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Deciphering Pathfinder Stat Blocks

New to Pathfinder? Here’s how to decipher a couple of the stats for NPCs and monsters listed in Pathfinder scenarios.

Take these stats in the Offense section:

Melee shortsword +3 (1d6+2/19-20)
Ranged shortbow +3 (1d6/x3)

“Melee shortsword +3” means an attack bonus, pre-calculated to include all bonuses which always apply such as Base Attack Bonus. It may not include some bonuses like “Rage” if there is a bonus which applies conditionally.

“Melee shortsword +3” is to hit only, and is not a damage bonus.

“19-20” for the melee shortshord means “possible critical on a 19 or 20” and if the critical is confirmed, it’s double damage.

“x3” for the Ranged shortbow means “possible critical on a 20, triple damage if critical is confirmed”

2 Responses to Deciphering Pathfinder Stat Blocks

  1. Mark February 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    Thanks for this. I am not sure why I couldn’t find this simple explanation anywhere in the pathfinder guides.

  2. admin February 9, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    You’re welcome! It may be described in there, but maybe not. Lot’s of the Pathfinder material assume you’re an old hat at the rules (though the Beginner Box is a great step in the ‘assume nothing’ direction).

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