- 1 What it's all about
- 2 Making a New Character
- 2.1 Choose a Name
- 2.2 Choose a Class
- 2.3 Choose a Race
- 2.4 Determine Ability Scores
- 2.5 Choose an Alignment
- 2.6 Character Backstory
- 2.7 Starting Languages
- 2.8 Determine Skills
- 2.9 Choose Feats
- 2.10 Determine Starting Hit Points
- 2.11 Get Equipped
- 2.12 Determine Armor Class Values
- 2.13 Determine Attack Values, Saving Throws and Initiative
What it's all about
If you are new to role-playing games, and you haven't already, we recommend you take a few minutes and read the What is a Role-Playing Game? page. It is a basic explanation of what this fun and challenging hobby is all about.
If you've played an RPG before and feel comfortable, or you've read that page and you haven't run for the hills, then this page is where you begin the process of creating your alternate persona, your character.
We recommend that you use a character sheet. This can be as basic as a piece of paper where you write things down, although we have a pre-made sheet available if you want to use that instead:
Here are a few different versions of the Epic Path character sheet:
- Print and Play (PDF) — Use this one if you want to play at the table without having to stare at a computer the whole time.
- Sharable Spreadsheet (Google) — Make a copy of this one for yourself (so you can edit; it's read-only), and share it with your GM and friends. Access it from any computer.
- If you intend to play a spellcaster, you will want to make multiple copies of the "Spellbook" page (or tab, if a spreadsheet) before you start. Epic Path spells go to 17th level, potentially, so make up to 5 copies of the page, if you think your campaign might go on that long.
- If you intend to play a character who carries more than two weapons, you will want to make additional copies of the "Weapons & To-Hit" page (or tab, if a spreadsheet).
- Making copies of these pages before you start filling in data can save you a lot of pain in the future. Do it now!
Don't be intimidated by how many pages the character sheet has. You'll mostly be using the first two pages during the game. The remaining pages are worksheets you can use to ensure you are calculating everything correctly, to track your progress after each game session, help you level up, or to just generally flesh out your character's details.
Making a New Character
Now that you have a character sheet, it's time to create a character. The goal here isn't just to get all those boxes filled in, but to try to make someone memorable and fun to play. Even if your game is nothing but hack and slash, having a character who is known for snappy comebacks, or who is always drunk at the worst possible times (where does he even get booze in a dungeon?), will make your games more interesting and memorable, and you and your friends will enjoy yourselves all the more for it.
Try new things. Take risks. Have fun.
Choose a Name
The name of your character can really set the tone for the rest of the character creation process. It can also set the tone for the game. The more creative and evocative the name, usually, the more memorable the character. You could have the most interesting backstory, funny quirks and dynamic outside-the-box hijinks with your character, but if his name is "Fandolf", that's all anyone is going to remember.
It's fine to want to make a character like that guy in that movie you like, but try to put a spin on it that makes the character your own, as well.
Remember, a great name leads to a great character.
Choose a Class
A character's class represents a profession, such as fighter or wizard. If this is a new character, he or she starts at 1st level in this chosen class. As the character gains experience points (XP) for defeating monsters, he goes up in level, granting him new powers and abilities
If your character is a spell caster that prepares spells (such as a wizard) you will need to determine the spells your character starts with. Consult your GM to determine this list.
It is usually a good idea to discuss your class selection with the other players in your group, to ensure that your party will have a good mix of abilities. It is strongly recommended that at least one person play a healing class. It is also very helpful to have a tank character who can soak up a lot of attacks that might otherwise land on the more delicate characters. Damage classes will keep the fights shorter, meaning the party will take less damage (dead monsters don't do damage, usually). In the end, though, you should play the class you want to play, and have fun. A party without a healer can get by with potions, scrolls and rods, or just sleep off their damage. Perhaps not optimal, but certainly playable.
- Favored Class
- Each character begins play with a single favored class of his choosing. Typically, this is the same class as the one he chooses at 1st level. Whenever a character gains a level in his favored class, he receives either + 1 hit point or + 1 skill rank. The choice of favored class cannot be changed once the character is created, and the choice of gaining a hit point or a skill rank each time a character gains a level (including his first level) cannot be changed once made for a particular level.
Available Character Classes
Class Primary Role Potential Role Important Stat(s) Ease of design Ease of play Alchemist Damage Support INT, DEX Moderate Moderate Barbarian Damage Tank CON, STR Moderate Moderate Bard Support Healing CHA, DEX Moderate Complex Brawler Damage Tank STR, CON Simple Moderate Cleric Healing Support WIS, CHA Moderate Complex Druid Support Healing WIS, STR Complex Complex Fighter Tank Support STR, CON Complex Moderate Monk Damage Tank DEX, WIS Simple Simple Paladin Damage Tank, Healer CHA, STR Moderate Simple Partisan Tank Support WIS, CON, STR Simple Moderate Prowler Damage Support STR, DEX Simple Moderate Ranger Damage Support STR or DEX, WIS Moderate Simple Rogue Damage More Damage STR or INT, DEX Moderate Moderate Sorcerer Damage Support CHA, DEX Moderate Moderate Warlord Healing Support CHA, STR Simple Moderate Wizard Support Damage INT, DEX Complex Complex
Much work was expended to make all the classes balanced and interesting to play at all levels. However, some players may wish to play a character which is not purely one class or another, but is, instead, a combination of one or more classes. Two methods exist to accomplish this: multi-classing and dual-classing.
Broadly speaking, multi-classing and dual-classing allow you to enjoy the synergies of more than one character class, at the expense of fewer preferred class bonuses, and lower class levels, compared to your peers. Multi- and dual-classed characters will also find that more of their ability scores are important, forcing them to spread their scores out a bit more than a character focused on a single class. However, such combinations can be very powerful indeed, making such a decision quite attractive, despite the aforementioned drawbacks.
- Multi-classing is the most easily understood form of changing classes. Multi-classing means you stop advancing in levels in your current class, in exchange for gaining levels in a completely different class of your choosing. GM's may decide that some combinations are disallowed, either due to personal preference, or due to campaign/story-based justifications.
- In order to multi-class, you must possess 5 or more levels in your most recent character class, and you must meet any requirements of the new character class you wish to begin advancing in (such as alignment restrictions).
- Once you have chosen a new character class, you begin advancing in that class from level 1, and you must commit to advancing at least 5 levels in that class before you can multi-class again. You may, of course, advance as many levels beyond 5 as you wish in that class. You may also multi-class back into a class you had already gained levels in, in which case, you continue gaining levels from where you left off.
- Due to the level requirements, you can multi-class a maximum of seven times by level 31, which should provide enough class diversity for even the most exotic character concepts, or whimsical indecisiveness.
- Experience points required to advance in a new class is always based on your total character level, NOT your current character class' level.
- Your 'preferred class' bonus is (nearly always) based on the first character class you choose at character creation. If it is not, you must inform your GM what your preferred class is, at character creation, and the GM may always disallow this, if they so decide. Once a preferred class is selected, it cannot ever be changed, even through character reselection.
- If any of the classes you choose offer a choice of paths at class level 1, such as the fighter's Technique, the rogue's Path, or the barbarian's Mien, you may only ever select this path when you gain your first level in that class. That is, if you change classes, and then come back and take new levels in the first class which offered a choice of paths, your additional levels in this class make use of the same path. You can't take more than one path in a class (unless the class specifically allows that), nor can you change it, once selected, without use of the Character Reselection rules.
- You always gain base attack bonus, save bonuses, and class features, based only on the new character class, not your previous character class(es).
- Example 1: A paladin reaches character level 6, and chooses to stop gaining levels in paladin (stopping at 5th level), in order to gain levels in fighter, instead. At level 11, the player chooses to revert back to being a paladin, stopping at fighter level 5. At level 11, they become a sixth level paladin, and continue advancing as before. Such a combination allows the character to become an expert at wearing heavy armor, and gain some new tricks with their weapon, while primarily focusing on their paladin's class features.
- Example 2: A player chooses to make a fighter at level 1. At level 6, she changes to cleric, and then at level 11, changes to a rogue. Thus, at level 11, she is a fighter 5, cleric 5, rogue 1, with a total character level of 11. Such a character is very self-sufficient, with a wide range of modest capabilities that work well together.
- Example 3: A player creates a rogue at character creation, and changes to a prowler at level 7. At level 12, they change to a brawler, and then at 17th character level, they change to a monk. At this point, they are character level 17, with 6 levels in rogue, 5 levels in prowler and brawler, and 1 level in monk. This character is a monster in melee combat, with great mobility and powerful attacks, whether armed or unarmed.
- A dual-class character chooses two character classes at character creation. Only one of these classes is their preferred class, and once selected, the player is committed to those two classes for the remainder of that character's career. A character that dual-classes can never multi-class. Similarly, dual-classing can only be declared at character creation (meaning you cannot play a single class for a while and then decide to dual-class). Dual-classing requires a commitment.
- The advantage of dual-classing is that you alternate between the two chosen classes every other level, meaning that you gain the benefits of both classes as early as 2nd level. Thus, at level 4, you have two levels in each class.
- The class you choose at 1st level is your preferred class, granting you this bonus every odd-numbered level.
- You always gain base attack bonus, save bonuses, and class features, based only on the character class you are advancing in your current level.
- Some fun examples of character classes which synergize well are Sorcerer/Prowler, Fighter/Rogue, and Cleric/Monk. There are numerous other powerful and entertaining combinations that players are encouraged to explore.
Choose a Race
Your character's race, aside from just being a great source of stat bonuses and quirky abilities, helps you add to the character's story. Instead of just "he's an elf", try to come up with ideas for why he left his ancestral home to go adventuring with a bunch of other weirdos. Maybe his ancestral home was destroyed, or maybe he was exiled.
Epic Path has done away with racial bonuses which are fixed to particular stats. The reason for this was to let players choose the race they wanted because it was cool, rather than because it was the only one that gave them both the Charisma bonus and the Wisdom bonus they need to make their stats line up the way they want. All races now allow the player to apply bonuses (and penalties) to the ability scores of their choice. Note, however, that even with racial bonuses to ability scores, no ability score may begin the game higher than a 20 or lower than a 7.
- Racial Stat bonus arrays
- The 'standard' racial stat bonus array is the ability to add +2 to any two stats during character creation at the expense of subtracting -2 from one other stat.
- The first 'optional' racial stat bonus array is the ability to add +4 to any one stat during character creation at the expense of subtracting -2 from two other stats.
- The second 'optional' racial stat bonus array is the ability to add +2 to any one stat during character creation and then add a +1 to any three other stats, all at the expense of subtracting a -2 from one other stat.
Each stat may only be modified once, either positively or negatively, by the bonuses in the racial stat arrays. Some referees may choose to use only the 'standard' racial stat bonus array in their campaigns in order to simplify character creation.
Each race begins with one or two traits that are standard to the race, as well as a list of major and minor traits available. At character creation, the player chooses one major racial trait and one minor racial trait when selecting their race. Once selected, these benefits may not be changed.
Nearly all campaign settings will allow players to begin play as one of these core races. The core races are iconic fantasy tropes which nearly every D&D party has contained since Gygax decided he wanted a story to go with his wargame. Of course, some GM's may decide that one or more of the core races are rare, or even non-existent in their world. That's okay.
Core Race Size Base Speed Notes Dwarf Medium 20 ft. Mountain folk, renowned for their smiths and craftsmen Elf Medium 30 ft. Graceful immortals from the First World Gnome Small 20 ft. Endlessly curious explorers with manic personalities Half-Elf Medium 30 ft. Mixed-breed people who have trouble fitting in Halfling Small 20 ft. Dauntless hill folk, brave and lucky Human Medium 30 ft. Adaptable people who always yearn for more
GM's should decide whether or not they want to allow some or all of the exotic races in their games. These races are not unbalancing compared to the core races, but they are odd, and may not fit into every campaign world. Some worlds might not have Gata at all, while others may view them with fear, hatred or bigotry. GM's should let players know ahead of time if their chosen race is going to carry any social stigma with it.
Note that many of the exotic races available in Pathfinder are not present in Epic Path. Most of the ones we left out were monsters which had player character stuff tacked on. Monsters should be monsters, not misunderstood emo pariahs. That's not to say that everything must fit into a bucket of good and evil, man or monster, but we did want to limit the races to species that weren't normally found burning down villages and kidnapping children.
Exotic Race Size Base Speed Notes Arborian Medium 30 ft. A matriarchal society made strong by the forest spirits Barani Medium 30 ft. A bloodline forever altered by celestial interference Changeling Medium 30 ft. Too pretty for their own good, this race blends in like no other Gata Medium 30 ft. An impulsive race of aggresive warriors, aligned with cat spirits Grippli Small 20 ft., Climb 20 ft. Fun, clever, and smiling, these quick folk are aligned with frog spirits Half-Orc Medium 30 ft.* Physically imposing, with one foot in tragedy and the other in nobility Ifrit Medium 30 ft. Fiery of appearance and temperament, a race aligned with fire Kitsune Medium 30 ft. Lovely, clever, and sly, this race is aligned with fox spirits Mallori Medium 30 ft. A race of humanoids touched by the demi-plane of shadow Nagdyr Small 20 ft. A rodent-like people known for fast-talking and guile Oread Medium 20 ft. A race of the stone within, as strong and reliable as bedrock Sylph Medium 30 ft. A race of the air above, as unpredictable and swift as the wind Tengu Medium 30 ft. Hardy, brave, and brilliant, this race is aligned with raven spirits Tiefling Medium 30 ft. A bloodline forever altered by Infernal experimentation Undine Medium 30 ft., Swim 30 ft. Gentle in their strength, a race aligned with flowing water Vanx Medium 30 ft., Swim 30 ft. Amphibian builders of weirs and canals, as loud as they are kind Vishkanya Medium 30 ft. Born of a curse, these serpentfolk make their way in a new world
Determine Ability Scores
These six scores determine your character's most basic attributes and are used to decide a wide variety of details and statistics. Some class selections require you to have better than average scores for some of your abilities.
In Epic Path, stat generation always uses a point buy system. While we acknowledge the 'good old days' of rolling dice for your stats, we're not recommending that system for these rules.
For all rules written here, we are assuming that all games are using the Epic Fantasy power level, which starts the players with 28 stat points.
Note that Epic Path is written and balanced for Epic Fantasy type characters, but we also recognize that such power levels are not everybody's cup of tea. As a result, we have defined several other power levels as detailed on the Campaign Power Level page.
- Important Note to Referees: Especially at low levels of play, campaign power levels make a major impact in these rules! If you want to use the Epic Path rules to play a Low Fantasy game, expect it to be a hard, miserable struggle. Which we find appropriate, if a Low Fantasy game is your cup of tea. On the other hand, if you play an Industrial Magic level game, expect the players to be pretty darn amazing. Which is appropriate if you want that sort of a more cinematic, dramatic, style game.
No matter the power level, in all cases stat costs are:
Stat 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Cost -4 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 5 7 10 13 17
No stat may be bought below a 7 even after racial adjustments, and no stat may ever begin higher than a 20 after racial adjustments.
Once you have determined your ability scores, you should calculate your ability modifiers. Modifiers are used in nearly every case where the ability score is applied to a check. Some examples include skill checks, to-hit and damage rolls, and (rather obviously) ability checks.
The formula for calculating the modifier is (ability score -10)/2 (round down). You can also refer to the following table:
Stat 0-1 2-3 4-5 6-7 8-9 10-11 12-13 14-15 16-17 18-19 20-21 22-23 Modifier -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6
Ability Score Calculator
Choose an Alignment
Character alignment is a way to abstractly state a character's moral and philosophical outlook on life. It is not a replacement for a character's backstory or personality traits, but it is a useful way to summarize that personality. Many spells, abilities and damage types also use alignment, and have greater or lesser effects against creatures of the opposite alignment.
There are two sets of three alignments, which when combined means there are nine possible alignments. This is most easily viewed as a chart:
Lawful Good Neutral Good Chaotic Good Lawful Neutral (True) Neutral Chaotic Neutral Lawful Evil Neutral Evil Chaotic Evil
Each of these alignments has a loose philosophy and moral code attached to it, though every character will have their own nuances within these guidelines. Players should select alignments that are relatively close to the alignments of the other players in the party, since a party of good characters probably won't want to keep company with a chaotic evil character for very long.
Here is a brief summary of what the different alignments mean, and how characters of these alignments might uphold their beliefs in role-playing situations.
- Lawful Good
- A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. She combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. She tells the truth, keeps her word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished.
- Lawful good combines honor with compassion.
- Neutral Good
- A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them.
- Neutral good means doing what is good and right without bias for or against order.
- Chaotic Good
- A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he's kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society.
- Chaotic good combines a good heart with a free spirit.
- Lawful Neutral
- A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs her. Order and organization are paramount. She may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or she may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government.
- Lawful neutral means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot.
- (True) Neutral
- A neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. She doesn't feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos (and thus neutral is sometimes called “true neutral”). Most neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character probably thinks of good as better than evil—after all, she would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, she's not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way.
- Some neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run.
- Neutral means you act naturally in any situation, without prejudice or compulsion.
- Chaotic Neutral
- A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn't strive to protect others' freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those others suffer). a chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as he is to cross it.
- Chaotic neutral represents freedom from both society's restrictions and a do-gooder's zeal.
- Lawful Evil
- A lawful evil character methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order, but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank. He is loath to break laws or promises.
- This reluctance comes partly from his nature and partly because he depends on order to protect himself from those who oppose him on moral grounds. Some lawful evil characters have particular taboos, such as not killing in cold blood (but having underlings do it) or not letting children come to harm (if it can be helped). They imagine that these compunctions put them above unprincipled villains.
- Some lawful evil people and creatures commit themselves to evil with a zeal like that of a crusader committed to good. Beyond being willing to hurt others for their own ends, they take pleasure in spreading evil as an end unto itself. They may also see doing evil as part of a duty to an evil deity or master.
- Lawful evil represents methodical, intentional, and organized evil.
- Neutral Evil
- A neutral evil character does whatever she can get away with. She is out for herself, pure and simple. She sheds no tears for those she kills, whether for profit, sport, or convenience. She has no love of order and holds no illusions that following laws, traditions, or codes would make her any better or more noble. On the other hand, she doesn't have the restless nature or love of conflict that a chaotic evil villain has.
- Some neutral evil characters hold up evil as an ideal, committing evil for its own sake. Most often, such individuals are devoted to evil deities or secret societies.
- Neutral evil represents pure evil without honor and without variation.
- Chaotic Evil
- A chaotic evil character does what his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. If he is simply out for whatever he can get, he is ruthless and brutal. If he is committed to the spread of evil and chaos, he is even worse. Thankfully, his plans are haphazard, and any groups he joins or forms are likely to be poorly organized. Typically, chaotic evil people can be made to work together only by force, and their leader lasts only as long as he can thwart attempts to topple or assassinate him.
- Chaotic evil represents the destruction not only of beauty and life, but also of the order on which beauty and life depend.
Again, it's important to note that these are only guidelines, and each player can interpret how they want to role-play their alignment in their own way, as long as their actions don't seem to indicate that a different alignment would be a better fit. Players should choose an alignment they'll find comfortable or interesting to play, and then write their backstory to fit this philosophy.
Once you pick your alignment, your character's actions are expected to fall within the guidelines of that alignment. Stray too far outside the guidelines, and your GM may make your character's alignment change to something more appropriate, based on those actions. It is also possible to deliberately change alignment by taking actions contrary to your current alignment. This can have consequences ranging from an interesting development in your character's story, to a crisis of faith, leaving your character distanced from his god, or even the temporary (or permanent) loss of character abilities. Needless to say, changing alignments can be a big deal.
GM's are encouraged to provide lots of warning to players who are in danger of changing alignments, giving them ample opportunity to change their ways before it's too late. This avoids problems caused by a Paladin suddenly becoming powerless because he butchered too many children while serving a Good-aligned god. Of course, such a wretched example of a Paladin should certainly face consequences, even if he doesn't lose his god's favor altogether. Maybe his Paladin order will seek his arrest, or banish him from their temples. Maybe he'll be sent on a quest of redemption, or asked to make sacrifices to atone for his misdeeds.
The d20pfsrd has a great section on creating a detailed backstory for your character. It can be found here: Character Background
In general, players should come up with as much backstory as they can stand, as backgrounds provide hooks for GM's to use to customize their campaign to the characters. This lets the characters feel more like a part of the story, and makes the story seem more like it couldn't have happened with just anyone who came along.
That said, character backgrounds do not have any sort of game-mechanics effect on the character. Just because your character has a former military career, or used to be a Raver of Puellor, doesn't mean you get bonuses in combat, or start with some scary magic item. The story is there to help you get into the head of your character, and help the other players understand what motivates you.
Be creative, but also remember to tailor your background to your current character level. A first level character probably hasn't had much opportunity to become a famous dragon-slayer, for example.
All player characters can speak, read, and write the Common language at native familiarity, regardless of the race chosen, or their intelligence score. Some races provide an additional language to starting characters, regardless of their intelligence score. Characters with secondary languages from their race can speak, read and write these languages at native familiarity as well.
In addition to the starting language(s), characters with a positive Intelligence modifier gain one bonus language per +1 of their modifier. That is, a character with a 14 intelligence (which grants a +2 INT modifier) would learn 2 bonus languages. These bonus languages are selected from the list of bonus languages available to their chosen character race. Bonus languages are always learned at the fluent level of familiarity.
If a character improves their Intelligence through a permanent source (such as a magic item, a manual, or through level advancement), sufficient to increase their INT modifier, they gain an additional bonus language, chosen from the same list of their chosen race. If a character's INT modifier increases to the point where they could gain more bonus languages than those offered by their race, they no longer gain bonus languages for increasing their Intelligence (though they still gain additional skill ranks each level; see below).
Characters may also learn additional languages by placing ranks in the Linguistics skill.
Skills play an important role in how your character is defined. The skills your character chooses to focus upon and develop, as well as those skills your character chooses to neglect, help you to describe additional facets of your character's personality. No character will be able to achieve greatness with every skill, so it is important to choose a few skills you wish to hone into powerful tools, which skills you will only dabble in, and which skills your character would put little or no effort into at all.
Every class has access to one bailiwick skill representing specialized knowledge gained by being a member of that class, which is not available to people outside of those classes. The six bailiwick skills are:
Characters are always naturally talented in their own bailiwick skill, meaning they can re-map it to the ability modifier of their choice. Once the modifier for their bailiwick skill is selected, it may not be changed, except through the Character Reselection rules. Note that naturally talented skills, and thus bailiwick skills, never suffer an armor check penalty, even if they are mapped to STR or DEX modifiers.
Characters may not place ranks in bailiwick skills which are not specifically available to them via their character class (or in some cases, from a racial trait). Characters cannot train fellow party members in their bailiwick skills, as the knowledge provided by these skills is gained by spending every hour of every day performing the actions of the classes which offer those skills. It's too specialized to teach to an outsider.
If you gain a second bailiwick skill (usually through a racial trait), it is not automatically a natural talent (even though you typically get to choose which of your ability score modifiers is aligned to the second bailiwick skill). Armor check penalties do apply to the second bailiwick skill if you choose to associate it with your STR or DEX modifier.
- Each Bailiwick skill has a linked knowledge skill. For each rank a character places in their bailiwick skill, the character receives a free rank in that bailiwick skill's linked skill. Note that no character may ever have more ranks in a skill than their character level.
- Skill uses for the linked skills are not interchangeable with the bailiwick skill (i.e. you can't use Spycraft to gather information, you must still use your Knowledge (Local) check to do that). Furthermore, the linked skill is not automatically a natural talent, though you can certainly make it one, if you wish.
- If a character has more than one bailiwick skill (usually via a racial trait), the second bailiwick skill does not gain matching ranks in its associated linked skill.
At character creation, every character gains natural talent in their bailiwick skill and one additional skill. Natural talent allows players to re-map the chosen skill to the ability modifier of their choice, instead of the modifier normally used by the skill. This allows each character to demonstrate strength in one particular area, regardless of their character class and primary ability scores. For example, a durable character might Intimidate people using their constitution, cracking knuckles and popping the ligaments in their neck menacingly. Alternatively, a very intelligent person might Intimidate people based upon their intelligence, assaulting their foe with a barrage of cold, hard facts. The result is the same in either case.
Players are encouraged to choose skills which normally use an ability modifier in which their character is particularly weak, converting it to their strongest ability modifier instead. It is recommended that skills which already make use of your second-highest ability score, or even your third-highest, might be less important to remap via natural talent, than the one which uses your worst (or second-worst) ability modifier.
Bailiwick skills which are not available to your character class may not be selected as your natural talent. Only skills which you are allowed to put ranks into may be selected.
If you choose to have natural talent in one of the skills which have specializations (i.e. Knowledge, Perform, Piloting, and Profession), you only gain natural talent in one specialization for that skill. Getting all knowledge skills, for example, would require twelve different natural talents, one for each of Arcana, Deep History, Dungeoneering, Engineering, etc.
Skills in which you are naturally talented never suffer an armor check penalty, even if the chosen ability modifier is STR or DEX.
All characters gain additional natural talent skills at character levels 11, 21, and 31 (note that this is only the same as class level if you don't multi-class or dual-class). They can also be acquired via some racial traits, or the Self-Improvement rules.
- Special: You can also expend a natural talent on a skill which is already a natural talent for you. If you do so, instead of remapping the skill to a different ability score, a result of a natural 1 is no longer considered an automatic failure for skill checks made with this skill. Furthermore, you can never fail a skill check in this skill by 5 or more. In such a case, the result is always treated as having failed by 4, no matter how badly you actually rolled (or how high the difficulty of the check was).
All characters have a Skill Basis modifier which is the 'foundation knowledge' your character has in all skills. This represents the fact that all player characters are exceptional, even in small ways, when compared to NPC's. The Skill Basis is the foundation number from which you calculate your skill rolls, in addition to adding in your stat modifiers, your ranks, magic bonuses, feat bonuses, and any other miscellaneous bonuses.
Your Skill Basis starts out as a +1 at first level, and every four levels goes up by any additional +1 (i.e., +2 at 4th level, +3 at 8th, +4 at 12th, and so on, to a maximum of +9 at 32nd level). Your Skill Basis increase reflects your greater knowledge of all things as you grow more world-wise, and can represent the 'school of hard knocks', the result of overhearing scholars talking in bars, hours of dedicated, solitary study, and many other things. Your Skill Basis increases in the same levels and for the same reasons that you get additional stat points as you level up: heroes are heroic, and their prowess is reflected in many ways.
Determine the number of skill ranks your character gets based on his class and Intelligence modifier (and any other bonuses, such as the bonus received by humans). Then allocate these ranks to desired skills, but remember that you cannot have more ranks than your level in any one skill (for a starting character, this is usually one).
Each level thereafter, your character gains a number of skill ranks dependent upon your class plus your Intelligence modifier. Investing a rank in a skill represents a measure of training in that skill.
Class Skill Ranks Alchemist 3 + Int modifier Barbarian 6 + Int modifier Bard 7 + Int modifier Brawler 6 + Int modifier Cleric 7 + Int modifier Druid 6 + Int modifier Fighter 6 + Int modifier Monk 6 + Int modifier Paladin 7 + Int modifier Partisan 6 + Int modifier Prowler 6 + Int modifier Ranger 7 + Int modifier Rogue 8 + Int modifier Sorcerer 7 + Int modifier Warlord 7 + Int modifier Wizard 3 + Int modifier
Favored Class Bonus
At character creation, the character class you choose at level 1 is also considered the character's Favored Class. This is the "primary" class of the character, and cannot be changed, once selected. Any other character classes the player selects during the career of their character (via Multi-Classing or Dual-Classing) are considered "secondary" classes. Your favored class must always be the same as the class you choose at level 1. This prevents situations where a non-spell casting favored class is selected, and a spell casting class is leveled up, causing that player to be stuck with a bailiwick skill that doesn't include the ability to read magic or learn new spells.
Each time a character gains a level and chooses to advance their favored class (rather than advancing a secondary class) including first level, they get a Favored Class bonus for sticking with their chosen primary class. The Favored Class bonus may be used to either gain 1 additional hit point or 1 additional skill rank. Note that skill ranks can never exceed character level, even if they are bonus skill ranks.
In games where multi-classing is not allowed, this Favored Class bonus is always gained at every level, since characters may only level up in their favored class.
- Either 1 bonus hit point or 1 bonus skill rank, per level, when the favored class is chosen at a new level.
Determine how many feats your character receives, based on his class and level, and select them from those listed in the Feats page.
- All 1st level characters begin with 1 feat, and one additional feat at every odd level (e.g. 3rd, 5th, 7th, etc.).
- If your character's race is human and you took the "Life Lessons" major racial trait, you get 1 additional feat (for a total of 2).
Determine Starting Hit Points
Level 1 characters get full CON score plus max hit die for hit points at level 1. (Note that this means only CON score + max hit die, not CON score + CON modifier + max hit die.) If your CON score increases as you adventure do not forget to adjust your total hitpoints! As a result, all Epic Path classes are considerably more durable at first level than older rules sets would have created. Even the least durable classes like Wizards are no longer at risk of death from a single attack at first level. Don't be afraid to go out and adventure!
To determine hit points for levels beyond 1st, roll the dice indicated by your character class's Hit Dice and add your character's CON score modifier. GM's are encouraged to allow re-rolls of 1's on this roll, because 1's suck. Some house rules even allow characters to take average on the die (rounding down) if the re-roll is also lower than average. After all, we're playing heroes, here, not accountants.
Note that the hit dice for character classes differ here than those in the core Pathfinder rules. This is intentional, as the addition of the character's CON score at 1st level makes low-level characters much stronger than normal Pathfinder characters, while at higher levels, the wider range of hit dice emphasizes the differences between the front-line melee characters and the squishy back-of-the-fight classes.
Class Hit Die Alchemist d4 Barbarian d6 Bard d6 Brawler d8 Cleric d8 Druid d6 Fighter d10 Monk d8 Paladin d10 Partisan d12 Prowler d6 Ranger d8 Rogue d6 Sorcerer d4 Warlord d10 Wizard d4
Each new character begins the game with 250 gold coins, that can be spent on a wide range of equipment and gear, from chainmail armor to leather backpacks. This money is assumed to be all the resources the character could muster, regardless of their background story, for 'reasons'. This gear helps your character survive while adventuring.
All characters also start out with a good solid set of clothes for free...unless your Barbarian just isn't into that, which is also fine by us, if that's the kind of game you want to play.... No, you may not sell back your clothes for extra money. For simplicity, you may also purchase an Adventurer's Kit. This costs 12 gold and weighs 44 pounds and provides you with 'all the basics'. You may also 'mix and match' from the Kit, or just 'buy your own'.
Note that the Adventurer's Kit doesn't have any armor or weapons in it, or any thief's tools, or a musical instrument, or any healing supplies, or an Implement or Spellbook, etc, etc. Assuming that's your thing, you should also use the links below to choose and wear armor and weapons, maybe even a shield, and all that other Equipment that will make your character more useful and capable.
The armor or other protective devices you purchase may affect your starting Armor Class (AC), so once you have purchased armor or other protective devices you can determine your Armor Class (AC).
Typically, magic items are not available for purchase at character creation. However, at the GM's discretion (and depending upon the campaign setting), some Lay Magic items, Alchemical Creations (e.g. Alchemist's Fire or Tanglefoot bags) and Magic Potions (e.g. Cure Light Wounds) may be available. Campaigns in which magic is rare, or heavily controlled, should not allow such items to be purchased at character creation.
- Wealth By Level
- Characters beginning at a level other than 1st should refer to the tables on the Character Advancement page to determine starting wealth for characters of their level.
- Links to Equipment
- Note that weapons and armor should be selected from the Epic Path rules, not the d20pfsrd. There are also a few pieces of equipment listed which are unique to Epic Path which may interest a starting character, such as a portable fire or a waterstone.
Determine Armor Class Values
Determine your character's Armor Class. At character creation, this step is fairly straightforward, but as you accumulate magic items, it can grow more complex to keep track of which bonus affects which type of armor class. All of the different bonus types which affect armor class are listed below for your reference.
- Armor Class
- Your Armor Class (AC) represents how hard it is for opponents to land a solid, damaging blow on you. A to-hit roll made against you that is equal to or greater than your armor class is treated as a hit.
10 + Armor bonus + Dexterity modifier + Natural Armor bonus + Shield bonus + Size Modifier + other modifiers (Armor Enhancement bonus + Shield Enhancement bonus + Dodge bonus + Martial bonus + Natural Armor Enhancement bonus)
- Max Dex Bonus: Most armor limits the maximum amount of your Dexterity bonus that you can apply to your AC (see Table: Armor and Shields). If your dexterity modifier is greater than the max dex value for your armor or shield, you may only add up to the maximum value listed for your armor to your armor class.
Types of Armor Bonuses
All bonuses to AC stack with each other, but not with themselves (with the exception of Dodge bonuses, which do stack with themselves). The types of AC bonuses are:
Bonus AC? Stacks With Itself? Notes Armor Bonus Yes - An armor bonus to AC comes from the physical armor you are wearing. It can be enchanted to grant additional AC via an Armor Enhancement bonus (see below). If you have multiple items providing an Armor bonus to AC, only the highest Armor bonus applies (i.e. you can't wear two sets of armor). Armor Enhancement Bonus Yes - Armor which has been magically enchanted (e.g. +2 leather armor) adds its enhancement bonus to the AC of the wearer. If you have multiple items providing an Armor Enhancement bonus to AC, only the highest Armor Enhancement bonus applies. Dex Modifier Yes - Your dexterity modifier adds to your AC to represent your ability to actively avoid attacks. If you are surprised, or have not yet acted in the round, you may not apply your Dexterity modifier to your AC. Furthermore, most armor limits the maximum Dexterity modifier you may apply to your AC while wearing that armor. If your Dexterity modifier is greater than the Max Dex listed for the armor you are wearing, you may only add up to the Max Dex number to your AC. The additional benefit from your high dexterity is lost unless you remove the armor (or purchase a magical or dweomermetal version of the armor, which may raise the Max Dex of the armor). It is not possible to have more than one source for your Dexterity modifier. Even if you somehow could, you could only use the highest value. Dodge Bonus Yes Yes Dodge bonuses represent actively avoiding blows. Unlike all other bonuses to AC, if you have multiple items providing a Dodge bonus to AC, they stack with each other. Martial Bonus Yes - Warlords can grant a martial bonus to AC to adjacent characters using their Hold the Line stance. This represents the tactical direction and positioning provided by the warlord's leadership. If you have multiple effects providing a Martial bonus to AC, only the highest Martial bonus applies. Natural Armor Bonus Yes - A natural armor bonus improves armor class resulting from a creature’s naturally tough hide. Natural armor bonuses stack with all other bonuses to armor class (even with armor bonuses) except other natural armor bonuses. A creature without natural armor has an effective Natural armor bonus of +0. Natural Armor Enhancement Bonus Yes - Some magical effects (typically magic items) grant an enhancement bonus to the creature’s existing natural armor bonus, which has the effect of increasing the natural armor’s overall bonus to armor class. If you have multiple effects providing a Natural Armor bonus to AC, only the highest Natural Armor bonus applies. Shield Bonus Yes - A shield bonus to AC comes from the physical shield you are wearing. If you have multiple items or effects providing a Shield bonus to AC, only the highest Shield bonus applies (i.e. you can't wear two shields at once). Shield Enhancement Bonus Yes - A shield which has been magically enchanted (e.g. a +2 heavy shield) adds its enhancement bonus to the AC of the shield's wearer. If you have multiple items or effects providing a Shield Enhancement bonus to AC, only the highest Shield Enhancement bonus applies. Size Modifier Yes - You receive a bonus or penalty to your AC based on your size. It is not possible to have more than one source for your Size modifier. Even if you somehow could, you could only use the highest value.
Determine Attack Values, Saving Throws and Initiative
Determine all of the character's other mechanical details, such as his or her saving throws, initiative modifier, to-hit bonus and damage for each equipped weapon, Maneuver Offense and Maneuver Defense scores, etc. All of these numbers are determined by the decisions made in previous steps, usually determined by your class choice.
- To determine a character's normal attack bonus with a weapon, use the formulas below. Note that several other factors can impact this number, such as whether or not the character is proficient with the weapon in question, whether the weapon is appropriately sized for the character, or whether the character is using the weapon with the correct number of hands to properly wield it, as well as temporary modifiers, such as those caused by status conditions. A character may also gain bonuses (or penalties) to their attack roll based on feats, racial traits, class abilities, etc. These should be factored into the formula below, as well.
- Melee weapons: Base attack bonus + Strength modifier
- Thrown weapons: Base attack bonus + Dexterity modifier
- Ranged weapons: Base attack bonus + Dexterity modifier
- To determine how much damage a character deals with a weapon, use the formulas below. Note that damage is also modified by a number of elements, such as a character's level, size, feats and class abilities, and the weapon's mundane or magical properties. Temporary modifiers can also affect a character's weapon damage, such as some status conditions, spell effects or monster special abilities. These modifiers should be factored into the formula below as appropriate.
- 1-handed melee weapons: Weapon's base damage + Strength modifier
- 2-handed melee weapons: Weapon's base damage + 1.5x Strength modifier
- Thrown weapons: Weapon's base damage + Strength modifier
- Ranged weapons: Weapon's base damage
- Generally, when you are subject to an unusual or magical attack, you get a saving throw to avoid or reduce the effect. Like an attack roll, a saving throw is a d20 roll plus a bonus based on your class and level (see Classes), and an associated ability score.
- Fortitude (FORT): These saves measure your ability to stand up to physical punishment or attacks against your vitality and health. Apply your Constitution modifier to your Fortitude saving throws.
FORT Save: Base Save Bonus + Constitution modifier + d20
- Reflex (REFL): These saves test your ability to dodge area attacks and unexpected situations. Apply your Dexterity modifier to your Reflex saving throws.
REFL Save: Base Save Bonus + Dexterity modifier + d20
- Will (WILL): These saves reflect your resistance to mental influence as well as many magical effects. Apply your Wisdom modifier to your Will saving throws.
WILL Save: Base Save Bonus + Wisdom modifier + d20
- Base Save Bonus: Your base save bonus comes from your character class, and increases with level. Refer to the level advancement table of your character class page to find the value for each save.
At the start of a battle, each combatant makes an initiative check. An initiative check is a Movement skill check, using any modifiers you have to your movement skill. Sometimes, a character may have one or more bonuses that only apply to initiative, instead of Movement. In those cases, the character should compare the comparable bonus they have in Movement, if any, and use the best available bonus to calculate their total.
After initiative is rolled, characters and monsters take turns, taking their turn in the order they rolled, counting down from the highest result to the lowest. In every round that follows, the characters act in the same order (unless a character takes an action that results in their initiative changing). The same initiatives are maintained until the current encounter ends. Note that encounters can never last longer than 10 rounds; before the encounter begins its 11th round, the encounter is treated as ended, ending any conditions, buffs, or abilities, that end at the end of an encounter. A new encounter immediately begins, starting over from round 1, with new initiatives, refreshed action points, and resetting any "once per encounter" abilities.
Initiative: d20 + Movement Skill
- Disambiguation: Maneuver Offense was formerly known as Combat Maneuver Bonus (CMB)
- Maneuver offense is a generic term for a skill check to perform a combat maneuver. The combat maneuvers and their associated skill checks are:
Combat Maneuver Skill Action Required Bull Rush Might Standard action, or as part of a charge, in place of the melee attack. Dirty Trick Sleight of Hand Standard Action Disarm Sleight of Hand Standard Action, or in place of a melee attack. Drag Might Standard Action Grapple Might Standard Action Overrun Might Standard Action, or during the movement portion of a Charge, or as Part of a Move Action. Reposition Might Standard Action Shield Bash Might Standard Action Steal Sleight of Hand Standard action, or in place of a melee attack. Sunder Might Standard Action, or in place of a melee attack. Trip Might Standard Action, or in place of a melee attack.
- Combat maneuvers are performed by making a skill check with the appropriate skill, versus a DC of the target creature's Maneuver Defense. If you have an item, feat, class ability, or other effect which calls for a Maneuver Offense check to perform some action, but does not specify which skill to use, you may choose either the Might skill or Sleight of Hand skill, subject to GM approval. If the check equals or exceeds this target DC, the maneuver is successful. Refer to the individual maneuvers to resolve the outcome of this success.
- In most cases, unless you have a feat to prevent it (such as Improved Bull Rush), performing a combat maneuver provokes an attack of opportunity from the target creature. Obviously, creatures which are flat-footed or unaware of you cannot make attacks of opportunity.
- Combat maneuvers can inflict some damage when performed, in addition to the other effects of the maneuver in question. This damage is optional; the character performing the maneuver may elect not to inflict damage while still inflicting the other effects (assuming the maneuver is successful). Damage from combat maneuvers is less than the damage the character would do with a normal attack, but is still based on the primary weapon the character is wielding. A character's exact Maneuver Damage is determined using the following formula:
(Primary Weapon's Base Damage (Dice Only) x Level Damage Multiplier) + Weapon Quality + Feat Bonus + Class Feature + Racial Trait + Other
- Primary Weapon's Base Damage (Dice Only): Maneuvers deal original base weapon damage of the weapon you are wielding, not including any adders, such as enhancement bonuses, STR modifiers, feats, spell effects, precision damage, bonus damage, etc. This is just the base weapon damage of the weapon.
- Level Damage Multiplier: Base weapon damage increases at each experience tier above courageous (i.e. at 6th level, 11th level, 16th level, 21st level, 26th level, and at 31st level). As these increases occur, they increase maneuver damage accordingly.
- Weapon Quality: Some weapons possess qualities which directly improve the damage of one or more combat maneuvers, when that weapon is wielded as your primary weapon. Typically, weapon qualities only apply to a particular maneuver (or set of maneuvers).
- Feat Bonus: Some feats grant an increase to combat maneuver damage, though most will only increase the damage to a particular maneuver (or set of maneuvers).
- Class Feature: Some class features grant a bonus to combat maneuver damage, or to damage dealt when performing particular maneuvers.
- Racial Trait: Some racial traits grant a bonus to combat maneuver damage, or to damage dealt when performing particular maneuvers.
- Other: Other bonuses may grant increases to damage dealt by combat maneuvers. These could come from magic items, magic weapon properties, or permanent boons from a powerful entity. Oftentimes, such bonuses will only increase the damage to a particular maneuver (or set of maneuvers).
- If you have natural or class-based non-weapon attacks, you may roll just the dice you would normally roll for an attack you are allowed to make during an attack of opportunity, not including any adders (such as enhancement bonuses, STR modifiers, feats, spell effects, precision damage, bonus damage, etc).
- Example: a 3rd level fighter would roll just the dice from their +1 longsword (1d8), while a 3rd level Monk would roll just the dice of their Echoing Strike attack (2d8), and a 3rd level Brawler would roll just the dice of their Cross attack (also 2d8).
- Combat maneuvers can gain the skill critical bonus effect on a roll of a natural 20 (usually +5 to the total result), which can result in a greater effect from the combat maneuver, but maneuvers never inflict additional damage due to a critical hit, and therefore do not require a critical confirmation roll.
- Disambiguation: Maneuver Defense was formerly known as Combat Maneuver Defense (CMD)
- Each character and creature has a Maneuver Defense value that represents its ability to resist combat maneuvers such as Trip, Overrun and Bull Rush, among many other uses. Maneuver Defense can be thought of as a general statistic used to represent how well a character or creature can handle rough physical treatment. It is related to but different than Armor Class, and is derived in a different way. Maneuver Defense is based on a characters overall experience with the school of hard knocks, the physical size, power, and deftness of the character, combined with their ability to dodge or deflect events. A Player Character's exact Maneuver Defense is determined using the following formula:
10 + ½ Character Level (Round Down) + Size Modifier + STR modifier + DEX modifier + Dodge AC + Shield AC + Miscellaneous + Penalties
- Size Modifier: Fine -4, Diminutive -3, Tiny -2, Small -1, Medium +0, Large +1, Huge +2, Gargantuan +3, Colossal +4, Titanic +5.
- Miscellaneous Modifiers: Some feats and abilities grant a bonus to your Maneuver Defense when resisting specific things.
- Penalties: Any penalties to a creature's AC also apply to its Maneuver Defense for physical attacks. For example, a flat-footed creature suffers the same -4 penalty to its Maneuver Defense as does against its AC.
- Caster check is a general term used to describe making a skill check in order to use a magic spell to 'do something' against a bad guy. This can be wrestling your magical effect through a monster's spell resistance, using a grease spell to disarm an orc, or making tentacles do... stuff... to a whole roomful of demons.
- This is mechanically similar to a Concentration Check.
- Some feats, such as Combat Casting (Feat) and Spell Penetration (Feat), can be selected to improve your caster checks in certain situations.