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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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It's your dexterity 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



There are very few things in 4e that use your actual ability score instead of the modifier. These include:

  • Consitution is added to your HP

  • Feats can list a specific ability score as a requirement

  • Strength determines how much you can carry

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