Pathfinder for Beginners: Getting Started

This is something that I see come up quite often: people are keen to play Pathfinder (or any pen and paper roleplaying game, for that matter), but don’t know where to start. This is something I struggled with when I first wanted to get into Pathfinder. The sheer volume of resources can be overwhelming, so I hope to break it down into a few simple steps to help get you on the right track.

A great way to get started is to have someone who already knows how to play teach you. I’m going to assume that you’re here because you don’t have access to such a person. Another way to start out is by picking up the Beginner Box, as it contains just about everything you need to run a session. The Strategy Guide is also a great product aimed at beginners. Having said that, you can actually get started with Pathfinder without buying any books at all.

Even if you don’t buy the Beginner Box to start with, there are some great free resources that I’m going to suggest below as they are perfect starting points. They use simplified rules that should help reduce confusion in the early stages.

Essential Equipment

MerisielYou’ll need at least the following to get started:

  • Pencil and eraser
  • Scrap paper
  • Set of dice: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20, d% (many geeky shops sell sets with one of each of these dice. The numbers above refer to the number of sides the die has; for example, a d20 has twenty sides)
    • A dice rolling app on your phone/tablet/computer would work as well
  • Access to the Internet and the website
  • Access to a printer – having physical character sheets to scribble on will be much easier than trying to work on a computer or tablet
  • At least one other person who is willing to learn the game as well

Start Small

It may be tempting to leap into a big adventure right away, but without someone experienced to guide you, you’re better off starting with the very basics.

  • Choose someone to be the game master (GM).
    • This person is the story teller and runs the game. Their job involves describing the environment, controlling enemies and other characters in the world, and ensuring the game is fun and fair for everyone.
    • You may want to take turns being the game master to start with so that everyone gets a chance to try out being a player and a GM
  • Make use of the pregenerated characters that are provided free on the Beginner Box page. You can worry about the details of character generation later.
    • I recommend choosing Valeros the fighter or Merisiel the rogue as neither of them can cast spells, which will simplify things in the beginning.
  • Print out the character sheet of the character(s) you have chosen.

Now try some basic combat with the instructions in this post.

If you found this post helpful, or if there’s anything you feel I could add, please let me know in the comments below! 

This post is for day 4 of the 7 Day Feel Good Blogging Challenge.

Header image by Mancomb-Seepwood on DeviantArt.

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