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Role-Playing Games: Creating a Character, Pt. IV

In previous articles (pt 1, 2, and 3), I’ve talked about various aspects of character creation for a role-playing game (in this case, Pathfinder) that not only are fairly standard in d20 system games, but that are also items for you to consider for making the Character of You. No two Barbarians are alike, even if they have the same KSOAs. The same is true in business: No two potential employees are the same, even if they have the same KSOAs.

Pathfinder Character Sheet

What separates Suviel Stormrager from Thokk the Stout? In many game systems, the word to define that difference is “Feats.” These are abilities that are specific to the character–almost like personality quirks. To the left is a box of Feats that Suviel has that give her certain advantages over other Barbarians.

The first feat is called “Power Attack.” If she chooses to take penalty on her ToHit, she can gain a bonus on her damage output. If you look at the Weapons list below, you can see that she has a magical (+1) Furious Siccatite Halbred as her primary weapon. She has two attacks; so the first column of numbers is her Attack, or ToHit. The +12/+7, if you remember from the chart in Part II, is from the bonus she receives on melee attacks. When attacking, she rolls a d20 and gets a 10. To that 10, she adds her +12 for her first attack, and scores a 22. She hits, and rolls a d10, adds 8, and then adds the +1 Fire Damage. This means, the maximum damage she can roll for her ToHit of 10+12, is 18+1 Fire Damage. If she chooses, however, she could take a -2 penalty on her ToHit, leaving her with a +10; but, increase her damage output by 4. To be more technical, she would actually have a +6 to her damage output because her Furious Siccatite Halbred is a two-handed weapon.

Let’s break this feat down, line by line:

You can choose to take a –1 penalty on all melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +2 bonus on all melee damage rolls.

You decide that you will take a 1 point penalty on your ToHit in order to increase your damage output by +2.

This bonus to damage is increased by half (+50%) if you are making an attack with a two-handed weapon, a one handed weapon using two hands, or a primary natural weapon that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier on damage rolls.

You will get an extra point of damage output if your attack falls into any of the categories listed.

This bonus to damage is halved (–50%) if you are making an attack with an off-hand weapon or secondary natural weapon.

You get a point of damage taken away from you if your attack meets this criteria.

When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every 4 points thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the bonus to damage increases by +2.

Gasp! Math! Oh, noes! This is where it gets a little tricky. Let’s look back at Suviel’s attack bonuses:

Pathfinder Character Sheet

We see that her base attack bonus (BAB) is 6. This means that she takes a -2 penalty ToHit, but gets an additional +2 to her damage output (+4). This also means that if she is attacking with her halbred, which is a two-handed weapon), she receives an additional 2 points of damage output (+4 x 50% = +2; 4 + 2 = 6).

You must choose to use this feat before making an attack roll, and its effects last until your next turn.

You have to decide if you’re going to use this feat before you roll your attack. If you have multiple attacks, the effects remain until your next, natural turn (as in, your actual turn, not a reaction or the like). So, if Suviel invokes this feat on her first attack of her turn, she would roll her d20+10. Her die comes up as 10; she adds her +12-2 (or 10) and gets 20. She hits. When she rolls her damage, she rolls a d10 and gets 7. She then adds 8 to that damage (15), then adds another 6 (21) because she chose to use Power Attack. Then she adds the +1 Fire damage (it’s an effect and not subject to the damage bonus). On her second attack, she rolls her d20+6.* Her die comes up as 13; she adds her +7-1 (or 6) and gets 19. She hits. When she rolls her damage, she rolls a d10 and gets 5. She then adds 8 to that damage (13), but only adds +2 (15), and her +1 Fire Damage (16).

*Remember from Part II, the Base Attack Bonus (BAB) starts at +1, again, when you get a new attack. That changes how many points of penalty/bonus you receive on your subsequent attacks.

I hope that helps a bit on the feats! A good business example would be for myself: I am an I/O Psychology practitioner. There are many like me in the world; however, there is no other I/O Practitioner is who is using Role-Playing Games the way I am. In the I/O world, I have a +2 ToHit; in the gaming world, I’m working at a slight disadvantage because of my gender in relation to my profession and expertise. That disadvantage, however, is worth the extra bonuses I get to Impress and Charm when I talk about how gaming can help you build necessary soft skills for propelling your career forward and becoming a Critical Success!

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