An old issue of Dragon magazine had an interesting alternative to determining Dungeons & Dragons ability scores, all of which were based on the player's actual abilities. Dragon #8, published back in 1977, had an article written by Brian Blume that offered a "realistic" approach to determining a D&D character's ability scores that were meant to reflect the attributes of the player controlling the character. By using this method, a character would have the stats of the player instead of stats that represented an extraordinary character.
Instead of using dice to determine a character's stats, players were to calculate their stats using six simple tests, one for each attribute scores.
The tests were as follows:
Strength: Divide the maximum amount of weight you can military press by ten.
Dexterity: Time yourself running 440 yards and then subtract your time from 80.
Constitution: The number of consecutive months you've gone without missing a day of school or work due to illness.
Intelligence: Divide the result of your most recent IQ test by 10.
Wisdom: Subtract the average number of hours you spend playing or planning D&D by 20.
Charisma: Multiply the number of times you've appeared on television or had your picture in the newspaper by two.
My favorite part of this method of determining ability scores is that it punishes you for playing Dungeons & Dragons, as it assumes that you become less wise the more invested you get into the game. I also got a laugh that your Constitution score could drop from 20 to 1 simply by having a cold in the last month.
In modern Dungeons & Dragons, an Ability Score of 10 is supposed to represent average human ability in a given category. Since adventurers are supposed to represent above average characters, they usually have scores above 10 in 3 or more categories. To determine a D&D character's ability scores, a player typically uses one of three methods - rolling dice, using a point buy system, or choosing from a standard array of scores. Each methods has its own pros and cons depending on how much randomness you want in your character's abilities.1comments
Although the method shown above probably isn't a good way to create a Dungeons & Dragons character, it definitely has some modern meme factors. I wouldn't be surprised to see this method (or a similar one) go viral as D&D fans use it to figure out their real world D&D stats.