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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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As to the character building question I missed, the absolute FIRST thing I will build in PF2 full is my CG Fire and Healing Battle Cleric character, Aether the Indomitable. First character I ever made, started out as basically a self-insert but has grown a lot since and I've used him in multiple games (often as a GMPC because eternal GM. Like seriously. I even went to play a session at a convention once and STILL ended up GMing because there were too many people and the guy had to split the group and needed spontaneous GMs to do a oneshot with pregens).

PF2 CRB sounds like it has made some changes that are just PERFECT for him. Definitely using the more martial path, the better armor and weapons will hopefully be perfect for his full plate and Falchion loadout, and the Wis for spell attacks means he can actually have meaningful ranged attacks! Add in Fire Ray actually being good now and Divine Lance looking like a SWEET at-will alignment shot and Aether is a VERY happy boi.


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Not entirely sold on the design of that sheet but perhaps it looks better when it's not s blurry mess ;)


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

Verbal is the least restrictive component type, and kiais are a thing in martial arts, so it works for me.

The Dojo is NOT a library! Kiais are integrated into the training. To no Kiai is to do it wrong.


Legendary Wombat wrote:

F!$% me thats a lot of steps just for a character. It is mostly comprehensive at least, but i wish it would explain something a little more complicated than a standard human...as i don't play humans except in real life.

Also an explanation of what all the 'traits' of weapons do would be good, because i have no idea what they mean, and from the sounds of it, it seems like that is important for almost all martial builds. If the concept is being a 'maneuver master', knowing if having trip on a weapon is useful or not might be good.
But from what i can see its quite obvious what would be the best of the 'choices' for the monk. Mountain stance+ki strike. Moving fast is not really that needed if you're the frontline, as if you leave, everyone behind you dies.

Most of the weapon properties are straight out of the playtest, though they could be tweaked slightly for the final release.

Also, Mountain Stance feels like a poor choice because it only gives you 1 more AC (and won't give any AC advantage when Mark boosts dexterity to 18 at level 5) in order to do less damage than Dragon stance and move slower.

And on the contrary, the new Monk has a lot of ways to utilize mobility. And hit and run can be very effective indeed, especially when you have 12 constitution like Iakhovas here. It works especially well when there's someone tankier to soak hits, or your casters are flying out of reach and what have you. With the monk's speed, an enemy will also have to waste most or all of its actions just catching up, and makes it harder to catch you in area effects.

Personally, I'm intrigued by the idea of a Monk with both Mountain and Dragon Stance, using Dragob for hit and run Sslarn style tactics and Mountain when you need to hold the line.


Aside from looking at my old characters, I mainly plan on looking at my group's Hell's Rebels party to see if we can convert soon after release. It's a group of a mystic theurge, hunter, vigilante Hellknight, and vigilante teisatsu.

The mystic theurge will be easy.
The hunter will probably be a druid focused all into animal companion.
The Hellknight will likely end up being a fighter with the Hellknight archetypes that I heard about (which book was it planned in again?). Possibly both armiger and full Hellknight, to show his progression, though it might not be necessary. Vigilante will probably be represented with training in Deception and Diplomacy.
The teisatsu vigilante will possibly be a rogue with the same, though some other changes might need to be made depending on what's in the book.

Overall, it looks like it could be a relatively smooth transition, but there's a few blips I'm a bit worried about, mainly the vigilantes.


To build list:

Korgael Goldbrand
Human Champion (paladin) ... Pretty standard sword and board paladin but one of my favorite characters to play.

Brunyip Mu'kraker
Dwarven Magus ... I'll test fighter w/ wizard archetype and wizard w/fighter archetype to see how each feels

Mourn the Bloodmother
Orcish Witch ... Homebrewing an orc ancestry won't be too hard. I'll see weather it makes sense to try and hack wizard class into occult to make a witch or if doing something like hag bloodline sorcerer makes more sense.


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I had another I'd like to play. Goblin druid follower of Lamashtu, but he worships her in a mother-goddess capacity and brushes off all the evil as "granny being a bit weird".


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A monk doesn't highlight it, but are shields still tin-foil that needs replaced after every fight?

It's kind of important to a Redeemer goblin I'm working on.

Liberty's Edge

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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

A monk doesn't highlight it, but are shields still tin-foil that needs replaced after every fight?

It's kind of important to a Redeemer goblin I'm working on.

They have HP and take damage from hits that are in excess of their Hardness, but they got rid of dents and I think baseline shields have, like, 20 HP.

So...kinda? Though if you take 20 HP after Hardness in one fight at 1st or 2nd level, that fight went badly.

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Three characters I'm planning to build once I have Pathfinder Second Edition:

1. Alara, a feisty monk/sorcerer who applies the discipline she learned growing up in a monastery to the burgeoning magic she discovers within herself. I'm not sure whether her bloodline will end up in the Arcane or Occult discipline.

2. Lissa, my halfling Chosen One Paladin of Shelyn from first edition. I'd like to recreate her as a Redeemer of Shelyn. I'll try to get her a familiar again as well.

3. A dwarven wildshaping druid. I haven't explored wildshaping much in first edition and I want to see if it is more appealing now.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
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).

For myself, part of it IS conceptually: the playtest numbers sure didn't help though.

As to talk of first characters... I don't really have any planned out. I'll look through the rules when they come out and see what catches my eye, either things that look fun/exciting or things that look troublesome, and start from there.

Liberty's Edge

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Mark Seifter wrote:
I'm really sorry for how long this went (and thus how long it took to get up), but I hope you guys enjoy! And thanks to Rei for getting this monster up!

I just wanted to reiterate what I said on Arcane Mark, this was a great blog post. I've already been able to share it with more than one friend and the "ABC" approach is so easy to explain it's not even funny :D

edit:

Also I already know my first few self-made characters.

  • Going to make a wild shape focused Druid w/ Barbarian Dedication.
  • Going to make a Monk w/ Red Mantis archetype
  • Going to make either a martial focused Cleric or an Eldritch Knight style Wizard

Liberty's Edge

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Does anyone every actually start with race/ancestry and then background before going to class?

Given you build characters as a party, you generally start with a class to know what role you're filling and then think of a concept for a character you want to play of that class.


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Since the last thing determined is exactly what class I will play, I often commit to race and background before the session zero where I find out what the rest of the party are doing. There are enough different ways to fill each role that on occasion I can even have my ability scores set in advance.

Silver Crusade

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Frames Janco wrote:
tqomins wrote:
Frames Janco wrote:

Only thing I'm slightly disappointed to see confirmed is the colour scheme on the character sheet.

Here's to hoping there's a cleaner, print friendly version. But excited regardless

Erik Mona promises a printer-friendly version:

Erik Mona wrote:
There will for sure be a printer-friendly version.
Praise Desna!

The better question is, how's it gonna look in black and white.


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Jester David wrote:
Does anyone every actually start with race/ancestry and then background before going to class?

I tend to like CAB rather than ABC, yes.

But ABC has its advantages in terms of presentation—e.g., it's intuitive and easy to teach, probably a better book layout than 100 pages of classes the first thing you see, and AC is something of the traditional presentation in these games.

My main worry with the ABC presentation, as I've said in other threads, was that new players would get turned around and make poor choices in A and B before they get the information in C about which scores to prioritize etc (some of my playtest players suffered from this).

But the A&C summary spread goes a long way toward solving that problem (there's no silver bullet solution for this kind of problem, of course, but this spread is plenty good enough for new players to work with). I'm not really worried about it any more. Really quite impressed with that. Probably my favorite part of this post.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Gonna start with Barbarian, probablby Human and look over how the Heritages work.

Gonna go Spirits, or Linnorm Death Curse if they have it hehe

But above all, they will use a d12 greatsword THAT CAN IMPALE PEOPLE *cackles*


Speaking of the A&C spread, note "Dexterity or other" for the Rogue's key ability score.

This suggests that Rogues can choose from among at least 3 possible key ability scores (since many of the martials can choose Dex or Str, and those are listed out.)

We know Charisma from the spoiler cards , so I'm guessing it's Dex, Str, or Cha. As much as I'd love an Int Rogue, I'd be surprised if we got that as a key ability score for the class in core.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jester David wrote:

Does anyone every actually start with race/ancestry and then background before going to class?

Given you build characters as a party, you generally start with a class to know what role you're filling and then think of a concept for a character you want to play of that class.

Usually when I make a character, ancestry is a foregone conclusion unless something down the road of making the character turns out to strongly favor another race mechanically. When I set out to make a character it's something like "A wise dwarf who prefers to disarm and restrain people during bar fights and make friends with them after" then I'll figure out which combination of classes and feats feels right.

Our table also rarely builds as a group. Generally we each make what we want then find ways to make it work in-game.

Grand Lodge

My first character, which I created back in September, will be a Goblin Bard named Rugglesby. Rescued from death by a Sarenraen Paladin, and raised by a Taldan Linguistics professor, he is a scholar and an orator, and, when not adventuring, works the "lecture circuit", educating people about Goblins and their kin.


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tqomins wrote:

Speaking of the A&C spread, note "Dexterity or other" for the Rogue's key ability score.

This suggests that Rogues can choose from among at least 3 possible key ability scores (since many of the martials can choose Dex or Str, and those are listed out.)

We know Charisma from the spoiler cards , so I'm guessing it's Dex, Str, or Cha. As much as I'd love an Int Rogue, I'd be surprised if we got that as a key ability score for the class in core.

In the later playtest update rogue could choose between dex with finesse striker (dex to damage), str with brute attack (sneak attack with all simple weapons instead of the listed sneak weapons (and medium armor) or cha with scoundrels feint (which makes feints easier)


tqomins wrote:

Speaking of the A&C spread, note "Dexterity or other" for the Rogue's key ability score.

This suggests that Rogues can choose from among at least 3 possible key ability scores (since many of the martials can choose Dex or Str, and those are listed out.)

We know Charisma from the spoiler cards , so I'm guessing it's Dex, Str, or Cha. As much as I'd love an Int Rogue, I'd be surprised if we got that as a key ability score for the class in core.

I would be surprised if the Bludgeoner racket did not make its triumphant return.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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For those who start with what class you want to play, this is actually fully described as part of Step 1, determining your concept. The ABC mantra is there to help you select things in a simple order once you have your concept in mind, or to help you develop that concept if it is not entirely clear to you.

Step 1 actually covers a variety of common ways that you might employ to find your character concept. Basing it off a particular ancestry, background, or class is presented right alongside the group generation approach where everyone figures out what concept they want to play together.

Hope that helps

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

For those who start with what class you want to play, this is actually fully described as part of Step 1, determining your concept. The ABC mantra is there to help you select things in a simple order once you have your concept in mind, or to help you develop that concept if it is not entirely clear to you.

Step 1 actually covers a variety of common ways that you might employ to find your character concept. Basing it off a particular ancestry, background, or class is presented right alongside the group generation approach where everyone figures out what concept they want to play together.

Hope that helps

Yep, You can ABC, ACB, BCA, BAC, CAB, or CBA, for determining the actual character and then ABC just lets you process flow for the sheet :D

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I don't suppose there'll be rules in the CRB or LO World Guide for character creation via a Harrowing? It's terribly impractical but thematically delicious. :)


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Alayern wrote:
I don't suppose there'll be rules in the CRB or LO World Guide for character creation via a Harrowing? It's terribly impractical but thematically delicious. :)

Well the good news is that Ancestries are so flexible now that any ABC combination is viable, though if you're randomly selecting your feats and equipment you might not wind up fully functional.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Because I am a frigging lunatic, there is a part of me that wants to recreate my entire PDF of 1st-level pregens, all the ancestry/class combos, like I did for PF1 back in the day.

Which does raise an important question, Mark: any hope for my half-orc rogue who liked to sneak attack with a greataxe?


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Shisumo wrote:

Because I am a frigging lunatic, there is a part of me that wants to recreate my entire PDF of 1st-level pregens, all the ancestry/class combos, like I did for PF1 back in the day.

Which does raise an important question, Mark: any hope for my half-orc rogue who liked to sneak attack with a greataxe?

Take flaws in intelligence and wisdom, chose Barbarian class, call yourself Rogue and every time that you crit scream Sneak Attack.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kyrone wrote:
Shisumo wrote:

Because I am a frigging lunatic, there is a part of me that wants to recreate my entire PDF of 1st-level pregens, all the ancestry/class combos, like I did for PF1 back in the day.

Which does raise an important question, Mark: any hope for my half-orc rogue who liked to sneak attack with a greataxe?

Take flaws in intelligence and wisdom, chose Barbarian class, call yourself Rogue and every time that you crit scream Sneak Attack.

*takes notes*

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Kyrone wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Which does raise an important question, Mark: any hope for my half-orc rogue who liked to sneak attack with a greataxe?
Take flaws in intelligence and wisdom, chose Barbarian class, call yourself Rogue and every time that you crit scream Sneak Attack.

My favorite part is the idea of someone just SCREAMING "Sneak" :P


Great blog post - definitely has a lot of good information. Some of it was known from the playtest, but the step by step example is really helpful.

For my first character, I will likely recreate my loveable, friendly, gullible, and dumb half-orc barbarian, Kruk. He loves his shinies and his friends, even if he doesn't understand what the casty-person calls 'math' or words.

I rarely actually play Kruk, because it's far too easy to have him accidentally derail an entire campaign without trying, but I still like building him. When you start with the concept that the character is too stupid to die, and then you make it reality, the outcome can be quite hilarious.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

For those who start with what class you want to play, this is actually fully described as part of Step 1, determining your concept. The ABC mantra is there to help you select things in a simple order once you have your concept in mind, or to help you develop that concept if it is not entirely clear to you.

Step 1 actually covers a variety of common ways that you might employ to find your character concept. Basing it off a particular ancestry, background, or class is presented right alongside the group generation approach where everyone figures out what concept they want to play together.

Hope that helps

Great! Should help a lot in making the game more accessible for new players


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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??

Oh sheesh I missed that. So of course now I need to make a diabolic background sorc thats a barrister.

Paizo Employee Director of Technology

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Apologies to those with screen readers on the duplicate/incorrect alt text for Wolf Stance. It has been corrected now as follows:

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.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Rei Ko wrote:

Apologies to those with screen readers on the duplicate/incorrect alt text for Wolf Stance. It has been corrected now as follows:

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.

Thankies!

Also, welcome new Paizo person!


This is an amazing post! Thank you!


tqomins wrote:

Speaking of the A&C spread, note "Dexterity or other" for the Rogue's key ability score.

This suggests that Rogues can choose from among at least 3 possible key ability scores (since many of the martials can choose Dex or Str, and those are listed out.)

We know Charisma from the spoiler cards , so I'm guessing it's Dex, Str, or Cha. As much as I'd love an Int Rogue, I'd be surprised if we got that as a key ability score for the class in core.

I took other as meaning you could choose any alignment to be boosted but Dex is the preferred for most Rogues.

Strength works for the Enforcer style Rogue, Dexterity for the thief, intelligence for the Rogue who can do anything, wisdom for the street smart/perceptive Rogue and charisma for the Rogue who is a face for his group. The only one I can't think of is Constitution but you could lump that in with enforcer, even if you don't maybe they realized Rogue can fit 5/6 and just shrugged and gave Rogue the option to boost any skill which would be neat for the Rogue to have


Mark Seifter wrote:
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?

That is a good question. I was thinking of the Maestro because I see him as being the performing type. Kind of like a Johnny Cash where you either like his distinctive voice or don't. I don't know if there are any new ones just the ones I have seen in the play test.

What do you think?


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Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Man, what an amazing post. Thanks for this, I'm totally sold on everything, I'm buying all. I'm subscribing to all.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
NightTrace wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

For those who start with what class you want to play, this is actually fully described as part of Step 1, determining your concept. The ABC mantra is there to help you select things in a simple order once you have your concept in mind, or to help you develop that concept if it is not entirely clear to you.

Step 1 actually covers a variety of common ways that you might employ to find your character concept. Basing it off a particular ancestry, background, or class is presented right alongside the group generation approach where everyone figures out what concept they want to play together.

Hope that helps

Yep, You can ABC, ACB, BCA, BAC, CAB, or CBA, for determining the actual character and then ABC just lets you process flow for the sheet :D

ABACAB?


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Rei Ko wrote:

Apologies to those with screen readers on the duplicate/incorrect alt text for Wolf Stance. It has been corrected now as follows:

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.

Thank you! Just one of the many reasons I love your company.


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As someone who usually prefers for her monks to be huge muscle ladies, I fully approve of Mountain Stance. Eyeball test indicates it's perfectly reasonable for the character it's meant for and should suffice for using your chiseled abs as a replacement for full plate armor. ;)

Now I just need to figure out how worth it would be to make a Monk that favors charisma over wisdom... Might be worthwhile just by sheer value of intimidate, really.


Arachnofiend wrote:

As someone who usually prefers for her monks to be huge muscle ladies, I fully approve of Mountain Stance. Eyeball test indicates it's perfectly reasonable for the character it's meant for and should suffice for using your chiseled abs as a replacement for full plate armor. ;)

Now I just need to figure out how worth it would be to make a Monk that favors charisma over wisdom... Might be worthwhile just by sheer value of intimidate, really.

I believe wisdom is completely non essential now- you just don’t pick the powers that use it

It is more what charisma can be used for beyond social skills ... (which may be enough)


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Phntm888 wrote:
When you start with the concept that the character is too stupid to die, and then you make it reality, the outcome can be quite hilarious.

AKA Groo the Wanderer.


Lanathar wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

As someone who usually prefers for her monks to be huge muscle ladies, I fully approve of Mountain Stance. Eyeball test indicates it's perfectly reasonable for the character it's meant for and should suffice for using your chiseled abs as a replacement for full plate armor. ;)

Now I just need to figure out how worth it would be to make a Monk that favors charisma over wisdom... Might be worthwhile just by sheer value of intimidate, really.

I believe wisdom is completely non essential now- you just don’t pick the powers that use it

It is more what charisma can be used for beyond social skills ... (which may be enough)

In addition, if you dump dex and pump the rest of the usual suspects (STR/CON/WIS) you would still have a boost every 5 levels leftover, which could easily go into charisma. But yeah, you can build a monk who only needs Wisdom for will saves and perception and such like every other character. You don't even use Wisdom to figure out how many ki points you get anymore.


Captain Morgan wrote:
You don't even use Wisdom to figure out how many ki points you get anymore.

I didn't even think about that. For powers like Ki Strike and Ki Rush, a Wis 8 Monk is as good as a Wis 16 Monk. XD


Lanathar wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

As someone who usually prefers for her monks to be huge muscle ladies, I fully approve of Mountain Stance. Eyeball test indicates it's perfectly reasonable for the character it's meant for and should suffice for using your chiseled abs as a replacement for full plate armor. ;)

Now I just need to figure out how worth it would be to make a Monk that favors charisma over wisdom... Might be worthwhile just by sheer value of intimidate, really.

I believe wisdom is completely non essential now- you just don’t pick the powers that use it

It is more what charisma can be used for beyond social skills ... (which may be enough)

The usefulness of charisma is more the issue, yeah. It'll likely be a bit before they add some proper charisma synergy for the Monk, so a charismatic Monk is riding on the power of skill feats alone; I suspect that even after the nerf Intimidate is still going to be a nasty thing to invest into so that's likely enough justification.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Arachnofiend wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

As someone who usually prefers for her monks to be huge muscle ladies, I fully approve of Mountain Stance. Eyeball test indicates it's perfectly reasonable for the character it's meant for and should suffice for using your chiseled abs as a replacement for full plate armor. ;)

Now I just need to figure out how worth it would be to make a Monk that favors charisma over wisdom... Might be worthwhile just by sheer value of intimidate, really.

I believe wisdom is completely non essential now- you just don’t pick the powers that use it

It is more what charisma can be used for beyond social skills ... (which may be enough)

The usefulness of charisma is more the issue, yeah. It'll likely be a bit before they add some proper charisma synergy for the Monk, so a charismatic Monk is riding on the power of skill feats alone; I suspect that even after the nerf Intimidate is still going to be a nasty thing to invest into so that's likely enough justification.

Also flurry greases the wheels for you so well, that might be the only action you need to spend attacking most rounds. In which case, Cha to qualify for bard dedication and take a composition cantrip to use each round? There are some really solid options.


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Just commenting about the monk.
It may seem weird to people, but one of my favorite monk concepts is the monk that uses a weapon: a flamboyant sword or scimitar or something like that. I trained a short time under a traditional kung-fu school, and contrary to what video-games and D&D taught me, weapons were part of the training. Ok, I only got to a simple weapon (something like a sap), but many more were coming for it, if I had continued training...
I almost always GM, but when I actually have the book, money problems aside, I'll build one of these monks. Just for fun, perhaps ^^


Mark Seifter wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

As someone who usually prefers for her monks to be huge muscle ladies, I fully approve of Mountain Stance. Eyeball test indicates it's perfectly reasonable for the character it's meant for and should suffice for using your chiseled abs as a replacement for full plate armor. ;)

Now I just need to figure out how worth it would be to make a Monk that favors charisma over wisdom... Might be worthwhile just by sheer value of intimidate, really.

I believe wisdom is completely non essential now- you just don’t pick the powers that use it

It is more what charisma can be used for beyond social skills ... (which may be enough)

The usefulness of charisma is more the issue, yeah. It'll likely be a bit before they add some proper charisma synergy for the Monk, so a charismatic Monk is riding on the power of skill feats alone; I suspect that even after the nerf Intimidate is still going to be a nasty thing to invest into so that's likely enough justification.
Also flurry greases the wheels for you so well, that might be the only action you need to spend attacking most rounds. In which case, Cha to qualify for bard dedication and take a composition cantrip to use each round? There are some really solid options.

That...actually sounds pretty cool, might consider it :P

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