Archives of Nethys

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Chapter 2: Character Creation / Leveling Up

Step 1: Apply any Ability Increases

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 26
Every 5 levels, you get to increase and customize your character’s ability scores. Each time he reaches one of these level thresholds (5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th—see Table 2–4), choose four of his ability scores to increase. If a chosen score is 17 or higher (excluding ability increases from personal upgrades—see page 212), it increases permanently by 1. If it’s 16 or lower, it increases by 2. You can’t apply more than one of these increases to the same ability score for a given level. Unlike during character creation, ability score increases gained from leveling up can push your character’s ability scores above 18.

If an ability score increase results in a change to an ability modifier, don’t forget to adjust any statistics that rely on that modifier, such as attack bonuses, saving throws, total skill bonuses, Resolve Points, Stamina Points, and the DCs of class features and spells. Note that ability score increases are effective retroactively; when your character’s ability score increases, it increases his total number of ability-based statistics—things like Resolve Points, Stamina Points, or skill ranks—as if he had the higher value at previous levels as well. For example, a mechanic with an Intelligence score of 17 has a modifier of +3, and thus gets 7 skill ranks to spend at each level (see Chapter 5). If at 5th level he increases his Intelligence score to 18, he’ll have a modifier of +4, and thus get 8 skill ranks to spend from this level forward—but he’ll also get 4 additional ranks to assign, reflecting the ranks he would have received if he’d had an Intelligence score of 18 at his first 4 levels.

For more information on ability scores, see page 18.