Pathfinder Character Elements

Before you can begin a Pathfinder campaign, you’ll need to bring your hero to life. Creating a character is the foundation on which your tabletop gaming experience will build – and is also incredibly fun! Every player has a different approach to creating a character. You may start with a strong concept you want to explore, or you may prefer to build your character to complement the other members of your party. Whatever strategy you choose, you’ll need to consider the following character elements.


Class is often the first major decision that players make during character creation. Your character’s class reflects their profession and training and will determine how they contribute to both combat and non-combat interactions. As you move through the campaign, you will level up your class and earn new abilities to reflect your character’s advancement.

Pathfinder offers 12 core classes with a range of abilities to help bring your character vision to life. Do you want your character to be front-and-center in a fight, taking as many hits as they give? Or are you more comfortable keeping a safe distance – or even sneaking away when things get dangerous? Do you want the ability to deal lots of damage in a fight, or would you prefer to offer support to other players in your party? Whether you want to play a melee fighter, a damage-dealing spellcaster, a sneaky rogue, a healer – or some combination of these elements – Pathfinder offers a class to suit your preferred play style.



Archetypes are subcategories of classes. Each class comes with a standard array of skills and feats. While the standard build works for some, it’s possible that this basic concept isn’t enough for you to fully realize the character you have in mind. Archetypes utilize an array of specialized feats and skills that allow you to explore additional concepts within the scope of your character’s class, allowing you more control over your character build.


Ancestries are Pathfinder’s version of races. Ancestries refer to the broad family of people that your character belongs to and will help determine your character’s size, speed, and languages known, as well as starting hit points, ability boosts and ability flaws. Each ancestry also contains several subgroups of Heritages that you can choose from to further refine your character’s Ancestries. Pathfinder offers six core ancestries and up to 30 uncommon and rare ancestries, offering players a wide variety of options for building a character.


Every character has life experiences that play into their personality traits, skills or values prior to each campaign setting. Outside of Ancestry and Heritage, selecting a background is an additional way to customize your character and give them certain ability boosts, feats and proficiencies. Maybe your character spent their formative years behind the anvil at a blacksmith’s shop and thus has training in the Crafting skill. Or maybe they served as a diplomat, traveling to faraway lands where they honed their Charisma and trained in the Society skill. Choosing a background will help you flesh out what your character is likely to know – and maybe even set them on the path to adventuring.


Spells are the literal embodiment of magic in Pathfinder. While not every class has spells, those that do have their own rules around learning, preparing and casting spells – and every spell itself is unique, from the effect it produces to the components required to cast it. If your character is a magic user, you’ll start with a limited number of spells known and slots available for casting them on a daily basis. As you level up, your character will learn new spells and gain additional spots, increasing their ability to use magic.

Creating a Character in Pathfinder with the NEXUS Character Management Tools

Creating a character in Pathfinder is a journey in itself! With so many options to choose from, the possibilities can feel endless – but with the NEXUS Character Management Tools from Demiplane, it will never feel overwhelming.


Currently in its open beta testing period, this new digital toolset aggregates all possible character elements into one interactive builder, allowing players to explore their options and fully envision the character they’ve dreamed of playing.

Learn about Pathfinder NEXUS Character Tools.