The Basics of a Pathfinder Character Sheet

The Basics of a Pathfinder Character Sheet

Dungeons and Dragons has seen a resurgence in recent years, probably due to popular online groups like Critical Roll bringing to a more mainstream audience.  If you’re looking for a diversion from playing with your Intertops casino bonus, we’ve got it here – read on…

You might have also have heard about the Dungeon and Dragons competitor and spinoff, Pathfinder. Both of these games are very popular right now, with Dungeons and Dragons getting more content for its fifth edition, and Pathfinder releasing its second edition just a few weeks ago. If you haven’t heard of either of these games, then here’s the basic idea.

And when I say that it’s only limited by your imagination, I mean it.

Unlike video games, which are limited in scope for budget and time reasons, a Pathfinder game can expand forever as a collaborative story between the players and the gamemaster, because at its core, all you need is the rules, some dice, paper, and a pencil, so thus your adventure begins.

Creating your character can be as involved or as simple as you want to make it. You can either print yourself out a character sheet online or just use a piece of lined paper. The rules for making a character can be found online- in fact, all of Pathfinder’s rules can be found online. However, I’ll walk you through the basics of your character sheet, so that you at least understand what you’re doing. Here are the important parts of your character sheet:

  • Race
  • Attributes
  • Skills
  • Class
  • Equipment

Race

Race could more accurately be described as species. By default, you can choose to play one of six different races, and each will have different bonuses and penalties to your attributes and skills. You can play as a Human, Elf, Dwarf, Gnome, Halfling, Half-Orc, and Half-Elf. If you’re familiar with Lord of the Rings, almost all of these races are unabashedly stolen from JRR Tolkien’s work.

Attributes

Attributes are your characters physical and mental abilities represented with numbers. A 10 is an average human, whereas 3 would be horrifically awful and 18 is peak-human.

You have six attributes, Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Three physical stats, and three mental stats (although some argue that charisma is physical too).

Strength is pretty self-explanatory.

Dexterity is a measure of nimbleness, such as how fast a character’s reflexes are and how tuned are their fine-motor skills.

Constitution is how healthy you are, how good is your immune system or how long you can run without tiring.

Intelligence is just how much knowledge your brain can hold, whereas Wisdom is how good you are at using that knowledge.

Charisma, meanwhile, is how charming or good-looking your character is.

To give some examples, Iron Man would have incredibly high intelligence, but low wisdom, since he can build basically anything but often makes impulsive, poorly thought out life choices. Sherlock Holmes, on the other hand, would have a huge Wisdom stat, but lower intelligence, because he can figure out anything but can’t answer basic questions about the solar system.

Skills

Skills are basically a continuation of a character’s attributes regarding more specific topics. How good is your character at diplomacy? Disguises? Is he well studied in the D E E P L O R E? These are all contained in a characters skill set.

Classes

Classes are the characters chosen profession. They each unlock unique powers and bonuses in various skillsets, and when a character levels up, the majority of his new powers and abilities come from his class. I won’t go over every class in detail, but here’s a basic summary:

  • Fighter (Hits things)
  • Barbarian (Angrily hits things)
  • Monk (Stoically hits things)
  • Paladin (Gets G-d to help hit things)
  • Wizard (Studies to learn magic to blow things up)
  • Sorcerer (Was born with magic to blow things up)
  • Cleric (Asks G-d to blow things up)
  • Druid (Hug trees until the magic happens)
  • Ranger (Hits things… after stalking you for hours)
  • Rogue (Hits things, steals things)

Equipment

Equipment is probably the most straightforward part of the character creation process. By default, your character starts with a certain amount of wealth as determined by your character’s class. You then buy equipment for your character off a list of available items.

Depending on how your game master likes to play, this can be as detailed as counting where every item goes, how much they weigh, where they’re stored on your character’s body, what condition they are in, and so and so forth. Or you just have a list of things that are stored… somewhere… and everyone moves on. It’s entirely dependent on who you’re playing with.