Characters created for a game of Horizon Zero Dragons are made using the same rules as the core game except as noted here.

Key Differences

Ability Scores

Instead of the six abilities used in Dungeons & Dragons, characters have the following four abilities: Might, Finesse, Acumen, and Spirit.

  • Might. A creature’s might is a measure of their physical strength and their toughness.
  • Finesse. A creature’s finesse is a measure of their agility, quickness, and manual dexterity.
  • Acumen. A creature’s acumen is a measure of their ability to understand and to reason, as well as their ability to socialise through intellect and wit. .
  • Spirit. A creature’s spirit is a measure of their liveliness, their willpower, and their raw force of personality.

Additionally, Horizon Zero Dragons doesn't use ability scores, replacing them with grades (see below). The most important information about your ability is your modifier, so these rules bring those bonuses and penalties front and central!

Assigning Ability Modifiers

When creating a new character, assign the following array of modifiers between your four abilities: +2, +1, +0, and -1.

Assigning Ability Grades

After distributing modifiers among your four abilities, you assign each modifier an A, B, C, or D letter grade. Each of these grades is assigned once, to one of your four abilities.

Grades are referred to whenever you need to compare two creatures with identical ability modifiers, or when you need to break a tie. As is usual for letter grade systems, A beats B, B beats C, and C beats D.

Creating your Hunter

When creating a standard character, you select a race, a class, and a background. When creating a character for Horizon Zero Dragons you don't have the same choices. None of these three concepts exist in the game! Here's why:

All player characters are hunters: individuals who are brave and skilled enough to venture beyond the settlements and trade routes and eke a living out in the wild among the increasingly numerous and deranged machines. Other professions exist in the setting, but they don't make suitable characters. Player characters are by definition adventurers, and all adventurers in the world of Horizon Zero Dawn need the skills of a hunter to survive. However, there is a broad spectrum of hunters in the world and you can have your character learn skills and tools associated with other professions.

Though every character is a hunter, you'll make a lot of choices. The hunter contains a lot of options allowing for significant variety. With a little group collaboration, no player character hunter need be exactly like any other in their party!

One of the earliest decision you make for your hunter is the tribe into which they were born. This is similar to picking a race for a standard character, but it's encapsulated within your hunter progression to facilitate streamlined character creation. Available tribes include the Banuk, Carja, Nora, Tenakth, and Utaru. With your GM's permission you can also play a member of a custom tribe, developed by you.

For most characters, your choice of tribe will also dictate other class features known as tribal techniques. But it doesn't have to! In unusual circumstances a person might be a member of one tribe for part of their life, but then live among another. You might represent this by picking one tribe, then choosing to gain the tribal features of a second tribe. Imagine for instance a Nora, outcast with their parents as a youth, who ended up having to leave the Sacred Land and live among the Banuk. Talk to your group about unusual concepts you might want to play, just so that everyone doesn't show up with similar ideas!

Note that in Horizon Zero Dragons you don't pick a background. The character's life-long hunter training and tribe of origin combined are their background. Accordingly, the mechanical benefits that would normally be granted by a background are instead incorporated into your hunter features, including your proficiencies and the benefits of your tribe.


Some hunters meet the requirements to join particular groups and traditions or otherwise acquire uncommon new capabilities. These hunters have acquired a prestige. When you have one or more prestige, you still belong to the hunter class and gain its features as you increase in level. However, each prestige gives you access to new options that you can select in place of an equivalent hunter feature when you level. Usually, prestiges allow you to select their features whenever you would normally select a hunter's prowess feature.

You may select prestige features from the first time you gain a level after meeting the prestige's requirements.

Multiple Prestiges

It's possible for a hunter to belong to multiple prestiges. If you do, each time you level you can select from among any features for which you qualify from any source available to you.

When you retrain features, you can retrain them to any other feature that is normally interchangeable from any available source. For instance, let's say that your hunter has access to both the focused hunter and machine master prestiges. When you gain a hunter class level and want to retrain a feature into something new, any of the following exchanges would be legal for you:

  • You can retrain a hunter's prowess into a focus ability or an override upgrade for which you qualify.
  • You can retrain a focus ability into a hunter's prowess or an override upgrade for which you qualify.
  • You can retrain an override upgrade into a hunter's prowess or a focus ability for which you qualify.

Your Skill and Tool Proficiencies

The list of available Proficiencies differs from the core game rules. See the proficiencies page.

Horizon Zero Dawn is the sole intellectual property of Guerilla Games. This is purely a fan work. Rules presented work with D&D 5e. Text and game mechanics presented in this wiki are not Open Game Content and should not be reproduced or repackaged in any way.