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Character Creation for Lands of the Sun

This page gives rules for creating characters for the "Lands of the Sun" campaign. Recent updates are in RED (last updated 9/6/2018).

A humble request from your GM: For the early levels of this campaign, please restrict yourself as much as possible to character options in the Core Rulebook, except for those things that I've explicitly made available (such as classes and archetypes from the Advanced Player's Guide). Because this campaign is intended to go all the way from 1st level to 20th, I want to focus on making sure that everyone (including myself) has a solid grasp of all the basic rules before we get bogged down in too many additional options. (It will also cut down on the number of books we have to carry to each session!) As the campaign proceeds, and we all gain more experience--both in and out of character--I will open up more options.

Rules and Resources
The following Pathfinder books and resources are available for use by players in this campaign, but any material not found in the Core Rulebook requires GM permission
  • Core Rulebook
  • Advanced Player's Guide
  • Advanced Race Guide
  • Bestiary [reference for animals and summoned creatures]
  • Pathfinder Player Companion: Adventurer's Armory
  • Pathfinder Player Companion: Animal Archive
  • Pathfinder Player Companion: Familiar Folio
  • Pathfinder Unchained [Background Skills only]
  • Ultimate Campaign
(See "Time of the Tarrasque: Sources Used" on my Studded Plate blog for more discussion about the sourcebooks for this campaign.)

The Pathfinder Reference Document and d20 Pathfinder System Reference Document are very useful references for players, but please be aware that this campaign does not use all sources compiled into the PRD/SRD.

Character Level
The campaign will start at 1st level, with normal starting wealth. (If a player rolls a below-average result on starting wealth, use the average instead.) Advancement will use the Fast progression (Core Rulebook 30).

As the game continues, new characters will be assigned a level and XP total at or just below that of the continuing characters. Use Table 12-4: Character Wealth by Level (Core Rulebook 399) to determine starting wealth for characters above 1st level. 

Ability Scores
Use the purchase method to determine ability scores (Core Rulebook 15-16). "Time of the Tarrasque" is an Epic Fantasy game (25 ability score points).

All Core Rulebook races appear in this setting. To reflect the unique history and geography of this world, minor changes have been made to most races (such as altering the bonus language list). The Advanced Player's Guide and Advanced Race Guide have rules for alternate racial traits available to these races; see the Races page for details.

Other races may become available for use as PCs later in the campaign, at the GM's discretion.

All Core Rulebook classes are available, as are the new base classes from the Advanced Player's Guide (alchemist, cavalier, inquisitor, oracle, summoner, and witch). Archetypes and other new class feature options from the Advanced Player's Guide are also available; see the Classes page for details.

Hit Points*: The "half-minus-one" house rule will be used to avoid heroic PCs with poor hit point totals. At every new level above 1st, roll hit points randomly as normal. However, if the result on the die is lower than half the maximum hit points for the class's hit die type, minus one (2 for d6, 3 for d8, 4 for d10, 5 for d12), then replace the result with that number instead. All the usual modifiers for Constitution, feats, favored class, etc., are applied after that modification (if any).

Favored Class Options: See the Advanced Player's Guide or Advanced Race Guide for new favored class options based on race.

Prestige Classes: With the exception of the Assassin (evil only) and Pathfinder Chronicler (which is specific to Golarion), all prestige classes from the Core Rulebook and Advanced Player's Guide are available.

"Lands of the Sun" is a heroic campaign. Player characters may not be chaotic neutral or belong to any evil alignment.

See the Core Rulebook about skills. 

We are using the Background Skills rules from Pathfinder Unchained (including the new skills Artistry and Lore), so each character will receive an extra 2 skills per level to spend on background skills.

Languages: Besides the list of common languages in the Core Rulebook (101-102), the following language is available to starting characters:
  • Prothonian (the original human language, largely replaced by Common)
See the Core Rulebook for available feats. With GM permission, new feats from the Advanced Player's Guide may be learned. New feats from the Advanced Race Guide are only available to characters of the appropriate race.

Traits are a new feature for player characters introduced in the Pathfinder RPG Character Traits Web Enhancement and expanded in the Advanced Player's Guide (326-333) and Ultimate Campaign (51-64). The campaign and religion traits listed in the latter two sources are not available for this campaign, as they are specific to Adventure Paths and deities from Paizo's Golarion setting. See the Traits page for new traits available in "Lands of the Sun," including religion traits for this setting's gods.

See the Core Rulebook for available equipment. With GM permission, new equipment from the Advanced Player's Guide, Advanced Race Guide, Adventurer's Armory, and Animal Archive may be purchased or crafted.

The alchemical power component rules (Adventurer's Armory 26-27) are allowed.

See the Core Rulebook for available spells. With GM permission, new spells from the Advanced Player's Guide and Animal Archive may be chosen (but see "Uncommon Divine Spells," below). New spells from the Advanced Race Guide are only available to characters of the appropriate race.

Uncommon Divine Spells**: Divine spellcasters who prepare spells have access to every spell on their class spell list. However, every new resource added to the campaign can vastly increase a divine caster's repertoire. This can unbalance divine spellcasters compared to arcane classes, and can also bog down the process of choosing which spells to prepare each day. To offset this, use the following house rule: All divine spells from the Core Rulebook are common spells available to any caster whose class list they appear on. A spell from any other source is considered an uncommon spell, and requires the caster to find and study a description of the spell before they can learn and cast it. (This process is less involved than a wizard adding a new spell to a spellbook, but the idea is similar.) Spontaneous divine casters (such as inquisitors and oracles) ignore this restriction, because they are already limited in the number of spells they know. However, learning spells outside of the class's original spell list (in the Core Rulebook or Advanced Player Guide, as appropriate) still requires GM permission (as it does for all spellcasters).

New Spells: For additional spells, and alterations to existing spells, see the New and Altered Spells page.

Magic Items
See the Core Rulebook for available magic items. With GM permission, new magic items from the Advanced Player's Guide may be purchased or crafted. New magic items from the Advanced Race Guide are available to characters of the appropriate race.

Magic Item Creation: Please be aware that the item creation rules have changed a great deal between D&D v.3.5 and Pathfinder. Instead of expending XP, casters make a skill check (usually Spellcraft) to determine success or failure, much like in crafting mundane items. For the full rules, see the Core Rulebook (548-553) or the Pathfinder Reference Document [ignore any section with a "Source:" byline after the header, as those parts aren't core rules].

Other Rules
Downtime: Ultimate Equipment (Chapter 2) has a detailed system for downtime activities, which includes both the standard time-consuming activities from the Core Rulebook (crafting, healing, spell research, etc.) as well as new rules for creating buildings and organizations, and scheming for upcoming adventures. We'll be using these rules on a trial basis, as needed. The full rules are in the Pathfinder Reference Document.

Retraining: Rules for retraining skills, feats, archetypes, class abilities, and other aspects of a character appear in Ultimate Campaign (188-191). Retraining requires downtime, money, and--above all--GM approval.

    * My first exposure to the "half-minus-one" rule was through my friend David Helms' AD&D 2nd ed. campaigns. I don't know if he invented it or borrowed it from somewhere else.
    ** The idea of uncommon divine spells is taken from Pathfinder Short Cuts #2: Inquisitor Spells of Freeport, by Owen K.C. Stephens.