Pathfinder for Beginners: Ability Scores by Class

There are quite a lot of classes in Pathfinder, so I’ve separated them by book. I’ll list the most important ability scores for each class in order of importance, starting with the most important.

I’ll keep things simple here and just look at stats for ‘standard’ builds for each class. There are many ways to build characters, so if you’re looking to build optimised characters, you’ll probably want to check out this list of guides for more information on building the ultimate character.

Remember that Strength will be more important for characters interested in melee combat, while Dexterity will be useful for ranged characters, so this is an important to take into account before finalising your ability scores. In other words, when using the list below, if a class lists Strength as an important stat, but you want to make a ranged version of that class, swap Strength for Dexterity. Refer to my guide on what each ability score means for more information on the different ability scores.

The Classes

Core Rulebook

  • AlahazraBarbarian: Str, Con, Dex
  • Bard: Cha, Dex, Con
  • Cleric: Wis, Cha, Str, Dex
  • Druid: Wis, Dex, Con
  • Fighter: Str, Con, Dex
  • Monk: Str, Wis, Dex, Con
  • Paladin/Anti-Paladin: Str, Cha, Con
  • Ranger: Dex or Str, Wis, Int
  • Rogue: Dex, Con, Wis
    • Ninja: Dex, Con, Cha
  • Sorcerer: Cha, Dex, Con
  • Wizard: Int, Dex, Con

Advanced Player’s Guide, Ultimate Magic & Ultimate Combat

  • Alchemist: Int, Dex, Con
  • Cavalier/Samurai: Str, Con, Dex
  • Gunslinger: Dex, Wis, Con
  • Inquisitor: Dex, Wis, Con
  • Magus: Str, Int, Con
  • Oracle: Cha, Str, Con
  • Summoner: Cha, Dex, Con
  • Witch: Int, Dex, Con

Advanced Class Guide

  • Pathfinder Iconic AssassinArcanist: Int, Cha, Dex, Con
  • Bloodrager: Str, Con, Cha
  • Brawler: Str, Con, Dex
  • Hunter: Wis, Dex, Con, Str
  • Investigator: Str, Int, Dex
  • Shaman: Wis, Cha, Con
  • Skald: Str, Cha, Con
  • Slayer: Dex, Str, Con
  • Swashbuckler: Dex, Cha, Con
  • Warpriest: Str, Wis, Con

Occult Adventures

  • Kineticist: Con, Dex, Wis
  • Medium: Cha, Dex, Con
  • Mesmerist: Cha, Dex, Con
  • Occultist: Int, Str, Dex
  • Psychic: Int, Wis/Cha, Dex, Con
  • Spiritualist: Wis, Dex, Con

Ultimate Intrigue

  • Vigilante: Cha, Dex, Con

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions related to the list above, let me know in the comments!

Header image by bpsola on DeviantArt. Iconic character art by Wayne Reynolds.

Abigail Holden

Gamer, geek, LEGO fanatic. I also love Pathfinder RPG, The Sims, cross stitching, crochet and sci-fi and fantasy movies, games & books. And animals.

16 thoughts on “Pathfinder for Beginners: Ability Scores by Class

  • 9th November 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Nice guide. Choosing which stats to drop, if you buy is sadly always going to be hard, as all of them tend to have a positive side effect…

  • 28th July 2018 at 1:43 am

    Any chance of adding the Shifter?

  • 22nd March 2017 at 1:39 am

    Kineticists don’t really NEED Wisdom. Sure, it’s a nice general stat, but after Con first and Dex second there’s not much they need. I suppose you could say similar about casters and Constitution. Besides of course Druid or other melee casters. But hit points are always important so that seems more understandable.

    Vigilante… is complicated. I would say without archetypes Str is usually first unless they build Dex to hit. But also, Vigilante works off Charisma if they are a caster, but they aren’t really primary casters and usually want to mix it up in a tussle as well as casting so Charisma is MAYBE first but also maybe not for a casting archetype. A lot of people also forget you can take spells that don’t work off Charisma and just rely on always good stuff. Magical Child might want to try this, but Warlock hit touch after level 3 so why bother with them?

    • 22nd March 2017 at 7:30 am

      Wisdom is nice to have for the Will save boost, though that’s not unique to the Kineticist of course. Like the Con for casters, it’s definitely nice to have when things get ugly.

      I agree, vigilante is a really tough one. I would probably want equal Cha (for social stuff) and Dex/Str (for hitting stuff), but it would depend on the build and the archetype as well. Probably the hardest class to include on a list like this with just one option per class.

  • 21st March 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Definitely a handy guide this.
    For beginners in particular.

    • 22nd March 2017 at 7:12 am

      Thanks! That’s the idea – I know I could have used something like this when I was just starting out!

  • 21st March 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Monk should have Dex first, then Wis, then Str. As an unarmored combatant, it is far more important to get your AC up than do damage.

    • 22nd March 2017 at 1:25 am

      Treantmonk would beg to differ. He puts Strength first with good reason. There’s also literally no reason to have Dexterity when you can have Wisdom on a monk. Both go to AC after all.

      • 22nd March 2017 at 7:13 am

        Agreed. I GM’d for a monk with good Str and Wis. He was basically unhittable AND did lots of damage.

      • 24th March 2017 at 10:16 pm

        If you are doing point buy instead of dice rolling..then a Monk is better off having both Dex and Wisdom. For less points than he can get an 18 wisdom (+4) he can get both a 14 dex and 14 wisdom for the same AC bonus. Further, the increase to dex gives him an increased reflex save (always nice) and an increased initiative (which is also quite important).

  • 2nd October 2015 at 8:05 pm

    For spiritualist charisma is primary for the fractured mind archetype. It’s useful for races which take a negative to wisdom but a positive to charisma, or for multiclass characters who are primarily charisma based, they sacrifice some power but gain additional spells and stuff.

  • 1st October 2015 at 8:46 pm

    I like the idea, but disagree with some. I think a more optimum build could be achieved if:

    Cleric: Switch STR & DEX – If a Cleric has a medium or heavy (w/feat) armor, DEX is going to be moot for AC, and STR goes to attack at close range
    Fighter: Switch CON & DEX – CON for HP unless a ranged fighter
    Monk: Switch DEX & WIS – Some class features work off WIS more than DEX
    Ranger: Concentrate on STR or DEX – Either a close-up Ranger (STR) or a ranged one (DEX)
    Magus: Switch CON & INT – Spells are INT based
    Bloodrager: Switch CHA & CON – Spells are CHA based
    Kinetisist: Switch CON & DEX – To hit and AC is DEX, CON is damage and HP (Why WIS?)

    • 2nd October 2015 at 7:31 am

      Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll have another look at the classes you’ve mentioned. I had a hard time choosing just one build per class as there are so many potential builds.


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