Rules Index


Chapter 1: Introduction / Character Creation

Step 1 Create a Concept

Source Core Rulebook pg. 21
What sort of hero do you want to play? The answer to this question might be as simple as “a brave warrior,” or as complicated as “the child of elven wanderers, but raised in a city dominated by humans and devoted to Sarenrae, goddess of the sun.” Consider your character’s personality, sketch out a few details about their past, and think about how and why they adventure. You’ll want to peruse Pathfinder’s available ancestries, backgrounds, and classes. The summaries on pages 22–23 might help you match your concept with some of these basic rule elements. Before a game begins, it’s also a good idea for the players to discuss how their characters might know each other and how they’ll work together throughout the course of their adventures.

There are many ways to approach your character concept. Once you have a good idea of the character you’d like to play, move on to Step 2 to start building your character.

Ancestry, Background, Class, or Details

Source Core Rulebook pg. 21
If one of Pathfinder’s character ancestries, backgrounds, or classes particularly intrigues you, it’s easy to build a character concept around these options. The summaries of ancestries and classes on pages 22–23 give a brief overview of these options (full details appear in Chapters 2 and 3, respectively). Each ancestry also has several heritages that might refine your concept further, such as a human with an elf or orc parent, or an arctic or woodland elf. Additionally, the game has many backgrounds to choose from, representing your character’s upbringing, their family’s livelihood, or their earliest profession. Backgrounds are detailed later in Chapter 2, beginning on page 60.

Building a character around a specific ancestry, background, or class can be a fun way to interact with the world’s lore. Would you like to build a typical member of your character’s ancestry or class, as described in the relevant entry, or would you prefer to play a character who defies commonly held notions about their people? For example, you could play a dwarf with a wide-eyed sense of wonder and a zest for change, or a performing rogue capable of amazing acrobatic feats but with little interest in sneaking about.

You can draw your concept from any aspect of a character’s details. You can use roleplaying to challenge not only the norms of Pathfinder’s fictional world, but even real-life societal norms. Your character might challenge gender notions, explore cultural identity, have a disability, or any combination of these suggestions. Your character can live any life you see fit.

Faith

Source Core Rulebook pg. 21
Perhaps you’d like to play a character who is a devout follower of a specific deity. Pathfinder is a rich world with myriad faiths and philosophies spanning a wide range, from Cayden Cailean, the Drunken Hero of good-hearted adventuring; to Desna, the Song of Spheres and goddess of dreaming and the stars; to Iomedae, the Inheritor, goddess of honor, justice, and rulership. Pathfinder’s major deities appear on pages 437–440. Your character might be so drawn to a particular faith that you decide they should be a champion or cleric of that deity; they might instead be a lay worshipper who applies their faith’s teachings to daily life, or simply the child of devout parents.

Your Allies

Source Core Rulebook pg. 21
You might want to coordinate with other players when forming your character concept. Your characters could have something in common already; perhaps they are relatives, or travelers from the same village. You might discuss mechanical aspects with the other players, creating characters whose combat abilities complement each other. In the latter case, it can be helpful for a party to include characters who deal damage, characters who can absorb damage, and characters who can provide healing. However, Pathfinder’s classes include a lot of choices, and there are many options for building each type of character, so don’t let these broad categories restrict your decisions.