It has been a long time since I played D&D, and my neighbors and I just started back up with AD&D.

While we were rolling characters something crazy happened: we had 16s, 17's, and 18's. The method we used was rolling five times per stat with 3d6 and keeping the best one for each stat.

After the first half of our dungeon things seemed a bit to easy for characters, so we addressed the books and found a table of max allowed for race but everything was fine there. All I can find by class is how low your main stat can be to take on that profession. Is there anywhere that says that a Drow Magic User* can't have a dex of 18? We're having trouble with him especially as his rolls were STR:17 INT:18 WIS:17 DEX:17 CON:16 CHA:17. I feel these scores are almost ludicrous, and everything will be broken basically after level 9.

Keep in mind we are using original rules.

* that's an AD&D class.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Please be more precise as to exactly which edition of D&D you're playing. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 15, 2015 at 7:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you saying that for each of the six stats, you rolled five times, and chose the best result of the five for that stat? (What were you rolling each time, 3d6?) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 15, 2015 at 8:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe by the "original rules" remark he means OD&D or Basic. Class minimums for ability scores also hints at either OD&D or AD&D. "Magic User" is probably an actual class in this case, which is also a relic of OD&D. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dorian
    Jul 15, 2015 at 8:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Did you misread the instructions. Roll 3d6 for strength and repeat that 5 times for the other stats? \$\endgroup\$
    – DoStuffZ
    Jul 15, 2015 at 9:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @dopelgreener: It appears that Cory is referring to Method III in the 1e DMG, on page 11, "Generation of ability scores" (RH column). Corey, is this correct? (Does the cover of the Dungeon Master's Guide show a big red monster with a sword in one hand and a shapely blonde in the other?) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 15, 2015 at 13:19

2 Answers 2


No, there are no maximums of the kind you're looking for. The problem isn't that there should be limits per-class to prevent ridiculous scores — the “problem” (which is not actually a problem) is that you've chose the most high-rolling way to roll for scores.

The method we used was rolling five times per stat with 3d6 and keeping the best one for each stat.

Rolling 3d6 five times (Method III actually calls for six) for each stat and picking the best is designed to give you a scores that range from high to at least better-than-average.

But, that's OK. Things won't be broken after level 9, things will just be a little bit different from a campaign where everyone's rolling 3d6 down the line. High stats are not actually “win buttons” in AD&D. Just make sure the DM (you?) gives out few (or no) stat-increasing magic items, and you'll be fine. Sure, this group of heroes will be unusually naturally talented, but they're heroes, and that's what Method III is designed to generate. Besides, no amount of 17s or 18s in your stat line will prevent being roasted by a red dragon if you play badly. Good stats are only a little bit of a boost, and don't guarantee success in (dangerous) adventuring life.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You're right, that's ridiculous, because the 1e AD&D DMG clearly states on page 11 under Generation of Ability Scores, Method III that "3d6 are rolled 6 times for each ability, and the highest score in each category is retained for that category.", not 5 times. (I couldn't believe this until I checked myself. Seems a bit whacked out to me, but it is indeed in the manual.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Zimul8r
    Jul 16, 2015 at 16:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zimul8r *Dumbfounded* *double-checks book* *double-checks OSR discussions* Huh, you're right. How did I miss that all these years? Well, that calls for an edit... \$\endgroup\$ Jul 16, 2015 at 16:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Zimul8r Turns out the core advice is actually not changed by that datum, so it's all good. I just had to take out some of the shock and amazement. ;) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 16, 2015 at 16:39

In AD&D as written, there are no maximum stats by class, but there are by race (and, for Strength at least, by gender). There's at least one stat where if your stat's value is too low you can only be a member of a certain class: Charisma, where below a certain point (5, I think?), I believe you can only be an assassin. Possibly too low a Wisdom score and you can only be a thief.


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