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Kobold

Jiggy's page

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32. RPG Superstar 6 Season Marathon Voter, 7 Season Dedicated Voter, 8 Season Dedicated Voter. FullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 20,483 posts (24,654 including aliases). 17 reviews. 4 lists. 1 wishlist. 13 Pathfinder Society characters. 37 aliases.


Full Name

Jacob Kellogg

About Jiggy

Work in Progress:
Every so often, someone will come along and start a thread asking for some kind of reference point for what kind of AC or to-hit or other bonuses they should aim for with their characters. Pathfinder gives you lots and lots of ways to build your final bonus on a given stat, but doesn't give you much explicit guidance on what kind of targets the system is assuming you can hit. The closest we've got (before getting into specialized splat books) is the Monster Creation Guidelines, which gives ballpark stats for monsters you might face at a given CR. However, that still leaves you wondering how reliably you're assumed to be able to hit those numbers. For example, if a monster of a given CR has AC 18, do I want to be hitting on a 12? Hitting on an 8? Hitting on a 3? Thus, the guidance is still minimal. I aim to provide some clearer guidance.

The Purpose
The idea here is NOT to tell you how to build your characters. The goal is just to provide information. I'm just going to lay out the default assumptions of the Pathfinder ruleset and crunch the numbers so that you have a baseline to look at; I'm not telling you that you have to match these.

Think of it like a compass: a compass is just telling you which way north is, not where you have to go. In the same way, taking this post as somehow belittling your deviations from these baselines would be like taking the compass' needle as belittling you for wanting to walk east. All I'm doing is giving you the ability to make informed decisions; they're still YOUR decisions. Own them and enjoy them. :)

The Methodology

Ability Scores — As per the published NPC creation guidelines, I'll be using the recommended stats for PC-classed NPCs, called the Heroic NPC Stat Array: 15/14/13/12/10/8. Compare this to your group's stat generation method to determine adjustments to the benchmarks. The 15 goes into your primary stat, and future stat investment will largely go into the primary stat as well (that is, it gets the level-based bonuses and first priority for stat-boosting items).

Magic Items — The benchmarks will be assuming standard Wealth by Level. Again, compare this to your own campaign's treasure trends to determine adjustments. Additionally, the WBL guidelines have this to say about how wealth is spent: "For a balanced approach, PCs that are built after 1st level should spend no more than 25% of their wealth on weapons, 25% on armor and protective devices, 25% on other magic items, 15% on disposable items like potions, scrolls, and wands, and 10% on ordinary gear and coins. Different character types might spend their wealth differently than these percentages suggest; for example, arcane casters might spend very little on weapons but a great deal more on other magic items and disposable items." That last part is important, so I'll be listing role-oriented variations with the benchmarks.

Magic items will be included when they can reasonably be afforded within the allotted budget, adjusting for how many items share that category. For instance, a fighter's primary weapon might comprise over half of his Offense budget, while his Defense budget is split between AC and saves. Stat-boosting items will be in the "Magic" category.

Feats — Feats will be mostly ignored. When referencing these benchmarks, readers should keep in mind how conservative that makes these numbers.

Class Features — Class features relevant to these benchmarks will be included if they're static (such as a fighter's Weapon Training) and will be assumed to be used intelligently (for instance, a fighter picks a weapon group he actually uses).

Boosts — Temporary bonuses, such as haste or other limited-use buffs, will not be included. Adjust as appropriate for your situation.

The Benchmarks
Ready? Here we go!

Attack Bonus
We'll be looking at a vanilla human fighter for this benchmark.

Relevant budget portions are Offense at 30% of WBL and Magic at 30% of WBL. Of those, we're assuming that some of Offense goes to backup weapons, so we're only looking at 80% of the Offense budget. We'll assume that half of the Magic budget goes to STR boosters. All together, this means 25% of WBL is the fighter's primary weapon and 15% of WBL is STR boosters. The actual GP values of these budgets will be listed for each level.

Since many builds will include Power Attack, the attack bonuses will be listed first without Power Attack, and then in italics with the PA penalty figured in.

Again, we're using a fighter for this benchmark, which means full BAB. To adjust for a 3/4 BAB weapon-user, subtract 1 from these bonuses at each of levels 1, 5, 9, 13, and 17. Make further adjustments as needed.

It's worth noting that even with the above assumptions, we actually end up with a good deal of leftover cash, so these numbers should be taken as rather conservative; it wouldn't take any significant effort to get higher, and in fact these numbers could be exceeded by accident.

01. +4 +3 Off:–/Mag:– STR 17
02. +5 +4 Off:250/Mag:150
03. +7 +6 Off:750/Mag:450 Masterwork weapon
04. +9 +7 Off:1,500/Mag:900 STR 18
05. +11 +9 Off:2,625/Mag:1,575 +1 weapon, WT1
06. +12 +10 Off:4,000/Mag:2,400
07. +13 +11 Off:5,875/Mag:3,525
08. +15 +12 Off:8,250/Mag:4,950 STR 21
09. +18 +15 Off:11,500/Mag:6,900 +2 weapon, WT2
10. +19 +16 Off:15,500/Mag:9,300
11. +21 +18 Off:20,500/Mag:12,300 +3 weapon
12. +24 +20 Off:27,000/Mag:16,200 STR 24
13. +27 +23 Off:35,000/Mag:21,000 +4 weapon, WT3
14. +28 +24 Off:46,250/Mag:27,750
15. +31 +27 Off:60,000/Mag:36,000 +5 weapon, STR 26
16. +32 +27 Off:78,750/Mag:47,250 STR 27
17. +34 +29 Off:102,500/Mag:61,500 WT4
18. +36 +31 Off:132,500/Mag:79,500 STR 28
19. +37 +32 Off:171,250/Mag:102,750 STR 29
20. +39 +33 Off:220,000/Mag:132,000 STR 30

Damage Bonus (per hit)
For this, we're going to assume the same basic fighter paradigm as the Attack Bonus and calculate the size of the damage bonus applied to each hit. We're not messing with weapon damage dice, since those don't scale. Now, obviously, if you replace the flat enhancement bonuses on your weapon with damage-only abilities like flaming, things change. Adjust as necessary.

As before, Power Attack totals are in italics after the non-PA totals. The bonuses below reflect a one-handed weapon, relevant for sword-and-board types. If you're using a two-handed weapon, then pick the appropriate value, subtract the weapon's enhancement bonus, multiply what's left by 1.5, then add the enhancement bonus back in.

01. +3 +5 Off:–/Mag:– STR 17
02. +3 +5 Off:250/Mag:150
03. +3 +5 Off:750/Mag:450 Masterwork weapon
04. +4 +8 Off:1,500/Mag:900 STR 18
05. +6 +10 Off:2,625/Mag:1,575 +1 weapon, WT1
06. +6 +10 Off:4,000/Mag:2,400
07. +6 +10 Off:5,875/Mag:3,525
08. +7 +13 Off:8,250/Mag:4,950 STR 21
09. +9 +15 Off:11,500/Mag:6,900 +2 weapon, WT2
10. +9 +15 Off:15,500/Mag:9,300
11. +10 +16 Off:20,500/Mag:12,300 +3 weapon
12. +12 +20 Off:27,000/Mag:16,200 STR 24
13. +14 +22 Off:35,000/Mag:21,000 +4 weapon, WT3
14. +14 +22 Off:46,250/Mag:27,750
15. +16 +24 Off:60,000/Mag:36,000 +5 weapon, STR 26
16. +16 +26 Off:78,750/Mag:47,250 STR 27
17. +17 +27 Off:102,500/Mag:61,500 WT4
18. +18 +28 Off:132,500/Mag:79,500 STR 28
19. +18 +28 Off:171,250/Mag:102,750 STR 29
20. +19 +31 Off:220,000/Mag:132,000 STR 30

Armor Class

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Spell Save DCs

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