Introduction: How to Fill a Pathfinder Character Sheet
Hello and welcome to this guide on how to fill out a character sheet for Pathfinder First Edition. This guide is best used by people who have already played Pathfinder or some other similar system like 3.5e and want to create their own character, but if you feel as though pre-generated characters aren't to your tastes then I can help you here. There may be people better than me, but I haven't found any guides on Instructables of this sort. If someone feels as though I missed a spot or could have done better; then I will try my best to incorporate the change if it is merited.
Being a new player is daunting, and some Game Masters (also known as GMs) will charge them with making a new one from scratch. I should know, I've been there. Hopefully this guide will get you out of that slump.
You will need:
A Character Sheet - the character sheet is what you will be using to write out your character, you can use any sort of sheet your comfortable with so as long as it conforms to the rules for Pathfinder, you can even use an editable PDF sheet if you wish. In this instructable I have provided a character sheet that you can print out and use for yourself.
A Pencil - You will need a pencil, not just to erase mistakes but also to update your sheet.
A Copy of the Core Rulebook OR a Computer - you will need access to the core rules in some form, if you don't want to buy the core rules from Paizo, then you may want to check out the System Reference Document (abbreviated SRD). The SRD contains all of the game mechanics that Paizo releases under the Open Gaming License (OGL), I prefer to use the SRD because it is set up as a website as opposed to book format. I find this easier to use and easier to find information that may be found in different books.
A Set of Dice - Dice are needed for character creation as well as play, a set of dice will come with seven different dice
- A four-sided die (1d4)
- A six-sided die (1d6)
- A eight-sided die (1d8)
- A ten-sided die (1d10)
- A twelve-sided die (1d12)
- A percentile die (1d100), rolls with this die need a roll of a 1d10 for the ones
- And a twenty-sided die (1d20)
Step 1: Make a Concept
Before you start creating the sheet you should have a character concept; a general idea of what sort of character you want to make. Whether that character is evil, good, strictly follows laws, frequently breaks rules, what kind of weapons and tactics they use; you should think of any pertinent features of your characters personality before beginning. This will help you choose your class and your alignment.
There are eleven core classes (classes that go from level 1 to 20). A class is like a job or trade for your character, for players, it represents a set of skills and abilities that your character has and helps put characters in proper roles for combat and social situations. For example, Clerics have the most access to healing abilities and are strong spell casters. Generally Clerics are the party's healer and source for Divine Magic (magic that comes from a characters faith).
There are nine alignments to choose from, some classes and spells have alignment restrictions or requirements, in a typical game of Pathfinder it will be important to choose an alignment, for this guide I will be using a Human 1st level Lawful Good Fighter named Bob.
Step 2: Roll Ability Scores
The next step in creating your character should be rolling your Ability Scores, there are a few methods to rolling stats but I will cover the 4d6 method. To use this method roll 4d6 and drop the lowest die, reroll any ones that you receive. Do this six times, one for each stat. Places the results of these rolls in whichever ability score field you chose. Be mindful of what race you have chosen for your character, all races have attribute bonuses as part of their features. Here I have chosen to put the largest number into strength as fighters typically need to be the strongest in their party. In this case, humans get a +2 to an ability score of our choice, we will put this bonus on the 15, bringing it to 17. Every 2 points above 10 is a +1 to all checks related to that score, if you have an ability score bellow 10, you will start with a -1 bonus to those checks, and for each 2 points below that bonus will get lower.
Step 3: Calculating HP, Initiative, and Saving Throws
Now that your character has ability scores they now have defined natural strengths and weaknesses and we can start filling in the Hit Points, Saving throws, and other items on the form. Hit points are calculated by hit dice, a particular dice such as d6, d8, d10, and d12 are used to roll for hit points per level. Since we are starting at 1st level, Bob automatically gets his full hitdie for his class plus his constitution modifier. Since he is a fighter, his hit dice is 1d10 per level plus his constitution modifier of 1. In total this brings him to 11 hit points. Below the hit points is the initiative modifier. The initiative modifier affects turn order, add your dexterity modifier to the box that says dex modifier. Since Bob has a +2 dex mod he will add this to his initiative modifier.
The base modifier for Saving Throws are determined by class, in the SRD and Core rule book. These are listed by a table along with the BAB, which we will speak about later. For fighters their only Saving throw provided for their class is a +2 to at first level, add the constitution modifier to this saving throw. And add the rest of the aforementioned modifiers to the remaining saving throws, such as the +2 dexterity modifier to the reflex save, and the +1 wisdom modifier to the will save.
Step 4: Calculating Base Attack Bonuses
For martial classes (classes that fight with weapons) Base Attack Bonuses (BAB) progress faster than other characters, because of this fighters receive a +1 to BAB every level. You can see the full progression of BABs on a classes respective table. Below you will see the Combat Maneuver Bonus (CMB) and The Combat Maneuver Defense (CMD), both derive from the BAB. To determine the CMB simply add your strength modifier to your BAB. You may have to raise or lower your CMB if your character changes size due to a spell. Your CMD is a bit different. Add your BAB, Strength modifier, Dex modifier, and a flat bonus of 10 together.
Step 5: Money, Choosing Weapons, Armor, and Gear
Every class starts with a small pool of money so characters can buy essential supplies, this pool is determined by a roll based on your class. For fighters this is a roll of 5d6 x 10 with an average of 175. For this example we will be taking that average and using it. In games that I run, I typically give each character a dagger for free, but this is a house rule. Always give your character a dagger as a backup weapon, in case their own weapon breaks. Everyone is proficient with daggers. The stats for all weapons can be looked up in the SRD under Equipment > Weapons. For our fighter I chose to buy a longsword for 15 gp, its stats are 1d8 damage + Strength Mod, 19-20 critical chance, slashing type damage. Remember to subtract the cost of what your buying from your total money pool. When a weapon calls for an attack bonus remember not to confuse this bonus with the CMB, they can be very similar but some feats replace using strength for dexterity. And ranged weapons use a bonus of BAB + DEX MOD.
Go to the next page for the Armor and gear. The armor I chose to buy is Scale Armor, under Equipment > Armor the stats for scale are as follows a +5 Armor class, +3 max dex bonus, -4 armor check penalty, and speed 20/15ft. It costs 50 gp. Start by adding the +5 to the AC portion of the form, and set the speed in the upper right hand corner of the paper to 20 ft. Normally Humans have a speed of 30ft but armor heavier than light will slow them down without the appropriate feats. And finally I gave Bob a heavy wooden shield, this adds a +2 shield bonus to his AC.
AC is determined by adding Armor, Shield, Dexterity, Size, Deflection and any miscellaneous bonuses and a flat bonus of 10 together. Concern yourself with only the first three fields for here. Altogether Bob has an AC of 19.
Step 6: Skills
Skills are determined by class, each class has a set of class skills that they can put skill points in to receive a greater bonus. When you put a skill point in a class skill for the first time, you will get an additional +3 bonus to that skill. Fighters get 2 + intelligence bonus to skills, for Bob this means he gets three skill points, his class' class skills are as follows Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str), Tick your class skills for your own reference. For Bob, I chose to put points in Climb, Craft Armor, and Knowledge Dungeoneering. I chose Climb because Bob is strong, Craft Armor because Craft allows you to create items for half the price of their base cost, and Knowledge Dungeoneering since it is useful for identifying foes and their weaknesses. Remember that scale armor gives an armor check penalty, you have this written on the back of the sheet. Keep in mind when using a Strength based skill like climb that this penalty applies during those rolls.
Almost every character starts with Common as a language, Common is just the catch-all term for the spoken language in the main setting, bonus languages are chosen only if you have an intelligence bonus.
Step 7: Feats and Traits
Every character gets a feat at first level but humans get two feats at first level, and fighters get one bonus feat at first level. For practically every level fighters will receive feats, here is no different. For a complete list of feats look up Feats in the SRD, pay close attention to the combat feats as they are the most sought after. Put the following in the feats section. For feats, I gave Bob, toughness, power attack, and dodge. Starting with toughness, the toughness feat adds +3 to your total hit points for every level beyond 3rd you will receive another +1 hit point to your total hit points. This means you will have to update your hitpoints from 11 to 14. Power Attack gives a special attack type that must be declared on your turn, for extra damage the attack is less accurate. and Dodge adds a small bonus of +1 to your AC, meaning that you will have to add the Dodge bonus to the miscellaneous modifier.
For Traits I picked rich parents for an extra 900 gp and Alert for one free take 10 on initiative checks.
This is the final step, after choosing feats and traits your character is now finished and can now be used in play. If you have any remaining gold you are free to spend it on what ever you want.