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Pathfinder: Getting started


Libertarian Contrarian
Sanctuary legend
Ok, so since everyone is gearing up for some PF, I thought I'd give some general pointers for getting started, as well as some of the open resources that are available.

My two resources:
(I prefer the layout of the second link more, but most people I know like the first)

Bare Bones Standard Character sheet:

First, you will need to chose a class and a race. If you think of a class/role you want to play in the party, then finding a race that goes well with that class would be your best bet. Something like how Clerics and Druids are better spell casters when they have high wisdom, so a Dwarf gets a bonus to Wisdom and so a dwarf would make a good Cleric or Druid

Arnox has declared we are doing Point Buy. Point buy starts you with a set amount of points, and then charges you more per stat point the higher you go. Usually all your stats start at 10, and then you can earn more points by reducing your dump stats below 10 while pumping up the ones you want. After you've chosen the stats you need for your class, you can then apply your racial bonuses. So if you want that sweet, sweet 18 in your wisdom, you only need to spend enough points to get to 16, and then your dwarf abilities will bump it up to 18.

Point buy calculator:
(Arnox still needs to tell us how many points we get to spend)

After you have your stats and your class, you can start filling out your sheet.



In the sample above, once you know your stats, as well as your 1st level bonuses, you can start filling out basically everything that matters. Your BAB (Base Attack Bonus) or chance to hit, as well as your ability to resist spells are all here. Just match what the cells ask for and then add the totals. The hardest part is knowing where to look, but it will all be there between your stats and your first level stats.

The last part is a bit tedious if you want to fully fill it out now, but I wouldn't bother until later. You will get a number of skill points when you start out. Each point can be applied as 1 rank to any skill. However, you can't have a number of ranks above your current level, so if you have 4 skill points, you have to chose 4 skills to be rank 1.

There is a perk, however. You will see some skills listed as class skills. When you put your first rank into one of those class skills, you get an automatic +3 bonus to that skill. All the rest of the skills are derived from your attribute modifiers. Some skills can't be used if you don't have 1 rank in them, but for the sake of this writeup, I just filled out 4 skills. Note how Climb and Heal are class skills getting the +3 bonus, but because Wisdom is a Druid's primary attribute, I was able to get the bonus for heal checks to +8. That means if someone loses all their HP, I can get a +8 bonus to try to keep them from bleeding out. You won't be good at everything, however. No matter how much I may want it, I sacrificed a lot of Charisma, and will be bad at handling animals, even though it's a class skill.

After you have chosen the skills you want, you will need to look for the starting gold your class gets. In the class details you will find a starting wealth, and an average amount. Depending on Arnox's choice, we can roll for the starting gold, or take the average. There's equipment lists you can use to find out how much stuff costs.

For the Druid, that's 2d6 x 10 gp (average 70 gp).

You will also need to see what kinds of armor and weapons you are proficient with, as well as any other problems you may encounter. Druids can't use metal, so no chain mail for them. Anyone is allowed to use anything, but you will take penalties for using something you aren't proficient with. If you know what you are doing, you can spend a feat learning to become proficient in a new type of weapon or armor.

You will also need to select a feat for your first level. You get a bonus feat as a racial bonus if you choose to be a human. Feats are like massive perks. Sometimes they just increase your stats, others will allow you to perform special attacks in battle. Most have some sort of prerequisite, so make sure you have the stats, as well as the preceding feats to allow you to take the ones you want. The resources I posted have many, MANY feats from expansion content. I'd just stick to the base game for options, or you will get overwhelmed.

Edit: Added a chart for ability score modifiers, since you need those to fill out your sheet. Every +1 means a 5% better chance of success, so you have to pump up your attributes at least 2 points for each +1 when you're doing your point buying. Do be aware that every 4 levels, you are offered a bonus attribute point. If you leave some odd numbers in your attributes, those will go up a +1 by adding it to that attribute.


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Libertarian Contrarian
Sanctuary legend
I forgot to mention Favored Class Bonuses.

All characters are technically a multi-class character. When you level 6 as a fighter, you could just take the next level in Wizard instead, and get all the first level wizard stuff added to your existing 5th level fighter stuff. However, you choose a "favored class" which allows you to earn extra perks for leveling up that class, which you wouldn't get in that scenario. Since most people are playing just a single class, it's just a pure bonus all the time.

At first level, and any time you level up, you get 3 options:

1) +1 HP
2) +1 Skill point
3) One level of a specific bonus your race and class combination is allowed to gain.

Most of the time, option 3 is WAY worse than 1 or 2, which is a shame, because it's usually something more personal. Like, since there's no fractions in the game, you don't get a bonus until you gain a full +1 of something, but those racial bonuses are frequently tied to a +1/4th of a use of an ability, so you have to take that bonus 4 times over 4 levels to get one extra use. Not worth it.