Each character has six ability scores that represent his character’s most basic attributes. They are his raw talent and prowess. While a character rarely rolls a check using just an ability score, these scores, and the modifiers they create, affect nearly every aspect of a character’s skills and abilities. Each ability score generally ranges from 3 to 18, although racial bonuses and penalties can alter this; an average ability score is 10.
The modifier is the number you apply to the die roll when your character tries to do something related to that ability. You also use the modifier with some numbers that aren’t die rolls. A positive modifier is called a bonus, and a negative modifier is called a penalty.
Athletics broadly describes a character’s physical prowess, muscular development, and coordination. Your athletics score also represents your character’s ‘hit points’ in the basic sense. As your character takes damage, their ability to perform physical tasks diminishes. If a character’s athletic’s drops to zero, they die.
Intelligence determines how well your character learns and reasons. Intelligence is important for spellcasting and academics, and all living creatures have some measure of intelligence. If a character’s intelligence score drops to zero, they die. Most animals have intelligence scores of 1 or 2.