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Viability of the Advanced Race Guide's Race Builder


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Hello, all.

I'm taking a look at the Race Builder rules of the Advanced Race Guide and finding it... questionable. Some of the point values seem well and truly skewed. Why, for example, would I take the Skilled racial trait when I could simply bump from +2 to any stat to +2 to any two stats and save three points?

Conversely, things like Paragon are friggin' horrible. +4 for a -6? That's great, if you want to be an easily dominated, one-dimensional DM-pancake.

I'm also surprised at the rather steep value of skills. Or rather, the unweighted value of skills. Good skills (like perception) seem like they should be worth, well, considerably more than skills like Profession, but there's no distinction....

For those of you that have used it (or those that have refused to), what experiences have you had with it?

Cheliax

For my friend's campaign, where we use assorted monster races (Lamias, Kitsune, Kobolds, etc.) it really helped us make up some of the races that didn't have PC stat blocks.

Is it perfect? God, no. But it totally worked for what we needed.

Grand Lodge

It's borked...really, You can do some really nasty things at even 10 points.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The Race Builder seems like the magic item creation rules - a helpful set of guidelines for the GM to use to estimate where a custom race/item stands - not a system that is balanced well enough that a GM can let players use it without GM oversight.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I use it as guidelines only and a database of some suggested racial traits to use. I've made a few different races for my players with it.
There are even pathfinder races that break the rules stated in it.
Guidelines and a database. Nothing more.


As others have already mentioned, the race builder is meant to be a useful tool for DMs that create their own settings and/or want to add new races. If you give it to the players and tell them to customize their very own dream race, it'll break in two.

Similar to how most characters that gain access to the "craft custom magic items"-rules immediately create items that are race, skill, alignment and class-restricted to gather discounts on items only they will use. 70% off on my magical sword? Sure!


Brogue The Rogue wrote:
I'm taking a look at the Race Builder rules of the Advanced Race Guide and finding it... questionable. Some of the point values seem well and truly skewed. Why, for example, would I take the Skilled racial trait when I could simply bump from +2 to any stat to +2 to any two stats and save three points?

Sorry, I don't entirely follow that last part. I get that you object to the "Skilled" trait, the one that humans currently get, which grants an additional skill rank at each level.

It's the bold part that I don't get. Are you talking about switching the "Human Heritage" ability score modifier (0 RP) to the "Flexible" ability score modifier (2 RP)? Because if so, three things: a) this would only save you 2 RP, b) the human heritage modifier allows you to change your stats at character creation; the Flexible one requires the GM who is creating the race to decide where those points go (say, +2 Str and +2 Int) while building the race, and c) the "Skilled" trait has advantages over the skill points you get from having +2 int; for example, a Fighter who dumped Int is still going to gain two skill points each level, not just one: a minimum of one skill point from his class, and one skill point from Skilled. This doesn't completely excuse the cost, and we can still argue that 4 RP is too much, but it isn't quite the way you described it.

If you meant something else, I'm sorry, I couldn't figure out what. ^__^ It's like 6 am over here.

I do find some things to be a little too expensive. The half-construct type, for example, doesn't seem to be worth 7 RP to me. The ability to go without food or sleep is nice, as is the +2 bonus to a few saves and the like, but being unable to be raised is scary. There are others that stand out as well, but I won't go down the whole list.

However, it's impossible to completely balance something like this. Of course you can min/max it, making better use of some abilities than others - any time you price things rigidly, you're going to have that problem. That's why we have so many posts about optimization; if every feat selection was 100% as good as any other, you could choose them at random and still be just as happy with your character - obviously that's ridiculous.

For example, a race that suffers a -4 penalty to Dexterity isn't going to get that much out of a +2 bonus to Acrobatics. It will help them mitigate the penalty to their dex, but they still won't be able to compete with, say, a halfling.

It's really up to GMs to work something out and decide for themselves what they think is fair, and most of all, what's fun. I'm glad to have the guidelines.

Silver Crusade

I just finished a few races with it. I banged my head against it for a while because of some of the costs.

Why is a dragon 10 points but a elf free? elf should have elf immunity but isn't forced to get it the way the dragon is forced to pay for it's abilities. Things like that are a bit off. What kind of creature it is should be free. (even constructs and undead, explain below)

I think various traits should have limits to who can get them based on which type you started with. Almost like a trait path or type tree of traits like you see in some RTS or RTS games. almost like feats in that some require others to work. that way you can leave the types as free as much as possible. then again, after seeing certain machines that heal i would even say leave all types as free and let the creator pick the trait path that suits the race. If i want to make a construct that needs to eat and can heal then that should be an option.

Extra arms seems expensive. to make a 4 arm creature costs 8? seems high unless it gives someone ambidexterity or a bonus attack or two weapon fighting feat or something. a guy with 4 arms isn't equal to a guy with 8 pts work of attributes. I think each arm should add a +1 to climb or juggle or something.

Over all it's a good start and has enough there to work with to create most races. I dug out a few of my crazier races and so far there are few problems but still it's workable.

Hollow Angels
These hauntingly beautiful women were built by a powerful wizard to be servants and messengers and sometimes spies. He died leaving them free to find their own way in the world. Their biggest flaw is that they are made of porcelain.
The Construct type gives extra hit points... they should have less or at least no bonus. ( constructs could be made of wood or straw and string, maybe a material list to rough out what the traits should be. from DR for diamond to a scare-crow's weakness to fire. )

being porcelain they should take x2 damage from bludgeoning damage.
(should be a generic vulnerability weakness trait(x2 damage from x (rp2)?)
*Fragile Construct Type (see below)
the rest of their traits were fine.
14rp worth of traits (34 being a construct) (40 if given wings)

Phoenix blooded
These Strix like people feast on the blood of the phoenix in a holy ceremony. Because of this these holy flyers are gifted with phoenix like rebirth when killed.
Self Resurrection: 1d4 minutes character is self resurrected to full health. The Phoenix blooded gains a -1 permanent level when this happens. I have no idea how much this would cost. I'd put it at 7rp (same as spell).
rest of traits same as Strix.

Scare Crow
This wizard when he wasn't making beautiful servants made scare-crow workers for the field. when he fell they left to find their own lands to tend.
should have a new type *Fragile construct. vulnerable to fire.
ancient fow(crows) or is it (birds)
this guy is all speed and silent hunter.
rest is pretty standard so he works pretty well.

*Fragile construct(rp10)
HP treat as one size lower
choose one vulnerability (x2 damage)
Although i noticed skeleton with 5/bludgeon I wonder if i am making them the right way. but making them even more resistant and more expensive to then make them vulnerable to a hammer seems odd to me.
carrying capacity is one size lower.
rest is the same.

well thats as far as i got with the rules. In the end I think i have to agree they are guidelines and will need to be fudged into working the way you want. they still don't take into account feats that can replace some traits or enhance them like you see in the pre generated races nor building archetypes.

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