1, 2020 at 11:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Another one I just thought of is the Ranger; they have proficiency im STR and DEX saving throws, but a lot of ranger builds dump STR, or if they are STR based rangers, may prioritise CON over DEX. \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Feb 1, 2020 at 11:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that all official classes basically have proficiency in one "strong"/commonly required save (Dex/Con/Wis) and one "weak"/less commonly required save (Str/Int/Cha). So in general, it doesn't make much sense to focus on an ability score just for the sake of improving saving throws when that save is rarely called for (especially given that you're proficient in it already). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Feb 2, 2020 at 4:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would tend to prioritize Primary Abilities first, then Constitution, then Dexterity. If you're looking for a decent combat build, that is. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 2, 2020 at 8:43

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