A character's abilities are the basic statistics that define that character. Each of these six scores represents a particular aspect of the character, and skills that draw from these traits are modified depending on the associated ability modifier. Certain classes also favor one ability over others, and derive much of their strength from a high ability score in these areas.
The six abilities include the physical — strength, dexterity, and constitution — as well as the mental — intelligence, wisdom, and charisma. These abilities have an immense impact on the capabilities of a character, particularly at the lower levels where training has the least effect. For example, at level 1, a skill can be influenced by as much as +4 through training (in the form of skill ranks), and as much as +5 from the associated ability.
Determining scores Edit
Abilities are rated by an ability score that nominally ranges from 3 to 18, but can (and often will) go higher. The 3-to-18 range is based upon a D&D method for determining starting abilities, namely the roll of three 6-sided dice that are added together. In Neverwinter Nights, a point buy system is used instead of a random roll of the dice to determine initial ability scores for player characters. (Non-player characters have their ability scores assigned by a module's creator, and the scores are not subject to any rules other than being at least 3 and at most 100.) With the point buy system, each ability is given a score from 8 to 18 before racial modifiers (which could then result in a score as low as 6 or as high as 20).
For most purposes, what is important is not the raw ability scores, but the ability modifiers, which are calculated as (score − 10) / 2, rounded down. The exact effects of these modifiers are detailed in the articles for the individual abilities. The two notable exceptions for which the raw ability scores are important are when serving as a prerequisite for a feat and when determining if a character is encumbered.
The traditional order for listing ability scores is the order they appear on the character sheet: strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, then charisma. However, the order of intelligence and wisdom is reversed in the character creation screen. This has been known to confuse some players creating a character based on a build (rather than making the character on the spur of the moment).