Point Buy Calculator 5e

Created by Rijk de Wet
Reviewed by Wojciech Sas, PhD and Steven Wooding
Last updated: Jan 18, 2024


Whether you're unsure how the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons' point buy system works, or you're a veteran player making hundreds of characters every day, this point buy calculator for 5e is here to help! This online tool enables you to navigate the 5e point buy system to assign ability scores for your character — with support for the official SRD races and their 5e ability score bonuses. So, grab a pen and paper, and let's make your DnD character!

How to use the point buy calculator for 5e?

Let's make an Acrobatics check and jump right into how the point buy calculator for 5e works.

  1. Enter your base ability scores. These are the scores that you spend your points on. You can see how your point expenditure adds up below the ability score fields — consult the score-to-point table found later in this article for more details.

  2. Select your character's race. Your character's ability scores in 5e are increased based on which race you pick.

    • If your character's race is not on the list, you can select Other and enter the racial bonuses yourself.

    • Some races have free-floating +1's that can be assigned to ability scores. Don't forget to select which ability scores you'd like boosted!

  3. Find your character's ability scores summarized in a table at the bottom of the 5e point buy calculator. Most importantly, the table lists your character's final ability scores and their modifiers.

💡 Ability scores and ability modifiers. An ability modifier isn't added to an ability score in 5e. Instead, the modifier is determined by the ability score and is added to skill checks governed by that ability. For example, a character with an Intelligence score of 15 always has a modifier of +2, and so gets a +2 bonus to Arcana checks they make.

If you want to customize the 5e point buy system to fit your table's house rules, you can enter the calculator's Advanced mode to:

  • Raise or lower the point total that you can spend from 27;

  • Change the lowest and highest purchasable ability scores from 8 and 15; and

  • Adjust the point costs of each score.

What is DnD point buy?

The point buy calculator for 5e can do the point buy math for you, but if you're as curious as the Xanathar, you would want to know how the 5e point buy system works. So let's roll an Investigation check and get a closer look.

DnD characters have six ability scores: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. These scores govern all of their other characteristics, such as their ability to swing a sword, their hit points, and their ability to barter with shopkeepers. How exactly a player determines their character's scores is up to their dungeon master (or DM), but most DnD tables use one of these methods:

  • The standard array method, where the player has the scores 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, and 15 and can assign them however they like;

  • The dice roll method, where you'd randomly generate your ability scores with dice; and

  • The point buy method, where you have a budget of points to spend on buying ability scores.

And so you've learnt that point buy in DnD 5e is a method to determine player characters' ability scores. You must have rolled a natural 20 for that Investigation check!

What are the rules for DnD 5e point buy?

5th edition DnD's point buy rules let you spend 27 points to buy ability scores. The player must buy six scores and can assign them to the six abilities as they like. Each score has a point cost:

Ability score

Cost

8

0

9

1

10

2

11

3

12

4

13

5

14

7

15

9

A player building a wizard character might buy a 15 in Intelligence (costing them 9 points), and carelessly spend the remaining 18 points on four 12s (4 points each) and a 10 (2 points) for the rest of their scores. A barbarian (who wants to have high Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution) would buy three 15s with their entire budget and leave their other abilities at a measly 8 (0 points each). But as such a barbarian might say, "who need brain when muscle think better?"

And that's it! Now you know exactly how to do point buy in 5e.

How do I calculate DnD ability score modifiers?

To calculate an ability score's modifier directly, subtract 10 from the score and halve it (rounding down to the nearest integer). Or you can consult this handy table:

Ability scores and corresponding modifiers.

Score

Modifier

1

−5

2–3

−4

4–5

−3

6–7

−2

8–9

−1

10–11

+0

12–13

+1

14–15

+2

16–17

+3

18–19

+4

20–21

+5

22–23

+6

24–25

+7

26–27

+8

28–29

+9

30

+10

💡 Remember that ability scores influence ability modifiers and not the other way around! You don't add an ability's modifier to the score. Instead, you add an ability's modifier to any skill checks you make with that ability.

FAQ

What are the six ability scores in DnD?

DnD 5e has six abilities that represent different aspects of a character:

  • Strength — natural athleticism and bodily power;
  • Dexterity — physical agility and reflexes;
  • Constitution — health and stamina;
  • Intelligence — mental and analytical skill;
  • Wisdom — awareness and intuition; and
  • Charisma — confidence and force of personality.

All creatures in DnD, including the players' characters, have these abilities and associated scores. For example, an orc has a high Strength score but a low Intelligence score.

Can 27 point buy get to 16 in 5e?

No. The official 5e point buy rules in the Player's Handbook limit the available scores to between 8 and 15. With the help of racial bonuses, a character using point buy can potentially begin with one or more ability scores of 17.

Can I put all 8s with point buy in 5e?

No — if you're following the official 5e point buy rules, you must spend all 27 points on ability scores. If you bought three 8s (costing you no points), you absolutely must spend the remaining 27 points on three 15s (costing you 9 points each).

Rijk de Wet
Base ability scores
Strength
Dexterity
Constitution
Intelligence
Wisdom
Charisma
Point buy cost: 0 / 27
Racial choice
Race
Human
Your ability scores each increase by 1.
Results
AbilityBase scoreRacial bonusTotal scoreModifierPoint cost
Strength8+19−10
Dexterity8+19−10
Constitution8+19−10
Intelligence8+19−10
Wisdom8+19−10
Charisma8+19−10
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