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Neanderthals


Advanced Race Guide Playtest

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

So after some background research and a refresher on the Race Builder section I have decided to build a playable race of neanderthal's for use in my home campaign. Here's my first draft tell me what you think.

+2 Str, +2 Wis, -2 Cha: Neanderthal’s are strong and posses a feral cunning but often come of as dogmatic or terse in the presence of other non-neanderthals

Medium: Neanderthal’s are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Slow and Steady: Neanderthal’s have a base speed of 20 feet, but their speed is never modified by armor or encumbrance. Neanderthal's a stout race but built to carry haul everything they need all across the harsh northern biome they call home

Ancient Foe: Neanderthal’s gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC and +2 bonus to grapple checks vs. animals, which are both their natural prey and quite often their most deadly opponents. Neanderthal's have hunted mega fauna since the beginning and have developed special training to help them bring down their favored prey without getting trampled under them.

Keen Instincts: a Neanderthal gets a +2 on all survival checks

Natural Armor: Neanderthal’s get a +1 natural armor bonus due to their tough hides and thick bones.

Weapon Familiarity: Neanderthal’s are proficient with Boarspears, Greatclubs, Handaxes, and Harpoons

Winter Trekker: Neanderthal’s recieve a +4 racial bonus on Constitution checks and Fortitude saves to avoid fatigue, exhaustion, or ill effects from running, forced marches, starvation, thirst, or hot or cold environments. Neanderthal’s are used to harsh environments like those of the frigid north and are well adapted to them

Languages: Neanderthal’s begin the game speaking Neanderthal. Neanderthal’s with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Common, Dwarven, Giant, Orc.


I like it. Well done.


I would change their starting language to common. Or giant.

I would change the +2 to grapple to +2 to CMD. And make it against undomesticated animals.

I know you're partial to the weapon list, but I would change it to spear, short spear, club, and greatclub. Maybe hand axe too.

Even without my suggestions it looks fine.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Ciaran Barnes wrote:

I would change their starting language to common. Or giant.

I would change the +2 to grapple to +2 to CMD. And make it against undomesticated animals.

I know you're partial to the weapon list, but I would change it to spear, short spear, club, and greatclub. Maybe hand axe too.

Even without my suggestions it looks fine.

Hmm.. I like the idea of Giant but I would feel like that would make them an offshot or somehow related to them historically (slave cast, natural allies, or what have you) and I don't really know enough about giants to want to make that leap quite yet. Also I currently have some connections with the dwarves to certain giant races and wouldn't want to overshadow the one with the other.

I like the changes to ancient foe originally I had thought to make it animals of large size or larger but I felt like that was both a little to limiting for a player race and it excluded animals like wolves from the list. Also I liked the grapple as it matched with a lot of what I read about neanderthal hunting strategy as they were thought to climb up the beast and fight it to the ground which sounded like one of the most insane things you would ever see and wanted to keep it there.

As for the weapons I have Greatclub & handaxe already added, the issue i had with basic clubs and spears is that every single class gets proficiency with clubs (even wizards) and almost all of them get proficiency with spears of some kind (only who doesn't is the wizard) and it felt kind of like a rip to just give them something everyone would have. Boarspears felt interesting and thematic to me and fit as sometihng that they would not only use but might have invented as it designed to fight off large charging beasts. The harpoon is something we know Neanderthals had and it gave them a ranged weapon that felt like it could be easily identified with them.

Liberty's Edge

I use Neanderthal in my homebrew world, I went a slightly different route with some aspects making related to humanity, but is otherwise similar in most respects.

Not sure Id add the boar spear if your going for a stone age weapon motif, the boomerang, Bolas or other non-metal weapons might be a better placement then the boar spear with it's baffles witch is cool but not sure could accomplished with out metal. of course if your going down the route of what if Neanderthal had metal working its a good weapon for a hunter culture.

I'm partial to Neanderthal having their own language, nearly every humanoid culture tend to have one unique to them, especially if they are isolationists who live deep in the wilderness.


You could make them proficient with the Atlatl and javelin, that would be very thematic.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Adding simple weapon proficiencies seems like a waste. Only wizards don't get them (at least the ones being suggested).

I would go with greatclub and handaxe and leave it at that. Use your extra character points or whatever for something else. Maybe a bonus to Craft flintknapping?

The Exchange

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

I would change their starting language to common. Or giant.

I would change the +2 to grapple to +2 to CMD. And make it against undomesticated animals.

I know you're partial to the weapon list, but I would change it to spear, short spear, club, and greatclub. Maybe hand axe too.

Even without my suggestions it looks fine.

Given us Non African Humans are 'half-neanderthals' where does that leave us? Rolling 3d6 per stat with no bonuses/penalties and no point-buy...that where.

Languages: Proto-indoeuropean may have its roots in the Neanderthal world. As Languages go its as far back as fifty thousand years so it is either the Human Language or the Neanderthal Language or a blend of Both.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I wouldn't discriminate between wild and domesticated animals because it could lead to a lot of confusion, especially when dealing with animal companions, special mounts, summoned creatures, polymorph effects, etc. etc.


yellowdingo wrote:
Ciaran Barnes wrote:


Given us Non African Humans are 'half-neanderthals' where does that leave us? Rolling 3d6 per stat with no bonuses/penalties and no point-buy...that where.

Languages: Proto-indoeuropean may have its roots in the Neanderthal world. As Languages go its as far back as fifty thousand years so it is either the Human Language or the Neanderthal Language or a blend of Both.

I don't understand your post but you seem to have something to say. No sarcasm there. Could you please elaborate? I'm interested.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
yellowdingo wrote:
Ciaran Barnes wrote:

I would change their starting language to common. Or giant.

I would change the +2 to grapple to +2 to CMD. And make it against undomesticated animals.

I know you're partial to the weapon list, but I would change it to spear, short spear, club, and greatclub. Maybe hand axe too.

Even without my suggestions it looks fine.

Given us Non African Humans are 'half-neanderthals'

Only 2-4% Neanderthal, not enough to make any real difference between us and the African-descended humans. We're all at lest 96% African.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ciaran Barnes wrote:

I would change their starting language to common. Or giant.

I would change the +2 to grapple to +2 to CMD. And make it against undomesticated animals.

I know you're partial to the weapon list, but I would change it to spear, short spear, club, and greatclub. Maybe hand axe too.

Even without my suggestions it looks fine.

Note that their +2 Dodge bonus vs. animals gives them a +2 to CMD vs. animals.

Note that the grapple bonus lets them wrestle animals. There is nothing cooler than a caveman and a sabertooth cat wrestling.

The Exchange

Ciaran Barnes wrote:
yellowdingo wrote:
Ciaran Barnes wrote:


Given us Non African Humans are 'half-neanderthals' where does that leave us? Rolling 3d6 per stat with no bonuses/penalties and no point-buy...that where.

Languages: Proto-indoeuropean may have its roots in the Neanderthal world. As Languages go its as far back as fifty thousand years so it is either the Human Language or the Neanderthal Language or a blend of Both.

I don't understand your post but you seem to have something to say. No sarcasm there. Could you please elaborate? I'm interested.

Which Bit? It might mean Neanderthal Spoke a Precursor Language from which all Languages are descended (lets call it Neathar for now).

As to the genealogy - the latest science reckons Pure Africans are Humans and non Africans are Half Neanderthals - So that would translate to the Game as we are playing 'Half Neanderthals' rather than 'Humans'. I agree there is a certain level of bigotry in the new science that will annoy most. But if it is taken into the game what effect does it have on character Generation?


I've always figured (without any actual knowledge on the subject) that the two species interbred. Humans worldwide have pretty diverse skeletal structures.

For game mechanics though, unless we're talking about a culture of isolated Neanderthals trapped on an island that never mingled, the +2 the human chooses could reflect ancestry.

The Exchange

Oddly enough humans trapped on an island downsize...and everything else turns into Megafauna.
Little People considered not Human

Bard may be a Possible Class for Neanderthals: ancient flutes discovered in german caves


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
yellowdingo wrote:
As to the genealogy - the latest science reckons Pure Africans are Humans and non Africans are Half Neanderthals - So that would translate to the Game as we are playing 'Half Neanderthals' rather than 'Humans'. I agree there is a certain level of bigotry in the new science that will annoy most. But if it is taken into the game what effect does it have on character Generation?

NO IT DOES NOT.

The latest science says non-Africans are 2%-4% Neanderthal (or in one very small Oceanic group, up to 11% Denisovan {an Asiatic offshoot of the Neanderthals}). That is a huge stretch to claim it's 'half' and I think that if there is any bigotry it's in that stretch, which certainly isn't made by the science or the scientists.

In D&D terms it's like saying that having just one great-great-great-grandparent an elf makes you a half-elf.


very good and in line with archaeological research too. Based on their anatomy I would go with the Dwarf slow and steady atirbute too. Nice.

As far the debate about interbrdding above It's an age old two sided debate between 2 scientific camps, one claims modern humans interbred with the neanderthals and the other that modern humans drove them to extiction as they were unable to adapt to change in climate and the modern humans slowly taking over their hunting grounds, driving them further south. The last Neadndrrthals were thought to exist clinging to life on the edge of Gibraltor until they eventually gave up and the spiecies died out.

We may have interbred true we may have even been friandly and traded with them who knows but I think our brains were able to adapt to any enviornment and we just spread across Europe very quickly killing off the Neaderthals way of life. Sad really if you think about it. You see it all the time in nature, look at the Red sqirrel and the Grey Squirrel in England as an example


Dotted for future reference. But why am I reminded of another thread where the Neanderthals were said to be poor at throwing stuff or somehow not being able to use ranged weapons much?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Of course, we share about 98.5% of our DNA with chimpanzees, so 2% to 4% is pretty significant. Presumably, neanderthals share about 98.5 of their DNA with chimpanzees as well.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
SmiloDan wrote:
Of course, we share about 98.5% of our DNA with chimpanzees, so 2% to 4% is pretty significant. Presumably, neanderthals share about 98.5 of their DNA with chimpanzees as well.

No, we share 98.5% of our genes with chimps. Genes are encoded into DNA, but not all DNA is genes, and we don't share 98% of our DNA with chimps by quite a long way. Or to put it another way, the genes we share with chimps we also share with Neanderthals. The 2-4% out of the remaining DNA.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Dabbler wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:
Of course, we share about 98.5% of our DNA with chimpanzees, so 2% to 4% is pretty significant. Presumably, neanderthals share about 98.5 of their DNA with chimpanzees as well.
No, we share 98.5% of our genes with chimps. Genes are encoded into DNA, but not all DNA is genes, and we don't share 98% of our DNA with chimps by quite a long way. Or to put it another way, the genes we share with chimps we also share with Neanderthals. The 2-4% out of the remaining DNA.

I've heard it both ways.

*pineapple*


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes, we share 30% of our genes with pineapples...

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

So that's why I have a prickly exterior and am so dang sweet on the inside!

;-)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I knew there was a reason :p

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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It's either that or that night on the moors under the light of the full moon when I was attacked by a ravenous were-pineapple.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

...oh that was you! Er, sorry...

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Icyshadow wrote:
Dotted for future reference. But why am I reminded of another thread where the Neanderthals were said to be poor at throwing stuff or somehow not being able to use ranged weapons much?

You might be referring to one of the other threads I've had on here. One was on the idea of whether Neanderthals had low-light vision, the other was on weapon proficiencies which many say they didn't have a lot of ranged weapons like bows buy might have had spears they threw though most of their gear was most likely used just for melee.

As for what others have said before I think the boar spear fits rather well thematically and the bars that catch the ribs are small enough to be duplicateable with a stone head. It also makes sense to me that they could have invented them independently during their evolution as they survived into the modern day of the setting they are in.

And yes moon I am totally with you on wrestling down a smilodon idea was why I really wanted to keep it.


I recently read that the Neanderthals' inner ear structures indicated they might not be as "graceful" as Sapiens. So maybe a Dex penalty? I dunno. As far as giving them bonus against all animals, I personally would limit that to what we consider "megafauna". A +2 Ancient Enemy bonus against a hedgehog just seems a tad bit overwhelming :). Neanderthal middens have been discovered with the bones of deer, elk, mammoth, bear, hyena, and even horse among the animal remains, so it seems they were quite adept at hunting and bringing down larger prey.

Most Neanderthal tools and weapons seem designed for heavy work. Very few (that I'm aware of) spear points are as small as arrowheads. It's not generally believed they used the atlatl, but skeletal analysis does indicate they used heavy, broad-headed stone tipped spears to thrust repeatedly into a trapped or cornered prey animal, as the bones in the "predominant" appearing arm were a bit more robust with slightly larger muscle attachments.

Anyway, I wandered off into a lecture. Sorry about that. Just ignore everything except my 2 cents on the Ancient Enemy modifiers. I also want to say that I really like the build you've come up with.


Dabbler wrote:
The latest science says non-Africans are 2%-4% Neanderthal (or in one very small Oceanic group, up to 11% Denisovan {an Asiatic offshoot of the Neanderthals}). That is a huge stretch to claim it's 'half' and I think that if there is any bigotry it's in that stretch, which certainly isn't made by the science or the scientists.

I thought the ratio was 2% to 4% OF modern non-African populations carried Neanderthal genes, not that all of them were 2% to 4% Neanderthal. I'm probably wrong. Maybe I need some tea.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I think for ease of play it should just be animals. Easy peasy. Also, they probably did hunt smaller stuff when the big stuff wasn't around, or they couldn't get all their frat buddies to join in a big hunting party, or they just happened upon a brace of coney.


SmiloDan wrote:
I think for ease of play it should just be animals. Easy peasy. Also, they probably did hunt smaller stuff when the big stuff wasn't around, or they couldn't get all their frat buddies to join in a big hunting party, or they just happened upon a brace of coney.

"Ease of play"? Do you think Great to the 100 power Grandpa Ogz had it easy? Why, you young, high foreheaded smart aleck, let me tell you about "ease of play"......

Yeah, I see your point. I tend to overthink this stuff. A Neanderthal build I came up with was mostly based on the one on d20pfsrd.com. I changed the mental fortitude power to more resemble the ability the Neanderthals in the "Clan of the Cave Bear" series, where they drew upon ancestral memories, I suppose because of their brain structure. It allowed them a +1 to a number of skills equal to their Wisdom bonus, if I recall correctly. And I dropped low-light vision.


So back to what Doc the Grey had originally started, what classes would you expect to find most in a Neanderthal society? I figure Barbarian, Druid, Ranger, Witch, and Oracle would be fairly common.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DungeonmasterCal wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
The latest science says non-Africans are 2%-4% Neanderthal (or in one very small Oceanic group, up to 11% Denisovan {an Asiatic offshoot of the Neanderthals}). That is a huge stretch to claim it's 'half' and I think that if there is any bigotry it's in that stretch, which certainly isn't made by the science or the scientists.
I thought the ratio was 2% to 4% OF modern non-African populations carried Neanderthal genes, not that all of them were 2% to 4% Neanderthal. I'm probably wrong. Maybe I need some tea.

Actually I was quoting from memory, a brief search got me this artical that puts it at 1% to 4% for all Eurasian populations as distinct from African populations. I also found this artical on the whole Neanderthal genome project. Interesting reading!

Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
DungeonmasterCal wrote:
So back to what Doc the Grey had originally started, what classes would you expect to find most in a Neanderthal society? I figure Barbarian, Druid, Ranger, Witch, and Oracle would be fairly common.

Really I love the idea of it being open to run just about anything. Outside of the ones above I would love to see some Neanderthal wizards who keep all their spells in books made of hides and in formula that look like cave paintings, the stories they tell in art being the mnemonic trigger they use to remember the spells they are taught. I would also love to see things like a tetori monk neanderthal, the school coming about as a way for neanderthals to take down giant megafauna barehanded. All in all though they would work well for those classes I like to build races that could be good at just about anything and encourage players to think up crazy things that sound really cool.

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