Finders of a Path
Awwwww Yeah Starting A Pathfinder Game
I’m going to assume that most of you are not particularly familiar with Pathfinder, so I’ll explain the basics of character creation step-by-step. http://www.d20pfsrd.com/ contains all Pathfinder material relevant to you as players. Everyone will be starting as a 1st level character.
Choose a race
This works mostly like in 3.5, but in Pathfinder there is no such thing as level adjustment. Instead, races are measured using “Race Points” (RP). A standard player race (anything that would have no level adjustment in 3.5) is between 8 and 11 RP. Also, most races have alternate racial traits that you can choose in place of the race’s normal abilities. For example, dwarves can give up their darkvision in order to gain the ability to survive more easily in certain surface climates. You can pick multiple alternate racial traits, but they cannot replace the same base trait: for example, dwarves cannot pick two variant traits that both replace their normal stonecunning ability.
The following races are available for this campaign: catfolk, changeling, dhampir, duergar, dwarf, elf, gnome, goblin, half-elf, half-orc, halfling, hobgoblin, human, kitsune, nagaji, orc, ratfolk, samsaran, strix, vanara, and wayang.
Choose a favored class
Your favored class functions just like it did in 3.5: when determining whether or not you take an XP penalty for having two or more classes that are different levels, you can ignore your favored class’s level. However, in Pathfinder you can choose your favored class from a list of several classes (determined by your race), instead of every member of a race always having a predetermined favored class. You also get a bonus every time you take a level in your favored class, which is again determined by your race: for example, a dwarf that picks barbarian as his favored class gets 1 additional round of rage every time he takes a barbarian level.
Choose your base class
All of the classes from the 3.5 Player’s Handbook exist in Pathfinder, in addition to eight new classes. The big difference here is that when you take your first level in a base class, you may also choose to take one or more archetypes for that class. An archetype is essentially a bundle of alternative class features: you give up one or more of the class’s normal abilities and gain a couple of new ones only available to that archetype. Note that when taking an archetype, you cannot pick and choose which parts of it you want: you either get ALL of the archetype abilities (and give up ALL of the abilities it replaces), or you don’t take the archetype. You can choose more than one archetype; however, they CANNOT modify the same class feature. For example, if one archetype replaces a druid’s animal companion with a mount, and a second archetype changes your animal companion into a dragon, you can’t pick both of those archetypes because they both modify the same feature. Here’s a brief summary of the classes.
Alchemist: Their main mechanic is the ability to quickly build and throw bombs, which deal more damage as you level up. They also have Extracts, which work similarly to spells, and Mutagens, which allow you to enhance your physical abilities at the expense of your mental ones.
Barbarian: Works mostly like 3.5, but you also get things called Rage Powers which only function while raging (derp). Also, instead of having a set number of uses of rage that each last for a set duration, you can rage for a certain number of rounds per day and can split it up however you want.
Bard: Works just like in 3.5 but is generally better and can actually function in a real game.
Cavalier: This class is somewhat similar to the 3.5 knight and obviously focuses on mounted combat. You pick an Order to belong to, which gives you a few special abilities and modifies your Challenge class feature, which lets you call someone out for being a little bitch and then gain bonuses for doing it. You eventually gain a Banner, which gives bonuses to allies within range of it.
Cleric: No longer has turn/rebuke undead; instead has"Channel Energy, which allows you to heal/harm living/undead creatures, depending on which version you choose. Domains now have optional “Subdomains”, which work similarly to class archetypes: you replace one of the domain’s normal powers and a few of the spells on its list with new options.
Druid: Exactly the same. However, animal companions now work differently: all companions are available at level 1, and they increase in power as you level up. Wild shape also works slightly differently, due to changes to polymorph and the associated spells. You can give up your animal companion in order to gain one of several Domains instead.
Fighter: Still has all of the bonus feats, but also gets bonuses to using armor and certain groups of weapons.
Gunslinger: As the name implies, it focuses on the use of guns. Firearms are usually unpredictable in Pathfinder and tend to break, but the gunslinger has ways around those mechanics and is pretty much the only one that can reliably use them. You have a resource pool called Grit, which you use for your Deeds: Deeds are either active effects that require you to spend Grit in order to use them, or passive effects that grant bonuses as long as you have some Grit remaining.
Inquisitor: This class is somewhere between a cleric and a paladin: they have up to 6th level spells like a bard, a smattering of melee abilities, and bonus teamwork feats, which let you perform maneuvers with help from party members. Their main mechanic is Judgment, which lets you pick from one of several types of Judgments each time you use it in order to generally fuck up your enemy’s day.
Magus: This guy is vaguely similar to the 3.5 hexblade, in that it is a hybrid of arcane spells and melee combat. They have a resource called an Arcane Pool, from which they can spend points to magically enhance their weapon. Their main mechanics are Spell Combat, which allows them to “dual wield” a weapon in one hand and a spell in the other, and Spellstrike, which lets the channel spells through their weapon and unleash them as part of an attack.
Monk: Has all of the same class features, but also has a resource called “ki points”, which can be spent to gain a few different bonuses.
Oracle: This class is a full divine spellcaster. You get to choose a Mystery, which gives you access to a list of abilities that you can gain as you level up, but also choose a Curse, which gives you a few bonuses but also carries a penalty with it.
Paladin: Smite evil is now a buff on the paladin instead of a specific attack: you declare a particular enemy to be the target of your smite, and you gain bonuses until that enemy is dead. Lay on hands slowly gains the ability to remove status conditions in addition to healing, and you gain several “auras” that let you consume uses of lay on hands to grant bonuses to your allies. You can also give up your mount in order to gain the ability to magically enhance your weapon.
Ranger: There are a lot more fighting styles to choose from (in 3.5 they only had archery and dual-wielding). You have favored terrains in addition to favored enemies, which makes it easier to hide in or track through or navigate the area. Animal companions work like the druid, and you can choose to give it up in order to gain the ability to share your favored enemy bonuses with allies.
Rogue: Has the same abilities, but also gains Talents, which let you perform a number of different maneuvers.
Sorcerer: Now has a Bloodline, which gives you a few unique abilities as well as bonus spells and feats. Sorcerers no longer have a familiar by default, but a few Bloodlines grant one.
Summoner: As the name implies this class focuses on conjuring lots and lots of things and stuff. Its main mechanic is the Eidolon, which is a customizable entity that you can call to your side. The Eidolon is permanent unless killed (unlike the minions you summon through spells) and you can choose its abilities using Evolution Points. If you are familiar with Final Fantasy, Eidolons are somewhat similar to the summons from those games.
Witch: A full arcane spellcaster. You pick a Patron at 1st level, which determines where your spells come from and gives you a few bonus spells. You have a familiar, and your main abilities are Hexes, which are pretty much what they sound like. Hexes can be used at-will and generally involve putting some sort of negative effect on your enemies, but a few provide bonuses for allies instead.
Wizard: Can give up your familiar in order to gain a special “bonded object” like a staff or ring, which grants you extra magical power. Also gains special abilities depending on what school you specialize in (including a Universalist “school” for those that don’t specialize).
Generate your ability scores
The default generation method for Pathfinder is the one we’ve been using already, and will continue to use for this campaign: roll 4d6, drop the lowest die, add the other three numbers together. Repeat until you have 6 numbers and then assign them as you see fit. Note however that you are NOT rolling three sets of scores and then picking the one you like best: you are only rolling ONE set of SIX numbers, and those are your scores. We are also NOT doing the thing where you can replace a score with an 18 but have to reroll your lowest stat with only 3d6.
You have one feat at 1st level, plus any bonus feats you may have from your race/class. In Pathfinder you gain new feats at every odd level instead of every three levels.
Assign skill points
Skills got a pretty massive overhaul. Firstly, a lot of skills have been consolidated: Hide and Move Silently are now Stealth, for example. Secondly, while there are still class skills and non-class skills, they work differently. There is no longer an increased cost for non-class skills: gaining 1 rank in a skill now always costs 1 skill point no matter what. Also, the maximum number of ranks you can have in a skill is now always equal to your character level, regardless of whether its a class skill or not. However, if you have at least 1 rank in a class skill, you get a +3 bonus to checks made with that skill.