Savage Pathfinder – Character Creation, Part Two

February 8, 2023 Dungeon Master 736 No Comments

Last time we explored character concepts in Pathfinder for Savage Worlds, starting with ancestry and then diving into one of my favorite parts of the game system: hindrances. We started building a dwarf wizard, and decided he would be arrogant– a MAJOR hindrance– and then chose stubborn and mean as two MINOR hindrances. He’s super focused on proving himself to others.

In this post, we’re going to make sure he can follow through on that Arrogance! We’re covering Traits in Savage Pathfinder. This will be a favorite for those of us who love numbers–and a surprising relief for those who don’t want to get caught up in the nitty gritty of crunchy systems. Traits include Attributes, Skills, and Derived Statistics, and basically tell us what our Dwarf can do well.

Let’s start with Attributes!

Attributes are the main five “flavors” of actions: Agility, Smarts, Spirit, Strength, and Vigor. Skills and passive effects are dictated by their connected attribute. All characters begin with a d4 in each attribute, since all characters are basically capable of doing a little of everything! And for a little perspective, a die type of d6 is considered average for adult humans.

For our min/maxers: an Attribute can never be raised above a d12 unless their ancestry or class states otherwise. This can be a little frustrating for power gamers, but it also means that the GM’s monsters have those limits, too. And Savage Worlds is especially fun because those dice rolls can really add up, even from a d4!

During character creation, you essentially have 5 character points to increase your attributes. I know one of the most important Attributes for my wizard will be Smarts because it’s tied to spellcasting, but perhaps equally important is that it’s tied to academics and occult knowledge–all necessary for a growing wizard! He knows what he’s doing and you can’t tell him otherwise. Let’s be bold and make that a d8 right away.

One of the great aspects of the ancestry system, if you remember the last episode, is that dwarves automatically get a little boost to their vigor so he already has a d6 there. That’s fairly survivable for a novice character. I imagine he also has “average” dwarven strength. Let’s boost that to a d6 to match.

I’m left with d4s in Agility and Spirit right now, so this is the only point where I’ll really need to make a decision. If your table is a storytelling table and you don’t have to worry as much about combat, you might leave Agility at a d4. However, since we can see that Agility governs Athletics and Fighting–which in turn dictate Pace and Parry (we’ll get to those soon), I’m going to make sure my Agility is at a d6. I want to be able to dodge or run away when needed! I’ll go ahead and put my Spirit at a d6 as well, because I can already see a skill under Spirit that I want to use.

All characters begin with a d4 in Athletics, Stealth, Common Knowledge, Notice, and Persuasion. Basically, Savage Worlds assumes most people move around a little every day, that they snuck around when they were kids, gained some common information, looked for lost keys or whatnot, and tried to convince others to do something. Everyone gets a d4 because we’ve all practiced those skills before. My dwarf has a Persuasion of d4, but he has that -1 modifier due to his minor “Mean” Hindrance. Perfect.

Now, I know when you’re looking at this that it’s going to be really tempting to put all your skill points into Boating, but you really should spread them around a little. HA! Seriously, don’t get too caught up in this unless you really enjoy the numbers. You can try anything untrained—within reason and the GM’s approval, of course—by rolling a d4-2. Untrained skills can still get lucky rolls, so don’t worry about missing out. Put points in skills that seem necessary, but put MOST of them in what speaks to your character concept, into what you imagine your character has practiced.

Right off the bat, I’m going to put two points into Fighting and make it a d6. That’s my “necessary” skill that I’m not specifically excited about for this character, but I know Parry is derived from Fighting and I want him to be able to dodge. The skills I’m really looking forward to using are Spellcasting, obviously–-let’s make that a d8!–Occult, which will be a d6, and Academics, a d6. For Savage Worlds veterans, Research has been rolled into Academics, so we’re getting everything covered here. That leaves me with three more points. I’m going to put one into Notice to raise it to a d6. Finally, under Spirit, I was already looking at Intimidation for my slightly mean dwarf. Definitely needed. One point will move him from untrained to a standard d4, and one more point will bump it up to a d6. His towering intellect intimidates everyone, and he’s happy to point that out.


I’ve already mentioned Derived Statistics a little knowing that I don’t want my dwarf to get squished the moment he steps across the threshold. Everything else trickles down to reveal Pace, Parry and Toughness, so you really don’t have to do anything aside from a little (very little, I promise) math. If you’re using a character builder it’s probably done the work for you.

Pace dictates how fast your character can move when your GM brings out the battle map, or even when you’re using theater of the mind. Standard Pace—just walking—is 6. This would mean 6 tabletop inches on a battle map (often 6 squares if it’s a map with a grid!). For theater of the mind, each inch is 2 yards or 6 feet, so Standard Pace means a distance of 12 yards or 36 feet—not quite the full length of a semi trailer. There are easy game mechanics for running and moving further, but we’re not concerned about that during creation. For character creation, all we need to know is that Standard Pace is 6, but dwarves have their Pace reduced by 1 to balance out the special bonuses that come from ancestry, so my dwarf has a Pace of 5.

Folks coming from D&D or Pathfinder proper may be curious how AC, or Armor Class, fits into Savage Worlds. For all intents and purposes, AC is handled by two Derived Stats – Parry and Toughness.

Parry is the number a foe will have to match in order to strike the character in hand-to-hand combat. Parry is calculated as 2 plus half the fighting die type. If you don’t put anything in Fighting, the character only has a Parry of 2, which is one of the few places where the base number can get you into trouble. You see why I was thinking about it! Here, I have a Fighting of d6, so that will be 2 plus 3 for a total Parry of 5. Armor and gear, and some Edges, can boost this number in the future, but a 5 is a great Novice character starting point.

While Parry decides whether or not your character will be hit in close combat, Toughness dictates the amount of damage you take regardless of the kind of hit. Toughness uses a similar calculation to Parry: where Parry is 2 plus half the fighting die, Toughness is 2 plus half the hero’s Vigor, plus Armor. Without armor, my dwarf’s Vigor is a d6, so that’s 2 plus 3 for a total Toughness of 5.

I have 5’s across the board, but remember, all of these can get boosted by spells, objects and armor, and even some Edges. He’s in good shape to start adventuring!

Join me next time as I tackle Edges, Background, and Gear! If this helped you, please consider liking and sharing. And check out the Saving Throw’s Ko-fi to support more content like this!

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What do you think are the most useful–and maybe least-overlooked skills? Boating is a fan favorite! Are you building a character along with me? Feel free to share in the comments, I’d love to see your builds!

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