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All Rules in Basics

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Character Creation

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 14
From the sly rogue to the stalwart paladin, the Pathfinder RPG allows you to make the character you want to play. When generating a character, start with your character’s concept. Do you want a character who goes toe-to-toe with terrible monsters, matching sword and shield against claws and fangs? Or do you want a mystical seer who draws his powers from the great beyond to further his own ends? Nearly anything is possible.

Once you have a general concept worked out, use the following steps to bring your idea to life, recording the resulting information and statistics on your Pathfinder RPG character sheet, which can be found at the back of this book and photocopied for your convenience.

Step 1— Determine Ability Scores: Start by generating your character’s ability scores. These six scores determine your character’s most basic attributes and are used to decide a wide variety of details and statistics. Some class selections require you to have better than average scores for some of your abilities.

Step 2—Pick Your Race: Next, pick your character’s race, noting any modifiers to your ability scores and any other racial traits (see Chapter 2). There are seven basic races to choose from, although your GM might have others to add to the list. Each race lists the languages your character automatically knows, as well as a number of bonus languages. A character knows a number of additional bonus languages equal to his or her Intelligence modifier.

Step 3—Pick Your Class: A character’s class represents a profession, such as fighter or wizard. If this is a new character, he starts at 1st level in his chosen class. As he gains experience points (XP) for defeating monsters, he goes up in level, granting him new powers and abilities.

Step 4—Pick Skills and Select Feats: Determine the number of skill ranks possessed by your character, based on his class and Intelligence modifier (and any other bonuses, such as the bonus received by humans). Then spend these ranks on skills, but remember that you cannot have more ranks than your level in any one skill (for a starting character, this is usually one). After skills, determine how many feats your character receives, based on his class and level, and select them from those presented in Chapter 5.

Step 5—Buy Equipment: Each new character begins the game with an amount of gold, based on his class, that can be spent on a wide range of equipment and gear, from chainmail armor to leather backpacks. This gear helps your character survive while adventuring. Generally speaking, you cannot use this starting money to buy magic items without the consent of your GM.

Step 6—Finishing Details: Finally, you need to determine all of a character’s details, including his starting hit points (hp), Armor Class (AC), saving throws, initiative modifier, and attack values. All of these numbers are determined by the decisions made in previous steps. A level 1 character begins with maximum hit points for its Hit Die roll. Aside from these, you need to decide on your character’s name, alignment, and physical appearance. It is best to jot down a few personality traits as well, to help you play the character during the game. Additional rules (like age and alignment) are described in Chapter 7.

Age

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 168
You can choose or randomly generate your character’s age. If you choose it, it must be at least the minimum age for the character’s race and class (see Table 7–1). Alternatively, roll the dice indicated for your class on Table 7–1 and add the result to the minimum age of adulthood for your race to determine how old your character is.

Table 7-1: Random Starting Ages

RaceAdulthoodBarbarian, Rogue, SorcererBard, Fighter, Paladin, RangerCleric, Druid, Monk, Wizard
Human15 years+1d4+1d6+2d6
Dwarf40 years+3d6+5d6+7d6
Elf110 years+4d6+6d6+10d6
Gnome40 years+4d6+6d6+9d6
Half-elf20 years+1d6+2d6+3d6
Half-orc14 years+1d4+1d6+2d6
Halfling20 years+2d4+3d6+4d6

With age, a character’s physical ability scores decrease and his mental ability scores increase (see Table 7–2). The effects of each aging step are cumulative. However, none of a character’s ability scores can be reduced below 1 in this way.When a character reaches venerable age, secretly roll his maximum age (on Table 7–2) and record the result, which the player does not know. A character who reaches his maximum age dies of old age sometime during the following year.

The maximum ages are for player characters. Most people in the world at large die from pestilence, accidents, infections, or violence before getting to venerable age.

Table 7-2: Aging Effects

RaceMiddle Age1Old2Venerable3Maximum Age
Human35 years53 years70 years70 + 2d20 years
Dwarf125 years188 years250 years250 + 2d% years
Elf175 years263 years350 years350 + 4d% years
Gnome100 years150 years200 years200 + 3d% years
Half-elf62 years93 years125 years125 + 3d20 years
Half-orc30 years45 years60 years60 + 2d10 years
Halfling50 years75 years100 years100 + 5d20 years
1 At middle age, -1 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha
2 At old age, -2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha
3 at venerable age, -3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha

Height and Weight

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 169
To determine a character’s height, roll the modifier dice indicated on Table 7–3 and add the result, in inches, to the base height for your character’s race and gender. To determine a character’s weight, multiply the result of the modifier dice by the weight multiplier and add the result to the base weight for your character’s race and gender.

Table 7-3: random Height and Weight

RaceBase HeightBase WeightModifierWeight Multiplier
Human, male4 ft. 10 in.120 lbs.2d10× 5 lbs.
Human, female4 ft. 5 in.85 lbs.2d10× 5 lbs.
Dwarf, male3 ft. 9 in.150 lbs.2d4× 7 lbs.
Dwarf, female3 ft. 7 in.120 lbs.2d4× 7 lbs.
Elf, male5 ft. 4 in.100 lbs.2d8× 3 lbs.
Elf, female5 ft. 4 in.90 lbs.2d6× 3 lbs.
Gnome, male3 ft. 0 in.35 lbs.2d4x 1 lb.
Gnome, female2 ft. 10 in.30 lbs.2d4× 1 lb.
Half-elf, male5 ft. 2 in.110 lbs.2d8× 5 lbs.
Half-elf, female5 ft. 0 in.90 lbs.2d8× 5 lbs.
Half-orc, male4 ft. 10 in.150 lbs.2d12× 7 lbs.
Half-orc, female4 ft. 5 in.110 lbs.2d12× 7 lbs.
Halfling, male,2 ft. 8 in.30 lbs.2d4× 1 lb.
Halfling, female2 ft. 6 in.25 lbs.2d4× 1 lb.

Racial Traits

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 8
The following race discussions also describe alternate racial traits for each character race. It is important to note that these racial traits are not the same as the trait rules. Those traits are effectively half-feats, intended to tie characters to the specific nations, cultures, regions, and races of the Golarion campaign world. Racial traits, on the other hand, are those racial abilities described at the bottom of each race’s descriptive page. Some races have few racial traits, like half-orcs and humans. Others, like dwarves and gnomes, have many. All of these racial traits represent typical members of the race and the kinds of special abilities they gain from their heritage, whether from biology, racial attitudes, or otherwise.

This chapter also contains a list of alternate class features for each race. Some of them play on racial archetypes not ref lected in the standard racial traits, like a gnome’s love of languages or tinkering or a half ling’s mastery of thrown items or of slipping through a battlefield under the feet of larger races. In order to choose one of these racial traits, you must exchange one or more of the existing racial traits available to your character. These racial traits replace a character’s normal racial traits; they are not abilities gained in addition to them. In many cases, racial abilities are exchanged on a one-to-one basis; you give up one racial ability from the Core Rulebook to gain one presented in this book. In other cases, you may have to exchange more than one racial trait to take one of these alternate racial traits. For example, a gnome may eschew the militant path and exchange defensive training and hatred for the gift of tongues, while other magic-using gnomes might forgo the traditional gnome specialty of illusion magic to become a magical linguist or even a pyromaniac.

You can exchange one or several of your character’s normal racial traits, but of course you cannot exchange the same racial trait more than once. If a human exchanges the skilled trait to become either a child of the fields or a child of the street, she cannot exchange it twice to take both new traits. However, she could choose one of those as an alternate racial trait while also exchanging her bonus feat racial trait to gain an eye for talent.

As with any alternate or optional rule, you must first get the permission of your GM to exchange any of your character’s normal racial traits for those in this chapter.

Archetypes

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 72
From the noble paladin to the skillful rogue, each core class in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game draws upon a central archetype. Yet, beyond that basic concept exists the potential for innumerable interpretations, details, and refinements. The fighter class, for example, might easily be sculpted into a dead-eye archer, a fleet-footed duelist, a stealthy jungle hunter, or countless other types of martial masters, all refined by a player’s choice of details, class options, and specific rules. Yet some archetypes prove pervasive and exciting enough to see use in play time and time again. To help players interested in creating iconic fantasy characters, the following pages explore new rules, options, and alternate class features for each core class. So while most druids wander the woods, some track through the vast desert, reveling in what the wastes have to offer. Such optional features represent a unique view of what a class deliberately designed to capture a specific character archetype might become. While the types of options presented for each core class differ, each subsystem is customized to best serve that class, emulate the abilities and talents of classic fantasy archetypes, and expand players’ freedom to design exactly the characters they desire.

Alternate Class Features

Most of the options presented on the following pages include a host of alternate class features. When a character selects a class, he must choose to use the standard class features found in the Core Rulebook or those listed in one of the archetypes presented here. Each alternate class feature replaces a specific class feature from its parent class. For example, the elemental fist class feature of the monk of the four winds replaces the stunning fist class feature of the monk. When an archetype includes multiple class features, a character must take all of them—often blocking the character from ever gaining certain familiar class features, but replacing them with equally powerful options. All of the other class features found in the core class and not mentioned among the alternate class features remain unchanged and are acquired normally when the character reaches the appropriate level (unless noted otherwise). A character who takes an alternate class feature does not count as having the class feature that was replaced when meeting any requirements or prerequisites.

A character can take more than one archetype and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the core class as another alternate class feature. For example, a paladin could not be both a hospitaler and an undead scourge since they both modify the smite evil class feature and both replace the aura of justice class feature. A paladin could, however, be both an undead scourge and a warrior of the holy light, since none of their new class features replace the same core class feature.

Adapting Existing Characters

Players with existing characters should talk with their GM about whether on not these alternate class features are available in her game, and if so, whether they can recreate their characters to adopt them. As alternate class features are designed to be balanced when compared to those in the core class, players who revise their characters shouldn’t be gaining any special advantage over other party members. As long as the GM is comfortable with retroactively adjusting character specifics, there should be no disruption to future adventures. Typically, the best time for a player to adopt alternate class features and significantly revise his character is when leveling up between adventures, though he should always check with the GM before doing so, as she may wish to work significant changes to a character into the campaign.

While the GM might want to make concessions for players who didn’t have these alternate class features available to them when creating their characters, PCs should be one of the most constant elements of a campaign. Constantly changing and recreating characters can prove problematic to a campaign. While the GM should be willing to adapt and may allow players who grow bored with their characters to redefine them, alternate class abilities shouldn’t feel like exploitable options allowing PCs to build and rebuild their characters in whatever ways seem most advantageous at a given moment. Allowing players to remake characters in light of newly adopted rules may be desirable on occasion, but GMs shouldn’t feel like they’re being unfair or breaking any rule by not allowing players to rebuild characters or by disallowing certain options. While the GM should always strive to help players run the characters they want, ultimately she knows what’s best for the campaign.

Character Background

Source Ultimate Campaign pg. 8
A character background details the significant events, people, and life experiences that make up the origin story of a character prior to his or her role in the saga of a campaign. Some characters are born under extraordinary circumstances, heralded by prophecy and omen; others live completely ordinary lives until some dramatic event casts them onto the dangerous roads traveled by heroes and monsters. A character’s background forms the basis for complex motivations and emotional vulnerabilities, and these past experiences guide the way the character responds to circumstances in his or her present life. As the child of a goddess and a mortal, do you view ordinary creatures as inferior beings? Having grown up in abject poverty, how do you react when someone steals from you? If a militant theocracy burned your siblings as heretics, how do you respond to clerics of other religions? When playing a new character, the details in your background give you a quick handle on your past, making it easier to slip into the character’s skin and embrace this mind-set in play. As the campaign proceeds, your early adventures gradually become part of that background—a seamless chain of events that make up your life and contribute to your constantly changing and evolving persona.

Traits

Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 326
Character traits are abilities that are not tied to your character’s race or class. They can enhance your character’s skills, racial abilities, class abilities, or other statistics, enabling you to further customize him. At its core, a character trait is approximately equal in power to half a feat, so two character traits are roughly equivalent to a bonus feat. Yet a character trait isn’t just another kind of power you can add on to your character—it’s a way to quantify (and encourage) building a character background that fits into your campaign world. Think of character traits as “story seeds” for your background; after you pick your two traits, you’ll have a point of inspiration from which to build your character’s personality and history. Alternatively, if you’ve already got a background in your head or written down for your character, you can view picking his traits as a way to quantify that background, just as picking race and class and ability scores quantifies his other strengths and weaknesses.

Many traits grant a new type of bonus: a “trait” bonus. Trait bonuses do not stack—they’re intended to give player characters a slight edge, not a secret backdoor way to focus all of a character’s traits on one type of bonus and thus gain an unseemly advantage. It’s certainly possible, for example, that somewhere down the line, a “Courageous” trait might be on the list of dwarf race traits, but just because this trait is on both the dwarf race traits list and the basic combat traits list doesn’t mean you’re any more brave if you choose both versions than if you choose only one.

Character traits are only for player characters. If you want an NPC to have traits, that NPC must “buy” them with the Additional Traits feat. Player characters are special; they’re the stars of the game, after all, and it makes sense that they have an advantage over the NPCs of the world in this way.