Home >Gamemastering >Other Rule Systems >Unchained Rules >

Fractional Base Bonuses

This section details a system by which level-based bonuses are given as fractions, helping to balance multiclass characters.

Multiclass characters in the core rules are at a slight disadvantage when it comes to their statistics. This fractional base bonuses variant is designed to help multiclass characters fulfill their true potential and stand tall among their single-class peers. It is ideal for campaigns featuring many multiclass characters, particularly if those characters take levels in many different classes or prestige classes.

Base attack bonuses and base save bonuses in the core rules progress at a fractional rate, but those fractions are eliminated because of rounding; it doesn’t make sense to distinguish a base attack bonus of +6-1/2 from a base attack bonus of +6 when a character with either bonus would hit AC 17 on a roll of 11 and miss on a 10. For ease of reference, the values in the class tables are rounded this way since it never makes a difference for single-class characters. However, for multiclass characters, this rounding often results in a base attack bonus that’s too low, as well as base save bonuses that are imbalanced. The following variant results in more accurate base bonuses for multiclass characters, based on the formulas behind the class progression tables rather than on the tables themselves.

For example, a character who’s a 1st-level wizard and a 1st-level rogue has a base attack bonus (BAB) of +0 from each class, resulting in a total BAB of +0—worse than a 2nd-level wizard or 2nd-level rogue. But that’s only because each fraction was rounded down to 0 before adding them together; the character theoretically has a BAB of +3/4 from her rogue level and +1/2 from her wizard level. If the rounding was done after adding the fractional values together rather than before, the character would have a BAB of +1 (rounded down from +1-1/4)—the same as a 2nd-level wizard or rogue.

Base Attack Bonus

There are three base attack bonus progressions. For classes with a d6 Hit Die, their BAB increases by 1/2 per level.

For classes with a d8 Hit Die, their BAB increases by 3/4 per level. For classes with a d10 or d12 Hit Die, their BAB increases by 1 per level (so it’s not necessary to round the BAB for these classes). A multiclass character’s base attack bonus will only ever improve using this variant.

For example, a character who’s a 2nd-level rogue and a 9th-level wizard would have a BAB of +5 in the core rules: +1 from her rogue levels and +4 from her wizard levels. Using the fractional system, that character’s BAB would be +6, with +1-1/2 from her rogue levels and +4-1/2 from her wizard levels—enough for her to gain a second attack at a +1 bonus.

Base Save Bonuses

There are only two base saving throw progressions: good and poor. Good saves progress at a rate of +1/2 per level, while poor saves progress at +1/3 per level. Additionally, saving throw bonuses with a good saving throw progression start higher, effectively incorporating an additional +2 bonus. Under the core rules, this additional bonus stacks between classes, letting a character who’s a 1st-level barbarian and a 1st-level fighter have a +4 Fortitude save bonus while his Reflex and Will saves stagnate. However, this higher initial saving throw bonus is intended to act like the +3 bonus received on a class skill: you should get it only once for a particular type of saving throw, regardless of the number of classes in which you have levels. Under this variant, the +2 bonus at 1st level to a good save no longer stacks between classes, so a character’s strongest saves are sometimes decreased. However, the improvements to that character’s weakest saves usually make up the difference, and such characters are much less likely to leap ahead of (or fall dramatically behind) their single-class peers.

When calculating each saving throw bonus, first determine whether each class you have levels in grants a good or poor saving throw progression for that type of save. To tell whether a class has a good or poor save progression for a particular saving throw, look at the 1st-level saving throw bonus it receives for that save in the core rules. If the bonus is +2, the class has a good save progression for that type of save. If it’s +0, the class has a poor save progression for that type of save. Next, for each class, find the value in Table: Fractional Bonuses by Level corresponding to your level in that class and whether the saving throw progression is good or poor. Add the values from all your classes; if you have a good saving throw progression from at least one class, add 2 to the total (this is a one-time increase and doesn’t stack).

For example, in a standard game, a character who’s a 5th-level cleric and a 2nd-level fighter would have a Fortitude base save bonus of +7, a Reflex base save bonus of +1, and a Will base save bonus of +4. In this variant, the same character would have a Fortitude base save bonus of +5 (rounded down from +5-1/2), a Reflex base save bonus of +2 (rounded down from +2-1/3), and a Will base save bonus of +5 (rounded down from +5-1/6).

In the core Pathfinder rules, prestige classes advance at the same rate as base classes but have different class bonuses. These adjusted bonuses were meant to compensate for the leftover fractions from the character’s base classes, since the only way to gain a prestige class is via multiclassing—taking levels in both your original class and the prestige class—or racial Hit Dice. Because fractional base bonuses already account for those fractions, instead use the base save bonuses from Table: Fractional Bonuses by Level just as you would for any other class. To tell whether a prestige class has a good or poor save progression for a saving throw, look at the 1st-level saving throw bonuses it receives for that save. If the bonus is +1, it has a good save progression. If it’s +0, it has a poor save progression.

Bonuses by Level

The table above presents fractional values for the base save and base attack bonuses. To determine the total base save bonus or base attack bonus of a multiclass character, calculate the fractional values for each of the character’s classes using the table and add them together.

This rule affects only multiclass characters, and such characters will have a number of attacks depending on their combined base attack bonuses from several classes. For this reason, the table does not list the multiple attacks gained by characters with a BAB of +6 or greater. Just remember that a second attack is gained when a character’s total BAB reaches +6, a third at +11, and a fourth at +16, just as normal.

For a character who’s an 11th-level fighter and a 9th-level rogue, adding a BAB of +11 to a BAB of +6-3/4 yields a BAB of +17 (rounded down from +17-3/4), with additional attacks with BABs of +12, +7, and +2, respectively.

Table: Fractional Bonuses by Class Level
Class Level Base Save Bonus (Good) Base Save Bonus (Poor) Base Attack Bonus (d10 or d12) Base Attack Bonus (d8) Base Attack Bonus (d6)
1st +1/2 +1/3 +1 +3/4 +1/2
2nd +1 +2/3 +2 +1-1/2 +1
3rd +1-1/2 +1 +3 +2-1/4 +1-1/2
4th +2 +1-1/3 +4 +3 +2
5th +2-1/2 +1-2/3 +5 +3-3/4 +2-1/2
6th +3 +2 +6 +4-1/2 +3
7th +3-1/2 +2-1/3 +7 +5-1/4 +3-1/2
8th +4 +2-2/3 +8 +6 +4
9th +4-1/2 +3 +9 +6-3/4 +4-1/2
10th +5 +3-1/3 +10 +7-1/2 +5
11th +5-1/2 +3-2/3 +11 +8-1/4 +5-1/2
12th +6 +4 +12 +9 +6
13th +6-1/2 +4-1/3 +13 +9-3/4 +6-1/2
14th +7 +4-2/3 +14 +10-1/2 +7
15th +7-1/2 +5 +15 +11-1/4 +7-1/2
16th +8 +5-1/3 +16 +12 +8
17th +8-1/2 +5-2/3 +17 +12-3/4 +8-1/2
18th +9 +6 +18 +13-1/2 +9
19th +9-1/2 +6-1/3 +19 +14-1/4 +9-1/2
20th +10 +6-2/3 +20 +15 +10

* If at least one of the character’s classes has a good saving throw progression for the save in question, add 2 to the total save bonus.