Pathfinder Character Creation

While I was out on vacation, a misfortune befell me.  I made a classic mistake of not leaving my character sheet before I went out of town, knowing that I was going to be missing a session.  So, needless to say, while I was in Boston and New York City on vacation, my fighter was killed.  He was a Viking archetype fighter and I really enjoyed playing him, but now I have to make a new character.  This video is a brief look into the process I go through when making a new character.

The first thing you need to do is make sure you have all the necessary books available in some format before you start making your character.  I find Ultimate Equipment to be an awesome, must-have book, but even more important than that is having the Core Rulebook.  The character I am going to make is a 20 point buy, level 5, two trait fighter.

The first thing I come up with, when creating a new character, is a concept.  For this build I am going with a two-weapon fighter named Comm Red (yes, like comrade), who is going to fight with a hammer and sickle (yes, this is a reference to the Soviet flag…I couldn’t help myself).  He’s going to use the sickle to trip you and then he is going to hit you in the head with a hammer.  After I come up with the concept, then I start building the actual character.

For this character, instead of starting with the stats and building everything on down, I am, instead, going to start with the feats.  The feats are going to be the most important thing for this build that I need to focus on because I need to make sure I get the correct ones.  There’s a whole tree for two-weapon fighting, so I am going to start there.

I am happy that I looked at the feats first because the start of the two-weapon fighting feat tree, Two-Weapon Fighting, requires a Dex of 15.  Had I not looked at this first, I might not have put enough points into Dex and would have needed to redo my stats.  The other feats I need to focus on are those for tripping, since that is a major part of my fighter’s concept.  The start of that tree is Combat Expertise which requires and Int of 13, which I probably would have also skimped on.  I am really glad I looked the feats first instead of building my stats, because I would have made several mistakes due to my unfamiliarity with two-weapon fighting.

Even though I mentioned I would post this on Friday or Saturday, that was 12 days ago.  I reference my vacation in the video and decided I was going to post the two videos I took on vacation first.

As I mentioned in the video, there might be an archetype for a two-weapon fighter.  There is.  It’s in the Advanced Player’s Guide and called Two-Weapon Warrior.  Instead of going with that archetype, I just built a straight up two-weapon fighter.

As promised, here’s the scans of my Happy Camper character sheets.

First page of my fighter's character sheet
First page of my fighter’s character sheet
Second page of my fighter's character sheet
Second page of my fighter’s character sheet
Third page of my fighter's character sheet
Third page of my fighter’s character sheet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did make a mistake with my armor choice, as having Armor Training 1 allows me to move full speed in medium armor.  I will be looking for medium armor to rectify this error, though doubt I will be able to get any before we tackle the final dungeon in Mummy’s Mask book 2.

I also double dipped into Weapon Focus.  First one was to give me a +1 to trip with my sickle.  The other was to open up Weapon Specialization for the hammer as Weapon Focus is a prereq.

To give you an idea how crazy I am with my extensive character sheets, my Magus, which I mentioned in the video, covers seven character sheets.  Yes, I am insane.

What do you think about the Happy Camper character sheets?  Do you think I did my feats correctly?  Are there any I should have taken?  Please leave a comment and/or share on Twitter.

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Rolling stats vs Point Buy

Here's a couple examples of stat rolling I did.  They show a bit of the variability of rolling, but both are quite good.
Here’s a couple examples of stat rolling I did. They show a bit of the variability of rolling, but both are quite good.

When I first started playing D&D, everyone always rolled for their stats.  Depending on the DM, you might get three or four d6s to roll and taking the highest values; you might even get to reroll 1s once.  For both of these, we would then get to decide which results go to which stats.  Others make you assign your results in order and thus what kind of character you would play would also be determined from your stat rolls (it just wouldn’t make sense to play a wizard with an INT of 10).  For several years, this is always how I generated my character’s stats.

Point buying is the other way to generate stats for your character.  For D&D 3.5, all stats started at an 8 and you had to buy your way up (Pathfinder starts at 10).  When I first started, I didn’t like this because 18s were extremely expensive, and all of your other stats suffer because you cannot afford to buy them up as well.  So, in my opinion, you only could have mediocre characters.

Here's a quick 20 point buy process I did, starting with STR and working down.
Here’s a quick 20 point buy I did, starting with STR and working down.

After a particularly nasty TPK (Total Party Kill), when we were all rerolling our stats, I got hit by the balance train.  You see, I had rolled amazing stats.  I think my lowest roll was a 15, and I had at least one 18 and two 17s.  When you put my rolls into the point buying system, they had a value of around 52, which is well outside the realm of typical point buys.  Most point buy campaigns are around 18 to 20 (in Pathfinder anyways) with epic fantasy being a 25 pint buy.  My numbers were crazy huge, but I did feel that my character was going to kick all kinds of tail.  Another player, who rolled the second best stats, had a point value in the mid-30s.

However, as someone in our party is wont to do at any given time, terrible rolls were made.  I think their highest score was a 12 or 13 and they had multiple rolls below 10 (and these were the better set of numbers as we got to roll stats twice).  They were going to be extremely weak, especially when compared to my character.  I looked over their numbers, looked over everyone else’s, and then looked at mine.  I could not, in good conscious, play my character when everyone else would be considerable weaker.  If everyone else also got into the mid-30s with their rolls, I might not have complained to the DM, but it was more than night and day between me and everyone else.

So, I flat out said to the DM that we have to switch over to a point buy system.  This started us on the point buying train and we have been on it ever since.  While I still like the idea of rolling stats, there’s just too much volatility in it where some characters will be awesome, stat-wise, and others will be awful.  Point buying allows everyone to start off on equal footing, which I believe is necessary for a group game like D&D or Pathfinder.  I think that you set yourself and your character apart from the others by how you play them and the personality you give them; not by playing Superman while everyone else get to play regular citizens of Metropolis.  I do prefer Pathfinder’s point buy system over D&D 3.5 as I feel 10s are a better starting point than 8s.

What do you think about rolling stats vs point buys?  Do you prefer one system over the other?  Have you had an experience similar to mine where you rolled awesome (or terrible) stats compared to everyone else?  Please leave a comment and/or share on Twitter.

Play what you like

When it comes to tabletop roleplaying, almost everyone gets excited when they hear “Let’s start a new campaign.”  The reason we all get excited is because now we get to create something completely new.  It doesn’t matter if the new campaign is just a temporary one while in between major story arcs of another campaign or another major campaign, we still approach our new characters the same; let’s create the most awesome, fun character we can.

However, party composition and dynamics does factor in.  It is not possible to have a four person party consisting entirely of fighters.  Actually, that’s not true.  It is possible, the party will just only be effective in combat and quite inept at most everything else.  So, some consideration is needed when it comes to deciding who is going to play what.  This does not, however, mean that everyone needs to pick from the very narrow list of iconic classes and roles.

A word picture of all he classes available in the Pathfinder Roleplaying game.  Not counting the numerous archetypes of course.
A word picture of all the classes available in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Not counting the numerous archetypes of course.

You do not want to feel you have to choose a specific class just because all other roles were already picked by other players.  This does happen.  Sometimes people feel compelled to pick a certain role or class because that’s what the party needs.  A lot of the time, when this happens, that person puts very little effort into creating their character, not really caring to fully flesh it out.  It’s not really their character at this point, it’s the party’s character.  This can lead to a lot of resentment within the party, especially if everyone else got to pick a class or role that they really like.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way, and I highly recommend against choosing to play something you don’t want to just because it will benefit the party the most.  The players will benefit the most, and you will benefit the most, by choosing to play something you want to play.  You do not have to be a cleric (the role of healer is often, in my experience, the last role chosen) just because the current party’s composition is lacking a healer.  So, again, play what you want to play.

It is not your responsibility to provide the entire party with something that seems to be lacking.  If the party is lacking healing, in this example, then the party, as a group, needs to find a workaround.  Most systems out there are very flexible, offering numerous ways to gain the ability to heal without needing to play a specific class or role.  These often come in the way of an archetype, magic items, and/or potions.  The party will find a way to make it work.  Remember, it is not your job to make sure every specific role is fulfilled.  This leads to tabletop roleplaying feeling like a job instead of a way to relax and enjoy oneself.

Playing what you want, in this case, can lead to improved party cohesion, tactics, and roleplaying.  This will increase the amount of fun and character investment everyone experiences around the table.  The party will not run into a difficult fight if they know they don’t have a steady healing source.  The party will also roleplay differently if they know they don’t have a specific “get out of jail free” skill.  And when it comes down to it, this is why we tabletop roleplay, to unwind, relax, and have fun with friends.

When it comes time to create new characters, how does your group choose roles?  Do you try to keep more with the iconic roles?  Or do you mix it up a bit?  Please feel free to leave a comment below and/or share on Twitter.

Image courtesy of http://www.wordle.net/create

I used wordle.net and entered in all the classes currently available from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game source books.