Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide


Chapter 1: Introduction / Character Creation

Ability Score Overview

Source Core Rulebook pg. 20 2.0
Each ability score starts at 10, representing human average, but as you make character choices, you’ll adjust these scores by applying ability boosts, which increase a score, and ability flaws, which decrease a score. As you build your character, remember to apply ability score adjustments when making the following decisions.

Ancestry: Each ancestry provides ability boosts, and sometimes an ability flaw. If you are taking any voluntary flaws, apply them in this step (see the sidebar on page 24).

Background: Your character’s background provides two ability boosts.

Class: Your character’s class provides an ability boost to the ability score most important to your class, called your key ability score.

Determine Scores: After the other steps, you apply four more ability boosts of your choice. Then, determine your ability modifiers based on those scores.

Ability Boosts

Source Core Rulebook pg. 20 2.0
An ability boost normally increases an ability score’s value by 2. However, if the ability score to which you’re applying an ability boost is already 18 or higher, its value increases by only 1. At 1st level, a character can never have any ability score that’s higher than 18.

When your character receives an ability boost, the rules indicate whether it must be applied to a specific ability score or to one of two specific ability scores, or whether it is a “free” ability boost that can be applied to any ability score of your choice. However, when you gain multiple ability boosts at the same time, you must apply each one to a different score. Dwarves, for example, receive an ability boost to their Constitution score and their Wisdom score, as well as one free ability boost, which can be applied to any score other than Constitution or Wisdom.

Ability Flaws

Source Core Rulebook pg. 20 2.0
Ability flaws are not nearly as common in Pathfinder as ability boosts. If your character has an ability flaw—likely from their ancestry—you decrease that ability score by 2.