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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The Raven Black wrote:
Almarane wrote:

After talking to one of my player, he pointed out that Orc Ferocity might be even more powerful than what I thought and dying rules might be weirder. Here's an exemple he told me :

The party has vainquished a mad wizard on top of his tower when said tower is collapsing. The 4 heroes jump from the window, fall down 200 meters, get up ten seconds later and run before the tower collapses. (in his scenario, you fall and end up at dying 3, but you can still survive with a success on your stabilization roll)
As for Orc Ferocity, the half-orc wouldn't even need to take a breather. He would just jump, activate his Orc Ferocity and do the hero-landing at 1 HP.

Half-orc Drax : Do it Quill ! I can take it !

This new feat put the light on the strangeness of the dying rules in our opinion. It will most certainly be a must-have. This may need to be playtested thoroughly.

IIRC any level of Dying makes you unconscious and you're still out even if you are healed back to full health

Which now mandates that the healer is a half-orc :-D

As I said in a previous post : half-orc healers incoming =P

Voss wrote:
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.

For your first point, you are only taking into account a system that was created before PF2. Of course Half-Orcs would be their own races in Starfinder : it was based on PF 1st edition.

And for your second point (half-kids), of course they would be half kids from their birth. Levels, feats and class skills are just abstractions to reflect your abilities. I can say that my character is a wielder of magics both profane and divine since level one even though I only have the Sorcerer class at this time, but plan on taking Cleric at level 2, 3, or even 10. PF1 Valeros could wield two swords. That doesn't mean he had the whole two-weapon fighting feat tree from the get go.
If you really want to go that way, then characters are considered Commoner 1 from their birth. So technically your character could have taken the Half Heritage feat.

----------------

I feel like many people against this blog think they lose a feat by doing a Half Heritage feat. I don't see it this way for two reasons :
- First, you get some things that you wouldn't be able to get or that would require other feats to get (for exemple for the elf : increased move speed is only for elf characters or Trained in Diplomacy would require a Skill Feat).
- Second, the Half Heritage opens two whole new feat trees. Even if the Half isn't that fleshed out (which would be weird, and would still be fixable, and can't be worse than PF1 options for Half-breeds), you would at least get 1.5 new feat trees. You could take the best of three worlds. (maybe humans, with their adaptability, could get a feat that would allow them to increase their spell slots, while elves, masters of magic, would get a feat that increase their spell damages)

You don't take Half Heritage feats just to say "I'm a half-orc/elf" like many seem to imply. To me, those feats look more like Combat Expertise from PF1, which gives you a benefit and a tone of new options.

Silver Crusade

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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I like the idea of seeing Rysky solo riot.
It’s not a pleasant sight :3

Nah, you won't be solo, I'm in. Imrijka is too cool to go.

I care less about some other Iconics, and would be fine with any and all of them switching Classes if necessary, but several are awesome and needs to stay (most notable, aside from Imrijka, are Quinn, Alahazra, and Feiya).

That really only makes it better Rysky flipping cars and burning buildings while deadman's trying to get peoples attention so he can calmly explain his side of things.

Yessssssss.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I like the idea of seeing Rysky solo riot.
It’s not a pleasant sight :3

Nah, you won't be solo, I'm in. Imrijka is too cool to go.

I care less about some other Iconics, and would be fine with any and all of them switching Classes if necessary, but several are awesome and needs to stay (most notable, aside from Imrijka, are Quinn, Alahazra, and Feiya).

Ye!

*hugs*

I also really like Shardra and Kolo, and Yoon (pretty much all of the Occult Iconics), and Jirelle :3


Deadmanwalking wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
But I guess some questions worth considering are:

These are good questions. I approve of them.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
- How many choices is it reasonable to ask someone to make at character generation?
A fairly small number. However, Ability Scores and Skills aside (which are both pretty straightforward), right now you make 6 choices total (Ancestry, Ancestry Feat, Background, Class, Class-based choice like Domains or Totem, Class Feat). I don't think upping it to 7 with a second Ancestry Feat is over the line.

Though, depending on the class, might you also need to choose spells known/spellbook, features, and/or powers? Do Archetypes not come online until 2nd-level?


Voss wrote:
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.

Could you unpack that a little more, as I am afraid I am still not following. None of it seems to have anything to do with class feats (and therefore archetypes).

_
glass.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
glass wrote:
Voss wrote:
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.

Could you unpack that a little more, as I am afraid I am still not following. None of it seems to have anything to do with class feats (and therefore archetypes).

_
glass.

If the archetype requires a certain class feat/skill feat that humans can take with their versatile ancestry feats abilities, then can take that archetype at 2nd level while a half-elf can't get the required feat until later.

Of course, any non-half-race can't get the bonus feat at all.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Meophist wrote:
I sorta feel one possible solution to a lot of the problems people have brought up with ancestries would be to give humans two ancestry feats to start, and improve the other base ancestries to make up for it.

Eh. Two ancestry feats at 1st level would be REALLY potent on a human, because they could take so many different things. I think to make it work you'd either need to limit it to a heritage feat (and have a generic human heritage for those who don't want to be halfies) or take away the human's ability to choose class and general feats. And if you do the former, it kind of raises the question of why not just give everyone another feat to spend on heritage at level 1.

I think the easiest thing to do would be to give the human an extra skill training or two at 1st level. That would also be pretty close to emulating the basic human package from PF1.

I do feel human feats may have to be restricted at bit, at least at first level, but this would be the only way of getting something like a planetouched Half-Orc.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I like the idea of seeing Rysky solo riot.
It’s not a pleasant sight :3

Nah, you won't be solo, I'm in. Imrijka is too cool to go.

I care less about some other Iconics, and would be fine with any and all of them switching Classes if necessary, but several are awesome and needs to stay (most notable, aside from Imrijka, are Quinn, Alahazra, and Feiya).

That really only makes it better Rysky flipping cars and burning buildings while deadman's trying to get peoples attention so he can calmly explain his side of things.

I have some spare torches and pitchforks. What are we rioting against again? Rabble, rabble, rabble, rabble!

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I like the idea of seeing Rysky solo riot.
It’s not a pleasant sight :3

Nah, you won't be solo, I'm in. Imrijka is too cool to go.

I care less about some other Iconics, and would be fine with any and all of them switching Classes if necessary, but several are awesome and needs to stay (most notable, aside from Imrijka, are Quinn, Alahazra, and Feiya).

That really only makes it better Rysky flipping cars and burning buildings while deadman's trying to get peoples attention so he can calmly explain his side of things.
I have some spare torches and pitchforks. What are we rioting against again? Rabble, rabble, rabble, rabble!

We want our Half-Elves and Half-Orcs back.

Liberty's Edge

Rysky wrote:
graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I like the idea of seeing Rysky solo riot.
It’s not a pleasant sight :3

Nah, you won't be solo, I'm in. Imrijka is too cool to go.

I care less about some other Iconics, and would be fine with any and all of them switching Classes if necessary, but several are awesome and needs to stay (most notable, aside from Imrijka, are Quinn, Alahazra, and Feiya).

That really only makes it better Rysky flipping cars and burning buildings while deadman's trying to get peoples attention so he can calmly explain his side of things.
I have some spare torches and pitchforks. What are we rioting against again? Rabble, rabble, rabble, rabble!
We want our Half-Elves and Half-Orcs back.

Back as full ancestries

Which means any later half- will also need the full ancestry treatment

If this gives the devs to much work trying to balance it all, we will rarely if ever see new half- possibilities IMO


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
We want our Half-Elves and Half-Orcs back.

Cool. I'll give you a 'fighting the good fight' discount on those torches and pitchforks. ;)


The Raven Black wrote:
Rysky wrote:
graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I like the idea of seeing Rysky solo riot.
It’s not a pleasant sight :3

Nah, you won't be solo, I'm in. Imrijka is too cool to go.

I care less about some other Iconics, and would be fine with any and all of them switching Classes if necessary, but several are awesome and needs to stay (most notable, aside from Imrijka, are Quinn, Alahazra, and Feiya).

That really only makes it better Rysky flipping cars and burning buildings while deadman's trying to get peoples attention so he can calmly explain his side of things.
I have some spare torches and pitchforks. What are we rioting against again? Rabble, rabble, rabble, rabble!
We want our Half-Elves and Half-Orcs back.

Back as full ancestries

Which means any later half- will also need the full ancestry treatment

If this gives the devs to much work trying to balance it all, we will rarely if ever see new half- possibilities IMO

Well balancing new races never proved an issue in PF1e, I don't see it being that much worse in PF2e. If anything the Ancestry Feat system should make it easier, as now you don't have to worry about them maybe getting a whole dump of possibly OP stuff at level 1, and (though it will undoubtedly be controversial) rebalance OP abilities by errata'ing that feat.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Shinigami02 wrote:
now you don't have to worry about them maybe getting a whole dump of possibly OP stuff at level 1

I'm more worried that instead of getting cool/interesting abilities at 1st, I'll have to wait until 18th level before I can become a 'full' member of my race. Lets face it, it's less than exciting if you're almost done with the characters total levels before you get an ability that your character should have had before they started playing... Things seem FAR, FAR too stretched out for my tastes.


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Almarane wrote:

I feel like many people against this blog think they lose a feat by doing a Half Heritage feat. I don't see it this way for two reasons :

- First, you get some things that you wouldn't be able to get or that would require other feats to get (for exemple for the elf : increased move speed is only for elf characters or Trained in Diplomacy would require a Skill Feat).
- Second, the Half Heritage opens two whole new feat trees. Even if the Half isn't that fleshed out (which would be weird, and would still be fixable, and can't be worse than PF1 options for Half-breeds), you would at least get 1.5 new feat trees. You could take the best of three worlds. (maybe humans, with their adaptability, could get a feat that would allow them to increase their spell slots, while elves, masters of magic, would get a feat that increase their spell damages)

You don't take Half Heritage feats just to say "I'm a half-orc/elf" like many seem to imply. To me, those feats look more like Combat Expertise from PF1, which gives you a benefit and a tone of new options.

Hmm, weird. I always took Half Orc/Elf because I thought it suited the character. Why do I have to suddenly weigh the options of picking it now?

You've turned a fully fleshed out race into a math problem.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
MerlinCross wrote:
Almarane wrote:

I feel like many people against this blog think they lose a feat by doing a Half Heritage feat. I don't see it this way for two reasons :

- First, you get some things that you wouldn't be able to get or that would require other feats to get (for exemple for the elf : increased move speed is only for elf characters or Trained in Diplomacy would require a Skill Feat).
- Second, the Half Heritage opens two whole new feat trees. Even if the Half isn't that fleshed out (which would be weird, and would still be fixable, and can't be worse than PF1 options for Half-breeds), you would at least get 1.5 new feat trees. You could take the best of three worlds. (maybe humans, with their adaptability, could get a feat that would allow them to increase their spell slots, while elves, masters of magic, would get a feat that increase their spell damages)

You don't take Half Heritage feats just to say "I'm a half-orc/elf" like many seem to imply. To me, those feats look more like Combat Expertise from PF1, which gives you a benefit and a tone of new options.

Hmm, weird. I always took Half Orc/Elf because I thought it suited the character. Why do I have to suddenly weigh the options of picking it now?

You've turned a fully fleshed out race into a math problem.

Agreed. I don't know where the notion of "you don't take half heritage feats just to say 'I'm a ...'" would even come from. Munchkins who treat every character decision as a means to power are actually rarer than people think, in my experience.

I pick half-races (they're actually my favorite) because I feel they make for interesting backgrounds and RP opportunities.


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I fully cop to at times taking half-elf because the "Free" EWP from Ancestral Arms was needed to make my build work (feats can be tight for martial classes) and the rest of the package was more interesting than being human and spending a your bonus feat on an exotic weapon (either directly or through military tradition.)

But the "power game" choice in PF1 was usually "human" anyway or "a race with the specific stat array I want" (often some kind of aasimar).


is there a confirmed list of races that are being play tested? the Core + goblins correct?


Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
is there a confirmed list of races that are being play tested? the Core + goblins correct?

For the both classes and races/ancestries we just have "what was in core in PF1, plus one new thing (Alchemists and Goblins)".


1 person marked this as a favorite.
DFAnton wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Almarane wrote:

I feel like many people against this blog think they lose a feat by doing a Half Heritage feat. I don't see it this way for two reasons :

- First, you get some things that you wouldn't be able to get or that would require other feats to get (for exemple for the elf : increased move speed is only for elf characters or Trained in Diplomacy would require a Skill Feat).
- Second, the Half Heritage opens two whole new feat trees. Even if the Half isn't that fleshed out (which would be weird, and would still be fixable, and can't be worse than PF1 options for Half-breeds), you would at least get 1.5 new feat trees. You could take the best of three worlds. (maybe humans, with their adaptability, could get a feat that would allow them to increase their spell slots, while elves, masters of magic, would get a feat that increase their spell damages)

You don't take Half Heritage feats just to say "I'm a half-orc/elf" like many seem to imply. To me, those feats look more like Combat Expertise from PF1, which gives you a benefit and a tone of new options.

Hmm, weird. I always took Half Orc/Elf because I thought it suited the character. Why do I have to suddenly weigh the options of picking it now?

You've turned a fully fleshed out race into a math problem.

Agreed. I don't know where the notion of "you don't take half heritage feats just to say 'I'm a ...'" would even come from. Munchkins who treat every character decision as a means to power are actually rarer than people think, in my experience.

I pick half-races (they're actually my favorite) because I feel they make for interesting backgrounds and RP opportunities.

I totally agree. Have to be careful comparing 1e to 2e, and rather compare 2e to 2e.

Yes, you can't be a Half-elf from start (where you'd be able to, theoretically choose from human OR elven ancestry feats right away).
But the games are different. There are WAAY more "racial feats" than before, with much wider benefit (ancestry feats). Which is why they explained (as I understand it) that standalone split races are too powerful.
Have to think about it terms of "I am a Human, I can take a human feat at 1st to give me (x,y,or z) OR become a half-elf and get (2 of 4 new racial abilities) and open up the ability to take from 2 sets of feats".

Which does kind of open up a bigger question of playtest feedback. I wonder what happens when a majority of people "complain" about something because they liked it the way it was before (even if the developers have the math/reasons to prove it's too powerful or breaks stuff).
I assume the devs will not capitulate in these cases (good) but will still cause some backlash (they didn't listen to us).
Giving a voice is super-cool and a really good idea, but of course some people are going to think they should have more "ownership" on the finished product than they do.

Dark Archive

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Are half-elves and half-orcs still going to get full culture write-ups like they did in PF1? Part of my concern with this design choice is that the half races could wind up getting less love than ever.
Half-elves, for instance, had some obviously inherited traits (I'm looking at you Elven Immunities). CRB half-elves were boring, but expanded options gave them some things unique to them. They were the only races that could get proficiency in any exotic weapon at level 1 regardless of class, for instance.
Half-orcs have always been more unique among core races, because their other half wasn't also core.

However, in making half-elves and half-orcs mechanical off-shoots from humans, I'm worried that their unique identity will be lost. Part of this might be rectified in later levels by picking up either combinations of human and elf/orc feats or the options unique to half-orcs or half-elves.
It doesn't change the fact that before level 5 half-elves and half-orcs are going to look remarkably similar to one another.

Where humans and elves both have a bunch of feats to differentiate themselves from other humans and elves, half-elves have 2/4 options to choose from, and don't get another until 5 (I think)

It might be fine, but those are some of my concerns with the half-races.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
DFAnton wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Almarane wrote:

I feel like many people against this blog think they lose a feat by doing a Half Heritage feat. I don't see it this way for two reasons :

- First, you get some things that you wouldn't be able to get or that would require other feats to get (for exemple for the elf : increased move speed is only for elf characters or Trained in Diplomacy would require a Skill Feat).
- Second, the Half Heritage opens two whole new feat trees. Even if the Half isn't that fleshed out (which would be weird, and would still be fixable, and can't be worse than PF1 options for Half-breeds), you would at least get 1.5 new feat trees. You could take the best of three worlds. (maybe humans, with their adaptability, could get a feat that would allow them to increase their spell slots, while elves, masters of magic, would get a feat that increase their spell damages)

You don't take Half Heritage feats just to say "I'm a half-orc/elf" like many seem to imply. To me, those feats look more like Combat Expertise from PF1, which gives you a benefit and a tone of new options.

Hmm, weird. I always took Half Orc/Elf because I thought it suited the character. Why do I have to suddenly weigh the options of picking it now?

You've turned a fully fleshed out race into a math problem.

Agreed. I don't know where the notion of "you don't take half heritage feats just to say 'I'm a ...'" would even come from. Munchkins who treat every character decision as a means to power are actually rarer than people think, in my experience.

I pick half-races (they're actually my favorite) because I feel they make for interesting backgrounds and RP opportunities.

Ahh, good then. We can skip all ancestry feats then and just give each ancestry the ability scores adjustments they have at present. Nothing else, since people seem to only take their ancestries for the interesting backgrounds and the RP opportunities they provide.


Ectar wrote:
Are half-elves and half-orcs still going to get full culture write-ups like they did in PF1? Part of my concern with this design choice is that the half races could wind up getting less love than ever.

With PF2's full "we're not going to pretend Golarion isn't the default setting" and "we don't want to publish the same books twice" I have to imagine the focus will be less on specific groups of people and what they're like all over the world (e.g. "Dwarves of Golarion") the focus will instead be on specific places, and in that book we'll talk about the place and all the various peoples who inhabit it.

So like if it's a book about Ustalav we'll see a lot about half orcs, but if it's somewhere with very few dwarves, they won't see a large word count.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
GentleGiant wrote:
DFAnton wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Almarane wrote:

I feel like many people against this blog think they lose a feat by doing a Half Heritage feat. I don't see it this way for two reasons :

- First, you get some things that you wouldn't be able to get or that would require other feats to get (for exemple for the elf : increased move speed is only for elf characters or Trained in Diplomacy would require a Skill Feat).
- Second, the Half Heritage opens two whole new feat trees. Even if the Half isn't that fleshed out (which would be weird, and would still be fixable, and can't be worse than PF1 options for Half-breeds), you would at least get 1.5 new feat trees. You could take the best of three worlds. (maybe humans, with their adaptability, could get a feat that would allow them to increase their spell slots, while elves, masters of magic, would get a feat that increase their spell damages)

You don't take Half Heritage feats just to say "I'm a half-orc/elf" like many seem to imply. To me, those feats look more like Combat Expertise from PF1, which gives you a benefit and a tone of new options.

Hmm, weird. I always took Half Orc/Elf because I thought it suited the character. Why do I have to suddenly weigh the options of picking it now?

You've turned a fully fleshed out race into a math problem.

Agreed. I don't know where the notion of "you don't take half heritage feats just to say 'I'm a ...'" would even come from. Munchkins who treat every character decision as a means to power are actually rarer than people think, in my experience.

I pick half-races (they're actually my favorite) because I feel they make for interesting backgrounds and RP opportunities.

Ahh, good then. We can skip all ancestry feats then and just give each ancestry the ability scores adjustments they have at present. Nothing else, since people seem to only take their ancestries for the interesting backgrounds and the RP opportunities they provide.

Do you really think this absurd reductionism makes a point? Or contributes to the discussion in any meaningful (not to mention mature) way?

Obviously ancestry choices matter to a build, such as the aforementioned half-elf for weapon proficiency. The post in question implied that half-races are only good for mechanical purposes.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I like the idea of seeing Rysky solo riot.
It’s not a pleasant sight :3

Nah, you won't be solo, I'm in. Imrijka is too cool to go.

I care less about some other Iconics, and would be fine with any and all of them switching Classes if necessary, but several are awesome and needs to stay (most notable, aside from Imrijka, are Quinn, Alahazra, and Feiya).

That really only makes it better Rysky flipping cars and burning buildings while deadman's trying to get peoples attention so he can calmly explain his side of things.
I have some spare torches and pitchforks. What are we rioting against again? Rabble, rabble, rabble, rabble!
We want our Half-Elves and Half-Orcs back.

I'll join. :-)

I know this would take up more space/wordcount and therefore might not be feasible, but what if the halfs got their own list of feats (maybe with some overlap with their parent ancestries) instead of picking from both? That would address the power concerns while also making each one feel distinct.

(My opinion on this isn't even based on mechanics, really; I just want to feel like I'm playing a half-elf/orc when I play one and not a somewhat elfy/orcy human. If I want to get base human stuff at first level, I play a human.)

Liberty's Edge

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Vic Ferrari wrote:
Though, depending on the class, might you also need to choose spells known/spellbook, features, and/or powers? Do Archetypes not come online until 2nd-level?

Spells Known are an additional choice, but it looks like Powers and Features are sort of inherent in choices like Totem or Domain (which I listed as one option). I mean, if you're a Cleric, you pick a Domain, which gives you a Power, ditto Sorcerer with Bloodline.

A lot of spell casters also have no 1st level Feat, paring down their choices a bit.


They could give the races their own set of ability score adjustments, and let the players who play them choose from two of the things that the feat provides as their base. However they'd have to initially be restricted to their own ancestry feats and then have to take feat(s) to get access to their other ancestries lists.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Meraki wrote:


I know this would take up more space/wordcount and therefore might not be feasible, but what if the halfs got their own list of feats (maybe with some overlap with their parent ancestries) instead of picking from both? That would address the power concerns while also making each one feel distinct.

They do. Playing e.g. a half-elf means that you get access to human ancestry feats, elven ancestry feats, and your own unique half-elf ancestry feats.


DFAnton wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Almarane wrote:

I feel like many people against this blog think they lose a feat by doing a Half Heritage feat. I don't see it this way for two reasons :

- First, you get some things that you wouldn't be able to get or that would require other feats to get (for exemple for the elf : increased move speed is only for elf characters or Trained in Diplomacy would require a Skill Feat).
- Second, the Half Heritage opens two whole new feat trees. Even if the Half isn't that fleshed out (which would be weird, and would still be fixable, and can't be worse than PF1 options for Half-breeds), you would at least get 1.5 new feat trees. You could take the best of three worlds. (maybe humans, with their adaptability, could get a feat that would allow them to increase their spell slots, while elves, masters of magic, would get a feat that increase their spell damages)

You don't take Half Heritage feats just to say "I'm a half-orc/elf" like many seem to imply. To me, those feats look more like Combat Expertise from PF1, which gives you a benefit and a tone of new options.

Hmm, weird. I always took Half Orc/Elf because I thought it suited the character. Why do I have to suddenly weigh the options of picking it now?

You've turned a fully fleshed out race into a math problem.

Agreed. I don't know where the notion of "you don't take half heritage feats just to say 'I'm a ...'" would even come from. Munchkins who treat every character decision as a means to power are actually rarer than people think, in my experience.

I pick half-races (they're actually my favorite) because I feel they make for interesting backgrounds and RP opportunities.

My point was to counter munchkins who were saying "I don't want to take Half Heritage feats because I loose my extra skill as a human". I, for instance, don't care. If a Half-Orc fits my concept better, so be it. If you want RP opportunities, fine, then you should not be bothered. But I saw too many people say "I don't want to lose my extra skill just to play a Half-breed". Just wanted to correct their statement.


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That's fair. Sorry if I came off as harsh.


DFAnton wrote:
That's fair. Sorry if I came off as harsh.

No problem :)


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DFAnton wrote:

Do you really think this absurd reductionism makes a point? Or contributes to the discussion in any meaningful (not to mention mature) way?

Obviously ancestry choices matter to a build, such as the aforementioned half-elf for weapon proficiency. The post in question implied that half-races are only good for mechanical purposes.

I'm not really seeing a lot of constructiveness in all the "oh no, the sky is falling and now all the half-elf and half-orc iconics are being killed off!!!1oneone!!1" posts either.

And, as Almarane has now pointed out, I didn't really see what the two quoted posts apparently read into it.
Is the suggested solution printed in the playtest the best solution for half-elves and half-orcs (and other half-ancestries down the road)? Difficult to say given on the information we have. I'm just a bit fed up with the constant hyperbolic and passive-aggressive posts that have littered this thread.
I don't see how they contribute to the discussion in any meaningful (not to mention mature) way either.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Regarding abilities being frontloaded:

One of the things I like about getting ancestry feats as you level is that you can add more powerful abilities that are only available at higher levels without unbalancing things. It's fair to complain that it may be weird from a flavor perspective, but there are plenty of real world examples of people embracing their heritage more later in life. While that still leaves the biological stuff as a little weird, I'm willing to accept it. Getting better at using innate talents and abilities is also a fiction trope, and it's not weirder to me than the rest of the game at higher levels.


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Regarding picking an ancestry/race for power vs. flavor, a large part of how I pick is for the ability to do something fun that I couldn’t otherwise do. In PF1, that was things like shapeshifting, weird tiefling/aasimar d100 abilities like eating ashes or ripening fruit, or talking with animals. In PF2, it seems like that will be things like getting a familiar, selecting a daily trained skill, or ignoring damage from poison.


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I'll be honest, without looking through 11 pages of comments to see if someone else has brought it up, I don't see why you can't adapt this to every race and make your racial heritage a matter of picking your father and your mother.

My ancestry is dwarf/gnome. I get these bonuses for having a dwarf ancestor, these bonuses for having a gnome ancestor, these non-biological options from human because I was adopted and raised in a human settlement, and these bonuses from being a hybrid race instead of pure breed.

If each race had a half-x option, you could mark each racial feat and choice with small tags. (FB) (HB) (AH) would be full blood, half blood, adopted heritage. If you aren't full blood, you can't touch these stronger dwarf traits (something granting DR while standing on the ground) but could take something simpler (stone cunning). If you're adopted, you definitely can't get the dark vision but you can be proficient with dwarven weapons.

Liberty's Edge

So, I'm a little hesitant to post anything in these previews just because of the fact that we're working on incomplete data, and for all we know this could end up being a relatively balanced and intuitive manner to handle the half races. But I would much rather that any core ancestry be a proper ancestry on it's own instead of an option tacked on to the ancestry that's probably already set to be the most prominently used. I'd like to see most of the ancestry feats be unique to the half race itself instead, reflecting their own particular strengths, and struggles that they've overcome, instead of cherry picked from two other ancestry lists.

Not that I don't think having access to human, elf, and/or orc ancestry feats wouldn't be thematic, but couldn't you just add a trait to the elvish, human or orc ancestry feats to say that those feats are also an option for half elves/orcs. You could even have an ancestry feat that allowed them to select any ancestry feat from their parent races, not just those marked with the half-it trait, to help balance out the power of increased options without deliberately handicapping players who only want to play a race because of flavour or feel.

I know that there are strengths and weaknesses to handling these things in different ways. This likely isn't the way that they want to handle the plane-touched ancestries, and they're likely looking for uniformity in mechanics, but in this case I just feel like in an effort to shave away the rough edges of the game they've removed a valuable part.


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Dreamer3333 wrote:
But the games are different. There are WAAY more "racial feats" than before, with much wider benefit (ancestry feats). Which is why they explained (as I understand it) that standalone split races are too powerful.

There are more feats, but access is incredibly limited, and late. (In a typical campaign, I suspect people will be lucky to see three racial feats)

Wider benefit... doesn't seem to apply, except possibly the human feats. The examples we've seen are racial proficiencies, a slight bonus vs emotion spells and success->crit conversion, better damage with slings, a cantrip, lots of very small things, really. At least some of which get less and less relevant as you level.

That a half elf can choose from the human and elven feat pools at 5th, 9th, 13th and 17th level is... not terribly amazing, to be honest, especially when you cut the heritage feats out.

Now, maybe there are higher level racial feats that are absolutely amazing, but so far the race previews don't suggest that.

I'd much rather have a few small abilities at the start (cut things like elf bonus vs spell resistance), not to spontaneously mutate characters as they hit specific levels. The feel of this process is really odd, and I can't tell what the motivation is for it, or (more importantly) how it benefits well-fleshed out natural characters, rather than stat blocks with preselected build trees.


Excaliburproxy wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
zeonsghost wrote:
MadMars wrote:

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.)

Changelings, Dhampirs and Skinwalkers would get really weird if you broke down their defining characteristics into feats, especially because these ancestry feats aren't something you can just take with a general feat by the sounds of it. I think it works for the Planar species a bit better tbh by giving them some progressing powers vs. a spell-like that may more not be useful as you progress.
I suggested in another thread that maybe you could handle those kinds of things through a combination of racial feats and an archetype. The racial stuff gives the base abilities and the archetype allows for progression and specialization.
I mean at that point are those races or sub classes?

The issue is that things like Vampire and Werewolf have so many tropes and powers that they probably need to be both races AND subclasses (which is to say archetypes). Though honestly, the race feat part is kind of unnecessary in a mechanical sense. I just think that has a nice little bit of verisimilitude; that is to say part of the power you get is embodied in the KIND of creature you are (the race feat bit) and part of that power come from you developing that power further and/or bringing your latent powers undercontrol (the archetype bit).

Also, I am not sure what you mean by a "subclass". What does that even look...

Go read the blog on archetypes in 2E. They are now packages of feats that classes can take instead of their normal class feats.


Shiroi wrote:
If each race had a half-x option, you could mark each racial feat and choice with small tags. (FB) (HB) (AH) would be full blood, half blood, adopted heritage. If you aren't full blood, you can't touch these stronger dwarf traits (something granting DR while standing on the ground) but could take something simpler (stone cunning). If you're adopted, you definitely can't get the dark vision but you can be proficient with dwarven weapons.

I absolutely do not want anything in the game which is an incentive or benefit for "racial purity." If you've got elf genes, you should be able to have genetic elf benefits, even if some of your genes aren't elf genes.

The current model of "if you're from two distinct ancestries, you're eligible to take feats from either ancestry", is pretty ideal, it's just that it doesn't seem like this will actually matter before level 9. Since if you wanted an elf feat at level 5... just be an elf.


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Even though I don't have total understanding on how the half-elf and half-orc ancestries work, one of my first characters will be a half-elf, gladiator, bard. I like background of a character who fought his way out of the arena.

Thanks you for giving me a mechanical method to create this character.


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Is there any reason a player who had other uses in mind for her Ancestry Feats couldn't just spend them on other Human or Elf (as appropriate) Feats they wanted and just include the character being Half-Orc (or whatever) as part of the character's backstory?


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Meophist wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Meophist wrote:
I sorta feel one possible solution to a lot of the problems people have brought up with ancestries would be to give humans two ancestry feats to start, and improve the other base ancestries to make up for it.

Eh. Two ancestry feats at 1st level would be REALLY potent on a human, because they could take so many different things. I think to make it work you'd either need to limit it to a heritage feat (and have a generic human heritage for those who don't want to be halfies) or take away the human's ability to choose class and general feats. And if you do the former, it kind of raises the question of why not just give everyone another feat to spend on heritage at level 1.

I think the easiest thing to do would be to give the human an extra skill training or two at 1st level. That would also be pretty close to emulating the basic human package from PF1.

I do feel human feats may have to be restricted at bit, at least at first level, but this would be the only way of getting something like a planetouched Half-Orc.

Here's another advantage of giving humans two ancestry feats at first level: You can write up Half-Elf and Half-Orc entries with the respective feat built-in, and they'll act like any other ancestry.


Crayon wrote:
Is there any reason a player who had other uses in mind for her Ancestry Feats couldn't just spend them on other Human or Elf (as appropriate) Feats they wanted and just include the character being Half-Orc (or whatever) as part of the character's backstory?

I've been thinking about a variant where everybody starts with 2 ability bonuses, or 3 and a flaw, 8 HP, and you get general feats at every odd level making all ancestry options are general feats, and just telling everybody "describe your character however you like".

But I want to see the whole book.


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Reading through this issue again, and going over some of the comments and designer replies therein, I'm becoming less and less of a fan of what is a blatant Feat tax to play interesting and diverse characters.

I might be missing an obvious flaw with what I'm about to suggest, and I'm sure somebody will point it out if I am, but wouldn't a better alternative to this -again- blatant Feat tax, simply to allow players to create Half-bloods without paying any sort of tax?

i.e. Take the Human Ancestry, replace two features with that of the Elf (the exact function of the Heritage Feat) without actually needing to spend a Feat. Then I still have my Ancestry Feat available to me at first level. This would, in theory, quell the need to give *everybody* an additional Ancestry Feat at 1st level.

And before anybody cries "House Rule!" at me, I'm not a Dungeon Master. I'm a Player, therefore it's not my place to establish House Rules or make such requests of a Dungeon Master who hasn't had the opportunity to vet the idea for game balance. And why should I have to House Rule it, anyway, when 90% of people in this thread *CLEARLY* want their Ancestry Feat back?

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