Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm a total Pathfinder newb and I have a question that will probably reveal just how "newb" I am.

According to the Core Rulebook, to calculate an attack roll, you use the following formula:

d20 + attack bonus

For melee attacks, your attack bonus is calculated as follows:

Base attack bonus + strength modifier + size modifier

With this in mind, consider the humble goblin, found here:

Let's say the GM is going to make a melee attack roll for this creature, versus a PC. Does he add +1 for the small size, another +1 because of its Base Attack Bonus, plus the strength modifier (0, in this case) and then add the +2 listed for the short sword melee attack?

Or does he simply add the +2 for the short sword melee attack, as if all the other factors were rolled into this number?

share|improve this question
1 That page explains how to read the Bestiary entries, including this point. – Matthew Najmon Sep 17 '14 at 1:22
up vote 11 down vote accepted

He just uses the +2 for the short sword melee attack. That site has already calculated the attack bonus. As you calculated, the goblin is getting is +1 from BAB, +0 from STR, and +1 from size, for a total attack bonus of +2.

For comparison, note that he has a +4 with his shortbow: +1 from BAB, +2 from DEX, and +1 from size. (You use dexterity rather than strength for ranged attacks.)

slang definitions: BAB = base attack bonus, STR = strength, DEX = dexterity

share|improve this answer
It's not slang, it's lingo ;) – Nigralbus Jun 7 '12 at 9:09
Also note that the same is true for damage calculations : 1d4 is 1d4, all bonuses/penalties (or lack thereof) included. – Nigralbus Jun 7 '12 at 9:14

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.