I recently joined a 5e campaign group, but prior I was gearing up for a Pathfinder group. I found myself really enjoying creating characters and have made various under the Pathfinder rules. The Pathfinder group ended up falling through and I don't want these characters to go to waste, and was thinking I could use them in upcoming campaigns with my new 5e group. I have tried doing some research for the same races and classes. Some seem to have their own versions but others seem to lack one.

The character I am hoping to translate most would be my Sylph swashbuckler, but was also rather interested in the pathfinder "Bloodrager".

I've tried searching the this site but have only found questions asking about converting only races or enemies from D&D 3.5 to 5e, campaigns from 3.5 to Pathfinder, and only 1 question on translating a Pathfinder class (Bloodrager, coincidentally) but nothing on how to go about it.

I of course am aware a 1:1 parallel is unlikely. I am mostly looking for what the general conversion method is, as well as things I should keep note of when trying to translate characters.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Per your note that “My personal character being converted was successfully answered, however I would still like the actual question to be answered […] as we've still not answered how one would go about converting PF characters to 5e”, I've removed the details of your particular character so that they won't keep distracting from answering the general question about how to convert characters PF→5e. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 23:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can ask specific questions about converting specific character types separately, but "in general" is a very broad question in and of itself. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 2:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Cyberson It was given to me by a friend I was to be playing with in the PF campaign, it is an auto-fill PDF so it was very helpful with learning where things went and what affected what with experimentation. I got blank ones if you want a copy. \$\endgroup\$
    – Clarus_Nox
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 11:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Clarus_Nox Yes please. What would be the best way to share those? \$\endgroup\$
    – Cyberson
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 20:51

2 Answers 2


The general conversion method is, find similar races & classes in 5e, and create a character from scratch, using them.

There are many differences between 3.5e and 5e. Since PF is based on 3.5e, there are slightly more differences from there to 5e. So, there is no easy conversion method.


Without GM input you can create a similar character by using the D&D 5 rules.

With GM input, depending on the amount people care about balance between characters, you might try some of these methods:

Ability scores

You could simply use the ability scores of your previous character as is. Pathfinder has slightly higher ability score values than D&D 5 (at least with low-level characters), so this might lead to slight imbalance for that reason.

A more balanced method would be to first discard the character's Pathfinder racial ability score adjustments and then add the adjustments, if any, due to D&D 5.

Character class, race, and other details

Use whichever character class and race and so on is conceptually similar and can do similar things in the fiction. Homebrew something or ask the GM to do the same if either has the experience and will, and if it is necessary.

Converting magic items

This is only relevant for higher level characters. Magic items in Pathfinder tend to grant larger bonuses and they are more ubiquitous, I think. It is better to convert them by finding a conceptually similar item or effect in D&D 5 and using that, rather than trying to convert the mechanics one-by-one.

Of course, if game balance is not a huge concern for your GM and they like the chaotic influence of different rules systems together, they can also choose to convert magic items mechanics first. In general I would not recommend this.

Personal experience

I'm running a sandbox setting by using various rules systems which do include Pathfinder but do not include D&D 5. I use adventures from various systems (including some from D&D 5 or D&D next) and allow players to convert characters from system to system. Since game balance is not really a concern for me, I allow players to retain as much of the old characteristics in the new system and vice versa, and bring in non-native mechanics from magic items, monsters and spells. I also enjoy the chaos this creates. I do not recommend this to game masters who do not run a sandbox setting and who are not familiar with a large spectrum of game systems.


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