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.


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

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

Creativity via roleplaying backstories

We are all, in some way, trying to be more creative.  Creativity influences numerous things from hobbies to our job.  It is easy to talk about being more creative but, in practice, it is often difficult.  However, there is something out there that can help you.

Tabletop roleplaying.

Specifically, I am going to talk about how character generation can help spur creativity.  Playing the characters you create will also help develop creativity, among other things, but that is for a post at a later time.  For the sake of this post, any references I make to a system or setting will be limited to Dungeons and Dragons and/or Pathfinder as those are the systems I have the most experience in.  However, the system you are playing does not limit the creativity boost you can get.

Typically, for me anyways, I already have an idea, a concept if you will, of what kind of character I want to play.  With the concept in mind, I will pour over any source material I have, or can find, and go over what kinds of classes are available that my concept fits into.  However, this is not always as straight forward as you would think.

A five page backstory I wrote for a character of mine seven or so years ago
A five page backstory I wrote for a character of mine seven or so years ago

Once you have your class figured out, many DMs (Dungeon Masters; they control the flow of the story, combat, etc.) will want you to come up with a backstory. This is where the meat of the creativity comes from.  The backstory is everything your character has done up to this point.  You get to flesh out their motivations, their family, their associations, their journey, etc.  The idea is that you are becoming this person (you are going to play them).

You aren’t going to simply say, “Paladin Bob grew up in a convent and now the church has asked him to help the town of River’s End with their problem.”  Even if that is the case, there’s room for so much more.  How was it growing up in the convent?  Did you pursue the path of a Paladin or did a god call out to you?  The key to making a good backstory is writing it as though you lived it; become Paladin Bob.  This will get the creativity flowing.  You are now a different person living a different life.  What are your goals, your dreams?  Why do you do what you do?  The possibilities are boundless.

Now, take this same idea and apply it to your life.  How would Paladin Bob tackle that problem as work?  Does Paladin Bob have a better way to test something?  How does Paladin Bob react to a new situation, be it at a social gathering or at work?  Does he have an idea that could greatly improve a process or make a process more efficient?  It might seem silly, but being able to get into the mindset of someone else, who doesn’t do what you do day in and day out, can get you thinking very creatively.

Do you enjoy making backstories for your roleplaying characters?  Are you like me and almost require a backstory before you really know your characters?  Please tell me what you think by leaving a comment below and/or by sharing on Twitter.

Becoming more social

There is a good chance that you will be nervous and hesitant the first time you try tabletop roleplaying.  I know I was.  The very first time I “tried” tabletop roleplaying was my freshman year in college.  I quoted the word “tried” because the campaigns never manifested.  All that happened was talking about ideas and concepts for a campaign and throwing together a couple of characters and maybe attempting to play them once.  However, this short experience did offer me a couple insights: I am not alone in the extent of my nerdiness, and there is a wide range of options when it comes to tabletop roleplaying.

Finding out that there were others that played these tabletop roleplaying games was a big release.  Tabletop roleplayers from the perspective I used to have were always considered the pinnacle of being a nerd; the kings and queens of nerdom, if you will.  I had always liked video games since I was a kid, but I never thought that I would ever get into tabletop roleplaying; it was even too nerdy for me.  However, I decided to see what it was all about.

I cannot honestly say exactly how it came about.  I started talking to the guys who lived next door to my friends in the dorm about getting a campaign going. We were going to be joined by their friend who lived just across the hall.  The campaign they wanted to start was a Vampire campaign (I cannot remember which flavor of Vampire it was, but it was in late 2000, or early 2001, if that narrows it down).  One of them had the books and we all spent several hours throughout the week coming up with ideas and using the books to build our characters.  However, the campaign never got off the ground due to everyone’s differing schedules.  dsc08172-e1287723519881We would try again later to run a Council of Wyrms campaign, but that one also failed due to scheduling.

What did occur was that I made three new friends.  At that point in time, I had gone through my first few months of college only hanging out with the friends I had made in high school.  I hung out with them all the time.  I never really wanted to venture out of my comfort zone.  However, this activity, that I had previously looked down as being too nerdy even for me, allowed me to make some new friends.  I believe that they were the first friends I had ever made that I didn’t know from a class or from sports (pretty much all friends I had up to that point I met in class in high school, in one of the sports I played in high school, or through a mutual friend).  They also helped open my eyes a bit that there are people out there that enjoy tabletop roleplaying, and I was now one of them.  They also showed me that tabletop roleplaying was a wide, wide world with many different systems, lore, game play, and characters you could play.

When did you first start playing tabletop roleplaying games?  Please leave a comment below or share on Twitter.