Do I allow my player to do this?


Advice

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Okay, so for about two sessions now, a player who had his previous character killed in Sandpoint's Glassworks (RotR's - Won't go into detail due to spoilers, but if you really want to know, check the Rise of the Runelord's Obituaries thread) has been playing as a Barbarian (was a Witch before).

Anyway, when he was telling me the concept for his character, he said that he was a Shoanti Human with Orc blood in him.

He said that the Orc blood is very weak in him and that for all intents and purposes, he is a Human, just with Orc blood, so I said ok.

Anyway, turns out he's playing as a Half-Orc (for the extra Str stats) who supposedly looks like a Human.

Now, surely that means he would still look like a Half-Orc, because if his Orc blood was so thinned out that he looked like a Human, he should be using the human stats imo.

Would you allow this?

Should I allow this?

Or should there be a penalty somewhere?

I don't want to spoil the game for him or anyone else, because people are enjoying the game, but I don't really think it's right hiding a fact like that away from me, as I was expecting him to play a normal Human who had Orc blood in him, like he told me before playing.

Sovereign Court

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Point him at the Pass for Human feat from the APG; if he really wants to look almost like a normal human, that's the one he needs.


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Which version of PF are you playing? In the current edition, half-orcs and humans have the exact same stat bonus.


Bandavaar the Brave wrote:

Okay, so for about two sessions now, a player who had his previous character killed in Sandpoint's Glassworks (RotR's - Won't go into detail due to spoilers, but if you really want to know, check the Rise of the Runelord's Obituaries thread) has been playing as a Barbarian (was a Witch before).

Anyway, when he was telling me the concept for his character, he said that he was a Shoanti Human with Orc blood in him.

He said that the Orc blood is very weak in him and that for all intense and purposes, he is a Human, just with Orc blood, so I said ok.

Anyway, turns out he's playing as a Half-Orc (for the extra Str stats) who supposedly looks like a Human.

Now, surely that means he would still look like a Half-Orc, because if his Orc blood was so thinned out that he looked like a Human, he should be using the human stats imo.

Would you allow this?

Should I allow this?

Or should there be a penalty somewhere?

I don't want to spoil the game for him or anyone else, because people are enjoying the game, but I don't really think it's right hiding a fact like that away from me, as I was expecting him to play a normal Human who had Orc blood in him, like he told me before playing.

Half-Orc and Human benefits are different. I personally find that the whole "thinned blood" ordeal is more of a "flavor" sort of thing. I would include a custom trait that would give him bonuses to disguise himself as a Human for the purposes of Bluff and Disguise checks in place of one of the two that he would normally choose to start out with.

If you run with the Advanced Race Guide book and do custom races, I'd try and work with him on that and compromise until you come to an agreement as to what is acceptable for what he receives with his "thinned bloodline".

If at all possible, I would try and not adjust anything if it isn't game-breaking; if it's part of the storyline (like for my character, being a "Branded" deals with his trait of being animalistic in terms of instinct and racial benefits, while maintaining the concept of being human by hiding the born Brand on his back through his heavy armor), then it could be interesting to see if his heritage can impact the party (positively or negatively).

Overall, I'd run it, but I'd talk to him about it and as to how he wants his "thinned bloodline" to pan out. It could be a Campaign ordeal; it could be something that impacts how he functions as a character in both combat and separate scenarios; it could just be flavor for his character if you heavily RP with your sessions.


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Ascalaphus wrote:
Point him at the Pass for Human feat from the APG; if he really wants to look almost like a normal human, that's the one he needs.

If he wants the advantages of being a half-orc and still look human, this is the feat to go for. If he wants to be human with a trace of orc blood and look human without the feat, he needs to play a human.


Bandavaar the Brave wrote:

Okay, so for about two sessions now, a player who had his previous character killed in Sandpoint's Glassworks (RotR's - Won't go into detail due to spoilers, but if you really want to know, check the Rise of the Runelord's Obituaries thread) has been playing as a Barbarian (was a Witch before).

Anyway, when he was telling me the concept for his character, he said that he was a Shoanti Human with Orc blood in him.

He said that the Orc blood is very weak in him and that for all intense and purposes, he is a Human, just with Orc blood, so I said ok.

Anyway, turns out he's playing as a Half-Orc (for the extra Str stats) who supposedly looks like a Human.

Now, surely that means he would still look like a Half-Orc, because if his Orc blood was so thinned out that he looked like a Human, he should be using the human stats imo.

Would you allow this?

Should I allow this?

Or should there be a penalty somewhere?

I don't want to spoil the game for him or anyone else, because people are enjoying the game, but I don't really think it's right hiding a fact like that away from me, as I was expecting him to play a normal Human who had Orc blood in him, like he told me before playing.

I'm a little confused as to what you mean when you say "extra Str stats". As far as allowing him to look like one race and play another...well there is a bit of precedent for human-like half-orcs but for him to have no orc features is a little too far for my taste (although he could hide them). I think the bigger concern is if he intentionally hid it from you or just changed it one night at 1am and forgot to mention it. Might be something you want to talk about.


colemcm wrote:
Which version of PF are you playing? In the current edition, half-orcs and humans have the exact same stat bonus.

My mistake. I always thought it had a +, + and a - like Dwarves etc, but maybe that was 3.5.

I never play as Half-Orc's, so must have been confused.

Even still, he's a race different to what he's making himself out to be, so has Darkvision and all of the other Half-Orc bonuses.

He's also a member of one of the Shoanti Tribes, so can't have the City Raised/Arena Bred Racial type.

I'll have to talk with him about it, because it looks as though he's trying to act like he has the "Pass for Human" feat without actually taking it, which wouldn't be fair on the other players.

This is my first time DM'ing properly and it's going well so far (nearing the end of book 1 - on the last Chapter), but if it's him trying to get me to accept something just because I'm still unaware of a few of the rules (been playing for a year or two, mainly sticking to Human, Halfling or Half-Elf Fighter types, but actually liking Clerics a lot, with Magus also being fun), I'll need to make it clear to him that I'm not allowing him to have a free feat when everyone else is playing properly, to the rules.


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If you want to reach a compromise, why not turn "Pass For Human" into a trait, intead of a feat?

It's probably not game-breaking, but it may a bit too good depending on the campaign.

An adventure focused on infiltration or with lots of scenes in enviroments with lots of prejudice against orcs (or humans) may make this too good for a trait.

If it's a hack n' slash fest and/or there is little to no difference in how most of the world perceives and treats humans and half-orcs, it may be a tad weak for a feat.


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The feat in pathfinder is called Veiled Vileness it is from Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting. Total outward human apperance and gives a +1 bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks and Will save. It is way better then the Pass for Human feat.


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Passing for human is sort of a trash feat - it's not very good. I'm with Lemmy - let him take a trait for it.

-Cross


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I agree with everyone else in that if he wants the benefit of being a half orc, but doesn't want to look like one, he needs the pass for human feat. If you want to make it a trait, I'd recommend dropping the bonus to +5 rather than +10.

Quote:

Pass For Human

You're easily mistaken for a human rather than a member of your own race.

Prerequisite: Half-elf, half-orc, or halfling (see Special).

Benefit: You receive a +10 bonus on Disguise checks to disguise yourself as a human, and do not receive the penalty for disguising yourself as a member of another race when you do so. In areas largely populated or settled by humans, you can take 10 on your Disguise check, meaning most people tend to assume you are human unless given a reason to think otherwise.

Likewise, if he wants to be a human with a bit of orc blood in his heritage, there's the racial heritage feat:

Quote:

Racial Heritage

The blood of a non-human ancestor flows in your veins.

Prerequisite: Human.

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.


I'd make a 'Pass For Human' trait that gives a +5 bonus to disguise checks instead of +10. He'd be able to fool most of the people most of the time without too much trouble but a particularly astute NPCs will be able to pick it up.


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A trait is half a feat, right?

Pass for Human gives the following:
+10 on disguise checks to disguise as human
Negate penalty for disguising as a member of another race when you do so (normally -2)
Take 10 on disguise check

For a trait, we need to cut it in half. +5 on disguise checks and either remove the -2 penalty or remove the ability to take 10.

Most traits (all traits?) that give a bonus to a skill also make the skill a class skill. So perhaps a trait would be a +5 trait bonus on disguise checks when disguising as human, and disguise is a class skill. And that would be it.


bookrat wrote:

A trait is half a feat, right?

Pass for Human gives the following:
+10 on disguise checks to disguise as human
Negate penalty for disguising as a member of another race when you do so (normally -2)
Take 10 on disguise check

For a trait, we need to cut it in half. +5 on disguise checks and either remove the -2 penalty or remove the ability to take 10.

Most traits (all traits?) that give a bonus to a skill also make the skill a class skill. So perhaps a trait would be a +5 trait bonus on disguise checks when disguising as human, and disguise is a class skill. And that would be it.

+1


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Well, if he'll accept the changes to his character, I'll go with the +5 on Disguise Checks and can take 10, still keeping the -2 penalty.

If he wants to go down the route of a feat, I'll go with Tifton's input and present to him the Veiled Vileness feat.

If he refuses to change anything, I'm stuffed as we finally have four players. ¬_¬

Anyway, thanks guys!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Don't Shoanti kill orcs and half-orcs on sight...unless around other non-Shoanti...Just saying.


Bandavaar, if you do the +5 and class skill version, you could also let him take the feat, and have them stack, for a total of +15, class skill, no -2, and take 10. It'll cost a trait and a feat, but his half orc will be really good at hiding in a human society.

I'd allow that in my game.


bookrat wrote:
Most traits (all traits?) that give a bonus to a skill also make the skill a class skill. So perhaps a trait would be a +5 trait bonus on disguise checks when disguising as human, and disguise is a class skill. And that would be it.

I like this idea. It seems fair enough.


Crosswind wrote:

Passing for human is sort of a trash feat - it's not very good. I'm with Lemmy - let him take a trait for it.

-Cross

This. It's a stunning waste of a feat. If you really feel it's just too powerful as a trait, maybe make it his only trait or half it as suggested.


Are you using 2 traits? Since traits are listed as 1/2 the level of a feat, you could give him Pass for Human for both, possibly.

Lots of similar (and good!) Ideas


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He's either a half-orc or a human. He can take the feat to be less-obviously-brutish, but the Shoanti would kill him on sight (it's a rules thing.)

Your player is playing you. he is either one or the other. Tell your player to choose one race or another, and be done with this.

Forgo special treatment. The character is either One or The Other, use the feats available to make the concept work.

Shadow Lodge

Bandavaar the Brave wrote:

Would you allow this?

Should I allow this?

Or should there be a penalty somewhere?

No, no, and yes (Pass For Human feat).


chaoseffect wrote:
Crosswind wrote:

Passing for human is sort of a trash feat - it's not very good. I'm with Lemmy - let him take a trait for it.

-Cross

This. It's a stunning waste of a feat. If you really feel it's just too powerful as a trait, maybe make it his only trait or half it as suggested.

Well, if the player really wants it for character design, let him have it. It's a pretty cool character concept. If one of my players wanted this, I'd set up some adventures that revolved around him having to hide the fact that he's a half-orc.

Alternatively, if a half-orc has this ability, he now has a +10 to look like different humans and he can take 10 on it, allowing him to effectively change his appearance as needed (kind of like Mission Impossible or that 1997 movie The Saint). If it's a male character, that's at least a +10 to look like any male human, and at least a +8 to look like any female human. Combine that with the Disguise Self spell, and that's an additional +10.

And when one of his human aliases is being actively hunted and he's being chased through the streets, just remove the disguise and now he's a half-orc walking through town. Fantastic ability for an intrigue campaign in a major city.


there is no need for a Disguise check with the Veiled Vileness feat your human side is more dominant. In other words your body looks human no giant tusks or green skin you are human outside and have the half-orc inside. If you wanted you could make it into a trait trade it out for Intimidating like they did for the Shaman's Apprentice one that gives you endurance.


tifton wrote:
there is no need for a Disguise check with the Veiled Vileness feat your human side is more dominant. In other words your body looks human no giant tusks or green skin you are human outside and have the half-orc inside. If you wanted you could make it into a trait trade it out for Intimidating like they did for the Shaman's Apprentice one that gives you endurance.

What book is that in?


bookrat wrote:
tifton wrote:
there is no need for a Disguise check with the Veiled Vileness feat your human side is more dominant. In other words your body looks human no giant tusks or green skin you are human outside and have the half-orc inside. If you wanted you could make it into a trait trade it out for Intimidating like they did for the Shaman's Apprentice one that gives you endurance.
What book is that in?

Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting.


Crosswind wrote:

Passing for human is sort of a trash feat - it's not very good. I'm with Lemmy - let him take a trait for it.

I agree. You can even make it a side benefit of the adopted trait.

But note there are some APG racial varients which enhance the orciness (fangs, etc) and of course they can't be taken here.


Did you not liik at his sheet to see his race? I'm just confused as to how you wouldn't know whet the player is?


@Waiph - At creation he didn't want to show me, even though he should as I'm the GM.

He usually GM's, but because he told me he was a Human with Half-Orc blood in him (upon creation), I figured he meant it for fluff and didn't expect him to reverse the process, using the third generation Half-Orc Alternate Racial Trait to gain the skilled feat.

I told him all that does is mean he'd gain an extra skill point every level because it doesn't at all state that you pass for human.

B.A. Ironskull wrote:

He's either a half-orc or a human. He can take the feat to be less-obviously-brutish, but the Shoanti would kill him on sight (it's a rules thing.)

Your player is playing you. he is either one or the other. Tell your player to choose one race or another, and be done with this.

Forgo special treatment. The character is either One or The Other, use the feats available to make the concept work.

Yep, that's what I thought. He told me he was a Human with Half-Orc blood in him, so I interpreted that as him playing a rage ridden human. He then does the opposite.

I gave him the feat and trait options and he replied, saying it would ruin his character because he's already chosen his feats and one of those allows him to be a Shoanti Tribe member. The other I think is Power Attack.

So I said well, you could go the trait route then and he said he can't because he's a third generation Half-Orc and took the trait for that.

He then said that changing any of the above would ruin his concept, so I argued how could it when he's still a Shoanti, he runs around with a Hammer, he's still honourable, wrathful and proud and just wants to go home. That is his character concept.

I said that if he's a Half-Orc he'd have slightly tinted green skin, bigger hands and a stronger/more pronounced bone structure than a human so people would still know he wasn't human.

He then stopped replying.

Shoanti hate Half-Orc's and even he told me that, but went along the lines of he grew up with them and he was so human like that they didn't once notice anything different about him. They just thought he was strong from birth.

I don't feel I'm being mean to him and maybe he just thinks I don't know the rules fully, so he can slide things past me, but yes, I was under the impression he was Human as that's what he spoke to me about in the concept stage, yet when he wasn't able to attend, I needed his character sheet and saw he was Half-Orc.

It would be unfair to allow him that much of a bonus when everyone else are going by the rules.

My view is he either takes the feat or trait route, depending on how much he wants to pass for a human (without the stupid Pass for Human feat), or he roleplays with the hatred towards Half-Orc's and plays as this guy who should have been killed a long time ago....if he's green and ugly.

Oh and whenever I play in his campaigns, he tells all of the other players what I'm playing as, which I don't find very funny. It takes the surprise and unique introductions away when people know your stats so rebuild their characters to better yours a day before playing.

As for traits; Yes. He runs his campaigns with two traits at the start. One can be whatever you want and the other has to be a campaign trait, but I always feel if you can create a good enough back story to put yourself into the AP, you don't need to have a campaign trait always. He disagrees, but he likes to limit you to a degree, so his play style is different to mine, but yea, I do the same because I know I'll never be able to choose two random traits ever.

It means nobody gets one over on the other.

It's pretty sad I even have to worry about such things tbh, but c'est la vie!


Is his character statted as a half-orc with darkvision, ferocity, racial weapon proficiency, and intimidating. Cause if he is then he's a half-orc, and needs a feat or trait not to look like a half-orc. If he took the alternate race-trait and traded darkvision to get the skill rank, then he can still take your pass for human Race Trait.

There's a semantic issue there that confuses people, but a Race Trait, as in: you get two traits are one kind like social traits and race traits. Then there's the alternate racial features like skilled that trade one feature for another. They are not the same thing. So he can drop Darkvision for skilled then get the pass for human race-trait, if that's the kind of trait you want.

If he is statted like a human then he's a human. Otherwise he's trying to get mechanical benefits without the RP issues and asking you to hand-wave it...


He's statted like a Half-Orc, with the racial trait of Third Generation Orc, which gave him the Skilled Racial Trait. Then he has one campaign trait, but I have no idea what the second one is, as he hasn't even told me what traits he took for this new guy (it's his second character), so I'm in the dark really.

If he feels he can't spend a feat on it, then he should take the trait version, even if it means rolling to be suspected for the rest of the game.

So yea, he's a Half-Orc trying to pass for a Human. Without the feat, he'll look like a normal Half-Orc under any disguise.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I've neve had a DM that didn't look at eveyone's character sheet before we started gaming, at 1st level at the least. That strikes me as strange.

Liberty's Edge

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Don't lst your player walk over you. Either his character is a human or a half orc.


Well, he could still disguise himself as human with a normal disguise roll. Just with a -2 penalty for crossing races. The trait and feat just gives him a bonus. And it's just one roll when he dons the disguise (and he won't know how well he did until someone sees through it, in which case it would be a good idea to keep a friend around to check for you).


Yeah, you need to see his sheet, cause he may have space for the trait version of pass for Human, but thinks that he is spending a trait to get Skilled. HE also needs to be loosing Darkvision to get skilled, so you need to mae sure he's doing that too...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Human with the Racial Heritage(Half-orc) feat accomplishes everything this player is asking for.
This will allow the PC to take any human or half-orc feat or racial archetype.

No need for special houserules.


Yea, he has lost Darkvision. I saw that at least and yep, I know. I asked for his sheet at the start and said I needed to see it, but he didn't give it to me, so I just figured "whatever. Things don't need to be this difficult".

He reads and posts on these forums in the pbp section, so will probably see this, but yes, I asked for his sheet before he brought his character in and he said he didn't want to get it out or something alike, so I just thought I couldn't be bothered anymore because it bores me constantly nagging someone to do something and takes the fun out of it for everyone.

I know everyone elses character sheet as I made their characters (they're new to the game).

I think this player was just trying things on really, though why he couldn't have just asked me beforehand I don't know, instead of pulling a u-turn on his original concept.

Note - I think you Americans call a u-turn a j-turn. Just so you know what I'm on about. :)


We americans call it a u-turn. :)


I swear when I was out there it was called a J-Turn. :p

The same as we call a roundabout....a roundabout and American Sat Nav calls it a Circle Turn. Haha!

Yea, I'm English myself so always spell Armour in this fashion, where as you guys spell it Armor etc. English English and English American are two fairly different things. XD

But yea, guess I'll be making a trip to his house tomorrow to go through things with him.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Just make a house rule that you check all sheets when the game starts at first level, and you check them after every level up. That ensures there is no confusion or sneaky things going on. Easy peasy.


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Here in California, I call them roundabouts. I think I picked it up when I was in germany. Most other Californians just look at me confused, because they're so rare here. :)


Gerald wrote:
Just make a house rule that you check all sheets when the game starts at first level, and you check them after every level up. That ensures there is no confusion or sneaky things going on. Easy peasy.

That is completely reasonable. In PFS games, we all check each others, not only to keep each other in line, but also to learn new rules that others may have found.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Here in Washington, we call them U turns, as do our street signs.


Gerald wrote:
Just make a house rule that you check all sheets when the game starts at first level, and you check them after every level up. That ensures there is no confusion or sneaky things going on. Easy peasy.

Pretty sure that's what I did and why I stressed I needed to see it, but he should know better being our usual GM and all.

It would be far easier if he just chose the Racial Heritage feat and played as a Human if he wants to look Human. I mean, I'm not against his concept, but unless he's prepared to invest traits or feats into making himself appear as a human at all times, he should be one race or the other.


The answer to this lies in the nature of the campaign world.

Does looking Human in anyway garner favor towards the character?

Is the PC treated differently because of his appearance?

I have run campaigns where I would merely make this a aesthetic notation on his sheet, campaigns where I would consider the impact of appearance to be worth a trait, and at least one game where having the abilities and powers of one race, while appearing to be another, would amount to the power a feat grants a player.

Silver Crusade

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Hey for my current games I have specified that the characters must be created in Hero Lab, and if they players don't have a copy they are welcome to use mine.

its cut a lot of "rule creep" out of the characters as its all specified in front of me, I can look their characters up between sessions, or bring up stuff mid game.

Your the GM, request a copy of the character, and if one is not made available, find another player. that sounds harsh, but then I have a glut of players right now and have no trouble with 3-4 players waiting to join my games.

So what I would recommend as a middle ground, say to him, what would he do if you pulled that stunt on him. How would he rule it.

If he is reasonable, simply tell him what you want him to do to keep that character in the game. If he is unreasonable tell him that he risks being booted from your game for cheating and I would state this in front of the other players as they might not know he has been cheating.

Put in those terms I've brought other players in line, especially other GM's as they don't want to be known for cheating.

You have tried to be reasonable, now simply let the group decide if he should be allowed to cheat while they are playing by the rules.

Either he will play within the rules, or he will leave... or you could let him continue to cheat.

I've thrown cheat in there a few times because in reality that is what he is doing, and on some level he knows this due to not being upfront about it.


Bandavaar the Brave wrote:
Oh and whenever I play in his campaigns, he tells all of the other players what I'm playing as, which I don't find very funny. It takes the surprise and unique introductions away when people know your stats so rebuild their characters to better yours a day before playing.

Huh? Why do players rebuild character sheets to 'better' one another?


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When I first read this I thought that this player was trying to take advantage of you, especially when he went on to say that taking the feat tax 'would ruin his build'.

However, all he's really asking for is a 're-skin' of Half Orc to make him look human, but is really a Half Orc. The more I consider his wish, the less I have a problem with it.

If I were you here's what I'd do.

Allow the re-skin, but there's something not quite right about his character when he inter-acts with people. Nothing obvious, nothing overt, but something strange.

His 'orc blood' may be 'weak' as he states it, but any ranger worth their salt will pick it up in a heartbeat. Other orcs will pick it up too, and perhaps goblins.

Let it pass, continue the game as is and then introduce a plot line into the campaign that brings this to light. Perhaps a dwarvern ranger who is passing by in the town picks it up and starts tracking him, bring in some game conflict later on, perhaps a member of his family comes seeking him for an urgent problem that raises the suspicions of the town.

The choices are endless, use this as an oppurtunity to roleplay the conflict.


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Bandavaar the Brave wrote:

I swear when I was out there it was called a J-Turn. :p

The same as we call a roundabout....a roundabout and American Sat Nav calls it a Circle Turn. Haha!

First, the Player should learn to compromise a little.

Second: "Look kids! Big Ben, and Parliment!"---

2 hrs later: "kids...Big Ben...Parliment..."


Iced2k wrote:

When I first read this I thought that this player was trying to take advantage of you, especially when he went on to say that taking the feat tax 'would ruin his build'.

However, all he's really asking for is a 're-skin' of Half Orc to make him look human, but is really a Half Orc. The more I consider his wish, the less I have a problem with it.

If I were you here's what I'd do.

Allow the re-skin, but there's something not quite right about his character when he inter-acts with people. Nothing obvious, nothing overt, but something strange.

His 'orc blood' may be 'weak' as he states it, but any ranger worth their salt will pick it up in a heartbeat. Other orcs will pick it up too, and perhaps goblins.

Let it pass, continue the game as is and then introduce a plot line into the campaign that brings this to light. Perhaps a dwarvern ranger who is passing by in the town picks it up and starts tracking him, bring in some game conflict later on, perhaps a member of his family comes seeking him for an urgent problem that raises the suspicions of the town.

The choices are endless, use this as an oppurtunity to roleplay the conflict.

The problem is that the player also wants to start in a Shoanti tribe, who will kill all half-orc on sight. So the player is trying to gain an in game advantage with an aesthetic change without paying for it, and that is cheese.

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