Character Creation

Questions about the setting? Check out the Player’s Primer.

All races, classes, feats, equipment, etc. (including third-party options) on the Pathfinder SRD are allowed, as are certain Homebrew Classes and Feats. The DM is happy to help manage the complexity for you, and does he care about balance. Please read the rest of this page before diving into making a character, as ability scores, starting equipment, and other features will be generated in a manner very different from a typical Pathfinder game.

Campaigns in the world of Beyond The Shore assume that all beginning player characters come from one of the various colonies of The Empire. Scattered throughout the world, from the Americas to the South Pacific, the various colonies are typically small, independent villages, far from the centers of power. Your characters grew up together, know each other, and have shared experiences that helped shape them into the adventurers they are today. You and your companions are young and untested, but ready to protect what matters.

Player Character creation in Beyond The Shore is a collaborative experience. Each player should choose a Character Playbook that looks interesting to him and let the other players know what he has. “Playbooks” are collaborative tools for building your characters’ backgrounds and experiences as a party, rather than in a vaccuum. These experiences will determine your character’s ability scores starting equipment, and traits, and grant them one or more bonus feats to shape their unique role in the party and shared inter-party tactics.

Each Playbook defines a particular role or archetype which your young adventurer may fill within the village, whether that is as the Reformed Bully, Would-Be Knight, or Fae Foundling. Most Playbooks place some limitations on the available races or classes available to your character. It is up to you whether you choose a playbook first, and use that to shape your choice of race or class, or vice-versa.

Many Playbook requirements are based on your choice of Favored Class. Your Favored Class need not be the class you start as at 1st-level, but may not be changed once selected. Note that through the use of Archetypes or certain feats, most specific class abilities are available to most classes (for instance if Druid was your favored class and you selected the Nature Fang Druid archetype, then you would qualify for the Untested Thief playbook).

How to Use Playbooks:

Each Playbook contains 7 tables, each representing a different life experience. You may either roll randomly on each table, or (with DM permission) pick the result that best fits the type of background you want for your character. Each table with give your character an increase to their base, starting ability scores, as well as a bonus trait, feat, or piece of equipment.

The first three tables in each playbook deal with a character’s time as a child. The characters should take turns rolling on the tables one at a time. Their characters were all friends, and this is their first chance to figure out how they might have known each other growing up. Do not worry if two or more characters get the same results on some of these tables; in fact, that’s great. Do two characters have parents who were merchants? If so, does this mean that they are siblings, or that their parents were business partners? It’s a great hook to have two characters with a tight bond. On the other hand, maybe their parents were rival merchants in town, but they became fast friends nonetheless. That makes for a good story too.

The important thing to remember is to slow down and elaborate on your results as you go. It’s no fun just rolling dice, one after the other, and making notes, so talk and collaborate. The results on the tables only give you a bare bones description of background events, and it is up to the players to weave a story out of it all. You do not need anything too elaborate here (the best stories come up in play anyway), but you can certainly start learning a lot about your characters.

The next four tables in each playbook let you know how your character learned the skills that will lead them to a life of adventure. These tables are different for all the Character Playbooks, so you shouldn’t have any repeat actions showing up here. Again, all the players should take turns making their rolls and let the other players know what happened to their characters growing up.

As you go, you will also be fleshing out the colony that your characters call home, adding NPCs and locations for your characters to interact with. Did your character train with an old mercenary in town? Is that mercenary still around? Do the other characters spend time with him too? (Remember: you live in a small village, if there are two similar descriptions, they probably refer to the same person.)

The sixth table is special, as it involves not just your own character, but also the character belonging to the player on your right. You’ll learn about something that the two of you did together from this table, and the result will affect both of your characters. These things happening in your past should seem quite natural, as you are close friends in a small place, so you were bound to be together for some important events. This table will grant your character and your friend a bonus Teamwork Feat, giving them specific options and bonuses when they work together. Each member of the party should end up with two such feats, shared with the players on the right and left respectively.

Playbook Prerequisites Social Status
Apprentice Court Sorcerer Favored Class must grant ability to cast Arcane spells. Noble
Assistant Beast Keeper Favored class must grant an animal companion or familiar. Peasant
Awakened Mind Must have a psionic power reserve. Peasant
Beached Tar Must be male. Peasant
Devout Acolyte Favored class must grant the ability to cast Divine spells. Peasant
Drowned Patron (Elder) Must be Drowned. Peasant
Dungeon Delver (Elder) Favored Class must grant the Trapfinding ability. Peasant
Dwarven Adventurer Must be a Dwarf or related race (Gnome, Duergar, Svirfneblin, etc.). Foreigner
Exiled Puritan Must worship Dormin. Must know Giant as a starting language. Peasant
Experimental Alchemist Favored Class must grant the ability to create alchemical Extracts. Peasant
Fae Foundling May not be Human. Must be able to cast spells. Peasant
Fae Mentor (Elder) May not be human. Foreigner
Fae Outrider May not be Human. Must be Small sized. Foreigner
Fae Ranger May not be Human. Favored Class must grant the Favored Enemy class ability. Foreigner
Foreign Diplomat None. Foreigner
Forgotten Child None. Noble
Future Warlord Favored Class must grant ability to use Deeds. Noble
Gifted Dilettante Favored class must grant ability to cast spells of not greater than 6th level. Noble
Heir to a Legend None. Peasant
Highborn Fae May not be Human. Must have spell-like abilities granted by your Race. Foreigner
Initiated Magician (Elder) Favored class must grant the ability to cast spells of 9th level. Peasant
Landless Noble (Elder) None. Noble
Learned Tutor (Elder) Your favored class must grant 6 or more skill ranks per level. Noble
Local Performer Favored class must grant Bardic Performance (or equivalent) ability. Peasant
Nipponese Exile None. Foreigner
Nobleman’s Wild Daughter Must be female. Noble
Novice Templar Must be proficient with Medium or Heavy Armor. Favored class must grant ability to cast Divine spells. Noble
Outspoken Abolitionist May not be lawfully aligned. Peasant
Rebellious Slave Favored class must grant Rage or equivalent ability (such as Bloodrage or Raging Song). Slave
Reformed Bully None. Peasant
Retired Veteran (Elder) Your favored class must grant proficiency with all Martial weapons. Peasant
Self-Taught Mage Favored class must use a Spellbook or Formula book. Peasant
Shrewd Pactmaker Favored class must grant ability to summon an Eidolon. Peasant
The Cursed Must belong to a Core Race. Peasant
Tribeless Native Starting languages must include at least one non-European language appropriate to your home culture. Foreigner
Untested Thief Favored Class must grant sneak attack, sudden strike, or equivalent ability. Peasant
Village Hero None. Peasant
Village Monster Must be a non-core race. Foreigner
Witch’s Prentice Favored Class must grant ability to use Hexes. Peasant
Would-be Knight None. Peasant
Young Woodsman Favored Class must grant the Wild Empathy ability. Peasant


  • It is possible, depending on your choices or rolls in a given playbook, to have a character with a starting ability score of 20 or more. This is fine. Just remember that if you are choosing, rather than rolling, you may find putting all of your eggs in one basket (or, in this case, all of your choices in one ability score) will significantly hamper you in the remainder of your career (as characters with one exceptionally high stat will, by design, have very low to average scores in their other five stats).
  • The feats and traits granted by your playbook are considered bonus feats. These do not count against your character’s choice of starting feats based on their race or class, and your character does not need to meet any of the prerequisites of these feats (it is assumed that his specific life experiences are the prerequisites). Unlike in a normal Pathfinder game, your character gains no traits beyond those granted by his playbook.

Elder Playbooks:

“Elder” Playbooks represent the rare experienced adventurer who has settled in your small village and is willing to be roused from retirement to aid and train his (or her) young companions. Elders are the grizzled veterans who end up adventuring alongside and guiding the young upstarts: al’Lan Mandragoran (Wheel of Time), Sir Auran (Final Fantasy X), Master Li (Bridge of Birds), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars IV), and, of course, Gandalf are all good examples of these kinds of characters.

Elder Playbooks work identically to the other playbooks, but contain story elements that reflect characters of greater skill and experience. They have the same number and type of choices as other Playbooks. Characters using Elder Playbooks start at 2nd level, rather than 1st, but must be Middle Aged (with the appropriate ability score modifiers). With the DMs approval, an Elder may choose to increase his starting age category to Old or Venerable to increase his starting level to 3rd or 4th (respectively). As a general rule there may be only one Elder in any given party of beginning characters, and then only if the other players agree to let you play an Elder.

Other Character Generation Topics:

Languages in the world are the same as in the real world. All citizens of the Empire know English (as a ‘Common’ tongue). Well-educated folk are expected to known Latin and or Greek as well, and possibly even esoteric languages such as Wilkish. Well-traveled folk likely know French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Arabic, and/or possibly one or more Asian or African languages.

Fae citizens of the Empire still retain their own racial languages as well, though even among themselves they are more likely to use English for most conversations, and humans almost never learn these “Fae languages” (as they are colloquially known). Unless your character chooses a “Fae” playbook (such as the Highborn Fae or Fae Mentor), non-human languages are never available as starting bonus languages. Note that this includes all typical fantasy languages (Elvish, Dwarvish, Orcish, Draconic, Abyssal, Sylvan, etc.).

In the American colonies some languages are more useful than others. English, French, and German are the dominant languages of Imperial settlers. The Native Americans living in the territory of Prosperia colony speak Powhatan as a common shared language, while those living in the Carolina territory (including those often found traveling north through the Shenandoah Valley) commonly speak Cherokee, Tuscarora, or Yamasee, and those in the northern Shenandoah Valley and Pennsylvania use Shawnee as the lingua-franca. African slaves typically speak the language of their people, such as Temne, Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, or Ashanti, and an English-African creole (called Gullah in the Americas or Krio on the east side of the Atlantic, though these dialects are mutually intelligible).

As citizens of the Empire, all player characters are assumed to be members of the Catholic church. The sole exception to this are characters built using the Exiled Puritan playbook.

Players of Clerics, Druids, Inquisitors, and related religious classes who are Catholics should invent their own patron god. They may be of any alignment, may choose any Domains they wish (even alignment domains in opposition to their own), and may select any one martial weapon as their deity’s chosen weapon. Those that are Puritans must worship Dormin and abide by the domain and alignment restrictions for that deity.

Money in Beyond the Shore uses the British system (pounds, shillings, and pence), with prices converted on a 1gp = 1 shilling basis. See Currency for details if you are unfamiliar with pre-decimal British currency, or want to better understand some of the conversions. All Pathfinder equipment is available. Prices are as listed (save Firearms which cost 1/4 the listed price).

Firearms will use the “Commonplace Guns” rules, so all Firearms are martial weapons (not exotic) and Early Firearms and related gear (including ammunition) cost only 25% of the list price — Advanced Firearms still cost full price. With the 1gp = 1 shilling conversion, a typical pistol would cost 12£, 10s (about 12 guineas).

Starting equipment for player characters consists of:

  1. Anything granted by your playbook.
  2. The Kit for your chosen class (i.e. Druid’s Kit, Rogue’s Kit, or Vigilante’s Kit). If there is not a specific kit for your chosen class, you gain a Pathfinder’s Kit by default.
  3. Nothing else.

Homebrew Classes and other House Rules

Character Creation

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