Tuesday, May 20, 2014

D&D EXPLAINED: DEXTERITY

Dexterity is probably my favorite stat, most notably because I love rogues. Dexterity is what characters use to dodge attacks, aim ranged attacks, sneak in the shadows, perform feats of acrobatics, and avoid traps. It factors into their initiative and their Reflex defense. More than that, dexterity is the measurement of balance, poise, precision, and accuracy of any given character. It’s incredibly important to anyone who wants to do things with their character that involve speed and timing; it’s the ninja stat.

8…

...is below average. You have trouble walking and chewing gum. Coordination just really isn’t your thing. You might hit your head walking through doors, drop things you’re carrying, shoot yourself in the foot while reloading, and get stuck in small spaces. You usually avoid any tasks that could involve balance, timing, stealth, or poise. Maybe you have a crippling injury, are prone to seizures, have impaired sight or balance, or are overweight. Fumbles, from GoblinsComic, has 8 dexterity.

10…

...is an average dexterity score. You can balance, sneak, and react about as fast as anyone else. When out of your element, you fall on your face; when in it, you generally succeed at things you attempt. Not a lot to say here; you’re as dexterous as say, Gimli the dwarf (LOTR).

12…

...is above average. You’re more agile than most of the people you know. Your balance isn’t perfect, but it’s not bad either. You can throw things with accuracy, and while you can’t sneak up on animals, you can sometimes get a jump on other people. Frodo Baggins has about 12 dexterity.

14…

...is impressive, but nothing incredible. Maybe you juggle. You can palm small objects with some degree of competence, and you don’t feel any particular risk carefully balancing over a steep cliff. You can move around with a blindfold and avoid tripping with even odds. I would give Link (Zelda) 14 Dexterity.

16…

...is worth bragging about. Your muscles might not have a lot of bulk, but they have tone. You can dodge oncoming attacks, hit a target on the move, and balance on a beam, but probably not all at the same time. You can control your body in ways that can occasionally leave people around you in awe. Jackie Chan has 16 dexterity.

18…

...is utterly amazing. You react almost before things happen, and it sometimes scares people. Legolas the elf (LOTR) has 18 dexterity. His heightened sense of balance and fast reactions allow him to perform feats of agiltiy like this and this. Because apparently elves are ninjas sometimes.

People more agile than this pass into legend. Their aim improves, their balance as well, but these changes aren’t clear to the passive observer. The greatest pinnacles of dexterous achievement might well go completely unnoticed, a silent shadow in the pages of history.

When you are distributing your dexterity stat during character creation, think about how your stats got to be where they are. Did you train as a pickpocket? Were you a burglar, an archer, or a daredevil? If you’re an assassin now, where did you learn your craft? How do you maintain your disciplined agility? If your dexterity is low, how do you rationalize that weakness? How do you roleplay it?

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