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Chapter 2: Character Creation / Ability Scores

Optional Method: Rolling Ability Scores

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 20
The buying ability scores method works great if you want to create a perfectly customized, balanced character. But sometimes you want to inject a little randomness, and let the dice decide what kind of character you’re going to play. For that, you can use this alternative ability rolling method. Be warned— the same randomness that makes this system fun also allows it to sometimes create characters significantly more (or less) powerful than the buying ability scores system does or other Starfinder rules assume. Check with your GM to make sure she’s okay with that possibility before employing this method.

To begin, roll four six-sided dice (4d6) and discard the lowest die result, adding the three remaining results together and recording the sum on a piece of scratch paper. Repeat this process until you’ve generated six numbers, then assign each of these totals to one of your ability scores, distributing them as you see fit—these become your starting scores for those abilities (rather than the standard 10).

Once this is done, go ahead and follow steps 2 and 3 from the buying ability scores method, adding and subtracting points for your race and theme. The only difference with this method is that instead of starting with a 10 in each ability score, you start with whatever value you rolled and assigned. You still can’t have any single ability score higher than 18. If points from a race or theme would push you over that amount, you still just get the 18, and those additional points are lost; they can’t be assigned anywhere else. Once you’ve done this, skip straight to Step 5 and record your ability scores and modifiers—you don’t get any discretionary points to assign.

Example of Rolling Ability Scores

Let’s say you’ve decided to create a shirren mystic, and you’ve gotten your GM’s permission to roll your ability scores.

First, you roll your starting scores. Your first roll is excellent: a 6, two 5s, and a 1. You discard the 1, for a total score of 16, and write that down. You repeat this process five more times, and ultimately end up with scores of 16, 16, 15, 14, 13, and 5. Above average in almost every way, but with one big shortcoming!

Table 2–3 tells you Wisdom is the key ability score for mystics, so you put one of your 16s there, and assign the other to Charisma— you want your shirren to be a leader and be good at making friends with aliens. You put the 15 in Constitution, 14 in Dexterity, 13 in Intelligence, and 5 in Strength (you really should’ve hit the gym more after all that time in zero-g). So now your scores look like this:

STR 5, DEX 14, CON 15, INT 13, WIS 16, CHA 16

Now it’s time to make adjustments for your race and theme. You already know you want to be a shirren, which grants +2 points to both Constitution and Wisdom but –2 points to Charisma. So you include those modifications and the scores become:

STR 5, DEX 14, CON 17, INT 13, WIS 18, CHA 14

You also choose the priest theme, because you like the idea of a bug-headed missionary, which grants 1 point to Wisdom—but you’re already maxed out, so that point would disappear! Instead of letting it go, you opt to go back and swap the initial placement of the 16 in Wisdom and 15 in Constitution, then go through the steps again. Now your race and theme make you hit that 18 Wisdom perfectly, and your Constitution is 1 point higher, like so:

STR 5, DEX 14, CON 18, INT 13, WIS 18, CHA 14

Those are your final scores—there are no points to spend. Note that through rolling, this character ended up with both higher and lower scores than the vesk soldier from our buying ability scores example. That’s the risk of the rolling system—this mystic is going to be excellent at spellcasting and using other abilities relying on Wisdom, and still pretty great in most other areas, but severely hampered by that low Strength score when it comes to how much he can carry or his ability to deal damage in hand-to-hand combat.