Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Conversion Guide
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Pathfinder RPG Conversion Guide
This guide is intended to make converting your 3.5 game to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game quick and easy. It includes rules for converting characters, monsters, feats, spells, prestige classes, and magic items from the 3.5 version of the rules to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. To use this conversion guide, you will need a copy of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook, as page numbers and tables referenced throughout this conversion guide refer directly to that book. While the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary (due out in September, 2009) is useful in converting monsters, the guidelines in this document will suffice until its release.
The first half of this document addresses how to convert characters, covering everything from ability scores to experience points. This step-by-step process is primarily for adjustments to player characters, but a quick version is presented later for making changes to minor NPCs and villains. The second half of this document deals with converting existing mechanics, including prestige classes, feats, spells, and magic items. While this guide tackles a wide variety of issues, Game Masters should expect to adjudicate a number of minor issues that fall outside this scope.
Part 1: Converting Characters
Converting characters to the Pathfinder RPG is a relatively simple process. To perform the conversion of a player character, you should have a copy of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook handly, as well as your existing 3.5 character, a Pathfinder RPG character sheet, and a pencil.
Step 1: Race
Races have seen a few changes from their 3.5 counterparts. Most of the races now receive two +2 bonuses to their ability scores and one -2 penalty. In addition, half-elves, half-orcs, and humans now all receive a single +2 bonus to an ability score of their choice (instead of their 3.5 bonuses and penalties). Table C-1 summarizes all of the changes to the racial ability scores and gives the page number for each race. Note that these changes are in addition to the race’s existing ability score modifiers, which have remained unchanged. You should also check your character’s existing racial abilities against those granted by the Pathfinder RPG and make the appropriate changes.
|Race||Page Number||New Modifiers|
|Half-elf||24||+2 to one score|
|Half-orc||25||+2 to one score*|
|Human||27||+2 to one score|
|* This replaces the half-orc’s previous ability score modifiers|
Step 2: Class
Of all the changes, converting your class to the Pathfinder RPG requires the most work. Each of the 11 base classes has received a number of changes, as summarized below. To convert your character, you should check these lists and make the appropriate adjustments for a character of your level. In most cases, this change is additive, meaning that you will be adding new feats, not taking them away. If your character possesses levels in more than one base class, repeat this process for each one of your classes. Note that skills, feats, spells, hit points, and gear changes are handled in later steps and should be set aside for now.
Barbarian (page 31)
There are two large changes to the barbarian, the first being an alteration to the way that rage is tracked, and the second the addition of rage powers. To convert your barbarian, take the following steps.
- Rage is now tracked as a number of rounds per day, instead of uses per day. Barbarians can rage for 4 rounds per day + their Constitution modifier. This increases by 2 rounds per day for every level beyond 1st. The mechanics of rage itself (+4 Str, +4 Con, -2 AC, etc.) are unchanged.
- Starting at 2nd level, barbarians gain a rage power. These are special abilities that the barbarian can use while raging. Barbarians gain one power at 2nd level and one additional power for every two levels beyond 2nd. Select the appropriate number of rage powers for your barbarian from the list of rage powers that begins on page 32 of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook.
- Remove illiteracy from your barbarian. Enjoy books.
Bard (page 34)
The bard receives a number of changes and upgrades, the largest of which involve its bardic performance (the new name for bardic music) and its spell progression. The bard also receives a few new abilities and additional bardic performance types. To convert your bard, take the following steps.
- Bardic Knowledge now grants a bonus to all Knowledge skills equal to half your bard level (round down, minimum +1). This ability also allows you to use any Knowledge skill untrained. This replaces the previous rules.
- Bardic Performance is now tracked as a number of rounds per day, instead of uses per day. Bards can use their bardic performance ability for 4 rounds per day + their Charisma modifier. This increases by 2 rounds per day for every level beyond 1st.
- Bards now receive a number of new performance types, and there have been some changes to existing performance types. Take a moment to reread all of the existing performance types possessed by your character (starting on page 36). In addition, 1st-level bards now receive the distraction performance type, 8th-level bards receive the dirge of doom, 12th-level bards receive the soothing performance, 14th-level bards receive frightening tune, and 20th-level bards receive deadly performance.
- At 2nd level, the bard gains the versatile performance class feature. This allows him to substitute his bonus in one type of the Perform skill for his bonus in two other skills, depending on the type of Perform selected (see page 38).
Bards can select one type of Perform at 2nd level, and one additional type for every four levels beyond 2nd.
- At 2nd level, bards also receive the well-versed class feature (see page 38). This ability grants a bonus to saves against bardic performance, sonic, and language-dependent effects.
- At 5th level, bards receive the lore master class feature, which allows them to take 10 on any Knowledge skill check that they have ranks in, as well as take 20 once per day. For every six levels beyond 5th, the bard can take 20 on a Knowledge skill check one additional time per day.
- At 10th level, the bard receives the jack-of-all-trades class feature (see page 38). This class feature allows the bard to use skills untrained, and at 16th level to treat all skills as class skills.
- The bard’s spell progression has been modified, both in spells per day and spells known. Using Table 3-3 and Table 3-4, look up the new number of spells per day and spells known for your bard’s level and record the result. In most cases, this means you will have a few additional spells to cast per day, and a few additional spells known. Note that bards can now cast an unlimited number of 0-level spells per day.
Cleric (page 38)
Many of the changes to the cleric concern its spell progression, domains, and the new ability to channel energy (which replaces turn or rebuke undead). While domains still grant domain spells, they now also grant a pair of powers that replace those from their old domains. To convert your cleric, take the following steps.
- Clerics no longer have heavy armor proficiency. If you are wearing heavy armor, you will either need to take the Heavy Armor Proficiency feat or change the armor. In the case of magic armor, GMs are encouraged to allow clerics to change the armor’s type while retaining its abilities.
- The channel energy class feature (see page 40) replaces the turn and rebuke undead class feature. This ability now allows a cleric to heal or hurt undead creatures in a 30-foot burst. It can also be used to heal or harm living creatures. Table 3-5 lists the amount of damage dealt or hit points healed with each use. A cleric can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier. This ability also allows a saving throw (DC = 10 + 1/2 the cleric’s level + the cleric’s Cha modifier).
- Using Table 3-5 (see page 40), look up the number of spells per day your cleric can cast. This number might be a little lower than in 3.5 due to the ability of channel energy to heal characters (reducing the need to convert spells to healing). Note that clerics can now cast an unlimited number of 0-level spells per day. The number listed on the table represents the number per day that can be prepared.
- Replace the granted powers of your cleric’s domains with the granted powers of the new domains (see page 41). Each domain has a power granted at 1st level and another power that is granted at a later level (usually 4th or 6th) depending on the domain. Some of the domain spell lists have changed, so be sure to note the new spells.
Druid (page 48)
The largest changes to the druid involve its ability to wild shape and its animal companion. Wild shape is now based on a series of spells that belong to the new polymorph subschool. Using these spells, you gain specific bonuses to your ability scores and additional powers based on the form you assume. Animal companions are now closely tied to your druid level and advance as you do. To convert your druid, take the following steps.
- At 1st level, you now have a choice to make. With the nature bond class feature, you can either have an animal companion or one of a list of cleric domains (this grants you bonus spells and domain powers, like a cleric). The list of domains can be found in the nature bond class feature on page 50, while the rules for animal companions are summarized starting on page 51.
- If you keep your animal companion, you will need to find a type that most closely matches your current animal companion (if the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary is available, you can look through the list in the appendices for additional choices). Using the information provided in your animal companion’s summary and the statistics from Table 3-8, rebuild your animal companion. The guidelines that start on page 51 will guide you through the process.
- If your druid is 4th level or higher, you gain the wild shape ability (see page 51). This ability replaces the ability gained at 5th level for druids built using the 3.5 rules, including all of the advanced versions, such as elemental and plant. For more information on the polymorph subschool, see page 211.
- Using Table 3-7, look up the number of spells per day your druid can cast and note the numbers on your character sheet. Note that druids can now cast an unlimited number of 0-level spells per day. The number listed on the table represents the number per day that can be prepared.
Fighter (page 55)
Although fighters still receive a new combat feat (meaning a fighter bonus feat) at every even level, they now receive a number of other abilities as well. To convert your fighter, take the following steps.
- At 2nd level, fighters receive an ability called bravery, which adds half their level (rounded down) to Will saves made to resist fear effects.
- At 3rd level, fighters get armor training (see page 55). This reduces a fighter’s armor check penalty and increases his maximum Dexterity while wearing armor by 1. At every 4 levels beyond 3rd, these bonuses increase by 1. This ability also allows a fighter to move at full speed while wearing Medium armor. At 7th level, he can move at full speed while wearing heavy armor.
- At 5th level, fighters receive weapon training (see page 56). With this ability, you select one group of weapons and receive a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with weapons from that group. At every 4 levels beyond 5th, you can select another group, and the bonuses for all of your previous groups increases by +1.
- At 19th level, fighters receive armor mastery, which grants DR 5/— while wearing armor.
- At 20th level, fighters gain weapon mastery, which allows them to select one weapon. All critical threats with that weapon automatically confirm, and the critical multiplier is increased by 1.
Monk (page 56)
Many of the monk’s signature abilities have received an overhaul in the Pathfinder RPG rules. Chief among these are alterations to the flurry of blows mechanic, wider options in bonus feats, and the addition of the ki pool mechanic (which many other abilities are now a part of ). To convert your monk, take the following steps.
- In addition to the bonus feats gained at 1st, 2nd, and 6th levels, monks now gain an additional bonus feat for every 4 levels beyond 6th. The list of bonus feats that can be selected is enlarged, so make sure to check your feats versus those on the list (see page 58). In addition, all monks now receive Stunning Fist as a bonus feat at 1st level. At higher levels, they can even substitute different effects (other than stun for 1 round) when performing such attacks (see page 59).
- A monk’s base attack bonus when performing a flurry of blows is now equal to his level. His attacks are made as if using Two-Weapon Fighting (and its improvements at later levels). Table 3-10 summarizes these bonuses. Change your flurry of blows base bonuses to match these values (plus any increases to your base attack bonus from other classes, which might give you additional attacks with your primary strike). Note that other increases to your base attack bonus do not increase the number of attacks you can make with your off hand, as the bonus feats to gain these attacks are not gained until you reach the required level of monk.
- A monk’s AC bonus has increased. See Table 3-10 for the new bonus.
- At 3rd level, a monk gains an ability called maneuver training, which grants him a better chance at performing combat maneuvers. For now, just note that you possess this ability. Combat maneuvers are discussed in Step 5.
- At 4th level, a monk gains a ki pool, which is a number of points that a monk can spend each day to perform amazing feats (see page 59). At 4th level, a monk’s ki pool is equal to 2 + his Wisdom modifier, but it increases by 1 for every 2 levels beyond 4th. A monk can use a point from his ki pool to move faster, take an extra attack, or gain a dodge bonus to his AC. At 5th level, he can spend a point from his ki pool to grant him a large bonus on checks made to jump. At 7th level, he can spend ki points to heal himself. At 12th level, he can spend ki points to use dimension door. At 19th level, he can spend ki points to become ethereal. As long as the monk has at least 1 ki point in his pool, his unarmed strikes count as magic (lawful at 10th level, adamantine at 16th). These abilities replace the ki strike abilities, as well as wholeness of body, abundant step, and empty body.
- At 15th level, a monk still gains quivering palm. This ability can now be used once per day.
- Finally, at 20th level, the monk’s perfect self ability now grants DR 10/chaotic.
Paladin (page 60)
The paladin has seen a number of changes for the Pathfinder RPG. The most significant changes involve the smite evil ability, the lay on hands ability, and the addition of new auras at higher levels. To convert your paladin, take the following steps.
- Paladins now receive a good Will save progression. See table 3-11 for the new save progression.
- Smite evil functions differently and is earned at a faster progression, as noted on Table 3-11. Now, when a paladin smites evil, she picks one target and gets bonuses against that target until the target is slain or otherwise defeated. See page 60 for more information.
- Lay on hands can now be used a number of times per day equal to 1/2 the paladin’s level plus her Charisma modifier. The paladin can use this ability to heal herself as a swift action and others as a standard action. She heals 1d6 points of damage per paladin level. At 3rd level, and every three levels thereafter, the paladin gains one mercy. These are effects, such as shaken or fatigued, that are also healed whenever the paladin uses her lay on hands ability. Determine the number of mercies possessed by your paladin and select them from the appropriate lists. See page 61 for more information.
- At 4th level, a paladin can expend two uses of her lay on hands ability to channel energy like a cleric. This heals all living creatures within a 30-foot burst, or it can be used to harm undead creatures. See page 62 for the paladin information on this ability and page 40 for a description of how channel energy functions.
- At 4th level, the paladin can receive spells just as in 3.5. The progression, however, has been altered. Using Table 3-11, look up your new number of spells per day and record the number on your character sheet.
- At 5th level, a paladin receives the divine bond class feature. This can take one of two forms: a mount or a celestial bonded weapon. The mount functions in a manner similar to a druid’s animal companion (see page 51). The bonded weapon can be called upon for a limited amount of time per day, adding various enhancements to the paladin’s chosen weapon. See page 63 for more information.
- Paladins lose the ability to remove disease, since this is an option of the mercy ability (see page 61).
- Paladins receive new auras at 8th, 11th, 14th, and 17th levels. If your paladin is of high enough level, note these auras on your sheet. The description for these auras can be found on page 63.
- At 20th level, paladins receive the holy champion class feature, granting them DR 10/evil and a number of other bonuses.
Ranger (page 64)
While the ranger functions much as it did in 3.5, there have been a number of modifications. Most of these involve the addition of the favored terrain class feature and the expansion of feat options concerning combat styles. To convert your ranger, take the following steps.
- There have been some changes to the creature types in the favored enemy class feature. If your ranger had giant or elemental selected, he receives humanoid (giant) or one of the elemental outsider types instead. The table on page 64 lists the new types. Also note that the bonus to damage against favored enemies now also applies on rolls made to hit.
- The track class feature (see page 64) no longer grants a bonus feat. All characters can attempt to follow tracks now. Instead, this class feature grants a bonus equal to one half the ranger’s level (minimum +1) to Survival skill checks made to follow tracks. Note this bonus next to the Survival skill.
- Combat Styles have been replaced with Combat Style bonus feats. These feats are gained at 2nd level and every four levels thereafter. Instead of a set feat, rangers can now select from a short list of feats. At 6th and 10th level, the list of feats that can be selected is expanded. Determine the number of feats your ranger receives and select them from the lists on page 65.
- At 3rd level, the ranger receives his first favored terrain. While in a favored terrain, a ranger receives bonuses to initiative checks and a number of skill checks. For every five levels beyond 3rd, the ranger can select another favored terrain and can increase the bonuses to another terrain type (just as with favored enemy). Determine the number of favored terrains your ranger possesses and select them from the list on page 65.
- At 4th level, the ranger receives the hunter’s bond class feature. This can be an animal companion or a bond with his fellow traveling companions. The animal companion functions just like a druid’s (see page 51), using the ranger’s level -3 as his effective druid level (instead of half his ranger level in 3.5). If he chooses instead to bond with his party, he can grant his favored enemy bonus to his companions for a limited amount of time per day. You should note this choice on your sheet and create stats for your animal companion if needed. See page 66 for more information.
- Higher-level rangers receive a host of new abilities. At 11th level, the ranger gains the quarry ability, which grants him bonuses against one particular target. He gets the camouflage ability at 12th level, instead of at 13th. He gets improved evasion at 16th level and improved quarry at 19th. Finally, at 20th level, the ranger receives the master hunter ability, which allows him to deal deadly strikes to his favored enemies. If your ranger qualifies for these new ability, note them on your sheet. See page 67 for more information.
Rogue (page 67)
Very little has changed with the rogue, aside from the addition of rogue talents, which expand upon the special abilities that rogues gained at higher levels in 3.5. To convert your rogue, take the following steps.
- Note that the rogue sneak attack ability now functions against most constructs, plants, and undead. It does not function against oozes, elementals, and incorporeal undead. See page 68 for more information.
- Trapfinding now grants a bonus equal to half your rogue level (minimum +1) on Perception skill checks to find traps and all Disable Device skill checks. Make sure to note this in your skills.
- Starting at 2nd level, a rogue gains his first rogue talent. For every two levels beyond 2nd, the rogue can select another rogue talent. These talents allow rogues to perform amazing acrobatics, quickly disarm traps, or hinder foes. At 10th level, the list of talents expands to include advanced talents (many of which are the same as the special abilities from 3.5). Determine the number of talents your rogue possesses and select them from the list of talents and advanced talents that can be found on pages 68 and 69.
- At 20th level, rogues gain the master strike ability, which allows them to kill or incapacitate foes that are subject to their sneak attack. See page 70 for more information.
Sorcerer (page 70)
Nearly all of the changes to the sorcerer involve the addition of a new class feature called bloodlines. These bloodlines link the sorcerer to a specific heritage that grants a number of powers, bonus spells, and other abilities. To convert your sorcerer, take the following steps.
- Select a bloodline for your sorcerer. If you want to keep your sorcerer nearly identical to her 3.5 counterpart, the arcane bloodline is the best choice. Next, note the class skill associated with the bloodline in your list of class skills. Then add all of the bonus spells that your character qualifies for based on her level to your list of spells known. Starting at 7th level, and every six levels thereafter, a sorcerer receives a bonus feat from her bloodline list. Select the appropriate number of bonus feats. Finally, add the details of the bloodline arcana and any bloodline powers that you qualify for to your character sheet. For more information on bloodlines, see page 71.
- Unless you have selected the arcane bloodline, you lose your familiar.
- Add Eschew Materials to your character as a bonus feat. If you already have the feat, note that you must select another in Step 4.
- Note that sorcerers can cast an unlimited number of 0-level spells per day. The number on Table 3-15 indicates the number known.
Wizard (page 77)
The only two changes to the wizard class involve the addition of arcane schools and the arcane bond ability. To convert your wizard, take the following steps.
- If your wizard was a specialist wizard in 3.5, he now gains the arcane school of the same name. This still grants bonus spells, just as in 3.5, but now it also grants a trio of powers. The first two powers are gained at 1st level, while the third is gained at 6th or 8th, depending on the school. Read these powers and add them to your character. If your character was not a specialist, he gains the Universalist School, which grants a pair of powers and no bonus spells. See page 78 for information on this class feature and page 79 for a listing of the arcane schools.
- Note that wizards with an arcane school, other than universalists, must select two opposing schools. Wizards can know and prepare spells of their opposition schools, but such spells take up two spell slots instead of one.
- At 1st level, wizards receive an arcane bond with either a familiar or an item. This replaces the summon familiar class feature. Wizards that bond with a familiar will find the rules basically unchanged. Wizards that bond with an item can cast an additional spell per day, without preparing it, but are tethered to the item and must have it to properly cast spells. Note this choice on your character sheet. See page 78 for more information.
- Note that wizards can cast an unlimited number of 0-level spells per day. The number on Table 3-16 indicates the number that can be prepared each day.
Step 3: Skills
The skill system has received a significant overhaul for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. While the new system is simpler to use, you will need to reassign your character’s skill ranks during conversion.
The biggest change is the elimination and combination of a number of skills. For example, Hide and Move Silently have been combined into one skill called Stealth. Table C-2 summarizes the changes to skills. Skills marked with a “—” have been removed from the game. Concentration is no longer a skill, but rather an ability that all spellcasters have. See page 206 for more information and rules on calculating your bonus on this check. Use Rope is now a part of Climb or a function of the grapple rules, depending on the use.
|3.5 Skill||Pathfinder Skill|
|Open Lock||Disable Device|
In addition, the means by which characters acquire skill ranks has been altered. Characters no longer receive a ×4 multiplier to their skill points at 1st level. In addition, purchasing a rank in any skill costs only 1 point, regardless of whether it is a class skill. In the Pathfinder RPG, characters that have ranks in a class skill receive a one-time +3 bonus to that skill. Finally, permanent alterations to your character’s Intelligence score now affect his number of skill points. Table 4-1 (on page 87) summarizes the number of skill ranks granted by each class per level.
Taken together, this means that a character can simply determine the number of skill points gained per level and multiply that number by his total number of levels in that class. This is the number of ranks he can place into his skills (with a maximum of his total character level). After placing the skills, he receives a +3 bonus in any skill that is listed as a class skill by one of the classes he possesses.
To convert your character, look up the number of ranks he receives for each level of his class. Modify this value by the character’s Intelligence modifier. If your character is a human, add 1 to this number. Next, multiply this value by the character’s total levels in that class. Repeat this process for any other classes your character might possess. Add these values together. This is the total number of ranks you can spend on skills. You can have no more than your total character level in ranks in any one skill. Make sure to note any skill bonuses due to race or class abilities (such as bardic knowledge, trapfinding, or track). Next, add in class skill and ability score bonuses and total these values to get your final bonus in each skill.
For example, if your character was a human barbarian 4/rogue 3 with a 12 Intelligence, he would receive 6 ranks for each level of barbarian (4 base + 1 human + 1 Int) and 10 ranks for each level of rogue (8 base + 1 human + 1 Int), for a total of 62 ranks. He could place up to 7 ranks in any one skill until reaching a total of 62. He would receive a +3 class skill bonus in any skill that is listed on either the barbarian or rogue class skill list (this bonus remains +3 even if it is on both lists).
Step 4: Feats
Characters in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game receive one feat every odd level (1st, 3rd, 5th, etc.), as opposed to one feat every three levels. Generally speaking, this means that characters being converted above 6th level will gain 1 feat, characters above 13th will gain 2 feats, and characters above 18th will gain 3 feats. Table 3-1 on page 30 lists the number of feats your character gains as he advances. Calculate the number and note how many additional feat choices you need to make.
While many of the feats have been altered, a few have been removed from the game entirely and a large number have been added. If your character possesses a feat that has been removed, select a new feat from those presented in Chapter 5. Check the text for any of your remaining feats to see how they have changed. If they do not fit your character’s concept, your GM might allow you to change some of your feats.
The following feats have been removed from the game: Agile, Diligent, Investigator, Negotiator, Nimble Fingers, and Track. The following feats have been renamed: Extra Turning is now Extra Channel and Improved Turning is now Improved Channel.
Table C-3 summarizes some of the new feats you might want to consider when rebuilding your character. Details for these feats can be found starting on page 113 of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook.
Step 5: Other Statistics and Gear
Beyond the basic character choices, there are a number of other small modifications to make to your character. These are broken up into simple alterations, defined below.
- Hit Points
Some of the classes now get a boost in the type of Hit Dice they roll to determine their hit points. If you have levels in bard, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, or wizard, increase your total number of hit points by 2 for your 1st level and by 1 for each level other than your character’s 1st level. For example, if your character was a fighter 4/rogue 3, you would add 3 hit points to his total (1 for each rogue level). This amount would increase to 4 if your character’s first level was rogue (2 for the first level, +1 for each additional rogue level).
- Favored Class
Each character possesses a favored class, chosen at creation. For every level you have in this class, you receive +1 hit point or +1 skill point. Levels in other classes or prestige classes do not grant you this bonus. Note that half-elves can have two favored classes, gaining bonuses whenever a level is taken in either of them.
While most of the gear is unchanged, there are a few exceptions of note. Weapons are the same, except for a few that were modified for balance. If your character wears medium or heavy armor, note that each of these armors receives a +1 increase to its armor bonus. Light armors are unaffected. Most of the rest of the ordinary gear is the same. Warhorses are now referred to as combat trained (as described in the Handle Animal skill on page 97). A few prices have also been altered, but this should not affect your conversion.
- Magic Items
With very few exceptions, every magic item is still a part of the game. You should check the description of each one of your items to see if it has changed (see chapter 15). Of particular note, you should investigate any item that granted a skill bonus, as the skill might have changed. The amulet of health, gauntlets of ogre power, and gloves of dexterity have been changed. Each of these items is now a belt, meaning that you might not be able to utilize all of them. There are belts in the book that provide bonuses to more than one attribute, and your GM might allow you to combine items into one belt for the purpose of conversion. The same is true for the items that boosted mental ability scores. The cloak of charisma, headband of intellect, and periapt of wisdom have all been changed to the headband slot. If you cannot use an item, your GM might allow you to trade it in for its full value during conversion to pick up another item instead. GMs are encouraged to be flexible during this process.
- Combat Maneuvers
In the Pathfinder RPG the rules for bull rush, disarm, grapple, overrun, sunder, and trip have been combined into one simple mechanic called combat maneuvers. Each character has a combat maneuver bonus (or CMB) which represents his skill at performing combat maneuvers. In addition, each character also has a combat maneuver defense (or CMD) which is the DC for anyone attempting a combat maneuver against the character.
To determine your character’s CMB and CMD, use the following formulas. Note that CMB and CMD use a special size modifier. This modifier is as follows: Fine -8, Diminutive -4, Tiny -2, Small -1, Medium +0, Large +1, Huge +2, Gargantuan +4, Colossal +8.
CMB = base attack bonus + Str modifier + special size modifier
CMD = 10 + base attack bonus + Str modifier + Dex modifier + special size modifier
In addition, whenever a character performs a combat maneuver, he may add any bonuses he receives to melee attacks due to spells or magic items (such as bless or haste).
A character may also add any bonuses to his AC to his CMD except for armor, natural armor, and shield bonuses (dodge and deflection being the most common). Note these values on your character sheet. See page 198 for more information on combat maneuvers.
The majority of the spells in the game are unchanged, but there have been alterations to some of them. You should read the text for any spell that you plan on casting to see if it has changed. In addition, the polymorph spell has been radically altered. It is now a 5th-level spell and relates to a host of spells belonging to the polymorph subschool.
If your character is a transmuter or has access to this spell, you might want to look at similar spells, such as beast shape,elemental body, form of the dragon, giant form, and plant shape. Experience Points: Finally, the experience point system has changed a bit in the Pathfinder RPG. The first thing you need to do here is ask your GM what type of game he plans to run in terms of character advancement. There are three basic types: fast, medium, and slow. 3.5 was based on a fast advancement model, so many existing games will continue on this course, but you should check with your GM to be sure. Next, determine if you are more than halfway to your next level using the 3.5 advancement charts. If so, place yourself at the halfway mark between the same levels using Table 3-1 on page 30. If you are less than halfway to your next level, place yourself at the minimum number of experience points needed to be at your current level using Table 3-1. Some GMs might prefer a more exact method of conversion in which you calculate the percentage toward your next level and apply that to the amount of XP needed to gain a level using the Pathfinder RPG rules. Check with your GM before using this method.
- Converting NPCs
The process for converting NPCs is similar to the one for converting player characters. GMs making these conversions have two options. The first is a full conversion, in which case the GM should take the NPC through the same process for converting a PC. This should be reserved for truly important or vital NPCs, such as major villains or characters that will have recurring roles inthe campaign. The second version is a quick conversion designed for NPCs that only appear for a single encounter or whose full stats are not likely to come into play. Quick conversions can be done at the table as needed to advance the story. You can write the appropriate numbers on a sheet of scratch paper as such situations arise and move along with the adventure. When performing a quick conversion, make the following changes. If an ability or statistic is not mentioned, assume that it is unchanged. Note that the CR of NPCs is reduced by 1 in the Pathfinder RPG and the amount of XP they award should be adjusted accordingly.
Step 1: Add 1 hit point per level of the NPC for every level of bard, commoner, expert, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, warrior, or wizard possessed by the NPC. In addition, add a number of hit points equal to the highest level the NPC possesses in any one class to represent its favored class bonus.
Step 2: Calculate the NPC’s CMB and CMD scores using the following formulas. Note that CMB and CMD use a special size modifier. This modifier is as follows: Fine -8, Diminutive -4, Tiny -2, Small -1, Medium +0, Large +1, Huge +2, Gargantuan +4, Colossal +8.
CMB = base attack bonus + Str modifier + special size modifier
CMD = 10 + base attack bonus + Str modifier + Dex modifier + special size modifier
Step 3: Change the character’s skills according to the conversions on Table C-3 of this document. Do not recalculate bonuses. There might be a small swing in the number or bonuses when compared to a full conversion, but these have little effect on play. Note that if a character has two 3.5 skills converting to the same Pathfinder RPG skill, take the higher value and disregard the other.
Step 4: Add additional feats depending on the NPC’s total character level. If the character is above 6th level, add 1 feat. If the character is above 13th, add 2 feats. Finally, if the character is above 18th, add 3 feats.
Step 5: Finally, make any adjustments to the character based on its class. Unlike a full conversion, the quick conversion only covers the highlights of the class. The following summaries cover the major changes.
- Barbarian: Give the barbarian a number of rage rounds per day equal to 4 + its Con modifier + 2 for every barbarian level beyond first. Add one rage power for every two levels the barbarian possesses.
- Bard: Give the bard a number of rounds of bardic performance per day equal to 4 + its Cha modifier + 2 for every bard level beyond first. At the following levels, add these performance types: 1st—distraction, 8th—dirge of doom, 12th—soothing performance, 14th—frightening tune, 20th—deadly performance.
- Cleric: Make sure to give the cleric Heavy Armor Proficiency as a feat if wearing heavy armor. Add the cleric’s new domain powers. Write down the amount of damage for channel energy and calculate the DC.
- Druid: Perform the quick conversion on the druid’s animal companion.
- Fighter: Give the fighter a +1 to hit and damage with his primary weapon at 5th level. Increase this bonus to +2 at 9th, +3 at 13th, and +4 at 17th. At 3rd level, increase the fighter’s speed while wearing medium armor. At 7th level, increase the fighter’s speed while wearing heavy armor.
- Monk: Recalculate the monk’s bonuses when performing a flurry of blows, using the numbers on Table 3-10. At 4th level, add a ki pool equal to 1/2 the monk’s level + Wis modifier. Make sure to use the monk’s level as its base attack bonus when calculating its CMB and add Wis modifier and the monk AC modifier to its CMD.
- Paladin: Increase the paladin’s Will save. At 2nd level, add a number of uses of lay on hands equal to 1/2 the paladin’s level + Cha modifier. Add one mercy per 3 levels. At the following levels, add these auras: 8th—aura of resolve, 11th—aura of justice, 14th—aura of faith, 17th—aura of righteousness. At 20th level add the holy champion ability.
- Ranger: Perform the quick conversion on the ranger’s animal companion. At 3rd level, give the ranger a +2 bonus on initiative, Knowledge (geography), Perception, Stealth, and Survival skill checks in the NPC’s current terrain. Increase this bonus by +2 for every five levels beyond 3rd. Add the quarry ability at 11th level, improved evasion at 16th, improved quarry at 19th, and master hunter at 20th.
- Rogue: Add one rogue talent at 2nd level and one additional talent for every 2 levels beyond 2nd. Count the 3.5 rogue special abilities as rogue talents. Add master strike at 20th level.
- Sorcerer: Either assume the arcane bloodline or delete the familiar and select a different bloodline. Add the bonus spells known based on level, the bloodline arcana, and any bloodline powers gained by the sorcerer based on level. Add Eschew Materials as a bonus feat and add one bloodline feat at 7th, 13th, and 19th level.
- Wizard: Change the wizard’s specialization to the corresponding arcane school. If the wizard was not a specialist, add the universal school. At the listed levels, add the appropriate arcane school powers.
|Acrobatic Steps||Dex 15, Nimble Moves||Ignore 20 feet of difficult terrain when you move|
|Alignment Channel||Channel energy class feature||Channel energy can heal or harm outsiders|
|Arcane Armor Mastery*||Arcane Armor Training, Medium Armor Proficiency, caster level 7th||Reduce your arcane spell failure chance by 20%|
|Arcane Armor Training*||Light Armor Proficiency, caster level 3rd||Reduce your arcane spell failure chance by 10%|
|Arcane Strike*||Ability to cast arcane spells||+1 damage and weapons are considered magic|
|Bleeding Critical*||Critical Focus, base attack bonus +11||Whenever you score a critical hit, the target takes 2d6 bleed|
|Blinding Critical*||Critical Focus, base attack bonus +15||Whenever you score a critical hit, the target is blinded|
|Catch Off-Guard*||—||No penalties for improvised melee weapons|
|Channel Smite*||Channel energy class feature||Channel energy through your attack|
|Command Undead||Channel negative energy class feature||Channel energy can be used to control undead|
|Critical Focus*||Base attack bonus +9||+4 bonus on attack rolls made to confirm critical hits|
|Critical Mastery*||Any two critical feats, 14th-level fighter||Apply two effects to your critical hits|
|Deadly Aim*||Dex 13, base attack bonus +1||Trade ranged attack bonus for damage|
|Deafening Critical*||Critical Focus, base attack bonus +13||Whenever you score a critical hit, the target is deafened|
|Defensive Combat Training*||—||Use your total Hit Dice as your base attack bonus for CMD|
|Disruptive*||6th-level fighter||Increases the DC to cast spells adjacent to you|
|Double Slice*||Two-Weapon Fighting||Add your Str bonus to off-hand damage rolls|
|Elemental Channel||Channel energy class feature||Channel energy can harm or heal elementals|
|Exhausting Critical*||Tiring Critical, base attack bonus +15||Whenever you score a critical hit, the target is exhausted|
|Extra Ki||Ki pool class feature||Increase your ki pool by 2 points|
|Extra Lay On Hands||Lay on hands class feature||Use lay on hands two additional times per day|
|Extra Mercy||Mercy class feature||Your lay on hands benefits from one additional mercy|
|Extra Performance||Bardic performance class feature||Use bardic performance for 6 additional rounds per day|
|Extra Rage||Rage class feature||Use rage for 6 additional rounds per day|
|Fleet||—||Your base speed increases by 5 feet|
|Gorgon’s Fist*||Scorpion Style, base attack bonus +6||Stagger a foe whose speed is reduced|
|Greater Bull Rush*||Improved Bull Rush, base attack bonus +6||Enemies you bull rush provoke attacks of opportunity|
|Greater Disarm*||Improved Disarm, base attack bonus +6||Disarmed weapons are knocked away from your enemy|
|Greater Feint*||Improved Feint, base attack bonus +6||Enemies you feint lose their Dex bonus for 1 round|
|Greater Overrun*||Improved Overrun, base attack bonus +6||Enemies you overrun provoke attacks of opportunity|
|Greater Penetrating Strike*||Penetrating Strike, 16th-level fighter||Your attacks ignore 10 points of damage reduction|
|Greater Shield Focus*||Shield Focus, 8th-level fighter||Gain a +1 bonus to your AC when using a shield|
|Greater Sunder*||Improved Sunder, base attack bonus +6||Damage from sunder attempts transfers to your enemy|
|Greater Trip*||Improved Trip, base attack bonus +6||Enemies you trip provoke attacks of opportunity|
|Greater Vital Strike*||Improved Vital Strike, base attack bonus +16||Deal four times the normal damage on a single attack|
|Improved Great Fortitude||Great Fortitude||Once per day, you may reroll a Fortitude save|
|Improved Iron Will||Iron Will||Once per day, you may reroll a Will save|
|Improved Lightning Reflexes||Lightning Reflexes||Once per day, you may reroll a Reflex save|
|Improved Vital Strike*||Vital Strike, base attack bonus +11||Deal three times the normal damage on a single attack|
|Improvised Weapon Mastery*||Catch Off-Guard or Throw Anything, base attack bonus +8||Make an improvised weapon deadly|
|Intimidating Prowess*||—||Add Str to Intimidate in addition to Cha|
|Lightning Stance*||Dex 17, Wind Stance, base attack bonus +11||Gain 50% concealment if you move|
|Lunge*||Base attack bonus +6||Take a -2 penalty to your AC to attack with reach|
|Master Craftsman||5 ranks in any Craft or Profession skill||You can craft magic items without being a spellcaster|
|Medusa’s Wrath*||Gorgon’s Fist, base attack bonus +11||Make 2 extra attacks against a hindered foe|
|Nimble Moves||Dex 13||Ignore 5 feet of difficult terrain when you move|
|Penetrating Strike*||Weapon Focus, 12th-level fighter||Your attacks ignore 5 points of damage reduction|
|Pinpoint Targeting*||Improved Precise Shot, base attack bonus +16||No armor or shield bonus on one ranged attack|
|Scorpion Style*||Improved Unarmed Strike||Reduce target’s speed to 5 ft.|
|Selective Channeling||Cha 13, channel energy class feature||Choose whom to affect with channel energy|
|Shield Focus*||Shield Proficiency, base attack bonus +1||Gain a +1 bonus to your AC when using a shield|
|Shield Master*||Shield Slam, base attack bonus +11||No two-weapon penalties when attacking with a shield|
|Shield Slam*||Improved Shield Bash, Two-Weapon Fighting, base attack bonus +6||Free bull rush with a bash attack|
|Sickening Critical*||Critical Focus, base attack bonus +11||Whenever you score a critical hit, the target is sickened|
|Spellbreaker*||Disruptive, 10th-level fighter||Enemies provoke attacks if their spells fail|
|Staggering Critical*||Critical Focus, base attack bonus +13||Whenever you score a critical hit, the target is staggered|
|Stand Still*||Combat Reflexes||Stop enemies from moving past you|
|Step Up*||Base attack bonus +1||Take a 5-foot step as an immediate action|
|Strike Back*||Base attack bonus +11||Attack foes that strike you while using reach|
|Stunning Critical*||Staggering Critical, base attack bonus +17||Whenever you score a critical hit, the target is stunned|
|Throw Anything*||—||No penalties for improvised ranged weapons|
|Tiring Critical*||Critical Focus, base attack bonus +13||Whenever you score a critical hit, the target is fatigued|
|Turn Undead||Channel positive energy class feature||Channel energy can be used to make undead flee|
|Two-Weapon Rend*||Double Slice, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, base attack bonus +11||Rend a foe hit by both your weapons|
|Unseat*||Improved Bull Rush, Mounted Combat||Knock opponents from their mounts|
|Vital Strike*||Base attack bonus +6||Deal twice the normal damage on a single attack|
|Wind Stance*||Dex 15, Dodge, base attack bonus +6||Gain 20% concealment if you move|
Part 2: Converting Rules
Since the launch of the 3.5 rules, there have been a host of books that present new rules content, from feats and spells to prestige classes and monsters. While you will find many new rules elements that are compliant with the new game in the Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Chronicles, and Pathfinder Companion products, all of the rules from the 3.5 game can be used with a minimal amount of conversion. This section of the conversion guide gives tips and tricks for converting some of the most common rules elements in the game.
Converting races is a simple process. Most of the races in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook receive a +2 bonus in one physical ability score (Str, Dex, or Con) and a +2 bonus in one mental ability score (Int, Wis, or Cha). In addition, most races receive a -2 penalty in one ability score. If the race you are converting does not match these guidelines, consider adding the necessary bonus or penalty to bring it in line. Most other class abilities can remain unchanged, but you should check for any skill bonuses that apply to skills that are no longer in the game and modify them accordingly.
Of all the rules elements, converting a base class is the one that requires the most careful consideration. Most classes need a bit of an upgrade to be on par with those presented in the core rulebook. The first step is to ensure that the class’s Hit Dice and base attack progression match. If the class has a slow base attack progression (such as the wizard), it should use d6s for Hit Dice. Classes with the medium progression (such as clerics) should use d8s for Hit Dice, while those with a fast progression (such as fighters) should use d10s. As a general rule, if the class did not have a d12 Hit Die in 3.5, it should not get one in the Pathfinder RPG.
Beyond this simple adjustment, any other changes to the class really depend on the class itself. When the core classes in the Pathfinder RPG were redesigned, we kept the following rules in mind.
- Classes should get something beyond their base attack bonus and save progression at every level. If the class you are converting has holes, you should consider adding some simple abilities to increase its utility.
- Classes should get something cool at 20th level. This capstone ability should make it truly worthwhile to attain the heights of power in one class. It is not mandatory, but it is a great tool to encourage a character to stick with one class.
- Class abilities should be based on the character’s level in that class, not on the character’s total level. This rewards characters even further for taking additional levels in one class, even if that particular level grants few other perks.
- Stiff restrictions on class utility and key class abilities should be relaxed. Sneak attack is a great example of this (since now you can use sneak attack against a wider variety of creatures, the key class ability is more useful).
- Add new abilities. Try to avoid subtracting abilities. This makes conversion a lot easier, since all you need to do is add to the existing character. Also avoid moving key abilities to later levels, since this would remove them from some characters, which might invalidate prestige classes or feat choices.
- Compare the finished class to the other core classes in the Core Rulebook for balance. Pay special attention to any classes that fill a similar role. If the converted class is clearly better or worse than the core class, additional changes are probably in order.
Most feats can work in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game with little or no modification. You should, however, review each feat to ensure that it does not contain rules elements that have been significantly changed. When converting a feat, check for the following simple changes.
- If the feat refers to skills in any way, such as in the prerequisites or benefit line, make sure that the skill in question has not changed names or been removed from the game. If the feat requires that the character have a specific number of ranks in a particular skill, change that requirement to the listed number -3 (minimum 1 rank).
- If the feat involves magic item creation, ignore any section referring to an XP cost during creation.
- If the feat relies on the turn undead mechanics, it now relies on the channel energy mechanics. Those that specifically deal with causing undead to flee or fall under the character’s command should have Turn Undead or Command Undead added as a prerequisite.
Gear and Equipment
With very few exceptions, gear and equipment can be used without any change at all. When converting a new type of armor, however, be sure to increase its AC bonus by +1 if it is medium or heavy armor. When converting any other piece of nonmagical gear, check for any skill references that point to a skill that has changed names or been removed from the game and adjust the item accordingly.
On the whole, most spells can be used without any conversion at all, but there are a few notable exceptions. When reviewing a spell for inclusion in your game, keep the following tips in mind.
- Any spell that used the 3.5 polymorph rules should now be a part of the polymorph subschool and should be redesigned to work within that system.
- Check the spell for skill references, as with feats, to ensure compatibility.
- If the spell requires the caster to expend XP, it instead gains a material component whose price is roughly 5 times the XP cost.
- If the spell caused or dealt with permanent level drain, it now grants permanent negative levels. Note that any spell of 6th level and lower that restores life to the dead should grant two permanent negative levels, while 7th- and 8th-level spells should grant one permanent negative level. Only 9th-level spells can restore the dead to life without granting permanent negative levels.
- Spells that grant blanket immunity to one effect or condition are discouraged and should be reserved for very powerful magic. Lower-level spells that grant immunity should be changed to grant bonuses to resist such effects or other forms of protection.
- Spells that cause a character or creature to be entirely removed from a fight are also discouraged. When used, they should allow at least one save and should also include other means of escape for resourceful targets. High-level spells are an exception, but they should be included sparingly.
- Spells that cause instant death should instead cause massive amounts of damage. See spells like finger of death and slay living for examples. This allows the spells to maintain their deadly use, but it prevents them from taking down creatures with hundreds of hit points because of one failed save.
The process for converting a prestige class to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is nearly identical to the process for converting a core class—and even easier as most prestige classes are less complex than core classes. There are, however, a few additional rules that are worth examining.
- The save progression for prestige classes is a little different from those granted by a core class, primarily because the class is not designed to be taken by 1st-level characters. As such, use Table C-4 to determine the save progression for the prestige class. The “good” progression refers to any save progression that started with a +2 in the 3.5 rules. The “average” progression should be used for all the rest.
- Make sure to check the prestige class requirements (and the rest of the class) for any skills that have been altered or removed from the game and adjust them accordingly. In addition, the skill rank requirements should be equal to the 3.5 requirements -3 (minimum 1 rank). Note that some of the core prestige classes do not follow this formula exactly and you should consider these requirements carefully.
- Prestige classes should give few class skills, since many of these will be redundant from the class skills garnered by the class taken to qualify for the prestige class. Focus any class skills on the core concept of the class and leave the rest out.
|Level||Good Saves||Average Saves|
Traps require very little conversion. Any skill reference to Listen, Search, or Spot should be changed to Perception. Any skill reference to Open Lock should be changed to Disable Device. Any other effects that reference a skill should be checked for changes.
On the whole, most magic items require no conversion, but those that reference skills should be checked for changes ( just as with feats, prestige classes, and most other mechanics). Keep the following simple points in mind when converting magic items.
- Magic item creation costs no longer include any XP cost, and unlike spells, this does not affect the price to create a magic item.
- Any magic item that enhances a character’s ability scores should be made into a belt or a headband (although exceptions are possible, they should be rare and cost at least 1.5 times the normal price).
- Magic items that rely on spells, or function like them, should be checked for the same issues as spells.
Curses, Diseases, and Poisons
These three elements have been redesigned to one unified system. When incorporating these elements into your game, take the following simple steps.
- The type and save DC does not change.
- Some of these afflictions have onset times (usually diseases). This is a period of time before the affliction begins to take effect. For diseases, this is usually 1 day, but it might be a variable amount of time. Use the disease’s incubation time as its onset. In addition, most ingested poisons have an onset time of 10 minutes, whereas a contact poison has an onset time of 1 minute. Inhaled and injury poisons do not generally have an onset time.
- Next is the frequency. This states how often a character must make a save to avoid the affliction’s effects once the onset time has elapsed (or right away for an affliction without an onset time). For curses, this time is variable, but usually once per day. For diseases, this frequency is almost always once per day. For poisons, the frequency is limited in most cases, meaning that the character has to make a set number of saves, after which time the poison has run its course (although it can be ended early if the cure conditions are met). To determine a poison’s frequency, determine the maximum amount of ability damage that the poison could have dealt in 3.5 and consult Table C-5. The frequency entry notes how many times the save must be made by taking the maximum damage and dividing it by the indicated number (unless 7 or below, in which case the max damage is used as the frequency). All values should be rounded up to the nearest even number. Note that ingested poisons require a save once per minute, while all the rest require a save once per round. For example, if an injury poison dealt a maximum of 16 points of Str damage, it would have a frequency of 1/round for 6 rounds (16 divided by 3, rounded up to 6).
|Max 3.5 Damage||Frequency||Effect|
|1-7||Max Damage||1 damage|
|8-14||Max Damage/2||1d2 damage|
|15-23||Max Damage/3||1d3 damage|
|24-35||Max Damage/4||1d4 damage|
|36+||Max Damage/6||1d6 damage|
- Finally, there is the effect. For curses and diseases, this is mostly unchanged. This means that some diseases have an initial effect that occurs if the first save is failed and a secondary effect that occurs for any other failed saves. For poisons, total up the maximum amount of damage the poison could have dealt in 3.5 and consult Table C-5. The effect entry tells the amount of damage dealt (of the same type) every time a save is failed (except for the initial save, if the poison has an onset time). If a poison dealt different kinds of damage, these should be calculated separately. For example, if a poison dealt 3d6 Strength damage on the first failed save (18 maximum) and 2d6 Int damage on the second failed save (12 maximum), it would convert to dealing 1d3 Str damage and 1d2 Int damage for each failed save.
- Each affliction has a cure line. This describes how many saves must be made for the affliction to be overcome naturally before the frequency has expired. Many curses do not have a cure entry. Diseases usually have the entry of “2 consecutive saves,” meaning that a character must make 2 Fortitude saves in a row to overcome the disease (although they still avoid contracting it entirely if the first save is made). Most poisons have the simple entry of “1 save,” meaning that the poison ends the moment one saving throw is made.
Converting existing monsters to the Pathfinder RPG is a relatively simple task. Most monsters work just fine after converting their skills and calculating their CMB and CMD. In addition, the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary converts most of the widely used monsters for you. That said, if you are using a 3.5 monster that is not in the Bestiary, the following rules will help you use the monster with little effort.
- Monster Hit Dice types are linked to their base attack progression, just as with characters. This means that monstrous humanoids and outsiders receive +1 hit point per Hit Die they possess. Oozes, which dropped down to d8 Hit Dice, lose 1 hit point per Hit Die. Undead, which dropped down to d8 Hit Dice, lose 2 hit points per Hit Die, but they now use their Charisma modif ier in place of their Constitution modifier when calculating hit points and Fortitude saves. Mindless undead typically have a Charisma score of 10, whereas intelligent undead tend to have a higher Charisma score.
- Instead of altering the Hit Dice of constructs, their base attack bonuses have been increased from the medium progression to the fast progression. This means that all constructs receive a +1 bonus on attack rolls, and to their CMB and CMD. This bonus increases by +2 at 5 Hit Dice and by an additional +1 for every 4 Hit Dice they possess beyond 5. Undead, which increase from a slow progression to a medium progression, receive a +1 bonus on attack rolls and to their CMB and CMD at 3 Hit Dice, the bonus increasing by +1 for every 4 Hit Dice after 3 that they possess.
- Calculate the monster’s CMB and CMD using the same method used for characters. Note that if a monster has improved grab, or a similar ability, it receives a +4 bonus on CMB checks made to grapple.
- Check the monster’s skills for any changes, using Table C-2 to update them to the new lists. Generally you can disregard any leftover skill ranks, although you should probably shift them to the Fly skill if the creature has a fly speed. Note that Fly is a class skill for any creature with a fly speed. Generally speaking, you can treat any skill that the monster has ranks in as a class skill. Although this is not the case in the new rules, in which creatures have set lists of class skills based on type, it is close enough for a quick conversion.
- Creatures that drained levels now bestow permanent negative levels. The DC to resist or remove these levels is unchanged.
- Constructs, plants, and most undead are no longer immune to sneak attacks or critical hits. Elementals, incorporeal undead, and oozes are still immune to such attacks.
Part 3: Running the Game
There have been a lot of changes between the 3.5 rules and those used in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Some of these changes affect entire systems and are relatively obvious, while others are quite a bit subtler. If you are familiar with the 3.5 rules, it is only natural that some of these changes are going to slip by for a number of sessions before someone notices them. For your first few games, don’t worry overmuch about missing these details, but focus on the big picture changes. To help with this, the following list goes over some of the larger changes that have an impact on both sides of the screen.
- One of the first decisions you need to make concerns the rate of advancement for the group. For a slow game, the PCs will gain a level after having faced roughly 30 encounters. For a medium game, they will gain a level after 20 encounters. A fast game (which was the default for 3.5) allowed the PCs to gain a level after about 13 encounters. This decision determines the XP chart used by the PCs to gain levels (see page 30) and the treasure table used to add treasure to encounters (see page 399).
- The changes to the core classes are pretty self evident from the character’s perspective, but make sure to incorporate some of them into NPCs and adversaries so that the players can see what they look like in combat. Tossing in a fight against an evil cleric with some undead minions, for example, is a great way to showcase some of the changes to channel energy.
- The rules for stabilizing unconscious characters have changed. See page 190 for a summary of these rules.
- Cover has been altered a little bit to include partial cover (which only grants a +2 AC bonus). See page 196 for more information.
- Be sure to familiarize yourself with the new combat maneuver rules (see page 198). These rules really speed up these actions (such as bull rush, grapple, and trip), making them easier to use in your game.
- Read up on the new rules for concentration. Casting a spell on the defensive is a little harder than before, and this will certainly come into play sooner or later. See page 206 for more information.
- The polymorph subschool has been added to the transmutation school. Although not incredibly common, spells of this school are tricky and should be reviewed. See page 211 for the subschool description.
- Although a number of spells have been changed, make sure to review detect magic (page 267), dispel magic (page 272), greater dispel magic (page 272), magic circle against evil (page 308), make whole (page 311), mending (page 312), neutralize poison (page 316), polymorph (page 323), protection from evil (page 327), raise dead (page 329), remove curse (page 332), remove disease (page 332), summon monster (page 350), and summon nature’s ally (page 354). Each of these common spells has received a number of changes that impact the way that the game is played. You should also take some time to review any spells that are commonly cast by the PCs in your group.
- The Pathfinder RPG uses simpler rules for designing encounters than 3.5. In addition, monsters are now worth a set amount of experience points. This means that at the end of the day, all you need to do is total up the amount of XP and divide that number by the number of players. Finally, there are some adjustements to the way treasure is rewarded, depending upon the type of campaign you are planning to run (slow, medium, or fast progression). Make sure to familiarize yourself with all of the information on pages 397-400.
- The rules for traps have changed a little and should be reviewed. See page 416 for the rules and page 420 for a list of sample traps.
- The Pathfinder RPG includes a quick system for generating NPCs. See page 450 for more information.
- The Pathfinder RPG changes certain assumptions about purchasing magic items. This is an important change, as it limits the types of items that the PCs can purchase and means that they will use less common items during their adventures. Not every PC should have a ring of protection, cloak of resistance, and belt of giant strength. The game does not assume that every PC has such items, so there is no reason to make them as common as they were in 3.5. The Pathfinder RPG encourages PCs to use some of the more exotic items that they find during their travels, instead of just cashing them in to buy the best item for their character statistically. The rules on page 460 for purchasing magic items should be reviewed if you allow your PCs to obtain items in this way.
- Note that magic item creation no longer requires the crafter to expend XP during creation. The rules do, however, require a skill check to successfully craft a magic item. If the roll is failed, the item is wasted, but if it is failed by 5 or more, a cursed item is created instead. See page 548 for the rules for creating magic items.
- There have been a number of changes to the special abilities in Appendix 1 and to the conditions in Appendix 2. As for special abilities, be sure to read up on the changes to ability score bonuses (page 554); ability score damage (page 555); afflictions such as curses (page 556), diseases (page 557), and poisons (page 557); damage reduction (page 561); and energy drain and negative levels (page 562). As for conditions, be sure to read up on the broken condition (page 565), the confused condition (page 566), the grappled condition (page 567), the incorporeal condition (page 567), the pinned condition (page 568), and the staggered condition (page 568).
- Finally, remember the first rule: This is your game. If a particular rule does not fit your group or play style, feel free to change it or come up with a new rule that works for you. Talk to your group about the rules to help identify these issues and to come up with solutions. You can even share your ideas and questions with the thousands of other players through our messageboards at paizo.com.
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