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Starting Power Level Options

This document provides options to help a GM decide how powerful they want starting characters to be for a given Pathfinder Fate Accelerated campaign.

Pathfinder Fate Accelerated assumes that starting characters are created using the Pathfinder Fate Accelerated guidelines .

The starting character with [3] Refresh, [+2, +1, +1] in Approaches, a total of [+4] in Archetypes, and [3] free Stunt slots described therein is considered to be a "baseline" character; all of the full character write-ups provided in this material measure how many advancements they have above or below that baseline.

However, kicking off a given Pathfinder Fate Accelerated campaign with starting characters that are more or less powerful than the guidelines assume is not a problem. The following options are provided to assist with this.

Option: Simulating High Level Characters

Starting characters are assumed to be roughly equivalent to 5th-6th level Pathfinder characters. However, it is easy enough to simulate higher leveled Pathfinder characters by the simple expedient of adding advancements.

Approximated Advancement Chart

The below chart provides an approximated advancement progression.

It is important to keep in mind that this is not a "level up" table, nor is it intended to dictate to GM's how fast or slow they progress characters in their campaigns. GM's are free to use it as such if they want to, but it is not intended to measure the progress of player characters that are adventuring and advancing via actual play.

The chart is only offered as an aid for making new characters that start out more powerful than the default assumptions.

Fate Ladder Label

As a reference aid, the advancement chart equates a character's total Archetype bonuses (shown in the left most column) with the corresponding label from the Fate Ladder.

Thus if you took a character like this version of Dwyth and added up all of their Archetype bonuses to get a +7, you see that you have an "Epic" character on your hands, while this version of Eleo has Archetypes that add up to +11, and can thus be said to be a "Mythic" character.

GM's that find no value in such labeling are free to ignore it.

Total
Fate
Total
Free
Allowed
Total
Archetype
Ladder
Base
Stunt
Aspect
Approach
Total
Bonuses
Label
Refresh
Slots
Slots
Bonuses
Advances
Notes
+12
Otherworldly
11
4
5
+20
+33
+11
Mythic
10
4
5
+18
+29
+10
Wondrous
9
4
5
+16
+25
D&D "20th Level"
+9
Astonishing
8
3
4
+14
+20
+8
Legendary
7
3
4
+12
+16
+7
Epic
6
3
4
+10
+12
+6
Fantastic
5
3
4
+8
+8
D&D "10th Level"
+5
Superb
4
3
3
+6
+4
+4
Great
3
3
3
+4
+0
Starting FAE
+3
Good
2
2
3
+3
-4
+2
Fair
1
1
2
+2
-8
D&D "1st Level"
+1
Average
0
0
2
+1
-12
+0
Mediocre
0
0
2
+0
-14

To start a campaign off with more powerful characters, the GM should just pick a level of play such as "Epic" or "Wondrous" and then consult the corresponding row in the chart for the total Archetype and Approach bonuses, Stunt slots, Aspects, and Refresh base for that power level.

Players then use that information as their guide when making their characters.

Extra Stunt At Higher Rungs

Careful reading of the chart will reveal that it grants an extra free Stunt slot at the very highest rungs. This allows truly powerful characters to pick up a signature ability at the apex of their progression a little more easily.

The extra free slot is counted against the advancement total.

Beware: Assumptions Have Been Made

Due to the nature of milestones, it isn't really possible to know how many significant milestones a character will have before reaching a major milestone during actual play; that is a function of the adventure plotting and the GM's discretion. But as Refresh and Archetype bonuses are tied to major milestones, this makes it difficult to predict with any certainty exactly what a real character will look like as they progress during actual play.

Thus for the sake of expedience the chart makes the assumption of two significant milestones per major milestone. This is probably a conservative estimate overall for most groups, but it provides an easy rule of thumb and is good enough for purposes of starting characters off at a higher power level.

Extra Aspects At Higher Rungs

The chart also allows for extra Aspect slots at higher rungs on the ladder, but they are not included in the advancement total. It can be helpful to have some space to fully describe truly powerful characters more thoroughly rather than try to shoehorn it all into three Aspects. They are offered as a convenience, and are not mandatory.

Option: Simulating "1st Level" Characters

Aside from where noted, it is assumed that the standard Fate Accelerated guidelines on starting characters (3 Refresh, 3 Aspects, 3 Stunts, Approaches and Archetypes as indicated) are in effect. Consequently, starting Fate Accelerated characters are considerably more capable and powerful than starting chracters in the source material (Pathfinder FAE starting characters are roughly equivalent to 5th-6th level Pathfinder characters).

This isn't a bad thing; Fate Accelerated starting characters are supposed to be capable and bad ass. They can engage with more and bigger adventures faster, and not "waste" early play sessions dealing with minor things simply to "level up" to a state where more significant things are possible.

However if a particular group wants to more closely mimic the "level progression" of the source material and have starting characters be more analogous to "1st level characters", consider the following option.

"1st level" equivalent characters define one Stunt and one or two Aspects when starting play, and fill in the rest over the course of play or during milestones. Additionally, characters may have either one (1) Approach at +2 or two (2) Approaches at +1 each, and they only have two (2) points to allocate to their Archetypes instead of four (4) points.

For reference, the Approximated Advancement Chart includes this rung of ability.

Using this option it takes a couple of major milestones to "catch up" to a normal starting Pathfinder Fate Accelerated character, and more closely mimics the extreme early ramping of character abilities in the source material.