Ashnabis character creation rules

From RocksfallWiki

Character Creation for Ashnabis

The basic character creation rules for Pathfinder are located here. The rules that follow are house rules that modify those rules, and are designed to work with the character spreadsheet sent out separately. If you have any questions along the way, let us know. Have fun!

Step 1. Develop a Concept.

The game is based in the boomtown of Kaskind, in the Sestapor swamp along the coast of the region known as Ashnabis. Gender and age are up to you. If you like, at this stage you can also make up your character’s appearance: hair and eye colour, height and weight, distinguishing features, etc. All characters must be human, which gives two main benefits. 1 extra feat at 1st level 1 extra skill point at each level Unless you’re Tuck in which case you get -100 of each. Ha!

Step 2. Pick a Class.

The classes available for this game are entirely different from those in standard Pathfinder, D&D, and other games. You choose from the following:

Other classes from the Pathfinder rules are available only upon request and with careful justification. Once you’ve selected a class that sounds like it would fit your concept, you can proceed to the next section. There’s more to come with regards to classes, but it can wait for a second.

Step 3. Assign your Attribute Point

Your character has 6 main ability scores:

  • Strength (Str – physical strength)
  • Dexterity (Dex – agility, reflexes)
  • Constitution (Con – health, fortitude)
  • Intelligence (Int – book-learning, ability to learn new things, cleverness)
  • Wisdom (Wis – common sense, perception, willpower)
  • Charisma (Cha – persuasiveness, magnetism, physical appearance)

Each of these will have a rating. Most will fall between the 10-18 range when you’re 1st level. Human average is 10-11 in any ability, but you aren’t average humans – you’re PCs! You have 80 points to assign between your 6 stats.

Notes: Each ability score also has a modifier. This is +/- 1 for every 2 points above or below 10. A 6-7 score has a –2 modifier, an 8-9 score has a –1, a 10 has a 0 modifier, a 12 has a +1, a 14 has a +2, etc. You’ll need to know this modifier because it will affect things later, so it’s best to note it down beside each stat.

Because of the point above, you’ll notice that even stats are more ‘useful’ than odd stats. They bump you up to the next modifier. But odd stats aren’t useless, because of the next point…

Ability scores can increase. Each PC adds 1 to any stat at every even level (2, 4, 6… you get the idea). So it’s not an entirely foolish idea to have a couple of odd stats, so that those increases actually get you something beyond simple satisfaction (i.e. an extra modifier point).

At 1st level, 18 is the maximum number of points you can put in any ability score, prior to adjustments.

Some ability scores are more important for some classes. Each class has one ability score that must have a minimum score of 16, and while the others are up to you, certain abilities matter more for different classes.

  • Str. – Sentinel
  • Dex. – Hithkindred, Herder, Riverfolk
  • Con. – Manifest
  • Int. – Mystic, Herbalist
  • Wis. – Corpseborn, Shaman, Voice of the Dead
  • Cha. – Envoy, Hand of the Dead, Reckoner

Once you’ve distributed your points between your six abilities, you’re ready to go on to the next step.

Step 4. Pick your Skills.

Skills represent what your character can do. Each character will have a certain number of Skill Points to distribute among their chosen skills at 1st level and every level thereafter. How many points you get depends on your class and your Int modifier.

  • Corpseborn: 8 + Int mod.
  • Envoy: 8 + Int mod.
  • Hand of the Dead: 6 + Int mod.
  • Herbalist: 6 + Int mod.
  • Herder: 4 + Int mod.
  • Hithkindred: 6 + Int mod.
  • Manifest: 2 + Int mod.
  • Mystic: 2 + Int mod.
  • Reckoner: 8 + Int mod.
  • Riverfolk: 6 + Int mod.
  • Sentinel: 4 + Int mod.
  • Shaman: 6 + Int mod.
  • Voice of the Dead: 6 + Int mod.

Humans add 1 to the above total.

Once you’ve worked out how many points you have, you need to pick what skills you want. While you can acquire almost any skill, certain skills are designated as 'class skills'. You receive a +3 bonus to any class skills, as long as you have put one or more ranks in that skill. Skills designated as ‘Trained Only’ cannot be used at all unless you have one or more ranks.

Notes on skills

In general our skill system follows Pathfinder precisely, with the following exceptions:

The following skills do not exist: Fly, Knowledge (planes), Spellcraft, Use Magic Device

Linguistics may be used to acquire one additional language at character creation, if you spend a rank on it (languages may also be purchased using backgrounds, or acquired automatically by your class). Additional languages beyond these are acquired every 3 ranks above 1 (4 ranks = 2 additional languages, e.g.), as long as there is a firm rationale for it in game.

Step 5. Select your Feats.

Feats are designed to improve some aspect of your character. In general, you should choose feats from this list, although we won’t promise to automatically allow all of the feats contained therein – some of them are grossly abusive, and some are just not appropriate to a high fantasy setting!

Anyway, feats. You start with one normally, but you get an extra one because you’re human. So, two feats at 1st level. As you go up in level, you’ll get more.

Some feats have prerequisites – a minimum score in some ability, a base attack bonus of a certain level, or another feat, for example. Obviously, if you don’t meet the prerequisite(s), you can’t take the feat. Yet. If, however, you notice a feat that you think would be really cool for your character to have, it’s a good idea to start planning for it early, by taking the right prerequisites.

Step 6. Choose your Traits.

One of the features of the Pathfinder system is that all characters have Traits, which are minor abilities, less powerful than feats, and not tied to race or class. They reflect unique qualities and should relate in some way to your character concept. You begin play with two traits, chosen from the enormous list here. You may also acquire additional traits by taking a feat, Additional Traits, or by buying them as Backgrounds (see below). Some of the traits listed on the site are clearly inappropriate to this setting, so please check with me if you have any questions.

If you wish, you can also select a Drawback, which is a minor disadvantage (similar to a 'negative Trait'). If you take a Drawback then you may take one additional Trait.

Step 7. Work out the Numbers.

Pathfinder has a lot of numbers. Don’t be intimidated by them – they’re easy once you get the hang of them. One of the nice things about the Pathfinder system is that you do a fair amount of math during character creation so that you don’t have to do it during the actual game. So, what numbers do you need to know?

Saving Throws

Fortitude represents your ability to withstand physical punishment (i.e. being crushed by a giant boulder) and attacks against your health (i.e. poisons). It is modified by your Con. Reflex represents your ability to dodge out of the way of things (i.e. a giant boulder falling at you). It is modified by your Dex. Will represents your resistance to mental influence or domination (i.e. a charm person spell). It is modified by your Wis.

Here are the saving throws for each class at 1st level:

  • Corpseborn: +2/+2/+2
  • Envoy: +0/+2/+0
  • Hand of the Dead: +2/+2/+2
  • Herbalist: +2/+0/+2
  • Herder: +2/+0/+0
  • Hithkindred: +2/+2/+0
  • Manifest: +0/+0/+2
  • Mystic: +0/+0/+2
  • Reckoner: +0/+2/+2
  • Riverfolk: +0/+2/+0
  • Sentinel: +2/+0/+0
  • Shaman: +0/+0/+2
  • Voice of the Dead: +2/+2/+2

Hit Points

Each class gets a certain die to determine their hit points (HP). Hit points represent how much damage you can take before you fall. If you reach 0 HP, you fall unconscious. If you ever get to –10 HP, you’re dead. Your HP are modified by your Con.

  • Sentinel: d10
  • Herder: d10
  • Riverfolk: d10
  • Envoy: d6
  • Corpseborn: d6
  • Mystic: d4
  • Manifest: d4
  • Hand of the Dead: d8
  • Voice of the Dead: d8
  • Shaman: d8
  • Herbalist: d6
  • Hithkindred: d8
  • Reckoner: d6

At first level, you get your maximum HP without rolling. For levels beyond first, because we are benevolent, you may re-roll a 1 – once.

Base Attack Bonus

This represents how good you are at attacking with various weapons. There are two basic kinds – melee (weapons used in close combat) and ranged (weapons used from a distance). Your attack bonus is the total of your Base Attack, an attribute modifier (Str for melee combat, Dex for ranged combat), and any other modifiers that may apply.

Here are the Base Attack scores for the various classes at 1st level. (Don’t worry, they’ll increase):

  • Corpseborn: +1
  • Envoy: +1
  • Hand of the Dead: +0
  • Herbalist: +0
  • Herder: +1
  • Hithkindred: +1
  • Manifest: +0
  • Mystic: +0
  • Reckoner: +1
  • Riverfolk: +1
  • Sentinel: +1
  • Shaman: +1
  • Voice of the Dead: +1

Base Defense Bonus

This represents how good you are at defending yourself in combat. It represents your mobility, your intuition about where blows will land, and your ability to use your body and equipment effectively against foes. Your Armor Class is always modified by your Base Defense Bonus whenever you also receive a Dexterity bonus to Armor Class (which is normally, but not always).

Here are the Base Defense scores for the various classes at 1st level:

  • Corpseborn: +0
  • Envoy: +0
  • Hand of the Dead: +0
  • Herbalist: +0
  • Herder: +0
  • Hithkindred: +0
  • Manifest: +0
  • Mystic: +0
  • Reckoner: +0
  • Riverfolk: +1
  • Sentinel: +1
  • Shaman: +0
  • Voice of the Dead: +0

Base Magic Bonus

This represents how good you are at using fos to cast magic spells. It represents your ability to channel fos energy and target it specifically towards particular effects. Your magic check is normally your Base Magic Bonus plus your Intelligence modifier.

Here are the Base Magic Bonus scores for the various classes at 1st level:

  • Corpseborn: +0
  • Envoy: +0
  • Hand of the Dead: +0
  • Herbalist: +1
  • Herder: +0
  • Hithkindred: +0
  • Manifest: +2
  • Mystic: +2
  • Reckoner: +0
  • Riverfolk: +0
  • Sentinel: +0
  • Shaman: +0
  • Voice of the Dead: +1


Initiative determines in what order people act in combat. This is easy – it’s just your Dex modifier, unless you have the feat Improved Initiative. Note it down somewhere.


Humans have a base speed of 30 feet. This tells you how far you can move in a round and still take an action (like, say, casting a spell or attacking). If you aren’t taking any actions except moving, you can move twice your base speed (i.e. 60 feet) in a round. If you’re running headlong, you can move up to four times your base speed (i.e. 120 feet) in a round. Mostly this will only be important in combat situations, but it’s still good to know.

Armor Class

This number represents how hard it is for other people to hit you in combat. It’s equal to 10 + your Dex modifier, if you’re completely naked. Please don't be naked. If you’re wearing armor or carrying a shield, or have other modifiers, this number will go up, depending on how good your armor or shield is. Since you don’t have equipment yet, don’t worry about that too much (but you can see p. 123 for examples, if you’re interested). Armor is divided into light, medium, and heavy categories, and is available for your use depending on your class.


Weapons come in three broad categories – simple, martial, and exotic, each of which is divided into light, one-handed, two-handed, and ranged subtypes. Each class is automatically able to use some weapons. Each weapon does a particular amount of damage (say, a d4, or 2d6, or whatever); if it’s a melee or thrown weapon, you also add your Str. modifier to that number.

Step 8. Class Features.

Most classes get one or more special abilities or powers, described in their class page. Make a careful note of which powers you have, and any adjustments that may apply to your attributes, skills, or other abilities that may apply.

Step 9. Backgrounds.

You have 15 background points to spend, distributed as you wish between the following features:

Allies: (2, 4, or 6 pts) This background represents skilled or knowledgeable friends that your character can call on to help them out in a pinch. Players should outline each Ally and the nature of the characters' relationship. Of course you can have friends and associates without taking this background, but the advantage of spending points on Allies is that they will always help you, if they are able, with no Charisma roll required. It is important to note, however, that the more you call upon your Allies for help, the more likely they are to return the favour, so to speak. If you betray an Ally, you lose the advantage of this background.

  • 2 pts – a single Ally
  • 4 pts – two Allies
  • 6 pts – three Allies

Bonus Attribute Points: (2 or 4 pts) You have bonus attribute points to spend on your attributes. You cannot use these points to raise any attribute higher than 18.

  • 2 pts - 1 attribute point
  • 4 pts - 2 attribute points

Bonus Traits: (2 or 4 pts) You have bonus traits beyond the two standard at 1st level.

  • 2 pts - 1 trait
  • 4 pts - 2 traits

Destiny: (3 pts) You are clearly destined for some great event. Once per session, you may use this background to re-roll any roll you have just made, or to ask the GM to re-roll a roll an NPC has just made that affects you (e.g. an attack or damage roll, a Heal check, etc.)

Special Gift: (1-5 pts) You have a special gift, an item passed down to you, or perhaps discovered by accident. This item may have magical properties or may just be of particularly fine quality. The level of Special Gift determines the approximate worth of the item.

  • 1 pt – approx. 500 gp
  • 2 pts - approx. 1000 gp
  • 3 pts – approx. 2000 gp
  • 4 pts - approx. 3000 gp
  • 5 pts – approx. 4000 gp

Status: (1, 3, or 5 pts) You have some level of social status that is outside the ordinary. This is either related to your family (noble birth, child of a renowned person) or your own personal achievements (fame as a healer or musician, for instance). Your status may grant you special privileges and modifies any interaction rolls where social status is relevant; however, it also has the potential to hinder you in some situations (for instance, aristocrats are not universally beloved!) Note that Status does not automatically bring Wealth.

  • 1 pt – Lesser Status (Of noble blood, but family holds no titles, younger child of a titled family, closely related to a local celebrity; minor fame), +2 bonus to interaction rolls
  • 3 pts – Moderate Status (Heir to a major title, or holder of a minor title; moderate fame), +4 bonus to interaction rolls
  • 5 pts – Greater Status (Holder of a major title; major fame), +6 bonus to interaction rolls.

Wealth: (1-5 pts) You are wealthy, not only receiving additional starting money but receive a regular monthly income without having to work for it (e.g. as income from property or investments, or an allowance from your family). You cannot have 5 pts in wealth without at least 1 pt in Status (minor fame).

  • 1 pt – 250 gp starting money, receive 25 gp each game month
  • 2 pts - 400 gp starting money, receive 40 gp each game month
  • 3 pts – 600 gp starting money, receive 60 gp each game month
  • 4 pts - 900 gp starting money, receive 90 gp each game month
  • 5 pts – 1200 gp starting money, receive 120 gp each game month

Languages: (1-3 pts) You speak one or more additional languages in addition to your native language. You may choose from any language in the Languages document that is appropriate for your character’s background, or (with permission) some other language. You may also learn additional languages by taking the Linguistics skill (see above) or as a class ability.

  • 1 pt – one additional language
  • 2 pts - two additional languages
  • 3 pts – three additional languages

Step 10. Favored Class.

Each character begins play with a single favored class of his choosing — typically, this is the same class as the one he chooses at 1st level. Whenever a character gains a level in his favored class, he receives either + 1 hit point or + 1 skill rank. The choice of favored class cannot be changed once the character is created, and the choice of gaining a hit point or a skill rank each time a character gains a level (including his first level) cannot be changed once made for a particular level.

Step 11. Equipment.

By this point, your character is almost complete. You have all of their necessary numbers down on paper, and hopefully by this time they are moderately well fleshed-out in your mind (or possibly also on paper). But they still need gear – whatever things they own. You may begin play with up to 150 GP worth of equipment, unless you have purchased Background(s) that affect this sum.

Step 12. History.

We don't require that you write a novel detailing their every waking moment from the age of three onwards, but at least a couple of paragraphs containing information about their personality, their interests, where they're from, how they got where they are now, and where they imagine they're going in the future would be useful. We’ll suggest additions or changes if necessary. Also, if you have any NPCs you particularly want them to be associated with (family, friends, enemies, etc.) please provide a short description of those characters and I'll flesh them out more fully. Of course, if you have any questions, feel free to ask us!

This Questionnaire of Doom! is a tool you could use to flesh out your character, if you so desire.