Base Requirements

  • Races: Any
  • Sub-Classes: Any
  • Ability Requirements: Reason 13
  • Alignments: Any
  • Starting Cash: By class

Weapon Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: By class
  • Bonus Weapon Proficiencies: none
  • Required Weapon Proficiencies: Machete or Handaxe, Shortbow
  • Allowed Weapons: By class
  • Allowed Armors: By class

Non-Weapon Proficiencies:

  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class, plus Survival
  • Bonus Non-weapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Navigation, Tracking, Trail Marking
  • Required Proficiencies: Alertness
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Blind-fighting, Camouflage, Distance Sense, Endurance, Fire-building, Foraging, Fungi Recognition, Herbalism, Hunting, Literacy, Local History, Mining, Modern Languages, Mountaineering, Navigation, Rope Use, Set Snares, Signaling, Sign Language, Signalling, Slow Respiration, Survival, Swimming, Tracking, Trail Signs, Weather Sense
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: none

Overview: This character is an explorer and mapmaker who sets out to see the world and wants to return with a good account of his or her adventures. Pathfinders are, by their nature, very interested in the land and its features. They are inclined to take little note of the occupants of those lands, unless forced to do so. To a Pathfinder, a city’s setting on a high riverside bluff will seem far more profound than the fact that the guards of that same community have just arrested him or her under suspicion of being a spy or just generally being a stranger.

The Pathfinder has an uncanny knack for blazing trails, a skill that allows him to find the easiest routes, reduce travel time, and avoid natural hazards. His acute sense of direction minimizes his chance of getting lost. He can estimate the number of miles he’s covered with startling accuracy. The Pathfinder makes an invaluable guide, helping to ensure safe and efficient passage.

Though Pathfinders come from all walks of life, most have homelands in sparsely settled or exceptionally hostile terrains where learning to find one’s way can mean the difference between life and death. A Pathfinder usually demonstrates an aptitude for trailblazing early in life, but diligent practice is required to refine his skills. Often, a young Pathfinder exercises his skill by asking a companion to blindfold him, lead him into an unexplored area in the wilderness, then abandon him. The Pathfinder must find his way home using only his wits. Experienced Pathfinders occasionally engage in this game to brush up on their technique or to impress potential clients.

Description: The Pathfinder looks very much like the classic rugged individualist. He wears practical clothing and will almost never be found without a good machete or hatchet for hacking his way through forests. Because he spends a lot of time on foot, the Pathfinder favors light armor, such as leather or padded.

Role-Playing: The Pathfinder is drawn to the road for no other purpose than curiosity of what lies over the next hill—though many a Pathinder has become entangled in events along the way that resulted in fame and fortune. If the Pathfinder enjoys exploring and adventuring for its own sake, he or she also enjoys keeping records of his or her experiences (to reminisce over in his or her old age, assuming the character survives to have one)-primarily by mapping out everywhere he or she goes. He or she has a great interest in new places and will often journey far out of his or her way simply to investigate some unique feature he or she has heard about. Pathfinders tend to ignore obstacles created by an area’s inhabitants but will be well aware of the difficulties involved in crossing certain geographic challenges, such as deserts, mountain ranges, seas, and swamps.

Though some Pathfinders are retainers of kings or lords, most operate independently. As a member of an adventuring party, the Pathfinder usually finds himself in front, scouting the terrain ahead to ascertain the best route and spot potential hazards. Unless the Pathfinder has organized the party himself, he usually leaves the leadership role to someone else while he concentrates on trailblazing.

Special Abilities:

  • The Pathfinder gains Cartography as a bonus non-weapon proficiency at 2nd level.
  • For every proficiency slot that a Pathfinder spends to learn the Modern Languages proficiency, he learns two languages instead of one.
  • Owing to his steady hand and acute vision, the Pathfinder has a +1 bonus to the attacks made with a shortbow (including composite shortbows).
  • Pathfinders almost never get lost, even in places they have never been before, above ground or below. If confronted with a question like “Which way back to town?”or “Which of these corridors leads toward the surface?” a Pathfinder can make a Reason check; success means that he or she know the answer and failure means that he or she doesn’t know and realizes the fact.
  • Trail Sense: The Pathfinder’s chance of getting lost in any outdoor land setting is reduced by 10%. This is cumulative with other benefits, such as the one for the Direction Sense proficiency.
  • Recognize Trail Hazard: By observing subtle changes in the terrain, the Pathfinder is able to recognize natural hazards, enabling him and his companions to avoid them. Typical hazards include quicksand, sinkholes, slippery slopes, and thin ice. A Pathfinder has no special ability to recognize man-made hazards, such as pit traps or dangerous bridges, nor does he have any special talent for anticipating encounters with hostile natives or animals.
    A Pathfinder’s chance of recognizing a hazard is equal to his Trail Marking proficiency. If the DM determines that the Pathfinder is approaching an area containing a natural hazard, he secretly rolls the proficiency check. If the roll is equal to or less than the Pathfinder’s chance, the Pathfinder recognizes a potential hazard.
  • Overland Guiding: A Pathfinder is able to find the optimum trail through rough terrain, increasing the party’s movement rate when traversing long distances. To determine terrain costs for overland movement when a Pathfinder leads the party, use the table below. The movement costs indicate points of movement spent per mile of travel; when moving through the various terrain types, subtract the points from the total movement available to the party for that day. (Note that less rugged terrain types are relatively unaffected, as the optimum paths are usually obvious, even without the help of a Pathfinder.)
Terrain Type Normal Movement Cost Pathfinder Movement Cost
Barren, wasteland 2 1
Clear, farmland 1/2 1/2
Desert, rocky 2 1
Desert, sand 3 2
Forest, light 2 1
Forest, medium 3 2
Forest, heavy 4 3
Glacier 2 1
Hills, rolling 2 1
Hills, steep (foothills) 4 3
Jungle, medium 6 4
Jungle, heavy 8 6
Marsh, swamp 8 6
Moor 4 3
Mountains, low 4 3
Mountains, medium 6 4
Mountains, high 8 6
Untraveled plains, grassland, heath 1 1
Scrub, brushland 2 1
Tundra 3 2

Special Disadvantages:

  • The pathfinder travels light and works best alone. He gains no followers, regardless of his class.
  • Pathfinders are not quite trusted by more sedentary folk due to their independent nature. The fact that some pathfinders have cheated their employers in the past has deepened the distrust. As a result, Pathfinders have -2 reaction penalty when dealing with anyone who is not himself a traveler (thus he does not suffer this penalty with most adventurers or traders). This penalty is ignored in situations where a Pathfinders’s services are being actively sought; then their independent nature is viewed more positively.
  • By moving ahead of the party, the Pathfinder places himself in a position of risk. Separated from his companions, the Pathfinder is more likely to be the victim of enemy attacks. He runs a greater risk of drawing fire from snipers, and is more susceptible to ambushes from hostile creatures. If he fails to recognize a hazard, he’ll probably be the first to become a victim.

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