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Experience Builds Character

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Making a character in Pathfinder Second Edition is a process that most experienced gamers will find familiar, but wherever possible, we made changes to make the process more intuitive while still giving you a mountain of choices and flexibility. It all starts with imagining the character you want to play. Maybe you want to be a ferocious dwarven warrior who takes on the aspects of an animal in the heat of battle. Maybe you want to play a wise-cracking elven con artist who grew up on the streets, but now plays at being a member of high society. Or maybe you just want to make a mysterious wizard that loves to blow things up. Pathfinder gives you all the tools to make these characters and countless more! Even if you don't have a complete concept in mind, the steps of character creation in Pathfinder are there to help you make the big decisions and focus in on a character that you are excited to play.

Learning your ABCs

With a concept in mind (no matter how fully formed), the next step is to make the major decisions about your character. We call these decisions your ABCs because you need to decide on your character's Ancestry, Background, and Class. By making these big choices, along with any additional decisions that come with each, the character you want to play will take shape!

Think of these choices as deciding the major moments in your character's youth. First off you were born, the details of which are decided by your Ancestry. Next up is your youth, which is molded by your Background. Finally, your Class decides the life you have chosen to live as an adventurer. Along each step of the way, you will make additional decisions that reinforce and shape the image of your character. Chief among these are your ability scores. Each step of your ABCs impacts your ability scores, giving boosts and flaws to these six vital stats, changing your raw potential to accomplish tasks and overcome danger.

Details and Polish

Throughout the character creation process, you must record a variety of details about your character. Many of these are simple proficiency upgrades, noting your character's aptitude at performing specific tasks or resisting effects. Others require you to select from a list of options, like your ancestry's heritage or a feat from your class. Every single choice you make influences what you can accomplish during play, making you different from the others around you. Even if some of the big choices are the same, these smaller decisions can make two clerics, for example, play entirely differently. One might be a virtuous warrior priest, fighting for her deity with blade and shield, while the other is a pious adherent, using spells and sermons to preach a peaceful path.

Once all of the choices have been made, it's time to buy your starting gear and begin filling out all of your statistics. Starting heroes have precious few gold pieces to start with and buying the right gear can mean the difference between a glorious career and a forgotten grave.

Illustration of Iakhovas by Giorgio Baroni

 

Iakhovas
To illustrate this process, I'll be building a Second Edition version of one of my First Edition Pathfinder Society characters, named Iakhovas.


Step 1: Create a Concept

What sort of hero do you want to play? The answer to this question might be 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 your character's personality, sketch out a few details about their past, and think about how and why they adventure. Many character concepts center around the character's class, their ancestry, or both, so it might be a good idea to flip through the available ancestries and classes to help inspire you. The Core Rulebook includes a helpful spread with a quick summary of each.

Your character's concept might also center around their background, personal identity, deity, relationship to the other characters, or anything else you can imagine!

Iakhovas: Concept
My concept for Iakhovas was a defense-focused master of all martial techniques, skilled and willing to protect and train others, shaped by the death of his sister and his revenge against the vampire Talia Nightcrescent, whose staking makes him a wanted murderer in the undead-dominated nation of Geb. This concept means Iakhovas is a Garundi human, probably either a fighter or a monk.


Step 2: Start Building Ability Scores

Start all ability scores at 10 in preparation for the later steps. This is a good time to start thinking about what ability scores will be important for your character. You can even jot down your ability scores as you adjust them on your character sheet.

Above you'll see a character sheet with numbered indicators to show you where you need to write something in each numbered step.

Iakhovas: Ability Scores
I start all of Iakhovas's ability scores at 10. Thinking about the way I see him fighting, I think he's likely to fight with a combination of strength and grace in order to be a master of all martial techniques, so I'm likely to prioritize Dexterity and Strength. I see him as being wise and fit as well, so if I get a chance, I might want to raise Constitution or Wisdom.


Step 3: Select an Ancestry

Select an ancestry for your character. Ancestry determines your character's size, Speed, and languages, and contributes to their Hit Points. Each also grants ability boosts and ability flaws to represent the ancestry's basic capabilities.

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.
  • Select a heritage from those available within that ancestry, further defining the traits your character was born with.
  • Choose an ancestry feat, representing an ability your hero learned at an early age.

Iakhovas: Ancestry
Since I selected human for Iakhovas's ancestry, he is Medium size, has a 25-foot Speed, speaks Common and Osiriani to start, and begins with 8 Hit Points from his ancestry.

Both of his ability boosts are free, so I assign them to Strength and Dexterity, the two I decided were most important to him in Step 2. This brings him to 12 Strength and Dexterity. I don't see Iakhovas as being particularly unintelligent or uncharismatic, and I said I wanted to try to raise the other four ability scores, so I won't be taking any voluntary flaws.

Skilled Heritage: Your ingenuity allows you to train in a wide variety of skills. You become trained in one skill of your choice. At 5th level, you become an expert in the chosen skill.For Iakhovas's heritage, I have some great options. Mechanically, the half-elf and half-orc heritages bring a lot to the table, with better vision and access to some excellent new feats, but conceptually, I pictured Iakhovas as a standard human. I eventually choose the skilled heritage, since that will help me fulfill my concept of being skilled a little better, even if I can't invest as much in Intelligence. Since I want him to be a master of all martial techniques, I choose Athletics as his trained skill from his heritage.

Natural Ambition, Feat 1. Human. You were raised to be ambitious and always reach for the stars, leading you to progress quickly in your chosen field. You gain a 1st-level class feat for your class. You must meet the prerequisites, but you can select the feat later in the character creation process in order to determine which prerequisites you meet.Finally, I choose an ancestry feat. Haughty Obstinancy has a nice benefit against vampiric domination, but it doesn't really fit his personality. Natural Skill would give him yet more skills, and Cooperative Nature would grant him an incredible +4 circumstance bonus to Aiding his allies, both of which fit his concept, but eventually I decide to take Natural Ambition, which will grant him another class feat and help him be a master of all martial techniques. I can wait and choose the class feat later on, as Natural Ambition mentions.


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. They typically provide two ability boosts (one that can be applied to either of two specific ability scores, and one that is free), training in a specific skill, training in a Lore skill, and a specific skill feat.

Iakhovas: Background
Iakhovas's background is one of the parts of him that is most difficult to quantify here. He and his sister were used for their blood by a vampire—the sister of a Blood Lord of Geb—until the vampire overfed and killed his sister, breaking him free of his domination and leading him to stake the vampire while she slept. Then wanted for murder, he escaped Geb and joined the Pathfinders, trading his loyalty for the promise of asylum. He is certainly a criminal in Geb, and criminal is a background, but he hasn't really lived the life of a criminal, so the mechanical elements wouldn't make much sense. Laborer is normally a good choice for characters enslaved by evil creatures, but that background is about a life of manual labor, and Iakhovas was kept around for his blood. My other options are acolyte, acrobat, animal whisperer, artisan, artist, barkeep, barrister, bounty hunter, charlatan, detective, emissary, entertainer, farmhand, field medic, fortune teller, gambler, gladiator, guard, herbalist, hermit, hunter, martial disciple, merchant, miner, noble, nomad, prisoner, sailor, scholar, scout, street urchin, tinker, or warrior.

If I was using Lost Omens World Guide, I would have the absolutely perfect background, "Quick."
Quick. Background. Staying alive among the scheming, ravenous undead of Geb required a deep knowledge of their motivations, capabilities, and weaknesses. More often than not, it also required the ability to weave alibis and life-preserving half-truths capable of swaying a stilled heart. Choose two ability boosts. One must be to Charisma or Constitution, and one is a free ability boost. You're trained in the Deception skill and the Undead Lore skill. You gain the Charming Liar skill feat.

As is, I still have a good choice with the core: I can focus not on who he was in Geb but who he has become, and choose martial disciple, so that's what I do.
Martial Disciple. Background. You dedicated yourself to intense training and rigorous study to become a great warrior. The school you attended might have been a traditionalist monastery, an elite military academy, or the local branch of a prestigious mercenary organization. Choose two ability boosts. One must be to Strength or Dexterity, and one is a free ability boost. You're trained in your choice of the Acrobatics or Athletics skill. You gain a skill feat: Cat Fall if you chose Acrobatics or Quick Jump if you chose Athletics. You're also trained in the Warfare Lore skill.

For my ability score, I can't go wrong since it has my two favorite options! I take Strength and Dexterity both (They are both now 14). I'm already trained in Athletics from my heritage, so I choose Acrobatics for my skill, gaining the Cat Fall skill feat. Then I gain Warfare Lore automatically.
Cat Fall. Feat 1. General. Skill. Prerequisites: trained in Acrobatics. Your catlike aerial acrobatics allow you to cushion your falls. Treat falls as 10 feet shorter. If you're an expert in Acrobatics, treat falls as 25 feet shorter. If you're a master in Acrobatics, treat them as 50 feet shorter. If you're legendary in Acrobatics, you always land on your feet and don't take damage, regardless of the distance of the fall.



Step 5: Choose a Class

At this point, you need to decide your character's class. A class gives your character access to a suite of heroic abilities, determines how effectively they fight, and governs how easily they can shake off or avoid certain harmful effects. 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 character.

Iakhovas: Class
OK, this is the moment of truth. I knew I was going to build him as either a monk or a fighter, and now that I've followed him down this journey, I'm thinking monk! It's okay, I'll take the fighter archetype later to really mix up his martial techniques. At this point I'm just recording my key ability score from monk. I get to pick Strength or Dexterity again—my two favorites—but this time I'm forced to choose between them. After a little internal debate, I decide on Strength, so Strength is now 16.


Step 6: Determine Ability Scores

Now that you've made the main mechanical choices about your character, it's time to finalize their ability scores. Do these three things:

  • First, make sure you've applied all the ability boosts and ability flaws you've noted in previous steps (from your ancestry, background, and class).
  • Then, 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.
  • Finally, record your starting ability scores and ability modifiers.
Remember that 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.

Iakhovas: Ability Scores
After applying the previous steps, I have Strength 16, Dexterity 14, and all the rest 10. For my four additional boosts, I'll choose to boost Strength and Dexterity again, and then Wisdom and Constitution, which I had been looking for a way to boost but hadn't until now. This leaves me with Strength 18, Dexterity 16, Constitution 12, Intelligence 10, Wisdom 12, Charisma 10.


Step 7: Record Class Details

Now, record all the benefits and class features that your character receives from the class you've chosen. While you've already noted your key ability score, you'll want to be 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 their ancestry and the number of Hit Points they gain from their class.
  • The Initial Proficiencies section of your class entry indicates your character's starting proficiency 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 advancement 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 class features require you to make additional choices, such as selecting spells.

Iakhovas: Class Details
With 8 Hit Points from his human ancestry, 10 from the monk class, and 1 from Constitution, Iakhovas ends with a very respectable 19 HP. His initial proficiencies tell me he is trained in Perception, has expert proficiency in all three saving throws, is trained in simple weapons and unarmed attacks, is untrained in all armor but has expert proficiency in unarmored defense, and has trained proficiency in monk class DC. He's also trained in a number of skills equal to 4 plus his Intelligence modifier, so four. Since he already has Acrobatics and Athletics, I decide his other skills are Medicine since he would have needed to perform to bandage up and handle lost blood, Stealth for sneaking around and escaping the notice of the undead, Religion to represent his new faith in Pharasma (goddess of death) and his knowledge of undead weaknesses, and Diplomacy to cover the way he likes to instruct new recruits—in a friendly fashion rather than like a drill sergeant.

The advancement table shows me he also gets powerful fist, the incredibly potent Flurry of Blows action, and a monk feat of my choice!
Powerful Fist. You know how to wield your fists as deadly weapons. The damage die for your fist changes to 1d6 instead of 1d4. Most people take a –2 circumstance penalty when making a lethal attack with nonlethal unarmed attacks, because they find it hard to use their fists with deadly force. You don't take this penalty when making a lethal attack with your fist or any other unarmed attacks.

Flurry of Blows [one-action]. Flourish. Monk. Make two unarmed Strikes. If both hit the same creature, combine their damage for the purpose of resistances and weaknesses. Apply your multiple attack penalty to the Strikes normally. As it has the flourish trait, you can use Flurry of Blows only once per turn.

Now it's time to choose my monk feat. And I get two feats, thanks to Natural Ambition. As a master of all martial techniques, I definitely want Iakhovas to have a stance. Looking through the options, there are a lot of very good choices. Dragon Stance and Wolf Stance are both strong using the stats I have right now, but Mountain Stance is tempting, even if it would mean I'd need to go back and rearrange some earlier choices to deprioritize Dexterity.
Dragon Stance [one-action]. Feat 1. Monk. Stance.  Requirements: You are unarmored. You enter the stance of a dragon and make powerful leg strikes like a lashing dragon's tail. You can make dragon tail attacks that deal 1d10 bludgeoning damage. They are in the brawling group and have the backswing, nonlethal, and unarmed traits.
While in Dragon Stance, you can ignore the first square of difficult terrain while Striding.

Mountain Stance [one-action]. Feat 1. Monk. Stance.  Requirements: You are unarmored and touching the ground. You enter the stance of an implacable mountain—a technique first discovered by dwarven monks—allowing you to strike with the weight of an avalanche. The only Strikes you can make are falling stone unarmed attacks. These deal 1d8 bludgeoning damage; are in the brawling group; and have the forceful, nonlethal, and unarmed traits.
While in Mountain Stance, you gain a +4 status bonus to AC and a +2 circumstance bonus to any defenses against being Shoved or Tripped. However, you have a Dexterity modifier cap to your AC of +0, meaning you don't add your Dexterity to your AC, and your Speeds are all reduced by 5 feet.

Wolf Stance [one-action]. Feat 1. Monk. Stance.  Requirements: You are unarmored. You enter the stance of a wolf, low to the ground with your hands held like fanged teeth. You can make wolf jaw unarmed attacks. These deal 1d8 piercing damage; are in the brawling group; and have the agile, backstabber, finesse, nonlethal, and unarmed traits.
If you’re flanking a target while in Wolf Stance, your wolf jaw unarmed attacks also gain the trip trait.

Ki Rush. Focus 1. Uncommon. Monk. Transmutation. Casting [one-action]: verbal. Accelerated by your ki, you move with such speed you become a blur. Move two times: two Strides, two Steps, or one Stride and one Step (in either order). You gain the concealed condition during this movement and until the start of your next turn.  | Ki Strike. Focus 1. Uncommon. Monk. Transmutation. Casting [one-action]: verbal. You focus your ki into magical attacks. Make an unarmed Strike or Flurry of Blows (this doesn't change the limit on using only one flourish per turn). You gain a +1 status bonus to your attack rolls with the Strikes, and the Strikes deal 1d6 extra damage. This damage can be any of the following types of your choice, chosen each time you Strike: force, lawful (only if you're lawful), negative, or positive.

Offense, or mobility? This would grant a great deal of either when I needed them most, and as a monk, I could spend 10 minutes to meditate and strive for inner peace in order to recover my Focus Points, letting me use this in most battles as long as we rest between them. It's the closest call yet, but I decide to go for ki strike. I'll be keeping an eye on the party's offense vs. my ability to outpace my foes' movement and potentially retraining if I find out ki rush would have been more useful.


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. Your character's class lists the types of weapons and armor with which they are trained (or better!). Their weapons determine how much damage they deal in combat, and their armor influences their Armor Class; these calculations are covered in more detail in Step 10. Don't forget essentials such as food and traveling gear!

.

Iakhovas: Equipment
Monk Kit. Price: 4 gp, 9 sp; Bulk: 4 Bulk, 2 light; Money Left Over: 10 gp, 2 sp
Weapons: longspear, staff
Gear: adventurer's pack, bandolier, climbing kit, grappling hook, lesser smokestick As a monk, I don't really need too many weapons or armor, though a ranged weapon would be nice. I'll be fine with a monk's kit for 4 gp and 9 sp, plus maybe 10 javelins for 1 more gp for a ranged attack. Just because Iakhovas hates vampires so much, I spend 3 of my remaining gp on a vial of holy water, leaving plenty of money to help out others if necessary.


Step 9: Calculate Modifiers

With most of the big decisions for your character made, it's time to calculate the modifiers for your statistics. 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.

Iakhovas: Modifiers
Iakhovas winds up with +4 Perception (1 from level, 2 from trained proficiency, 1 from Wisdom), +6 Fortitude, +8 Reflex, +6 Will, +7 to hit with his melee attacks, +6 to hit with his ranged attacks, and a variety of trained skills, ranging from Athletics at +7 to Diplomacy and Warfare Lore at +3. He does 1d6+4 damage with his fist, 1d8+4 with his wolf jaw, and 1d6+4 with his thrown javelins.


Illustration by Mariusz Gandzel

Step 10: Finishing Details

At this point, you fill in all the details, including those to breathe more life into your character's personality like alignment, deity, age, and gender and pronouns, and those last mathematical details that weren't part of your modifiers like class DC, hero points, AC, and Bulk.

Iakhovas
As a devout Pharasmin but a team player who is often selfless in pursuit of protecting others, I definitely see Iakhovas as either neutral or neutral good. I decide on neutral good, and we'll see if that shifts during play. He is in his late 20s, after an early youth lost to vampiric domination. I decide to go with 28. His gender is male and he uses he/him pronouns. His class DC, as we saw before, is trained, and it's based on his Strength, so it would be 17 (10 + 4 from Strength + 1 from level + 2 for being trained). He generally would start a session with 1 Hero Point. His AC would be a solid 18 (10 + 3 from Dexterity + 1 from level + 4 from being an expert). Finally, he is carrying 5 Bulk and 3 light (4 Bulk 2 light from the monk kit, 1 more Bulk entirely of javelins, and then 1 light for holy water). He can carry way more than this, so he can probably help other team members who might be having trouble.


And that's it! What character are you going to be building first in Pathfinder Second Edition? Let me know in the comments below!

Mark Seifter
Designer




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Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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1 person marked this as a favorite.
Some Kind of Chymist wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:


Iakhovas's background is one of the parts of him that is most difficult to quantify here. He and his sister were used for their blood by a vampire—the sister of a Blood Lord of Geb—until the vampire overfed and killed his sister, breaking him free of his domination and leading him to stake the vampire while she slept. Then wanted for murder, he escaped Geb and joined the Pathfinders, trading his loyalty for the promise of asylum. He is certainly a criminal in Geb, and criminal is a background, but he hasn't really lived the life of a criminal, so the mechanical elements wouldn't make much sense. Laborer is normally a good choice for characters enslaved by evil creatures, but that background is about a life of manual labor, and Iakhovas was kept around for his blood. My other options are acolyte, acrobat, animal whisperer, artisan, artist, barkeep, barrister, bounty hunter, charlatan, detective, emissary, entertainer, farmhand, field medic, fortune teller, gambler, gladiator, guard, herbalist, hermit, hunter, martial disciple, merchant, miner, noble, nomad, prisoner, sailor, scholar, scout, street urchin, tinker, or warrior.

Emphasis mine.

Lawyers, we can play lawyers now; clerics of Abadar just got even cooler.

‘Objection!’

*Casts hurling stone*


So, he has a Str mod of +3 and currently has a total Bulk of 5 + 3 light. And this is described as low enough that he can carry more or assist his party members. Does this mean that Bulk limits ramped up from the playtest or that equipment got better gradiation between 1 light and 1 Bulk?

Or is that something we have to hope made it into the GMG?

Paizo Employee Designer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Tectorman wrote:

So, he has a Str mod of +3 and currently has a total Bulk of 5 + 3 light. And this is described as low enough that he can carry more or assist his party members. Does this mean that Bulk limits ramped up from the playtest or that equipment got better gradiation between 1 light and 1 Bulk?

Or is that something we have to hope made it into the GMG?

5 + Strength mod (which is +4) means he could carry 9 Bulk. He is carrying 5 Bulk and 3 light (so like 5.3) out of 9, plenty of room. :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Thank you for the awesome blog post.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Tectorman wrote:

So, he has a Str mod of +3 and currently has a total Bulk of 5 + 3 light. And this is described as low enough that he can carry more or assist his party members. Does this mean that Bulk limits ramped up from the playtest or that equipment got better gradiation between 1 light and 1 Bulk?

Or is that something we have to hope made it into the GMG?

5 + Strength mod (which is +4) means he could carry 9 Bulk. He is carrying 5 Bulk and 3 light (so like 5.3) out of 9, plenty of room. :)

Ok, I missed the Str mod being +4.

This still doesn't allay my concerns, though. Not at all.

Going by the playtest and by what Seelah was depicted as having in the art previews, her maximum starting Bulk would also be 9. Her equipment is a Longsword (1B), Full plate (not something she might have at 1st level, but still a fair assumption) (4B), a Longbow (it looked more like a shortbow to me, but that's what it was called) (2B) plus at least one quiver of arrows (1L), a Shield (1B) plus mandatory repair kit (1B). Throw in a bedroll (1L), one waterskin (1L), and a mere two days' worth of rations (2L), and she's barely scraping by at 9B + 5L.

And that is with a bare minimum of gear, let alone what she would really need to approach a proper level of preparedness. What happens when we throw in a mere 10 additional arrows, a mere three additional days' worth of food, and a dagger (because what self-respecting adventurer isn't going to have a last-resort dagger)?

And this doesn't even address her need to be able to do some manner of looting after raiding a dungeon. She finds one Longsword, deliberately in the adventure as part of the treasure. What does she give up to be able to take it?

That's... not plenty of room. That's suffocatingly small.

Which is why I'm also asking if the actual rules will feature more gradiation. A 9 Bulk limit is far easier to deal with when whole portions of it aren't swallowed up at a time (going from a 1L shortsword to a 3L longsword, as opposed to going from a 1L shortsword to a 1B longsword).

Or is this something the GMG will address?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Some Kind of Chymist wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:


Iakhovas's background is one of the parts of him that is most difficult to quantify here. He and his sister were used for their blood by a vampire—the sister of a Blood Lord of Geb—until the vampire overfed and killed his sister, breaking him free of his domination and leading him to stake the vampire while she slept. Then wanted for murder, he escaped Geb and joined the Pathfinders, trading his loyalty for the promise of asylum. He is certainly a criminal in Geb, and criminal is a background, but he hasn't really lived the life of a criminal, so the mechanical elements wouldn't make much sense. Laborer is normally a good choice for characters enslaved by evil creatures, but that background is about a life of manual labor, and Iakhovas was kept around for his blood. My other options are acolyte, acrobat, animal whisperer, artisan, artist, barkeep, barrister, bounty hunter, charlatan, detective, emissary, entertainer, farmhand, field medic, fortune teller, gambler, gladiator, guard, herbalist, hermit, hunter, martial disciple, merchant, miner, noble, nomad, prisoner, sailor, scholar, scout, street urchin, tinker, or warrior.

Emphasis mine.

Lawyers, we can play lawyers now; clerics of Abadar just got even cooler.

I wonder what skill it grants, diplomacy? intimidation? society? deception? thievery??

Of Abadar? Nah. This is for clerics of Lord Asmodeus.


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For looting, Bag of Holding comes online pretty early. But yeah, full plate users that also want to carry a shield and two non-light weapons is a pretty bulky loadout that would probably be well-advised to either take the General Feat for carrying capacity boost or look to an ally for Ant Haul.

Also a character in a position like this might consider switching to a shortbow to save a bulk. I don't think it's unreasonable that pretty much the most bulk-heavy base equipment build you could make needs to make one or two concessions if they want breathing room to carry more than a tad of excess gear before options to carry more through other means come online.

But that's my take on it. I know not everyone feels the same but I think Bulk is a much better representation of the difficulty of carrying crap than the prevuous system that let you carry around like 10 sets of Full Plate...

Okay, fine, like 4 suits without encumbrance at moderate Str investment in early levels, but it gets up there...


Tectorman wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Tectorman wrote:

So, he has a Str mod of +3 and currently has a total Bulk of 5 + 3 light. And this is described as low enough that he can carry more or assist his party members. Does this mean that Bulk limits ramped up from the playtest or that equipment got better gradiation between 1 light and 1 Bulk?

Or is that something we have to hope made it into the GMG?

5 + Strength mod (which is +4) means he could carry 9 Bulk. He is carrying 5 Bulk and 3 light (so like 5.3) out of 9, plenty of room. :)

Ok, I missed the Str mod being +4.

This still doesn't allay my concerns, though. Not at all.

Going by the playtest and by what Seelah was depicted as having in the art previews, her maximum starting Bulk would also be 9. Her equipment is a Longsword (1B), Full plate (not something she might have at 1st level, but still a fair assumption) (4B), a Longbow (it looked more like a shortbow to me, but that's what it was called) (2B) plus at least one quiver of arrows (1L), a Shield (1B) plus mandatory repair kit (1B). Throw in a bedroll (1L), one waterskin (1L), and a mere two days' worth of rations (2L), and she's barely scraping by at 9B + 5L.

And that is with a bare minimum of gear, let alone what she would really need to approach a proper level of preparedness. What happens when we throw in a mere 10 additional arrows, a mere three additional days' worth of food, and a dagger (because what self-respecting adventurer isn't going to have a last-resort dagger)?

And this doesn't even address her need to be able to do some manner of looting after raiding a dungeon. She finds one Longsword, deliberately in the adventure as part of the treasure. What does she give up to be able to take it?

That's... not plenty of room. That's suffocatingly small.

Which is why I'm also asking if the actual rules will feature more gradiation. A 9 Bulk limit is far easier to deal with when whole portions of it aren't swallowed up at a time (going from a 1L...

You know that the limit is 10+Str, right?

And if you pass 5+Str, just drop your backpack when fighting...

Paizo Employee Designer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Edge93 wrote:

For looting, Bag of Holding comes online pretty early. But yeah, full plate users that also want to carry a shield and two non-light weapons is a pretty bulky loadout that would probably be well-advised to either take the General Feat for carrying capacity boost or look to an ally for Ant Haul.

Also a character in a position like this might consider switching to a shortbow to save a bulk. I don't think it's unreasonable that pretty much the most bulk-heavy base equipment build you could make needs to make one or two concessions if they want breathing room to carry more than a tad of excess gear before options to carry more through other means come online.

But that's my take on it. I know not everyone feels the same but I think Bulk is a much better representation of the difficulty of carrying crap than the prevuous system that let you carry around like 10 sets of Full Plate...

Okay, fine, like 4 suits without encumbrance at moderate Str investment in early levels, but it gets up there...

All that and it's easier to take Hefty Hauler before (or by the time) you get full plate now than it was then.


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So it's sounding like I'm going to have to play an equipment-unintensive character like a Monk or a Sorcerer and obsessively max out their Str score and carrying capacity just to have the logistical capacity to not be overburdened by the fundamental looting that the game is built on.

So. Will the GMG be doing anything to address this?


ChibiNyan wrote:
Some Kind of Chymist wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:


Iakhovas's background is one of the parts of him that is most difficult to quantify here. He and his sister were used for their blood by a vampire—the sister of a Blood Lord of Geb—until the vampire overfed and killed his sister, breaking him free of his domination and leading him to stake the vampire while she slept. Then wanted for murder, he escaped Geb and joined the Pathfinders, trading his loyalty for the promise of asylum. He is certainly a criminal in Geb, and criminal is a background, but he hasn't really lived the life of a criminal, so the mechanical elements wouldn't make much sense. Laborer is normally a good choice for characters enslaved by evil creatures, but that background is about a life of manual labor, and Iakhovas was kept around for his blood. My other options are acolyte, acrobat, animal whisperer, artisan, artist, barkeep, barrister, bounty hunter, charlatan, detective, emissary, entertainer, farmhand, field medic, fortune teller, gambler, gladiator, guard, herbalist, hermit, hunter, martial disciple, merchant, miner, noble, nomad, prisoner, sailor, scholar, scout, street urchin, tinker, or warrior.

Emphasis mine.

Lawyers, we can play lawyers now; clerics of Abadar just got even cooler.

I wonder what skill it grants, diplomacy? intimidation? society? deception? thievery??

Of Abadar? Nah. This is for clerics of Lord Asmodeus.

Poor poor souls. They never read the fine print.


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I am looking forward to building my Goblin Bard named Bass (pronounced like the fish) Trebelmaker.

Dark Archive

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Mark, instead of a human monk you were supposed to create a megalodon Chosen of Sekolah, right? Epic fail! ;P

Paizo Employee Designer

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Andrew Johns 25 wrote:
I am looking forward to building my Goblin Bard named Bass (pronounced like the fish) Trebelmaker.

Cool! I often find when I ask a question at the end of a long blog, mostly people don't answer it because there's too much in the blog on which to comment, so thanks for answering. What sort of muse are you thinking for Bass?


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Tectorman wrote:

So it's sounding like I'm going to have to play an equipment-unintensive character like a Monk or a Sorcerer and obsessively max out their Str score and carrying capacity just to have the logistical capacity to not be overburdened by the fundamental looting that the game is built on.

So. Will the GMG be doing anything to address this?

Yeah, I'm looking at this myself. I'm hoping to at least see some ways to murder Bulk in the GMG.

Mark Seifter wrote:
Hefty Hauler

The strength requirement bugged me with this in the playtest: If you can say, does it keep it in the final game?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Asgetrion wrote:
Mark, instead of a human monk you were supposed to create a megalodon Chosen of Sekolah, right? Epic fail! ;P

I know, I didn't even create Saint James either. And he's much more interesting than either of them.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

My very first character when I started playing RPGs (way back in antiquity) was an Elf Wizard. I may have to do that again. I haven't played a spellcaster in many years.

Dark Archive

Hmmm... it'd be nice to know why 'Quick' was designed as a Geb-specific background? I mean, it's really cool and something I'd certainly want to pick for a character, but mechanically it's quite generic and would (IMO) be perfect in the core rulebook. And why was it named 'Quick', which to me would imply that it's about dexterity and acrobatics rather than deception and wits?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Pakishi wrote:
My very first character when I started playing RPGs (way back in antiquity) was an Elf Wizard. I may have to do that again. I haven't played a spellcaster in many years.

Elves make some nice wizards. The extra move speed can be great for keeping out of trouble!

Paizo Employee Designer

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Asgetrion wrote:
Hmmm... it'd be nice to know why 'Quick' was designed as a Geb-specific background? I mean, it's really cool and something I'd certainly want to pick for a character, but mechanically it's quite generic and would (IMO) be perfect in the core rulebook. And why was it named 'Quick', which to me would imply that it's about dexterity and acrobatics rather than deception and wits?

From Pathfinderwiki

Pathfinderwiki wrote:
Gebbite society in general is divided into three caste: the quick (the living, apart from thralls), the dead (intelligent undead), and chattel (living thralls bred as food, and mindless undead). The quick and the dead are treated equally, while the chattel have no rights.[5] Relations between the quick and the dead are regulated by the Dead Laws, which are designed to ensure that the rights and security of both groups are protected. Of course, as with all nations, not everyone follows the law — visitors still need to be cautious.[3]

Truth be told Iak was chattel for a lot of the time rather than quick, but quick is still a great match for him.


Hmm as for my first character I am thinking of a Gnome or Goblin of some kind, but I tend to come up with characters based on what everyone else is playing but personality and mechanically so who knows!


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Asgetrion wrote:
Hmmm... it'd be nice to know why 'Quick' was designed as a Geb-specific background? I mean, it's really cool and something I'd certainly want to pick for a character, but mechanically it's quite generic and would (IMO) be perfect in the core rulebook. And why was it named 'Quick', which to me would imply that it's about dexterity and acrobatics rather than deception and wits?

In the diagesis "Quick" is the name of one of Geb's three castes. So we call it that, because they call it that. It's like how someone can find paths without being a pathfinder or a detective who does not sleep without being a sleepless detective.

Dark Archive

Mark Seifter wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
Hmmm... it'd be nice to know why 'Quick' was designed as a Geb-specific background? I mean, it's really cool and something I'd certainly want to pick for a character, but mechanically it's quite generic and would (IMO) be perfect in the core rulebook. And why was it named 'Quick', which to me would imply that it's about dexterity and acrobatics rather than deception and wits?

From Pathfinderwiki

Pathfinderwiki wrote:
Gebbite society in general is divided into three caste: the quick (the living, apart from thralls), the dead (intelligent undead), and chattel (living thralls bred as food, and mindless undead). The quick and the dead are treated equally, while the chattel have no rights.[5] Relations between the quick and the dead are regulated by the Dead Laws, which are designed to ensure that the rights and security of both groups are protected. Of course, as with all nations, not everyone follows the law — visitors still need to be cautious.[3]
Truth be told Iak was chattel for a lot of the time rather than quick, but quick is still a great match for him.

Okay, my bad, Mark; sorry about that! Now it makes perfect sense! :)


Given Geb is an undead ruled nation, it is a reference to 'the Quick and the Dead.' That is to say, Quick = Living.

'Tis a biblical idiom, mostly remembered because Westerns.

Dark Archive

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And although Iakhovas is a really cool character, I feel a Chelaxian dwarven monk/librarian would have been the perfect choice! ;)

(You guys have designed the librarian archetype, haven't you?)


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First character is going to have to be an alchemist that multiclasses into ranger after seeing the awesome looking character in the MC archetypes section; followed by a lawyer-cleric of Abadar.

Followed by several dozen more likely never-to-be-played alchemists.

Oh; and if there's a cool bloodline for it; a storm themed sorcerer. If not; a fey bloodline kellid sorcerer banished for being magic.

*Ramble for several more hours about character concepts that he will likely never play #LongTimeReaderNoTimePlayer*

Building characters is fun though.

Oh and a goblin barbarian with low int so i can justify my inability to spell.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Some Kind of Chymist wrote:

First character is going to have to be an alchemist that multiclasses into ranger after seeing the awesome looking character in the MC archetypes section; followed by a lawyer-cleric of Abadar.

Followed by several dozen more likely never-to-be-played alchemists.

Oh; and if there's a cool bloodline for it; a storm themed sorcerer. If not; a fey bloodline kellid sorcerer banished for being magic.

*Ramble for several more hours about character concepts that he will likely never play #LongTimeReaderNoTimePlayer*

Building characters is fun though.

Oh and a goblin barbarian with low int so i can justify my inability to spell.

Neat ideas! Off topic for this blog, but if you mostly don't play for lack of a group, the online community is the fastest growing RPG community and you might be able to find one. If it's more because reading and building is more your jam, that's cool too!


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

First character will be a Monk/Bard so I can play a two handed instrument while making unarmed kicks.


Loved the blog. Looking forward to the book very much, to draw inspiration for a lot of characters! Truth by told, I had missed the question at the end of the blog. Too much info to digest. :)

For my first one, I'm thinking of a Varisian alchemist/barbarian (or barbarian alchemist). Tinkering with mutagens. Occasionally, the mutagen effect triggers by itself, reflected with barbarian rage.

The original PFS1 character that used this concept was a Mutagenic Mauler, duped by his alchemist cousins to 'field-test' their concoctions. I might rebuild him in PF2, or introduce another cousin who's now confident enough to try the stuff herself.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Malk_Content wrote:
First character will be a Monk/Bard so I can play a two handed instrument while making unarmed kicks.

Kicking accordionist with a monkey familiar somehow? (second Multiclass maybe?)


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

So this blog, along with the other thread on monks, has made me realize that you can do a character in PF2e that you really can't do in PF1e.

Namely, a monk multiclassed as sorcerer with Necromancy and polymorph spells makes an excellent Shang Tsung.

Now I just need a feat to copy other people's stances. >:D


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Tectorman wrote:

So it's sounding like I'm going to have to play an equipment-unintensive character like a Monk or a Sorcerer and obsessively max out their Str score and carrying capacity just to have the logistical capacity to not be overburdened by the fundamental looting that the game is built on.

So. Will the GMG be doing anything to address this?

You don't need someone else's permission to houserule. And if you can't houserule, I don't think the GMG is likely to solve the problem for you. If you don't like encumbrance, it's mostly an easily ignored or modified system.

But...if you can'thhouse rule, a pack animal was 20 sp in the playtest, and as large animals a horse would treat 1 bulk items as light, and light items as negligible. A horse with some saddlebags can serve well until you get bags of holding.

As someone who spent a stupid amount of time adding a bulk-based inventory system to enforce plausible carry limits in a non-fantasy mission-based game, I can appreciate that preventing people from picking up every stupid item they find can add interesting depth. The players picked their loadout and had to weigh the pros and cons of every item, and because I included concealment rules, a player even managed to smuggle in a sidearm that was concealed under his backpack after an NPC rolled badly on a search.

For Pathfinder, it mostly ends up handwaved because it's not a key element of the adventure, but if you think of the limitations in bulk as limits in access speeds, there's interesting options to consider. How quickly can a character use a given item?

In hand > on person > in sack (or bag of holding) > on horse. Since sacks require two hands to retrieve an item (in the playtes), it's almost always slower or less convenient to retrieve an item from there. I wish other containers had more clear access rules; I feel like backpacks are usually pretty slow access, but whatever, it's not mentioned in the playtest rules.

That said, the container rules mostly don't have meaningful definitions in the playtest, so there's much less incentive to track this stuff. Go ahead and have 12 belt pouches and 15 sheaths, why not.

And besides, the real sneaky problem with the playtest bulk rules is coin weight. 1 bulk per 1000 coins is easy to overlook, and easy to overwhelm.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
MaxAstro wrote:

So this blog, along with the other thread on monks, has made me realize that you can do a character in PF2e that you really can't do in PF1e.

Namely, a monk multiclassed as sorcerer with Necromancy and polymorph spells makes an excellent Shang Tsung.

Now I just need a feat to copy other people's stances. >:D

Monks look so multiclass friendly. Aberrant bloodline for 10 foot reach on unarmed looks fun. Occult spell list didn't have any fire spells in the playtest, though, so it feels like only halfway to building Dhalsim.

What's kind of neat about focus pools in the playtest is that you could multiclass into a different Stat, so your monk didn't have to have high wisdom if his bloodline power gave him a charisma-based pool. I'm interested to see how the final version shakes out for those kinds of things.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Awesome blog!
For my first Character, I want to try to make a Wizard who only do "anti-magic" stuff, like counter-spelling and protection spells, that would take (very early on) the Fighter archetype.
She'll be based on her :(one image from a very big series that tell a story, same character in a much happier time, Pinterest board compiling all the images the artist made, with a link to their pixiv account)

First reason is because I fell in love with the character and I want to explore her story.
Second reason is because it's something that would be completely bad and unfun in PF1, and I want to test the system. I already did it somewhat with my dual shield wielding Paladin of Erastil (no weapon except his shields).

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Sorry for the lateness on this one. Its partly on me. Mark and I both started writing this blog, but since he was further along, I just gave him my intro bits to incorporate... which made it even longer. Alas, they cannot all be this big, but for this one, it seemed worth it.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Tectorman wrote:

So it's sounding like I'm going to have to play an equipment-unintensive character like a Monk or a Sorcerer and obsessively max out their Str score and carrying capacity just to have the logistical capacity to not be overburdened by the fundamental looting that the game is built on.

So. Will the GMG be doing anything to address this?

They said they had reworked the bulk values of most items. I would say to wait to see them before passing judgement.

Liberty's Edge

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I like this a lot. More info on Monk stances is especially appreciated (Mountain Stance is great) and that page listing all the stat-bumps is a godsend from an ease of use perspective.

We already knew about a lot of the rest, but it's still mostly very neat (the background list and the existence of Equipment Kits are both particularly great).

On Bulk, I'll second Elfteiroth that the problem is not with Bulk conceptually, but rather with some of the specific numbers (Longbows being 2 Bulk is particularly odd given quarterstaffs and 10 foot poles are 1 each). We don't know enough about the final numbers to know if this is a problem yet (it might easily not be).


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Oh, I also missed the question.

One silly concept I want to make in PF2 is the Dad. A STR-monk multiclassed into bard that wrecks foes with terrible puns (Demoralize but with performance (Comedy)). And then finishes them in melle with a spirited High-Five (Ki Strike) or ranged with a finger guns pose (Ki Blast).

Dark Archive

As someone who had LG catfolk monk barrister in party I run crimson throne for, definitely agree that barristers use diplomacy more than deception :p


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I really, really hope that Paizo makes available a black/white printer-friendly PDF version of that character sheet. The one in this blog post has so many coloured areas, which uses way too much ink/toner and makes them useless for writing in remarks and the like. :(


PossibleCabbage wrote:

Assuming that mountain stance and bracers/mage armor stack, at level 20 a "nothing in dex just use mountain stance" will be 3 AC behind an "absolutely everything to dex" monk with a dex item, 2 behind that monk with a non-dex item, and 1 behind a monk like the one in the blog who starts with 18 str and 16 dex and boosts dex to 20. All with having attacks that likely hit harder.

I assume the "only use specific strikes" language precludes you from using "fuse two styles" type effects though.

In the play test every stance had a second feat a few levels later that gave them additional options/advantages, I would guess the second mountain stance feat would help with that


Some Kind of Chymist wrote:

First character is going to have to be an alchemist that multiclasses into ranger after seeing the awesome looking character in the MC archetypes section; followed by a lawyer-cleric of Abadar.

Followed by several dozen more likely never-to-be-played alchemists.

Oh; and if there's a cool bloodline for it; a storm themed sorcerer. If not; a fey bloodline kellid sorcerer banished for being magic.

*Ramble for several more hours about character concepts that he will likely never play #LongTimeReaderNoTimePlayer*

Building characters is fun though.

Oh and a goblin barbarian with low int so i can justify my inability to spell.

Are these multiclass archetypes something you saw at a convention or are the pictures up somewhere ? I assume the former?


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Bellona wrote:
I really, really hope that Paizo makes available a black/white printer-friendly PDF version of that character sheet. The one in this blog post has so many coloured areas, which uses way too much ink/toner and makes them useless for writing in remarks and the like. :(

I posted this earlier and Erik Mona confirmed there will be a printer friendly version :)


Lanathar wrote:
Some Kind of Chymist wrote:

First character is going to have to be an alchemist that multiclasses into ranger after seeing the awesome looking character in the MC archetypes section; followed by a lawyer-cleric of Abadar.

Followed by several dozen more likely never-to-be-played alchemists.

Oh; and if there's a cool bloodline for it; a storm themed sorcerer. If not; a fey bloodline kellid sorcerer banished for being magic.

*Ramble for several more hours about character concepts that he will likely never play #LongTimeReaderNoTimePlayer*

Building characters is fun though.

Oh and a goblin barbarian with low int so i can justify my inability to spell.

Are these multi-class archetypes something you saw at a convention or are the pictures up somewhere ? I assume the former?

Erik Mona and Jason Bulmahn did an interview at the UK Games Expo that's up on Twitch so, pathfinder fans being the kind of people they/we are screen-capped each page where you can read something and we saw goblin ancestry stuff, barbarian instincts, most the alchemist, all the multi-class archetypes, some of the stuff on animal companions and familiars and some other misc.

There is a link to the pictures over HERE.

Lots of fun stuff.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bellona wrote:

I really, really hope that Paizo makes available a black/white printer-friendly PDF version of that character sheet. The one in this blog post has so many coloured areas, which uses way too much ink/toner and makes them useless for writing in remarks and the like. :(

Frames Janco wrote:

I posted this earlier and Erik Mona confirmed there will be a printer friendly version :)

Glad to hear it! And thank you for that piece of information. :)


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Some Kind of Chymist wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Are these multi-class archetypes something you saw at a convention or are the pictures up somewhere ? I assume the former?

Erik Mona and Jason Bulmahn did an interview at the UK Games Expo that's up on Twitch so, pathfinder fans being the kind of people they/we are screen-capped each page where you can read something and we saw goblin ancestry stuff, barbarian instincts, most the alchemist, all the multi-class archetypes, some of the stuff on animal companions and familiars and some other misc.

There is a link to the pictures over HERE.

Even better, I transcribed all of the multiclass archetypes in a separate thread (thanks to dmerceless for capturing the images!).

(I did make a mistake with the ranger, though, corrected here.)

Liberty's Edge

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Seisho wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

Assuming that mountain stance and bracers/mage armor stack, at level 20 a "nothing in dex just use mountain stance" will be 3 AC behind an "absolutely everything to dex" monk with a dex item, 2 behind that monk with a non-dex item, and 1 behind a monk like the one in the blog who starts with 18 str and 16 dex and boosts dex to 20. All with having attacks that likely hit harder.

I assume the "only use specific strikes" language precludes you from using "fuse two styles" type effects though.

In the play test every stance had a second feat a few levels later that gave them additional options/advantages, I would guess the second mountain stance feat would help with that

This is plausible, but it's also worth noting that, with Legendary Unarmored Defenses, even without something like this, the Mountain Stance guy winds up with 46 AC (assuming Bracers work the same...+4 Stance +28 Level +4 Bracers), which is the same as getting to Master in conventional armor (+7 Armor/Dex +26 Proficiency +3 Enchantment on Armor).

So it might result in lower AC than a Dex Monk (who can theoretically hit 49 AC and higher than even a Paladin, who cap at 48 without a shield), but it keeps up with Fighter and exceeds most others even without any enhancement.


Hi, I noticed there was no mention of taking two ability flaws to gain a boost elsewhere. I heard about this from a podcast/reddit.¨
Is it an oversight that this has not made it into the post or has the idea been scrapped?

https://www.reddit.com/r/Pathfinder2e/comments/c2tcan/pf2_chargen_will_let_ you_dump_stats_for_a_boost/


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Zicilfax wrote:

Hi, I noticed there was no mention of taking two ability flaws to gain a boost elsewhere. I heard about this from a podcast/reddit.¨

Is it an oversight that this has not made it into the post or has the idea been scrapped?

I'm pretty sure it's in there, although there's a lot of information so it's easy to miss.

Specifically "Assign any free ability boosts and decide if you are taking any voluntary flaws" in the steps and "I don't see Iakhovas as being particularly unintelligent or uncharismatic, and I said I wanted to try to raise the other four ability scores, so I won't be taking any voluntary flaws" in the example.

Cheers!
Landon

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Monk Equipment: Prize 4gp, 9sp;
Money left over: 10gp, 2sp;

total: 14gp, 11sp, or 15.1 gp?

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