Can Half-Elves take the Dreamspeaker alternate racial trait?


Rules Questions


Half-elves are treated as elves and humans for all effects related to race. They also have the Elven Immunities racial trait in common with Elves. One of the Elf alternate racial traits, Dreamspeaker, replaces only Elven Immunities (the other Elf ARTs either don't affect Elven Immunities or trade out both that and Elven Magic, which Half-Elves don't have).

Can a Half-Elf be a Dreamspeaker? In other words, does "any effect related to race" include alternate racial traits?


Zurai wrote:

Half-elves are treated as elves and humans for all effects related to race. They also have the Elven Immunities racial trait in common with Elves. One of the Elf alternate racial traits, Dreamspeaker, replaces only Elven Immunities (the other Elf ARTs either don't affect Elven Immunities or trade out both that and Elven Magic, which Half-Elves don't have).

Can a Half-Elf be a Dreamspeaker? In other words, does "any effect related to race" include alternate racial traits?

No, it is not an "effect". Effects are things such as spells, the bonus' granted by certain items, etc. They are things from outside sources that "effect" your character.


Then how come the APG feat Racial Heritage says:

APG pg168 wrote:
Benefit: Choose another humanoid race. You count as both human and that race for any effects related to race. For example, if you choose dwarf, you are considered both a human and a dwarf for the purpose of taking traits, feats, how spells and magic items affect you, and so on.

Basically, I'm just making sure that "and so on" includes the ability to take alternate racial features, because it already explicitly covers taking traits and feats (which would not be "effects" by your definition).


That certainly changes things, go nuts IMO. Traits are effects under Paizo's eyes.


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BTW, I wish Paizo didn't use the term "racial traits" for two entirely different rules entities. That term refers to both the benefits you get from being a specific race as well as being a category of trait that only a member of that race can take. I'm referring to the first definition in my first post (racial features, not race-specific traits).


Zurai wrote:
BTW, I wish Paizo didn't use the term "racial traits" for two entirely different rules entities. That term refers to both the benefits you get from being a specific race as well as being a category of trait that only a member of that race can take. I'm referring to the first definition in my first post (racial features, not race-specific traits).

It certainly is a cluster you-know-what. RAI says no you can't RAW seems to be yes you can.


Yes, but you can only use it when you're half-asleep since you're only half-dreamspeaker (and half-flighty-ape-thing). ^_-

I'm with you that "racial features" woulda been better for the base stuff you get for being a certain race, though.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

I had this same question and since this thread is super old and this FAQ has come out since, does this mean they can in fact take Dreamspeaker by swapping out their Elven Immunities since both the Elf and Half-Elf have it (with exactly the same wording)?

Obviously they wouldn't also be able to swap out Elven Immunities for say Memories Beyond Death since Memories requires a swap of both Elven Immunities and Elven Magic which Half-Elves don't have.


Felix Gaunt wrote:

I had this same question and since this thread is super old and this FAQ has come out since, does this mean they can in fact take Dreamspeaker by swapping out their Elven Immunities since both the Elf and Half-Elf have it (with exactly the same wording)?

Obviously they wouldn't also be able to swap out Elven Immunities for say Memories Beyond Death since Memories requires a swap of both Elven Immunities and Elven Magic which Half-Elves don't have.

No, Half-Elves can't take Dreamspeaker because it is an Elven Alternate Racial Trait. The FAQ lets them select Elven Race Traits, but despite the similarity in the names those are two very different things.

Shadow Lodge

Gisher wrote:
No, Half-Elves can't take Dreamspeaker because it is an Elven Racial Trait. The FAQ lets them select Elven Race Traits, but despite the similarity in the names those are two very different things.

Thanks for the reply. Yeah I knew that part (on Racial vs Race Traits), but I figured all things being equal that the "and so on" mentioned in the FAQ would cover it, what with the aforementioned Racial Trait being exactly the same for each. It also then goes on to mention rules elements, etc.

If the wording wasn't verbatim identical I wouldn't have even asked the question. This reminds me of a favorite saying at our table, "ambiguity rules". lol

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Hero Lab does allow it, for the record. (Same for other half-elf stuff that replaces elven immunities or keen senses.)

I know, I know. That's not proof of anything """official""". But it's enough for me to play it that way.


Kalindlara wrote:

Hero Lab does allow it, for the record. (Same for other half-elf stuff that replaces elven immunities or keen senses.)

I know, I know. That's not proof of anything """official""". But it's enough for me to play it that way.

Interesting. I had always thought that Alternate Racial Traits were off-limits, but perhaps not. If that works then Half-Elves could select their own Weapon Familiarity Alternate Racial Trait, which grants them the Elven Weapon Familiarity Racial Trait, and then trade that out for things like Arcane Focus or Dimdweller.

Grand Lodge

Yeah, I wouldn't take herolab for proof of anything considering that they've often allowed things that were said to be wrong in FAQs.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I don't see why it would/should be disallowed personally.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

This opens up all sorts of possibilities for half-elves. Normally, alternate racial traits would be off limits because other races that have acquired the ability to "count as" another race generally lack the replaced racial traits and thus cannot make the substitution.

However, half-elves share low-light vision, elven immunities, and keen senses with elves, with no changes to any of these default racial traits. If half-elves can take alternate elven racial traits that replaces any or all of these default racial traits in any combination, then that opens up many possibilities that need to be looked at more closely.


David knott 242 wrote:

This opens up all sorts of possibilities for half-elves. Normally, alternate racial traits would be off limits because other races that have acquired the ability to "count as" another race generally lack the replaced racial traits and thus cannot make the substitution.

However, half-elves share low-light vision, elven immunities, and keen senses with elves, with no changes to any of these default racial traits. If half-elves can take alternate elven racial traits that replaces any or all of these default racial traits in any combination, then that opens up many possibilities that need to be looked at more closely.

Half-Elves can also get the Elven Weapon Proficiency Racial Trait by trading out Adaptability. I think this is the complete list of Elven Alternate Racial Traits for which Half-Elves would qualify if this approach is legal.

Trading Out Elven Immunities:
Blightborn
Dreamspeaker
Elemental Resistance
Perfect
Slender

Trading Out Keen Senses:
Blended View
Draconic Consular
Dusksight
Fey Magic
Fey Wisdom
Illustrious Urbanite
Urbanite

Trading Out Low-Light Vision:
Behind the Veil
Darkvision

Trading Out Weapon Familiarity:
Arcane Focus
Dimdweller
Fey Thoughts
Long-Limbed
Shadowhunter
Voice in the Darkness

Trading Out Keen Senses and Weapon Familiarity:
Fleet-Footed


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think the Weapon Familiarity substitutions are a no-go -- you already did a replacement to get Weapon Familiarity in the first place.

The Half-Elf can already trade out its own Keen Senese ability for Fey Magic, so that possibility already existed.

But that still leaves 13 of your listed options as viable expanded choices.


David knott 242 wrote:
I think the Weapon Familiarity substitutions are a no-go -- you already did a replacement to get Weapon Familiarity in the first place.

I can't find any rule against that. It is true that you can't trade out the same Racial Trait for two different Alternate Racial Traits.

ARG wrote:
Alternate Racial Traits: This section lists alternate racial traits for each of the seven core races. Many of them play on racial themes not reflected in the standard racial traits, like the elven alternate racial trait fleet-footed, which grants the Run feat and a bonus on initiative checks instead of the normal keen senses and weapon familiarity traits, reflecting the grace and uncanny reflexes of that race. To take one of these alternate racial traits, you must exchange one or more of the existing standard racial traits available to the race. You can exchange one or several of the standard racial traits, but you cannot exchange the same racial trait more than once. For example, an elf who takes the fleet-footed racial trait cannot take the urbanite racial trait, because the latter trait also replaces keen senses.

But that isn't what is happening here. You are trading out Adaptability once for Weapon Familiarity and then trading out Weapon Familiarity once for, say, Arcane Focus. Each Racial Trait was only traded out once, so it doesn't fall under the prohibition against trading a Trait out more than once.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

That depends on whether you would use the "Dwarf Traits" alternate racial ability for Duergar as the model for permitting such a thing. You are definitely on shakier ground with Weapon Familiarity than with the other share racial traits.

But if you are allowing successive swapping, the "Round Ears" alternate racial trait gives you the Human "Skilled" racial trait, and humans have a bunch of alternate racial traits that they can trade Skilled for.


David knott 242 wrote:
That depends on whether you would use the "Dwarf Traits" alternate racial ability for Duergar as the model for permitting such a thing. You are definitely on shakier ground with Weapon Familiarity than with the other share racial traits.

I looked up "Dwarf Traits," but I'm not sure what point you are trying to make. I've never really paid any attention to Duergar or Dwarves.

David knott 242 wrote:
But if you are allowing successive swapping, the "Round Ears" alternate racial trait gives you the Human "Skilled" racial trait, and humans have a bunch of alternate racial traits that they can trade Skilled for.

That is an interesting option. Honestly, I'm still not sure if Half-Elves can select Elf or Human Alternate Racial Traits at all. I've always thought of those elements as being sequestered from the list of elements covered by the FAQ. But if they are allowed, then I can't find any rules that prohibit successive swapping.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

While we are at it:

Half-Orcs also have at least one way to get the Skilled human racial trait.

Triaxians have a Bonus Feat racial trait that is identical to the one that humans get. Of course, there is no known way for them to "count as human", but this is something to keep in mind if that ever changes.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
David knott 242 wrote:
But if you are allowing successive swapping, the "Round Ears" alternate racial trait gives you the Human "Skilled" racial trait, and humans have a bunch of alternate racial traits that they can trade Skilled for.

I for one would not allow successive swapping. You can't swap something you don't have to begin with (this isn't the stock market).

Gisher wrote:
That is an interesting option. Honestly, I'm still not sure if Half-Elves can select Elf or Human Alternate Racial Traits at all. I've always thought of those elements as being sequestered from the list of elements covered by the FAQ. But if they are allowed, then I can't find any rules that prohibit successive swapping.

I think I remember one or more developers saying that half-breeds are treated as both their parent races for basically everything. Sorry, I don't recall the exact source.

Shadow Lodge

Ravingdork wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
But if you are allowing successive swapping, the "Round Ears" alternate racial trait gives you the Human "Skilled" racial trait, and humans have a bunch of alternate racial traits that they can trade Skilled for.
I for one would not allow successive swapping. You can't swap something you don't have to begin with (this isn't the stock market).

lol Yeah I agree, chain swapping seems like a bit of a stretch. It's amusing to think about, but I can't see Paizo or most GMs blessing it. I think if we ever want an "official" ruling on this it's probably best to stick with the 1-for-1 approach. That's just my 2¢.


Ravingdork wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
But if you are allowing successive swapping, the "Round Ears" alternate racial trait gives you the Human "Skilled" racial trait, and humans have a bunch of alternate racial traits that they can trade Skilled for.
I for one would not allow successive swapping. You can't swap something you don't have to begin with (this isn't the stock market).

That is something I hadn't considered. I was thinking of the Alternate Racial Traits as being applied like feats where you can take them in sequence even if they are chosen at the same level (such as a Human taking Point Blank Shot and also Precise Shot at first level). But if Alternate Racial Traits are all applied simultaneously, the way that multiple archetypes would be applied, then you can't use successive exchanges. The Alternate Racial Traits do seem more fundamental character elements than feats, so I think you are correct that they can't be exchanged sequentially.

Ravingdork wrote:
Gisher wrote:
That is an interesting option. Honestly, I'm still not sure if Half-Elves can select Elf or Human Alternate Racial Traits at all. I've always thought of those elements as being sequestered from the list of elements covered by the FAQ. But if they are allowed, then I can't find any rules that prohibit successive swapping.
I think I remember one or more developers saying that half-breeds are treated as both their parent races for basically everything. Sorry, I don't recall the exact source.

And I can't remember where I got the idea that Alternate Racial Traits were off limits, so I'm inclined to go with your broader interpretation.

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