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Would a Dwarf's +2 to constitution be added to their ability stat, or just their modifier when making a roll?

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It's added to the ability stat.

If you are using point buy then any racial bonuses are added at the end. If you are rolling then you add the bonus after assigning each roll to a particular ability.

This would typically provide a +1 bonus to CON based rolls.

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It is added to the base score during character creation, after initial ability scores are decided (Or race change with Reincarnation or something). It is an untyped, inherent increase, not a bonus. It is treated as if the ability score started that high during ability score determination and it should not be written on the character sheet as a bonus.

If you have 14 CON and choose to be Dwarf, your CON is now naturally 16, not 14+2 bonus.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ No, it's 14+2 racial. See the common terms entry for 'bonus'. It's certainly not 'inherent'; inherent is the bonus type granted by e.g. Wish and doesn't stack. Racial bonuses do stack, which means they may as well be untyped for most purposes, but they are a bonus type and not an increase to the base score. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 28 '17 at 4:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Those Racial bonuses you speak of refer to things like the skills and saving throws granted by the race. The ability score increase is not a racial Bonus. "Dwarves are both tough and wise, but also a bit gruff. They gain +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, and –2 Charisma" * compared to *"Hardy: Dwarves gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison, spells, and spell-like abilities." \$\endgroup\$ – ChibiNya Mar 28 '17 at 4:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ "bonuses granted to ability scores with one of these qualities count as racial bonuses for the purpose of qualifying for racial trait prerequisites." Oh, wait... I guess that says 'counts as' not 'is'. Well, alright then. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 28 '17 at 4:58
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Ability modifiers in general, and racial ones in particular, affect your ability score, not just rolls that depend on it. So for stats like Con and Str, where individual ranks matter for derived stats, you would benefit from an increase to those derived stats in addition to the bonus on rolls.

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