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I bought a Pathfinder Adventure Path, but the store only had second chapters (presumably everyone only buys the first and never finishes the campaign), which means my PCs are starting at level 4.

I haven't DM'ed in about a year, and I have two new players, so I'd like a step-by-step guide to jumping all of my PCs directly to level 4. I know to add a feat and an ability score, but I don't want to miss anything crucial. They want to create their own characters so, premade level 4s won't work.

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It's really not that different from creating a character.

  • You add the stats from both your class and Race.
  • You fill in your attibutes.
  • You give them feats and skills.
  • You give them gold according to the level, which is 6,000gp in your case.
  • You buy equipment with said gold.
  • You add additional stats according to what you would get in level 4 from class skills and scores.

The only real difference between starting at 1 and startin at 4 is that you get better equipment and higher stats. You can also use the d20pfsrd's Character creation page to help.

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The steps for creating a character in Pathfinder are outlined here.

There is also a very handy table here that outlines the XP needed for each level, lays out the levels at which a character gains Feats and Ability Score increases, and indicates the expected starting wealth for a character of that level. In your case, the characters will have 2 Feats (not counting bonuses from Class or Race) 1 Ability Score increase, and 6,000 GP starting wealth.

In Pathfinder, equipment and magic items are a very important aspect of the game's expected balance. This starting wealth is essentially "spent" on starting items and gear for the character to simulate the gear and equipment those characters would have gained through adventuring if they had been created at level 1 and played up to their current level.

The Core Rule Book also has suggestions for how to help your players allocate this starting wealth:

Characters should spend no more than half their total wealth on any single item. For a balanced approach, PCs that are built after 1st level should spend no more than 25% of their wealth on weapons, 25% on armor and protective devices, 25% on other magic items, 15% on disposable items like potions, scrolls, and wands, and 10% on ordinary gear and coins.

These should not be interpreted as hard and fast rules, but more as guidelines to the GM to keep the players at the expected power level. Feel free to deviate from this, but do so knowing that your players may be stronger or weaker than the module you are running expects them to be.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Might be important to mention that effectively you create a level 1 character and then advance him to the next level 3 times. If you just say "you are level 4 and you pick 2 feats", players might pick up 2 feats that require them to be level 3, which isn't allowed. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Oct 2 '16 at 1:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ "... and then advance him or her to the next level...." \$\endgroup\$ – Greg Martin Oct 2 '16 at 1:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GregMartin There are people who prefer neither him nor her as pronoun. They or the player are far more inclusive, and should be preferred especially when correcting others' use of gender pronouns, to avoid the embarassing pot-kettle issue. \$\endgroup\$ – WakiNadiVellir Oct 2 '16 at 7:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with you, in terms of raising awareness that gender is not a binary. In this context, I think it's important to raise awareness, in RPG circles, that not all gamers are male (and you make a good point that I could do so in a better way). I think your message would have been more supportive without the personal dig at the end. \$\endgroup\$ – Greg Martin Oct 2 '16 at 7:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik Good point. I will cross check my players feats next time we meet. Without wading into the pronoun discussion, I would point out we have gender parity in our group so inclusive pronouns wouldn't have gone amiss. \$\endgroup\$ – Azor Ahai Oct 2 '16 at 19:59

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