Point Buy in Pathfinder RPG: A Simple Guide to Using This Method

One of the most popular ways to create a character in Pathfinder is through the Point Buy method. This method allows you to allocate a certain number of points to your character’s abilities, which gives you more control over how they turn out. 

In this guide, we will discuss how to use the point buy system effectively and assign Ability Points in a way that will make your character powerful and unique. Let’s get started!

What is The Point Buy Method in Pathfinder?

The Point Buy method is an alternative way to generate ability scores for your character. Using the point buy method eliminates ability boosts and flaws, replacing them with a number of Ability Points. These allow players greater freedom in the creation of their ability scores while also allowing them to maintain the balance of their party.

When it comes to creating characters in Pathfinder, players have several choices. Each method has its pros and cons, so it’s important to consult the rulebooks before deciding which is right for your campaign.

The rules for the point buy method of assigning ability points are available in the Gamemastery Guide

How Does the Point Buy Method Work?

With Point Buy generation, your character’s ability scores start at 10. If your character has an ability flaw, reduce that ability score to 8. Players may also voluntarily reduce an ability score to gain more Ability Points to spend. 

Cost for Ability Scores

Points SpentAbility Score

Step 1: Adjust Your Starting Scores

The first step in the point buy method is to find your character’s minimum scores. Do this by first setting all of their ability scores to 10. If your character has flaws from their ancestry, reduce their score in that ability to 8. 

Players can gain more ability points to spend by purposely lowering ability scores. By reducing an ability score to 9, players can gain 1 ability point. And lowering an ability score to 8 will give players 2 additional ability points to spend.

Step 2: Spend Your Points

Once players have their character’s minimum scores, they can spend their ability points. There are two types of ability points: dedicated points and flexible points. Carefully distribute these points to balance your character’s abilities.

Dedicated Ability Points can only be spent on specific abilities. These points come from a character’s ancestry and background preferences. Characters get two dedicated ability points from their ancestry and two more from their background. They also get 2 points based on their class’s key ability score.

Flexible Ability Points can be used to increase any ability score. All characters receive 15 flexible ability points. Additional flexible points can be acquired by lowering your character’s ability scores below 10.

Gaining Ability Points

With the point buy method, your character will gain additional ability points every time they level up. Players can use these points to increase any of their ability scores, provided they can afford it. 

Players can either increase an ability score immediately after leveling up or save their points for another time. Saving points allows players to spend them on more expensive point increases. 

Points Gained By Level

LevelPoints Gained
1Starting Points

Increasing Ability Scores

After reaching a new level, you may feel eager to put your new skills to the test. However, you will realize that leveling up is not as easy as it seems. There are some challenges to face, but with help from friends and allies, you’ll become even stronger than before! 

Ability scores can be increased by multiple points at a time. Each point must be paid for individually. Going from 14 to 15, for instance, costs 2 points, but going from 15 to 16 costs 3 points. To go from levels 14 to 16, players will need to spend a total of 5 points.

Because it can take time to decide how to spend your points, it’s usually best to increase your ability scores between games or during downtime.

Cost to Raise Level

Current Ability ScoreCost to Raise by 1

Best Strategies for Point Buy 

When creating a character with the point buy system, you will start by assigning points to your character’s abilities. The number of points you can allocate depends on the type of character you are creating.

It’s essential to keep balance in mind when creating your party – it’s no fun when one character can do everything, and the others are just along for the ride. 

Generally, you will have more points to spend on physical abilities such as Strength or Dexterity and fewer points to spend on mental abilities such as Intelligence or Wisdom. However, there are no hard and fast rules, so feel free to experiment with different combinations. 

Spending Points Wisely

One of the most important things to keep in mind when using the Point Buy method is that it is best to spread your points out evenly among all of your abilities. This will make your character more well-rounded and able to perform various tasks.

If you focus all of your points on one or two abilities, your character will be very good at those things, but they will be weaker in other areas.

Another thing to consider when assigning ability points is the role you want your character to play. For example, if you’re creating a character for a combat-based adventure, you will want to assign more points to physical abilities such as strength and Dexterity.

If you are creating a character for a roleplaying-focused campaign, you will want to invest more points in mental abilities such as Intelligence or Wisdom.

Point Buy Example Character

Delsaran is an elven ranger with a hunter background. He starts with all of his ability scores at 10 except for Constitution, which is reduced to 8 because of his elven ancestry.

Delsaran decided to focus on Dexterity and voluntarily reduced his Strength and Intelligence to 8 each, gaining 4 flexible Ability points in the process.

Delsaran’s minimum starting stats are now set: Str 8, Dex 10, Con 8, Int 8, Wis 10, and Cha 10.

Now Delsaran determines how many points he has to spend on his abilities. For his elven ancestry, he gains 2 dedicated ability points in both Intelligence and Dexterity. Next, for being a hunter, he gains 2 more points in Dexterity. 

That takes care of his dedicated ability points. As for flexible ability points, Delsaran begins with 15. He gained an additional 4 points when he voluntarily lowered his Strength and Intelligence.

As a ranger, Delsaran wants an 18 in Dexterity. He gets this by using 6 of his dedicated ability points and 11 of his flexible ability points. With his 2 remaining dedicated ability points, Delsaran raises his Intelligence to 10. Using the rest of his flexible points, he raises his Constitution to 12, his Wisdom to 12, and his charisma to 12.

Now Delsaran’s stats are complete, and he’s ready for adventuring: Str 8, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 12

As Delsaran levels up, he’ll gain additional ability points. When he reaches level 2, Delsaran plans to save his ability points. He’ll save them until level 3, when he can spend three points to raise his Constitution from 12 to 14.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Point Buy Method

As long as the players have enough experience with Pathfinder, any system can work! The advantage of using the Point Buy system is that it creates well-balanced characters. Pathfinder is designed to work with a balanced party. 

For a campaign to be a success, players need to be capable of many different types of tasks. Using the point buy method ensures that characters aren’t too weak to complete 1 their adventures or too strong to render them boring.

For those who want to be able to choose from every possible path available without having an archetype-based restriction on skills or feats, then point buy may not be ideal because it limits players’ freedom when creating their game world persona. In the end, the best method is the one that works for you.

How Do I Increase My Ability Scores In Pathfinder?

You gradually increase your character’s ability scores by leveling up. If you find that certain abilities are weaker than others, you can spend points to strengthen these attributes at future levels.

Is There a Max Ability Score in Pathfinder?

At the beginning of each game, there’s a limited number of points to distribute among your character abilities; your GM will indicate how many you have. You can increase this score by leveling up or by using special feats to raise your abilities.

At level 1, characters can’t have an ability score higher than 18. Players can increase their ability scores to a maximum score of 22. Some items can increase a character’s ability score beyond 22. By using Apex Items, characters can increase their abilities to a maximum of 24. 

Players can learn more about using Apex Items in the Core Rulebook, pg. 603.

The Final Score

If you’re looking to create pathfinder characters, it’s important to understand the process of assigning points. The Point Buy method allows for more control in choosing how your character will turn out and what abilities they’ll have. 

No matter which pathfinder ability point system is chosen, there are a few things to consider: character creation is only half of the fun! The other half comes from watching that character grow and develop through play.

Pathfinder is all about creating a unique world and story with your friends, so have fun with it!

The best way to learn is by doing, so get out there and start adventuring!