How to Roll for Stats in DND [Ultimate Beginner’s Guide]

Ready to roll the dice and let fate decide your DND destiny? Let’s dive into the ultimate guide to rolling for stats.

Here’s a quick overview of how to roll for stats in DND:

  1. Gather Dice: You’ll need four six-sided dice (4d6).
  2. Roll the Dice: Roll all four dice simultaneously.
  3. Drop the Lowest Die: Discard the die with the lowest value. This leaves you with three dice.
  4. Sum the Remaining Dice: Add up the values of the remaining three dice. This total is your ability score.
  5. Repeat: Repeat this process six times, once for each ability score.

In the rest of this guide, we’ll explore each step in more detail with examples.

What Are DND Stats And What Does Rolling For Them Even Mean?

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DND characters including goblins, elves, human fighters, and women rogues rolling dice next to a tavern in a fantasy village - How to Roll for Stats in DND
I made this image with AI – How to Roll for Stats in DND

In Dungeons and Dragons (DND), stats, or ability scores, represent a character’s innate capabilities.

These scores influence nearly every aspect of gameplay, from combat prowess to skill checks.

Rolling for stats means using dice to randomly generate these scores, adding a layer of chance to character creation.

This randomness can lead to unique characters with unexpected strengths and weaknesses.

And this makes each game session distinct.

Types of Stats You Roll For in DND

DND has six primary ability scores that players roll for.

Each one affects different aspects of gameplay:

  • Strength (STR) – Measures physical power. Affects melee attack rolls and damage, as well as physical activities like lifting and climbing.
  • Dexterity (DEX) – Represents agility. Influences ranged attack rolls, Armor Class (AC), and skills like stealth.
  • Constitution (CON) – Indicates endurance. Affects hit points and resistance to fatigue or poison.
  • Intelligence (INT) – Reflects mental acuity. Determines proficiency in skills like arcana and history, and the effectiveness of some spells.
  • Wisdom (WIS) – Measures perception and insight. Influences skills like perception and survival, and is crucial for cleric and druid spells.
  • Charisma (CHA) – Indicates force of personality. Affects skills like persuasion and deception, and is key for bards and sorcerers.

These stats form the foundation of your character’s abilities and potential in the game.

How to Roll for DND Ability Stats (Detailed)

Here’s a more detailed guide to rolling for stats.

Gather Dice

To get started, collect four six-sided dice (4d6). These are the standard dice used in many tabletop games and are crucial for this method of stat generation.

Make sure you have a set of dice that you can easily distinguish from one another.

Roll the Dice

Take all four dice and roll them at the same time.

The sound of dice clattering on the table is a beloved part of the DND experience, building anticipation for the results.

This step is where the magic happens, as each roll can significantly impact your character’s abilities.

Drop the Lowest Die

Once you’ve rolled the four dice, identify the die with the lowest value and discard it.

This leaves you with three remaining dice.

Dropping the lowest die helps mitigate extremely low rolls and generally results in higher average scores.

Example: If you roll a 5, 3, 6, and 2, you would drop the 2. This method tends to create more balanced and playable characters while still allowing for variability.

Sum the Remaining Dice

Add up the values of the other three dice. This sum is your ability score for one of the six stats.

Example: Using the previous roll, you add 5 + 3 + 6, which equals 14. This means your ability score for that roll is 14.


Repeat this process six times, once for each of the six ability scores: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.

This will give you a set of stats that form the foundation of your character’s abilities and skills.


  1. Roll: 5, 3, 6, 2 -> Drop 2 -> 5 + 3 + 6 = 14
  2. Roll: 4, 4, 3, 5 -> Drop 3 -> 4 + 4 + 5 = 13
  3. Roll: 6, 6, 2, 1 -> Drop 1 -> 6 + 6 + 2 = 14
  4. Roll: 1, 2, 4, 6 -> Drop 1 -> 2 + 4 + 6 = 12
  5. Roll: 3, 3, 3, 5 -> Drop 3 -> 3 + 3 + 5 = 11
  6. Roll: 2, 5, 5, 4 -> Drop 2 -> 5 + 5 + 4 = 14


Different DMs and players may prefer slight variations to the standard rolling method.

Here are a few popular ones:

Method I: Roll 4d6, drop the lowest, and assign the totals to abilities in any order. This method gives you more control over your character’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to assign higher rolls to more critical abilities.

Method II: Roll 4d6, drop the lowest, and assign the totals in the order rolled. This method can lead to more unique and challenging characters as you must play with the results as they come.

Method III: Roll 3d6 and assign in order. This is the most traditional method, often resulting in lower stats and a more challenging game.

It’s less common today but can be used for campaigns where lower-powered characters are desired.

Example of Variations

Method I:

  • Roll: 5, 3, 6, 2 -> Drop 2 -> 5 + 3 + 6 = 14 -> Assign to Strength
  • Roll: 4, 4, 3, 5 -> Drop 3 -> 4 + 4 + 5 = 13 -> Assign to Dexterity
  • Roll: 6, 6, 2, 1 -> Drop 1 -> 6 + 6 + 2 = 14 -> Assign to Constitution
  • Roll: 1, 2, 4, 6 -> Drop 1 -> 2 + 4 + 6 = 12 -> Assign to Intelligence
  • Roll: 3, 3, 3, 5 -> Drop 3 -> 3 + 3 + 5 = 11 -> Assign to Wisdom
  • Roll: 2, 5, 5, 4 -> Drop 2 -> 5 + 5 + 4 = 14 -> Assign to Charisma

Method II:

  • First Roll: 5, 3, 6, 2 -> Drop 2 -> 5 + 3 + 6 = 14 -> Strength
  • Second Roll: 4, 4, 3, 5 -> Drop 3 -> 4 + 4 + 5 = 13 -> Dexterity
  • Third Roll: 6, 6, 2, 1 -> Drop 1 -> 6 + 6 + 2 = 14 -> Constitution
  • Fourth Roll: 1, 2, 4, 6 -> Drop 1 -> 2 + 4 + 6 = 12 -> Intelligence
  • Fifth Roll: 3, 3, 3, 5 -> Drop 3 -> 3 + 3 + 5 = 11 -> Wisdom
  • Sixth Roll: 2, 5, 5, 4 -> Drop 2 -> 5 + 5 + 4 = 14 -> Charisma

Why This Method Is Exciting

This method brings an element of luck and excitement to character creation.

The unpredictability of the rolls means that every character is unique, with their own strengths and weaknesses.

It also allows for some interesting role-playing opportunities.

Characters with extreme stats in certain areas will have distinct personalities and abilities.

The shared experience of rolling dice and reacting to the results also helps build camaraderie among players, setting the stage for memorable adventures.

Check out this video that shows you how to roll for stats in DND:

YouTube Video by Critical Role — How to Role for Stats in DND

Best Stat Generation Methods in DND

There are several methods to generate stats in DND.

Each has its pros and cons. Choosing the right method can greatly influence your gameplay experience.

Manual Rolling

Manual rolling is the traditional and perhaps the most exciting method of generating stats. It involves rolling dice and experiencing the thrill of unpredictability.

Here’s an in-depth look:


  • Excitement and Unpredictability: Rolling dice adds an element of surprise. You never know what you’ll get, which makes making your character feel like an exciting surprise.
  • Potential for Very High Stats: With luck on your side, you can roll exceptionally high stats, creating a powerful character right from the start.


  • Risk of Very Low Stats: The downside of rolling is the possibility of ending up with low stats, which can make your character less effective.
  • Can Lead to Imbalance Within the Party: Random rolls can result in significant disparities between characters, potentially leading to imbalanced gameplay.

Personal Thoughts

Manual rolling is thrilling. It brings a sense of fate to your character.

I’ve had characters with both legendary and hilariously terrible stats.

This method keeps the game fresh and exciting, though it can sometimes create disparities between characters.

Example: In one campaign, I rolled a character with an 18 in Strength and a 5 in Intelligence. This created a fun and unique role-playing experience as a super-strong but not-so-bright barbarian.

DND Stat Generator

Stat generators are online tools that automatically generate your stats.

They are designed to provide quick and balanced results.


  • Quick and Easy: Using a stat generator saves time, which is especially useful for new players or quick game setups.
  • Ensures Balanced and Playable Stats: These tools typically provide balanced stats that ensure all characters are viable in gameplay.


  • Less Personal and Immersive: Relying on a tool can feel less engaging compared to rolling dice yourself.
  • Can Feel Impersonal and Cookie-Cutter: Generated stats may lack the unique flavor that comes from manual rolling.

Personal Thoughts

Stat generators are great for quick character creation.

They ensure fairness and balance, which is particularly useful for new players or one-shot games.

However, they lack the thrill of manual rolling.

Example: I used a stat generator for a one-shot campaign. The stats were balanced and made for a smooth gameplay experience, though I missed the excitement of rolling my own.

Try these stat generators:

Keep in mind that no automatic stat generator is perfect. I like to use ChatGPT but you will need to use a good prompt.

Try, “Automatically generate a character statblock for a first level human wizard named [insert name].”

Feel free to add more details about background, personality, etc to guide ChatGPT.

Alternatives to Rolling DND Stats

When looking for a more controlled approach to stat generation, these alternatives provide structured methods:

Standard Array

The Standard Array is a predefined set of scores that players can assign to their abilities as they see fit.

The array typically looks like this: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8.


  • Balanced Stats: Ensures all characters start with balanced abilities.
  • Quick Setup: No need to roll dice or make calculations.


  • Less Customization: Players cannot exceed the predefined scores.
  • Lack of Uniqueness: Characters might feel similar due to the same starting points.

Thoughts: The standard array is reliable and fair. It’s perfect for ensuring balanced characters but can feel limiting.

Example: Using the standard array in a campaign ensured all characters were on equal footing, which was ideal for a group of new players.

Point Buy

The Point Buy system allows players to spend points to increase their ability scores, providing a customizable and balanced way to generate stats.


  • Customizable: Players can tailor their stats to fit their character concept.
  • Balanced: Ensures that no character is overly powerful or weak.


  • Time-Consuming: Requires careful planning and calculations.
  • Can Lead to Min-Maxing: Players might focus too much on optimizing their stats.

Thoughts: Point buy offers customization while maintaining balance. It’s my go-to for creating well-rounded characters, though it requires careful planning.

Example: I used point buy for a wizard character, focusing on Intelligence and Dexterity, creating a highly effective spellcaster with a unique skill set.

Heroic Array

The Heroic Array is a more powerful version of the Standard Array, typically used for high-powered campaigns.

A common heroic array might be 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8.


  • Ensures Strong Characters: All characters start with strong stats.
  • Balanced: Maintains balance while providing higher starting scores.


  • Can Feel Overpowered: Characters might seem too powerful from the start.
  • Less Variability: Reduced sense of achievement from growing stats.

Thoughts: The heroic array is great for epic campaigns where powerful characters are a must. It ensures everyone starts strong but can reduce the sense of achievement from growing stats.

Example: In an epic-level campaign, the heroic array ensured all characters were strong enough to face the challenges ahead, enhancing the overall gameplay experience.

Choosing the right stat generation method depends on your campaign’s needs and your personal play style.

How to Calculate DND Stat Rolls

Calculating stat rolls involves understanding the modifiers and bonuses associated with each ability score.

Here’s a detailed breakdown to help you navigate this crucial aspect of DND:

Ability Modifiers

Each ability score has a corresponding modifier that affects various rolls and checks. Here’s how to interpret these scores:

  • 10-11: +0: Average human ability, no modifier.
  • 12-13: +1: Slightly above average, minor advantage.
  • 14-15: +2: Noticeably above average, moderate advantage.
  • 16-17: +3: Exceptional, significant advantage.
  • 18-19: +4: Superhuman, major advantage.

Proficiency Bonus

Proficiency bonuses are based on your character’s level and are added to rolls for skills, saving throws, and attack rolls where the character is proficient.

These bonuses increase as you level up, starting at +2 and capping at +6.

Example Calculation

Let’s break down an example to illustrate this:

Scenario: You rolled a 15 for Strength.

  1. Strength Modifier: A score of 15 gives a +2 modifier.
  2. Proficiency Bonus: If you are proficient in Athletics and your proficiency bonus is +2.
  3. Total Bonus: For an Athletics check, your total bonus would be +4 (Strength modifier + proficiency bonus).

This system helps you understand the numerical impact of your ability scores on gameplay, affecting everything from combat effectiveness to skill proficiency.

Troubleshooting DND Stat Rolling

Sometimes rolling for stats doesn’t go as planned.

Here are common issues and practical solutions to keep the game balanced and enjoyable:

Low Rolls

Issue: All stats are low, making the character weak.

Solution: Consider rerolling the lowest set or using a method like Point Buy to balance the character. Some DMs allow a reroll if the total ability scores fall below a certain threshold.

Imbalanced Stats

Issue: Some stats are very high while others are very low.

Solution: Embrace the imbalance as part of the character’s unique traits or adjust slightly to ensure playability. For instance, a character with high Strength but low Intelligence can add interesting role-playing dynamics.

Unlucky Rolls

Issue: Consistently rolling poorly.

Solution: Use average rolls or a stat generation method like the Standard Array to ensure fairness. This helps maintain a level playing field and ensures no player feels left out due to poor rolls.

Group Imbalance

Issue: Significant disparities between characters.

Solution: Ensure everyone uses the same method for generating stats to maintain balance within the party. Consistency in the stat generation method can prevent frustration and promote a more cohesive group dynamic.

Troubleshooting helps maintain a fun and balanced game for all players, ensuring that everyone has an enjoyable experience regardless of initial rolls.

Homebrewing DND Stat Rolling Guide

Homebrewing allows you to customize the stat rolling process, adding a personal touch to your campaign.

Here are some creative options to consider:

Weighted Rolling

Give players the option to roll more dice and drop more lower values to increase the likelihood of higher stats. For example, rolling 5d6 and dropping the two lowest dice can result in higher averages.

Mixed Methods

Combine methods, like rolling for half the stats and using Point Buy for the other half, to balance randomness and control. This hybrid approach can offer both excitement and customization.

Custom Arrays

Create your own standard arrays tailored to the campaign’s difficulty level. For instance, a high-powered campaign might use an array like 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8 to ensure all characters start strong.


For a high-powered campaign, using an array like 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8 ensures all characters start with strong stats, making them well-suited for epic adventures.

Homebrewing adds a personal touch to the game and can tailor the experience to your group’s preferences, making the campaign more enjoyable for everyone involved.


What Is the Best Method to Roll for Stats?

The best method to roll for stats depends largely on your play style and the type of campaign you’re running.

Manual rolling is exciting and adds an element of unpredictability, making character creation feel like an adventure. However, it can be risky and might result in imbalanced stats that affect gameplay.

The Standard Array method provides balanced stats and is quick to set up.

Point Buy allows for customization, letting players create characters that fit specific concepts while maintaining balance.

Ultimately, the best method is the one that aligns with your group’s preferences and campaign style.

Can I Reroll Low Stats?

Yes, many Dungeon Masters (DMs) allow rerolling low stats, especially if the initial rolls result in a character that is un-playably weak.

This can help ensure that all players have characters that are viable and fun to play.

The specific rules for rerolling can vary by campaign, so it’s important to check with your DM.

Some DMs might allow a complete reroll if the total of all ability scores is below a certain threshold, while others might permit rerolling the lowest score.

This flexibility helps maintain a balanced and enjoyable gaming experience for all players.

Are There Online Tools for Generating Stats?

Yes, there are numerous online tools and apps designed to help you generate stats quickly and efficiently.

These tools can be particularly useful for new players.

Or those looking to streamline the character creation process.

Online stat generators typically provide balanced and playable stats, ensuring fairness across the board.

Some popular tools include D&D Beyond, which offers a comprehensive character builder, and various other websites and mobile apps that can generate stats based on different methods, such as rolling, Point Buy, or Standard Array.

Using these tools can save time and ensure a smooth start to your campaign.

What Should I Do if My Stats Are Imbalanced?

If your stats are imbalanced, it can add an interesting dynamic to your character, but it might also affect gameplay.

Embracing the quirks of your character can lead to unique and memorable role-playing experiences.

For instance, a character with high Strength but low Intelligence can create fun and challenging scenarios.

However, if the imbalance is problematic, you can use a method like Point Buy to adjust your stats, ensuring a more balanced character. Discuss with your DM for possible solutions, as they may allow minor adjustments or rerolls to help balance your character’s abilities.

Can I Use Different Methods for Different Campaigns?

Absolutely. Different campaigns may require different stat generation methods to fit the tone and difficulty level.

For instance, a high-powered, epic campaign might benefit from using a Heroic Array.

Or more generous rolling rules, ensuring all characters are suitably powerful.

Conversely, a gritty, low-magic campaign might use stricter methods like Standard Array or Point Buy to maintain a certain level of challenge and realism.

Flexibility in choosing stat generation methods allows DMs and players to tailor the game experience to their specific needs, ensuring that each campaign is both enjoyable and appropriately challenging.

Final Thoughts: How to Roll for Stats in DND

Rolling for stats in DND is one of my favorite parts of character creation.

There’s something magical about the anticipation of each roll, the highs of landing an 18, and the hilarity of a critical fail. It’s these moments that create the unique stories we tell around the table.

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