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?


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

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ It's not slang, it's lingo ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Nigralbus Jun 7 '12 at 9:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also note that the same is true for damage calculations : 1d4 is 1d4, all bonuses/penalties (or lack thereof) included. \$\endgroup\$ – Nigralbus Jun 7 '12 at 9:14

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