Six attributes provide a quick description of every creature's physical and mental characteristics.

Is a character muscle-bound and insightful? Brilliant and charming? Nimble and hardy? Attribute scores define these qualities--a creature's assets as well as weaknesses. The three main rolls of the game -- the attribute check, the saving throw, and the attack roll -- rely on the six attribute scores. The Introduction describes the basic rule behind these rolls: roll a d20, add an attribute modifier derived from one of the six attribute scores, and compare the total to a target number.

Every task that a character or monster might attempt in the game is covered by one of the six attributes. This section explains in more detail what those attributes mean and the ways they are used in the game.


Strength measures bodily power, athletic training, and the extent to which you can exert raw physical power.

Strength Checks

A Strength check can model any attempt to lift, push, pull, or break something, to force your body through a space, or to otherwise apply brute force to a situation. The Athletics skill reflects aptitude in certain kinds of Strength checks.

Athletics. Your Strength (Athletics) check covers difficult situations you encounter while climbing, jumping, or swimming. Examples include the following activities:

  • You attempt to climb a sheer or slippery cliff, avoid hazards while scaling a wall, or cling to a surface while something is trying to knock you off.
  • You try to jump an unusually long distance or pull of a stunt mid-jump.
  • You struggle to swim or stay afloat in treacherous currents, storm-tossed waves, or areas of thick seaweed. Or another creature tries to push or pull you underwater or otherwise interfere with your swimming.

Other Strength Checks. The GM might also call for a Strength check when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:

  • Force open a stuck, locked, or barred door
  • Break free of bonds
  • Push through a tunnel that is too small
  • Hang on to a wagon while being dragged behind it
  • Tip over a statue
  • Keep a boulder from rolling

Strength Attack Rolls and Damage

You add your Strength modifier to your attack roll and your damage roll when attacking with a melee weapon such as a mace, a battleaxe, or a javelin. You melee weapons to make melee attacks in hand-to-hand combat. If you throw a melee weapon as a ranged weapon, you use your Agility modifier instead.

Lifting and Carrying

Your Strength score determines the amount of weight you can bear. The following terms define what you can lift or carry.
Carrying Capacity. Your carrying capacity is your Strength score multiplied by 15. This is the weight (in pounds) that you can carry, which is high enough that most characters don't usually have to worry about it.
Push, Drag, or Lift. You can push, drag, or lift a weight in pounds up to twice your carrying capacity (or 30 times your Strength score). While pushing or dragging weight in excess of your carrying capacity, your speed drops to 5 feet.
Size and Strength. Larger creature's can bear more weight, whereas Tiny creatures can carry less. For each category above Medium, double the creature's carrying capacity and the amount it can push, drag, or lift. For a Tiny creature, halve those weights.

Variant: Encumbrance

If you carry weight in excess of 5 times your Strength score, you are encumbered, which means your speed drops by 10 feet.

If you carry weight in excess of 10 times your Strength score, up to your maximum carrying capacity, you are instead heavily encumbered, which means your speed drops by 20 feet and you have disadvantage on attribute checks, attack rolls, and saving throws that use Strength, Agility, or Endurance.


Agility measures your dexterity, reflexes, and balance.

Agility Checks

An Agility check can model any attempt to move nimbly, quickly, or quietly, or to keep from falling on tricky footing. The Acrobatics, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth skills reflect aptitude in certain kinds of Agility checks.

Acrobatics. Your Agility (Acrobatics) check covers your attempt to stay on your feet in a tricky situation, such as when you're trying to run across a sheet of ice, balance on a tightrope, or stay upright on a rocking ship's deck. The GM might also call for an Agility (Acrobatics) check to see if you can perform acrobatic stunts, including dives, rolls, somersaults, and flips.
Sleight of Hand. Whenever you attempt an act of legerdemain or manual trickery, such as planting something on someone else or concealing an object on your person, make an Agility (Sleight of Hand) check to determine whether you can lift a coin purse off another person or slip something out of another's pocket.
Stealth. Make an Agility (Sneak) check when you attempt to conceal yourself from enemies, slink past guards, slip away without being noticed, or sneak up on someone without being seen or heard.
Other Agility Checks. The GM might call for an Agility check when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:

  • Control a heavily laden cart on a steep descent
  • Steer a chariot around a tight turn
  • Securely tie up a prisoner
  • Wriggle free of bonds
  • Play a stringed instrument
  • Craft a small or detailed object

Agility Attack and Damage Rolls

You add your Agility modifier to your attack roll and your damage roll when attacking with a ranged weapon such as a sling or a longbow. You can also add your Agility modifier to your attack roll and your damage roll when attacking with a melee weapon that has the finesse property, such as a dagger or a rapier, of if you throw a melee weapon, like a dagger or a hatchet.

Armor Class

Depending on the armor you wear, you might add some or all of your Agility modifier to your Armor Class, as described in Chapter 5, “Equipment” in the Basic Rules.


At the beginning of every combat, you roll initiative by making an Agility check. Initiative determines the order of a creature's turns in combat, as described in Chapter 9, “Combat” in the 5e Core Rules.

The GM decides when circumstances are appropriate for hiding. When you try to hide, make an Agility (Stealth) check. Until you are discovered or you stop hiding, that check's total is contested by the Willpower (Perception) check of any creature that actively searches for signs of your presence.

You can't hide from a creature that can see you clearly, and you give away your position if you make noise, such as shouting a warning or knocking over a vase. An invisible creature can always try to hide. Signs of its passage might still be noticed, and it does have to stay quiet.

In combat, most creatures stay alert for signs of danger all around, so if you come out of hiding and approach a creature, it usually sees you. However, under certain circumstances, the GM might allow you to stay hidden as you approach a creature that is distracted, allowing you to gain advantage on an attack roll before you are seen.

Passive Perception. When you hide, there's a chance someone will notice you even if they aren't searching. To determine whether such a creature notices you, the GM compares your Agility (Stealth) check with that creature's passive Willpower (Perception) score, which equals 10 + the creature's Willpower modifier, as well as any other bonuses or penalties. If the creature has advantage, add 5. For disadvantage, subtract 5. For example, if a 1st-level character (with a proficiency bonus of +2) has a Willpower of 15 (a +2 modifier) and proficiency in Perception, he or she has a passive Willpower (Perception) of 14.

What Can You See? One of the main factors in determining whether you can find a hidden creature or object is how well you can see in an area, which might be lightly or heavily obscured, as explained in Chapter 8 “Adventuring” under “The Environment” section.


Endurance measures health, stamina and vital force.

Endurance Checks

Endurance checks are uncommon, and no skills apply to Endurance checks, because it is largely passive rather than involving a specific effort on the part of a character or monster.

An Endurance check can model your attempt to push beyond the normal limits. A GM might call for an Endurance check when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:

  • Hold your breath
  • March or labor for hours without rest
  • Go without sleep
  • Survive without food or water
  • Quaff and entire stein of ale in one go

Hit Points

Your Endurance modifier contributes to your hit points. Typically, you add your Endurance modifier to each Hit Die you roll for your hit points.
If your Endurance modifier changes, your hit point maximum changes as well, as though you had the new modifier from 1st level. For example, if you raise your Endurance modifier when you reach 4th level and you Endurance modifier increases form a +1 to a +2, you adjust your hit point maximum as though the modifier had always been +2. So you add 3 hit points for your first three levels, and then roll your hit points for the 4th level using your new modifier. Or if you're 7th level and some effect lowers your Endurance score so as to reduce your Endurance modifier by 1, your hit points maximum is reduced by 7.


Intelligence measures mental acuity, accuracy of recall, and the ability to reason.

Intelligence Checks

An Intelligence check comes into play when you need to draw on logic, education, memory, or deductive reasoning. The Arcana, History, Investigation, Nature, and Religion skills reflect aptitude in certain kinds of Intelligence checks.

Arcana. Your Intelligence (Arcana) check measures your ability to recall lore about spells, magic items, eldritch symbols, magical traditions, the planes of existence, and the inhabitants of those planes.
History. Your Intelligence (History) check measures your ability to recall lore about historical events, legendary people, ancient kingdoms, past disputes, recent wars, and lost civilizations.
Investigation. When you look around for clues and make deductions based on those clues, you make an Intelligence (Investigation) check. You might deduce the location of a hidden object, discern from the appearance of a wound what kind of weapon dealt it, or determine the weakest point in a tunnel chat could cause it so collapse. Poring through ancient scrolls in search of a hidden fragment of knowledge might also call for an Intelligence (Investigation) check.
Nature. Your Intelligence (Nature) check measures your ability to recall lore about terrain, plants and animals, the weather, and natural cycles.
Religion. Your Intelligence (Religion) check measures your ability to recall lore about deities, rites and prayers, religious hierarchies, holy symbols, and the practices of secret cults.
Other Intelligence Checks. The GM might call for an Intelligence check when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:

  • Communicate with a creature without using words
  • Estimate the value of a precious item
  • Pull together a disguise to pass as a city guard
  • Forge a document
  • Recall lore about a craft or trade
  • Win a game of skill

Spellcasting Attribute

Mages, Necromancers, and Spellswords use Intelligence as their spellcasting attribute, which helps determine the saving throw DCs and spell attack modifiers of spells they cast.


Willpower reflects how attuned you are to the world around you and represents perceptiveness and intuition.

Willpower Checks

A Willpower check might reflect an effort to read body language, understand someone’s feelings, notice things about the environment, or care for an injured person. The Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Perception, and Survival skills reflect aptitude in certain kinds of Willpower checks.

Animal Handling. When there is any question whether you can calm down a domesticated animal, keep a mount from getting spooked, or intuit an animal’s intentions, the GM might call for a Willpower (Animal Handling) check. You also make a Willpower (Animal Handling) check to control your mount when you attempt a risky maneuver.
Insight. Your Willpower (Insight) check decides whether you can determine the true intentions of a creature, such as when searching out a lie or predicting someone’s next move. Doing so involves gleaning clues from body language, speech habits, and changes in mannerisms.
Medicine. A Willpower (Medicine) check lets you try to stabilize a dying companion or diagnose an illness.
Perception. Your Willpower (Perception) check lets you spot, hear, or otherwise detect the presence of something. It measures your general awareness of your surroundings and the keenness of your senses. For example, you might try to hear a conversation through a closed door, eavesdrop under an open window, or hear monsters moving stealthily in the forest. Or you might try to spot things that are obscured or easy to miss, whether they are orcs lying in ambush on a road, thugs hiding in the shadows of an alley, or candlelight under a closed secret door.

Finding a Hidden Object
When your character searches for a hidden object such as a secret door or a trap, the GM typically asks you to make a Willpower (Perception) check. Such a check can be used to find hidden details or other information and clues that you might otherwise overlook.

In most cases, you need to describe where you are looking in order for the GM to determine your chance of success. For example, a key is hidden beneath a set of folded clothes in the top drawer of a bureau. If you tell the GM that you pace around the room, looking at the walls and furniture for clues, you have no chance of finding the key, regardless of your Willpower (Perception) check result. You would have to specify that you were opening the drawers or searching the bureau in order to have any chance of success.

Survival. The GM might ask you to make a Willpower (Survival) check to follow tracks, hunt wild game, guide your group through frozen wastelands, identify signs that kagouti live nearby, predict the weather, or avoid quicksand and other natural hazards.
Other Willpower Checks. The GM might call for a Willpower check when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:

  • Get a gut feeling about what course o f action to follow
  • Discern whether a seemingly dead or living creature is undead

Spellcasting Attribute

Priests, Sorcerers, and Wardens use Willpower as their spellcasting attribute, which helps determine the saving throw DCs and spell attack modifiers of spells they cast.


Personality measures your ability to interact effectively with others. It includes such factors as confidence and eloquence, and it can represent a charming or commanding personality.

Personality Checks

A Personality check might arise when you try to influence or entertain others, when you try to make an impression or tell a convincing lie, or when you are navigating a tricky social situation. The Deception, Intimidation, Performance, and Persuasion skills reflect aptitude in certain kinds of Personality checks.

Deception. Your Personality (Deception) check determines whether you can convincingly hid the truth, either verbally or through your actions. This deception can encompass everything from misleading others through ambiguity to telling outright lies. Typical situations include trying to fast-talk a guard, con a merchant, earn money through gambling, pass yourself off in a disguise, dull someone's suspicions or maintain a straight face while telling a blatant lie.
Intimidation. When you attempt to influence someone through overt threats, hostile actions, and physical violence, the GM might ask you to make a Personality (Intimidation) check. Examples include trying to pry information out of a prisoner, convincing street thugs to back down from a conformation, or using the edge of a broken bottle to convince a sneering vizier to reconsider a decision.
Performance. Your Personality (Performance) check determines how well you can delight an audience with music, dance, acting, storytelling, or some other form of entertainment.
Persuasion. When you attempt to influence someone or a group of people with tact, social graces, or good nature, the GM might ask you to make a Personality (Persuasion) check. Typically, you use persuasion when acting in good faith, to foster friendships, make cordial requests, or exhibit proper etiquette. Examples of persuading others include convincing a chamberlain to let your party see the king, negotiating peace between warring tribes, or inspiring a crowd o f townsfolk.
Other Personality Checks. The GM might call for a Personality check when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:

  • Find the best person to talk to for news, rumors, and gossip.
  • Blend into a crowd to get the sense of key topics of conversation.

Spellcasting Attribute

Bards, Crusaders, and Nightblades use Personality as their spellcasting attribute, which helps determine the saving throw DCs and spell attack modifiers of spells they cast.

Other Attributes


Adventurers can get Luck points in a variety of ways. Your birthsign or class could contribute to your Luck, as well as praying to the right deity. You can use a Luck point when you make an attack roll, saving throw, or attribute check, to increase the roll by 1d6.


Every character and monster has a speed, which is the distance in feet that the character or monster can walk in 1 round. This number assumes short bursts of energetic movement in the midst of a life-threatening.

Refer to Chapter 8 “Playing the Game” in the Basic Rules for more detailed information on speed.

Saving Throws

A saving throw--also called a save--represents an attempt to resist a spell, a trap, a poison, a disease, or a similar threat. You don’t normally decide to make a saving throw; you are forced to make one because your character or monster is at risk of harm.

To make a saving throw, roll a d20 and add the appropriate attribute modifier. For example, you use your Agility modifier for an Agility saving throw.

A saving throw can be modified by a situational bonus or penalty and can be affected by advantage and disadvantage, as determined by the GM.

Each class gives proficiency in at least two saving throws. The mage, for example, is proficient in Intelligence saves. As with skill proficiencies, proficiency in a saving throw lets a character add his or her proficiency bonus to saving throws made using a particular attribute score. Some monsters have saving throw proficiencies as well.

The Difficulty Class for a saving throw is determined by the effect that causes it. For example, the DC for a saving throw allowed by a spell is determined by the caster’s spellcasting attribute and proficiency bonus.

The result of a successful or failed saving throw is also detailed in the effect that allows the save. Usually, a successful save means that a creature suffers no harm, or reduced harm, from an effect.