Born of Two Worlds

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

As some of you have no doubt noticed, we haven't said much about half-elves and half-orcs except to confirm that they'll be part of the Pathfinder Playtest. Of all of the ancestry choices in Pathfinder, these were two of the trickiest to design. With the way that the feats are structured, it would be easy enough to just list the feats from both parents (plus some unique options), but that quickly led to cherry-picking the best of both. Moreover, that approach didn't address the base statistics of the ancestry that are very important to overall balance, such as starting hit points and speed.

In the end, we decided to make both half-elves and half-orcs an addition to the human ancestry. You start by selecting human, then take the corresponding heritage feat to represent your diverse ancestry. Let's take a look at the half-elf feat.

Half-Elf Feat 1

Heritage, Human

Either one of your parents was an elf, or one or both were half-elves. You have pointed ears and other telltale signs of elven heritage. You gain the elf trait. Select two of the following benefits: elven speed (increase your Speed by 5 feet), elven tongue (add Elven to your list of languages), gifted speaker (you are trained in Diplomacy), or low-light vision (you can see in dim light as well as you can in bright light). In addition, you can select elf, half-elf, and human feats whenever you gain an ancestry feat.

Special You can select this feat twice. The second time, it loses the heritage trait and you gain the other two benefits.

This approach comes with a number of advantages. First off, it lets us make a half-elf that truly does have some of the advantages of both ancestries, while still allowing you to pick the parts that you think best represent your character's upbringing. Grew up among elves? Then picking up the Elven language makes sense. Had to explain yourself to the humans you grew up with? Then being trained in Diplomacy might be the way to go. As with all of our ancestries, we wanted the choice of being a half-elf or half-orc to be meaningful to your character and expressive of the backstory that you've decided to create. This ancestry feat gives a lot of benefits; to get similar benefits, you would normally use a general feat to pick up Adoptive Ancestry, which grants you access to the ancestry feats from another ancestry (as long as they don't have physiological requirements) to represent your deep connection to another ancestry's culture and traditions. However, being a half-elf gives you access to human feats, elf feats, and half-elf feats (including feats with physiological components), as well as two additional benefits.

At this point, you might be saying, wait, what about humans in general? Let's take a look at some of their options. At its core, human is a very flexible ancestry, with choices like Natural Ambition to gain an extra 1st-level class feat, General Training to gain an extra 1st-level general feat, and Skilled to gain training in two additional skills. However, humans also have fun options for particular builds, like this one for a character who wants to reduce the penalties for being untrained.

Clever Improviser Feat 1

Human

You've learned how to handle situations where you're out of your depth. You gain a +1 circumstance bonus to checks for skills in which you're untrained.

Of course, this approach for half-elves and half-orcs means that we needed to include a few orc feats in the book so players would get the complete experience of being a half-orc. Take a look at this classic feat.

[[R]] Orc Ferocity Feat 1

Orc

Frequency once per day

Trigger You're reduced to 0 Hit Points.


Fierceness in battle runs through your blood, and you refuse to fall from your injuries. When this feat is triggered, you avoid being knocked out and remain at 1 Hit Point.

This allows the half-orc to stay in the fight after taking a felling blow, even a really big hit or a critically failed save against a dragon's breath attack!

In addition to allowing you to choose any feat from both ancestries, we were also able to design a few ancestry feats specifically for half-elves and half-orcs. Take a look at this half-elf feat.

Inspire Imitation Feat 5

Half-Elf

You inspire your allies to great feats through your own actions. Whenever you critically succeed at a skill check, you automatically qualify to take the Aid reaction when attempting to help an ally at the same skill check, even without spending an action to prepare to do so.

This means that when you critically succeed, you can Aid your ally at no extra cost to yourself, which is particularly useful if your ally needs some help doing something at which you excel.

Beyond what this means for half-elves and half-orcs, using an ancestry feat to unlock a more diverse heritage gives us a lot of options for the future. For instance, aasimars, tieflings, and other planar scions come from a wide variety of ancestries in Golarion, instead of just defaulting to human. In Pathfinder First Edition, there's a sidebar to that effect, but it provides no mechanical adjustments for non-human planar scions beyond their size category. The playtest treatment would allow you to build a character whose ancestry really reflects their combined heritage. And if your setting has half-elves and half-orcs where the other parent isn't human, say half-orc/half-dwarf characters, you can just allow the half-orc feat for dwarf characters and the rest of the work is already taken care of. This also opens up a lot of design space (in the form of feats) to explore what otherworldly parentage might mean, giving you different options based on what type of outsider has influenced your heritage, similar to the popular subcategories of aasimar and tieflings (pitborn, musetouched, and so on). Having a solar in the family might grant access to entirely different feats than if your ancestors were blessed by a hound archon.

Now, this approach is a little different than what we've done in the past, so we are going to be asking a few questions about this through surveys during the playtest. We're keen to hear what you think about half-elves and half-orcs in the playtest. Why not roll one up and give it a try?

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

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Captain Morgan wrote:
But at 1st level, humans, half orcs, and half elves all look behind. Unless humans get something else as part of their starting package.

The Half-Its lag behind Humans too. As their 'demi-ancestry' will lock them out of early access to Archetypes or Class Feats needed to achieve certain concepts at 1st level (like an Alchemist-Fencer, or Pirate-Wizard) in addition to delaying access to any having any actual ancestry feats.


UlrichVonLichtenstein wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
UlrichVonLichtenstein wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I've had a couple of characters whose parents were a half-orc and a half-elf, so how do I handle that? However I do it, it's probably better than the PF1 version of "pick one parent to take after."
Ditto to this, in addition to my other concerns...
I think in those cases the child defaults to human?
Well, turns out that you can go Half-Elf/Orc by just taking that Feat multiple times. Heck, I can finally play a Tiefling Halfling or Aassimar Dwarf.

Yeah, or things like a Half-Elf Gnome, opens up the potential for some wild options.

This is perfect for the Elfling race from Dark Sun (Athas).

Shadow Lodge

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"All the core races will be in the book. Oh, but not half-elf or half-orc. Those are human feats now."

See how that just sounds awful? Let's hope we can get them back as full races instead of just Human-but-with pointy-ears.


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Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I guess the question is whether "What the Half-Elf gets from their heritage feat is comparable to what other people get from their heritage or 1st level ancestry feats." A sense I get is that ancestry feats (at least the 1st level ones) are not very strong.
The problem with this logic is that humans can swap their ancestry feat for a class feat. So either the human ancestry feat list is absolutely broken or this assumption is really not the case.
In PF1, humans get an extra feat at 1st level. If it was balanced then, it's balanced now.

I would argue that it wasn't balanced in PF1. Humans are frequently the top 1 or 2 choice for any class due to the bonus feat.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there all,

So we went back and forth a number of times on how the half-elf and half-orc were going to work in the Playtest. This version gave us the flexibility we wanted at the right cost.

The heritage feats to be a half-elf or half-orc make you better than human, in small but meaningful ways.

This right here is *exactly* the problem. Playing half Orc or half elf isn't about being a better human. It's about being a half elf or half Orc.

Plus, quite frankly, taking the extra class feat, skill, etc almost always seems like a win, so half-thing heritage feats seem like a loss.

Further as well, it emphasizes the sense that PF2 ancestries are mechanical packages, not something tied to a sense of identity, background or even species.

Revert to PF1 version, please. This takes away far more than it gives.


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After all the conversation that's happened so far; I've come to the conclusion that if PF2 is all about being able to "make the choices you want", then having no choices at first level if you want to play a half-X runs contrary to that. I feel like at least the major half-X's should get their own base race. That being said I'm still intrigued by the idea of an "X-touched ancestry" feat opening up more options for "human with pointy ears" and the like, so perhaps... perhaps the two options could exist side by side, having both "half elf" and "elfy human" on the table. Now that'd be freedom of choice.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Also, I worry about extensibility- we can always print more dwarf feats to represent more kind of Dwarves, but are half-elves always going to be stuck with "Elvish, +5' move, low-light vision, or training in diplomacy"? It seems like this since one can't amend printed feats, this makes it hard to do something like "deciding in 2017 that there are now 10 kinds of Changelings."

Paizo or anybody else can at any time print more "Half-Elf Heritage Feats" which say "You gain the elf trait. Select two of (totally new ability options). You can select Elf, Half-Elf, and Human Feats when you gain an Ancestry Feat".

It is not a matter of system dictating possibilities, but what they choose to publish. People discussed similar "Alternate Dedication Feats" for Archetypes, and I believe (?) a Paizo dev probably Mark Seifter affirmed those as possibilities. It just isn't a system restriction, only a matter of desire to fulfill that niche. But if they don't want to represent more kinds of Dwarfs, they aren't going to either.

Liberty's Edge

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Cantriped wrote:
As far as I know, the sole benefits be being Human are their Flexible Stat Array (whose value is arguable), and an Ethnic Bonus Language. Their percieved benefits come from the bredth of options they have for their 1st level Ancestry Feat (the same one everyone else gets too)

They also get more HP than Elves.

So the list for Elves is:

+1 Language (Elven)
+5 movement
Low Light Vision

The list for Humans is:

+1 Language (Ethnic)
+2 HP

That's a net bonus of one extra thing for Elves rather than two, and they seem to be valuing +2 HP as much as the bonus movement leaving Elves a whole one option ahead. They also seems to be giving Elves more than most people due to them having their stat penalty in Con (which is probably fair, a Con penalty sucks).

Really, I think the issue in this calculus is overvaluing +2 HP (which are a ridiculously tiny bonus in the long term), rather than an inconsistency between the Half Elf and Elf specifically.

Looking at other Ancestries Halflings and Goblins look a little anemic and Dwarves a bit overpowered, but that might just be because we lack all the facts on them.

Joana wrote:

My assumption (hope?) is that languages are going to be a lot harder to come by in P2e than by just adding a skill point at level up. No more entering a dungeon in Iobara and coming out speaking fluent Ancient Osiriani.

Ancestry feats may be one of only a few ways to get a different language.

Evidence strongly suggests they're rarer and harder to get than in PF1, yes. You get only one bonus language from Int (at 14+), for example. I bet a Skill Feat can get you more (something like 'Linguist' under Society) but that's probably one of only a couple of options.


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Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:

The Devs keep repeating how turning all aspects of the game into feats opens up tons of design space for moving forward, but to me it just seems like lazy design. "I don't feel like actually designing this race/class/archetype/prestige class/spell/whatever, so let's just turn it into a series of feats and call it a day".

Makes me think that instead of books like APG, ultimate magic, and ARG all of the non-bestiary splatbooks for 2.0 will just be "big book of feats volume 1, volume 2, volume 3, etc".

I'm really hoping that actually seeing the whole playtest book will make it make more sense and not seem so bland, but I'm not very optimistic about it.

You can't say it is bad/lazy/good/etc design without talking about it in the context of the design goals. Design quality is incredibly subjective. Is it a design you don't personally like? Clearly, and that's fine. Don't trash the designers, though. They have to balance the wants of many different groups.

Be optimistic and wait excitedly for the playtest.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

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UlrichVonLichtenstein wrote:
Well, turns out that you can go Half-Elf/Orc by just taking that Feat multiple times. Heck, I can finally play a Tiefling Halfling or Aassimar Dwarf.

Half-Elf and Half-Orc are heritage feats, which can only be taken at level 1. Since you only have one level 1 ancestry feat, you can't have both.

A way to allow for planar scion dwarves of half-orc half-elves is to allow the appropriate heritage feat to be taken by non-humans.


Cantriped wrote:
The Half-Its lag behind Humans too. As their 'demi-ancestry' will lock them out of early access to Archetypes or Class Feats needed to achieve certain concepts at 1st level (like an Alchemist-Fencer, or Pirate-Wizard) in addition to delaying access to any having any actual ancestry feats.

How so?

_
glass.


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glass wrote:
Cantriped wrote:
The Half-Its lag behind Humans too. As their 'demi-ancestry' will lock them out of early access to Archetypes or Class Feats needed to achieve certain concepts at 1st level (like an Alchemist-Fencer, or Pirate-Wizard) in addition to delaying access to any having any actual ancestry feats.

How so?

1st level ancestry feat: be half-<whatever>

then 5th level ancestry feat (the next one): take bonus skill/feat/whatever
vs
1st level ancestry feat: bonus skill/feat/whatever.


Saedar wrote:
You can't say it is bad/lazy/good/etc design

He didn't, he said it "seems" like that meaning it's a personal opinion.


I guess this is okay. I have actually played a lot of half orcs and half elves myself and always kind of got the feeling that there was maybe not enough to differentiate those "races" culturally when you hold them up again elves and dwarves who have their own unique histories and what-have-you.

Without reading this whole thread: are there perhaps "half human" ancestry feats for half elves that were raised more in elf society? I don't mind "human exceptionalism" to some extent but I could see this kind of half-breed mechanic running as a sort of two-way street.


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Excaliburproxy wrote:

I guess this is okay. I have actually played a lot of half orcs and half elves myself and always kind of got the feeling that there was maybe not enough to differentiate those "races" culturally when you hold them up again elves and dwarves who have their own unique histories and what-have-you.

Really weird then, that future pathfinder in Space has half-orcs as their own species with few actual orcs around at all, ie, they're something entirely unique in their own right.

Given how many major pathfinder figures are halforcs, half elves or tieflings, with their own unique identities, this seems pretty fundamental backstep from the way the setting treats these races.

It also seems weird that half-kids would grow up as human, and not get their heritage until they get a class level.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
They also get more HP than Elves.

2 HP isn't even worth mentioning when 1st level PCs will have at least two full hit die worth of HP. The minor deviations in Stat Array, Racial HD, and Racial Languages are completely negligable to me... which leaves Humanity nothing to define themselves except for access to an admitedly much better list of Ancestry feats than most races get.

In retrospect perhaps giving Humans an extra Ancestry Feat actually is the easiest solution. Even pure-blood humans seem a little underpowered compared to the extra feat-and-a-half worth of benefits that elves get regardless of their ancestry feat selection.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dragonborn3 wrote:

I just figured something else that bugs me. If you are half of one race and half of another.... why don't BOTH races have the option? Why can only humans be half-elves? Why aren't there half-elves that are far more Elven than Human, and get a "Half-Human" feat they could take too?

Because the fixed parts you get for having a Human ancestry are far less restrictive than what you get with Elf ancestry


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Not terribly keen on this. When I play a half-elf or a half-orc, I don't do it to be a "better" human; I do it to be a half-elf or a half-orc. I'd vastly prefer the idea mentioned by some other posters that the half- ancestries are their own thing, but maybe can take a feat or something to unlock options from their parent ancestries.

I could see this working for ones like the planar ancestries, since those were always described more as mostly human (or other race, more rarely), and it would give more space for non-human aasimar, tieflings, sylphs, etc. But I'm still leery about attaching a cost to it; it cuts out a lot of other choices you might want to make for that character since it takes up your heritage feat.

Count me in the camp that would rather have several weaker (but flavorful) traits at first level rather than one powerful one.

I was initially on board with the "stronger ancestry abilities as you level" thing, but now that I think about it...it's a little weird, thematically. Your elf character isn't usually hanging out with an all-elf party in Kyonin (or equivalent Elf-land) for the entirety of the campaign, so why get better at elf stuff as you go? I can see it working for some types of things, but for others, it's just...odd. (Actually, that's another thing I could see working well for the planar ancestries--the idea that the planar part of their blood expresses itself in different ways as they grow in power. That'd be kinda neat.)


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This feels like a pretty big step backwards and a restrictive gate for future options. While you can start as a fully flushed out Elf/Goblin/Dwarf/etc, you essentially become a Half-Elf/Orc over time? While I think this makes sense for the Planar options, who have in-born supernatural talents that can be developed, I think it feels both restrictive, mechanically underwhelming, and narratively incoherent.

Based on the base feat presented option, I'd make the language automatic and add an additional option to choose from (maybe save a bonus to saves against certain spells or a second skill option). The language is a roleplaying choice mixed in with a bunch of more mechanical options.

For me, this has pretty much been the most disappointing preview for the playtest.

Liberty's Edge

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Excaliburproxy wrote:

I guess this is okay. I have actually played a lot of half orcs and half elves myself and always kind of got the feeling that there was maybe not enough to differentiate those "races" culturally when you hold them up again elves and dwarves who have their own unique histories and what-have-you.

Without reading this whole thread: are there perhaps "half human" ancestry feats for half elves that were raised more in elf society? I don't mind "human exceptionalism" to some extent but I could see this kind of half-breed mechanic running as a sort of two-way street.

To me, the solution is not to down-grade them from the pure races, but to fully flesh them out as unique members of society with elements of their own culture. Yes, they don't 'fit in' perfectly. Yes, they may not claim any nations as their own, but they have their own identity due to this struggle. They stand between two worlds, but belong to neither. THIS is what makes them who they are.

I'd like to see that uniqueness properly reflected in the options provided. They have a niche. Give them it.


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I had considered dropping Ancestry Feats from the game altogether, but making the inclusion of two core Ancestries contingent upon those rules could throw a monkeywrench into that plan...


Crayon wrote:
I had considered dropping Ancestry Feats from the game altogether, but making the inclusion of two core Ancestries contingent upon those rules could throw a monkeywrench into that plan...

Truthfully, if you just use the PF2 stats and use the PF1 abilities as written, I doubt you'll encounter many problems. And you'll have some flavor and distinction between races as a bonus.


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I don't exactly like how this is handled, now that others have pointed out some flaws. But, you can consider me in the camp that considers it better to have Half-Elves and Half-Orcs NOT as separate ancestries. It was always weird to me. But obviously, many people don't feel the same way. So... Yeah. Not sure how to fix all that.


The more I think about it, the more I dislike how this is set up. I'm fine with the half races being subraces of humans, but isn't there a way that they don't have to lose a feat just for being born?


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Honestly, it feels like the cart is being put before the horse, a mechanical approach that might be nice for certain things (like Aasimar) is being prioritized to be used in CRB even when it doesn't strictly add any value. We don't need to have Half-Orcs and -Elves use this mechanic in order for Aasimar or whatever to use it. Not every mechanic needs to be in CRB.

I see the current mechanic premised on concept of balance alongside full access to Human/Elf/Orc Feats. Except the mechanic doesn't actually ensure that, because it's trivial for some racial feat to specify other pre-req that de facto excludes "Halfs" despite having the right Ancestry trait, e.g. also specify racial HD requirement... or also specify Heritage Feat of that race. So what is fundamental difference here, vs. distinct "Half" race being granted specific access to Feats from parent lineages?

The current Heritage Feat approach could even be mechanically simulated with distinct Race/Ancestry representation that just said "you don't get Heritage Feat at first level". Of course, that doesn't address why this approach is justified in first place. Obviously, the justification is hinged on the mechanic itself, a generic mechanic which may be broadly useful, but doesn't speak to the specifics of Half-Elf and Half-Orc which don't involve arbitrary combinations, but are explicitly about very particular combinations.

I'm just not seeing the fundamental gain by not treating Half-Elfs and -Orcs as fully distinct race, by removing their scope of 1st level Heritage Feats. The numeric balance between unique "Half" ancestry feats and ones drawn from parent heritages doesn't hinge on over-all approach here, if Paizo wants to primarily draw from parent heritages, that doesn't conflict with structuring this as distinct race. After all, Class Feats cross-pollinate as well, even using distinct pre-reqs etc. I do think there is value in allowing access to both specific Human/Elf/Orc Heritages and ethnicities and even unique "Half" Heritages, but we can't get that with current approach taking up Heritage Feat.

If Paizo wants these to be core part of game, people will expect the same art & fluff background and everything every other race gets. If you're doing that, there should be VERY good reason to not just go the whole way. I haven't seen any very good reason yet, besides "oh and this is cool mechanic we can use for other stuff too". I think there is also other opportunities that are being overlooked in the over-fixation on this approach, e.g. deal with stat modifiers in different way. Stuff like people proposing "Why not Half-Human Heritage on Elf/Orc chassis" just seems to high-light the distraction of this approach that such an idea is worthwhile considering, rather than just actually mechanically distinguish Half-Elf/Orcs as Ancestry in of themselves.

I think there is also narrative value in distinguishing them from stuff like Aasimar, if it's implication that Half-Elf/Orcs are self-reproducing species, while Aasimar etc are erratic erruptions which aren't consistently self-reproducing. Including Half-Elves/Orcs as "Core Races" suggests Paizo does want some sort of distinction, but the mesaging of current mechanical approach runs counter to that IMHO.

EDIT: And of course, saying "Halfs" can't be actual Ancestry seems to miss the entire point of shift from "Race" to "Ancestry". Even if you don't see them as distinct "Races", surely they are specific Ancestry. (obviously just as prone to sub-variation ala Ethnicities as parent races, but a distinct nature of Ancestry nonetheless)


DFAnton wrote:
The more I think about it, the more I dislike how this is set up. I'm fine with the half races being subraces of humans, but isn't there a way that they don't have to lose a feat just for being born?

You can see my comment above is very critical to this approach... But it just isn't "losing a Feat", it is losing flexibility or options in Feat. You still have full base Human abilities, P1E Half-Elfs/Orcs didn't have those. You gain abilities with the "Half" Heritage Feat, and those are decent value for the Feat (+5' speed is called Fleet. LLV leading to DV are Feats/RagePowers). "Losing a feat" just isn't accurate way to discuss this, which can't help make persuasive critique re: devs.


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Indeed, it's not "losing a feat" it's "Spending a feat to gain some advantages you would not have access to without taking this feat, perhaps most importantly the ability to choose between normally mutually exclusive lists for future choices".

I mean, let's not forget that "dual path" was far and away the best tier 1 mythic feat. Now the big difference is that you could gain 10 mythic path abilities but it seems like you only get like 5 total ancestry feats.

Sovereign Court

What I am wondering right now is how things like Half drow will be handled.

I expect Drow to be an heritage feat which will be a pre requisite for a few ancestry feat, but I'm afraid that if it is the case, this will exclude half drow, or it will require a new half-it feat, which will be weird since drow should be an elf heritage thing, and we would end up with two half-it feat for the same Ancestry.


Timing is never on my side.

Had I waited 10 minutes for your post, Quandary, I would never have made mine. Your arguments are much sounder.


No worries, we all love the same game.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Indeed, it's not "losing a feat" it's "Spending a feat to gain some advantages you would not have access to without taking this feat, perhaps most importantly the ability to choose between normally mutually exclusive lists for future choices".

Except that it's really more like Spending a feat to gain a fraction of the advantages your parents got for free.


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Why are Half-Elf and Half-Orc presented as feat options, but the Half-Ling is its own race? Seems unfair?


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Ling ancestry in core or we riot!


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So being a half-elf or half-orc is a feat instead of a race now. Can't say I like that idea much at all. Mechanically is seems to work, but the concept of half-elves and half-orcs just being an option for humans rubs me the wrong way.


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Cantriped wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Indeed, it's not "losing a feat" it's "Spending a feat to gain some advantages you would not have access to without taking this feat, perhaps most importantly the ability to choose between normally mutually exclusive lists for future choices".
Except that it's really more like Spending a feat to gain a fraction of the advantages your parents got for free.

Well, all elves get is an ability bonus in Dex and Int in addition to one floating, 6 HP, an ability flaw in Constitution, +5' speed, elvish as a language, and low light vision.

We don't actually know how much HP humans get to start but 8 is a reasonable guess (Dwarves get 10 which is the most), you have one less ability bonus but it can be in any two stats, and you have no ability flaw, also you get 1/3 to 2/3 of what elves get from their ancestry (Elves don't have an option to be trained in diplomacy).

So looking at it another way would there be elves who would gladly give up an ancestry feat and the ability to speak Elvish for 2 more HP, no Con penalty, and to swap their Dex/Int ability bonuses for a second floating one, and the ability to take human feats?

Edit: Also, this is assuming that humans get nothing from their ancestry save for HP and a feat. It's entirely plausible that humans might get something else like "pick a skill, be trained in it."

Wayfinders

I am really excited about the possibilities inherent in the ancestral feats but want to echo a lot of the concerns I've read here.

Where are the half-human elves and orcs?
Why are elves playable and orcs not?

I've gotten used to the idea that the human plague is the base standard for Golarion but feel like by making my half orcs purely a subcategory I'm having play options limited and taken away.

Please please include Orcs and half_human orcs and half-human elves and break the ancestry feats for half elves and half orcs away from human only. I'd like Orc PCs to no longer be homebrew only.


Cantriped wrote:
As far as I know, the sole benefits be being Human are their Flexible Stat Array (whose value is arguable), and an Ethnic Bonus Language. Their percieved benefits come from the bredth of options they have for their 1st level Ancestry Feat (the same one everyone else gets too)

Something I realize: half-elves/orcs keep that ethnic bonus language, letting you still represent where they're from to some degree without requiring any other heritage feats.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
I've had a couple of characters whose parents were a half-orc and a half-elf, so how do I handle that? However I do it, it's probably better than the PF1 version of "pick one parent to take after."

From my memory, half-orc/elf doesn't actually exist in Golarion, but if you wanted to represent that, there's a pretty easy way. Apply half-orc to elf, or apply half-elf to orc (when that comes out).

Dragonborn3 wrote:
GM OfAnything wrote:
Dragonborn3 wrote:

I just figured something else that bugs me. If you are half of one race and half of another.... why don't BOTH races have the option? Why can only humans be half-elves? Why aren't there half-elves that are far more Elven than Human, and get a "Half-Human" feat they could take too?

It's a lot easier to add abilities to the blank slate that is human, than it is to completely alter what the elf ancestry grants.
They aren't altering how being an Elf works if they add a feat that lets them be half-elves anymore than they are changing how being a Human works.

Well, if you applied it to elf, what would you have to see?

* Switch the stat bonuses and penalties to one flexible stat.
* Gain 2 HP.

As well as any other changes you'd have to make to the actual traits.

Voss wrote:

Given how many major pathfinder figures are halforcs, half elves or tieflings, with their own unique identities, this seems pretty fundamental backstep from the way the setting treats these races.

It also seems weird that half-kids would grow up as human, and not get their heritage until they get a class level.

It's technically in Ancestry, Background, Class order, so if NPCs don't get Class (or even Background) they'd still be a half-elf.


BTW, this is really agnostic to over-all approach, but I kind of like idea of Race-Ancestry Feats having pre-reqs of specific Race abilities, e.g. Elf Speed. Which would limit anybody who 'counts as Elf' from accessing ALL Elf Feats, unless they can gain ALL Elf Race abilities, but in a plausibly thematic way (assuming Feats have thematically relevant pre-req abilities). I think this approach also yields more SUPPLENESS in that the balance assumption does not need to inherently be hinged on 'access to two full Ancestry Feat lists', although it's possible that could be achieved if there is way to gain ALL Race abilities of both parent races (which I assume would require further cost above the norm, i.e. potentially several Feats). One thing to consider is these all don't have to feed off the same trough, or they don't all need to be same Feat type. A Half-Elf race could qualify for General Feats which grant some of these racial abilities, for example.


Quandary wrote:
I'm just not seeing the fundamental gain by not treating Half-Elfs and -Orcs as fully distinct race, by removing their scope of 1st level Heritage Feats. The numeric balance between unique "Half" ancestry feats and ones drawn from parent heritages doesn't hinge on over-all approach here, if Paizo wants to primarily draw from parent heritages, that doesn't conflict with structuring this as distinct race.

I'm not sure there's that much of a bonus to structuring it as its own page apart from just the feeling of individuality. Assuming half-elves aren't supposed to get all four of the elven bonuses by default (or they'd be automatically superior to elves), the page ends up being "human, but the half-elf bonuses are here instead". Honestly, if they keep half the bonuses, the ancestry feat, and the full access to all three lists, they'd definitely be superior to elves in almost every aspect - the exception being speaking Elven.

What this approach does offer is more choice - do I want my half-elf to be more elfy or more humany, and in what ways? What it loses (at least theoretically, I'm not sure how it's laid out in the book) is the overview, the listing on Half-Elf/Half-Orc Adventurers, and the distinct separation.

What I'm unsure about is losing the ancestry feat - from quick calculations, it's certainly balanced, but it doesn't really feel that great. I'm not really sure if there's a solid way to work around that aside from giving an extra heritage feat to everyone, though, which is the tricky part.


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So, are they still core races?
This isn't a barbed question, I'm just confused.

Wayfinders

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1of1 wrote:

So, are they still core races?

This isn't a barbed question, I'm just confused.

My interpretation is they aren't. They are now human+ options.


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Theshe wrote:
1of1 wrote:

So, are they still core races?

This isn't a barbed question, I'm just confused.
My interpretation is they aren't. They are now human+ options.

Seconded, they're pretty much a human feat choice. We're net -1 Core race vs. first edition.

Shadow Lodge

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Technically they are core feats. Because this is Featfinder.


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It's a good excuse for them to never make a half-orc or -elf iconic, I guess.


I'm so late...
I liked it, but the whole ancestry thing is something I'll check out carefully once the playtest is out. I don't know to feel about this whole subsystem.


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I don't like this overall, but I would be very disappointed if they did this to Changelings. Mechanically a lot differentiated them from humans and other races, and it would be hard to recreate them with an ancestry feat progression. I doubt they would let you have claws, the natural armor bonus, darkvision, and the hag trait all at level one.

Which is hugely disappointing, because that would be sweet. Please spare Changelings this weird half-race massacre (they were really only kind of a half race anyway, when you get down to it. More like the biological nymph stage of a hag.)


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Arachnofiend wrote:
It's a good excuse for them to never make a half-orc or -elf iconic, I guess.

RIP Seltiyel, Imrijka, Oloch, and Jirelle.

You know, 3 of those classes might have been obsolesced already. I'm less sure about Inquisitor.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I am...weirdly fascinated by how revolutionary this idea is. This could essentially open up a series of "Half" races that we've never had stats for. Imagine a half-orc who is also half elf who is also an aasimar.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Hey there all,

Just checking back in on this thread as the mad dash to Gen Con continues here in the office. I can see that folks are passionately debating the finer points of this decision and that there are many calling these choices into question.

That is why we playtest.

I am not sure that any member of the team was fully satisfied with this solution for the Playtest rulebook, but it was one that justified some of the more optimized choices that could be made over the career of a character from having access to both parent's lists of ancestry feats. That had to cost something, but it is becoming clear that there is a, albeit early and based on incomplete data, sense that the cost is too high.

We are eager to see what the wider playtest audience thinks of this decision once the entire ruleset is released. Moves like this are high on the list of things we will be paying very close attention to over the next few months. If this thread is any indicator, I am sure we will be making a number of changes to see what we can do to improve the usability of the half-elf and half-orc.

Remember, we are all on the same team here folks. You might not agree with some of the choices we have made, but we all want to work toward creating the best Pathfinder game that we can make.

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