Chapter 2 - Character Creation

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This chapter contains everything you need to know about creating a character for Pathfinder Society Organized Play. All new Pathfinder Society characters begin play at 1st level.


Step 1: Ability Scores

Pathfinder Society uses the “purchase” system for generating ability scores, as explained on pages 15–16 of the Core Rulebook. Pathfinder Society uses the “High Fantasy” choice of 20 points, allowing you to build a solid PC at 1st level. Please remember that no score can be reduced below 7 or raised above 18. Racial modifiers are applied after the points are spent, so it is possible to begin play with a low ability score of 5 and a high ability score of 20, depending on your race choice. A character can not be younger than the minimum age listed on Table 7–1 of the Core Rulebook, or listed on Table 5–1 of the Advanced Race Guide, and must be younger than venerable, as listed on Table 7–2 of the Core Rulebook and Table 5–4 of the Advanced Race Guide. A character that ages past venerable, for whatever reason, dies of old age and is removed from the campaign. Characters do not alter their ability scores as a result of this choice.

Step 2: Race and Class

Select your character’s class and race from the choices offered in the Core Rulebook. You may also select aasimar, tengu, or tiefling as your character’s race with access to the proper Additional Resources book. Additional class and race options from resources like the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player’s Guide, Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Magic, Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Combat, Pathfinder RPG Advanced Race Guide, and Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The Inner Sea World Guide are generally available with few or no alterations, as well. In some cases, such as magic item creation, the special nature of a worldwide organized play campaign requires minor changes to standard class features. Please note the following such changes:

  • Alchemist: Alchemists receive the Extra Bombs feat at 1st level instead of Brew Potion.
  • Antipaladin: This alternate class is not available to Pathfinder Society characters.
  • Cavalier: Instead of the Expert Trainer class feature, Pathfinder Society cavaliers receive Skill Focus (Handle Animal) as a bonus feat.
  • Cleric: Clerics with the Nobility domain get the Persuasive feat at 8th level instead of the Leadership feat. Clerics with the Rune domain receive Spell Focus at 1st level instead of Scribe Scroll. Clerics of Irori receive Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat so they can use their deity’s favored weapon (unarmed strike) without provoking an attack of opportunity.
  • Druid: Druids with the Nobility domain get the Persuasive feat at 8th level instead of the Leadership feat.
  • Oracle: Oracles with the Nature mystery receive animal growth as a bonus spell at 10th level instead of awaken.
  • Witch: Witches may not select the cauldron hex.
  • 'Wizard: Wizards receive Spell Focus at 1st level instead of Scribe Scroll. Only items listed as Always Available may be selected as the free bonded object granted to a wizard at 1st level.

If you wish to apply a legal archetype to your character, you may do so at 1st level as normal. Additionally, you may apply an archetype to an existing class any time you level up as long as the first alternate ability does not replace an ability granted at a previous level.

Step 3: Languages

Your race and class selection impact what languages you start with. All characters gain Common as a free language. You gain free languages granted by your race, ethnicity (for humans), and class (e.g., Druidic for druids). If you have a high Intelligence modifier, you may select bonus languages from those listed in your race’s entry in the Core Rulebook and the Modern Human Languages list (The Inner Sea World Guide 251). Certain classes grant access to additional bonus languages (e.g., Draconic for wizards). Humans and half-elves with high Intelligence scores may learn all the above languages as bonus languages as well as any other language except Druidic and the languages listed under Ancient Languages on page 251 of The Inner Sea World Guide. All languages except Druidic are available by putting a skill rank in Linguistics (see below). Tian characters receive the languages Tien and Common for free.

Step 4: Skills

The next step is determining what specific training your character has received. This is done in the standard fashion described in the Core Rulebook. Determine your starting skill points and spend them as you see fit.

Step 5: Feats

Characters select feats according to the guidelines in the Core Rulebook. Certain Core Rulebook feats are not available to Pathfinder Society characters. These include Brew Potion, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Rod, Craft Staff, Craft Wand, Craft Wondrous Item, Forge Ring, Leadership, and Scribe Scroll. Neither the craft feats nor the item creation section of the magic items chapter in the Core Rulebook are legal for play. Additionally, except for specific examples cited in this guide or the Pathfinder Society FAQ, crafting of mundane items is not allowed in Pathfinder Society. indersociety/additionalResources contains a book-by-book listing of all campaign-legal feat choices beyond the Core Rulebook. Check there before taking any feats from a non-Core Rulebook source.

Step 6: Faction

Your character belongs to one of 10 factions (pregenerated characters are assumed to belong to the Grand Lodge faction). Each time you play a Pathfinder Society adventure, your faction leader will give you a specific side mission related to your faction’s goals. Completion of these missions influences the overall storyline of the Pathfinder Society campaign, and grants your character access to special boons and advantages. Detailed descriptions of all 10 factions can be found in Chapter 4 of this guide. A brief summary of each follows.

  • Andoran: Members of the Andoran faction seek to topple tyrannies from within, aiding dissidents and freedom fighters with equipment, funds, or intelligence. They are fierce foes of slavery and can take extreme measures against those who buy and sell people.
  • Cheliax: The promise of power and riches lures many to the Cheliax faction, which seeks to spread the faith and order of Asmodeus across the Inner Sea and beyond.
  • The Grand Lodge: Holding themselves above the petty squabbles of outsiders, this faction maintains the strongest allegiance to the Decemvirate, the masked leaders of the Pathfinder Society.
  • The Lantern Lodge: Representing the interests of the distant Dragon Empires, this faction sponsors expeditions around the world in search of arcane and cultural riches.
  • Osirion: Many have written off the desert nation of Osirion as a land lost to history, no longer a force to be reckoned with. The Ruby Prince Khemet III, personal sponsor of this faction, seeks to reacquire secrets and artifacts of Osirion’s lost glory in an effort to reclaim his nation’s destiny.
  • The Sczarni: Not all Pathfinders serve the Society with pure hearts; members of this faction are not above using their missions for a bit of personal gain.
  • The Shadow Lodge: A rogue movement within the Society, the Shadow Lodge only recently emerged from shadow and skullduggery to openly encourage the Decemvirate not to take their field agents for granted.
  • The Silver Crusade: Composed largely of paladins, clerics, and other servants of good-aligned gods, members of the Silver Crusade faction seek to use the Society’s resources to further the cause of good in the world. They oppose factions that would drag the Society’s reputation through the mud in search of glory, and strive constantly to raise the morals of their fellow Pathfinders.
  • Qadira: The Qadira faction seeks to control the commerce of the entire Inner Sea, breaking its enemies’ monopolies and enforcing its own. In the pursuit of this goal, faction members display a ruthlessness that can put the Chelaxians to shame. Often their missions involve the defamation of a rival or the disruption of another nation’s trade.
  • Taldor: The mighty Taldan empire once spanned a significant portion of the Inner Sea, but its glory days are long over. The Taldor faction seeks to reclaim this preeminence—not through conquest as their ancestors did, but by turning their enemies against one another, through political victories, and, of course, by gaining control over Absalom.

Step 7: Traits

Pathfinder Society characters begin play with two traits— minor in-game advantages tied to their background in the campaign world. Complete trait rules can be found in the Advanced Player’s Guide or online in the free Character Traits Web Enhancement at Characters choose their traits from six different categories: basic, campaign, equipment, race, region, and religion. A character can have only one trait from each category (or subcategory, in the case of basic traits, which fall into the areas of combat, faith, magic, and social). Your character’s choice of faction opens up additional trait choices presented in Chapter 4 of this guide. These faction traits count as campaign traits—in effect, they are the campaign traits for Pathfinder Society Organized Play. No other campaign traits from any source are legal for characters to choose. In order to select a faction trait, your character must belong to the associated faction.

Step 8: Alignment

No evil alignments are allowed in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. You may select any other alignment for your character, keeping in mind the alignment restrictions of the various classes.

Step 9: Hit Points

Pathfinder Society characters begin play with a set number of hit points and gain a specific number of hit points each time the character gains a level. Consult Table 2–2 to find the appropriate values for your character. If your character belongs to a class or prestige class not listed by name in this table, use the appropriate hit dice entry to determine how many hit points you gain per level in that class. If your character later takes levels in another class, she gains the amount indicated in the rightmost column for all levels in that class, including 1st level. The number of hit points in this column represents the hit points gained from each level’s hit dice; add Constitution modifiers, favored class bonuses, and Toughness to the listed number as applicable.

Step 10: Equipment

Every character in Pathfinder Society Organized Play begins the campaign with 150 gold pieces. All of the armor, weapons, and equipment in the Core Rulebook are available for purchase. You may also purchase approved equipment from other Pathfinder books listed on the Additional Resources page at Magic items are available for purchase at character creation as long as they are listed in the Always Available Items section in Chapter 5 of this document. Chapter 5 also contains information on purchasing items after you have completed your first adventure scenario, as well as between all the additional scenarios to follow.

Step 11: Finishing Touches

Now that you have the mechanical framework for your character settled, it’s time to fine-tune the details of your character’s appearance, religion, and history, as well as how your character will be represented during tactical encounters at the game table.

  • Appearance: Work up a short description of your character’s appearance that you can read to other players during introductions before each scenario begins.
  • Religion: Characters can elect to worship any deity listed in a table of gods in the Core Rulebook, The Inner Sea World Guide, Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Gods and Magic, or any other source listed as an official Additional Resource. Characters may elect to worship an evil god, but must always be within one alignment step of their chosen deity. For clerics, this is an especially important choice, since the deity’s alignment determines whether the cleric channels positive or negative energy, a decision with significant tactical implications for the cleric and her allies. Clerics, inquisitors, paladins, cavaliers of the order of the star, and samurai of the order of the star must choose a deity as all classes in Golarion that receive spells and abilities from a specific divine source receive their powers from a deity. Druids, oracles, and rangers are the exception to this rule. The list is not exhaustive, and divine spellcasters of any future classes whose sources are added as additional resources to the Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign will be required to choose a deity unless otherwise specified. Otherwise, characters who do not receive powers from a divine source may choose to be atheists or to have no deity at all.
  • History: Each time you finish a new scenario, your Game Master will provide a Chronicle sheet, an official record of that scenario that records the experience points you gained, the treasure you discovered, and other important details. You may wish to jot down some additional details about the adventure—its events, interesting NPCs, other characters you adventured with, etc.—on this Chronicle sheet to help you remember your character’s past and influence his future.
  • Miniature: The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game uses a standard 1-inch grid to determine movement and tactical positioning in combat. Accordingly, you need a way to represent your character on the grid. The first few times you play, it’s perfectly acceptable to use whatever you have on hand—a coin, a spare die, and so on—but as you become more involved in the campaign, you should bring a gaming miniature to represent your character each time you play. You may also use pawns from the Pathfinder RPG Beginner Box, Pathfinder RPG NPC Codex, or any other products that include pawns. In affiliation with its business partners Reaper Miniatures and WizKids, Paizo provides a wide variety of official unpainted metal and pre-painted plastic gaming miniatures you can choose from, but any appropriately sized miniature, pawn, or token is acceptable.

1st-Level Character Retraining

Pathfinder Society is all about player choices and living with those choices once you’ve made them. However, at the start of a Pathfinder’s career, you are allowed to adjust your character before settling in for the long haul. Before you level up a character for the first time, you may change any aspect of it except its Pathfinder Society Number. Changes may only be made between adventures and before playing as a character above 1st level. Any exceptions will be noted in the Pathfinder Society FAQ. You are able to keep all treasure, Prestige Points, special boons, and XP that you have earned and apply them to the character once you retrain as long as the character meets the criteria above.