Orcs, Dromaar, and More!

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

As we cruise into the final days before the release, we’re getting to the end of these preview blogs, but we figured there’s probably still a few things we can talk about. How about orcs and the updated mixed ancestry rules?

Orcs are a common ancestry now, and appear among the Player Core options alongside dwarves, goblins, elves, humans, etc. This reflects not just a mechanical change, but also the ever-evolving state of our lore. With the undead hordes of the Whispering Tyrant seething outwards from the Gravelands, the orcs of Belkzen have seen their home transformed into one of the primary battlegrounds, raising their axes and torches high to fend off the encroaching darkness.

An Orc mage holding up fire in the palm of her hand

Illustration by Gabriel Scavariello

In becoming the vanguard of one of the greatest ongoing struggles threatening the Inner Sea, Belkzen’s orcs have also formed an ever-increasing number of alliances with their neighbors—something that is a source of contention for some of the less friendly holds…but that’s a story for later!

To help our new orcish allies with their battles, we’ve brushed up a few of their feats, as well. The old Hold Mark feat wasn’t great, especially in the context of some of the improvements we’ve made to ancestry feats; the Orc Weapon Familiarity feat now automatically gives you the benefits that used to require taking Orc Weapon Carnage as soon as you hit 5th level, without needing to spend any further feats. So, we reworked Hold Mark into a new 1st-level feat based on some of the orc holds of Belkzen that gives you training in a key skill and a constant bonus to saves against a specific type of magic—which does stack with the bonus from Orc Superstition, if you want to go that route, allowing orcs to be particularly resilient against certain types of magic!

Hold Mark Feat and table from The Pathfinder Second Edition Remaster Player Core: Hold Mark, Feat 1, You bear scars or tattoos enhanced by the mark of your community's prowess. When you selet thusi feat, choose one of the options from the below table. You are trained in the listed skill and gain a +1 statys==us bonus to saves sagainst spells from the listed tradition. You gain a large brand or tattoo in the shape of the chosen emblem or a similar concept (for example, the Burning Sun could be a torch, sun, volcano, or other fiery symbol, while the Empty Hand could be a fist of claw)

As orcish heroes have spread across the Inner Sea, the opportunities for heroes of mixed orcish ancestry to carve out a place for themselves have also multiplied. Dromaars, as children of mixed orc and human ancestry are known in Belkzen, are one of the mixed ancestry examples provided in Player Core. The word dromaar is an orcish word, referring to those drummers whose music sends the hordes marching to war; many of the current generation of dromaar adventurers view themselves as heralds of a new age for orcs in the Inner Sea region.

While most dromaars from Belkzen have either one human parent and one orc parent or two dromaar parents, dromaars from other parts of Golarion might have some other ancestral mix; orcs and dwarves in Arcadia, for example, have a much more cooperative history together than the orc and dwarf nations of the Inner Sea, and it’s possible that the dromaars on that continent might have a significant population whose ancestry is of mixed dwarf and orc descent.

Dromaar Mountaineer dressed in furs and leather, holding an axe in her hand

Illustration by Oleksii Chernik

Dromaars aren’t the only example of a mixed ancestry presented in Player Core; aiuvarins are people of mixed elven ancestry, typically having a human parent on one side and an elven parent on the other, though other mixes are entirely possible.

While introducing the aiuvarins, we took the opportunity to clean up some confusion around options like the Elf Atavism feat, which had some unclear interactions with things like the Ancient Elf heritage.

Elf Atavism Feat 1 : Your elven blood runs particularly strong, granting you features far more elven than those of a typical aiuvarin. You may also have been raised among elves, steeped in your elven ancestors' heritage. You gain the benefits of the elf heritage that depends on or improves an elven feature you don't have. For example, you couldn't take the Ancient Elf heritage (page 47) unless your non-elf  ancestry also has a lifespan measured in multiple centuries. In these cases, at the GM's discretion, you might gain a different benefit.

Previously we’d presented options like aiuvarin and dromaar as human heritages, specifically half-elves and half-orcs. By pulling them out of the human ancestry and making them the first two heritages of the new Mixed Ancestry option, we open up a whole new world of possible options to customize your characters and your worlds. Currently, if you want to make a new Mixed Ancestry that represents people of partial dwarven, gnome, goblin, or other descent, you’ll need to use the example set by the aiuvarin and dromaar heritages to create your own, but in days to come I wouldn’t be surprised to see more mixed ancestry options appearing as we push back the edges of the map and do deeper explorations of Golarion’s other continents.

Michael Sayre
Design Manager

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Tags: Pathfinder Pathfinder Remaster Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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So I haven't seen a lot of preview information yet from the YT channels, but are these just being treated as their own ancestry with limited options of feats specifically related to their ancestry? Like the dromaar (half orc) and dwarf example, are there gonna be feats that allow this character to have the option to take both orc and dwarf ancestry feats?

Radiant Oath

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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I know 2024 is the year of Tian Xia, but I really hope 2025 is the year of Arcadia. The glimpses we’ve got in the various PFS adventures there make me really interested in learning more about it.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

DWORC, DWORC, DWORC!!!!!

Radiant Oath

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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
KyleS wrote:
So I haven't seen a lot of preview information yet from the YT channels, but are these just being treated as their own ancestry with limited options of feats specifically related to their ancestry? Like the dromaar (half orc) and dwarf example, are there gonna be feats that allow this character to have the option to take both orc and dwarf ancestry feats?

I have the remaster book (well, the PDF), and that is essentially how it works. You pick an ancestry to be the base (for things like size and speed and traits) and then can layer another on top, gaining a trait that matches the second ancestry. And then you can pick ancestry feats from either one. The half-orc and half-elf also have some specific feats and I suspect that other combinations going forward will also have specific feats.


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LiaElf76 wrote:
I know 2024 is the year of Tian Xia, but I really hope 2025 is the year of Arcadia. The glimpses we’ve got in the various PFS adventures there make me really interested in learning more about it.

I believe that 2025 has been largely established as the year of the Godswar... and from what I can see, Casmaron is being more heavily flagged than Arcadia. That's where I'd expect things to go in 2026.

...but the big three that are still coming are Casmaron, Saga Lands, and Arcadia, and I fully expect that we'll see them all.

The Darklands are still a thing, mind... but they resist the kind of "big book" approach that we're seeing out of Tian Xia.


LiaElf76 wrote:
KyleS wrote:
So I haven't seen a lot of preview information yet from the YT channels, but are these just being treated as their own ancestry with limited options of feats specifically related to their ancestry? Like the dromaar (half orc) and dwarf example, are there gonna be feats that allow this character to have the option to take both orc and dwarf ancestry feats?
I have the remaster book (well, the PDF), and that is essentially how it works. You pick an ancestry to be the base (for things like size and speed and traits) and then can layer another on top, gaining a trait that matches the second ancestry. And then you can pick ancestry feats from either one. The half-orc and half-elf also have some specific feats and I suspect that other combinations going forward will also have specific feats.

So it's still just a heritage then?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yes

the blog post you're commenting on wrote:
By pulling them out of the human ancestry and making them the first two heritages of the new Mixed Ancestry option


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Orc is love. Orc is life.

Paizo Employee Community and Social Media Specialist

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Removed a baiting post and its quotes.


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In Mwangi Expanse for example orcs aren't Chaotic Evil (not that it matters anymore, alignment is gone) and they don't worship Rovavug. They actually hunt demons.

So there's nothing that makes orcs genetically evil. Some might be, some others might not. Just like nothing stops a halfling, elf or gnome to be a psychopath murderer, nothing stops an orc to be an honorable wise man. I actually like this depiction of orcs more. Blame world of warcraft for it.

Edit: deleted the quote of the baiting post when I saw the moderation.


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Who'da thunk me an' the ladz wood finally make it as a kore an-sess-tree.

Almost bringz a tear ta me eye it does, or it wood if I waz kaypuble of cryin har har har.


I am vaguely curious whether the new name is because "half-orc" was feared to be an infringement on WOTC or because the devs felt they just deserved their own name.

Radiant Oath

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
I am vaguely curious whether the new name is because "half-orc" was feared to be an infringement on WOTC or because the devs felt they just deserved their own name.

A little bit of both, I imagine: the term's common enough in the RPG-space that there probably wouldn't be grounds to call infringement, but Paizo also wanted a way to make their own interpretation of them stand out more and shed some of the more...antiquated...notions calling someone a "half-"anything implies.


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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
I am vaguely curious whether the new name is because "half-orc" was feared to be an infringement on WOTC or because the devs felt they just deserved their own name.

Given orcs are still "orcs", I'm betting it's just time they got their own name. It's not like "half-orc" makes more sense than "half-human" does under the new system.

Liberty's Edge

LiaElf76 wrote:
KyleS wrote:
So I haven't seen a lot of preview information yet from the YT channels, but are these just being treated as their own ancestry with limited options of feats specifically related to their ancestry? Like the dromaar (half orc) and dwarf example, are there gonna be feats that allow this character to have the option to take both orc and dwarf ancestry feats?
I have the remaster book (well, the PDF), and that is essentially how it works. You pick an ancestry to be the base (for things like size and speed and traits) and then can layer another on top, gaining a trait that matches the second ancestry. And then you can pick ancestry feats from either one. The half-orc and half-elf also have some specific feats and I suspect that other combinations going forward will also have specific feats.

Predicted it 6 months ago

The Raven Black wrote:

Half anything : get the anything Trait, get the Half anything trait, access anything Feats. Done.

Specific Half anything Feats will come later if ever. Same for other immediate benefits of the Half anything Versatile Heritage.


The new Hold Mark feat is so cool. I wonder what kind of orc communities have a certain trained skill + tradition resistance? Medicine/Nature + Divine for example makes me think of a Rahadoumi orc.

Also, since it seems like the Weapon Familiarity feat and the follow-up crit specialization feat got condensed into one, did the Expertise feat that granted scaling proficiency got reprinted as well?

Wayfinders Contributor

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This is really nice to see! So many possibilities for mixed ancestries now!

Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
rimestocke wrote:

The new Hold Mark feat is so cool. I wonder what kind of orc communities have a certain trained skill + tradition resistance? Medicine/Nature + Divine for example makes me think of a Rahadoumi orc.

Also, since it seems like the Weapon Familiarity feat and the follow-up crit specialization feat got condensed into one, did the Expertise feat that granted scaling proficiency got reprinted as well?

The Expertise feat is *also* rolled into the base feat now.

Orc Weapon Familiarity wrote:

In combat, you favor the brutal weapons that are traditional for your orc ancestors. You gain access to all uncommon weapons with the orc trait. You have familiarity with weapons with the orc trait plus the falchion and greataxe—for the purposes of proficiency, you treat any of these that are martial weapons as simple weapons and any that are advanced weapons as martial weapons.

At 5th level, whenever you get a critical hit with one of these weapons, you get its critical specialization effect.


pH unbalanced wrote:
rimestocke wrote:

The new Hold Mark feat is so cool. I wonder what kind of orc communities have a certain trained skill + tradition resistance? Medicine/Nature + Divine for example makes me think of a Rahadoumi orc.

Also, since it seems like the Weapon Familiarity feat and the follow-up crit specialization feat got condensed into one, did the Expertise feat that granted scaling proficiency got reprinted as well?

The Expertise feat is *also* rolled into the base feat now.

Orc Weapon Familiarity wrote:

In combat, you favor the brutal weapons that are traditional for your orc ancestors. You gain access to all uncommon weapons with the orc trait. You have familiarity with weapons with the orc trait plus the falchion and greataxe—for the purposes of proficiency, you treat any of these that are martial weapons as simple weapons and any that are advanced weapons as martial weapons.

At 5th level, whenever you get a critical hit with one of these weapons, you get its critical specialization effect.

Out of curiosity did they do something similar to unconventional weaponry?

Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Riddlyn wrote:
pH unbalanced wrote:


The Expertise feat is *also* rolled into the base feat now.
Out of curiosity did they do something similar to unconventional weaponry?

Yes

Unconventional Weaponry wrote:


You’ve familiarized yourself with a particular weapon, potentially from another ancestry or culture. Choose an uncommon simple or martial weapon with a trait corresponding to an ancestry (such as dwarf, goblin, or orc) or that is common in another culture. You gain access to that weapon, and for the purpose of proficiency, you treat it as a simple weapon.
If you are trained in all martial weapons, you can instead choose an uncommon advanced weapon that has an ancestry’s trait or is common in another culture. You gain access to that weapon and have familiarity with that weapon. For the purpose of proficiency, you treat it as a martial weapon.


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So it lets you mix any common ancestry with any other common ancestry? Or can you also add something Uncommon or Rare?

Is it time for the rise of the Goblin Androids?


pH unbalanced wrote:
Riddlyn wrote:
pH unbalanced wrote:


The Expertise feat is *also* rolled into the base feat now.
Out of curiosity did they do something similar to unconventional weaponry?

Yes

Unconventional Weaponry wrote:


You’ve familiarized yourself with a particular weapon, potentially from another ancestry or culture. Choose an uncommon simple or martial weapon with a trait corresponding to an ancestry (such as dwarf, goblin, or orc) or that is common in another culture. You gain access to that weapon, and for the purpose of proficiency, you treat it as a simple weapon.
If you are trained in all martial weapons, you can instead choose an uncommon advanced weapon that has an ancestry’s trait or is common in another culture. You gain access to that weapon and have familiarity with that weapon. For the purpose of proficiency, you treat it as a martial weapon.

Ok, thank you. Similar but no crit specialization


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Sy Kerraduess wrote:

So it lets you mix any common ancestry with any other common ancestry? Or can you also add something Uncommon or Rare?

Is it time for the rise of the Goblin Androids?

Would the offspring of an Orc and an Android be a Cyborc? ;)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

So are there no benefits for a dromaar elf or eiuvaran orc? They get lowlight vision from both ancestries but unlike being a changling elf or nephilim orc you dont get to upgrade it to darkvision.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
I am vaguely curious whether the new name is because "half-orc" was feared to be an infringement on WOTC or because the devs felt they just deserved their own name.

Half-Orc was never a good name, it was just traditional. A Dromaar is anybody with mixed Orc and Human Heritage. It covers people who are 5/8 Orc or 7/16 Orc in addition to people who are 1/2 Orc. Like if Grandma was an Orc, making you 1/4 Orc, you should still count as a Dromaar.

Paizo Employee Editor

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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
I am vaguely curious whether the new name is because "half-orc" was feared to be an infringement on WOTC or because the devs felt they just deserved their own name.

I suggested horcs and was shot down u_u

Paizo Employee Organized Play Coordinator

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Shay Snow wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
I am vaguely curious whether the new name is because "half-orc" was feared to be an infringement on WOTC or because the devs felt they just deserved their own name.
I suggested horcs and was shot down u_u

I tried to support this but I was no helf at all.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

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Shay Snow wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
I am vaguely curious whether the new name is because "half-orc" was feared to be an infringement on WOTC or because the devs felt they just deserved their own name.
I suggested horcs and was shot down u_u

This would have caused so many problems in brainstorms and early drafts when "horc" is commonly used as a placeholder for "as yet unnamed half-orc character we're still concepting." I can think of three projects just off the top of my head that have used it, so I'm sure there are many my addled brain can't conjure at the moment.


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If we make a character who is half-skeleton and half-something else does that mean they've got twice the skeletons?


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Skeleton-Sprite for skeleton with fairy wings, whoop!


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I do like that mixed ancestry is being opened up, but the wording in the heritage seems to forget that it can now be applied to an ancestry that already has low-light vision. Whoops.

Side note, I wish there was an alternative for darkvision ancestries taking these heritages. It feels slightly bad to play an Orc tief-er, I mean Nephilim.


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Albatoonoe wrote:

I do like that mixed ancestry is being opened up, but the wording in the heritage seems to forget that it can now be applied to an ancestry that already has low-light vision. Whoops.

Side note, I wish there was an alternative for darkvision ancestries taking these heritages. It feels slightly bad to play an Orc tief-er, I mean Nephilim.

This absolutely. Way back in the earlier days of the Remaster announcement I had hoped that versatile heritages like Tief/Aasimar would at least gain some kind of language like "If you already have Darkvision, instead gain ..." with my default answer being "some other heritage benefit from your base ancestry" since that seems like the most obvious equal power benefit.

Like, Darkvision isn't quite as common as it used to be, but given that versatile heritages' whole thing is being applicable to nearly any ancestry, it strikes me as a weird omission to forget that some of those will already have the maximum Player-possible vision in the dark (just as it would strike me as even weirder if it was intentional that if you have darkvision you just get nothing).

Of course, the changes to Tief/Aasimar were somewhat more extensive than I might otherwise have predicted and I never would have called mixed ancestry becoming a general option so that h-elves and h-orcs are no longer silo'd off in their own little world. So many cool changes but the very tiny quality of life thing I was hoping for was missed :(

RIP my goblin tiefling Flames Oracle who believes he is the chosen of Asmodeus to carry out his will in the mortal planes.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Orcs make much more sense as core option than goblins do because orcs already had nuance shown to them where goblins got spontaneously overall much more nicer in much higher quantities when they became core :'D


As much as I love Korakai, I was hoping an ORC ORaCLe would become the poster child of the ORCLicense Remaster.


Gisher wrote:
Would the offspring of an Orc and an Android be a Cyborc? ;)

Can androids produce offspring? We need an answer Mr. Paizo :3

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I'm curious if PFS will let you let you make your own hybrid ancestries or will force you to only use half-elf and half-orc.

Liberty's Edge

Cyrad wrote:
I'm curious if PFS will let you let you make your own hybrid ancestries or will force you to only use half-elf and half-orc.

Knowing PFS and its usual rulings : the latter.

Dark Archive

Is the new Mix Ancestry a generic option in the remaster, or is it specific to Dromaar and Aiuvarins?

For example, if I wanted to make a Half-Dawrf / Half-Hobgoblin, would I select Mix Ancestry as the Heritage option for either of the above and then... done?

Dark Archive

Stormlord506 wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Would the offspring of an Orc and an Android be a Cyborc? ;)
Can androids produce offspring? We need an answer Mr. Paizo :3

The ones designed as sexbots can.

Liberty's Edge

Old_Man_Robot wrote:

Is the new Mix Ancestry a generic option in the remaster, or is it specific to Dromaar and Aiuvarins?

For example, if I wanted to make a Half-Dawrf / Half-Hobgoblin, would I select Mix Ancestry as the Heritage option for either of the above and then... done?

I believe it is generic but there are only these 2 Heritages right now.

Dark Archive

4 people marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:
Orcs make much more sense as core option than goblins do because orcs already had nuance shown to them where goblins got spontaneously overall much more nicer in much higher quantities when they became core :'D

Perhaps unfortunately for those not involved an awful lot of that development was in Society, there were many scenarios over 10 years and multiple seasons showing numerous different goblins and goblin tribes working with both the society and others in helpful ways. So there was absolutely a ton of cooperation shown, just perhaps not in ways that every player would be able to see and experience.

Grand Lodge

The Raven Black wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
I'm curious if PFS will let you let you make your own hybrid ancestries or will force you to only use half-elf and half-orc.
Knowing PFS and its usual rulings : the latter.

Probably at the start, but eventually you'll be able to do something with AcP.

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