When we first started brainstorming the three new ancestries we intended to put into the Lost Omens Character Guide, leshies weren’t even on the list. We knew we didn’t want to overlap with the ancestries that are going to show up in the recently announced Advanced Player’s Guide, but that still left us with far too many contenders for the mere three ancestry slots we had available. Options included simple and popular choices such as the grippli, ambitious but potentially rules-contentious ideas such as centaurs, and even the relatively obscure mortics that appeared in Tyrant’s Grasp. As we debated, Mark Seifter came in with a message from himself and the rest of the Design Team: “What about leshies?”
Well, what about leshies?
Much like their introduction into Pathfinder 1E, leshies gained incredible traction in a short amount of time, and they managed to cinch the last, coveted spot as an early ancestry for Pathfinder 2E. We know leshies aren’t for everyone, but we recognized their presence was an opportunity to emphasize some of the truly unique aspects of the Age of Lost Omens as a setting. While many ancestries have unique and challenging viewpoints by the standards of humanity, leshies are separated from both flesh and mortality as we understand it.
Leshies are a combination of the physical and the supernatural. The true heart of a leshy is a nature spirit, but these spirits don’t have bodies and can't easily affect the material world on their own. It’s only when a master of primal magic creates a suitable vessel for a spirit, and a spirit accepts that vessel as a body, that a leshy is born. Once a leshy is created, they could theoretically live forever—though the dangers of Golarion mean this rarely occurs—and leshy souls don’t go to the Boneyard upon death like those of mortals. Instead, destroying a leshy simply frees their primal spirit back into nature; that spirit could even be summoned into another leshy body at some point in the future. Reincarnated leshies tend to put most of their memories of their past lives aside, but that doesn’t mean they forget everything, and a newborn leshy might choose to pursue a particularly treasured friend or important cause from a previous existence.
Like hobgoblins, leshies are an Uncommon ancestry. In the case of leshies, this is because many leshies don’t travel beyond their homes, instead staying to protect and tend to the natural places they sprung from and treasure. I often envision leshies to be something akin to the kodama from the film Princess Mononoke, or other strange creatures from Miyazaki movies—regular townsfolk aren’t going to stab such a mystical forest spirit on sight, but it would still be very strange to see one come into a shop and ask to buy some rope! Big changes have come to Golarion of late, however, and that means more and more leshies are starting to venture out from their forests and caverns, shyly investigating the cities and towns of other peoples as they set forth to hold back a spreading darkness.
Leshies get 8 Hit Points from their ancestry, are Small, and have a speed of 25 feet. A leshy speaks Common and Sylvan, plus any additional languages they might pick up. Leshies lack vulnerable organs and veins, giving them an ability boost to Constitution, and have the tranquility and experience of an immortal nature spirit, getting another ability boost in Wisdom. They also get one free ability boost to put in any score. Leshies don’t cling to old memories and can be a little empty-headed—in the case of gourd leshies, literally! —so they get an ability flaw to Intelligence. In addition, leshies don’t eat like most PCs do, instead gaining sustenance from the sun or from rotting matter (though leshies have discovered a way to create bottled nutrients for themselves if they find themselves needing such a precaution).
Leshies can also do fun and unusual things with their crafted plant bodies, such as the ability granted by the following ancestry feat:
The leshy ancestry entry also suggests some common Core Rulebook backgrounds appropriate for leshies. Nomad or scout might be unsurprising rules and roleplaying recommendations, but be sure to also check out specific backgrounds from the Lost Omens World Guide for other appropriate options such as the Wildwood Local background!
Love 'Em Or Leaf 'Em
Friday, August 30, 2019