I’ve run into having to explain character creation in Pathfinder to a bunch of different groups, so I figured I would finally write a big post describing my groups’ process.

The basic steps are outlined here.

01. Character Concept

The first thing You need to do, though, is have a character concept. It’s important to have an idea of the kind of character You might like to play, because it helps to guide Your decisions going forward with the character creation.

It can be as simple as ‘A warrior’, or as complex as ‘A disgraced noble who wants to clear his name by doing good deeds’. It shouldn’t be more than one or two sentences though, because that’ll come during character creation.

02. Attributes

Next, is Your attributes. I usually have my players do a 20 point point-buy, which You can do without a problem using this calculator. And here’s a good article on maximizing Your character’s bonuses using a 20 point buy. If You’re wondering what the attributes say about Your character, Paizo describes them well here.

The reason I don’t roll 3d6 in order (or any derivative of that), especially for newcomers, is that it takes away player agency in favor of adding randomness… Which is the opposite of what I like to do in my games.

03. Class and Race

Once You have Your Attributes selected, You pick a race and a class. Unlike some older games, there are no restrictions as to which race can pick which class. You can pick any combination.

Generally, I suggest people pick a class first if they are stuck, because otherwise You end up with a lot of Elven Wizards, Halfling Rogues, Dwarven Clerics, Human Fighters, Gnomish Illusionists/Bards, Half-Elven Rangers/Druids, and Half-Orc Barbarians. There’s nothing wrong with any of those, but there’s no reason a Dwarf has to be a Cleric. Picking the class first helps people avoid those stereotypes influencing their decisions.

04. Skills

Once You have those picked, It’s time for Skills. This is a little tricky for newcomers, just because it looks complex. To keep things simple: At level 1, You get a certain number plus Your Int Bonus (say 4+2). That means You have 6 ranks to spend.

You also have a few skills which Your class is generally good at. These are Your class skills, and they get a +3 bonus if You have spent at least one rank in them.

You can only spend as many ranks on a skill as You have levels, so the most You can spend on a skill right now is 1. A simple way to quickly spend them is to buy as many of Your class skills as You can. If You don’t just wanna do that, Good skills to spend on are Perception, Sense Motive, and Stealth.

05. Feats

Next is Feats, which are simple enough. You get one at first level, an extra one if You took a Fighter-based class, and an extra one if You are human.

Feats are little traits that make Your character better at something. Picking Feats is a hotly debated topic, so I can’t give any broad recommendations, but when all else fails Toughness is never a bad choice.

06. Equipment

Second to last is Your Equipment. There are Kits for most classes, or that will work well with similar classes. I suggest buying those, a weapon, some armor, and then looking at what You have left to spend.

07. Details

Finally, looking at Your sheet, fill in any and all blanks. No bonus? Write a Zero. Not able to be used? Type an —. This helps when You are looking at Your sheet and Wondering what Your Swim Skill is, only to find that You didn’t fill it out because You spent no ranks on it, and now Your character is drowning and everything sucks.

This is also when any details You skipped at the beginning get filled in: What they look like, Where they’re from, Who they worship, etc.

And there You go, all done! Easy as 1-2-3-4-5-6-7… I know. But, it gets easier the more You do it. And You are all done now! Congrats!

Categories:  Games 
Tags:  pathfinder  guide  character-creation