Pathfinder for Beginners: Ability Scores by Class

There are quite a lot of classes in Pathfinder, so I’ve separated them by book. I’ll list the most important ability scores for each class in order of importance, starting with the most important.

I’ll keep things simple here and just look at stats for ‘standard’ builds for each class. There are many ways to build characters, so if you’re looking to build optimised characters, you’ll probably want to check out this list of guides for more information on building the ultimate character.

Remember that Strength will be more important for characters interested in melee combat, while Dexterity will be useful for ranged characters, so this is an important to take into account before finalising your ability scores. In other words, when using the list below, if a class lists Strength as an important stat, but you want to make a ranged version of that class, swap Strength for Dexterity. Refer to my guide on what each ability score means for more information on the different ability scores.

The Classes

Core Rulebook

  • Alahazra
    : Str, Con, Dex
  • Bard: Cha, Dex, Con
  • Cleric: Wis, Cha, Str, Dex
  • Druid: Wis, Dex, Con
  • Fighter: Str, Con, Dex
  • Monk: Str, Wis, Dex, Con
  • Paladin/Anti-Paladin: Str, Cha, Con
  • Ranger: Dex or Str, Wis, Int
  • Rogue: Dex, Con, Wis
    • Ninja: Dex, Con, Cha
  • Sorcerer: Cha, Dex, Con
  • Wizard: Int, Dex, Con

Advanced Player’s Guide, Ultimate Magic & Ultimate Combat

  • Alchemist: Int, Dex, Con
  • Cavalier/Samurai: Str, Con, Dex
  • Gunslinger: Dex, Wis, Con
  • Inquisitor: Dex, Wis, Con
  • Magus: Str, Int, Con
  • Oracle: Cha, Str, Con
  • Summoner: Cha, Dex, Con
  • Witch: Int, Dex, Con

Advanced Class Guide

  • Pathfinder Iconic Assassin
    : Int, Cha, Dex, Con
  • Bloodrager: Str, Con, Cha
  • Brawler: Str, Con, Dex
  • Hunter: Wis, Dex, Con, Str
  • Investigator: Str, Int, Dex
  • Shaman: Wis, Cha, Con
  • Skald: Str, Cha, Con
  • Slayer: Dex, Str, Con
  • Swashbuckler: Dex, Cha, Con
  • Warpriest: Str, Wis, Con

Occult Adventures

  • Kineticist: Con, Dex, Wis
  • Medium: Cha, Dex, Con
  • Mesmerist: Cha, Dex, Con
  • Occultist: Int, Str, Dex
  • Psychic: Int, Wis/Cha, Dex, Con
  • Spiritualist: Wis, Dex, Con

Ultimate Intrigue

  • Vigilante: Cha, Dex, Con

Ultimate Wilderness

  • Shifter: Str/Dex, Wis, Con

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions related to the list above, let me know in the comments!

Header image by bpsola on DeviantArt. Iconic character art by Wayne Reynolds.

21 thoughts on “Pathfinder for Beginners: Ability Scores by Class

  • October 1, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    I like the idea, but disagree with some. I think a more optimum build could be achieved if:

    Cleric: Switch STR & DEX – If a Cleric has a medium or heavy (w/feat) armor, DEX is going to be moot for AC, and STR goes to attack at close range
    Fighter: Switch CON & DEX – CON for HP unless a ranged fighter
    Monk: Switch DEX & WIS – Some class features work off WIS more than DEX
    Ranger: Concentrate on STR or DEX – Either a close-up Ranger (STR) or a ranged one (DEX)
    Magus: Switch CON & INT – Spells are INT based
    Bloodrager: Switch CHA & CON – Spells are CHA based
    Kinetisist: Switch CON & DEX – To hit and AC is DEX, CON is damage and HP (Why WIS?)

    • October 2, 2015 at 7:31 am

      Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll have another look at the classes you’ve mentioned. I had a hard time choosing just one build per class as there are so many potential builds.

  • October 2, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    For spiritualist charisma is primary for the fractured mind archetype. It’s useful for races which take a negative to wisdom but a positive to charisma, or for multiclass characters who are primarily charisma based, they sacrifice some power but gain additional spells and stuff.

  • March 21, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Monk should have Dex first, then Wis, then Str. As an unarmored combatant, it is far more important to get your AC up than do damage.

    • March 22, 2017 at 1:25 am

      Treantmonk would beg to differ. He puts Strength first with good reason. There’s also literally no reason to have Dexterity when you can have Wisdom on a monk. Both go to AC after all.

      • March 22, 2017 at 7:13 am

        Agreed. I GM’d for a monk with good Str and Wis. He was basically unhittable AND did lots of damage.

      • March 24, 2017 at 10:16 pm

        If you are doing point buy instead of dice rolling..then a Monk is better off having both Dex and Wisdom. For less points than he can get an 18 wisdom (+4) he can get both a 14 dex and 14 wisdom for the same AC bonus. Further, the increase to dex gives him an increased reflex save (always nice) and an increased initiative (which is also quite important).

  • March 21, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Definitely a handy guide this.
    For beginners in particular.

    • March 22, 2017 at 7:12 am

      Thanks! That’s the idea – I know I could have used something like this when I was just starting out!

  • March 22, 2017 at 1:39 am

    Kineticists don’t really NEED Wisdom. Sure, it’s a nice general stat, but after Con first and Dex second there’s not much they need. I suppose you could say similar about casters and Constitution. Besides of course Druid or other melee casters. But hit points are always important so that seems more understandable.

    Vigilante… is complicated. I would say without archetypes Str is usually first unless they build Dex to hit. But also, Vigilante works off Charisma if they are a caster, but they aren’t really primary casters and usually want to mix it up in a tussle as well as casting so Charisma is MAYBE first but also maybe not for a casting archetype. A lot of people also forget you can take spells that don’t work off Charisma and just rely on always good stuff. Magical Child might want to try this, but Warlock hit touch after level 3 so why bother with them?

    • March 22, 2017 at 7:30 am

      Wisdom is nice to have for the Will save boost, though that’s not unique to the Kineticist of course. Like the Con for casters, it’s definitely nice to have when things get ugly.

      I agree, vigilante is a really tough one. I would probably want equal Cha (for social stuff) and Dex/Str (for hitting stuff), but it would depend on the build and the archetype as well. Probably the hardest class to include on a list like this with just one option per class.

  • July 28, 2018 at 1:43 am

    Any chance of adding the Shifter?

      • March 6, 2019 at 9:30 pm

        Can you add shifter soon, I’m making a suli shifter, possibly elemental shifter cause of the suli’s energy resistance. But anyways would you agree to str, con, Cha?

        • March 10, 2019 at 12:01 pm

          Just updated with shifter! Wisdom is pretty important for them so you may want to make it higher priority than Charisma, depending on your build. A suli elementalist shifter sounds pretty cool 🙂

  • November 9, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Nice guide. Choosing which stats to drop, if you buy is sadly always going to be hard, as all of them tend to have a positive side effect…

  • January 3, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    I thought you might find a script I wrote of interest! My players have a habit of finding and recruiting rando un-classed NPCs to their cause, so I made a small Python script to give them random stats and spit out some class suggestions, based on this post.

    The output looks something like this:

    STR: 11 DEX: 12 CON: 9
    INT: 10 WIS: 13 CHA: 8
    Classes with exact matches:
    Classes with partial matches:
    hunter, druid, spiritualist

    So thanks for making this post! It gave me something to work off of, and it’s not only made gameplay faster, but has given the players a more diverse set of recruits to work with!


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