Corefinder Design Digest #2: Bonuses

This material was posted on patreon by Legendary Games

Person: So, what’s your favorite country?

Dad: I think it might be Switzerland.

Person: Oh really, why’s that?

Dad: Well, the flag is a BIG PLUS! 

(rim shot)

Seriously, though, in talking about the most basic elements of the game we have to talk about bonuses. D20 systems involve a d20 roll, but then it’s time to add stuff to it. Bonuses come in many shapes and sizes, but today we’re going to talk about the most basic ones. Again, this is not a real change from Pathfinder but is codifying and simplifying rules language.

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Base Bonuses

Your ability scores affect your ability to successfully make attacks or perform maneuvers, depending on the type of maneuver you attempt. In addition, all Corefinder characters have a set of base bonuses that increase with your level. How high your base bonuses is depends on your class, as different classes specialize in different areas. Bonuses can be low (equal to one-third your level, or Hit Dice for a creature without levels), standard (equal to one-half your level or HD), good (equal to three-quarters of your level or HD), or excellent (equal to your level or HD). Since all fractions round down in Corefinder, this gives the following whole-number bonuses.

Level Low Standard Good Excellent

1st     +0     +0     +0     +1

2nd    +0    +1     +1     +2

3rd     +1    +1     +2     +3

4th     +1    +2     +3     +4

5th     +1    +2     +3     +5

6th     +2    +3     +4     +6

7th     +2    +3     +5     +7

8th     +2    +4     +6     +8

9th     +3    +4     +6     +9

10th  +3    +5     +7    +10

11th  +3    +5     +8    +11

12th  +4    +6     +9    +12

13th  +4    +6     +9    +13

14th  +4    +7    +10  +14

15th  +5    +7    +11  +15

16th  +5    +8    +12  +16

17th  +5    +8    +12  +17

18th  +6    +9    +13  +18

19th  +6    +9    +14  +19

20th  +6    +10  +15  +20

Most Base Bonuses (BB) in play use the Standard values, though many character classes and some creature types that are particularly good at certain things may use the Good or Excellent values and those that are unusually bad at something may use Poor values. In general, if rules text refers to BB and is not referring to a specific creature, class, or other rule that calls for using the Good or Excellent values, assume that it refers to the Standard values.

Types of Base Bonuses

The format and progression of base bonuses works the same for all base bonuses, but there are multiple different kinds of bonuses that can be used for different types of checks or to set DCs, as described above.

Base Attack Bonus: This bonus applies on attack rolls with weapons, including natural weapons and unarmed attacks.

Base Defense Bonus: This bonus applies to your AC.

Base Expertise Bonus: This bonus applies on all skill checks, ability checks (including initiative), and Perception checks.

Base Magic Bonus: This bonus applies on checks to use magic to accomplish various tasks, including trying to counter or affect another creature’s magic or prevent them from doing the same to you.

Base Resistance Bonus: This bonus applies on Fortitude, Reflex, and Will saving throws. You may have different BRBs for different saving throw categories.

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