Rules Index


Chapter 3: Classes

Source Core Rulebook pg. 67
Just as your character’s ancestry plays a key role in expressing their identity and worldview, their class indicates the training they have and will improve upon as an adventurer. Choosing your character’s class is perhaps the most important decision you will make for them. Groups of players often create characters whose skills and abilities complement each other mechanically—for example, ensuring your party includes a healer, a combat-oriented character, a stealthy character, and someone with command over magic—so you may wish to discuss options with your group before deciding.

The rules within each class allow you to bring a wealth of character concepts to life. Perhaps you want to create a brilliant but scatterbrained alchemist who can rattle off complex formulas for alchemical items but has trouble remembering his best friend’s birthday. Or perhaps you want your character to be a muscle-bound swordswoman who becomes as immovable as a mountain when she hoists a shield. Maybe they’ll be a hot-tempered sorcerer whose gesticulating fingers pulse with light from an angelic ancestor. The choices you make for your character within their class—such as a cleric’s choice of deity, a fighter’s choice of weapon, or a sorcerer’s bloodline—bring these visions to life within the context of the rules and the world.

The entries on the pages that follow describe the 12 core classes in Pathfinder. Each entry contains the information you need to play a character of that class, as well as to advance them from their humble beginnings at 1st level to the dizzying heights of power at 20th level. In addition to the class entries, you might need to reference the following sections, which detail additional character options and how to advance your character in level.
  • Leveling Up on page 31 tells you how to make your character stronger when you get enough Experience Points to reach a new level.
  • Animal Companions and Familiars on page 214 provides rules to create an animal companion or a familiar to share your adventures with. You must have a class feature or feat that grants you a companion or familiar to use these rules.
  • Archetypes on page 219 gives you thematic options that allow you to further customize your character’s abilities. Though these rules are not recommended for beginners, the archetypes in this book allow you to gain abilities from other classes starting at 2nd level.

Reading Class Entries

Source Core Rulebook pg. 67
Every class entry includes information about typical members of the class, plus suggestions for roleplaying characters of that class and playing these characters in the game’s various modes. Each class provides your character with an ability boost to a key ability score; a number of Hit Points they receive at each level; proficiency ranks for various abilities, equipment, and skills; special abilities from their class features; and more. Your character’s class entry also provides the information needed when they gain levels, so it will be a vital reference throughout the course of your campaign.

Playing the Class

Source Core Rulebook pg. 67
The first section of each class describes the interests and tendencies typical of that class, as well as information on how others view them. This can help inspire you as you determine your character’s actions and define their personality, but you aren’t obligated to play your character as this section describes.

Key Ability

Source Core Rulebook pg. 67
This is the ability score that a member of your class cares about the most. Many of your most useful and powerful abilities are tied to this ability in some way.

For instance, this is the ability score you’ll use to determine the Difficulty Class (DC) associated with your character’s class features and feats. This is called your class DC. If your character is a member of a spellcasting class, this key ability is used to calculate spell DCs and similar values.

Most classes are associated with one key ability score, but some allow you to choose from two options. For instance, if you’re a fighter, you can choose either Strength or Dexterity as your key ability. A fighter who chooses Strength will excel in hand-to-hand combat, while those who choose Dexterity prefer ranged or finesse weapons.

Additionally, when you choose your character’s class, they gain an ability boost to their key ability score, increasing that ability score by 2. For more about ability boosts, see page 20.

Hit Points

Source Core Rulebook pg. 67
This section tells you how many Hit Points your character gains from their class at each level. To determine your character’s starting Hit Points, add together the Hit Points they got when you chose their ancestry and the amount listed in this entry, which equals your Constitution modifier plus a fixed number. Classes that intend for characters to rush into battle with weapons bared gain a higher number of Hit Points each level, while those for characters who cast spells or engage in trickery gain fewer.

Each time your character gains a level, they increase their maximum Hit Points by the amount listed in this entry. For more about calculating your character’s Constitution modifier and determining their Hit Points, see page 26.

Initial Proficiencies

Source Core Rulebook pg. 68
When you choose your character’s class, they gain a set of initial proficiencies. Proficiencies measure your character’s ability to perform tasks, use abilities, and succeed at checks. Proficiency ranks range from trained to legendary. For instance, a character who is trained with a longbow can use it effectively, while a person who is legendary with the weapon might be able to split an arrow from 100 paces away!

Each class entry specifies your character’s initial proficiency rank in Perception, saving throws, attacks, defenses, and either spells or class DC. You gain the trained proficiency rank in at least one skill that is important to your class, and you can choose other skills to gain trained proficiency in—the exact number depends on your class. If your class would make you trained in a skill you’re already trained in (typically due to your background), you can select another skill to become trained in.

A proficiency rank can unlock various feats and class features, and it also helps determine the modifier for any check you roll or DC you calculate related to that statistic. If your character is trained in Perception, a saving throw, or another statistic, they gain a proficiency bonus equal to their level + 2, while if they have expert proficiency, they gain a proficiency bonus equal to their level + 4. For more about proficiency ranks, see page 13.

Spellcasting classes grant a proficiency rank for spell attacks and DCs, which are further detailed in each class’s entry.

If something isn’t listed in your character’s class entry, their proficiency rank in that statistic is untrained unless they gain training from another source. If your character is untrained in something, you add a proficiency bonus of +0 when attempting a check or calculating a DC related to that statistic.

Advancement Table

Source Core Rulebook pg. 68
This table summarizes the feats, skill increases, ability boosts, and other benefits your character gains as they advance in level. The first column of the class table indicates a level, and the second column lists each feature your character receives when they reach that level. The 1st-level entry includes a reminder to select your ancestry and background.

Class Features

Source Core Rulebook pg. 68
This section presents all the abilities the class grants your character. An ability gained at a higher level lists the required level next to the ability’s name. All classes include the class features detailed below, and each class also gets special class features specific to it. Many class features require you to choose between options. Unless the specific ability states otherwise, such decisions can’t be changed without retraining (as explained on page 481).

Class Feats

Source Core Rulebook pg. 68
This section specifies the levels at which your character gains class feats—special feats that only members of that class can access. Class feats are granted beginning at 1st or 2nd level, depending on the class. Specific class feats are detailed at the end of each class entry.

Skill Feats

Source Core Rulebook pg. 68
This section specifies the levels at which your character gains feats with the skill trait, called skill feats. Skill feats can be found in Chapter 5: Feats, beginning on page 254. At 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, most classes gain a skill feat, though rogues gain them earlier and more often. Your character must be trained in the corresponding skill to take a skill feat.

General Feats

Source Core Rulebook pg. 68
This section specifies the levels at which your character gains general feats. Most classes grant a general feat at 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter. At each of these levels, you can select any general feat (including skill feats) as long as your character qualifies for it. More information can be found in Chapter 5: Feats (page 254).

Skill Increases

Source Core Rulebook pg. 68
This section specifies the levels at which your character can increase their proficiency rank in a skill. At 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter, most classes grant a skill increase, though rogues gain them earlier and more often. Your character can use a skill increase to either become trained in one skill in which they’re untrained or become an expert in one skill in which they’re already trained.

If your character is at least 7th level, they can use a skill increase to become a master of a skill in which they’re already an expert. If they’re at least 15th level, they can use an increase to become legendary in a skill of which they’re already a master.

Ability Boosts

Source Core Rulebook pg. 68
At 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter, your character boosts four different ability scores. Your character can use these ability boosts to increase their ability scores above 18. Boosting an ability score increases it by 1 if it’s already 18 or above, or by 2 if it starts out below 18. For more about ability boosts and applying them during character creation, see page 20.

Ancestry Feats

Source Core Rulebook pg. 68
This section serves as a reminder of the ancestry feats your character gains at 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th levels. Ancestry feats are detailed in each ancestry entry in Chapter 2, which begins on page 32.

Animal Companions and Familiars

Source Core Rulebook pg. 214
Some adventurers travel with loyal allies known as animal companions and familiars. The former begin as young animals but acquire impressive physical abilities as you level up, while the latter share a magical bond with you.

Animal Companions

Source Core Rulebook pg. 214
An animal companion is a loyal comrade who follows your orders without you needing to use Handle an Animal on it. Your animal companion has the minion trait, and it gains 2 actions during your turn if you use the Command an Animal action to command it; this is in place of the usual effects of Command an Animal. If your companion dies, you can spend a week of downtime to replace it at no cost. You can have only one animal companion at a time.

Riding Animal Companions

Source Core Rulebook pg. 214
You or an ally can ride your animal companion as long as it is at least one size larger than the rider. If it is carrying a rider, the animal companion can use only its land Speed, and it can’t move and Support you on the same turn. However, if your companion has the mount special ability, it’s especially suited for riding and ignores both of these restrictions.

Young Animal Companions

Source Core Rulebook pg. 214
The following are the base statistics for a young animal companion, the first animal companion most characters get. You make adjustments to these statistics depending on the type of animal you choose. As you gain levels, you might make further adjustments as your companion becomes more powerful. Animal companions calculate their modifiers and DCs just as you do with one difference: the only item bonuses they can benefit from are to speed and AC (their maximum item bonus to AC is +2).

Proficiencies

Source Core Rulebook pg. 214
Your animal companion uses your level to determine its proficiency bonuses. It’s trained in its unarmed attacks, unarmored defense, barding, all saving throws, Perception, Acrobatics, and Athletics. Animal companions can’t use abilities that require greater Intelligence, such as Coerce or Decipher Writing, even if trained in the appropriate skill, unless they have a specialization that allows it.

Ability Modifiers

Source Core Rulebook pg. 214
An animal companion begins with base ability modifiers of Str +2, Dex +2, Con +1, Int –4, Wis +1, Cha +0. Each type has its own strengths and increases two of these modifiers by 1 each. These increases are already calculated into the stat blocks in Companion Types below.

Hit Points

Source Core Rulebook pg. 214
Your animal companion has ancestry Hit Points from its type, plus a number of Hit Points equal to 6 plus its Constitution modifier for each level you have.

Mature Animal Companions

Source Core Rulebook pg. 214
To advance a young animal companion to a mature animal companion (usually a result of one of your class feat choices), increase its Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, and Wisdom modifiers by 1. Increase its unarmed attack damage from one die to two dice (for instance 1d8 to 2d8), and its proficiency rank for Perception and all saving throws to expert. Increase its proficiency ranks in Intimidation, Stealth, and Survival to trained, and if it was already trained in one of those skills from its type, increase its proficiency rank in that skill to expert. If your companion is Medium or smaller, it grows by one size.

Nimble Animal Companions

Source Core Rulebook pg. 214
To advance a mature animal companion to a nimble animal companion, increase its Dexterity modifier by 2 and its Strength, Constitution, and Wisdom modifiers by 1. It deals 2 additional damage with its unarmed attacks. Increase its proficiency ranks in Acrobatics and unarmored defense to expert. It also learns the advanced maneuver for its type. Its attacks become magical for the purpose of ignoring resistances.

Savage Animal Companions

Source Core Rulebook pg. 214
To advance a mature animal companion to a savage animal companion, increase its Strength modifier by 2 and its Dexterity, Constitution, and Wisdom modifiers by 1. It deals 3 additional damage with its unarmed attacks. Increase its proficiency rank in Athletics to expert. It also learns the advanced maneuver for its type. If your companion is Medium or smaller, it grows by one size. Its attacks become magical for the purpose of ignoring resistances.

Companion Types

Source Core Rulebook pg. 214
The species of animal you choose is called your companion’s type. Each companion type has its own statistics. The Size entry indicates your companion’s starting size as a young animal companion. Following the size entry are the companion’s unarmed attacks, and then its ability modifiers. The Hit Points entry indicates the companion’s ancestry Hit Points. The Skill entry indicates an additional trained skill your companion has. The Senses entry lists your companion’s special senses. The Speed entry gives your companion’s Speeds. The Special entry, if present, lists any other special abilities your companion has, for example whether it often serves as a mount and is particularly appropriate for mounted classes, such as the champion. The Support Benefit entry indicates a special benefit you gain by Commanding the Animal to use the Support action (see below). The Advanced Maneuver entry indicates a powerful new action your companion learns how to use if it becomes a nimble or savage animal companion.

Specialized Animal Companions

Source Core Rulebook pg. 217
Specialized animal companions are more intelligent and engage in more complex behaviors. The first time an animal gains a specialization, it gains the following: Its proficiency rank for unarmed attacks increases to expert. Its proficiency ranks for saving throws and Perception increase to master. Increase its Dexterity modifier by 1 and its Intelligence modifier by 2. Its unarmed attack damage increases from two dice to three dice, and it increases its additional damage with unarmed attacks from 2 to 4 or from 3 to 6.

Each specialization grants additional benefits. Most animal companions can have only one specialization.

Related Rules

Megafauna Minions (Source Lost Omens World Guide pg. 117)

Familiars

Source Core Rulebook pg. 217
Familiars are mystically bonded creatures tied to your magic. Most familiars were originally animals, though the ritual of becoming a familiar makes them something more. You can choose a Tiny animal you want as your familiar, such as a bat, cat, raven, or snake. Some familiars are different, usually described in the ability that granted you a familiar; for example, a druid’s leshy familiar is a Tiny plant instead of an animal, formed from a minor nature spirit.

Familiars have the minion trait (page 634), so during an encounter, they gain 2 actions in a round if you spend an action to command them. If your familiar dies, you can spend a week of downtime to replace it at no cost. You can have only one familiar at a time.

Modifiers and AC

Source Core Rulebook pg. 217
Your familiar’s save modifiers and AC are equal to yours before applying circumstance or status bonuses or penalties. Its Perception, Acrobatics, and Stealth modifiers are equal to your level plus your spellcasting ability modifier (Charisma if you don’t have one, unless otherwise specified). If it attempts an attack roll or other skill check, it uses your level as its modifier. It doesn’t have or use its own ability modifiers and can never benefit from item bonuses.

Hit Points

Source Core Rulebook pg. 217
Your familiar has 5 Hit Points for each of your levels.

Size

Source Core Rulebook pg. 218
Your familiar is Tiny.

Senses

Source Core Rulebook pg. 218
Your familiar has low-light vision and can gain additional senses from familiar abilities. It can communicate empathically with you as long as it’s within 1 mile of you, sharing emotions. It doesn’t understand or speak languages normally, but it can gain speech from a familiar ability.

Movement

Source Core Rulebook pg. 218
Your familiar has either a Speed of 25 feet or a swim Speed of 25 feet (choose one upon gaining the familiar). It can gain other movement types from familiar abilities.

Familiar and Master Abilities

Source Core Rulebook pg. 218
Each day, you channel your magic into two abilities, which can be either familiar or master abilities. If your familiar is an animal that naturally has one of these abilities (for instance, an owl has a fly Speed), you must select that ability. Your familiar can’t be an animal that naturally has more familiar abilities than your daily maximum familiar abilities.

Archetypes

Source Core Rulebook pg. 219
There are infinite possible character concepts, but you might find that the feats and skill choices from a single class aren’t sufficient to fully realize your character. Archetypes allow you to expand the scope of your character’s class. Applying an archetype requires you to select archetype feats instead of class feats. Start by finding the archetype that best fits your character concept, and select the archetype’s dedication feat using one of your class feat choices. Once you have the dedication feat, you can select any feat from that archetype in place of a class feat as long as you meet its prerequisites. The archetype feat you select is still subject to any selection restrictions on the class feat it replaces. For example, if you gained an ability at 6th level that granted you a 4th-level class feat with the dwarf trait, you could swap out that class feat only for an archetype feat of 4th level or lower with the dwarf trait. Archetype feats you gain in place of a class feat are called archetype class feats.

Occasionally, an archetype feat works like a skill feat instead of a class feat. These archetype feats have the skill trait, and you select them in place of a skill feat, otherwise following the same rules above. These are not archetype class feats (for instance, to determine the number of Hit Points you gain from the Fighter Resiliency archetype feat).

Each archetype’s dedication feat represents a certain portion of your character’s time and focus, so once you select a dedication feat for an archetype, you must satisfy its requirements before you can gain another dedication feat. Typically, you satisfy an archetype dedication feat by gaining a certain number of feats from the archetype’s list. You cannot retrain a dedication feat as long as you have any other feats from that archetype.

Sometimes an archetype feat lets you gain another feat, such as the alchemist’s basic concoction. You must always meet the prerequisites of the feat you gain in this way.

Two special kinds of archetypes are designated by the class and multiclass traits. The archetypes in this book are all multiclass archetypes.

Multiclass Archetypes

Source Core Rulebook pg. 219
Archetypes with the multiclass trait represent diversifying your training into another class’s specialties. You can’t select a multiclass archetype’s dedication feat if you are a member of the class of the same name (for instance, a fighter can’t select the Fighter Dedication feat).

Class Archetypes

Source Core Rulebook pg. 219
Archetypes with the class trait represent a fundamental divergence from your class’s specialties, but one that exists within the context of your class. You can select a class archetype only if you are a member of the class of the same name. Class archetypes always alter or replace some of a class’s static class features, in addition to any new feats they offer. It may be possible to take a class archetype at 1st level if it alters or replaces some of the class’s initial class features. In that case, you must take that archetype’s dedication feat at 2nd level, and after that you proceed normally. You can never have more than one class archetype.

Spellcasting Archetypes

Source Core Rulebook pg. 219
Some archetypes grant you a substantial degree of spellcasting, albeit delayed compared to a character from a spellcasting class. In this book, the spellcasting archetypes are bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, and wizard, the multiclass archetypes for the five main spellcasting classes, but future books might introduce spellcasting archetypes that aren’t multiclass archetypes. A spellcasting archetype allows you to use scrolls, staves, and wands in the same way that a member of a spellcasting class can.

Spellcasting archetypes always grant the ability to cast cantrips in their dedication, and then they have a basic spellcasting feat, an expert spellcasting feat, and a master spellcasting feat. These feats share their name with the archetype; for instance, the wizard’s master spellcasting feat is called Master Wizard Spellcasting. All spell slots you gain from spellcasting archetypes have restrictions depending on the archetype; for instance, the bard archetype grants you spell slots you can use only to cast occult spells from your bard repertoire, even if you are a sorcerer with occult spells in your sorcerer repertoire.

Basic Spellcasting Feat: Available at 4th level, these feats grant a 1st-level spell slot. At 6th level, they grant you a 2nd-level spell slot. At 8th level, they grant you a 3rd-level spell slot. Archetypes refer to these benefits as the “basic spellcasting benefits.”

Expert Spellcasting Feat: Taken at 12th level, these feats make you an expert in spell attack rolls and DCs of the appropriate magical tradition and grant you a 4th-level spell slot. At 14th level, they grant you a 5th-level spell slot, and at 16th level, they grant you a 6th-level spell slot. Archetypes refer to these benefits as the “expert spellcasting benefits.”

Master Spellcasting Feat: Upon reaching 18th level, these feats make you a master in spell attack rolls and DCs of the appropriate magical tradition and grant you a 7th-level spell slot. At 20th level, they grant you an 8th-level spell slot. Archetypes refer to these benefits as the “master spellcasting benefits.”