You know what I love about Pathfinder, the death of subraces


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Sovereign Court

That's right, no more moon elf, whisper gnome, chartruese halfling, amber dwarf, port-o-potty elf.

You want to play an elf, there's one type to choose. Please paizo never never never never never never never bring back the eight million different statistical versions of subraces. You're a black elf, great take elf and say that your skin-tone is a rich dark brown, no reason whatsoever to make black elves (not talking about drow here) give a +2 to con and str and a -2 to dex. Just flavor your elf how you want.


I am 100% agreement with you on this one. The sub races never made any sense to me. Only one gaming world had a really good and believable reason for sub races of elves, Arcanis if you are interested.


I'm with you on this one too. It really just ended up being a love fest for elves.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Development

+1

Sovereign Court

Seriously, I could never tell during sessions what type of elf someone was playing. So really, subraces became, pick the stat you want to boost and call yourself whatever race you want. You'll be a subrace.

Grand Lodge

What about the 10 different versions of the Tiefling in PF25?

Contributor

The subraces aren't as dead as you think. They're now just part of the Traits mechanic, where you can put part of your upbringing, including odd ancestry, in as background.

The chartreuse halflings live!

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Well, okay.

But there's no reason those can't exist, LKL. They're not in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, because they're closed content, but Pathfinder is sufficiently backwards-compatible that you can easily include them in a game if you like. I'm sure that, in your campaign, there's only one type of elf. But there's nothing preventing your next-door neighbor from running a Forgotten Realms campaign --with its myriad subraces-- under the Pathfinder rules system.

And it has always been perfectly reasonable for you to ban them in your 3.5 campaign, as well. Gold Dwarves haven't appeared in Golarion adventures, and nobody's minded.

So far as I can tell, there's absolutely no change in the viability of Whisper Gnomes under the ruleset change.


Well don't look at the tiefling feat in Bastards of Eberus then. It lets you pick from 10 possible sets of ability boosts.

In any case, most of those old options are dwarfed by the new improved races anyhow. And... it's you game. If you don't like them, don't let them at your table.


Agreed, but I would make an exception for Drows, if only not to break all the underdark campaigns going on...

But hurrah - no more Savage elves (I hated those!)


Was the index of the Pathfinder Bestiary unveiled ?
Because there is a possibility that some common subraces like those of elves (sylvan, drow) or dwarves (duergar) will be inside...


Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

The subraces aren't as dead as you think. They're now just part of the Traits mechanic, where you can put part of your upbringing, including odd ancestry, in as background.

The chartreuse halflings live!

I think traits are cool. The thing I think most people dislike about subraces is the "Dial a Race" thing. I want an elf but I want to play a cleric so I'll take a... XXXXX Elf that has a Wisdom bonus.


Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

The subraces aren't as dead as you think. They're now just part of the Traits mechanic, where you can put part of your upbringing, including odd ancestry, in as background.

The chartreuse halflings live!

I can live with the traits giving those kind of bonuses. In Iron Heroes if you wanted to play an elf type character you took Forest Born and Dexterious. Bottom line a human is still a human and an elf is an elf.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

DougErvin wrote:
I am 100% agreement with you on this one. The sub races never made any sense to me. Only one gaming world had a really good and believable reason for sub races of elves, Arcanis if you are interested.

*cough*MIDDLEEARTH*cough*

Honestly, I don't know what the heck the OP is talking about. All the subraces are still right there, in all the WoTC sourcebooks that you may or may not own.

No, you don't have to use any of them. Neither did you two years ago.

Sovereign Court

Chris Mortika wrote:

Well, okay.

But there's no reason those can't exist, LKL. They're not in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, because they're closed content, but Pathfinder is sufficiently backwards-compatible that you can easily include them in a game if you like. I'm sure that, in your campaign, there's only one type of elf. But there's nothing preventing your next-door neighbor from running a Forgotten Realms campaign --with its myriad subraces-- under the Pathfinder rules system.

And it has always been perfectly reasonable for you to ban them in your 3.5 campaign, as well. Gold Dwarves haven't appeared in Golarion adventures, and nobody's minded.

So far as I can tell, there's absolutely no change in the viability of Whisper Gnomes under the ruleset change.

I'm aware of that, but now it's unnofficial content. Also I don't mind it as a forgotten realms thing or even if it's taken seriously from a roleplay perspective, but it was always so silly in my mind the way they did the subraces.

Oh and for the record, I don't mind certain types of subraces. I don't mind drow, as they were practically a different race with common ancestry to elves. Much in the same way a cow shares a common ancestry with the dolphin. And I actually like that there are different types of teiflings, that made sense based off of the flavor of the teifling. What made my skin crawl was 18 elf, or dwarf, or gnome types. that players just used to pick the stat boost they wanted and didn't actually make anything of the fact that they were different from other elves.

Lantern Lodge

He he, the Bestiary is allready on its way to the printer. I think I will revisit this Thread in october and I will gloat over your sad, sad faces.

Seriously, I am on your side. It was a bit of a excess supply.
Mann sieht den Wald vor lauter Bäumen nicht mehr ;) .


Seriously though what's the point? Why make all the differemnt subraces with different attribute boosts, when you can just say add +2 to two abilities and -2 to one ability to another and there you have it.

LOL, and let's stop with the "Pathfinder is completely 3.5 compatible" non-sense. You should be trying to bury that game and spring from it's grave a new and improved product, not simply "slightly improve" it. 3.5 was my favorite RPg ever but it was flawed beyond comprehension. Destroy those splat books and let Pathfinder stand on its own.


I strongly agree with the original poster. Not only do the sub catagories in question convolude the game, but they in turn take up a lot of space in the books that could have been put to better use.


lastknightleft wrote:

That's right, no more moon elf, whisper gnome, chartruese halfling, amber dwarf, port-o-potty elf.

~Screams in agony~ NO!!!! The Chartruese Halfling is gone! No! The pain! The pain! Oh, what am I going to do!

~GRINS~


Personally, I like subraces, but only when its pretty obvious and they make sense. I've always liked Grey Elves, for example, and I always understood they were the more aloof, less "good" and more "neutral" elves that don't come out to play very often.

On the other hand, I always felt that most dwarven subraces felt more like different clans or nations rather than seriously separate subraces. The same goes for halflings and gnomes in most previous editions.

Hm . . . the more I think about it, it feels like the most delineated sub-races seemed to have come from elves.


lastknightleft wrote:
Please paizo never never never never never never never bring back the eight million different statistical versions of subraces.

While I agree with you, it's highly unlikely Paizo won't add a number of them into the game, people like them.

While I'd like most elves to adhere to the "elf" template, I have no problem with Drow elves being the exception.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Actually... there ARE subraces in Golarion. The thing is, though, we treat them more as flavor differences than actual game mechanic differences. There are a few notable exceptions; aquatic elves and drow are quite different than elves, and there are different strains of tiefling (and by implication different strains of aasimar). You can even think of goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears as different goblinoid subraces. But overall, "subraces" in Golarion are basically the same as ethnicities. We have a dozen or so human subraces, all of whom have the same stats. Same goes for elves, really; we have forlorn elves, Mordant Spire elves, the Ekujae wild elves of the Mwangi Expanse, and other tribes (such as the snow elves detaled in Pathfinder #17). For elves, though, we've got an in-game reason why tribes who live in different areas have different appearances—elves adapt over their lives to take on many of the features of their environs. Yet still, yeah; in most cases, the stats don't change.

But the proliferation of things like valley elves and deep halflings and whisper gnomes is not something that we've embraced for Golarion. The concept is still perfectly valid, and stats for those races are still compatible for those who want to use the PRPG to play a Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms campaign, of course.


CunningMongoose wrote:

Agreed, but I would make an exception for Drows, if only not to break all the underdark campaigns going on...

But hurrah - no more Savage elves (I hated those!)

Yeah, technically Drow and Duergar are really their own races since they were basically twisted/manipulated by the gods, so they are acceptable. But wood elf, high elf, moon elf, sun elf, aqua elf... all that is just fluff IMHO.


I always liked the idea of sub races. Never like the idea of different stat bonus though. I could see some difference in the racial trait though.


I've got no problem with most "evil" subraces like Duergar or Drow. I wouldn't even mind some expansion on them like Derro who are nuts because they got caught up in sorcery and blood purity so they inbred like crazy. Of course these were always billed as seperate monsters.

If they do do subraces, I hope its in the from of Feats. For instance, if you want to play a wood elf, you take an elf and buy a feat at 1st level that gives you some advantages because you're a "wood" elf.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Sharoth wrote:
lastknightleft wrote:

That's right, no more moon elf, whisper gnome, chartruese halfling, amber dwarf, port-o-potty elf.

~Screams in agony~ NO!!!! The Chartruese Halfling is gone! No! The pain! The pain! Oh, what am I going to do!

~GRINS~

They were delicious.

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:

Actually... there ARE subraces in Golarion. The thing is, though, we treat them more as flavor differences than actual game mechanic differences. There are a few notable exceptions; aquatic elves and drow are quite different than elves, and there are different strains of tiefling (and by implication different strains of aasimar). You can even think of goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears as different goblinoid subraces. But overall, "subraces" in Golarion are basically the same as ethnicities. We have a dozen or so human subraces, all of whom have the same stats. Same goes for elves, really; we have forlorn elves, Mordant Spire elves, the Ekujae wild elves of the Mwangi Expanse, and other tribes (such as the snow elves detaled in Pathfinder #17). For elves, though, we've got an in-game reason why tribes who live in different areas have different appearances—elves adapt over their lives to take on many of the features of their environs. Yet still, yeah; in most cases, the stats don't change.

But the proliferation of things like valley elves and deep halflings and whisper gnomes is not something that we've embraced for Golarion. The concept is still perfectly valid, and stats for those races are still compatible for those who want to use the PRPG to play a Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms campaign, of course.

That is what I would hope for and expect. I don't actually mind the idea of subraces, but to me it always screamed of, okay you're a black guy, you get a +2 to wisdom, okay you're an asain +2 to charisma, okay you're indian +2 to strength. It's like really, they have different stat deliniations? I don't mind and in fact encourage having different types of elves, just because they're slightly taller and with grey skin doesn't mean they should get a +2 to str instead of dex though.


Personally, I always liked the idea of subraces, though not always the different stat bonuses.

I mean, I LOVE the savage elf concept (not wood elves, but the wild elves), but I don't see why they get to be as strong as half-orcs....

Subraces really are just fluff and flavor, at least usually.


James Jacobs wrote:


But the proliferation of things like valley elves and deep halflings and whisper gnomes is not something that we've embraced for Golarion. The concept is still perfectly valid, and stats for those races are still compatible for those who want to use the PRPG to play a Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms campaign, of course.

Thank you Sir, the backwards compatibility is what really sold me on Pathfinder as I'm quite happy to continue play in those two worlds with all their races.

Lantern Lodge

ChrisRevocateur wrote:

Personally, I always liked the idea of subraces, though not always the different stat bonuses.

I mean, I LOVE the savage elf concept (not wood elves, but the wild elves), but I don't see why they get to be as strong as half-orcs....

Subraces really are just fluff and flavor, at least usually.

Savage (wild) elves are still as strong as half-orcs, because neither race gets a racial Str bonus in Pathfinder RPG (unless the half-orc chooses to place it there).

But I do like what they did with Tieflings:

free Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary preview wrote:
Fiendish Sorcery (Ex) Tiefling sorcerers with the Abyssal or Infernal bloodline treat their Charisma score as 2 points higher for all sorcerer class abilities.

This enables Tieflings to not suck at a class that should represent them, despite having a racial Cha penalty. I could see a similar thing being done with savage (wild) elf Barbarians and Con, for example. It's kind of a nod to favoured classes.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Skaorn wrote:
I've got no problem with most "evil" subraces like Duergar or Drow. I wouldn't even mind some expansion on them like Derro who are nuts because they got caught up in sorcery and blood purity so they inbred like crazy. Of course these were always billed as seperate monsters.

It's worth pointing out that in PRPG and, more specifically, in Golarion, the derros are not a subrace at all. They're very much their own race. In previous editions, they were half dwarf, half humans, I think. That's not the case in PRPG at all.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

lastknightleft wrote:
That is what I would hope for and expect. I don't actually mind the idea of subraces, but to me it always screamed of, okay you're a black guy, you get a +2 to wisdom, okay you're an asain +2 to charisma, okay you're indian +2 to strength. It's like really, they have different stat deliniations? I don't mind and in fact encourage having different types of elves, just because they're slightly taller and with grey skin doesn't mean they should get a +2 to str instead of dex though.

Honestly, I know that this is a matter of perspective, but my mind really doesn't go there on its own.

I guess my head is just too in-game, because what I'm thinking is "Asians and blacks have the same stats, but moon elves and sun elves don't. That's one more way that the old races are different from humans."

If you gave different stats to different human subraces, I'd totally be with you. But elves and dwarves and gnomes aren't like humans at all and I don't expect them to be.


James Jacobs wrote:


It's worth pointing out that in PRPG and, more specifically, in Golarion, the derros are not a subrace at all. They're very much their own race. In previous editions, they were half dwarf, half humans, I think. That's not the case in PRPG at all.

Fair enough, I'm not that familiar with your (Paizo's) setting yet. You're right about the Derro in other systems, pulled out the MM to see.

The Exchange

All of the elves in our group passed on the Kareem Abdul-Jabaar option. In our opinion, PF gave us one more elven subrace to choose from.


James Jacobs wrote:
(and by implication different strains of aasimar).

I would love to hear more on that. Perhaps strains for allowing them to better Paladins, Bards, Rangers or Barbarians, depending on alignment.

Making Derro their own race is perfectly valid. However, I liked the idea of them being a sorcerous (or divine?) mix of humans and dwarves. If I use PRPG for Greyhawk, they will still be that mix. (IIRC, once more the Suloise are responsible for creating that race.)

Stefan


lastknightleft wrote:

That's right, no more moon elf, whisper gnome, chartruese halfling, amber dwarf, port-o-potty elf.

You want to play an elf, there's one type to choose. Please paizo never never never never never never never bring back the eight million different statistical versions of subraces. You're a black elf, great take elf and say that your skin-tone is a rich dark brown, no reason whatsoever to make black elves (not talking about drow here) give a +2 to con and str and a -2 to dex. Just flavor your elf how you want.

You made me spit soda :) And I agree with you on it. Flavor is OK, but stats should be the same within races (excepting perhaps the Drow, Duergar and Aquatic Elves which have significantly departed from the racial norms).


Can't agree with the last post strongly enough. Unless there's a sufficient roleplay differance to justify the subrace it really shouldn't exist. I.E. Kender vs. Halfling.

Yeah there were like 30 verieties of each race, and very little noticeable differance between them.

Contributor

nathan blackmer wrote:

Can't agree with the last post strongly enough. Unless there's a sufficient roleplay differance to justify the subrace it really shouldn't exist. I.E. Kender vs. Halfling.

Yeah there were like 30 verieties of each race, and very little noticeable differance between them.

With the Kender, I never understood the attraction of a race of halflings with ADHD.


Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
nathan blackmer wrote:

Can't agree with the last post strongly enough. Unless there's a sufficient roleplay differance to justify the subrace it really shouldn't exist. I.E. Kender vs. Halfling.

Yeah there were like 30 verieties of each race, and very little noticeable differance between them.

With the Kender, I never understood the attraction of a race of halflings with ADHD.

They're flavorful if you're in Krynn. You know, I've never had someone play a kender and annoy me though, which a lot of people seem to have run into.

Besides, ADHD? I prefer to think of them as innocent and fearless.

Yeah I'm that way with drow though, so I get where you're coming from.


The problem with Drow is that so many people think "I want to play a Drizzt clone!" instead of playing, you know, an actual Drow.


James Jacobs wrote:

Actually... there ARE subraces in Golarion. The thing is, though, we treat them more as flavor differences than actual game mechanic differences. There are a few notable exceptions; aquatic elves and drow are quite different than elves, and there are different strains of tiefling (and by implication different strains of aasimar). You can even think of goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears as different goblinoid subraces. But overall, "subraces" in Golarion are basically the same as ethnicities. We have a dozen or so human subraces, all of whom have the same stats. Same goes for elves, really; we have forlorn elves, Mordant Spire elves, the Ekujae wild elves of the Mwangi Expanse, and other tribes (such as the snow elves detaled in Pathfinder #17). For elves, though, we've got an in-game reason why tribes who live in different areas have different appearances—elves adapt over their lives to take on many of the features of their environs. Yet still, yeah; in most cases, the stats don't change.

But the proliferation of things like valley elves and deep halflings and whisper gnomes is not something that we've embraced for Golarion. The concept is still perfectly valid, and stats for those races are still compatible for those who want to use the PRPG to play a Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms campaign, of course.

And thank you for that!


Jabor wrote:
The problem with Drow is that so many people think "I want to play a Drizzt clone!" instead of playing, you know, an actual Drow.

EXACTLY.

And that's because TSR embraced it...it was a big moneymaker. Remember the source book Drow of the Underdark? 2nd ed drow were bad news.

Cybernetics!?!?
Not to mention Black Blade of Disaster.

Yeah Drow were meant to be evil, sadistic and malevolent.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Jabor wrote:
The problem with Drow is that so many people think "I want to play a Drizzt clone!" instead of playing, you know, an actual Drow.

Actually, no, they just think "I want to play a drow." You may not have noticed this, but most PCs are good regardless of race.

Aasimar PCs are typical for their race. Tiefling PCs are renegades bucking their nature. That's just the way it works, and for 99% of evil races, no one finds it strange.

However, whenever someone tries to play a renegade drow, the rest of the group screams "DRIZZT!".

Drow returning to the surface are a movement all their own in Forgotten Realms, of which Drizzt is only one example. Hence the god Elistraee and her entire dogma focused around being a good drow.

Why this never sunk in for most FR players I'll never know.


I posted a question in another thread and got no answer. Maybe no one in that conversation knows the answer. Maybe someone in this one knows.

Earlier in this thread, I read something that shocked me.

James Jacobs wrote:
It's worth pointing out that in PRPG and, more specifically, in Golarion, the derros are not a subrace at all. They're very much their own race. In previous editions, they were half dwarf, half humans, I think. That's not the case in PRPG at all.

Derro used to be half human? James Jacobs' words "I think" imply that he's not sure.

I was curious. In the wikipedia entry it says

wikipedia entry wrote:
In the World of Greyhawk setting, derro are thought to be the result of breeding a race of slaves from dwarven and human stock by the Suel Imperium.

I looked in my old 1983/84 "World of Greyhawk" books, and saw no mention of Derro.

Can anyone please confirm for me about the derros being half human? I think it might make a good point in the aforementioned thread. Thanks.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DougErvin wrote:
I am 100% agreement with you on this one. The sub races never made any sense to me. Only one gaming world had a really good and believable reason for sub races of elves, Arcanis if you are interested.

Arcanis where elves are MADE... to order! Or at least they were a few centuries ago.

Actually as I recall that game had a fair number of Human subraces besides the obvious Val and Dark-kin. Kio comes to mind.


Aaron Bitman wrote:

I looked in my old 1983/84 "World of Greyhawk" books, and saw no mention of Derro.

Can anyone please confirm for me about the derros being half human? I think it might make a good point in the aforementioned thread. Thanks.

According to the 3.5 MM they are.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Skaorn wrote:
Aaron Bitman wrote:

I looked in my old 1983/84 "World of Greyhawk" books, and saw no mention of Derro.

Can anyone please confirm for me about the derros being half human? I think it might make a good point in the aforementioned thread. Thanks.

According to the 3.5 MM they are.

Older source was the 2.e Scarlet Brotherhood, by our own SKR. If I'm wrong I'm sure he'll correct me.

Dark Archive

But...but... how can I build my ultimate assassin without whisper gnomes, or ninja for that matter. The numbers just don't support it. PFRPG sux.

Spoiler:
Just kidding


Ya'll aware the PHB didn't have any subraces also?

Just wait few more books, then back to:

Moon elves, sun elves, gray elves, wood elves, wild elves, star elves, dark elves, aquatic elves, avarial elves, fey'ri elves, night elves, snow elves, bar elves, nightbar elves, disco elves, pub elves, tavern elves...etc.


Aaron Bitman wrote:

I posted a question in another thread and got no answer. Maybe no one in that conversation knows the answer. Maybe someone in this one knows.

Earlier in this thread, I read something that shocked me.

James Jacobs wrote:
It's worth pointing out that in PRPG and, more specifically, in Golarion, the derros are not a subrace at all. They're very much their own race. In previous editions, they were half dwarf, half humans, I think. That's not the case in PRPG at all.

Derro used to be half human? James Jacobs' words "I think" imply that he's not sure.

I was curious. In the wikipedia entry it says

wikipedia entry wrote:
In the World of Greyhawk setting, derro are thought to be the result of breeding a race of slaves from dwarven and human stock by the Suel Imperium.

I looked in my old 1983/84 "World of Greyhawk" books, and saw no mention of Derro.

Well in the second edition source Monstrous Mythology there is a myth how the derro came into being. Two dwarfling gods by the name of Diirinka and Dinkarazan found an alien emerald glowing cavern. In it it was filled with strange devices and ancient magics. They instanyly began to loot the place. Little did they know it was the domain of the Ilithid god Ilsensine. Ilsensine observed the creatures as they looted, and when they became aware of its alien prescence they fled. Diirinka wishing to save his own skin backstabed his twin Dinkarazan and escaped with precious artifacts. Dinkarazan left at the mercy of Ilsensine suffered a horrible curse. He was stripped of his sanity forever(not that there was much to begin with)and chained to a stone throne in the Abyss. Diirinka then began experimenting on some dwarves creating horrible monstrosities and finally perfecting the derro. In them he instilled cunning, speed and sorcery, and madness. Moradin discovering this geat evil banished Diirinka forever from the dwarf pantheon. Thus we have the insane sorcerous derro....

By all means this might not be true, but its one source of canon to use and explain the derro race

Can anyone please confirm for me about the derros being half human? I think it might make a good point in the aforementioned thread. Thanks.

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