I've recently started playing D&D with some friends, and the one thing on the character sheet that bothers me is the defense section.

In the defenses section, it has both the sections 10 + 1/2 Lvl and Ability Modifier parts. I would assume that you would take 10 + 1/2 Lvl + Ability Modifier as your bonus, where your ability modifier isn't also raised by half level, because you're already adding it to the ten. Simply speaking, if I had a level two Paladin with 16 strength, my fortitude would be: 10 + 1 + 3 = 14 (neglecting other bonuses) and not 10 + 1 + (3 + 1) = 15 (again, neglecting other bonuses) because my ability modifier is also being raised by 1/2 level. Is this correct?

If not, then I would feel exceedingly stupid for being smacked around unnecessarily by monsters :P

(Also, if someone could clarify on whether AC is armor + ability score only when you're wearing light armor or not, that would be great. Thanks!)

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ A key distinction on the character sheet is that Mod is simply stat - 10 divided by 2 (round down) whereas check is mod + level/2 (round down). The check number is basically only used for skill checks when you don't have a relevant skill associated with what you are trying to do. Basically everything else (defenses, to-hit bonus, damage bonus) are factored off the plain, old, regular mod. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 15:30

1 Answer 1


Your logic is correct!

Yes in 4E for your defenses you add 10+relevant ability modifier+ 1/2 your level rounded down + any relevant class bonuses.

You only add half your level once. Oh and welcome to the site!

And yes your AC is armor + ability modifier only when you wear light to no armor.

  • \$\begingroup\$ A predicate is incorrect (Ability Modifiers are static and do not increase by level), so the logic cannot be correct, though the result is. \$\endgroup\$
    – Xabei
    Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 17:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Xabei they are not static... The increase every 4 levels... \$\endgroup\$
    – Antonio
    Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 17:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ Jonn_Underwood They are static, in the sense that they are tied to the Ability score. It is the Abilities that increase every 3-4 levels (and not all of them at all intervals), and when they do, they may drag the mod along. \$\endgroup\$
    – Xabei
    Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 18:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ Jonn_Underwood ... But then, if we account for this, then your answer is incorrect, as these increases are to be included in the calculus as part of the mod. \$\endgroup\$
    – Xabei
    Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 18:31

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