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Atypical Adventurers: Class-based Ability Scores

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A PDF of optional rules for D&D Fifth Edition which replaces racial ability bonuses with a class-based approach.

Optional Rules to Encourage Unusual Character Combinations!

Atypical Adventurers presents a pair of optional rules you can implement in your D&D Fifth Edition games.

Class-Based Ability Score Bonuses

In the default rules ability bonuses are granted by race, which has a tendency to encourage players to select specific races that go with their class and contribute toward racial stereotyping within the game’s fiction. With this optional rule, the character instead gains an ability bonus from their 1st level class. Rather than assuming members of a race all have the same innate talent, what matters is the individual: a class-based ability score represents either an innate talent which you’ve put to work in a field where your talent is of benefit, or the result of your hard work and training, or a combination of the two.


  • The optional rule.
  • A comprehensive table showing the ability bonus (or choice of bonuses) offered by each class. Included classes: all official, and some 3rd party.
  • Guidance for handling the non-Variant Human.

Saving Throws by Race and Class

Intended to be paired with Class-Based Ability Score Bonuses (though it will work just fine on its own, if you like it!), this rule separates saving throws into two categories: Major (Constitution, Dexterity, and Wisdom) and Minor (Strength, Intelligence, and Charisma). Instead of gaining two saving throws from your class, your Major saving throw proficiency comes instead from your race and while your Minor saving throw proficiency still comes from your class.

This means that a character’s race still gives them a natural advantage, without resorting to ability score bonuses that can limit character choices. Instead, new combinations are opened up: thanks to your racial choice you could for instance be a Fighter proficient in Wisdom saves or a Cleric proficient in Dexterity saves.


  • The optional rule.
  • A comprehensive set of tables showing the saving throw proficiencies offered by each race, and each class. Included races and classes: all official, and some 3rd party.

Atypical Adventurers: Class-Based Ability Scores is available from dmsguild.com. Disclaimer: an affiliate ID is included in links from this site to OneBookShelf marketplaces, including dmsguild.com and drivethrupg.com. This means that we may receive a commission for purchase you make on those marketplaces when you visit using one of our links. Spilled Ale Studios uses this commission to contribute to the costs of developing future products.

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