Hey, I’m Cecil and welcome back to The Role Play Primer.
This week I’m going to take you through the basics of making a character in Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons. Pathfinder is based on a previous version of D&D, so a lot of the concepts are quite similar. The three most important decisions you make will be your character’s class, race and ability scores. Which order these are done in varies from group to group but I’m going to walk through in the order I just listed them in, so lets go.
1 - Class
Your character’s class is arguably the most important part about them, they affect what your main job in the game will be, Fighters stand at the front, ignoring hits from enemies thanks to their armour and decent amount of Hit Points. Rogue’s sneak around stabbing enemies in the back and dealing with traps that may be in front of the party. Clerics are generally Healers, but they can hold their own in a fight, they won’t be as strong or quite as resilient as a fighter, but they’ll last longer than a rogue or a wizard. Wizards are the last basic class, they cast the big spells, blow things up or magically enhance everyones gear, they are relatively easy to hurt at the beginning of the game though, they have very few hit points and are limited on how much magic they can use in a day, these issues dissipate as the game progresses and at high level are generally much more of a threat than a fighter is, as long as they are able to cast their spells. There are more classes than these 4, but they are mostly variations on the themes, for example, paladins are something in between cleric and fighter. They have some minor healing but are also very good at fighting with most weapons and will wear heavy armour.
2 - Race
Choosing the race of your character is a much simpler task when you already have your class decided. Each of the races add different bonuses to different ability scores, allowing you to boost up the main one required for your class, for example, Elves make very good rogues, they get a bonus to Dexterity, which is used for ranged attacks with crossbows and throwing knives, and depending on system, will affect how good you are with daggers. Half-orcs make excellent fighters, thanks to the strength bonus they get and also the abilities that the race grant making them hard to put down.
Dwarven cleric is another common combination, the dwarf will be tough and resilient, able to stay alive longer to heal the rest of the party. Humans are the last of the races for the purposes of this post (many more exist in edition to this, from tiny frog people to half demons), they are seen as a sort of jack-of-all-trades, they have no specific ability score boost, rather, they choose one score to be increased or in other systems all are boosted but by less than the other races get to specific ones.
3 - Ability Scores
The six ability scores of the game will decided how good you are at different tasks, and each class has abilities more important than others, so wizards need a lot of intelligence but strength and dexterity are not super important. The six ability scores are: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma.
Strength determines how hard you hit and how much you can lift, Dexterity represents how nimble you are and is favoured by thieves who pick locks or perform great feats of acrobatics, Constitution governs your ability to resist death, higher constitution means more hit points and a better chance of resisting poison.Intelligence is your knowledge of things, your memory and for wizards, ability to cast spells. Wisdom is used for your ability to spot things, survive, and is used by clerics as the main spell ability. Charisma is a mark of how good you are at talking with people, you can use it to reduce prices in a shop, you can use it try and coerce someone with threats, or to charm someone into helping you. These ability scores will affect everything from your ability to attack, to your ability to find clues in an investigation. The two main ways used to determine these scores is by either dice roll, or by point buy. Point buy involves all scores starting at the same number (before race bonuses) and then spending points from a pool to increase each one, generally you will have enough points to be really good at one thing, or pretty okay at a few, and you will almost definitely have one that you are terrible at, but that’s fine, that gives you flaws instantly to work into your character to give them personality. When rolling for scores, you roll 4d6 (which is how the game would describe four six sided dice) and then drop the lowest result, and that is a score you apply to whichever ability you want, so you have a minimum of 3 on a score and a maximum of 18, before and racial bonuses. So for example, when you roll you get a 5 a 3 and two 4s, so we drop the 3, it being the lowest result, and that gives us a total of 13. We do this six times so we have our full array of ability scores, putting the better results in the more important abilities, and there we have it, the basics of a character.
After ability scores there is still a fair amount left to do, spell casters have to pick which spells they start with, everyone has to get starting equipment and depending on the system, you might have skill points to spend, but they’re more in depth than today was designed for, but i’m sure i’ll go over that at some point.
That’s all for today, I’m not sure if I’ll have a post next week, but we’ll see what happens, so until then, Safe Travels, and may you always roll well.