Pathfinder Character Benchmarks


In a follow-up to the article on Theory Crafting, we have developed a set of benchmarks with which to determine our effectiveness. Thankfully Derklord has created a table that derives some benchmarks from the Average Monster Statistics by CR table. I made some adjustments to these benchmarks based on what I felt was a more realistic approach, notably to the character AC benchmark.

We will be using these revised benchmarks extensively. We will also be using an acronym created by someone else that I am “borrowing”; AMCREL (Average Monster: Challenge Rating Equals Level). Essentially our benchmarks are assuming we are fighting creatures whose average CR is equal to our level, as the majority of combat will exist at or below this range. And if you build to meet these benchmarks, then you will still remain an effective contributor with challenging encounters well above your character level. The benchmark table uses colour coding to indicate the the varied levels.

BLUE RATING: A blue rating indicates those stats that are as good as they reasonably could be vs an AMCREL. They would only have a 25% chance to hit you with their best attack, and iterative attacks would require a Natural 20. Your saves would only fail on a Natural 1 vs an AMCREL’s primary ability DC. Your attack roll only fails on a Natural 1, and your Expected Damage Value (EDV) for a full attack is equal to 50% of the enemy average HP. If you are an offensive caster, then an AMCREL would require a 17 or higher on their save to succeed (you have an 85% success).

Blue rating are not usually possible until higher levels, and should not be your primary goal. If your character does have one or more blue rated combat stats, you might considering allocating resources elsewhere as you will likely be falling short in other areas. A well balanced character is usually more fun to play, and contributes more overall to a group.

Expected Damage Value EDV: This is the average damage you would do on a full attack vs the AC of the AMCREL. There are a variety of tools online to calculate this, but we'll give a brief method.
H = chance to hit as a percentage
D = damage per hit (average)
S = precision damage (average) not multiplied on a crit
T = chance at a critical threat, expressed as a percentage
C = critical hit bonus damage (x2 = 1, x3 = 2, x4 = 3)
EDV = H * (D + S) + T * C * H * D

Example: a 1d8+4 weapon that crits on a 20 and is x2 with an attack of 3 vs 15AC
EDV = .45 * 8.5 + .05 * 1 * .45 * 8.5 = 4

GREEN RATING: This is where you have a good chance ( 70% or greater) of a favourable outcome for our hero. Your green AC would require a 12 (45%) or greater from an AMCREL primary attack, and iterative attacks would require 17 or higher (20%) to hit you. Your saves would only require a 7 or above to succeed against their primary ability DC. Your green EDV on a full attack would be 25% of the AMCREL HP. For offensive casters, an AMCREL would require a 14 on its saves to be successful (you are successful 75%).

Every viable character should have at least one combat strategy that is Green rated or higher. If immunity to that tactic could be common, the hero should have something else to do in combat that is a significant help (support casting, buffing, etc)

ORANGE RATING: This rating is passable. You would require an 11 (50%) or higher to succeed on an attack vs an AMCREL. The AMCREL would need an 8 or higher (65%) to hit you with it’s primary attack, and iterative attacks would need a 13 (40%) to hit. Your saves would require an 11 or higher to succeed (50%) vs an AMCREL primary ability DC. For offensive casters, spell saves DC’s at this level are not worth casting. Orange EDV is 16.5% of the AMCREL average HP (you and an equal companion will take 3 rounds to kill it).

This isn’t necessarily a weakness in your character, but if your primary offensive tactic is orange, it could use some work. Orange would be considered the defensive minimum. If you are a character that could be attacked frequently, this should be your minimum for AC; and all characters should have their saves (especially Fort and Will) above this level.

If you have other means to mitigate incoming damage (miss chance, unusually high HP, etc) then a lower AC could be acceptable. It all comes down to survivability and how many rounds of attacks you can take before you risk death. As a caster you would consider your rating when buffed with effects that are common for your class (mage armor, shield, barkskin, etc).

Orange rating is perfectly acceptable for a secondary combat tactic. Similarly a support combat character such as a Bard can have an EDV in the Orange rating as they typically boost the party EDV enough to balance out their lower martial EDV.

Anything below Orange should not be used as any type of reliable offensive tactic. Likewise melee combat based characters should never fall below an Orange rated AC.

Various places throughout this website I will be referencing these benchmarks with graphically color-coded icons as below:


AC 10

AC 15

AC 18

AC 20

AC 23

AC 26

The complete benchmark table from Level 1 to Level 20 is below.

Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
1 7.50 10 18 10 21 18
  3.75 5 14 5 18 15
  2.48 1 10 1 15 12
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
2 10.00 12 20 11 22 18
  5.00 7 16 6 19 15
  3.30 3 12 2 16 12
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
3 15.00 13 22 12 23 19
  7.50 8 18 7 20 16
  4.95 4 14 3 17 13
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
4 20.00 15 24 13 24 20
  10.00 10 20 8 21 17
  6.60 6 16 4 18 14
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
5 27.50 16 26 13 25 21
  13.75 11 22 8 22 18
  9.08 7 18 4 19 15
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
6 35.00 17 28 14 26 22
  17.50 12 24 9 23 19
  11.55 8 20 5 20 16
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
7 42.50 18 29 15 27 23
  21.25 13 25 10 24 20
  14.03 9 21 6 21 17
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
8 50.00 19 31 16 28 24
  25.00 14 27 11 25 21
  16.50 10 23 7 22 18
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
9 57.50 21 33 16 29 25
  28.75 16 29 11 26 22
  18.98 12 25 7 23 19
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
10 65.00 22 34 17 30 26
  32.50 17 30 12 27 23
  21.45 13 26 8 24 20
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
11 72.50 23 35 18 31 27
  36.25 18 31 13 28 24
  23.93 14 27 9 25 21
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
12 80.00 25 37 19 32 28
  40.00 20 33 14 29 25
  26.40 16 29 10 26 22
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
13 90.00 26 38 19 33 29
  45.00 21 34 14 30 26
  29.70 17 30 10 27 23
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
14 100.00 27 39 20 34 29
  50.00 22 35 15 31 26
  33.00 18 31 11 28 23
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
15 110.00 28 40 21 35 30
  55.00 23 36 16 32 27
  36.30 19 32 12 29 24
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
16 120.00 29 42 22 36 31
  60.00 24 38 17 33 28
  39.60 20 34 13 30 25
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
17 135.00 30 43 22 37 32
  67.50 25 39 17 34 29
  44.55 21 35 13 31 26
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
18 150.00 31 44 23 37 33
  75.00 26 40 18 34 30
  49.50 22 36 14 31 27
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
19 165.00 32 45 24 38 33
  82.50 27 41 19 35 30
  54.45 23 37 15 32 27
Level EDV To Hit AC Saves DC vs Good DC vs Bad
20 185.00 34 46 25 39 34
  92.50 29 42 20 36 31
  61.05 25 38 16 33 28

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