# Do Race ability modifiers take over base mods?

I'm new to D&D and I'm playing with 5e. With creating a character I chose a half elf. So it says I get +2 Charisma and +1 to 2 other stats of my choosing. My base stat array was as follows:

Str: 8. Dex: 8. Con: 15. Int: 12. Wis: 15. Cha: 15

I understand you calculate the modifiers by subtracting 10 then dividing the difference by 2 and rounding the quotient down. So my question boils down to do my race modifiers completely negate the calculations thus overtaking them or are they simply added to the calculations.

• This is somewhat tangential to your question, but though your math is right ($(score-10)/2$), there's also a much quicker and easier chart in the Players' Handbook and SRD that most players use to get that number without deriving it. But if you're a more math-oriented person and it's easier to think of it that way, you're still right. – Polisurgist Dec 3 '16 at 19:51

Your racial modifiers add (or subtract, in a few weird cases) to the ability score, which you use to find your ability modifier.

So, like, if you have that Con 15 and your race gives you +2 to Con, you have a Con 17, which you use to get the +/- that gets added to every Con roll.

• No problem...I find this question really interesting because it's an uncertainty that most veteran players aren't going to realize is even there. but rereading that section while ignoring all my previous assumptions about the game, I can totally see how it's not immediately clear. – Polisurgist Dec 3 '16 at 20:19
• BTW, if this answers your question, hit the green check mark. Or if not, hold off until someone else writes one that does :) – Polisurgist Dec 3 '16 at 23:51

In D&D stats which are calculated (like ability scores) are always calculated using current stats. This means if something changes your dex from 15 to 13, your range attacks, dex based skills, and dex save all go down by 1 (vs what they would have been without the drop).

In your case, this means your ability modifiers become (Roll + RaceMod − 10)/2 rounded down.

• Hi @trisped--I edited your last line to reflect that the calculation gives you the modifier, not the score. – nitsua60 Dec 4 '16 at 6:43
• This adds to the confusion by implying that racial modifiers are somehow considered separately from the attribute. Once they're applied, they're part of it. – T.J.L. Dec 4 '16 at 19:26
• @T.J.L. What makes you think they are not separate? When your race changes you would lose the modifier and get a new one. It is right there in the name, it is a modifier. We just think they are permanent because it is very rare to change your race. – Trisped Dec 5 '16 at 16:59
• which is possible with reincarnate. – Voromir Kadien Jan 22 '18 at 2:02