At least, that’s how it all felt after several hours of being stuck in my living room with friends/players who had trusted that I knew how best to guide them through the hell that was figuring how to level everyone up. My optimism of last week was misplaced . It’s like quantum mechanics – people who say they understand it probably don’t.

Maybe I’m being a little hard on myself. I did understand it fine for monks, fighters, rangers and rogues… it was just everyone else where it got a bit confusing. It also didn’t help that I didn’t have the means to convey several pieces of key information to all the players – like a chart somewhere that covered all the common aspects or at the min. where to find stuff in the book. So, here’s what I would do to make things easier for going from level 1 to 2 – a board or large screen displaying the following information:

1. Copy over all existing information from old to new character sheet

Except for HP, Base Attack Bonus, Attack Bonus on weapons, CMB, CMD, Fortitude, Reflex and Will.

2. Your HP increases by…

Hit points increases by rolling the dice described in your class description, adding your constitution modifier and then adding these to your existing HP.

HP increase = (class HP dice roll) + con. mod

3. Check your class tables

They will let you know whether you get any new feats or spells, plus what happens to your Reflex, Will, Base Attack Bonus, etc. Choose feats and add them to sheet accordingly.

4. Animal companions

For Druids see page 52. Bought animals stay the same, Familiars for wizards have their details taken from the  Bestiary  as well as pages 82-83 of the core rules book.

5. Decide whether to have a bonus skill point or bonus hit point

Everyone’s got a favoured class (most probably the class you started with) and this is what this is based on.

6. Skill ranks per level

How many skills ranks you get to spend is shown near the class skills section of the description for your class. It will be a set number plus Intelligence modifier.

7. Don’t forget to add 3 in misc. when spending skill ranks in “class skills” you didn’t already have

This doesn’t stack, so if you end-up with two ranks in a class skill, you still only get a 3 bonus.

8. You can only put in as many skill ranks in a skill as you have character levels

Maximum at level 2 is therefore 2 skill ranks.

9. Fill in attack bonus on weapons

For melee weapons:

Base attack bonus + Strength modifier + Size modifier

Ranged:

Base attack bonus + Dexterity modifier + Size modifier + Range penalty

Size is 0 for Medium creatures, but see table on page 179 for the differences. Range penalty only an issue during combat, ignore while levelling up.

10. Check your loot

If you’ve had one character hoarding everything around, now’s the time time to look to share it out, but don’t exceed weight limits.

Still more to do

Before we play next, I’ll be tidying up the character sheets of several players and also refining one for a new player. And I’ll also be writing out some more story, but really it’s the character sheet stuff that needs to be sorted out first. Again, I do feel that Paizo really needs to publish a new edition of the Pathfinder guide, in which more information is displayed graphically rather than in blocks of text.

  • Paul Blewitt

    I realise the need for complexity when it comes to roleplay games like this, but I’m pretty convinced that they deliberately put things in such a way as to make it awkward for less experienced players. It’s either that, or they somehow don’t have enough money to hire someone that can put everything into plain English when it comes to processes.