Tabletop RPG Podcast and Roleplaying Resources

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”


  1. Mark

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

  2. admin

    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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