Pathfinder has 1000 times more character combos than D&D

a split image of two Pathfinder 2e adventures, flying druid, orc swinging on a rope
(Image credit: Paizo)

While Dungeons & Dragons may be the system that first comes to mind when you think of TTRPGs, plenty of players have jumped ship from D&D 5E and embraced Pathfinder as an alternative. 

Both are considered among the best tabletop RPGs, but each has their individual strengths and weaknesses. According to defenders of the 50-year-old classic, D&D is a whole lot simpler for beginners to get to grips with and has a wealth of iconic settings to choose from. On the other hand, Pathfinder players appreciate the more rule-dense gameplay and the massive level of customization.

Just how much customization is there? Well, one Twitter user crunched the numbers on each system to establish exactly how much freedom they provide in creating your player character and the numbers are surprising.

D&D Ranger lurks in the trees and watches over a forest

(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

According to their calculations, there are 15,468 unique combinations you can come up with when drafting up your character in D&D 5E. That’s not anything to scoff at. However, Pathfinder 2E blows it out of the water. It has around 1,000 times that with a whopping 14,817,660 possible character options. How do you even arrive at such a mighty figure? Well, once you factor in race, ancestry, class, and subclass, things really start to add up.

For example, D&D’s 118 lineage options come from considering base races like Dwarf, but also subraces like Hill Dwarf, Mountain Dwarf, and Duergar. Pathfinder takes an even more focused approach to this by allowing you to choose your ancestry and heritage, adding up to 726 total lineage combinations. The 131 D&D subclasses and 157 Pathfinder subclasses aren’t too dissimilar, but D&D's lack of archetype choices (essentially sub-sub-classes) leave it lagging behind Pathfinder’s 130.

While there’s plenty to draw from across the best D&D books, plenty of players have introduced homebrew content to fill in gaps between the kinds of heroes they want to create and what the system allows them to do already. Given the new D&D rulebooks will develop the minutiae of subclasses more, it seems like these revisions will provide a good middle ground between Pathfinder’s complexity and D&D’s simplicity. Maybe it may even be enough to bring back some Pathfinder devotees to D&D.

For more great tabletop experiences, check out our guide to the top board games for adults and these must-have board games for 2 players.

Abigail Shannon
Tabletop & Merch Writer

Abigail is a Tabletop & Merch writer at Gamesradar+. She carries at least one Magic: The Gathering deck in her backpack at all times and always spends far too long writing her D&D character backstory. She’s a lover of all things cute, creepy, and creepy-cute.