Game Master Jason Bulmahn leads a group of five strangers (Gina DeVivo, Jeremy Steven Walker, Aki, Erika Fermina, and Rachel Seeley) who board a caravan heading to Lastwall, an ancient kingdom watching over the grave of a long-dead menace. Watch Knights of Everflame every Tuesday!
One of the big strengths of Pathfinder is the customization. Characters are built through classes, feats and other options that make each character unique to the player. Pathfinder Second Edition streamlines this process but there are still many excellent options in the core book to make a character different even if it shares traits with other ones. We’re going to start with a popular character archetype and then customize it to make it one of a kind.
Step 1: Create A Concept
The core book lays out many of the available options in a two-page spread in this section of the book. There are six ancestries (like human, elf, and so on) and twelve classes to choose from. Plugging an ancestry and a class together is a good way to start a concept. The character art on the back of the core book looks fun, so we decide to create a Goblin Alchemist.
Step 2: Build Ability Scores
Every one of the six classic abilities scores starts out at 10. Choices in character creation give a character boosts, which are bonuses to an ability and flaws, which are negatives to the ability. Backgrounds and ancestries have built-in boosts and flaws but some GMs may also allow players to take additional voluntary flaws to gain a boost somewhere. Since this is our first character, we’ll stick with everything starting at ten.
Protip: Keeping track of boosts and flaws makes figuring out ability modifiers to dice rolls much easier later!
Step 3: Choose Ancestry
The Goblin ancestry offers a boost to Dexterity, Charisma and a free boost that can be applied anywhere, while we take a flaw in Wisdom. Since Intelligence is the most important ability for being an Alchemist, that’s where our free boost goes.
In addition to ancestry, characters choose a heritage to start customizing their character. The Charhide Goblin seems like the obvious choice for an Alchemist, with its fire resistance and easier ability to stop persistent fire damage.
But here’s where me make our first choice away from the unsuspected. We choose the Irongut Goblin, which gets a resistance to poisons and the ability to eat food others would find disgusting. This helps start painting a picture of our little guy as a scavenger who picks his way through garbage heaps and sewers, eating the stuff he doesn’t save for his alchemical mixes.
Step 4: Choose Background
Backgrounds reflect what the character was before they decided to become an adventurer. Mechanically, they give characters two skill bonuses, a feat and two boosts. We choose the Barkeep background and sketch in a little more of a backstory; our Goblin was kept around by an innkeeper as something like a janitor/garbage disposal.
We use the boosts for Constitution and Intelligence, record his Diplomacy and Alcohol Knowledge skills and his Hobnobber feat which lets him gain information much more quickly. Nobody pays attention to what they say in front of the tavern cleaner, after all.
Step 5: Choose Class
Alchemist isn’t technically a magic class, but we still have to choose a research field and the spell-like formulas we use to creature concoctions. Throwing bombs seems like the kind of things goblins do, so we choose the bomber research field and the Quick Bomber feat which allows him to draw and throw a bomb in one action rather than two.
Step 6: Finalize Ability Scores
After adding up all the boosts and flaws, including 4 free boost we can apply across the board in this our goblin has a high Intelligence, pretty good Intelligence, Constitution and Charisma, average Strength and below average Wisdom. He’s in good shape as an adventurer, even if it’s easier to trick or confuse him. It’s probably the after-effects of sampling so many failed brews.
Step 7: Record Class Details
Our alchemist goes with the following formulas: bottled lightning, alchemist’s fire, elixir of life, silvertongue elixir, snake oil and smokestick. This fits in with the idea that the goblin has spent time mixing up his own brews with leftovers while off the clock and speaks to the alchemist’s versatility in effects.
Step 8: Buy Equipment
Some players really get into shopping with their starting gold while others just want to push into the game. We choose the Alchemist starting pack for simplicity and then add on a cook pot and a few related utensils. Our goblin wants to see what some of the monsters he slays tastes like and will volunteer to be the party cook!
Step 9: Calculate Modifiers
Here’s an area that shows off Pathfinder Second Edition’s efforts at streamlining. Skills and attacks now come in four levels: trained, expert, master and legendary. Each level gives a +2 bonus to the skill or attack. Rather than skill ranks, this lets adjusting and adding up these scores happen much more quickly
Step 10: Finishing Touches
Our goblin seems pretty chaotic and unconcerned with good vs. evil, so we choose a Chaotic Neutral alignment for them. We record equipment Bulk, here points and finally come up with a name!
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Brapp!
This post is sponsored by Paizo.
Images Credits: Paizo Publishing, Geek & Sundry