Creating a character

Step 1: Create a concept

What sort of hero you want to play? As simple as: “a brave warrior”, or as complicated as “the child of elven wanderers, but raised in a city dominated by humans and devoted to Sarenrae, goddess of the sun”.

Consider character’s personality, sketch out a few details about their past, and think about how and why they adventure.

Step 2: Start building ability scores

Your character’s ability scores each start at 10, and as you select your ancestry, background and class, you’ll apply ability boosts, which increase a score by 2, and ability flaws, which decrease a score by 2.

Step 3: Select an ancestry

More info

Detailed information on ancestries is located in Pathfinder Core Book from page 34.

You’ll make four decisions when you select your character’s ancestry:

  • Pick the ancestry itself.
  • Assign any free ability boosts and decide if you are taking any voluntary flaws. See ^ability-scores.
  • Select a heritage from those available within that ancestry, further defining the traits your character ws born with.
  • Choose an ancestry feat, representing an ability your hero learned from an early age.

013 - Ability scores

Characters are defined by ability scores. There are six ability scores in the game:

  • Strength — represents a character’s physical might,
  • Dexterity — represents agility and the ability to avoid danger,
  • Constitution — indicates a character’s overall health and well-being,
  • Intelligence — represents raw knowledge and problem-solving ability,
  • Wisdom — measures a character’s insight and the ability to evaluate a situation,
  • Charisma — indicates charm, persuasiveness, and the force of personality.

Go to Table: Ability modifiers to see how to calculate modifiers out of scores.

Link to original
^ability-scores

Step 4: Pick a background

Your character’s background might represent their upbringing, an aptitude they’ve been honing since their youth, or another aspect of their life before they became an adventurer. Backgrounds typically provide two specific ability boosts (one that can be applied to either of two specific ability scores, and on that is free), training in a specific skill, training in a Lore skill, and a specific skill feat.

Step 5: Choose a class

You don’t need to write down all of your character’s class features yet. You simply need to know which class you want to play, which determines the ability scores that will be most important for your characters.

Step 6: Determine ability scores

Do these three things:

  • Make sure you’ve applied the ability boosts and ability flaws you’ve noted in previous steps (from your ancestry, background, and class).
  • Apply four more ability boosts to your character’s ability scores, choosing a different ability score for each and increasing that ability score by 2.
  • Record your starting ability scores and ability modifiers, as determined using Ability modifiers table.

    011 - Ability modifiers

    Ability scoreModifier
    1-5
    2–3-4
    4–5-3
    6–7-2
    8–9-1
    10–11+0
    12–13+1
    14–15+2
    16–17+3
    18–19+4
    20–21+5
    22–23+6
    24–25+7
    etc…

    Ability modifiers can be expressed as:

    Link to original

Remember

Each ability boost adds 2 to the base score of 10, and each ability flaw subtracts 2. You should have no ability score lower than 8 or higher than 18.

Step 7: Record class details

Make sure to record the following class features:

  • To determine your character’s total starting Hit Points, add together the number of Hit Points your character gains from the ancestry and the number of Hit Points they gain from their class.
  • The Initial Proficiencies section of your class entry indicates your character’s staring proficiencies ranks in a number of areas. Choose which skills your character is trained in and record those, along with the ones set by your class. If your class would make you trained in a skill you’re already trained in (typically due to your background), you can select another skill to become trained in.
  • See the class advancements table in your class entry to learn the class features your character gains at 1st level — but remember, you already chose an ancestry and background. Some classes features require you to make additional choices, such as selecting spells.

Step 8: Buy equipment

At 1st level, your character has 15 gold pieces (150 silver pieces) to spend on armor, weapons, and other basic equipment.

Step 9: Calculate modifiers

If your proficiency rank for a statistic is trained, expert, master, and legendary, your bonus equals your character’s level plus another number based on the rank (2, 4, 6, and 8, respectively). If your character is untrained, your proficiency bonus is +0.

  • perception,
  • saving throws,
  • melee strikes and ranged strikes,
  • skills.

Step 10: Finishing details

Add the following details to your character sheet:

Alignment

Your character’s alignment in an indicator of their morality and personality. If your alignment has any components other than neutral, your character gains the traits of those alignment components. This might affect the way various spells, items, and creatures interact with your character.

012 - Nine alignments

GoodNeutralEvil
LawfulLawful Good
(LG)
Lawful Neutral
(LN)
Lawful Evil
(LE)
NeutralNeutral Good
(NG)
True neutral
(N)
Neutral Evil
(NE)
ChaoticChaotic Good
(CG)
Chaotic Neutral
(CN)
Chaotic Evil
(CE)
Link to original

Deity

Write down the deity your character worships, if any.

Age

Decide your character’s age and note it.

Gender and pronouns

Record your player’s gender, if applicable, and their pronouns.

Class DC

A class DC sets the difficulty for certain abilities granted by your character’s class. The DC equals 10 plus their proficiency bonus for their class DC (+3 for most 1st-level characters) plus the modifier for the class’s key ability score.

Hero points

Your character usually beings each game session with 1 Hero Point, and you gain additional Hero Points during sessions by performing heroic deeds or devising clever strategies. Your character can use Hero Points to gain certain benefits, such as starving off death or re-rolling a d20.

Armor class (AC)

To calculate AC, add 10 plus your character’s Dexterity modifier (up to their armor’s Dexterity modifier cap), plus their proficiency bonus with their armor, plus their armor’s item bonus to AC and any other permanent bonuses and penalties.

Bulk

Your character’s maximum Bulk determines how much weight they can comfortably carry. If they’re carrying a total amount of Bulk that exceeds 5 plus their Strength modifier, they are encumbered. A character can’t carry a total amount of Bulk that exceeds 10 plus their Strength modifier.

10 light items make up 1 Bulk.