Ability Scores
ABILITY MODS AND GRADES
Modifier Grade
+5 A
B
C
D
+4 A
B
C
D
+3 A
B
C
D
+2 A
B
C
D
+1 A
B
C
D
+0 A
B
C
D
-1 A
B
C
D
-2 A
B
C
D
-3 A
B
C
D
-4 A
B
C
D
-5 A
B
C
D

Instead of the traditional six abilities used in Fifth Edition and other games, hunters, machines and other creatures in Horizon Zero Dragons have only 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.

Furthermore, Horizon Zero Dragons dispenses with the traditional ability scores: these have been a vestigial part of the game for a very long time, since the useful functions of abilities are all derived from the modifiers, not the score. Scores have almost no value except when comparing two characters with identical bonuses to break ties. Even in these situations, there's a 50/50 chance the comparison won't have useful results.

Horizon Zero Dragons prioritises ability modifiers, and uses a system of letter grades to allow for finer gradation for comparative purposes.

Ability Grades

Ability Modifiers are assigned letter grades, with A being the best and D being the worst. Whenever two creatures with the same ability modifier roll and get the same result, you can use the grades of their abilities to help break the tie. For instance, if two creatures with Finesse +3 roll a 16 on initiative at the beginning of an encounter, the creature with Finesse +3 (B) takes their turn before the one with Finesse +3 (D).

A higher modifier always beats a lower modifier even when the modifier's grade is better. The Ability Mods and Grades table illustrates the hierarchy of modifiers and grades.

Character Abilities

Assigning Modifiers

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

You may then increase any ability of your choice by a further +1. The tribe you select for your hunter at level 1 offers two suggestions for which abilities might be particularly suitable for members of the tribe, but you're under no obligation to choose either of them.

Assigning Grades

After distributing modifiers among your four abilities, you assign each ability a grade. Once again, you have an array which you can assign, one per ability modifier: A, B, C, and D.

Alternatively, your group may decide to randomly determine grades: roll 1d4 for the first ability (1=D, 2=B, 3=C, 4=A). Then roll 1d6 for the second ability (1-2=the worst remaining grade, and so on). Finally, roll 1d2 (eg. divide any sized die into two halves) for the third ability. The fourth ability gets whichever grade is still unassigned.

Retraining Grades

Whenever you gain a level, you can do one of the following:

  • Swap the grades of two of your abilities.
  • Reduce one of your ability grades to the next lowest grade, and increase a second ability to the next highest grade.

Ability Score Increases

You increase your ability score modifiers at various levels. Under normal circumstances you can't increase an ability modifier any higher than +5.

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.