Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Calculate Your Own Attributes Old School Style

I came across this funny article while I was leafing through Issue 8 of Dragon Magazine. I love how Brian calculates wisdom.

So, You Want Realism in D&D?
by Brian Blume

We at TSR have heard several people express a desire for a system which gives more realism and variety to the method for determining the natural abilities of player characters in D&D. After minutes of exhaustive research, we have come up with an optional system which is designed to replace the old method of rolling three dice for each of a player’s abilities. This system is guaranteed to make a player character conform more to the abilities of the actual person owning them and will provide a great variety in these abilities from person to person.

STRENGTH — To determine strength, go to a gym and military press as much weight as you possibly can. Divide the number of pounds you lifted by ten; the result is your strength rating.

INTELLIGENCE — To determine your intelligence, look up the results of the most recent IQ test you have taken and divide the result by ten. This number is your intelligence rating.

WISDOM — To determine your wisdom, calculate the average number of hours you spend playing D&D or working on your D&D Campaign in an average week. Subtract the resulting number from twenty and this is your wisdom.

DEXTERITY — To determine your dexterity, go down to the track at the local High School and run 440 yards. Subtract your time in seconds from eighty, and the result is your dexterity rating.

CONSTITUTION — To determine your constitution, figure out the number of consecutive number of months you have gone without missing a day of school or work due to illness. The number of months is equal to your constitution rating.

CHARISMA — To determine charisma, count up the number of times you have appeared on TV or have had your picture printed in the newspaper. Multiply this number by two, and the result is your charisma rating.

In order to try out this system, I tested it by figuring my own ratings.
The results are interesting (I think?).


Now you have to go figure out your own stats. All us old timers all tried to estimate what we would be in D&D terms.


  1. Strength 13
    Intelligence 14
    Wisdom 17
    Dexterity 17
    Constitution 6
    Charisma 8

  2. Strength: 12
    Intelligence: 14
    Wisdom: 18
    Dexterity: -?
    Constitution: 18
    Charisma: 6

    Should point out the record for the 440 is about 45 seconds, resulting in a DEX of 35.

  3. So I figured my stats out.

    STR: 22 I'm stronger than hill giant apparently. Roar! Or just good at a military press.
    INT: never took an IQ so this is undtermined, but I am guessing it is above plant and animal intelligence.
    WIS: hmm, if I subtract all the time I am reading RPG books, blogs, playing, working on the blog and projects I'm guessing I'm coming in at a -3. I think it should be the other way.
    DEX: I passed out clutching my chest around the 250 marker. So my Dex is at a 0.
    CON: 11
    CHA: 0 never appeared on TV or in the newspaper. They only know my alias.

  4. Great find!

    Str. 17 if I can count a shoulder press on a machine. Free weight would be too depressing to admit.
    Int. 14, I think.
    Wis. 15, or 8 if painting minis and blogging counts as D&D time.
    Dex. not sure. Never was a good sprinter.
    Con. 3 if "since last sick day"; 36 or more if I can count years when I had no "sick time".
    Cha. 4. No credit for letters to the editor?!?

    As teenagers my gaming group made up our own tests to determine our GURPS attributes. I believe we threw hammers at a target for DEX (?!?)

    Villains and Vigilantes also required players to assign their own stats, or the GM did it, I don't recall.