Big Beards and Pointy Ears

Friday, April 6, 2018

You know, after all this time being stuck next to each other in game books, dwarves and elves might be getting pretty sick of each other. Well, too bad for them—they get no respite in the Pathfinder Playtest! Today, we'll be looking ahead to the newest versions of these classic folk by delving into their ancestry entries.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Dwarves

Adventuring is for the stout-hearted. Be stable. Be dependable. Be a dwarf! These fine folk live in isolated citadels, their surface empire having fallen long ago, but from time to time they venture out into the world of adventure.

As a dwarf, you get three ability boosts: one to Constitution, one to Wisdom, and one to the score of your choice. You take an ability flaw to Charisma, though your clan mother says you're quite charming. You get 10 Hit Points from your ancestry—more than the other ancestries and MUCH more than the elves! Your speed is 20 feet, perfectly adequate for adventuring, and you can ignore the speed reduction from your armor. You speak Common and Dwarf, as you may expect, and you can see in the dark just fine.

All that represents what's common to all dwarves, and comes from their innate tendencies. Ancestry feats go farther, reflecting mostly the cultural propensities of the ancestry. For example, you likely grew up among your dwarven kin, training with the weapons of the Weapon Familiarity feat. Battleaxes, picks, warhammers... those are good, dependable weapons. And let's not forget the special weapons with the dwarf trait, like the dwarven waraxe or your beloved clan dagger (forged for you at birth and capped with a gemstone sacred to your clan). Your training might have included the best ways to battle creatures like derros, duergar, giants, or orcs. In that case, you might pick up the Ancestral Hatred feat to give you a bonus on damage against these enemies—a bonus that goes up for 1 minute if one of those wretched creatures critically hits you!

Now, this isn't to say ancestry feats deal exclusively with your upbringing. Heritage feats are a special type of ancestry feat that reflect special physiological traits of your ancestry. Because they're inborn, you can select them only at 1st level. Hardy is one of these, letting you resist poisons and recover from them more quickly. (This kept Ron Lundeen's dwarven barbarian up during a recent playtest—even though he was still pretty sick, he didn't take any damage during all those rounds he spent retching after getting exposed to a poison!)

Because each ancestry entry is your starting point, it also gives you some ideas for how you might build or advance your character. For instance, the dwarf suggests backgrounds suitable for many sorts of dwarves (acolyte, nomad, or warrior) or for those who specifically follow a traditional dwarven way of life (barkeep, blacksmith, farmhand, and merchant).

Elves

An elf can live up to 600 years, an amount of time fit for appreciating the beauty of the natural world, of elegant arts, and of refined magic. Demons may haunt ancient elven lands, but you have plenty of time to plan their demise.

Elves' grace gives them an ability boost to Dexterity, and their years of study give them one to Intelligence. Their third ability boost can represent the other score they developed over the years. Their physical frailty is represented by their ability flaw in Constitution, as well as their low racial hit points of 6. They speak the Common and Elf languages, and are likely to have an Intelligence high enough to select a third language. Elves can see in dim light, and have the highest speed of all the ancestries at 30 feet. (Going to three actions per round brought the other ancestries that were as fast as elves in Pathfinder First Edition down to 25 feet from 30.)

Elves' ancestry feats can help them fight demons, teach them arcane cantrips, or make their hearing better with the Keen Hearing heritage feat. Elves can pick up many things in their long lives, and the Ancestral Longevity feat reflects how some of their life experiences might fade from the forefront of their memory until they focus on them. This feat allows your elf to become trained in a skill of your choice when she prepares for each day. If elves' 30-foot speed isn't enough for you, you can even take the Nimble feat, which increases your speed by 5 feet and lets you ignore a square of difficult terrain during each stride action you take.

Good background options for elves include hunter for those raised in the wild; noble or scholar for more cosmopolitan elves; and acrobat, entertainer, or scout for an elf with a more adventurous bent. Elves make good rangers or rogues, and those who wish to study spells can pursue the path of the wizard.

So which do you think has it better? Elves or dwarves? We'll let you think about that and see you again here on Monday, when we talk about another class elves' Intelligence points toward: the alchemist!

Logan Bonner
Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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Liberty's Edge

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Am I first? Huh.

Looks good! I'm particularly pleased by some Ancestry Feats (the Heritage Feats) being physiological and thus only available at 1st. That both makes good sense and opens up design space in an interesting way (ie: you could easily have a way for a human raised by dwarves to have Ancestry Feats, but not the physiological Heritage ones).

It also allows for different cultures to have different Ancestry Feats but keep the same Heritage Feats available, properly reflecting different cultures without getting into weird 'these people are physiologically different' stuff...which can get into unfortunate implications quick.

Elves having better movement is also very cool and thematic, as is the lower HP. And several of the Feats sound like they deal with the 'but elves are old, they should know stuff' issue, which is neat.

So yeah, I'm very pleased.


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Hmmm. Now I really want to see the actual mechanics example for a race. Waiting until August just got a little bit harder.

Edit: I really like this piece of WAR art.


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I really like how this post was worded, talking up the ancestry features in a way to make it very positive from the perspective of that ancestry. Can’t wait to see the full entries and ancestry feats!


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I am really excited about P2. I excitedly await each new blog post on Monday and Friday.

I am really interested in the "backgrounds." Is this similar to Archetypes from Starfinder? I'm curious about Ancestry feats too. Has it replaced the 1st level feat or is in addition to it?

Really, this announcement has rekindled my interests in Pathfinder. Between this and Kingmaker video game, this summer is going to be pretty great.


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I can already see a scene with my PC's trying to chase a squad of Nimble Elves through wooded terrain. With such a large gap in movement capability, it really will feel like the Elves are ghosts. Hitting, running, and fading back through terrain while the Humans and Dwarves flail through the brush. I look forward to seeing how they deal with the situation.


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Interesting to note that the term "ancestry" has not completely supplanted "race". The term "race" is still used multiple times:

"You get 10 Hit Points from your race—more than the other races and MUCH more than the elves!"

This could also simply reflect that even the designers themselves have trouble remembering to replace the term "race" with "ancestry" every single time.

Liberty's Edge

5 people marked this as a favorite.
j b 200 wrote:
I am really interested in the "backgrounds." Is this similar to Archetypes from Starfinder? I'm curious about Ancestry feats too. Has it replaced the 1st level feat or is in addition to it?

We don't know exactly how Backgrounds work, but it's probably a cross between Traits and the Themes in Starfinder. Possibly plus Ability Score modifiers. Something like that, anyway.

And yeah, it seems that you now only get General Feats at 3rd, 7th, 11th, 15th, and 19th while you get Ancestry Feats instead at 1st, 5th, 9th, 13th and 17th. Which makes Ancestry matter, since it's the source of half your Feats.

Plus you get Skill Feats and Class Feats every even level, and Skills every odd level.

Desna's Avatar wrote:

Interesting to note that the term "ancestry" has not completely supplanted "race". The term "race" is still used multiple times:

"You get 10 Hit Points from your race—more than the other races and MUCH more than the elves!"

This could also simply reflect that even the designers themselves have trouble remembering to replace the term "race" with "ancestry" every single time.

Changing vocabulary inevitably takes time, so yeah, I bet that's it. And I bet it'll be basically no longer a thing in a few years.

Liberty's Edge

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Awesome art.
Also, Clan Dagger!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Looking good for elves and dwarves. Surprised to know that most races are going to 25 ft. move speed! I guess it makes sense; a full move will be 75 ft. now.

Heritage feats make their return, now as a subset of ancestry feats limited to being taken at level 1. I wonder what the breadth of those options will be.

I really want to see the full list of ancestry feats.


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The movement speed will be good for those pointy ears... When things get tough it will help them run away! Haha!
Sound off fellow Dwarves! Who is excited for P2!


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Desna's Avatar wrote:

Interesting to note that the term "ancestry" has not completely supplanted "race". The term "race" is still used multiple times:

"You get 10 Hit Points from your race—more than the other races and MUCH more than the elves!"

This could also simply reflect that even the designers themselves have trouble remembering to replace the term "race" with "ancestry" every single time.

That might be an ovesight.


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Liking how Elves and Dwarves are looking. Might play a Dwarf at some point. The assignable +2 will really help counter the Charisma penalty for those of us who want to go the Dwarven Paladin route.


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Zaister wrote:
Desna's Avatar wrote:

Interesting to note that the term "ancestry" has not completely supplanted "race". The term "race" is still used multiple times:

"You get 10 Hit Points from your race—more than the other races and MUCH more than the elves!"

This could also simply reflect that even the designers themselves have trouble remembering to replace the term "race" with "ancestry" every single time.

That might be an ovesight.

That's my thought too. After using "Race" for years, I'll allow a bit of cross-over during the transition period.


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Huh... so it does sound like the cultural aspects are just being folded into ancestry feats for each race, rather than a separate background. Does this mean I can't have a human raised in a dwarven city with dwarven cultural traits like weapon familiarity after all? If that is still not going to be possible, I'm actually going to be quite disappointed, because that was one of the things I was hoping for most from this new edition.

Re the heritage feats, that clarifies some questions about the verisimilitude of becoming "more dwarfy" just by leveling - you have to already have the relevant biological trait, then presumably focus and improve it through training. However, them being only available at 1st level does pretty much mean the "right" answer in most cases is to take a heritage feat as your 1st level ancestry feat, when maybe you would have really preferred to focus on cultural stuff. This is just further building my preference that races should start with more than one ancestry feat at 1st level to allow more customization.

I'm noting that the ancestry feats here seem better / more powerful than the ones seen in the goblin preview. I hope that they are going to try to balance the races against each other. I don't want some of the racial options to be flat out better, like how the 3.x / PF1 dwarf is pretty much the best race in every way other than not getting a bonus feat like a human.

I'm still not sold on "normal" speed being 25 ft, and not just because it increases the "mental switch cost" to get a player or GM to adapt to a new version of the same base ruleset... although that is a VERY important issue. We've already seen there's still things that just halve your speed, like the Mobility feat, rather than applying a static modifier such as -10 ft. Halving 25 to 12.5 and then having to round down to 10 ft is gross. It's also not like the length of a round has changed. I'm going to reiterate a point I've made elsewhere: 30 ft is still fine. If you move twice you are jogging, if you move three times in a round you are running (which can't be done forever). Then you can make a 3-segment full action for Sprint which allows you to move 4x speed, but makes you flat-footed. This also allows easier conversion of older races and monsters.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I love fast movement speed, and always lamented that the Fleet feat set a precedent that largely prevented a good movement speed feat from being published. So the cheeky move speed bonus for the elves is really appealing to me. On the other hand, parties as a whole move at the pace of the slowest member of the group. It's nice to outrun the bear, but it's awkward if you're the only one who is fast enough to outrun the bear.


I really like the look, sound, and feel of this. There's been barely more than a glimpse of these three ancestries so far, and yet they already feel radically different, both from each other and from how they worked in PF1. I'm excited by the notion that your choice of ancestry continues to have meaningful impact throughout the life of your character. I will probably still never play a dwarf or an elf or a goblin given the choice, but for the first time it might actually be tempting. That's a huge step up in my book.


I'm super excited to P2, is Wayne Reynolds going to do all the work for the books or will they be mixing and matching the artwork of several artists?

Liberty's Edge

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I'd like to see dwarves with a penalty to dextery. Dwarven clerics and Paladins are iconic.


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I wonder if dwarves will be able to retain their resistance to magic in 2e, it was one of the strong factors in why I preferred them to Elves. They've always been a very solid race, although neither dwarves nor elves have ever featured prominently at any tables I've played at.

I like the idea of things like clan daggers, and the Elves using long memories to have a floating proficiency; being able to pick up a corner-case skill on a day when it's useful is a handy little niche.

It is kinda weird seeing a dwarf lady with no beard, though. I know a lot of dwarf women don't have them in Pathfinder art but I've always just liked the notion that all dwarves have beards no matter what. Possibly with the additional factor of no bearded elves.


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Paladinosaur wrote:
I'd like to see dwarves with a penalty to dextery. Dwarven clerics and Paladins are iconic.

Agreed. This is why I keep pushing that each race should actually have a choice of two ability malus. So your dwarf could pick between a Dexterity malus or a Charisma malus.


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Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ooh, I like the feat for a daily trained skill! It’s like Spirit-Ridden, and I didn’t expect to see that reprinted in any form so soon.

Liberty's Edge

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Fuzzypaws wrote:
Huh... so it does sound like the cultural aspects are just being folded into ancestry feats for each race, rather than a separate background. Does this mean I can't have a human raised in a dwarven city with dwarven cultural traits like weapon familiarity after all? If that is still not going to be possible, I'm actually going to be quite disappointed, because that was one of the things I was hoping for most from this new edition.

Like I said above, I suspect the existence of Heritage Feats makes this sort of thing possible, since it creates a clear delineation. A Human raised by Dwarves would still use the Human HP, move speed, and so on, and still have access to the Human Heritage Feats rather than the Dwarven, but it seems really easy mechanically to just give them access to the non-Heritage Dwarven Ancestry Feats rather than the Human ones.

Making this official requires all of a paragraph, too.


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Accepting an ability score penalty might be a way to snag a heritage or ancestry feat...


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What I like:
- Increased differentiation between race/ancestries compared to PF1.
- Increased customization options as you level. There used to be feats, skills, and things based on class like archetypes and, for some, class features. On top of that we now have the whole ancestry lines of options coming online.
- The default speed is a medium number between two extremes. So you don't have the normal races and the slow ones: you have medium-fast races, one fast races and one (or a couple of) slow race(s).

Paizo Employee Senior Editor

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Desna's Avatar wrote:

Interesting to note that the term "ancestry" has not completely supplanted "race". The term "race" is still used multiple times:

"You get 10 Hit Points from your race—more than the other races and MUCH more than the elves!"

This could also simply reflect that even the designers themselves have trouble remembering to replace the term "race" with "ancestry" every single time.

Thanks for pointing that out. "Race" has been updated to "ancestry" in the few places it slipped through in the post.

Liberty's Edge

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Fuzzypaws wrote:
Paladinosaur wrote:
I'd like to see dwarves with a penalty to dextery. Dwarven clerics and Paladins are iconic.
Agreed. This is why I keep pushing that each race should actually have a choice of two ability malus. So your dwarf could pick between a Dexterity malus or a Charisma malus.

Even if they don't make it a choice like that, you can still easily do things like include it in a Heritage feat. Like "Clumsy Dwarf Subrace: Your ability flaw is Dexterity instead of Charisma. Also another good thing to make this feat worth taking."

Silver Crusade

DWAAAAAARVES, to hell with elves!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNrLMob39qI

=D


I was looking forward to mixing a character's ancestry with heritage feats (Humans raised by Dwarves learning to hold their liquor w/ the Hardy heritage feat; or Gnomes raised by Elves w/ the Keen Hearing heritage feat). I guess that may very well be just one MORE disappointment.

I also am against having the base speed (or stride) of a race be an odd number. It really does muck things up when things like the Hampered or Slowed conditions come up.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Desna's Avatar wrote:
This could also simply reflect that even the designers themselves have trouble remembering to replace the term "race" with "ancestry" every single time.

Don't know what you're talking about... *cough*


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So how does a Dwarf weapon familiarity interact with the proficiency system? Do I get proficiency in warhammers, etc. so this does nothing if I'm already getting that proficiency from a class? Does it stack so a Dwarf fighter can be *really* good with battleaxes in a hurry? Or are they completely unrelated?

Also Dwarves are better than Elves and always have been ;p

Liberty's Edge

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Grovestrider wrote:
I also am against having the base speed (or stride) of a race be an odd number. It really does muck things up when things like the Hampered or Slowed conditions come up.

This is only true if those conditions work the same way in this edition. Which we really have no idea about.


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No gobos in dorf hatred? hmm, probably for the best not to have dorfs hate a new core race :)

I like the ancestry heritage feats being physiologic and locked at first level. These seem ripe for retraining abuse otherwise. Also, some unintended multi-ancestry hybrid shenanigans.


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This may have been stated already, but are ancestry backgrounds essentially an ancestral archetype? I hope to still see something akin to archetypes for the classes as well as this ancestral background feature. Archetypes have been fun.


Grovestrider wrote:

I was looking forward to mixing a character's ancestry with heritage feats (Humans raised by Dwarves learning to hold their liquor w/ the Hardy heritage feat; or Gnomes raised by Elves w/ the Keen Hearing heritage feat). I guess that may very well be just one MORE disappointment.

I also am against having the base speed (or stride) of a race be an odd number. It really does muck things up when things like the Hampered or Slowed conditions come up.

Unless such conditions instead apply a flat reduction/bonus of, say, 15 feet instead of a multiplier. The vibe seems to be that speed, being as important as it is during encounters/combat, is being made into more of a commodity.


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I'm excited that the floating +2 bonus can be used to negate the -2 ancestry hindrance.

Your dwarf can be less gruff (maybe charming) and your elf more tough.

Liberty's Edge

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Planpanther wrote:
No gobos in dorf hatred? hmm, probably for the best not to have dorfs hate a new core race :)

It's really a Golarion thing as much as anything. In Golarion, Dwarves never fought goblins any more than anyone else did, so the bonus never made a lot of sense. Orcs and Giants meanwhile, are definitely their ancestral enemies.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ability boost of your choice in addition to the iconic ones is great. I guess it will be available to all ancestries

I wonder whether Humans will have a second ability boost of their choice and no ability flaw or two additional ability boosts of their choice and an ability flaw of their choice

I would enjoy the breadth of choice from the second option but I get how it could be too tempting for overoptimizers


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Pappy wrote:
This may have been stated already, but are ancestry backgrounds essentially an ancestral archetype? I hope to still see something akin to archetypes for the classes as well as this ancestral background feature. Archetypes have been fun.

I believe backgrounds are a separate component of character creation, representing what you did prior to your adventuring life and giving commensurate bonuses. So your Dwarf could be a scout and your Elf could be a blacksmith if you really wanted, it's just that Dwarven smiths are much more common than Elven ones because of cultural forces (Dwarves see this as a more noble calling.)


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Pappy wrote:
This may have been stated already, but are ancestry backgrounds essentially an ancestral archetype? I hope to still see something akin to archetypes for the classes as well as this ancestral background feature. Archetypes have been fun.
I believe backgrounds are a separate component of character creation, representing what you did prior to your adventuring life and giving commensurate bonuses. So your Dwarf could be a scout and your Elf could be a blacksmith if you really wanted, it's just that Dwarven smiths are much more common than Elven ones because of cultural forces (Dwarves see this as a more noble calling.)

Thanks. Sounds cool.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

So how does a Dwarf weapon familiarity interact with the proficiency system? Do I get proficiency in warhammers, etc. so this does nothing if I'm already getting that proficiency from a class? Does it stack so a Dwarf fighter can be *really* good with battleaxes in a hurry? Or are they completely unrelated?

Also Dwarves are better than Elves and always have been ;p

It's a question with interesting implications. Given that the weapon familiarity is an ancestry feat, though, I suspect that they won't stack with each other. Therefore if one plans to play a class or background that also gives you proficiency with those weapons, you can instead choose to spend your ancestry feat elsewhere. But if one isn't playing one of those classes that give you proficiency, you can spend your ancestry feat to pick them up if you want it instead of something else.

EDIT: either way I love that a 'learned behavior' like weapon familiarity is no longer something you get automatically. It makes so much sense.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Rather interesting. I'd have thought they'd hold off on other Ancestry write-ups until later so to fill out all the weeks. I almost wonder if they gave us these two ancestries to help increase excitement for the Ancestries once again rather than let lingering issues with the Goblin ancestry risk tainting things.

I'm also surprised we'll be seeing the Alchemist next. I'd have thought we'd go with the Cleric and then the Wizard so the four "core" classes would get initial coverage.

One thing I find curious is this "background" option. How will that impact gameplay? Will this give certain skills a bonus? Could you go into some more details on Backgrounds with character ancestry and class creation?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Aunders wrote:
I'm super excited to P2, is Wayne Reynolds going to do all the work for the books or will they be mixing and matching the artwork of several artists?

Sadly, Wayne couldn't possibly provide all of the illustrations for the Pathfinder RPG. But we have had him working on key concept art for many months—iconics, major ancestries, key monsters, and more.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I suspect the backgrounds will be similar to the Starfinder themes, giving some additional features and maybe an ability boost

Paizo Employee Designer

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Pappy wrote:
This may have been stated already, but are ancestry backgrounds essentially an ancestral archetype? I hope to still see something akin to archetypes for the classes as well as this ancestral background feature. Archetypes have been fun.

Backgrounds in the Playtest Rulebook aren't directly tied to your race. The ones listed here are suggestions.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Grovestrider wrote:

I was looking forward to mixing a character's ancestry with heritage feats (Humans raised by Dwarves learning to hold their liquor w/ the Hardy heritage feat; or Gnomes raised by Elves w/ the Keen Hearing heritage feat). I guess that may very well be just one MORE disappointment.

This sounds like the kind of thing that will be easy for you to house rule in your own campaigns if a character has a good enough concept you want to allow and can be talked about as the character develops, without it opening up a mess of folks trying to grab-bag ancestry feats for min-maxing purposes when showing up at a society-type event where the character concepts get less time to develop organically in play.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I really enjoy the customization, and it's interesting to me that all races appear to get 3 positive stats for 1 negative. My only confusion is on the power levels of Ancestry feats, which seem to me like they are just choosing the things we could already choose at level 1 in 1st edition, but spanned across multiple levels.

I am in love with the elf skill a day one though.


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Pappy wrote:

Thanks. Sounds cool.

EDIT

I hope this is a net new feature, adding anothe

I think it's supposed to be a temporal/causal progression.

Like
- you were born a dwarf.
- you trained to be a blacksmith as soon as you could work the bellows
- then you were ordained (or w/e) as a Cleric of Torag

the first step being Ancestry, the second being Background, and the third being Class.


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So...at the risk of being "that guy"...

This is just PF1 Races. You've added Hit Points, and then turned most of the other Racial Traits into either Heritage Feats or Ancestry Feats.

That's...ok, but it does lead to the problems that, for example, Dwarves are now either inherently resistant to poisons OR spells (I'd imagine), instead of both.

Further, since Ancestry feats are still gated by Ancestry, rather than Background, you run into the issue of your Dwarf suddenly getting Weapon Familiarity...because they're a Dwarf. When in fact, anybody could concievably get training in those. Same for Ancestral Hatred.

It just seems weird to me that these things that sound like something you should have since the beginning due to your upbringing aren't there and you can in fact pick them up at any interval simply because you're a Dwarf.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

And here I am, still wishing Seifter's April Fools joke was reality. Skittermanders >>>>>> Elves.


So just to boil this down for clarity,

Ancestry is the general category for feats that relate to your characters biological capabilities based on Heritage and your characters cultural abilities based on upbringing.

Is that correct? Can we confirm that a character of a certain Heritage can claim a different upbringing?

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