Does the Racial Heritage feat, combined with a feat that improves an inherent feature (claws, poison, etc) grant you that feature?


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MrTsFloatinghead wrote:

I can't disagree more with the idea that using racial heritage and tail terror would NOT result in the mechanical advantage that RAW allows. All the arguments against it seem to boil down to "Humans don't have tails, so that's not a valid choice", or else to incredulous outrage that the feat "makes a tail spontaneously grow".

First, humans can, currently, be born with tails. It's extremely rare, but it does happen. Thus, it is factually incorrect to base your position on the claim that humans can't/don't have tails. Further, I argue that if I wanted to specify that my purely human character had a non-functional, vestigial tail, I am allowed to do so, just like I would be allowed to describe him/her as being bald, or having 6 fingers, or any number of other features humans might have that aren't "standard". Fair warning - disagreeing with this position will put you in the uncomfortable situation of having to define what a "standard" human is. Good luck not sounding like a jerk!

Second, since it's clear that there is absolutely no legitimate reason to deny a purely human character a vestigial tail, it seems silly in the extreme to say that a character who burns a feat to specifically access a distant bit of non-human ancestry should be denied the ability to have a tail. What seems to get people's goat here is the idea that the feat caused the tail to spontaneously grow. That's not necessarily true, though - maybe the tail has been there the whole time, but the character kept it tucked away, because it wasn't useful, and he/she didn't talk about it because reasons. Or, heck, in a world where people can devote themselves to unlocking their dragon ancestry and thus gain wings, fangs, claws, and a breath weapon, why is it unreasonable to roleplay taking the feat as causing physiological changes?

Basically, it boils down to this: If I'm a purely human character, can I describe myself as having a tail, or any other congenital defect? If no, why not? What rule forbids it? If I can, then why can't a...

You must be new here.

Both of the feats in question are not designed or intended to allow the growth limbs. Abilities and Effects that specify the alteration or addition of limbs come out and say they do so, as adding a limb, with a mechanical benefit to boot, is a very powerful thing to grant in an ability or effect. Not to mention, there are flaws and other such abilities that specify such things. Maybe if you had those in addition to the 2 feats, it'd be much more plausible. But until then, the feats do nothing for you.

There are several in-game examples of such things that do, and say so explicitly, and there are zero in-game examples that don't say anything on the matter. So the precedent of a feat that doesn't strictly tell you it gives you limbs, now all of a sudden gives you limbs, is nothing but munchkinism, plain and simple, as well as a contradictory to how the book's concepts are placed. By this logic, all 1st level adventurers should start with Holy Avengers. Because, you know, they get items to start with, and a Holy Avenger is an item. Score 1 for your logic failing you.

If modern day humans grow tails, then why is it that I never see humans with tails? Or humanoid-shaped outfits designed to encompass a natural tail? Despite how "extremely rare" it might be, I'm fairly certain if there were humans with tails, it would be expressed on the news, and it would be a fairly known concept. Except, it isn't, and you're playing the intent of genetics, a full-realistic concept, something which the game does not even begin to encompass, which falls into GM FIAT. Which I can promise (and I never guarantee anything, because I find the concept baffling), no sane GM would allow. (And if they do, they sure aren't talking about Humans on this plane of existence, the basis of which the game's Humans are showcased as, and if that's the case, they might as well play a completely different game than what's published.)

So I challenge you; show me a single human being, just one will do, with a fully-fledged tail, in a modern day setting (photoshop doesn't count, a video is the perfect example), and I'll believe your case. Until then, burden of proof is on you, and until such is produced, like in a court of law, your case on the matter will be dismissed. (Also keep in mind that this method only works upon character creation; it wouldn't work any other way unless GM allows, which references to my same argument above.)

Except, the problem is that the feat is designed for a race of creatures who already have a tail limb. Taking the feat and trying to use it for something it wasn't intended for (i.e. a race that's not Kobold) goes against the RAI of the feat. Score 2 for your logic failing you.

You can try, but it needs GM approval. That's the schtick. If GM says no, then you have 3 options; try to convince him to allow it (and most likely fail), find a means to obtain it by the rules (which the GM still might not allow for obvious reasons), or leave and play with a group who allows it. Score 3 for your logic failing you. You're out of here!

If you're your own GM, then go for it. It's your home game, do whatever you want; in fact, why even have rulebooks? Why don't we just go outside and LARP with our imaginations until we're blue in the face and black in the limbs? Because in the end, we're talking about the rules of the feats in question, and that's what's important in this discussion.

All of this "Genetics allows for this" and "Mutations allow for that" are very valid arguments, but they have only one application: In a real life setting. This is a fantasy game, with set rules of play and the intent of the system being a fair bit abstract from the laws of real life. Going beyond those boundaries means going beyond the intent and rules of the game, the entire basis for which this argument sprang from. 4 Score (and 7 Years Ago) says your logic failed you.

(Just so I can be clear towards my feelings on your post; it may seem like I am being angry and hateful, but I am not. In real life, I fully agree with the concept of mutation and evolution. It's one of the only things in life that I don't find ridiculous and stupid. However, when we're arguing something that functions differently from the only setting where it takes place, it has no argument validity. Because the laws of real life don't (always) apply to this game.)


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thaX wrote:
In PFS, getting race feats/traits/abilities that would normally be allowed to get in the books is not available unless allowed by the Additional Resources list. As it stands, you would need a boon to play the race in question to get the race feats and etc. for that race.

No Boons are required for Tieflings, Aasimars and several other races in the PFS guide to organised play. There are Boons for other races

The allowed Traits are also outlined in the Additional Resources page

For these extra choices you'll need to have the appropriate book or page with your details on it (I prefer this

"Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
"It's not being racist to say that Humans with Racial Heritage (Kobold) can't have tails, especially when the rules, a complete arbitrary subject on the matter, say the same exact thing. That Humans with Racial Heritage (Kobold) don't have tails come out from nowhere, with no mechanical statement or explanation behind it. And when you can't prove something is, then it isn't.

The tail would come from their ancestors the same way that every other racial trait does for other races both IRL and in Golarian. A Human with the Racial Heritage trait (is human and something else).


I get the half orc hate so, what if I change to scion of humanity aasimar? I Can still get two claws and two wing slaps. Since aasimar can come in many non standard forms would that be a better tail build?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

@Darksol:

Yeah, caveat at the end notwithstanding, you're coming off as a bit smug, which is ironic since you couldn't be more wrong if your name was Wrongy McWrongerson, and you took the feat "Racial Heritage (People Who Are Always Wrong)" to qualify for the feat "Bad Argument".

First of all, why don't you see people with tails? I dunno, probably because:

A) It's very rare
B) Most people have them surgically removed
C) It's a tail coming off someone's backside, meaning it's typically under their clothes, so unless you are telling me you have X-ray vision and/or routinely look at random people naked, I'm not sure why you should expect to "see" it in everyday life anyway.
D) You're experience or lack thereof of a phenomenon in no way invalidates it.

Second, your position of "I can't see it, so it doesn't exist" is ADORABLE. To misquote the Bard, there are stranger things in Heaven and in Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Darksol. If you don't believe that humans are occasionally born with vestigial tails, I don't know what to tell you. Google it. I'm not interested in "proving" it to you, any more than I am interested in proving that the world is round or that the Sun is a raging ball of nuclear fire, and not a glowing hawk-man on a chariot (sorry ancient Egypt).

Third, good job moving the goal posts - what do you mean "functional tail"? Why does the tail have to be functional (and what function does it have to have, beyond merely "being a tail"), not merely vestigial? Oh, right, because it's being used for a mechanical advantage, right? Huh, if only there was a feat chain that represented a non-human fantastical heritage unavailable to real humans, that nonetheless might account for a stronger tail than is really possible, as well as another feat that could represent the time and effort put in by a creature to exercise said tail to make it strong and agile enough to be used in combat. Oh, wait...

Fourth, you claim to know RAI for the Racial Heritage feat. Auto-lose. You have no idea what the feat was intended to allow - and, indeed, you seem to have no problem with it allowing feats that create EXPLICIT physiology changes, just this one. This is nonsensical to me - it's less powerful mechanically than the things you seem to think are fine, it's less fantastical than growing fangs or wings or whatever (since it's arguably based on a thing that really happens). The fact is, I don't care what the RAI for the feat was - RAW, I can get Tail Terror the feat, and RAW there is nothing preventing me from describing my human character as having a tail. Game set match.

Fifth, your Holy Avenger strawman is ridiculous. I can throw it right back at you - you're saying no character can ever have a Holy Avenger, because they can't come with one at first level, I've never seen one in real life, real life doesn't matter anyway, and no feat expressly allows them to get one. Sure, your GM might allow you to purchase one or find it in a dungeon, but good luck with that, and it would be house rules only. Not really apt, eh? That's why your analogy fails.

Let me try to put this a different way - I'm saying at first level, you could describe your character as really wanting a Holy Avenger, and then invest the appropriate resources as you level up to make that a reality. In the same way, I could, at first level, describe my character as having some kind of reptilian/non-human ancestry, as evinced by his vestigial tail and other quirks. I could then take the feats that represent him exploring that part of his heritage, and wind up with a sub-optimal natural attack for my trouble. Nothing in the rules prevents this from happening, and indeed there is an entire feat chain that is perfect for representing it.

Ah, you say, but the feat doesn't explicitly allow you to grow a tail - so how do you deal with characters that haven't RPed a tail before that? Two things: First, I doubt this problem will actually happen very often in practice. This feat chain is a heavy investment for a minor effect - I have a hard time coming up with a reason to do it out of the blue. Even so, it's really easy to retcon. It's been there the whole time, you just didn't notice because my character wears pants, and tucks it away. We do this stuff all the time - RAW, I don't need to RP my character practicing with a long sword every day to take Weapon Focus, nor do I need to get into a bunch of fist-fights to learn to take Improved Unarmed Strike. We typically just select the feats and assume the training montage happened off camera. As long as having a tail is a possible thing for a human (and it is, especially a human in a fantasy world with Kobold blood), then it's unjustifiable RAW to demand more RP fidelity with Tail Terror than you would with any other feat. If at your table people have to rp out gaining feats, that's fine and well and good and fun and awesome, but it's not RAW.

Edit:
I lied, I am interested enough in this to prove it with a cursory search. Here is an abstract from a medical article covering human tails. Note the specific call out about true human tails as having muscles, fatty tissue, blood vessels, and the ability to move. Seems functional to me.


Torbyne wrote:
I get the half orc hate so, what if I change to scion of humanity aasimar? I Can still get two claws and two wing slaps. Since aasimar can come in many non standard forms would that be a better tail build?

No reason you should have to, but yeah, that might work.

At least then the detractors couldn't take the "humans don't ever have tails" argument.

Aasamar might very well have tails. Who's to say the don't.


lastblacknight wrote:
"Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
"It's not being racist to say that Humans with Racial Heritage (Kobold) can't have tails, especially when the rules, a complete arbitrary subject on the matter, say the same exact thing. That Humans with Racial Heritage (Kobold) don't have tails come out from nowhere, with no mechanical statement or explanation behind it. And when you can't prove something is, then it isn't.
The tail would come from their ancestors the same way that every other racial trait does for other races both IRL and in Golarian. A Human with the Racial Heritage trait (is human and something else).

Except by RAW, you actually don't get an additional subtype. Too bad there is a FAQ that clarifies things, so I know better.

And there is no rules language that backs up your claim. Cite it so you can save everyone elses time. Assuming you can cite it, though I am positive you can't, because it doesn't exist.

This is a RULES QUESTION, not a "Real Life Genetics Discussion".

@ MrTsFloatinghead: Being "very rare" doesn't make it excluded. Also, I am pretty certain most people who generally are born with tails are most likely filled with other defects, considering the extremity of the limb. It's also safe to say that these "defects" are caused from things like the aftershock of Chernobyl, just off the top of my head.

I can assure you most humans who have such things are born in poverty and in toxic environments (which are generally the cause of such defects), and those who don't? Well, I'm sure most places which offer surgical procedures are either unwilling to take them due to their system (healthcare these days), or can't successfully do the surgical procedure without serious side-effects (including death). Since, you know, it's so darn rare! And considering the time period in which we're discussing, where, while Magic is a plausible scenario, is also much more hard to come by, the same as a sugical person in today's world (who is probably some Rogue or Ninja or other pin-point accurate assassin in the world of Golarion).

Have you tried to buckle a tail, which is apparently connected to the spine, under clothes? Very bony, and very uncomfortable, if not painful. In addition, trying to leave it as is leads to spinal and balance problems, as well as a trouble to hide it unless you're wearing clothes more spacious than a tent for clothing.

A Vestigial Arm has limits of its own, which is cited in the discovery that it comes from. It's safe to say that a Vestigial Tail that has the same exact mechanics still won't allow a tail attack because it doesn't give you attacks beyond what you could do if you didn't have the Vestigial Tail. "Funtional Tail," in this case, would pertain to being able to make a Tail Attack with said Tail. Prosthetic Tails work too, assuming that it is funtional enough to make a Tail Attack. Moving goal posts...more like covering the more implausible scenarios being brought up out of nowhere.

The explanation was made with items that you start with. Since there is no limit to the items you can start with, such as the Holy Avenger, why not? It's there, and it fits the bill. The same argument you're making with your side. And at no point did I mention that characters can't have Holy Avengers. I said characters can't start with Holy Avengers, whereas by your logic, they can, because it's an item, and you get items when you create a PC.

And at no point am I saying Humans can never have Tail Attacks. What I said was, by the rules, Racial Heritage (Kobold) + Tail Terror doesn't grant you a tail. In fact, according to you, a Tail can just be RP'd and show up out of nowhere. Which should apply to any race for that matter. Why don't we give Humans 6 arms, 24 legs, and have Adamantine Bones, with the ability to jump 9001 feet in the air? I can just roleplay it, therefore it's viable! Why even have rules or books in the first place!

It's like the pretend-games little kids play, "I shot you with my laser gun!" "No, you totally didn't, I dodged it!" "Nuh-uh, it hit you right in the head, you should've died!"

With that much change, can you still even consider it a Human, and not some weird, human-visaged aberration? Of course, since I just RP'd my character to have all of those limbs, and still remain Human, he still has the Humanoid (Human) sub-type, so it's all good! This logic...


Torbyne wrote:
I get the half orc hate so, what if I change to scion of humanity aasimar? I Can still get two claws and two wing slaps. Since aasimar can come in many non standard forms would that be a better tail build?

It makes more sense, since it involves a race which can have a tail by the rules. I don't see a reason to oppose it, though it definitely makes for a rare case to say the least.

It's also better for optimization purposes, so go for it.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
I get the half orc hate so, what if I change to scion of humanity aasimar? I Can still get two claws and two wing slaps. Since aasimar can come in many non standard forms would that be a better tail build?

It makes more sense, since it involves a race which can have a tail by the rules. I don't see a reason to oppose it, though it definitely makes for a rare case to say the least.

It's also better for optimization purposes, so go for it.

Or it would if there were actually rules for what races do and do not have tails.


If the PRD says there's a tail, that's a rule for me, considering that the PRD introduces itself as a compendium of rules.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


@ MrTsFloatinghead: Being "very rare" doesn't make it excluded. Also, I am pretty certain most people who generally are born with tails are most likely filled with other defects, considering the extremity of the limb. It's also safe to say that these "defects" are caused from things like the aftershock of Chernobyl, just off the top of my head.

I can assure you most humans who have such things are born in poverty and in toxic environments (which are generally the cause of such defects), and those who don't? Well, I'm sure most places which offer surgical procedures are either unwilling to take them due to their system (healthcare these days), or can't successfully do the surgical procedure without serious side-effects (including death). Since, you know, it's so darn rare! And considering the time period in which we're discussing, where, while Magic is a plausible scenario, is also much more hard to come by, the same as a sugical person in today's world (who is probably...

How is it possible that you are "pretty certain" and "sure" and can "assure" me about a topic that you evidently know nothing about? Again, Google it. No, it's not common, but it's also not limited to toxic waste dumps or radioactive wastelands or Detroit or whatever. Yes, it is sometimes associated with other defects, but it isn't always. No, the surgery is not rare or difficult. Hell, all of this is answered directly in the abstract I linked. Stop being a normality chauvinist and admit that you are wrong. Like, I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt before, but you are seriously crossing into some dangerous ground, morally. It's a really, really bad idea to assert what must be true about other people's experiences and lives at the best of times, but when you are doing so out of a place of thoughtless ignorance, it's even worse.

Saying that you wouldn't allow someone to RP a human with a vestigial tail without taking special feats or traits or whatever is like saying you wouldn't allow someone to RP having red hair and freckles without a trait called "Ginger" that specifically allows it. You don't get to exclude something because you don't like it, or because it's outside of your experience. Unless you are willing to go on record with a list of criteria for what human traits are considered "normal" enough for you (insert Admiral Ackbar here), then kindly stop talking about what counts as "human", especially when you are clearly ignorant on the subject.

I'm not sure why you brought up the Alchemist class feature "Vestigial Arm", because the presence of that class feature (as well as the "Parasitic Twin" discovery) in no way impacts this discussion, except to show again the cognitive dissonance at work in a mind that allows the spontaneous growth of an arm or two, but balks at the presence of a minor tail that real people already have. I'm about to blow your mind, though: Humans are also allowed to be RPed with parastic and conjoined twins without taking this class option GASP SHOCK HORROR HE'S GONE MAD!

My position is clear and easy- have humans been born with vestigial twins? If so (and they have), then you are allowed to RP your human character as having one, but it gives you no mechanical benefits unless or until you take a feat or class feature that allows you to access them, as would be the case with a character who went with the Alchemist class and chose those class options. In fact, I would argue that's better, from an RP standpoint, than just saying "Oh, yeah, today I decided to grow a second little person out of my chest".

Similarly, there is no legitimate reason to disallow a human from having a tail, he/she just gets no benefit without a class feature or feat that allows it. A human with a tail who takes Racial Heritage (Kobold) could easily and rationally say that the tail is a manifestation of that heritage - why not? Finally, that character could unquestionably take the Tail Terror feat, and since he/she has a tail and counts as a Kobold, could make tail attacks. Any other interpretation is flat wrong, and is more than a little "normalist".

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


In fact, according to you, a Tail can just be RP'd and show up out of nowhere. Which should apply to any race for that matter. Why don't we give Humans 6 arms, 24 legs, and have Adamantine Bones, with the ability to jump 9001 feet in the air? I can just roleplay it, therefore it's viable! Why even have rules or books in the first place!

It's like the pretend-games little kids play, "I shot you with my laser gun!" "No, you totally didn't, I dodged it!" "Nuh-uh, it hit you right in the head, you should've died!"

Okay, let's start with the nonsensical slippery slope argument. This is easy - if you want to RP a human with any of those racial traits, then explain to me how you got that way as part of your back story, but note that you won't get any mechanical benefit from them unless and until you gain a feat or class ability that lets you do so. Since we are, in fact, playing pretend, I have no problem with it, as long as you have no problem playing within the limits of the rules. Nothing in the rules says you can't have Adamantine bones, for example, but unless you find a way to access that as an advantage through a class feature or feat, it's not doing anything for you except maybe making you vulnerable to "Repel Metal".

Second, note that I'm not granting any mechanical advantage to the tail until the character spends the resources for it (feats, class options, etc). If a character wants to RP having sharp teeth (filed down, congenital difference, father was a shark, whatever), that's fine, but unless that character finds a way to take a racial trait, a feat, or a class feature that gives a bite attack, those pearly whites are just for show. Same with the tail. There is no slippery slope, and even if there was, so what? I guess I'm not so limited in imagination that I feel the need to keep my fantasy world fettered to my own prejudices. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


With that much change, can you still even consider it a Human, and not some weird, human-visaged aberration? Of course, since I just RP'd my character to have all of those limbs, and still remain Human, he still has the Humanoid (Human) sub-type, so it's all good! This logic...

Well, good job deciding that people in the real world with certain minor anatomical differences are now somehow not human, but instead are D&D level "aberrations". If I meet them, I'll be sure to let them know what you think, I'm sure they won't be offended or hurt in any way.

For the Holy Avenger stuff that you're wrong about:

Let me again fix your analogy. I'm saying a first level Paladin could, by RAW, start play with a longsword that he/she considers to be a Holy Avenger. It wouldn't be masterwork, and it wouldn't grant any Holy Avenger properties. It wouldn't have a magical aura, and it wouldn't grant an automatic bonus to bluff chances to appear to be a higher level Paladin, but rping said claim effectively might allow a circumstance bonus to the bluff chance, as per normal. Do you agree that this is possible? If no, why not, according to what rules?

Later, when said character buys an upgrade to a magical sword, could the player pay the appropriate cost for the entirely new sword, but RP it as making a donation at the local temple and praying/meditating to unlock some of the dormant powers of the "Holy Avenger" he/she's had the whole time? If no, why not, according to what rules?

Finally, when said character has the WBL to upgrade to a "proper" Holy Avenger, and does so, rping it as above, does said character get to turn to the rest of the party and say "See, I told you so?" If no, why not?

This is all I'm allowing by following the RAW for Racial Heritage and Tail Terror. I'm not necessarily saying the feat 'grows a tail', I'm saying the tail could have been there the whole time (a la Old Kentucky Shark or Minimoose). There is no limitation on how a character RPs this gain, in the same way there's no limitation on how a character RPs gaining any other feat, beyond meeting the prereqs. You are free to establish whatever wrongbadfun zany house rules you want to prevent people from forcing you to expand your horizons, but I suggest that maybe you shouldn't.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Wait, Quicken Spells doesn't have any pre-reqs and clearly states that you can cast spells in a fraction of the normal time.

So, clearly, my fighter can take this feat and is automatically granted the ability to cast spells. At a minimum of 4th level spells too, or this feat wouldn't make any sense. If anyone asks where it came from I'll just say I had vestigial 7th level wizard skills. Wow, and people say fighters are underpowered. Lol, noobs.


Meh... Just allow it.

There are no feats required for an NPC to use Sunder, and make it a non-issue...


When the post was still one post long, I was amused at the audacity of saying things along the line of "one thread to rule them all" "ending the issue once and for all" getting closer to 500 posts now, and no end in sight. its been a long ride.


@ MrTsFloatinghead: So there is some boundary required in order to receive these extra additives. Which is GM FIAT.

I see in your games you're willing to allow some 6 armed, 24 legged "Human" with Adamantine Bones and Molten Skin, provided I say he's been affected by some horrid transmutation spell that wiped out or severely altered by a Curse of Transmutation placed by so and so deity for their ignorance.

I'm sure you're also going to allow him a +44 CMD V.S. Trip and Jump checks, the ability to use 3 Two-Handed Weapons at once without penalty, DR 15/Adamantine, and grant him a 10D6 Fire Damage upon Contact effect, to simulate these added "efficiencies".

All of this, while still saying he's "human". Only because I "roleplayed" him to have this due to his backstory.

You can alter a type so much to where it doesn't become what you label it as. Just like how a rose, by any other name, would sound just as sweet, the same that an aberration, by any other name, would be just as horrid.

"I'm not necesarily saying the feat "grows a tail"" my foot, you flat out said that due to roleplaying circumstances, the feat allows you a tail. Either it does or it doesn't, there is no go-between when it comes to just the feat.

And with the Holy Avenger, you're assuming there are people dumb enough to believe it. Which there are. Maybe some low-class bandits, but do you think there aren't people who know better? "I've heard of such legends before. You possess no such artifact, and I have been in this world for decades longer than you. Such an artifact has power which your weapon does not exhibit. Nice try, but such empty threats without the ability to back them up are but paper I can tear inbetween my very hands."


The_Hanged_Man wrote:

Wait, Quicken Spells doesn't have any pre-reqs and clearly states that you can cast spells in a fraction of the normal time.

So, clearly, my fighter can take this feat and is automatically granted the ability to cast spells. At a minimum of 4th level spells too, or this feat wouldn't make any sense. If anyone asks where it came from I'll just say I had vestigial 7th level wizard skills. Wow, and people say fighters are underpowered. Lol, noobs.

+1

I'm amazed this thread is still running.
As said before, if anything let you have some limbs, it explains it, usually with a list of restrictions/bonus.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
lastblacknight wrote:
"Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
"It's not being racist to say that Humans with Racial Heritage (Kobold) can't have tails, especially when the rules, a complete arbitrary subject on the matter, say the same exact thing. That Humans with Racial Heritage (Kobold) don't have tails come out from nowhere, with no mechanical statement or explanation behind it. And when you can't prove something is, then it isn't.
The tail would come from their ancestors the same way that every other racial trait does for other races both IRL and in Golarian. A Human with the Racial Heritage trait (is human and something else).

Except by RAW, you actually don't get an additional subtype. Too bad there is a FAQ that clarifies things, so I know better.

And there is no rules language that backs up your claim. Cite it so you can save everyone elses time. Assuming you can cite it, though I am positive you can't, because it doesn't exist.

This is a RULES QUESTION, not a "Real Life Genetics Discussion".

@ MrTsFloatinghead: Being "very rare" doesn't make it excluded. Also, I am pretty certain most people who generally are born with tails are most likely filled with other defects, considering the extremity of the limb. It's also safe to say that these "defects" are caused from things like the aftershock of Chernobyl, just off the top of my head.

I can assure you most humans who have such things are born in poverty and in toxic environments (which are generally the cause of such defects), and those who don't? Well, I'm sure most places which offer surgical procedures are either unwilling to take them due to their system (healthcare these days), or can't successfully do the surgical procedure without serious side-effects (including death). Since, you know, it's so darn rare! And considering the time period in which we're discussing, where, while Magic is a plausible scenario, is also much more hard to come by, the same as a sugical person in today's world (who is probably...

Wait, what FAQ is that? The only FAQ i have seen on Racial Heritage is this one:

"Racial Heritage: Can a human with this feat take levels in an archetype that requires you to be of a specific race?
Yes, the Racial Heritage feat allows you to qualify for archetypes that have the chosen race as a requirement, assuming you still meet all of the other requirements to take levels in the archetype.

—Jason Bulmahn, 07/27/12"

Which doesnt have much bearing on anything going on in this thread. I remember seeing a post (From Sean K Reynolds i think it was) but cant find it again that specified that Racial Heritage made you vulnerable to a Ranger's Favored Enemy. But Favored Enemy only looks at a creature's type and sub type so if that does apply against Racial Heritage it makes Type an "effect of race" as called out in the feat and taking it gives the character an invisible sub type. You dont "gain" it so you cant write it down but you count as having the type for all purposes, good and bad. It is a matter of semantics and if i was running a game i would just have the player add the sub type flat out to their character sheet.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

@ MrTsFloatinghead: So there is some boundary required in order to receive these extra additives. Which is GM FIAT.

Sigh. No, I don't require GM fiat to be a human with a tail, any more than I require GM fiat to be a human with freckles, or a human with six fingers, or a human with a distinctive scar, or a hump, or slightly webbed feet, or a cleft palate, or a beard, or whatever. I was describing what I would do in my home games with those characters - just like I look at the backgrounds of any characters I run, so that I can come up with ways to incorporate the characters into the campaign. I won't tell you "You can't do that" if its allowed by the rules, but I will say "Okay, that sounds like it could be a problem to me because of (reasons), but if you really want to try it out, I'll try to make it work."

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

I see in your games you're willing to allow some 6 armed, 24 legged "Human" with Adamantine Bones and Molten Skin, provided I say he's been affected by some horrid transmutation spell that wiped out or severely altered by a Curse of Transmutation placed by so and so deity for their ignorance.

Yes, I would allow you to attempt to play that character in one of my campaigns, because it might be an interesting character, and I'm willing to give you a chance to make it work. If it becomes clear that you're just being a jerk or are simply unable to handle playing that character within the bounds of the campaign I'm playing, I would ask you to either play a different character, or leave, exactly as I would with any other player who was causing problems. That's not a rule issue, though, it's an issue of the unspoken social contract between players. I guess I'm optimistic enough to let people try things out before judging them, and I'm confident enough to deal with the real problem in the situation, which is the PLAYER, not the character.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

I'm sure you're also going to allow him a +44 CMD V.S. Trip and Jump checks, the ability to use 3 Two-Handed Weapons at once without penalty, DR 15/Adamantine, and grant him a 10D6 Fire Damage upon Contact effect, to simulate these added "efficiencies".

All of this, while still saying he's "human". Only because I "roleplayed" him to have this due to his backstory.

And here's where everything again falls apart for you. I explicitly said you would get NO mechanical advantages from those differences unless and until you found a way to gain a feat or other character resource to enable you to use it. If you found a feat combination that gives a human the ability to wield 3 greatswords? Go to town. If you found some class that gives you permanent or at will "lava form" that you were able to qualify for, good on you! Remember, you still have to follow the game rules for Humans, as a race, so you don't get to automatically take non-human racial feats and monster feats unless you qualify for them. You would, however, face the stigma of looking that way, unless you used disguise or illusion spells to mask yourself. I'd set the disguise DC REALLY high, too.

In actual practice, if you explicitly came to me with that character, I would let you try to play it, but be prepared to make tons and tons of very tough diplomacy checks when you interact with others for the first time, as they react to how you look. Basically, you'd get all the social disadvantages of your "condition", and none of the benefits. If you sprang your "condition" on me in a brazen attempt to game the system and disrupt my game, I would refuse to let you, not on the grounds that it was against the RAW of the game, but on the grounds that you were being a jerk.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

You can alter a type so much to where it doesn't become what you label it as. Just like how a rose, by any other name, would sound just as sweet, the same that an aberration, by any other name, would be just as horrid.

No you can't, full stop. There's no rule in the game that says "beyond a certain level of "deformity", a Human character no longer counts as human, just like in real life a person doesn't stop being a human because they've got an extra finger, or a tail, or a vestigial twin, or a large tumor on their face, etc. The fact that you keep trying to define human as "what seems normal enough to me" is truly sad.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

"I'm not necesarily saying the feat "grows a tail"" my foot, you flat out said that due to roleplaying circumstances, the feat allows you a tail. Either it does or it doesn't, there is no go-between when it comes to just the feat.

Actually, I said that the feat allows you to use a tail you may or may not have already had. The feat is agnostic about where you get your tail. Being human is enough to have at least some form of tail. Kobold ancestry is, rp wise, a good reason for that tail to be stronger than is typically possible for a human, and mechanically allows me to take the Tail Terror feat. The Tail Terror feat represents, rp wise, practicing with the tail to make it strong and agile enough to use as a weapon, and mechanically allows me to use the tail for a tail slap. The only problem with this is your stubborn insistence that humans can't have tails because it activates your prejudices against what you perceive as a serious enough abnormality to prevent someone from being human, even though real humans right now have them (or something very similar).

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
And with the Holy Avenger, you're assuming there are people dumb enough to believe it. Which there are. Maybe some low-class bandits, but do you think there aren't people who know better? "I've heard of such legends before. You possess no such artifact, and I have been in this world for decades longer than you. Such an artifact has power which your weapon does not exhibit. Nice try, but such empty threats without the ability to back them up are but paper I can tear inbetween my very hands."

Congratulations? You just proved that a GM can RP NPCs as being jerks to the players? How does that shoot down my position that it is also possible to RP things the way I layed out? Point to a single rule, anywhere, that says that I can't come to the table with a Paladin who has an ancestral Holy Avenger which has laid dormant since the family patriarch fell from grace at the battle of Dunwain Mount, but which the character believes can be re-awakened if a scion of the family can prove him/herself worthy.

As a GM, certainly you don't HAVE to honor that character concept. You can have the whole story be a lie the family told the kid, or you can have everyone think he's crazy, and you can do everything in your power to make the game un-fun for that player, because you don't like the concept for whatever reason. What I'm saying is there's nothing in the rules that says you have to allow it, it's not mechanically breaking any rules, so a player is allowed to attempt to play that concept. How it plays out isn't a rules issue, it's a social contract/personal issue.


@ Torbyne: I could have sworn it was made into a FAQ. In that regard I am mistaken, and I apologize for that. Ironically enough, the Dev statement actually doesn't contradict RAW, since the Favored Enemy feature from the Ranger is an ability that affects you and is dependant upon race and your (sub)type, in which case I still maintain my stance, and if you want to argue with the same stance that a Dev makes, by all means go for it. But it won't end well.

@ MrTsFloatinghead: Actually, yes you do, since the rules are quite abstract on such cosmetic features. And any time they aren't, the game specifically notes defining cosmetic features, such as having tails and the like, which is generally listed in a race's Physical Description. Since the Physical Description for Humans says that their cosmetic features come in all shapes and sizes, that leaves it open for the player to choose (and ultimately for the GM to approve). (Note how it makes no explicit statement of humans possessing tails.)

In addition, you, playing the role as GM for the game, are essentially stating that "Sure, I'll allow it, but it will be very inconvenient to play your character like that," so not only do I ask you, who the real jerk is in this, but how is that not imposing GM FIAT to function as a set of rules in regards to how my character takes place?

You're also ignoring the inherent features of the obviously broken and impossible character I devised to challenge your "I can do whatever I want when I roleplay it" ordeal; anything physically touching me melts away since my skin is molten lava (unless it's immune to fire, and even that is being generous). Anything trying to hit me is going to have to be stronger than my Adamantine Skeleton (giving me DR 15/Adamantine, the same as, say, an Iron Golem would), and I also get a +44 to CMD V.S. Trip Attempts, since I get an additional +2 for every leg I possess beyond 2. And since I possess 24 Legs...

I can also use Multi-Weapon Fighting instead of Two-Weapon Fighting because I have 6 arms, which can carry at-most 3 Two-Handed Weapons, an inherent feature of having such limbs.

However, your whole line of reasoning for not letting me have these inherent features (while staying the Humanoid (Human) (sub)type, mind you), is because I'm "gaming the system"? Because I'm being a munchkin? Isn't that the same exact thing you're doing with allowing the application of 2 feats and the oh so very loose interpretation of the Human Physical Description paragraph (which, by the way, supersedes any real-life intent behind Humans having tails that you try to impose as rules)? To get a limb that, by RAW and very strongly consistent RAI, would otherwise not allow? The only difference between my "gaming the system" and your "gaming the system" is extremities. Yours is just bypassing fairly strong RAI and clearly worded RAW for something that we all agree is inoptimal; it doesn't change the fact that it's legal. Mine is also obviously ridiculous, though it was done intentionally so to prove something. My point is, allowing one thing by the rules, without fully considering its implications, inadvertantly opens several other, unintended doorways that you don't want to open. Hence my 6 armed, 24 legged, molten-skinned adamantine skeleton "Human".

This fully explains to me that you have no idea how GM FIAT operates. Truth is, GM FIAT is how the GM is willing to interpretate unclear rules or scenarios for his game in order to keep the players engaged, entertained, and the game flowing. It is inconclusively the same as concise rules presented in the book, because we aren't sure if how the GM interprets so and so is the right interpretation for the given scenario.

As far as I'm concerned, your allowing a tail for a Human (when the rules and Physical Descriptions of the race do not explicitly expand upon it) falls into such GM FIAT territory, which cannot be RAW, the original question and subject to be discussed in this thread, and with a strongly-explained RAI, makes such appear to be nothing but hokum.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


@ MrTsFloatinghead: Actually, yes you do, since the rules are quite abstract on such cosmetic features. And any time they aren't, the game specifically notes defining cosmetic features, such as having tails and the like, which is generally listed in a race's Physical Description. Since the Physical Description for Humans says that their cosmetic features come in all shapes and sizes(Note how it makes no explicit statement of humans possessing tails.)

I've already answered this above. If you are saying you can only have what the physical description in the rule books explicitly allows, then you can't have any arms, hands, legs, etc. As soon as you have to rely on your own understanding of the word "Human" to know how many limbs etc a human has, you have to be willing to allow any possible alternative real world picture that could fit that word, not just the ones you prefer or are used to. To do otherwise is flat out morally unjustifiable, and you know it.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
In addition, you, playing the role as GM for the game, are essentially stating that "Sure, I'll allow it, but it will be very inconvenient to play your character like that," so not only do I ask you, who the real jerk is in this,...

You. You're the jerk in this. That's clear. You're coming up with a character specifically, it seems, to mess up my hypothetical campaign in a vain attempt to make a point that relies on you continually assuming I'm allowing you a mechanical advantage at no cost, when I'm not. In the real world, if you came to me with this type of "Gotcha" character to try to "force" me to accept your interpretation, I would thank you for the character, say it's a great concept and really interesting, but probably tough to play since I don't know what advantages you think you're going to get to offset the fact that you'd be a stat-wise normal human who looked like a monster that people would react to with fear. If you insisted on playing anyway, I'd let you try, but if (when) the townsfolk kill you with fire, that's not me being a jerk, that's me playing the game logically and within the rules. Note that it also solves the "problem" of such a ridiculous character without having to resort to unfounded and unfair rules about what a "Human" is.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

but how is that not imposing GM FIAT to function as a set of rules in regards to how my character takes place?

How is it any more GM fiat to say "You described your character as a terrifying monster because either you thought it sounded cool, or because down the line you think it will give you an advantage, so I'm going to make you live with the logical consequences of that decision" than it is to say "You just described your character as slapping the King in the mouth, either because you've decided to get the party killed, or because you have some in-character compulsion to slap nobility that you decided you wanted to role play with. Get ready for the consequence train!"? You're not describing a rules issue at all, you're describing an example of normal play when a character is or does something unexpected.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

You're also ignoring the inherent features of the obviously broken and impossible character I devised to challenge your "I can do whatever I want when I roleplay it" ordeal; anything physically touching me melts away since my skin is molten lava (unless it's immune to fire, and even that is being generous). Anything trying to hit me is going to have to be stronger than my Adamantine Skeleton (giving me DR 15/Adamantine, the same as, say, an Iron Golem would), and I also get a +44 to CMD V.S. Trip Attempts, since I get an additional +2 for every leg I possess beyond 2. And since I possess 24 Legs...

I can also use Multi-Weapon Fighting instead of Two-Weapon Fighting because I have 6 arms, which can carry at-most 3 Two-Handed Weapons, an inherent feature of...

Blah blah. Yeah, no, again, I'm not ignoring those features. I'm letting you have exactly as much of those features as you've earned through class/feat/trait selection. You can have infinity trillion legs - you can be the archetypal planar embodiment of the perfect, most balanced legs ever, whatever, I don't care. Rules-wise, you have the same CMD against trip as any other human, until you take a feat or class that allows you to do something special with all those limbs. As soon as you find a feat in the Paizo and 3rd party stuff I run that you qualify for RAW (without needing explicitly needing extra GM approval) that allows you a +44 to CMD and/or your DR or your three greatswords, I'll let you take it, no problem. If it requires GM approval, I would either let you take it, or I would tell you I was not allowing your character to continue in the game because I feel like you as a player have become a problem for my game.

Again, your slippery slope argument is nonsense. If someone wanted to play a character in the manner you are suggesting you would, the issue with them isn't that they are breaking the rules, the issue is they are being a jerk, and I have no problem saying "Yeah, The Invincible Lord Tentacleburn Leggington The Stout is a fine character, but since you keep trying to ruin my game because you want to prevent me from letting other players that don't match your limited assumptions about what humans are, you're gone. Bye."

Disagree all you want. If you aren't willing to allow humans in the game to have a physical characteristic humans in the real world already have, you have to figure out some way, RAW, to justify giving humans limbs the rules DON'T explicitly give them (arms and legs), while not giving them access to other rare (but still occasionally occurring) limbs humans may have. And please, please, please, for the love of everything, don't try to make the distinction something like "Because two arms is what is 'Normal'" or the even more obtuse "Because everyone is born with arms, but not everyone has a tail". News flash- not everyone is born with two arms and two legs, and you have no right to imply that they are RAW excluded from the human race either.


Actually, you haven't answered it. I said the Physical Description is abstract on what cosmetic features the characters can have. Freckles, Red Hair, Dark Spots, etc. all are cosmetic features that the player can choose to have for their character.

You're arguing morals in a sub-forum that discusses rules. Of a fantasy game. At what point do ethical morals have an impact as to how the rules are written? There isn't one, because the discussion is about rules. Not about whether it's a Good or Evil thing to allow so and so. If the book doesn't support it, then it's not part of the rules that we're discussing, plain and simple.

The book doesn't support any sort of Human, barring an ability flat-out stating so and so gets a tail, having a tail, so this discussion of "Humans can biologically grow tails" is not only irrelevant, but also once again falls into GM FIAT, since it's not something that the book expands upon. In other words, Rule 0. When the book doesn't give a clear answer, or the game hits a standstill, it's up to the GM to make a ruling and move on with the game. That's basically what GM FIAT is.

When it falls into GM FIAT, it stops being rules for the published book (considering the ruling isn't in the book, after all), and instead rules for the game taking place in your house/hideout/whatever, meaning your argument has no application in RAW (and probably RAI).

And yet when you begin the game with a PC that plays a Human and wanting to have a tail, with no idea as to their plan or concept development, what are you left to think? Do they have some special build in store? Are they trying to metagame the system and perhaps ruin the game? You don't know that in any given game setting, and when you're asking something as outlandish as that, I can guarantee you the GM is going to be at the very least confused and apprehensive, if not outright laugh at your claim. Unless of course, you're the GM, in which case, incoming Abominable "Human"!

The obvious answer is to ask why, and the GM gets "So and so" as an answer. From there, the GM left up to either allow it and roll with it into the game, or deny it and leave the player to either come up with another method to accomplish what he wants, debate with the GM (fruitlessly), or just leave and find a group who wants to play the game he sees himself playing. When it gets to the point before it becomes the PC's decision again, that's what falls into GM FIAT, which I explained its plausability above.

My point is that when you sit there and allow for so and so to work, you then have other people who are willing to extort this same prospect from you, in more ways than one, and when you get to that point, that's when it gets ridiculous as both a game and a boundary of rules. Why even have subtypes, or follow the rules for races if you're as loose with them as you are with somebody giving you a million dollars? Better yet, why even have the rulebook if you're going to make up as many rules as you see fit? Because the "Feats" and "Class Features" help define the character as they are generated and grow? Why not just publish your own game and spread the word for others who may share the same delusion vision as you do?

By the time you get to what happens above, you vary from the book, and when that happens, it's no longer RAW, and chances are, no longer RAI either. When you're trying to argue the RAW and RAI, while breaking the same assumed boundaries set in place by many people, what are you left with? A contradictory viewpoint from a game of which we can but speculate is much a ways away from such concepts? A discussion of a game whose loosely similar rules are in no way the same as to what everyone else on this board would interpret the Pathfinder Book's rules to be?

As far as I'm concerned, you're playing a game completely separate from what's published; and that's fine. Play whatever suits your fancy. But professing it as the same, when the mechanics are significantly different in application suggests it's not the same game, which then means your argument doesn't have much of a foothold.


Humans are not described as having hands under the physical description for humans, or under the humanoid description, or under the human sub-type description. So, then by RAW humans don't have hands? Which would lead to a pretty huge mechanical advantage in saying your human character had hands, as without them it would be extremely difficult to do anything.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Please note that it has been mentioned elsewhere that the "Tails" that some humans have in "the Real World" are not the same functioning tails that other beings/animals have. Most of those that have tails use them to balance themselves, communicate in rudementy ways to others of their kind and keeps the flies off their back. Those that those very few humans have are nothing more than an oddity that is more of a hindrance than a boon.

That type of "Tail" that is much like the stub of some exotic dog nub of a tail is just as likely to not be much use just as the lack of a tail us normal guys lack.

The point is moot. A human can't normally make use of the Racial Heritage and Tail Terror combo unless they get a tail by some other means.


Tails on humans are considered birth defects.

Real life is just lax about upholding the rules.

Don't be lax in your games.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
@ Torbyne: I could have sworn it was made into a FAQ. In that regard I am mistaken, and I apologize for that. Ironically enough, the Dev statement actually doesn't contradict RAW, since the Favored Enemy feature from the Ranger is an ability that affects you and is dependant upon race and your (sub)type, in which case I still maintain my stance, and if you want to argue with the same stance that a Dev makes, by all means go for it. But it won't end well.

For the life of me i cant find the developer comment on it but we seem to agree now, the feat does in effect grant you a new sub type. My post before was from your stance that it did not and there was a FAQ to back that up. Tail issues aside i think there should be an errata or some such to state plainly that the feat changes your sub type since that can be such a big deal.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

@ MrTsFloatinghead: So there is some boundary required in order to receive these extra additives. Which is GM FIAT.

I see in your games you're willing to allow some 6 armed, 24 legged "Human" with Adamantine Bones and Molten Skin, provided I say he's been affected by some horrid transmutation spell that wiped out or severely altered by a Curse of Transmutation placed by so and so deity for their ignorance.

I'm sure you're also going to allow him a +44 CMD V.S. Trip and Jump checks, the ability to use 3 Two-Handed Weapons at once without penalty, DR 15/Adamantine, and grant him a 10D6 Fire Damage upon Contact effect, to simulate these added "efficiencies".

All of this, while still saying he's "human". Only because I "roleplayed" him to have this due to his backstory.

Here we go again with the whole Appeal to Ridicule.

A tail that has no mechanical benefits until another feat is taken that is allowable by one of two races you count as is NOT the same as just habberdashing together some sort of abomination to even the beast queen herself that is cocked full of mechanical effects, and not even AT ALL part of the two races you count as.

So unless you find a race that has six arms, 24 legs, ada bones and molten skin, And has the several dozen feats needed to actually use those things.. No. Simply. No. Would you kindly stop trying to say this is even the same thing?

Kobolds do NOT have EX: Tail

That for armed humanoid race that you tried to say is the same thing DOES have EX: Multi-armed, taken twice, to allow for arms.

Tails are not items, they are not equipment. They don't even appear in the race builder unless its a prehensile or slapping tail.

Digital Products Assistant

Removed a post and replies to it. Please leave personal insults out of the conversation.


thaX wrote:

Please note that it has been mentioned elsewhere that the "Tails" that some humans have in "the Real World" are not the same functioning tails that other beings/animals have. Most of those that have tails use them to balance themselves, communicate in rudementy ways to others of their kind and keeps the flies off their back. Those that those very few humans have are nothing more than an oddity that is more of a hindrance than a boon.

That type of "Tail" that is much like the stub of some exotic dog nub of a tail is just as likely to not be much use just as the lack of a tail us normal guys lack.

The point is moot. A human can't normally make use of the Racial Heritage and Tail Terror combo unless they get a tail by some other means.

So now simple having a tail isn't enough to get the feat to work, you have to have a functional tail?


Darche Schneider wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

@ MrTsFloatinghead: So there is some boundary required in order to receive these extra additives. Which is GM FIAT.

I see in your games you're willing to allow some 6 armed, 24 legged "Human" with Adamantine Bones and Molten Skin, provided I say he's been affected by some horrid transmutation spell that wiped out or severely altered by a Curse of Transmutation placed by so and so deity for their ignorance.

I'm sure you're also going to allow him a +44 CMD V.S. Trip and Jump checks, the ability to use 3 Two-Handed Weapons at once without penalty, DR 15/Adamantine, and grant him a 10D6 Fire Damage upon Contact effect, to simulate these added "efficiencies".

All of this, while still saying he's "human". Only because I "roleplayed" him to have this due to his backstory.

Here we go again with the whole Appeal to Ridicule.

A tail that has no mechanical benefits until another feat is taken that is allowable by one of two races you count as is NOT the same as just habberdashing together some sort of abomination to even the beast queen herself that is cocked full of mechanical effects, and not even AT ALL part of the two races you count as.

So unless you find a race that has six arms, 24 legs, ada bones and molten skin, And has the several dozen feats needed to actually use those things.. No. Simply. No. Would you kindly stop trying to say this is even the same thing?

Kobolds do NOT have EX: Tail

That for armed humanoid race that you tried to say is the same thing DOES have EX: Multi-armed, taken twice, to allow for arms.

Tails are not items, they are not equipment. They don't even appear in the race builder unless its a prehensile or slapping tail.

Too bad those inherent limbs and alterations gives those effects regardless of feats, because that's just the benefits of having those limbs. Creatures with more than 2 legs get +2 to CMD V.S. Trip for every leg they possess beyond 2.

Except, it kind of is. Humans aren't described as having tails, a limb that is in excess of the assumed generic humanoid body (2 arms, 2 legs, torso, head), in their physical description, in comparison to other races, which say they either do, or commonly do, have tails. You're trying to say that I can just roleplay having a tail at character creation for a race that doesn't normally get tails.

So I decided to expand it to other examples, since that's a thing too, as MrTsFloatinghead kindly pointed out, that Humans aren't automatically born with 2 arms and 2 legs; in fact, some are born with more than 2, so I expanded it further to allow those extra limbs. Except instead of it being 3 or 4...I went with 6 and 24.

Point is, you open one door, you open them all. In addition, the precedent of the rules, which you go against by allowing so and so to do this, means the precedent you break, is no longer applicable, and falls into GM FIAT. In other words, the GM is saying "No," not the rules, or precedent of the rules. Since you broke them in the first place.


Ah, but its hardly "opening all the doors".

The tail gives no mechanical advantage until you take a FEAT that says it does.

To have more than two arms specifically requires that you have the Multi-Arm EX trait.

To have molten skin specifically requires that you have Molten Skin SU trait. (if such a thing even exists.) Same thing with Adamantine bones.

Kitsune are not described as having tails.

Again, Show me were Kobolds have Tail: EX and it provides a mechanical benefit WITHOUT a feat.

Also Humans are NOT described with a racial heritage of a kobold. Show me in the Human description, where it says the can lay with a kobold in the first place. So obviously, the human cannot have Racial Heritage: Kobold in the first place, because it specifically did not call out that they are capable of such a deed.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

~Wanders back in and takes a peek~

Nope nothing new in hundreds of posts...
My position still stands then that in my game the trick doesn't work.


Darche Schneider wrote:

Ah, but its hardly "opening all the doors".

The tail gives no mechanical advantage until you take a FEAT that says it does.

It gives the advantage of being able to make use of the feat once you learn it.

Whether or not a tail in and of itself gives any kind of advantage at all doesn't matter though. What matters is whether or not you can have a tail at all.


So it requires that you need to take a feat to receive any inherent benefits from it? What sort of rules tell you that an inherent feature of a limb requires a feat or other similar commitment to receive whatever inherent feature of said limb?

What about a Quadruped Eidolon? You're saying he doesn't get +4 CMD to Trip because he doesn't spend a feat or evolution point to give him the +4?


Forseti wrote:
Darche Schneider wrote:

Ah, but its hardly "opening all the doors".

The tail gives no mechanical advantage until you take a FEAT that says it does.

It gives the advantage of being able to make use of the feat once you learn it.

Whether or not a tail in and of itself gives any kind of advantage at all doesn't matter though. What matters is whether or not you can have a tail at all.

Except the ones who are against it and interpret the rules a certain way claim that having the tail is equivalent to being able shoot lighting bolts from your rump and fireballs from your eyes.

One of which offers no mechanical benefits without a feat, even for the race that the feat was made for, that racial heritage would allow you to take.

The other is being able to cast 3rd level spells at will, which causes a mechanical advantage. HOWEVER, if you were a wizard/Sorcerer or something actually capable of casting those spells(Fireball, Lighting-bolt), As there is no mechanical advantage in the particular roleplaying attributes of casting your limited spell pool in such a way, there is nothing stopping you from that point on casting those spells like that, beyond the DM going "No that is stupid."

Like having a bard who only plays dubstep with ghostly sound, or running around villages naked, Or even taking one level in every base class there is. Or playing Lucha Lebire the masked wrestler and screaming at the top of your lungs "Burrito Power!" as your 80 year old wizard tries to wrestle down the dragons... dew claw.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


Too bad those inherent limbs and alterations gives those effects regardless of feats, because that's just the benefits of having those limbs. Creatures with more than 2 legs get +2 to CMD V.S. Trip for every leg they possess beyond 2.

Except, it kind of is. Humans aren't described as having tails, a limb that is in excess of the assumed generic humanoid body (2 arms, 2 legs, torso, head), in their physical description, in comparison to other races, which say they either do, or commonly do, have tails. You're trying to say that I can just roleplay having a tail at character creation for a race that doesn't normally get tails.

So I decided to expand it to other examples, since that's a thing too, as MrTsFloatinghead kindly pointed out, that Humans aren't automatically born with 2 arms and 2 legs; in fact, some are born with more than 2, so I expanded it further to allow those extra limbs. Except instead of it being 3 or 4...I went with 6 and 24.

Darksol, just stop for a second, and instead of emotionally reacting to the thing you think I'm saying, actually listen.

What I am saying is that if you want to play a talking refrigerator who uses a frozen Tuna as a club, I will essentially allow you to re-skin existing abilities in order to make that happen, if I feel like such a character is a genuine concept that could fit in my campaign, and not just an attempt to troll me. I won't give you any mechanical advantages you didn't earn through feats etc. If I think you're trolling me or that your character is just a blatant attempt to power-game, I can easily put a stop to it by addressing the actual problem, which is not that the rules allow crazy stuff, but rather that some players are jerks.

None of this addresses the central conundrum of the thread - none of the rules as written say humans can have a tail, but none of them say humans can't, either. The rules also don't say that humans have hands and arms and legs, so if you go by a strict RAW "you only get the limbs the description explicitly gives you", you end up with all humans being Bob Oblong. If you instead use the real world definition of what a human is, so that you can choose to have a character with hands, then you have to concede that Humanity, as a race, as it is defined in the real world, includes people who are born with vestigial tails, and allow that as a legit character option RAW. You can't say that you'll only take the parts of real world humanity you're comfortable with as counting as "human", because that's basically a horrible, immoral thing to do.

Your big complaint against this open door policy seems to be as follows:

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Point is, you open one door, you open them all. In addition, the precedent of the rules, which you go against by allowing so and so to do this, means the precedent you break, is no longer applicable, and falls into GM FIAT. In other words, the GM is saying "No," not the rules, or precedent of the rules. Since you broke them in the first place./QUOTE]

A) Slippery slope argument still (STILL) not persuasive. No matter how many times you try to use it, it just fails as soon as you realize that you are trying to equate things that simply aren't the same (vestigial tail which real people can already have that may, with the cost of two feats, allow a minor secondary natural attack, vs "I have a billion legs and am made out of lava because I said so"), and that the system has as built in check against that in the form of the GM, who can and should remove problem players. I don't really have to worry about the player with 6 arms because I don't allow players access to monster feats and rules like multi-attack, and I'm not concerned about leggy leggs alot either, because I don't really think the ability to avoid trips is, in the long run, worth it given the character's need to invest heavily in social skills just to be able to interact with NPCs without them trying to kill him with fire. That's not me inventing house rules, that's me just extending the logical consequences of a character within the framework of the existing rules, like all GMs do with all characters, always.
(Side note - do you really not see how offensive it is to equate allowing someone to represent a real variety of humanity in the game with allowing people to become lava monsters at will?)

B) GMs shouldn't feel the need to point to a rule in order to justify telling a player he/she is a problem. If you do, that's not a RAW problem anyway, that's a personal issue. In fact, I suspect that trying to rules patch everything you fear is a rules 'exploit' is simply a band aid solution to the real problem, which is that certain people just don't fit well and shouldn't play together. This is not extra house rules lunacy, this is just the everyday practice of GMing. If you are not willing to do this type of thing, then, respectfully, you should not GM.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Darche Schneider wrote:
Forseti wrote:
Darche Schneider wrote:

Ah, but its hardly "opening all the doors".

The tail gives no mechanical advantage until you take a FEAT that says it does.

It gives the advantage of being able to make use of the feat once you learn it.

Whether or not a tail in and of itself gives any kind of advantage at all doesn't matter though. What matters is whether or not you can have a tail at all.

Except the ones who are against it and interpret the rules a certain way claim that having the tail is equivalent to being able shoot lighting bolts from your rump and fireballs from your eyes.

One of which offers no mechanical benefits without a feat, even for the race that the feat was made for, that racial heritage would allow you to take.

The other is being able to cast 3rd level spells at will, which causes a mechanical advantage. HOWEVER, if you were a wizard/Sorcerer or something actually capable of casting those spells(Fireball, Lighting-bolt), As there is no mechanical advantage in the particular roleplaying attributes of casting your limited spell pool in such a way, there is nothing stopping you from that point on casting those spells like that, beyond the DM going "No that is stupid."

Like having a bard who only plays dubstep with ghostly sound, or running around villages naked, Or even taking one level in every base class there is. Or playing Lucha Lebire the masked wrestler and screaming at the top of your lungs "Burrito Power!" as your 80 year old wizard tries to wrestle down the dragons... dew claw.

Where are you getting this?

First off, having or not having a tail is not the same as shooting lightning from yer' nethers. Casting those two spells in that way could be an odd character flaw, and though a few GM's would feel it is over the top, I know others would laugh and say "Yeah, Oooohhh Kay." Just as long as the character has the means to cast the spells in the first place.

That last paragraph is...

Is...

Uh...

(Gotta make a mexican wrestler for my next character...)

Not really addressing the main subject of the thread, at any rate.

It's simple. Humans have no tail. They can take the two feats if they want, but Tail Terror would need a tail of some sort to be used by the character.

Mechanical? Built into the armor?

Gotten through a class feature (Gaining an Eidolon Evolution, an Alchemist viestle tail, maybe? Druid shape shifting into an animal? With a tail?)

Or by some other means that is role played within the home game, an adventure that is specific to get the character a tail. GM's can do that.

Point is, you don't gain a tail simply by taking a feat or two.

I know, others disagree. Problem is, their GM's most likely do not, and would not allow this combo to sprout tails, or something similar sprouting wings on pigs.


I was flipping through an adventure module last night at ye olde game styre and saw a listing for a clockwork prosthetic. It looked like it was a replacement for an arm (and I assume the module had rules for losing limbs) but does this now open the door for a clockwork tail to appease the anti tail crowd? Granted its about as far removed from my original feral beast concept as you can get I this system but it might be someone else's cup of tea. Also, does this open the door to finally getting multiple clockwork heads to make use of every bite option for Orcs?


I was addressing the over the top 'slippery slope appeal to ridicule' of Having a Human-Kobold have a tail with no mechanical advantage without feats that give the mechanical advantage being equal to having a Human have a billzion arms that add 60cmb to grapple without having taking any other feat because 'roleplaying'.

But further in..

What the heck is considered 'fluff rules' and what is just fluff?

For example, Catfolk Human with Catfolk Exemplar taking the claw trait from that? I've seen a few posts that this isn't allowed either.

Kobold and any of the feats that mention scales?


Darche Schneider wrote:

I was addressing the over the top 'slippery slope appeal to ridicule' of Having a Human-Kobold have a tail with no mechanical advantage without feats that give the mechanical advantage being equal to having a Human have a billzion arms that add 60cmb to grapple without having taking any other feat because 'roleplaying'.

But further in..

What the heck is considered 'fluff rules' and what is just fluff?

For example, Catfolk Human with Catfolk Exemplar taking the claw trait from that? I've seen a few posts that this isn't allowed either.

Kobold and any of the feats that mention scales?

Obvious hyperbole aside, they share the same point in common; something brought on by simply allowing the character free reign of character customization. Give an inch, take a mile. The same concept applies.

To be honest, at this point I wouldn't consider limb citations as fluff rules, given the options that players can take now. It wasn't before, because such options weren't available. Now that they are...

Saying that it's perfectly fine within the rules to allow one thing and then not allow it for another with no book statements (or similar proof) to back the claim is contradictory to itself. Why is so and so allowed a tail (when the book doesn't say they can't) when I'm not allowed all the other limbs I cited with my Abominable Human example (which falls under the same principle; the book isn't saying I can't have those limbs, and there's nothing saying that so and so is required for them)?

Because it would "ruin the game"? That's GM FIAT territory. In RAW, it does not apply, which is what we are discussing; that Racial Heritage + Tail Terror ~ Free Tail. Because it doesn't back up the concept of the race? Irrelevant, since the concept of the race can be taken so loosely (even so loose as to allow tails). MrTsFloatinghead even said it himself, it's immoral for me to not consider multi-armed/legged "Humans," or Humans with any other form of deficiency as being not Human, and since the Racial Heritage, by RAW, does not add a (sub)type to your person (only says you count as so and so for X), is still only Humanoid (Human) for (sub)type.


Ah, but you're the one who presents the hyperbole and claims of allowance of mechanical effects to be applied by things neither unmechancial or granted mechanics through the rules.


You know, last night at the game store I saw quite a few modules for golarian that had mutation tables, lovecraftian corruption , the whole mana wastes deal and clockwork augmentation. Based on that I say, stop all these claims that it is not the intent to include things such as tails or abnormal characteristics. The whole humans of the setting don't go outside of the description or in The real world you don't see stuff just doesn't apply. As far as strictest reading of the feats, sure, you in no way show any heritage. But I am very convinced now that it is very well in the intent of the game designers to have lots of abnormal appearing adventurers and this feat (racial heritage, not tail terror) was an attempt to allow that within the rules structure. Still waiting for a Paizo rep to FAQ my world on this one.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Darche Schneider wrote:

I was addressing the over the top 'slippery slope appeal to ridicule' of Having a Human-Kobold have a tail with no mechanical advantage without feats that give the mechanical advantage being equal to having a Human have a billzion arms that add 60cmb to grapple without having taking any other feat because 'roleplaying'.

But further in..

What the heck is considered 'fluff rules' and what is just fluff?

For example, Catfolk Human with Catfolk Exemplar taking the claw trait from that? I've seen a few posts that this isn't allowed either.

Kobold and any of the feats that mention scales?

Obvious hyperbole aside, they share the same point in common; something brought on by simply allowing the character free reign of character customization. Give an inch, take a mile. The same concept applies.

To be honest, at this point I wouldn't consider limb citations as fluff rules, given the options that players can take now. It wasn't before, because such options weren't available. Now that they are...

Saying that it's perfectly fine within the rules to allow one thing and then not allow it for another with no book statements (or similar proof) to back the claim is contradictory to itself. Why is so and so allowed a tail (when the book doesn't say they can't) when I'm not allowed all the other limbs I cited with my Abominable Human example (which falls under the same principle; the book isn't saying I can't have those limbs, and there's nothing saying that so and so is required for them)?

Because it would "ruin the game"? That's GM FIAT territory. In RAW, it does not apply, which is what we are discussing; that Racial Heritage + Tail Terror ~ Free Tail. Because it doesn't back up the concept of the race? Irrelevant, since the concept of the race can be taken so loosely (even so loose as to allow tails). MrTsFloatinghead even said it himself, it's immoral for me to not consider multi-armed/legged "Humans," or Humans with any other form of deficiency as being...

Oh, I thought we agreed on this one... Based on developer commentary that racial heritage affects favored enemy, the feat does indeed change, in this case add an additional, your subtype.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
The_Hanged_Man wrote:
Wait, Quicken Spells doesn't have any pre-reqs and clearly states that you can cast spells in a fraction of the normal time.

An easy mistake to make, but you are wrong.

Have a closer look at the metamagic feats and you'll see you can cast the minimum of 4th level spells rather that you need to be able have the ability to cast high level spells. for example. Magic Missle is a 1st level spell [add 4 levels] and you'll find a quickened Magic Missle is 5th Level.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yes the Racial Heritage adds to your subtype; You have to be human to take the trait but you will count as both Human and Kobold (you get all of the Pros & Cons).

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.


Darche Schneider wrote:
Ah, but you're the one who presents the hyperbole and claims of allowance of mechanical effects to be applied by things neither unmechancial or granted mechanics through the rules.

Too bad the rules disagree. Let's look at my 6-armed, 24-legged "Human," and see with just what that alone provides me:

I claimed that having 24 legs gives me a +44 to my CMD V.S. Trip Maneuvers. Here's what the book has to say with me having 24 legs.

Trip Maneuver wrote:

You can attempt to trip your opponent in place of a melee attack. You can only trip an opponent who is no more than one size category larger than you. If you do not have the Improved Trip feat, or a similar ability, initiating a trip provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver.

If your attack exceeds the target's CMD, the target is knocked prone. If your attack fails by 10 or more, you are knocked prone instead. If the target has more than two legs, add +2 to the DC of the combat maneuver attack roll for each additional leg it has. Some creatures—such as oozes, creatures without legs, and flying creatures—cannot be tripped.

The book says I would get a total of 2(24 - 2) = Bonus to CMD V.S. Trip. Just because I have those legs.

I could also be that guy and say he has no legs, a much more plausible "deformation," and make him immune to trip effects that way, going by the line that follows the bolded section. But out of deference to paraplegics (because moral feelings are being hurt in a thread regarding a fantasy game's rules, which I scoff at), I won't go that route.

Let's also consider my 6 arms. I can use up to 3 Two-Handed Weapons, since on those 6 arms, I have 6 hands, and each Two-Handed Weapon requires, surprise surprise, 2 hands to be able to use. (Unless of course, arms exceeding 2 do not have hands, unless I take a feat that allows me to grow hands out of nowhere?) I do suffer penalties to these attacks, as evidenced in the Multiweapon Fighting feat:

Multiweapon Fighting wrote:

This multi-armed creature is skilled at making attacks with multiple weapons.

Prerequisites: Dex 13, three or more hands.
Benefit: Penalties for fighting with multiple weapons are reduced by –2 with the primary hand and by –6 with off hands.
Normal: A creature without this feat takes a –6 penalty on attacks made with its primary hand and a –10 penalty on attacks made with all of its off hands. (It has one primary hand, and all the others are off hands.) See Two-Weapon Fighting in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook.
Special: This feat replaces the Two-Weapon Fighting feat for creatures with more than two arms.

I also gain access to a feat that is otherwise not plausible by other, more "normal" Humans, because I am some abominable creature that comes from some dimension akin to that created by H.P. Lovecraft. Also take note that I do not need to have this feat to make the attacks; the feat simply lowers the penalties for it.

All of that alone, just because the GM, NOT THE RULES, decided that all sorts of mutations, regardless of type, still make a "Human" be Human. Because the "regardless" applies to everything, that encompasses a 6-armed, 24-legged "Human," still being "Human," and thusly does not break those boundaries which were set. (Other than the whole "You're being a jerk and a munchkin" thing; which is completely separate query in itself.)

@ Torbyne: I suggest you re-read the feat again.

Racial Heritage wrote:
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 am certain the Dev did not say you gain the (sub)type. He simply said you count as that (sub)type, in addition to the one you already have (Humanoid [Human]), for the effects of Favored Enemy, a class-feature ability that is dependant upon race/type.

The original question was valid, considering the RAW did not directly expand upon it; given the Dev statement, he merely provided an example of what the "so on" would encompass, which is the Favored Enemy effect, just for starters.

Remember that it says you "count as both human and that race for any effects related to race." Just because you count as it, doesn't mean you gain that (sub)type. You're treated as if you had that (sub)type in regards to race-related effects, but your actual (sub)type does not encompass it. Just like how you treat Coupe de Grace like a Death Effect, doesn't mean that it is a Death Effect.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Darche Schneider wrote:
Ah, but you're the one who presents the hyperbole and claims of allowance of mechanical effects to be applied by things neither unmechancial or granted mechanics through the rules.

Too bad the rules disagree. Let's look at my 6-armed, 24-legged "Human," and see with just what that alone provides me:

I claimed that having 24 legs gives me a +44 to my CMD V.S. Trip Maneuvers. Here's what the book has to say with me having 24 legs.

Trip Maneuver wrote:

You can attempt to trip your opponent in place of a melee attack. You can only trip an opponent who is no more than one size category larger than you. If you do not have the Improved Trip feat, or a similar ability, initiating a trip provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver.

If your attack exceeds the target's CMD, the target is knocked prone. If your attack fails by 10 or more, you are knocked prone instead. If the target has more than two legs, add +2 to the DC of the combat maneuver attack roll for each additional leg it has. Some creatures—such as oozes, creatures without legs, and flying creatures—cannot be tripped.

The book says I would get a total of 2(24 - 2) = Bonus to CMD V.S. Trip. Just because I have those legs.

I could also be that guy and say he has no legs, a much more plausible "deformation," and make him immune to trip effects that way, going by the line that follows the bolded section. But out of deference to paraplegics (because moral feelings are being hurt in a thread regarding a fantasy game's rules, which I scoff at), I won't go that route.

Let's also consider my 6 arms. I can use up to 3 Two-Handed Weapons, since on those 6 arms, I have 6 hands, and each Two-Handed Weapon requires, surprise surprise, 2 hands to be able to use. (Unless of course, arms exceeding 2 do not have hands, unless I take a feat that allows me to grow hands out of nowhere?) I do suffer penalties to these attacks, as evidenced in the Multiweapon Fighting feat:...

No, this doesn't fly man. Just as you can't choose when the feat does and does not apply so too does it counts as new sub type which remains always and forever in effect. There is absolutely nothing in the game to support the idea that you can only have a semi active sub type. If you count as having it for one effect, favored enemy, you count for all effects and, in effect, have new sub type. The feat actually explicitly states all effects of race and the dev comment ruled that sub type is an effect.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Saying that it's perfectly fine within the rules to allow one thing and then not allow it for another with no book statements (or similar proof) to back the claim is contradictory to itself. Why is so and so allowed a tail (when the book doesn't say they can't) when I'm not allowed all the other limbs I cited with my Abominable Human example (which falls under the same principle; the book isn't saying I can't have those limbs, and there's nothing saying that so and so is required for them)?

I agree that if I was saying that, it would be contradictory. Thankfully, I'm not saying that. I've never said you weren't allowed to have a bunch of arms or legs or lava skin or whatever. I've said that if you make those character choices, and I feel like you aren't just trying to troll my campaign, I will allow you to play them, but I will also expect you to role play through the consequences of those choices, which typically will include things like having to deal with NPCs that don't want to talk with you or are actively hostile towards you because of your unusual appearance. That's not the same thing as saying "This arbitrary thing is allowed because the rules don't prohibit it, but that arbitrary thing is not allowed because even though the rules don't prohibit it, they don't allow it either", which is what you keep trying to construe my position as. To be clear, there are some times when I will tell someone that they can't play something, but I never feel the need to hide behind a rules issue with a character to "justify" telling a problem player that he's breaking my game and needs to knock it off.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Because it would "ruin the game"? That's GM FIAT territory. In RAW, it does not apply, which is what we are discussing; that Racial Heritage + Tail Terror ~ Free Tail. Because it doesn't back up the concept of the race? Irrelevant, since the concept of the race can be taken so loosely (even so loose as to allow tails). MrTsFloatinghead even said it himself, it's immoral for me to not consider multi-armed/legged "Humans," or Humans with any other form of deficiency as being...

If GMs acting to preserve the game is what you mean by GM fiat, then the term is so broad as to be indistinguishable to me from what I would consider the normal course of play. I'm not creating new game rules by having my campaign world react differently to a lava-skinned human than it would to a human who matched my own pasty white complexion, anymore than I'm applying random GM fiat when I have an NPC react differently to the well-dressed, smooth talking bard and the coarse and uncouth barbarian. Telling someone they can't play a certain character (or even can't play in my campaign at all) isn't even a rules issue anyway, it's a social and personal one, and again, it's not really about the character, it's about the player.

Now, to refocus, again, on the issue of the thread? RAW it's clear that a human with a tail (any tail) and the tail terror feat can make use of the attack granted by the feat. The only question is if RAW humans can have a tail, because the rules don't say one way or the other explicitly. Here's how I think that parses out:

Some interpret the lack of clarity to be a solid "No", because they consider the rules to be permissive in nature - that is, they tell you what you are allowed to do and have, and anything outside that is house-rules and GM fiat.

The trouble with this view is that if you apply it strictly, then the game becomes unplayable RAW, as, for example, Humans don't explicitly have arms or hands in their descriptions. If you don't apply the standard strictly, then drawing the bright-line around what is and is not "normal" enough to count as human becomes a tricky affair, all the more so because it has a potentially thorny moral component. In practice, unless you are willing to say that certain types of real world humans simply shouldn't be represented in the game, this option logically devolves into the third camp below.

Some interpret the lack of clarity as "I don't have to allow it, so I won't". I agree 100% that people have the right to prevent characters or players they find to be problematic from the game, and while I would strongly encourage such GMs to consider if maybe part of their resistance to this concept stemmed from a questionable assumption about what a "human" is, I certainly have to concede that RAW there is nothing that forces any GM to accept any character or player that he/she finds to be problematic.

The trouble with this view, is, of course, it doesn't so much answer the rules question at hand as it does sidestep the issue entirely by appealing to the fundamental nature of the GM's role in the game.

Finally, we have the camp that says that RAW can't be considered strictly permissive, because that seems to result in situations where the game is unplayable. Thus, we are forced to rely to some extent on our non-rules understanding of the definitions of terms like "Human", as in the non-strict version of camp one above. This time, however, to avoid the potential headache of creating a bright-line that is not based in any rules text, yet is somehow not an arbitrary exclusion of real life people, we simply throw open the doors and allow anyone we would define as human in the real world to be represented in the game.

The trouble with this view seems to be the perception that allowing players the option to have a vestigial tail is tantamount to allowing them to play anything at all, with no hope for any kind of GM control, resulting in mass anarchy where players are unable to even recognize the game they are playing anymore.

I think this concern is irrelevant for a number of reasons, but the three best are: 1) I think there is a clear, non-arbitrary and morally sound bright line that can be drawn by simply saying "I will allow any variety of human who can or does exist in the real world", which seems to prevent the worst excesses on face. 2) I think by and large a GM who is careful and thoughtful about how his/her world reacts to non-standard PCs can prevent them from being a problem, despite the limited advantages such characters might provide. 3) As was pointed out by camp two above, GMs always have the right to remove players or characters who are causing problems from the game, without needing to point to a reason beyond "because you are causing a problem", which makes the slippery slope impossible as long as GMs are willing to say "no" without feeling like they have to hide behind a rules issue with a character instead of dealing with the problem player directly.

To me option 3 is the clear winner, since it's the only one that actually answers the question and lets the game function without relying on an arbitrary, non-text based exclusion of possible human body types that we know exist in the real world.


@ Torbyne: RAW, the character is only counted as having that related (sub)type for all effects regarding race. At no point does it say the player gains that (sub)type. RAI, it's the same thing as saying a Save or Die spell is a Death Effect. It's a Save or Die spell. If it doesn't come out and say "This is a Death Effect," or to be slightly more broad about it, if the spell doesn't have the [Death] descriptor, then it's not a Death Effect. It's a feat that alters how feats, traits, spells, magic items, and other abilities dependant upon (sub)types affect you; it in no way shape or form says that you gain so and so (sub)type.

In this exact context, we can say that it functions exactly like a Death Effect, but is not a Death Effect, just as we say the feat makes you function exactly as if you had the (sub)type, but doesn't say "you gain the [so and so] (sub)type."

@MrTsFloatinghead: In a home game, you can, as GM, throw a player out just because they looked at you funny, and that's all fine and dandy. But it doesn't mean your position is the correct one. Citing rules is a more solid method to make sure that you, as a GM, aren't doing blahblahblah whatever, just because you have some sort of undiscussed, non-game issue with some random player. It is with this matter that citing rules becomes a matter of showing fair consideration with your reasoning behind removing an otherwise disruptive player, and not just because there is some negative (or in some cases, neglective) "favoritism" going on between the GM and the player.

With a real-life example let's talk about the GM being an owner of a candy factory, and taking children on a field trip. Let's say the manager (i.e. GM) says that the children have access to this random box of candy. But one of the children asks, "Can I have some other candy? I really like randomcandy instead." The Manager pondered, but would then say "Sure, I'll let you have some randomcandy." However, since it was loud enough for all of the other children to hear, they're led to believe "Why does he get randomcandy and I don't? If he can have randomcandy, can't I have otherrandomcandy instead of this candy here?" The Manager then says "I'm sorry, I don't think I can let you children have otherrandomcandy, because I don't think it would fit well with the budget I have planned for my company."

Going in the opposite direction above, such as altering the rules to let so and so have the option, when everyone else was under the impression that the rules were already set in stone, it can actually lead to the GM showing some Favoritism to one (or several) player(s) in contrast to the other, equally curious/inquisitive players, is another method that leads to the same result; a GM that believes throwing a player out because he can is right, when it perhaps should be the opposite.

Considering I defined GM FIAT before as the GM for a game enforcing a self-thought interpretation for a vague rule/scenario to keep the game rolling and fun, yes, that's what it is. GM FIAT isn't (always) right, or RAW for that matter. There are several instances that are dependant on GM FIAT and vary on application from group to group, such as the current 'Mithril Celestial Armor' thread, in which the only proper method to allow or disallow such a concept is by GM FIAT (or, how he would run the subject in question), given that, as you say regarding this, the rules aren't clear enough on the subject matter. (I find they are, and I suppose that's where the difference begins.)

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