Unless you’re the GM, the first thing you need to do when playing Pathfinder is create your character. It’s up to you to imagine your character’s past experiences, personality, and worldview, and this will set the stage for your roleplaying during the game.
You’ll use the game’s mechanics to determine your character’s ability to perform various tasks and use special abilities during the game.
This section provides a step-by-step guide for creating a character using the Pathfinder rules, preceded by a guide to help you understand ability scores. These scores are a critical part of your character, and you will be asked to make choices about them during many of the following steps.
Steps to Create Characters
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The steps of character creation are presented in a suggested order, but you can complete them in whatever order you prefer. Many of the steps on pages 21–28 instruct you to fill out fields on your character sheet.
The character sheet is shown in image (You can download it as PDFl you can find a copy in the back of this book or online as a free pdf.
The character sheet is designed to be easy to use when you’re actually playing the game—but creating a character happens in a different order, so you’ll move back and forth through the character sheet as you go through the character creation process.
Additionally, the character sheet includes every field you might need, even though not all characters will have something to put in each field.
If a field on your character sheet is not applicable to your character, just leave that field blank. All the steps of character creation are detailed on the following pages; each is marked with a number that corresponds to the sample character sheet on pages 24–25, showing you where the information goes.
If the field you need to fill out is on the third or fourth page of the character sheet, which aren’t shown, the text will tell you. If you’re creating a higher-level character, it’s a good idea to begin with the instructions here, then turn to page 29 for instructions on leveling up characters.
The Six Ability Scores
One of the most important aspects of your character is their ability scores. These scores represent your character’s raw potential and influence nearly every other statistic on your character sheet.
Determining your ability scores is not done all at once, but instead happens over several steps during character creation.
Ability scores are split into two main groups: physical and mental.
Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution are physical ability scores, measuring your character’s physical power, agility, and stamina.
In contrast, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma are mental ability scores and measure your character’s learned prowess, awareness, and force of personality.
Excellence in an ability score improves the checks and statistics related to that ability, as described below.
When imagining your character, you should also decide what ability scores you want to focus on to give you the best chance at success.
Strength measures your character’s physical power. Strength is important if your character plans to engage in hand-to-hand combat.
Your Strength modifier gets added to melee damage rolls and determines how much your character can carry.
Dexterity measures your character’s agility, balance, and reflexes. Dexterity is important if your character plans to make attacks with ranged weapons or use stealth to surprise foes. Your Dexterity modifier is also added to your character’s AC and Reflex saving throws.
Constitution measures your character’s overall health and stamina. Constitution is an important statistic for all characters, especially those who fight in close combat. Your Constitution modifier is added to your Hit Points and Fortitude saving throws.
Intelligence measures how well your character can learn and reason. A high Intelligence allows your character to analyze situations and understand patterns, and it means they can become trained in additional skills and might be able to master additional languages.
Wisdom measures your character’s common sense, awareness, and intuition. Your Wisdom modifier is added to your Perception and Will saving throws.
Charisma measures your character’s personal magnetism and strength of personality. A high Charisma score helps you influence the thoughts and moods of others.
Ability Score Overview
Each ability score starts at 10, representing human average, but as you make character choices, you’ll adjust these scores by applying ability boosts, which increase a score, and ability flaws, which decrease a score. As you build your character, remember to apply ability score adjustments when making the following decisions.
Ancestry: Each ancestry provides ability boosts, and sometimes an ability flaw. If you are taking any voluntary flaws, apply them in this step (see the sidebar on page 24).
Background: Your character’s background provides two ability boosts.
Class: Your character’s class provides an ability boost to the ability score most important to your class, called your key ability score.
Determine Scores: After the other steps, you apply four more ability boosts of your choice. Then, determine your ability modifiers based on those scores.
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