I just started Pathfinder RPG and I'm designing a level 1 character. How do I find my base attack bonus? I have the core rulebook but I'm quite confused. Stats: Str 16 Dex 15 Con 15 Int 12 Wis 12 Cha 13 Half-Orc Fighter with Battle Axe, short bow, and great club. Feats are Dodge(combat), Point-Blank shot, and lightning reflexes. Please help and thank you so much!

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    \$\begingroup\$ you may want to specify if you intended to start at level 1 or 2. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tristian
    Aug 17, 2017 at 3:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site, CornDawg! It's good to see questions from a new player's perspective. When you get the chance take a tour of this site; there's good information about what questions work or don't work here (and you get a 'medal'... kind of like achievements). When someone gives an answer you feel fits well and helped you resolve the question, don't forget to click the check mark near the vote up/vote down buttons to 'accept' it. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2017 at 12:22

2 Answers 2


Every class has a table, showing the Base Attack Bonus (or BAB), Base Saves, and special abilities gained at each class level. So, assuming you only have levels in one class, you look at the BAB value on that table. For instance, Fighter 5 gets a BAB value of +5, and Cleric 4 gets +3. Most classes will gain either +1 or +0 BAB at first level.

If you have levels in multiple classes or racial hit dice for some reason, the process is slightly more complicated - you look up the BAB amount for each of the class levels and hit dice you have, and then total them together for your total BAB. For instance, if you are a Fighter 5/Cleric 4, your total BAB will be +8.

To calculate your actual attack bonus for a specific attack type, you then add any other modifiers involved to the BAB, such as for the stat involved (Str for melee or Dex for missile, generally).

In your specific case, assuming you are level 1, your BAB will be +1. Your attack bonus with the melee weapons (Axe and Great Club) will be your BAB of +1 plus your Strength modifier of +3, for a total of +4. Your attack bonus with the missile weapon (short bow) will be BAB +1 plus Dex +2, for a total of +3. At 30' or less, Point Blank Shot will add an extra +1 attack bonus with the bow, for a total of +4. Your GM may apply various other specific modifiers during combat (one likely to come up is a -4 penalty for shooting into melee, which Precise Shot can remove).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are there any classes that don't have a BAB of either 1 or 0 at level one? That'd be pretty crazy! \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2017 at 7:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not that I know of, but I thought I should add the usual caveat, just in case :) \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Aug 17, 2017 at 9:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ It may be worth mentioning (knowing the class) that if they only ever put levels in Fighter, their BAB will equal their level (which is then modified by Abilities like STR or DEX) instead of assuming 1st level (he has 3 Feats as a non-human). \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2017 at 12:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is no official class with anything but BAB +0 or BAB +1 at 1st level, and there almost-certainly never will be. There are only three BAB progressions in the game, and one starts at +1 and the others at +0. And values less than 0 or above 1 would be completely absurd. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Aug 17, 2017 at 17:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Lol, never say never. Maybe a Prestige class will come along with +2 BAB at first level, or even -1 BAB... \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Aug 17, 2017 at 23:33

your base attack bonus is not the same as your attack bonus. Think of it like a base military soldier's paycheck. They always get that much money a month, but if they get assigned special training, they get paid bonuses, so their income goes up in certain circumstances.

As a Fighter, your base attack bonus is always your level for the first attack, and your level -5 for the second attack, level -10 for the third attack, and so on. While your strength gives you a +3 bonus to the level 2's +2, totaling +5, your base attack would still be a +2. You must be level 6 before you get a second attack. You do not use your strength bonus for calculating how many attacks per round you get.

A starting (level 1) Fighter gets 1 extra feat, Dodge,

a level 1 gets 1 extra feat, Point Blank Shot

a level 2 (Fighter only) gets 1 extra feat, Lightning Reflexes

if you are not level 2, that you are a Half Orc implies you did not get a third feat and must remove one, as only humans get a bonus feat.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your discussion of iteratives is not actually correct - a character's base attack bonus does not vary by the attacks he makes. The total attack bonus for an iterative attack might, but not the bab. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Aug 17, 2017 at 5:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, your discussion of feats is wrong-- there are several ways this level one non-human fighter might have three feats; I would guess that the most probable of which would be their being an Antihero. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2017 at 7:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually I'm not an Antihero. It says in the core rulebook that half-orcs "count as both humans and orcs for any effect related to race". It says the same for half-elfs. Does that not apply to feats? \$\endgroup\$
    – CornDawg
    Aug 17, 2017 at 23:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a separate question - but heh heh no. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Aug 17, 2017 at 23:40

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