Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide

Chapter 6: Equipment


Source Player Core pg. 275
Most characters in Pathfinder carry weapons, ranging from mighty warhammers to graceful bows to even simple clubs. Full details on how you calculate the bonuses, modifiers, and penalties for attack rolls and damage rolls are given on pages 400–403 and 406–407, but they’re summarized here, followed by the rules for weapons and dozens of weapon choices.

Attack Rolls

Source Player Core pg. 275
When making an attack roll, determine the result by rolling 1d20 and adding your attack modifier for the weapon or unarmed attack you're using. Modifiers for melee and ranged attacks are calculated differently—see page 402 for full details.

Melee attack roll result = d20 roll + Strength modifier (or optionally Dexterity modifier for a finesse weapon) + proficiency bonus + other bonuses + penalties

Ranged attack roll result = d20 roll + Dexterity modifier + proficiency bonus + other bonuses + penalties

Multiple Attack Penalty

Source Player Core pg. 275
If you use an action with the attack trait more than once on the same turn, your attacks after the first take a penalty called a multiple attack penalty. Your second attack takes a –5 penalty, and any subsequent attacks take a –10 penalty.

The multiple attack penalty doesn't apply to attacks you make when it isn't your turn (such as attacks made as part of a reaction, like Reactive Strike). You can use a weapon with the agile trait (page 282) to reduce your multiple attack penalty.

Damage Rolls

Source Player Core pg. 275
When the result of your attack roll with a weapon or unarmed attack equals or exceeds your target's AC, you hit your target! Roll the weapon or unarmed attack's damage die and add the relevant modifiers, bonuses, and penalties to determine the amount of damage you deal. Calculate a damage roll as follows (full details are on page 406).

Melee damage roll = damage die of weapon or unarmed attack + Strength modifier + bonuses + penalties

Ranged damage roll = damage die of weapon (+ Strength modifier for a thrown weapon or half Strength modifier for a propulsive weapon) + bonuses + penalties

Ranged weapons don't normally add an attribute modifier to the damage roll, though weapons with the propulsive trait (page 282) add half your Strength modifier (or your full modifier if it is a negative number), and thrown weapons add your full Strength modifier.

Magic weapons with striking, greater striking, or major striking runes add one or more weapon damage dice to your damage roll. These extra dice are the same die size as the weapon's damage die. At higher levels, most characters also gain extra damage from weapon specialization.

Critical Hits

Source Player Core pg. 275
When you make a Strike with a weapon or unarmed attack and succeed with a natural 20 (the number on the die is 20), or if the result of your attack exceeds the target’s AC by 10, you achieve a critical success (also known as a critical hit). If you critically succeed at a Strike (page 418), your attack deals double damage.

Unarmed Attacks

Source Player Core pg. 275
Almost all characters start out trained in unarmed attacks. You can Strike with your fist or another body part, calculating your attack and damage rolls in the same way you would with a weapon. Unarmed attacks can belong to a weapon group (page 276), and they might have weapon traits (page 276). However, unarmed attacks aren't weapons, and effects and abilities that work with weapons never work with unarmed attacks unless they specifically say so.

The Unarmed Attacks table (page 277) lists the statistics for an unarmed attack with a fist, though you'll usually use the same statistics for attacks made with any other parts of your body. Certain ancestry feats, class features, and spells give access to special, more powerful unarmed attacks. For instance, goblins with the razortooth heritage can attack with their sharp jaws. While most unarmed attacks are melee, some, especially those from certain ancestries, might even be ranged, like the leshy's ability to launch hard seedpods. Details for those unarmed attacks are provided in the abilities that grant them.

Improvised Weapons

Source Player Core pg. 275
If you attack with something that wasn’t built to be a weapon, such as a chair or a vase, you’re making an attack with an improvised weapon. Improvised weapons are simple weapons. You take a –2 item penalty to attack rolls with an improvised weapon. The GM determines the amount and type of damage the attack deals, if any, as well as any weapon traits that the improvised weapon should have.

Weapon Statistics

Source Player Core pg. 276
The tables on pages 277–281 list the statistics for various melee and ranged weapons that you can purchase, as well as the statistics for striking with a fist (or another basic unarmed attack). The tables present the following statistics. All weapons listed in this chapter have an item level of 0.


Source Player Core pg. 276
This entry lists the weapon’s damage die and the type of damage it deals: B for bludgeoning, P for piercing, or S for slashing.


Source Player Core pg. 276
Ranged and thrown weapons have a range increment. Attacks with these weapons work normally up to that distance. Attack rolls beyond a weapon's range increment take a –2 penalty for each additional multiple of that increment between you and the target. Attacks beyond the sixth range increment are impossible.

For example, a shortbow takes no penalty against a target up to 60 feet away, a –2 penalty against a target beyond 60 feet but up to 120 feet away, and a –4 penalty against a target beyond 120 feet but up to 180 feet away, and so on, up to 360 feet.


Source Player Core pg. 276
While all weapons need some amount of time to get into position, many ranged weapons also need to be loaded and reloaded. This entry indicates how many Interact actions it takes to reload such weapons or draw certain thrown weapons, like shuriken. This can be 0 if drawing ammunition and firing or throwing the weapon are part of the same action. If an item takes 2 or more actions to reload, the GM determines whether they must be performed together as an activity, or you can spend some of those actions during one turn and the rest during your next turn.

An item with an entry of “—” must be drawn to be thrown, which usually takes an Interact action just like drawing any other weapon. Reloading a ranged weapon and drawing a thrown weapon both require a free hand. Switching your grip to free a hand and then to place your hands in the grip necessary to wield the weapon are both included in the actions you spend to reload a weapon.


Source Player Core pg. 276
This entry gives the weapon’s Bulk. A weapon’s Bulk is increased or decreased if it’s sized for creatures that aren’t Small or Medium size, following the rules on page 270.


Source Player Core pg. 276
Some weapons require one hand to wield, and others require two. A few items, such as a longbow, list 1+ for its Hands entry. You can hold a weapon with a 1+ entry in one hand, but the process of shooting it requires using a second to retrieve, nock, and loose an arrow. This means you can do things with your free hand while holding the bow without changing your grip, but the other hand must be free when you shoot. To properly wield a 1+ weapon, you must hold it in one hand and also have a hand free.

Weapons requiring two hands typically deal more damage. Some one-handed weapons have the two-hand trait, causing them to deal a different size of weapon damage die when used in two hands. In addition, some abilities require you to wield a weapon in two hands. You meet this requirement while holding the weapon in two hands, even if it doesn't require two hands or have the two-hand trait.

If an action or other ability requires you to use a “two-handed weapon,” it applies for any weapon you wield in two hands. Any permanent adjustments to the weapon, such as a rune that can be added to a “onehanded weapon,” uses the Hands entry in the weapon table exactly (1+ counts as one-handed for this purpose).


Source Player Core pg. 276
A weapon or unarmed attack’s group classifies it with similar weapons. Groups affect some abilities and what the weapon does on a critical hit if you have the critical specialization benefits for that weapon or unarmed attack; for full details, see page 283.

Weapon Traits

Source Player Core pg. 276
The traits a weapon or unarmed attack has are listed in this entry. Any trait that refers to a “weapon” can also apply to an unarmed attack that has that trait. Traits are described on page 282.


Source Player Core pg. 277
Some entries in the ranged weapons tables are followed by an entry for the type of ammunition that weapon launches. The damage die is determined by the weapon, not the ammunition. Because that and other relevant statistics vary by weapon, ammunition entries list only the name, quantity, Price, and Bulk. Using ammunition destroys it.

Weapon Traits

Source Player Core pg. 282
Weapons and unarmed attacks can have these traits. Weapons crafted and used by a given ancestry (such as the elven curve blade) often have the trait for that ancestry.

Critical Specialization

Source Player Core pg. 283
Certain effects can grant you benefits when you make a Strike with certain weapons and get a critical success. This is called a critical specialization effect. The exact effect depends on which weapon group your weapon belongs to, as listed below. You can always decide not to add the critical specialization effect of your weapon.